Fredericton Craft Beer Festival

All posts tagged Fredericton Craft Beer Festival

With Fredericton Craft Beer Fest now almost a week in the past, we suspect some of the hangovers it generated are finally starting to ease, just in time to figure out where the next hangover might come from. We’re willing to bet that for many the phrase “St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday” might figure heavily into that calculation. Here’s the latest in beer releases, brewery news and beer-related events for the week that Spring, uh, springs (sprungs? sprongs? steens?) in 2018!

Quidi Vidi Brewery, located Northwest of downtown St John’s, has seen a lot of change in the past several months. With the end of their legal issues, they are back to focusing on what should be most important in a brewery: beer! With the explosion of small breweries on the island, the reach of well-made flavourful beers is expanding across the province. Recent releases like the Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian (both award winners at last weekend’s Down East Brewing Awards) signal a sea change in the company, ready to provide exciting beers beyond their traditional offerings. With a 3 BBL (450 litre) pilot brewing system to complement their 20 BBL (2400 litre) brewhouse, and serious renovations happening to accommodate their new taproom, they are looking to expand the width and breadth of their offerings, while not disappointing their loyal fans. With this refocusing, they are looking to hire an assistant brewer, with an attitude on the same wavelength as their Brewmaster Einar Holtet. Check out the job listing here, and be sure to drop them a note soon!

• We’re not sure how much of this will be left, given that it was released last Friday, but Annapolis Cider has a new entry in their Something Different series. Arctic Kiwi combines the juice of locally-harvested Arctic Kiwis with a dry cider made up of McIntosh, Cortland, and Hyslop Crab apples. Unfiltered and sparkling, the resulting cider is quite aromatic, with “bright, tangy notes of fresh kiwi, with a crisp finish”. Best to check with Annapolis to make sure they still have some left! If they do, $0.50 from each refill will go to support Acadia’s S.M.I.L.E. program.

• Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom launched a new beer last week – their first sour – just in time to pour off-Island at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Citra SMaSH Kettle Sour is just what you’d expect it to be – a single-malt (2-row), single-hop (Citra, obviously!) beer that was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus. With a firm tartness that is balanced/complemented very well by the fruity and citrus characters from the Citra, it weighs in at 5.4% ABV. FCBF is over (boo!), but you can still find this one on tap at the brewery, and possible still at HopYard, in Charlottetown.

• Speaking of PEI, there’s puh-lenty going on over at Upstreet these days. Let’s start with new beer… first up is the release of the third beer in their Flipside series, Belgian Pale Ale. This one is definitely a different take on the classic Belgian style, with a light malt bill (including some Flaked Oats), and a dry-hop of Cashmere and Citra. Fermented with a Belgian Witbier yeast, this hazy beer has a light bready character, with notes of “citrus, melon, and coconut” in the aroma and flavour. At 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, it’s available now in bottles and on tap. Their other new beer is the first in yet ANOTHER series, Neon Friday, a bi-weekly (hopefully!) release that will focus on hops – more specifically, IPAs – in beers that will be released on tap only. Today will see the release of DDH IPA with Azacca (6.5% ABV, 50 IBUs) which was, yes, double-dry-hopped with the wonderful Azacca, giving high levels of mango in this particular beer. Look for it on tap at the Upstreet taproom, and the Craft Beer Corner. That’s right, the latest Upstreet venture should be opening today in downtown Charlottetown on the corner of Great George St. and Kent St. This beer destination will feature 24 taps (12 Upstreet, 5 for other Island breweries, 4 sodas, 2 Heart Beet Organics Kombuchas, and one Receiver cold brew coffee), with all Upstreet and non-alcoholic options available for growler and crowler fills (the first on the Island?). Food will also be available… think munchies like calzones, pretzels, jerky, etc. that will be prepared at Upstreet and cooked to order onsite. Be sure to check it out over the weekend!

• The FCBF saw all kinds of new beers pouring and we did our best to give you a preview of each in our post last week so you’d know what to look for. Some breweries, however, didn’t release the entire list of what they’d have until after last week’s post, with some beers ending up as a partial surprise. Niche Brewing’s Bruges Afternoon fit one of these descriptions, but it also fits another, that of a hybrid Belgian style that can best be described as a Belgian-American Pale Ale. Starting with a rather Belgian grist of Pils, Aromatic and Wheat, almost all the hops were added after the boil, namely lots of Azacca and Mosaic. It was back to Belgium for a Trappist style yeast to promote fruity esters and then, post-fermentation, back across the pond for a large dry hop of more Azacca and Mosaic. Fruity esters, tropical hops, and a medium mouthfeel in a 5.2% ABV package. As always you’ll find it at Niche tap accounts where you might also bump into their Mines of Wallonia, their lovely light Grisette hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc, which should see its re-release early next week.

• While lots of breweries do up special beers for St. Patrick’s day, and many of them involve food colouring or wild and wonderful green-tinged ingredients, we suspect that a new beer from Horton Ridge has got to be the greenest green beer that ever greened. Excepting that it’s not green. In colour, anyway. Horton Ridge has made a beer using green malt directly off the malt floor, with no kilning step to remove all the water added to germinate the grain and with the protein-rich rootlets left intact. The only other ingredient in the grist was a few pound of their own malted oats. Trading traditional toasty and malty flavors for fruity ones, this beer has notes of peach and fresh cantaloupe with a red apple nose. More brown than beer made from kilned malt, it’s also quite hazy from the additional protein. Hopped with Saaz, Hallertau, Cascade and Perle, Green Malt Beer weighs in a quaffable 5.5% ABV and a gentle 22 IBU that lets the malt shine. Not green enough for you? Consider this: the barley was grown in the region (Winsloe, PEI), so transport was minimized. Not kilning means 90% of the energy normally put into the malting process was saved. And with so much water left in the grain, much less was needed for the mash! Served on-site (no additional transportation), the environmental footprint of this beer is likely to be amongst the smallest of any in Canada. Now is it green enough?! Launched yesterday at the brewery, it will be flowing freely tomorrow starting at noon for Paddy’s Day at the Malt House and also available in growlers (pre-filled, we believe). Keeping with the theme, you’ll also fine Granite Brewery Greenman Pale Ale along with offerings from Big Spruce and Tatamagouche Brewing. Traditional Irish music from Space Bog Paddy People round out the event starting at 8 PM (tickets for the evening are $5). And we’ve been told to keep our eyes out for more beers from Horton Ridge featuring green malt in the future!

• On the East side of Newfoundland Port Rexton have a new beer out that invokes both St. Patrick’s Day and meteorology. In Newfoundland, the name Sheila (or Sheelah) is associated with St. Patrick as his wife, and cagey Newfoundlanders caught still tippling on March 18th may claim to be continuing the celebration in the name of Sheelah. Meanwhile, weather-wise, it is extremely common for one last big snow to come through Newfoundland in the back half of March following Paddy’s Day and those storms have come to be known as “Sheila’s Brush.” Enter Port Rexton and their desire for something hoppy and crushable to welcome Spring. Featuring Magnum, Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria in the kettle and Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra in the dry hop, Sheila’s Crush still only tips the scales at 4.4% ABV, making it a very sessionable IPA. Look for this light and citrusy brew at the brewery’s retail location on Torbay Road just in time for Sheila’s Day.

• Are you a fan of big, boozy Barleywines? Well, we have great news for you, then! Boxing Rock‘s newest beer, Fisticuffs, is just that, and is available now! Weighing in at a monstrous 11% ABV, the beer was aged for four months in Chardonnay barrels, it exhibits “hints of stone fruits such as prunes, plums and figs, melded with a smooth, biscuit malt flavour and hint of vanilla”. With a fruity finish and “soft” carbonation, it’s smooth enough to be enjoyed now, and big enough to be cellared! Bottles are currently on sale at Boxing Rock’s retail show in Shelburne, with some also on their way to select NSLC stores (and perhaps to the private stores in HRM as well). And keep your eyes open next week for their Juniper Saison, April May Juniper, which was originally brewed as a collaboration with Lunn’s Mill last year. This batch was fermented with a different Saison yeast, and the beer will be a rotating seasonal in the NSLC, so you should be seeing bottles very soon. And mark your calendars for March 29th, when Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion & Bright from 5PM, pouring a wide variety of suds to make your long weekend brighter.

TrailWay is bringing back their Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog, today at the brewery. This latest release is a new iteration on the same vanilla/lactose-driven IPA – hopped with a “generous amount” of Idaho 7 and El Dorado, it was conditioned on both strawberry and mango puree. Expect plenty of fruitiness thanks to all additions, with a “massive, rich, creamy body” to help support the 6.5% ABV. Available today on tap and in cans at the brewery only.

• We have a couple of pieces from Fredericton’s Picaroons news this week. First up, with the warmer weather approaching (right??), the brewing team at Pics turn their thoughts to one of their most fun and popular seasonals, Melonhead, their Watermelon Ale. And every year, a new cat will get the opportunity to grab the spotlight on the front of the label. If you think your kitty is the next WhiskeySir Winston Snaggletooth, or Ruby, send their picture vial email before March 27th for a chance at fame, fortune, and unlimited catnip. The winning cat, and the beer, will be available June 1st. Picaroons is also looking to hire a Retail Beer Store Manager, who will oversee the operation of the various retail locations, taproom operations, and designing tour information. To learn more, check out Pics’ Facebook page, and apply for the position via email here.

• The Gahan Pub in Charlottetown is hosting their Fourth Home Brewer’s Challenge, inviting eager Aleanders to brew up their best recipe, for a chance to see their beer pouring at the Sydney Street Pub. There are no style requirements/guideline this year, so entrants are free to choose whichever they like. Fire an email to before April 13th to register, and you have until May 28th to brew and deliver your beer to Gahan. The winner will brew their recipe with Gahan Brew Master Trent Hayes, for release in the summer.

• We have more on the latest release from Garrison we teased last week, plus a tease of another new one dropping this weekend. Debuting at the Craft Beer Cottage Party at the end of February, Wicked Good is a North East- / New England- style American Pale Ale (aka, full of hops and haze for dayz). Pale Ale Malt is kicked up with Oats and Wheat (for mouthfeel, head retention, and lending a bit of haze) in the grain bill, resulting in a 5.8% ABV. The star of the show is the hop bill, featuring loads of Idaho 7 and Mosaic early-, late-, and post-boil, plus some super-secret hops that Brewmaster Daniel Girard is keeping under wraps. Currently available on draft only, but will eventually be packaged, grab it at the brewery for samples and growlers, and around town at finer drinking establishments.

• And dropping today, just in time for tomorrow’s drinking holiday, is Oat and About Stout. This is a Strong Stout brewed with students of the NSCC Continuing Education course that visited the brewery in February. As the name would imply, there are oats in the grain bill to complement the 2-Row Pale malt, plus a blend of Crystal with Roasted Barley. At 6.0% ABV and 32 IBUs, it’s a solid alternative to the macro-stouts often touted at the time of year. Be sure to grab all of the details when you drop by today for a sample or growler fill (and tell them the ACBB sent ya!).

In addition to your regularly scheduled St Patrick’s Day celebrations tomorrow, keep an eye out for these events this weekend and in the near future:

• As part of their Saint Paddy’s Day fun, Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is hosting a series of tastings in their Stage Head Pub. At 2 PM, 3 PM, and 4 PM tomorrow, try 8 beers from Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Storm Brewing, and YellowBelly and take a tour of the brewery, all while learning about Split Rock’s own offerings, too. In addition to the guided tastings, there will be music in the afternoon and evening (4 – 5 PM, and again at 9 PM), and Irish Stew available 5 – 7 PM. And while you’re there, you’ll be able to enjoy their recent addition Flanker, a rich and malty Smoked Porter, weighing in at 5.8% ABV. 30% Beachwood Smoked Malt was used in the grist, but the smoke level is not overpowering. If you’re unable to visit the Stage Head, it may be available in town after the weekend. Saturday will see the release of a pair of new beers as well, with a 3.8% ABV Dry Irish Stout being served on Nitro, and a brand new American Pale Ale with loads of Cascade and Columbus making its debut.

• Feeling hungry and inflexible? Why not come to the King Street Ale House this Sunday, March 18th, for Lazy Yoga n’ Burgers? Starting at 1 PM, there will be 45 minutes of “lighthearted, gentle” yoga (BYO mat), before launching into the main event… food and beer! Over the next two hours, ticketholders will have four gourmet sliders, each paired with a different beer (5 oz) from Niche Brewing. Tickets can be purchased through the event link above; the price is $45.49 for the full experience, but if you just want to go for the burgers and beer, you can purchase a separate ticket for $27.39. Check out the link for more details, and a full beer list.

Big Tide Brewing is hosting a Brunch & Brew event on March 25th starting at 10 AM. Your ticket includes food and coffee/tea, a tour of the brewery with plenty of knowledge and insight into the brewing process, plus the opportunity to take part in a brewday with Head Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos and the folks of Uncorked Tours. Advance tickets are suggested, and are available here.

• The latest edition of the St John’s BrewFest is set to happen April 21, at Club One at 33A Gower Street. Featuring 80+ beer not normally available in the province, the hosts are pushing hard to increase the haze-level on the island by inviting Brooklyn, NYC’s, Other Half Brewing, as well as Half Hours on Earth (Seaforth, ON), Blindman Brewery (Lacombe, AB), Left Field Brewery (Toronto, ON), and Hammond River (Quispamsis, NB). Your $30 ticket gets you in the door, your glass for the evening (and to take home) and your first few pours, after which you can buy tokens to fill her up once again. Tickets are just about sold out, so if you were waiting for a sign to buy, this is it! Check out the beer line-up (they’re adding more to the list daily), and grab your tickets, here.

• We’ve been busy trying to keep up with Escarpment Lab‘s social media over the past week, as co-founder Angus Ross returned to his Nova Scotian roots, brewing up a half-dozen collaboration beers across the province. From Shelburne to Nyanza and points in between, Ross has set a wide variety of yeast-driven beers in motion this week (joining some brewed last summer!), which will culminate in a tap takeover during the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, being held in Halifax May 24-26. We’ll share more details on the takeover (and the dozens of other events peripheral to the Conference) closer to the date, but rest assured you’ll want to take a few days off of work to stay focused on the mighty task at hand!

Hell Bay Brewing and Liverpool Adventure Outfitters are hosting a Father’s Day Canoe & Brew event June 16th. It kicks off at 4PM when attendees will go for a paddle along the Mersey River, and then enjoying a beer tasting at Hell Bay. Paddlers of all ages are invited, though the tasting restricted to those of age. The LAO is planning more of these outings, so be sure to sign up to their inaugural event to show that there’s plenty of interest!

Just a few more notes to get you up to speed before we let you go today:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has opened their taproom this week, allowing visitors to enjoy pints and flights of their Headliner IPA, Nunmoar Black, or one of their 4 other beer pouring currently. They are also adding in a healthy dose of guest beers to round out the dozen taps, which started with Garrison’s Pucker Up!, Uncle Leo’s Smoked Porter, and Sober Island Chanterelle Mild. Drop by today 12-8PM, and tomorrow 11-5PM for your draft and growler needs!

Good Robot will be re-releasing El Espinazo del Diablo, their International Pale Lager conditioned on lime zest and jalapeño, next week. With a 2-Row and Vienna malt base, flaked corn is also used in the mash for that iconic flavour contribution. At 5.7% ABV, the beer was solely hopped with Tettnang to a light 14 IBU, letting the fruit and chili dominate the flavours.

Propeller Brewing has brought back their Irish Red this week, just in time for Saturday’s celebration. Available in the 650 mL bomber size, as well as on tap for growler fills and pints at their Gottingen St taproom, it will be available at bars and restaurants around the city shortly.

Unfiltered has brought back their “New England-influenced” American IPA, Riddle of Steel, for release today at Charm School for pints and growler fills (and likely on tap at several Unfiltered accounts, soon).

And before we sign off today, we wanted to once again say thanks to Lloyd Chambers and the whole Fredericton Craft Beer Festival crew of volunteers for a great time last weekend. From the PEI Tap Takeover at the James Joyce, to the Beer School run by Mike Doucette & Co of CCNB Grand Falls, to the breweries who were kind enough to donate goodies for our Trivia Night (which we will re-schedule soon, stupid power outage!), there were plenty of great events surrounding the Friday Night Newbie Session and Saturday Gala Sessions of the Festival. Congratulations to all of the winners in the Down East Brewing Awards, but extra-special Grats to Garrison for winning Brewery of the Year, and 2 Crows for Beer of the Year, for their I Love You Saison with Rosehips. Meeting with the local brewers, bar owners, retailers, hop growers, and beer fans leaves us with no doubt that the Atlantic Canadian Beer Scene is stronger than ever, and the future is looking quite bright!

Happy Fredericton Beer Week! We’ve been waiting for months, and the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival finally happens tomorrow. There’s been a few events so far this week (with one unfortunately being cancelled due to weather), and tomorrow’s big event promises to be even bigger and better than the past five years! With plenty of breweries making their way to Fredericton, there’s naturally quite a few new beers being released… maybe even more so than normal. We’ve been busy getting ready for FCBF, but we’ve done our usual best to summarize all the beer news in our region, so let’s get right to it!

• Let’s start off with Collaboration Pale Ale, a special super-collaboration (yep, just made that word up!) involving the participation of most breweries in New Brunswick, brewed specifically for FCBF. The project was spearheaded by Foghorn‘s own Esty, who sent the recipe out to all those taking part for input, feedback, and good-natured criticism (of which there was actually surprisingly none!). The beer was brewed on Foghorn’s system, with many brewers attending to “help” (i.e. drink beer and watch). Hopped with Magnum from Darlings Island Farm, and Chinook from Moose Mountain, to 45 IBUs, Chinook hop hash from Southan Farms was added at knockout, along with some Enigma. Dry-hopped with more hop hash and Enigma, the result is a 5.5% ABV beer with citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a crisp finish. Craft Coast Canning generously donated their services, with 1000 cans being packaged for sale at various breweries, and a few ANBL locations. There will also be a couple of kegs pop up (including at FCBF, of course!), and it will be for sale (by the pint only) on tap at Foghorn. In addition, $1 of every can sale goes towards diabetes research.

• In more FCBF-special beers, Maybee Brewing is releasing Fahrenheit DIPA, a collaboration brewed with Bangor, Maine’s own Geaghan Brothers Brewing. One of Maine’s first craft breweries (they opened their doors back in 1975), this year is Geaghan’s second at the festival. The beer was brewed with a “generous” amount of locally-grown Centennial and Columbus (from Southan Farms), along with also-large amounts of Amarillo and Mosaic. The result is a “resinous – yet juicy – hop explosion with notes of peach,  mango, apricot and citrus). Weighing in at a hefty 8.7% ABV and 75 IBUs, it will be pouring at FCBF, with GBB pouring it in keg/draft form, and Maybee opting to serve it on cask. If you miss it there (or can’t wait until tomorrow), it is also available on tap and in cans at Maybee.

• Released yesterday to mark International Women’s Day 2018, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with the Brewnettes to bring you The Riveter. Named after iconic Rosie the Riveter, the beer is a refreshing and easy-drinking Session Ale with plenty of tasty hops. At just 3.9% ABV, this beer will be one you can enjoy all afternoon on the assembly line (or maybe wait until the end-of-day whistle blows). The Brewnettes Newfoundland Beer Collective boasts more than 400 members across Newfoundland and and Labrador, offering new beer drinkers and homebrewers an encouraging environment to meet like-minded folks. The Riveter is available for growler fills at the Port Rexton Retail Shop on Torbay Rd from 4-8PM today (and 12-6PM tomorrow), with Chasing Sun New England IPA also available for growler fills, plus cans of Blazing Sun (Chasing Sun‘s bigger sister), and T-Rex Porter. And today also marks the first day of the BrewSKI weekend at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, with events all weekend (check the schedule here), culminating in tomorrow’s Beer Festival, with Port Rexton joined by: Bootleg Brew CoQuidi Vidi, Split RockStorm, and YellowBelly.

• On our region’s other Island, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new IPA called MOVE on the taps, also released to celebrate IWD2018. Brewed by the women of Upstreet, it’s a hazy New England-style IPA featuring oats and wheat in the grist for a soft mouthfeel and pillowy white head. Hopped in the kettle with super tropical Southern Hemisphere Galaxy and Northern Hemisphere Idaho 7, it was triple dry hopped for a sophisticated aroma. Look for notes of pineapple and fresh mango balanced by a slightly grassy scent. A low-lingering bitterness, coupled with a clean and smooth palate give a juicy and refreshing impression. Weighing it at 6.5% ABV, you’ll be doing good work every time you order it: $2 from every pint and growler will be donated to the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI.

• Don’t look now, but the scourge of pastry stouts has finally arrived upon the fair shores of our region. “What’s a pastry stout?” you ask, as a naïve drinker of reasonably normal beer? Well, at some point a brewer asked themselves the question, “What other starch sources might I conceivably source for my mash?” Or maybe the question was, “How can I put something absolutely ludicrous in the mash and still make beer?” Either way, as the legend goes, lo, the brewer decided to add donuts to the mash and lo, in the otherwise usual way, beer was made. Then donuts became eclairs. And biscotti. And all kinds of other weird shit. This is the world we live in now; embrace it. Aaaaanyways, to our knowledge, HRM’s North Brewing has announced this week the first pastry stout we’re aware of in the region. Twinkle Pony Cookie Stout was brewed by North cellarperson Brad and sports a delightfully whimsical label by Nicole G. Inspired by the flavour of French macaron cookies, a base stout featuring chocolate malt was adulterated with toasted coconut, toasted almonds, vanilla and, yes, macarons from Le French Fix. It will be available in cans as of today in the North bottle shops on either side of the harbour, and on nitro tap for a limited time (1 keg’s worth) at Battery Park. By all means give it a go and, as you do, feel free to wonder what the world is coming to now that there’s cookies in your beer!

• Earlier this week, Hammond River released their latest beer, Cordelia. An American IPA with a simple grist of 2-row, Carafoam, and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops throughout (to 78 IBUs), giving the beer juicy notes of citrus, tangerine, and passion fruit. Some grapefruit puree was also added in secondary to boost the juiciness a bit more, making this 7% ABV brew just the ticket if you’re in the mood for a nice, aromatic hop bomb. You can find this one on tap at the HR taproom and local tap accounts; it’ll also be pouring at FCBF, for those of you lucky enough to have tickets!

• Just in time for FCBF, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go, their first Brett Pale Ale. Dubbed Across the Universe, it started with a grist of 50/50 2-row and Maris Otter, to which a “healthy portion” of wheat and a touch of dextrine malt were added. Hopped with plenty of Citra and Mosaic and then fermented with a Niche favourite, the Amalgamation blend from the Yeast Bay, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV and 36 IBU featuring a nose of citrus and overripe and tropical fruit. And as if that wasn’t enough, watch Niche social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) this afternoon for an announcement of yet another new beer that will debut tomorrow at the fest! (If only we had a connection at the brewery who could have given us the details in time for this post, huh @acbbshawn? Jeeesh.)

• PEI Brewing’s Gahan House Port City in Saint John is now pouring the first beers brewed onsite at their facility. YSJ’aison is a, you guessed it, Saison with a light-coloured malt bill of Pilsner, with a touch of rye and wheat for mouthfeel and to encourage a beautiful head. Lightly hopped in the kettle with Czech Saaz, it was dryhopped with Saphir to bring out some fruitiness. Yeast choice is always important to the overall characteristics of the Saison style, and here they chose a blend of multiple yeasts to encourage tropical fruit, as well as iconic clove and bubblegum notes, as well as spiciness to complement the rye malt. The multiple yeast strains also helped to dry out the beer (ending up at 5.8% ABV) and improve drinkability. The pale and hazy beer is on tap for samples, pints, and growler fills now, and keep your eyes open as future YSJ-brewed beers begin to hit the taps, which include an English Porter brewed with coffee provided by local coffee shop Rogue.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has two items of note this week. First is the return of Fist of God, a fruity, soft, round, and delicious 8% ABV DIPA that will put you on your ass with prejudice. Originally brewed for the release of the feature film Goon: Last of the Enforcers last spring, it will be available for fills and pints and cans at the brewery as of noon today. Yes, we said cans. And FoG isn’t the only beer they’ll have in convenient take-anywhere single-serve packages! The mobile canning line has visited North Street once again and as of noon today you’ll also find Barrel-aged Sour Motherfucker, Exile on North Street IPA, Flat Black Jesus Stout, and Twelve Years to Zion DIPA ready and waiting for your mobile beer needs. All the beer nerds are in Fredericton, here’s your chance to stock up!!

• Just like last year, the Tidehouse braintrust, Peter, Sean, and Shannon, are heading up to Fredericton Craft Beer Fest. And just like last year, they’re leaving their brewery and taproom in the hands of Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell, a couple of degenerate home brewers fine young gentlemen who will no doubt bring ruin and shame upon the good name of Tidehouse take excellent care of the place. Starting today you’ll find four guest beers on tap for fills and small pours at the TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter Street: Cascadian Dark Ale, Tic Lac Toe Blueberry Sour, English Pale, and Amber Ale. You may remember the Tic Lac Toe from last year’s FCBF weekend, a witbier base soured with Lil’ Wheatey’s own Lactobacillus culture (and featuring traditional orange peel and coriander along with two additions of blueberries. The Cascadian Dark Ale is an assertively-hopped dark beer with 60 IBUs worth of bitterness thanks to healthy amounts of Centennial, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. The grist side is based in 2-row and wheat, with caramel, chocolate and midnight wheat specialty malts for character and dark color. All said and done, it comes in a 5.8% ABV with a slightly dry finish. The English Pale falls somewhere in the range of an English Pale and a Golden Ale, with an exceptionally simple malt bill of British pale malt and flaked barley, and an equally uncomplicated hop schedule using only East Kent Goldings. Fermented on London Ale yeast, it’s described as “liquid gold.” And finally, the Amber Ale is a malt-forward beer that combines special roast, aromatic and chocolate malts for a robust and complex malt profile that is balanced against mild bitterness and hop flavour from Warrior, Fuggles, and East Kent Goldings. Though it finished quite dry, look for it to be a bit bigger than the ambers you might be used to. All four of these beers will be poured by Ian and Nick at the Tidehouse today and tomorrow, and will continue to be available while supplies last. You can also watch for the Tic Lac Toe and the Cascadian Dark Ale to make an appearance in limited bottle runs in the near future.

• If you’re into big beers and you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon, consider swinging on down to the Propeller taproom on Gottingen Street for the release of a collaboration brewed with the team from Lower Sackville’s Everwood Avenue Brew Shop. A Baltic Porter coming in at 6.7% ABV and 33 IBU, it boasts aromas of burnt caramel and dark roasted coffee that meld with raisin and vanilla notes in a full-bodied brew where the lager yeast balances a fairly high level of residual sugars. Starting at 6 PM, you’ll find folks from Everwood and Propeller celebrating with pints of the Baltic Porter on special and two special editions on the go as well: one oak cask and one 20L keg that was fermented with Burton on Trent Ale yeast for, we’d imagine, a totally different mouthfeel and body. Swag giveaways and pies available for purchase from Humble Pie complete the package. If you don’t get a chance to attend event but are interested in the beer, it’s already available for growler fills at the brewery and is likely to spring up at a couple other locations around the city.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken another stab at a Lager with their latest beer, Fuzzy Bubbles. This one is an India Pale Lager, a hazy, light-yellow beer that was fermented cool with a Pilsner yeast strain. Lagered for an additional two weeks at near-freezing temperatures, the beer was then dry-hopped with a “healthy” dose of Citra and Vic Secret. Drinking with “huge tropical fruit, peaches, and cantaloupe” notes, and carbonated higher than normal for TW beers, it weighs in at 6.5% ABV. It’s available both in cans and on tap at the brewery today, and should show up at a few tap accounts in the near future.

• The first annual (says Kelly!) Good Robot FemmeBot competition is in the books and the results were announced at a special event at the brewery on Wednesday. An Honorable Mention went to Kelsey Delaney for her “Maybe She’s Born Wit It”, Third Place went to Jill Bernier for her “Bear Cat”, Second was Heather Cameron for “Calm Down Dearest”, and taking first place was Drella Green-Simony with “I Love My Dog”. The winning beer will be brewed on the Sabco system and put on tap at the brewery in the coming months. A hearty congratulations to everyone who entered the competition; some 75% of the registered entrants were first time brewers and hopefully we’ll see more than a few carry on and brew more!

• And in Good Robot beer release news this week are two releases as is their wont. First, on the AlphaBrew system, is an IPA they’re calling All-Inclusive. “Inclusive of what?” you ask? “Inclusive of EVERYTHING!” Like a buffet this 6.8% ABV and 74 IBU brew has a smörgåsbord of flavors, including juicy tropical fruit from Green Bullet, Dr. Rudi, Wakatu, Ella, and Topaz hops, plenty of bitterness, and a slight pepper kick from Grains of Paradise. And on the BetaBrew system, coming out this Tuesday for BetaBrewsday, is a beer that would be very timely if it had anything whatsoever to do with St. Patrick’s day. It’s green. Why’s it green? EVIL GREEN MIST. As generations of wrestlers have taught us, spitting green mist in the eyes of an opponent will cause immediate blindness and absolutely permanent damage to sight, at least until next week’s TV. Green Mist is a super-crushable 4% ABV lager, with just enough bitterness (14 IBU) to be refreshing, and a soupçon of green venom. Or food coloring. One of the two. Enjoy, just don’t mistake it for a St. Patrick’s Day thing!!

There’s lots of Events on the go to tell you about this week!

• Unfortunately, due to an extended power outage in downtown Fredericton, last night’s Down East Tap Takeover (and our Trivia) at the King Street Ale House had to be postponed. The 30+ different beers (most are brand new to the region) are flowing now, and you can head in any time this weekend to have your ticket honoured. As a reminder, that means your first ten 5oz samples of the Nova Scotian and Maine beers are already included.

• And speaking of the FCBF, there are still tickets available for tonight’s Newbie Night, a showcase of a dozen breweries new to the scene. Most of them will not be pouring Saturday night, so if your liver can handle two days of beery fun, we encourage you to check it out! Tickets are available until mid-afternoon.

• For those in NB, be sure to tune your dial to CBC this afternoon, to hear an interview with Josh Mayich of Darlings Island Hop Farm chat with the folks on Shift. Concentrating on his experience as a hop farmer in the Southern NB area, he’ll be sharing stories and what he’s learned in this important side of the beer business.

• Every year in March, Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel brewery celebrates Journée Péché Day at bars in their home province, in the rest of Canada, in the USA, and around the world. This year 50 venues will take part and we’re pleased to report that three of them will be in Atlantic Canada. Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, Moncton’s Tide and Boar, and Fredericton’s King Street Ale House will be serving up the sin on March 24th, with 7 kegs of deep black stain for your soul including the original Péché Mortel Classic Imperial Coffee Stout, Péché Mortel Framboise (with Raspberry), Péché Houblon (with Hops), Péché Termopilas (with a lighter roast coffee), Péché Latté (with lactose, maybe?), and the 2017 and 2018 editions of Péché Mortel Bourbon, which has been aged in Bourbon barrels. With most of these beers tipping the scales at 9% ABV and higher, you can guarantee you won’t escape unmarked. Plan well, and pray for absolution.

A couple more things before we let you go…

– After a short hiatus to refill their kegs, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co is back open for your weekend beer fix. Going forward, they’ll be open Friday and Saturday evenings, 4PM-12AM. Drop by today to taste the latest batch of their beery goodies!

Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, now has cans available, including their aptly named Nor’easter American Pale Ale, weighing in at 5.0% ABV. Currently only at the brewery, they will be available at local (and further afield) ANBL locations in the coming weeks. And look for their 5.0% Havre St-Pierre Red Ale to be available soon in cans as well.

– Speaking of cans, the Craft Coast made the trip to Lawrencetown, NS, and helped the folks at Lunn’s Mill get their product into tall boys. Lager Driver and Anvil Porter are both available for purchase at the brewery now, for $4.50 (all in). Grab a few when you knock off work today!

– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing Cyd Cerise tomorrow, a version of their Old Foundry Stout, aged on crushed cherries, and in white oak Bourbon barrels.

– Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester, NS has a new beer in their Small Lot Series, where they try out new styles on a smaller batch size. In this case, they’ve opted for Gose, a historic German style beer featuring an acidic kick, low hopping, light salt character, and spicing. For their recipe, they used coriander and sea salt to achieve these flavours, and after souring, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast. Keeping with the refreshing nature of the style, Gose is 4.7% and 5 IBUs. Drop by Tanner this weekend to grab a growler of this and their other offerings.


Welcome to March, when Mother Nature is making up her mind on whether to shine, snow, or rain (or all three)… Plenty of brand new beers and events to tell you about this week, spanning all four Atlantic Provinces. Let’s get right to it!

• There’s plenty going on in the world of Good Robot over this next week… so much, in fact, that we were thinking of making it a Good Robot-only post! Especially since all of the new beers being released were designed by the FemmeBots in the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8th. Let’s start things off with a brand new Alpha Brew, We’re Not Bitter. A Black Lager, it was brewed with Pilsner, Munich Dark, and “pure feminine rage”. Despite that, it’s described as creamy and smooth, with a good amount of roasted character. This one weighs in at 5.3% ABV and 26 IBUs.

• Let’s move on to the Beta Brews, of which there are three being released on a daily basis, starting March 6th. On that day we’ll see Blood, Sweat, and Cheers, a 5.1% ABV Blood Orange Witbier brewed by the two Kellys (Costello and Lucas). Following on the 7th is One Tuff Mother, brewed by Linda and Elaine Tuff. This one is a citrusy American Pale Ale, brewed with a simple grist of 2-row and Vienna malt, and hopped “gently” with Tettnang, to 19 IBUs. After some thought, the pair decided to dry-hop the 4.6% ABV beer with Zythos, and add some Sweet Orange Peel to boost the citrus character even more. Finally, the releases culminate on the 8th with Treat Her Like A Lady, which actually made its first appearance just a couple of weeks ago. To refresh your memory, it’s a 4.7% ABV Porter featuring Honey malt and real, local honey. You’ll be able to find all three of these beers at GR from March 6th-8th, but that’s not all! In further celebration of women in the brewing industry, the taproom will be pouring beers from other brewing ladies in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick! Watch GR’s social media thingies for teasers of which beers you can expect. And on March 7th, the winner of their Femmebrew Competition will be announced, so look for that result as well.

• Actually, speaking of guest Femmebot beers, we can give you some info on one of them. Tidehouse co-owner Shannon Higgins brewed up a tasty number for the event, Hibiscus City. A kettle-soured Gose with additions of hibiscus and lime, it’s a “refreshingly tart beer with a balance of saltiness, and a major blast of lime”. Very drinkable at just 4.5% ABV, there are only two kegs in existence, so make sure to check it out on tap at Good Robot! But for those of us who just don’t like to wait, there is a limited number of bottles available today at the brewery when it opens at 2PM.

• Today, North Brewing will be releasing their latest beer, a collaboration brewed with Braden Nelson and Sean Clancey of local band Moonwake, in honour of the release of their EP, “Placement”. The beer – named, appropriately, enough, Moonwake – is a 5% ABV, 29 IBUs American Brown Ale. With tasting notes that include “hazelnut, roast, cocoa, and pine”, it’s available today both on tap and in cans. In fact, those lucky enough to be at the band’s release show last night at the Carleton were treated to a sneak peak! If you plan on picking up some cans, be sure to scan the QR code on the side, which will link you to the band’s EP and play songs for you. Ain’t technology grand?

• Speaking of collaborations, you may remember us talking about a beer being brewed by 2 Crows and the fine people at Bishop’s Cellar (no, we didn’t not use the word “fine” with 2 Crows because we don’t think they’re fine, what’s wrong with you? Sheesh!). Well, that delightful beer is being released tomorrow, so no more waiting! Passion Trip really DOES sound delightful – it’s a sour beer brewed with passion fruit, lactose, and vanilla. The grist is made up mostly of Pilsner and Wheat malt, with a bit of Flaked Oats and raw wheat thrown in to help boost that mouthfeel. After souring with Lactobacillus plantarum, it was then fermented very warm to help promote overripe mango flavours. Dry-hopped with Citra during fermentation, and then more Citra and Galaxy afterwards, it was conditioned with a “ridiculous” amount of passion fruit, and vanilla beans. If you’re not drooling now, there’s something wrong with you. Described by 2C as “tart, fuzzy, creamy, and smooth, with huge tropical fruit notes”, the beer weighs in at a cool 4.7% ABV… and 0 IBUs. You’ll be able to pick up cans at both Bishop’s and 2 Crows, and it’ll also be pouring at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow as well.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has a brand new beer hitting the taps, and it’s a unique one. While there have been plenty of dark beers featuring coffee in our region over the past couple years, including browns, porters, and stouts, there have only been a few that have paired that flavour with a light-bodied beer. Enter Mean Joe Bean, a light and crushable coffee blonde ale featuring Morning Mantra coffee from Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters in Lunenburg.. Although it’s yellow and “clear as anything”, it still boasts a massive coffee aroma and flavour. Truly lightweight at only 4.2% ABV, you can definitely feel free to have a couple and really savour the coffee flavour. It will make its first appearance at the Craft Beer Cottage Party (where Trider’s will be defending their Best Booth title from last year) and then will be available in bottles at their store and their usual market locations. And while you should be surprised if kegs make appearance at accounts around HRM, don’t sleep on it: only one batch has been made for now.

• You might remember last year’s Collaboration Ale, a product of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia, brewed last spring to celebrate the convivial atmosphere of craft brewing in Nova Scotia and released in time for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week. Well it’s that time of year again and sure enough another beer is being brewed – #nscraftbeer social media was awash on Wednesday with photos of the brew day at Tatamagouche Brewing where a collection of brewers from across the province brewed a beer called Made Here By Us. Few details have been released to this point (we all love a little suspense) but we do know that it’s being fermented with the unique Scotia Sauvage yeast strain isolated at Big Spruce. The beer will be available at the NSLC and all profits will go towards funding NS craft beer initiatives. We’ll have more information as release approaches or whenever we can get someone who participated drunk enough to talk!!

• Up in Fredericton, or just outside in Hanwell if we’re being pedantic about it, Niche Brewing is releasing another new brew, a showcase of their love for farmhouse ales. Ethos was made in the classic Saison style, but also features the characteristics of a Brettanomyces fermentation thanks to the use of the Amalgamation 6-strain culture to a classic French Saison yeast. This 6.3% ABV pale-hued beer saw late-hopping with Huell Melon in the kettle and a “light” dry-hop of German Hallertauer for a whiff of cantaloupe alongside a balanced presentation of spicy phenolics and fruity esters, all buoyed by a light barnyard character and culminating in a dry finish. You’ll find this one at tap accounts in Fredericton and Moncton, and don’t be surprised if a keg is tapped at one of the FCBF sessions (our magic eight ball suggests the evening session would be good bet).

• Sticking with New Brunswick’s capital, and why not, seeing as how that’s where all the fun is going to be next week, Trailway has another new release today, this one a fruit-forward Double IPA they’re calling In the Mist. Over 100lbs of pink guava went into this beer alongside some fresh lime zest, and we’ve been advised that the result is extremely flavourful. Tropical El Dorado hops provide background complexity to a dangerously smooth beer that packs an 8% ABV punch. Look for it in cans and available for fills and pints at the brewery as of opening today. And speaking of Trailway, they’re on the hunt for a cellarperson; if you’re into Atlantic Canadian craft beer and are considering making your career in the industry in this region, check out the job posting here.

Maybee Brewing is following last week’s new beer release with another one, Brett de Mars. Fans of European beer styles will almost certainly recognize the name as a play on Biere de Mars, a sub-type of probably the most well-known French style of beer, Biere de Garde. While Biere de Garde was traditionally brewed in early spring and kept cellared at cool temperatures for consumption in warmer weather, Biere de Mars was brewed in March (Mars) to drink relatively fresh. Maybee took a different spin altogether with their interpretation, fermenting it with a Saccharomyces strain, as well as a Brettanomyces strain. Fairly strong at 7.2% ABV, it has “notes of banana, bubble gum, a noble hop spice, and clove, with a punch of fruity and earthy Brett funk”, and finishes quite dry. It’s available on tap at the brewery now, with bottles coming sometime next week.

Upstreet is releasing another entry in their Million Acres series today, Wild Blueberry Imperial IPA. The focus here is on, as you may have expected, blueberries. Local, wild blueberry juice was added to the beer, which was hopped entirely with the blueberry-forward Mosaic. Pouring a “golden blue” colour, expect aromas of “blueberry, grapefruit and pine”. Highly carbonated, it finishes dry and fairly bitter, with perhaps a touch of alcohol warmth thanks to the 8.5% ABV. It’s being released today at the brewery at noon, where it will be available on tap for pours, or in bottles to go.

• From one Island to Another, the Port Rexton Brewing retail spot on Torbay Road will be open once again this afternoon, distributing cans and growler fills of their Chasing SunT-Rex Porter, and Baycation Blonde, as well as a brand new collaboration release, Next Generation. Brewed with Twillingate’s Split Rock, this 5.4% Saison was brewed with lots of Strisselspalt hops in the boil, and then dry-hopped with two rounds of Citra, for a citrus, floral, and lightly spicy Belgian beer. Future releases under the Next Generation moniker will feature fellow Newfoundland breweries that have opened in the previous year, sharing stories and “promoting positive vibes all around”. Grab cans today from 4-8PM and tomorrow 12-6PM.

• The folks at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co are celebrating a collaboration brew of their own this weekend, brewed with the North Shore’s own Tatamagouche Brewing. Atlantic Pale Ale is in the American Pale Ale style, featuring 100% Atlantic-grown grains (both barley and rye), malted onsite at HR. With classic American hops Amarillo and Chinook throughout, and finishing at 5.9% ABV. Celebration for the launch of the beer will happen tomorrow at the Horton Ridge taproom, during an event called Weekend at the Shore. From noon, drop by for pints (and for the first time, cans) of APA, as well as three other Tata beers on tap (with enough stock to last the whole weekend, we’ve been advised!), plus snacks from the shore courtesy of Select Seafood (who will also have fish for sale). And from 3-5PM, the Space Bog Paddy People will be entertaining the crowd with their Irish music.

• Homebrewers in the region will be excited to hear of a brand new brewing competition being held by Horton Ridge in partnership with Noble Grape. Horton Ridge has a brand new very aromatic malt they’re calling “Newdale” and they want to give home brewers the first crack at turning it into delicious beer. The Horton Ridge Malt House Open is $25 to enter and welcomes amateur competitors to enter beers containing at least 70% Newdale malt, with no more than 50 IBU, and with no sour or wild fermentations allowed. These guidelines will ensure that the entered beers will truly showcase this new malt variety. This will be a BJCP certified competition with the winners announced at an awards ceremony on May 12th. According to the contest info, Newdale malt is available for purchase at the Burnside, Oxford Street, Bayers Lake, Kingston, Coldbrook, and Fredericton Noble Grape locations, but we highly recommend calling ahead to ensure your preferred store has some in stock before heading over. Homebrewers, start your brew kettles, and submit your beer by April 20th!

Lots on the go these next couple of weeks, here’s a few details:

• A reminder that Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill is hosting their first Showcase Night this evening, starting at 6PM. Featuring a friendly head-to-head of Myld Stallyns, a Dark English Mild brewed with local homebrewer Ian Dares, the beer will be available in kegged format as well as cask-conditioned, an ode to the traditional serving format of the style. And when you drop by, be sure to wish the Lunn’s Mill crew a happy birthday, as they opened March 2nd, 2017. And continue the LM love by downloading the latest episode of the 902BrewCast, as Mark and Sean sat down with the boys for a chat.

• As has been their wont one weekend in late winter/early spring over the past couple years, Big Spruce is doing a tap takeover at Bishop’s Cellar this weekend, and amongst the bounty they’re bringing is a brand new beer. Brewed as a collaboration with the folks from Tool Shed Brewing in Calgary, Six Borders was described to us (ironically? we couldn’t even tell) as “tropical pineapple yum sauce”. It’s a Northeastern IPA featuring the Waimea, Mosaic and Citra hop varieties, including a massive dry hop. Tipping the scales at 6.3% ABV and 40ish IBU, it’ll be vying for belle of the ball honours from 1 – 4PM both Saturday and Sunday alongside Thrice Wild Ale, Whole 9 Yards Scotch Ale, Chamba Cherry Vanilla Milkshake IPA, and Blood Donair Imperial Stout with Raspberries. They’ll also be sampling cans of Better Git’er India Black IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and Tim’s Dirty IPA.

• As we wrote about a couple weeks ago, and have alluded to a couple of times here in today’s post, tomorrow is the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia‘s annual Craft Beer Cottage Party at the Seaport Market on the Halifax waterfront. As we understand it, some tickets are still available for unlimited samples from 35 breweries and cideries from NS (and a few from beyond our borders). Live music, great food and plenty of beer are on the menu, so put on your best “dreaming of summer” face on and come out to play with the plaid-clad crew.
• Only one week to go till the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, March 10th! While tickets for both the afternoon and evening sessions are sold out, there are plenty of events going on in Fredericton during the days leading up to the main event:

Tuesday, March 6thLet’s Talk Beer, held at the King Street Ale House at 7 PM, will be a general kick-off to the week. Stop in to chat beer, with Niche Brewing on tap for Happy Hour prices all evening. There will also be FCBF swag for sale, so you can pick yours up ahead of time!
Wednesday, March 7th – the James Joyce and the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection are hosting Island Invasion!, a tap takeover with all five PEI breweries participating. It starts at 6 PM, with no cost to attend… just pay by the flight or pint.
Thursday, March 8th – back to the King Street Ale House for the Down East Tap Takeover & Trivia Night. Starting at 5 PM, 32 taps at the bar will be dedicated to breweries from Nova Scotia and Maine. And starting at 7 PM, your friends at the ACBB will be hosting yet another year of trivia! We promise great prizes (in the form of brewery swag), hard-to-hear and sometimes overly-difficult questions, and just a general blend of overall goodness. It’s fun! While you don’t need tickets to attend the tap takeover or trivia, you CAN pre-purchase tickets ($27.39 each) for the tap takeover, which gets you ten 5 oz sample pours.
– Thursday, March 8th – if you’re not into trivia, you just don’t think you can handle a couple hours of Chris’ handsomeness, or you’re going but you’re not ready for your night to be over after flexing your beer knowledge, also on Thursday night there will be a tap takeover by PEI Brewing Company & Gahan at The Snooty Fox. They’ll be featuring $5 pints from 12 taps, with Keith Hallet providing live music from 9 PM to 12 AM.
Friday, March 9th – if you missed out on tickets for FCBF, or just want to spread the party out more, you can still buy tickets to Newbie Night. Held from 6-9 PM at the Fredericton Convention Centre, your $62.20 ticket will get you a glass and unlimited samples from up to 12 of the newest breweries in Atlantic Canada.

• For those of you in Newfoundland unable to attend the FCBF, the fine folks at White Hills Resort (just outside of Clarenville) are hosting BrewSKI next weekend, March 9-11. A full weekend of #NfldCraftBeer events, including an ’80s Night on Friday, Beer Yoga, Cooking with Beer, Beer 101 all on Saturday, and a Brewer’s Breakfast Sunday morning. Of course, the highlight of the weekend is Saturday night’s Beer Festival, with beers flowing from six Newfoundland Craft breweries: Bootleg Brew Co (Corner Brook), Port Rexton (Port Rexton), Quidi Vidi (St. John’s), Split Rock (Twillingate), Storm (Mt. Pearl), and YellowBelly (St. John’s). Your $59 ticket will get your first 12 samples, a souvenir pint glass, and live entertainment all night. Or you can opt for the all-in weekend pass for just $119. Either way, grab your tickets here!

A few more beers and news items before you head out:

Garrison Brewing has released the 2018 edition of their Ol’ Fog Burner Barleywine this week, and the 11.3% ABV beer is available in 650ml bottles at the brewery now.
– In addition to the tasty treats listed above, Good Robot also released another beer this week, one that’s possibly equally bad for your arteries and your liver: All You Can Eat Coconut IPA. Get those saturated fats into ya!
– Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a new beer pouring this week… Hoppy Wheat is a 5.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, lightly hopped with Mosaic, concentrating on tropical and fruity aromas, rather than bitterness, as the goal.
Meander River has brought back their Black IPA, known as Shiner. Look for it at the brewery in bottles and available for fills.
– Those who look forward every year to the release of PropellerIrish Red need wait no longer; the beer is now available for fills and pints at both locations. Look for bottles to appear in the next week or so and also at the FCBF next week. If you’re a lover of this beer you’d best act fast, though, only a limited quantity has been produced.
Spindrift Brewing in Burnside came with not one, but two beers in their 7th Wave series this week. Assuming they didn’t disappear yesterday afternoon, look for Show Me the Honey Ale, an amber that features a sweet malt body and smooth finish, and Lukey’s bOatmeal Stout, a smooth-bodied, bold and dark beer with a major roasted character, and a crisp, medium bitter finish.
– And finally, yesterday Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax made it known that they’re not taking the court’s decision laying down. They’ve announced their intention to appeal the decision against their case that the Retail Sales Markup Allocation is an unconstitutional tax levied by an arm’s-length agency with no mandate to tax.

February is now in full force and it’s another week with lots of news about beer releases and coming events in our region. Have a read and figure out what tasty treats you’re going to put in your sweetheart’s Valentine’s Basket! Because there’s nothing more romantic than beer, right?!

• Despite winning a gold medal at last year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards for their American IPA, Big Stink, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing has boldly and bravely gone back to the drawing board to improve on the beer and bring it to the next level. Taking in comments from the judges, they made several procedural changes – including a new carbonation technique – along with some slight recipe adjustments (decreasing the amount of specialty grains), and one “big, bold change” that they’re keeping a secret. It’s still hopped heavily with Mosaic and Columbus, but the brewery is confident that Big Stink 2.0 is better than ever, yet still recognizable to fans of the original. Kegs are going out now to select tap accounts, including for the growler program at Harvest Wines, Rockhead, and WestSide. Bottles will be arriving at those three stores in the near future as well.

• Today, Nine Locks will be releasing the second beer in their Signature Series, Simply A Märzen. As you may have guessed, this one was brewed in the Märzen (aka Oktoberfest) style – a malty, smooth, clean Lager. Head Brewer Jake Saunders brewed this one with malt and hops sourced from Germany, and lagered the beer for six weeks to clean up the beer and allow the flavours to gel. Pouring a copper-red colour, this full-bodied brew has a biscuity aroma and a “rich, elegant malt flavour”, with a restrained hop bitterness in the finish. It weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 22 IBUs, and is available

• Twillingate, Newfoundland’s Split Rock Brewing brought out a new seasonal beer last weekend, their first in the New England IPA style. With a generous amount of oats and flaked wheat in the mash to promote mouth feel and, no doubt, the characteristic New England haze, Lightbringer was fermented with the famous Vermont Ale yeast. Hopped heavily at the whirlpool, active fermentation and dry hop stages with Cascade, Amarillo, and loads of Citra, you should expect plenty of juicy citrus and stone fruit flavours to complement a soft and smooth mouthfeel and some distinct apricot flavours. Designed to be easy drinking, it’s got a “touch” of bitterness and weighs in at 6.4% ABV. You’ll find it at their Stage Head Pub where you can grab a fill or order a pint and raise a glass to the prince that was promised.

• Slowing down a bit after their big 1st Anniversary bash a couple of weekends ago, 2 Crows has nonetheless put a new small-batch beer on tap at their taproom. Universal Mind is a Belgian Pale Ale that was brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles on the brewery’s pilot system. With a grist of Vienna, Wheat, Oats, Spelt, and a little bit of Honey malt, it was hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc to 30 IBUs, giving flavours of “bubblegum, pineapple, and spice”. Fermented with the brewery’s house Saison strain to up the fruity esters and spicy phenolics even more, it comes in at 5.8% ABV. Drop by the brewery ASAP to give it a try, as there’s only a couple of kegs available!

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is keeping the new beers flowing in their own right, with their sixth release in just seven weeks, hitting the taps in Fredericton this weekend. Ruby Tuesday is their first foray into the Sour Realm, using a pitch of Lactobacillus plantarum (Lacto for short) in the unhopped wort for 36 hours, before boiling to stop acidification and adding a light dose of El Dorado. Fermentation was completed with Amalgamation (a blend of six different Brettanomyces variants), with hibiscus flowers added during the conditioning phase after. The resulting beer features a bright red colour, with floral and berry character in both aroma and flavour, with the tart acidity from Lacto shining through. The beer will debut tomorrow evening at the James Joyce, and will certainly see wider distribution in the province (and beyond?) beginning next week.

TrailWay is back to American IPAs this week, with the release of a new iteration of one of their more popular beers. DDH Green Island is, as you may have guessed, a double dry-hopped version of the 6% ABV Green Island. Hopped with Cashmere, El Dorado, and Idaho 7, the new version is even more fruity and aromatic than the original, according to the brewery. Releasing today, you can stop by the brewery to pick up your cans for the weekend; it’ll also be available for pints and growlers.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has just released their first Double IPA, Gemini. Weighing in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, there’s lots of bitterness in this package, at a calculated 100 IBUs. Hopped with plenty of the classic Columbus, Simcoe, and Centennial, expect a dank, piney, fruity beer, with a dry, bitter finish. It’s available at the brewery now, and keep your eyes open for it at your favourite Backstage licensee; we can confirm that a keg was sent to Battery Park this week.

• After being closed for renovations, Sackville’s Bagtown Brewing is back open for business, starting today. Their new business hours are Tuesday to Friday (4-6 pm), Saturday (10am-2pm), and Sunday (4-6 pm); you’ll be able to drop by during these hours for growler fills. They hope to have five taps flowing by the end of the month, quite the increase from the previous set-up. Look for their beers to start popping up at bars and restaurants across New Brunswick, as well.

• Next week’s Good Robot Betabrew, Treat Her Like A Lady, is all set to go for its release on Tuesday. Brewed by Kelly Costello and her sister, Hilary, it’s a 4.7% ABV Porter brewed with both Honey malt and real honey (from Fox Hill Market), and hopped to 30 IBUs with Fuggles to balance the sweetness and roasted malt flavours. Also, Steambot Willie, the brewery’s 5.5% ABV, 32 IBU California Common, has returned as of yesterday, and can be found at the brewery’s taproom and other GR accounts.

Tatamagouche Brewing is bringing back their Oyster Cloister Oyster Stout this weekend, and are throwing a party to celebrate! This Saturday evening, they are holding their own Oyster Cloister party, featuring live music, plenty of oysters from Bay Enterprises (the farm in Malagash that supplies the oysters for this beer), and the launch of the beer. *Tickets are now sold out*, but look for the beer to be available across the rest of province this weekend as well. And keep an eye out for the return of their RR#2 Lager, this year’s batch features hops from their own private hopyard, also in Malagash, with Mount Hood making up the majority of the hopping. And in blatant self-advertising, one of only 2 pins of Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter (brewed at Tata with acbbchris and 1029Brewing) is in the fridge at Battery Park currently, ready to be put on their nitro tap. This special pin has been aging on bacon for a little bit, to really round out your full breakfast experience.

• More beer in cans seems to be the trend in our region (and probably elsewhere, but we can barely keep up with the local scene at this point!). We saw evidence this week that Bad Apple Brewhouse is packaging their Tom’s Smoked Porter, Propeller their London Porter and Garrison their Pucker Up (this one just in time for Valentine’s Day), all in shiny silver cylinders. And in other packaging news, both Tipsy Toad and Malty Muskrat from Bogtrotter are sporting slick new labels. And the Gahan line from PEI Brewing Company is also getting a brand refresh, modeled after the label change sported for last year’s release of Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, continuing to their 1772 IPA.

• We received word this week from Spindrift in Dartmouth that they’re on the lookout for another brewer to join Brewmaster Chris Downey on the brewery floor. While an experienced brewer with formal training is preferred, what they are really looking for is an individual who is passionate about both the craft of making beer and the industry. Interested parties are encouraged to peruse the official job posting and submit a résumé.

Lots of new events to keep you busy over the next few weeks!

Hammond River Brewing is celebrating their 4th Anniversary today at the brewery’s taproom in Rothesay. They’ve come a long way in four years… heck, the difference in the last year particularly has been striking! Join them as they’ll have $6.50 pints all day long, $2 off flights and 1 L growlers, and $3 off all large growler fills. Finally, they’ll be tapping a surprise beer at some point during the day as well. Be sure to drop by and toast their success!

• Just a reminder that Niche Brewing will be holding their official Launch Party tomorrow, February 10th, at the James Joyce Irish Pub at 7 pm. They will be pouring five of the first six beers released by the new brewery (including the brand new Ruby Tuesday that we mentioned above, exclusive to the JJ for the launch); all their beers will be on for Happy Hour prices, and of course flights will be available. Rob and Shawn will be on hand, happy to discuss their beers and their plans for the near future, and merchandise – including glasses, T-shirts, and toques – will be available for purchase. Finally, there will be a draw for two VIP tickets for the afternoon session of this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival; if you plan on attending the launch, be sure to enter online before the party!

• The 902BrewCast will be doing something a bit different for February’s Tasting Episode, and they want you to be part of the fun! This episode will feature a panel of women involved in the NS Beer industry, and will be recorded live in front of an audience. The live show will take place at Garrison Brewing February 19th, at 6pm. There are no tickets needed to attend, and the taps will be open during the event ($5 will get you two 12oz pours), so that you can drink along with the hosts and panel. Expect to hear from women involved in all aspects of the beer biz, from brewer to sales folks, to those who just love to drink it! And for those unable to attend, the episode will drop later that week as part of their regular release schedule.

• The team at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, NS, is finally getting to do something they’ve been thinking about since the days when they were planning their brewery, a “showcase” night, pitting two variations of the same beer against each other to see how a small change can impact the perception of a beer. The beer, in this case, is a Dark Mild brewed by special guest brewer Ian Dares and is called Myld Stallyns (Excellent! ). The variation in play will be packaging and serving style; there will be one version that, in the standard modern fashion, has been force carbonated and pushed to the tap with CO2, and another that will have been put into a cask without external carbonation, pulled using a special pump called a beer engine, and served at a somewhat warmer temperature. This latter presentation, if executed to a certain standard, is known in the UK as “real ale” and, it is argued by its proponents (such as CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale), presents the beer in the most desirable possible way, as a living product that is unadulterated and which changes over time. Here’s your chance to see whether treatment you prefer. The Myld Stallyns Showcase is scheduled for March 2nd at 6 PM and is being touted as the “first” Showcase for Lunn’s Mill, which hopefully means we’ll be seeing more such events.

• Tickets for this year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are sold out, but good news if you missed your chance! On Friday, March 9th (the day before FCBF), they’re holding their first Newbie Night, from 6-9 pm at the Fredericton Convention Centre. This event will feature breweries new to the Atlantic Canadian beer scene, who were unable to grab a spot at FCBF due to the limited number of spaces. Up to 12 new breweries will be pouring their beers, and your ticket ($57.50, through the link above) will entitle you to unlimited samples and a special glass to keep. And while we’re on the topic of FCBF, you can still vote for your favourite Atlantic Canadian breweries (if you haven’t already) right here; it may be a bit tough to pick your top three, but it should only take a minute!

Just a couple more things to let you know about this week:

– Riverview’s Celtic Knot is releasing a new variant of their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout tomorrow. Irish Kiss features additions of cherry and chocolate to the brew, just in time for Valentine’s Day. It will be available in both growler fills and 500ml bottles at the brewery at 23 Biggs Drive. And those who want to celebrate Riverview Winter Carnival with locally-produced beer should drop by the brewery tonight from 8-10 for free samples and $10 growler fills to kick off the final weekend of the event.

– Great news for the folks at Bedford’s Off Track Brewing in Bedford, they have received their full-sized system this week. After brewing on sub-100 litre gear for a couple of months, their 600 litre (5 BBL) system is now on-site and being installed as you read this. Look for the first batches from the big brewhouse to debut in March, with their taproom still open as normal on the weekends (check their FB page for the latest details, of course).

Good afternoon, Atlantic Canada beer lovers! Now that Christmas is just about here (yes, you can officially start to panic now), we thought we should work hard to ignore our pre-Christmas responsibilities and publish another Friday Wrap-Up, to distract you from your shopping, cooking, wrapping, etc. Hey, it’s just the kind of guys we are!

Tatamagouche Brewing has a beauty of a beer available as of yesterday, an “American Brett Ale” named Feronia. Comprised of a fairly-simple grist of mainly 2-row, with some Wheat malt and Spelt, and a touch of Acid malt, it was lightly hopped to 20 IBUs with Huell Melon. Fermented with a blend of three Brettanomyces strains to “really drive the dark/red fruits, as well as some classic funk”, the beer was aged in secondary on plums before being bottle-conditioned for six months. Available now at the brewery in 750 mL cork-and-cage bottles, as well as on tap, those of you in the HRM can expect a small amount of bottles to also be available at the private stores. A few kegs will likely make their way to better beer establishments in Halifax sometime next week.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar has announced their very first bottle release, which will be taking place today at 5 pm. Named simply Barrel Aged Sour, the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then aged for three months in a Napa Valley Pinot Noir French oak barrel. After this, it was racked on top of 30 lbs of New Brunswick-grown raspberries, fermented with Brettanomyces, and bottle-conditioned. Only 200 bottles were packaged, and 100 of these will be sold today at the Bottle Release Party from 5-7 pm, depending on how quickly they sell. We’ll keep you updated on when the remaining 100 bottles are sold… if they are at all!

• Let’s stay in Moncton, shall we? Bore City released their first hoppy beer in some time last week, and judging from some early buzz, it’s a good one! Causeway is a 6.5% ABV, ~40 IBUs American IPA that features large amounts of late addition hops – Mosaic and Vic Secret – as well as plenty of both in the dry-hop. Complemented nicely by a malt bill that includes Flaked Oats and Flaked Barley, as well as some Vienna and Honey malt, expect a huge floral, fruity, and citrusy aroma, followed by equally as much in the flavour. It’s circulating among their regular tap accounts, but it’s going fast. But don’t worry! They plan on making this a regular addition to their line-up, so more will be brewed in the near future.

• After launching their brewery last month with their first two core beers, Montague PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing has just released their first seasonal. Nostalgically named Charlie Brown Ale (nostalgic for us, anyway!), it’s a Brown Ale brewed along the English-style lines, showcasing a “rich malty aroma, and smooth chocolate and nutty qualities”. As a good English-style beer should be, it’s quite drinkable at just 4.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, and is meant to be enjoyed in quantity during these colder evenings (and afternoons). You can find it on tap at the brewery in Montague, and at CB tap accounts across the Island.

• Elsewhere on the Island, Upstreet is launching the first in yet another new series of one-off beers. The Flipside Series was created to introduce “fresh new flavours,  ingredients, and beer styles” to consumers, with all beers in this series being packed in the standard 500 mL Upstreet bottles. Their first stab in this series is Amber Saison, a Belgian-inspired beer that provides a “dry finish with a subtle vinous character”. With PEI Vienna malt in the grist, and UK Archer and French Triskel hops to just 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV Saison was fermented with a Belgian yeast to give the required phenolics and esters in the style. Grab your bottles today at the brewery or PEILCC stores.

• Today, TrailWay is releasing Malibu, their first dark-coloured beer in months. An Imperial Milk Stout, it was brewed to be “extremely chocolate-forward” before being conditioned on hefty amounts of toasted coconut and pure vanilla extract. With some lactose powder added to increase sweetness and mouthfeel, the resulting beer is “like drinking a liquid macaroon”, with lots of coconut and chocolate notes, as well as a complementary background of vanilla. Coming in at a whopping 9% ABV, you’ll want to take it easy with this one. As always with their one-offs, you can grab it in cans at the brewery only; it will also be on tap there and at select accounts in Fredericton.

• Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is helping residents stay warm with the release of their Steamship Belgian Quad this weekend. A full-bodied, 9% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale, it’s “malty and slightly sweet, with notes of raisin, cherries, plums and prunes”. The Belgian yeast strain was responsible for the fruity esters and spicy phenolics in the beer, and the high ABV provides a slight alcohol warmth on the way to your eager stomach… perfect for winter (yes, it’s not officially here yet, but who cares about the exact date). Look for this new brew at the brewery this weekend for growler fills.

Annapolis Cider Company is bringing back Muscat Infusion, one of their popular ciders in their Something Different series. Originally released last March, it’s being sold in a convenient size for crowd sharing… Magnums! A 7.1% ABV sparkling cider infused with Nova Scotia Muscat grapes (which were added during fermentation to extract colour, tannins, and aroma), it was finished with a “touch” of fresh-pressed apple juice. Rose-coloured, with “distinct tropical and floral notes”, the 1.5 L bottles are available at the cidery for a very limited time.

• Further into the valley in Lawrencetown, Lunn’s Mill has a treat for its fans around the region: they are testing out a new package to get their beer to you, cans! Available now is a very limited run of 12-packs for the holidays featuring 10 different beers, available now at the brewery. This is an awesome opportunity for one of Nova Scotia’s most local breweries to see some of their beer travelling beyond the Valley and the Province for others to enjoy. As of publishing, they are down to their last dozen cases, so don’t delay in grabbing yours today! And due to its popularity, we can guarantee that they’ll be releasing more canned product in the near future.

• The fine folks at 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street in Halifax have a couple things on the go for us to share. Earlier this week saw another batch go on tap from their brewery assistant Nick Ogden, this one an Imperial Witbier called Wite Nite. Taking a lighter style known for easy summer drinking and pumping it up to 8.7% ABV for a December release takes something. And while we’re not exactly sure what that something is, we’re positive that Nick has it. Keg conditioned, it features aromas of sweet orange and grapefruit with some hints of pineapple. The palate sees citrus and apricot with a wine-like character lending an “overall lusciousness”. This one is available only by the glass in the tasting room.

• And this coming Wednesday will see the last canned release of 2017 for 2 Crows (how many were there? LOTS) with the arrival of Never Again. Named for brewmaster Jeremy Taylor’s feelings after he boldly purchased 400 pounds of peaches at a really good price before pitting them and then jamming them into one of his Calvados foedres, this is a Brett Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBU. Fermented on the Amalgamation blend of Brettanomyces strains, it started with a grist of malted barley, spelt, oats (surprise!) and wheat, to which Belma and Simcoe hops were added in the boil. After it came out of the wood, it was dry-hopped with Citra, Hallertauer Blanc and Huell Melon before being keg conditioned with Champagne yeast. Rife with oaky tannins, funk, and peach character, it still manages to be delicate. Look for it at the brewery next week and then, very possibly, at finer private liquor stores in Halifax.

Good Robot has another new Alpha Brew hitting taps next Thursday, Yas Queen Chocolate Porter. Brewed with a hefty grist of Maris Otter, Flaked Oats, Flaked Barley, Coffee malt, Vienna, and Chocolate malt, the beer had several additional ingredients thrown in, including dark cocoa powder in the mash, lactose, carob powder and ground cacao nibs in the boil, and chocolate extract into the brite tank before packaging. Hopped with Belma to 25 IBUs, it weighs in at 6.1% ABV. In terms of tasting notes, we’re going to go out on a limb and say notes of…. chocolate? And next Tuesday’s Beta Brew will be Make My Day IPA, a “light, super fruity” beer bittered with Magnum, and hopped with Dr. Rudi and Zythos late in the boil, and dry-hopped with more Zythos and some Mosaic. Fermented with the East Coast Ale yeast strain, it comes in at a very reasonable 4.5% ABV and 44 IBUs.

• There’s a new beer in the fermentor at Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse, a brand new, currently unnamed American IPA. Brewed with Pale malt, Wheat malt, Crystal 30 L, Carapils, and Dextrose, it features late additions of Amarillo and Centennial hops, and will be dry-hopped with more Centennial. The expected stats on this light golden-coloured brew are 6% ABV and 43 IBUs, with floral, orange, and grapefruit flavours. We’ll keep you updated on when it’s released over the next couple of weeks.

• Also still in the fermentor, but available in kegs as of Monday, is Ol’ Biddy’s first collaboration brew, done with Todd Beal. Using a recipe that was developed before the brewery opened its doors as a guide, Keith and Todd brewed Call Your Bluff a light, dry pale ale named for Todd’s favourite hiking location, the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. This one comes in at 4.7% ABV and, although the calculated IBUs are 28, the perceived bitterness should be a little higher owing to the use of light malts and the overall dryness of the beer. Well-hopped with Amarillo for an orange, floral and pungent grapefruit hop presence, you’ll find it at Battery Park next week and potentially some other tap accounts. Keith has also advised us to be on the lookout for his Funktown Pale Ale to pop up around the city, as it is becoming the brewery’s mainstay.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing isn’t slowing down for the holidays at all, as they’ve got three beers to tell us about this week. First is the return of their seasonal Spruce Beer, an attempt at recreating North America’s oldest beer style using spruce and fir tips harvested from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s Blackstrap Molasses. It weighs in at a husky 7.5% ABV and solid 35 IBU and will be available at the brewery and Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport with some delivery to Newfoundland expected as well. If you’re a fan of this beer don’t delay, though, as they’ve made a smaller batch than in previous years.

• Next up is the return of a big ol’ beer originally released in January of this year. Wintervention is an Imperial Chocolate Stout built on a base of Maritime pale malt with chocolate and Munich for character. Hopped to 60 IBUs with Millennium, it’s been sitting in Bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace for the past 11 months and is now bottled and ready to go. Flavours of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, vanilla and coffee present themselves in this sipper, which is sure to be warming against the coming cold at 11.5% ABV. Look for this one at the brewery starting today as well, although not until 3 PM.

• And lastly is another beer seen only briefly before before being given some time to develop. Back in September Garrison brewed a special collaboration beer with Sawdust City Brewing out of Gravenhurst, ON, to commemorate the announcement of Halifax as the host city for the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards. That beer is called Leroy and it is an Imperial Brown Ale tipping the scales at 10% ABV and 41 IBU. After 3 months of conditioning it’s ready for general consumption, with its creamy head, smooth aroma, and flavours of molasses bread and milk chocolate. Like the other two you’ll find it at the brewery starting today in 650 mL bombers.

Uncle Leo’s is releasing their first ever barrel-aged beer, a Smoked Porter aged in a whiskey barrel from Cape Breton’s Glenora DistillerySmoke’n Oakum is 9.2% ABV, and named in tribute of the Phantom Ship of the Northumberland Straight. It features big notes from the dark and smoked malts in the beer, as well as the vanilla and caramel notes from the whiskey and oak. This beer is in short supply (only one barrel’s worth!), so drop by the brewery tomorrow to grab your allotment!

• Saint John’s Loyalist City has taken over the taps at the Wellington Row ANBL’s Growler Bar, with a wide variety of beers flowing: their Backslide IPA, Three Sisters American Pale Ale, their latest Hop Series: Wai-tiPink Dwarf Tart Cherry Kettle Sour, Red Tart (a raspberry kettle sour, in extremely low quantity), and the latest release of their Black 47 Stout, featuring hops from local grower Darlings Island Farm. Mark and Dave from LCBC will be on hand this evening to fill growlers and chat, while also raising money for Romero House, who provide hot meals and other food assistance, clothing bank, and guidance for those in need.

• And last, but certainly not least, are two new releases from harbour hopping North Brewing Company. Yesterday saw the release of their latest Finite Series of beers (those that take a little longer and are in finite supply). Baldrsbräu is a 5.5% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, made with hay and chamomile. The melding of the malt, light hopping, adjuncts and yeast result in a refreshing beer with notes of flower and herb. Bottles are available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth North locations. Releasing tomorrow at noon (also at both North shops) is a special Barrel-Aged version of Saison de Pinot. The original Saison de Pinot featured pinot noir must from Benjamin Bridge‘s own estate-grown grapes. Taking the wine influence to the next level, 220 litres of SdP was aged in a red wine barrel from Benjamin Bridge, and has now been bottle-conditioned for our enjoyment. Released in honour of Battery Park‘s Second Anniversary, fewer than 300 bottles are available, so don’t delay in picking up one (or two, one for enjoying now, one for aging). Or drop by Battery Park tomorrow to try bottle pours of this release alongside last year’s un-oaked batch!

Don’t sleep on the events and openings we’ve got on the go!

• As mentioned above, Dartmouth’s Battery Park is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow. From 11:30 til late, there will be a dozen-plus beers available from North on tap and by the bottle. In addition to the three mentioned above, previous Finite Series releases Ask & Embla and Oh My Darlin’ will be pouring, the North x Stillwell collab GoseBarrel-Aged Milk Stout, and many more.

• Life got in the way, so we didn’t manage to publish the promised Profile of Tusket Falls Brewing, but don’t let that keep you from visiting them during their launch weekend. Tomorrow from noon, they’ll have samples, flights, and pints of their Golden Ale, Stout, Red IPA and Smoked Ale. And going forward, the brewery and tap room will be open from 12 – 10pm daily, except 12 – 6pm Sundays.

• There’s still a few tickets left for Fredericton’s Christmas Brewery Tour 3.0, happening tomorrow from 11:30 am – 4 pm. Your ticket ($65 each) includes transportation to three local breweries (Maybee, Grimross, and TrailWay), a minimum of four 4 oz samples at each stop, and a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint of Foghorn beer (head brewer Esty will also be on hand to chat beer). The bus for this tour will be leaving Maybee Brewing at 11:30 am sharp, with everything wrapping up at KSAH. Tickets are available through the event link above.

• Due to extremely fast sales for next year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (Saturday, March 10th), organizers have decided to tack on Newbie Night for Friday, March 9th. This three hour event (6-9 pm) will feature 10-12 breweries that are new to the region; while the list of those participating has not been solidified quite yet, with all of the new breweries opening in Atlantic Canada, filling it up won’t be a difficult job! This event will be more low-key than the two FCBF sessions the next day, with only 200-300 tickets being sold. It will still take place at the Fredericton Convention Centre downtown, and your $62.20 ticket includes a keeper glass and unlimited samples. Whether you missed out on evening tickets for Saturday, or already have FCBF tickets and really want to fill up your weekend with beer, Newbie Night is the perfect solution! Tickets are available now through the link above.

A few more things to leave you with this week…

Picaroons has their tenth iteration of Pivot now available; this time around, the 8% ABV, 80 IBUs DIPA was hopped with Amarillo and Sorachi Ace. To celebrate the season, they’ve also thrown in some spruce tips into the boil, making it what they’re calling an “Imperial Christmas Tree IPA”. Available at all Picaroons locations, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.
– Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a brand new beer pouring today. Santa’s Little Helper is a 10.8% Barleywine, focusing on a big malt backbone with some balancing bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Light warming with notes of caramel and fruit cake, this small batch is only available at the Stage Head Pub, the brewery’s taproom.
– Good news for hop fans in Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing has done another canning run. Look for Exile on North StreetFlat Black Jesus, and DOA as early as this afternoon. Available at the retail location on Fridays and Saturdays and Bishop’s Cellar all week as long as stock lasts.
– Speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, although you might know that they do a bang up job of supporting the local scene and providing shelf and tap space for an extremely wide selection of beers from our region, you might not be aware that they’re also known for bringing in special treats from other environs, many of which are pretty hard to come by. This week some highlights include extremely limited quantities of Bellwoods Barn Owl Brett IPA with Apricots (foedre-aged for a year), and Oria Guava Sour Saison and Sour Cherry from Burdock, along with selections from Quebec superstars Brasserie Dunham and Danish masterminds Evil Twin.

Happy Friday, beer lovers! November is quickly winding down, and the stores are getting busier every day; when Christmas gets closer, stress levels tend to rise, and there’s plenty of ways to help relieve that stress. We like to recommend three easy methods to remedy that stress… sit back, open a good beer, and read about beer! You can’t deny that it’s a hell of a lot better than Black Friday shopping! Unfortunately, we have to start off this week’s reading with some sad news…

• Charlo River, New Brunswick’s Shiretown has confirmed that they will be closing their doors at the end of this month, with owner Derek Leslie breaking the news in a Facebook post a few days ago. Shiretown first opened in nearby Dalhousie in 2011, becoming one of the province’s first small commercial breweries. Originally a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, Shiretown closed down in the summer of 2015, before re-opening a year later with a larger 2 bbl (240 L) brewhouse. Bottles of their beers have been in ANBL stores for some time now, and no doubt there will be some remaining for several weeks for fans of the brewery to pick up. We wish all the best to Derek and the rest of the Shiretown team in the future.

• Today, North will be releasing Reverb, the latest in their Finite Series of one-off beers. This latest brew is a 5.9% ABV, 13 IBUs wine-barrel aged American Wheat Ale; aged in the barrels for 2 months, before undergoing bottle conditioning, the beer has tasting notes of “lemon, grapefruit, peach, light funk and a refreshing effervescence”, according to the brewery. There’s a very limited number of 750 mL bottles available – just 292 – so make sure to drop by either of the North bottle shops to pick up yours, before they’re gone. And while there, note that their Darmouth Dark – a 4.5% ABV Dark Lager – has returned, and is available for growler fills and can purchases.

• If you’re in the Mahone Bay area this weekend, you might as well keep your eyes open for a returning Saltbox brew, and a new iteration on one of their other beers. For the returning brew, their seasonal Balsam Blue is back… billed as a “Specialty Lager”, it’s a celebration of Lunenburg County being labelled as the Balsam Fir Christmas Tree capital of the world (we’re going to take them on their word for that one!). That’s right, real balsam tips were added to this 6.3% ABV beer, along with pureed blueberries, giving it a purplish hue and lots of Balsam on the nose. As for the new take on a previous beer, they’ve taken their Old Foundry stout and aged it in a Bourbon barrel. The result is a higher ABV (7.9% ABV vs. 6.3%), an flavors of bourbon and oak to go along with the roasted, coffee characteristics already in the beer.

• After a hugely successful first-bottle release of Four, their fourth Anniversary beer, last Sunday, Stillwell Brewing is releasing their second beer-in-bottles this weekend… and it sounds equally as delicious! Sport is a “Tart Farmhouse Ale” brewed with sea salt and lime zest. Brewed this past spring, it was moved to oak barrels and matured for several months, before being bottled in early July. At 4.7% ABV it’s very easy-drinking, but still has complex aromas and flavors of “zippy, spicy hops, lime, and barrel notes of coconut and vanilla”. You’ll be able to buy it at Stillwell for on-site consumption starting tomorrow, and then you can hop on down to the brewery on Sunday to buy some bottles to take home. They’re open 12-4 pm, and please keep in mind a limited amount of 30 cases are available, and all of Four sold out before closing last week.

• Up on the Bay of Fundy, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has a new beer called Tribute, a tropical session IPA. Featuring two ultra fruity hops in Northern Hemisphere orange bomb Citra and Southern Hemisphere tropical delight Galaxy it’s got a “lively bitterness” and “zingy mouthfeel” coming in at a very quaffable 5.1% ABV but a hefty 73 IBU. It’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills, and kegs have already gone to Dartmouth’s Battery Park and Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing, although only time will tell when the beer will be tapped at those locations.

• Over to TrailWay, who will be releasing another new beer today at noon, Dank Williams. Named after Travis Tritt, this is – as you may have guessed from the name, and a few of their previous releases – a hop bomb, featuring a selection of some of their favorite dank hops, as well as some that are also in the fruity and spicy zone of the wheel. Columbus, Enigma, and Summit are the focus here, with all three varieties coming together in a perfectly-hoppy 6% ABV package, an American IPA with “a ton of complexity and character”, according to the brewery. Available at the brewery in cans and growlers, alongside the return of their Red IPA, Good Aura, which is back for the season (currently in cans only).

• Down in Antigonish, Half Cocked Brewing has a new beer, this one an IPA called Bury’d Son. Sitting at 6.4% ABV and 50 IBU, it’s got a light golden color and a fruity citrus aroma. American Azacca and Australian Ella hops were used for first wort hops and early kettle additions, while Topaz, Citra and more Azacca and Ella were added late, giving the beer a sharp, even bitterness and a delicate hop aroma. The latest batch of Horton Ridge 2-row malt served as the base of the grist. This is a limited edition brew, not likely to be made again, so if it sounds like something you’d like, head down to the brewery and get yourself a fill.

• The Beta Brews just don’t stop over at Good Robot, with yet another new one being released next Tuesday (and note that Beta Brews can now be filled up in the 0.89 L growler), Chicka Cherry Kölsch. Brewed by Kelly and Georgie, it has a simple grist of Pilsner malt and a bit of Vienna, and was hopped lightly to 19 IBUs with Tettnang. Fermented with a Kölsch yeast, cherry juice was added in secondary, resulting in a clean-tasting beer with a “tart black cherry flavour”. Pretty sessionable at 4.9% ABV.

• It appears that YellowBelly has no intentions of slowing down in the one-off beer department, as there’s yet another new one newly on tap at the brewpub this week. I’se da’ Rye is a Rye Pale Ale brewed with Pale malt, Rye malt, Rye flakes, and CaraVienne. Bittered with Cluster and El Dorado 40-45 IBUs, it was then dry-hopped with more El Dorado, as well as some Citra. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, expect notes of “candy, watermelon, pear, lychee, and red berry, with a bitter finish”, according to YB. You can pick it up in growlers and pints at the brewpub, and bottles should be for sale early next week.

Holy Whale Brewing in Alma, New Brunswick got some wonderful news recently, as they were notified that were successful in their bid for a grant to open a café in a customized shipping container along the Petitcodiac River in Riverview, NB. Competing against four other plans from local businesses, they were selected on the basis of the business concept, plans for the future and business experience. The funding comes from a grant provided by the provincial government to the municipality to help commemorate Canada’s 150th Birthday. Although licensing and permitting is expected to take some time, they’re hoping to be operational as early as late January, serving a full lineup of Buddha Bear coffee, a local-based menu and Holy Whale beer from a take-out window facing the boardwalk. And for those folks who can’t wait that long for their Holy Whale fix, we can report that HW is now licensed to sell growlers and crowlers from their brewery and taproom, at the Eastern entrance to Fundy National Park, and that should mean kegs will be making their way to licensees in the province soon.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer recently took a previous 10 gallon pilot brew and scaled it up to a full-sized batch. Featuring a grist of largely pale ale malt, with some crystal to give it color and 10% Canadian Rye for spiciness, Commander Rye-Ker Imperial Rye IPA was heavily hopped with Amarillo at a rate of 2 lbs or so every 15 minutes through a 75-minute boil. Three quarters of the way through fermentation even more Amarillo was added as a dry hop. Clean American ale yeast ensured a neutral yeast character to show off the malt and, especially, the hops. Although it’s pushing the 8% ABV mark and sporting a hefty estimated IBU range of 80-100, it’s a sneaky one that’s likely to creep up on you. It’s available at the brewery for fills for sure, but given that it’s a full-size batch you might reasonably expect it to show up at tap accounts and who knows, possibly other packaging formats.

• Teensy-tiny Tidehouse in downtown Hal-town has another new beer for us this week, this time a Hopfenweisse called Cloud Shadow. Coming in at a very sessionable 4.6% ABV, it’s based on a grist of half wheat male and half pale malt. Fruity and citrusy Mandarina Bavaria hops from Germany were paired with earthy, floral and also citrusy Ahtanum hops from the USA to provide notes of mandarin orange and a lemony, tart finish. You’ll find it at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street for fills and 4oz pours. And stay tuned for news of Tidehouse’s 1st Birthday Celebration coming up in December!

Garrison in Halifax is looking for everyone to pucker up this week, releasing two new draught-only sours. First is Holy Gose, a thirst-quenching brew with light fruit flavors of apple, peach and orange zest paired with a light saltiness typical of the style. Built on a base of Pilsner and wheat malts, and eschewing hops entirely, additions of orange zest and sea salt finished this brew. It weighs in at a fairly light 5.4% ABV. And joining it on the board is La Menta, a beer brewed with mint (“menta” is Spanish for “mint”) provided by local home brewer and beer judge Tim Fletcher. Similar in concept to the Saison Froide made by brewmaster Daniel Girard a few years ago, the mint provides a “cooling” character intended to be refreshing. Using the same grist as the the Holy Gose, there’s no hops in this one either, but the aforementioned mint along with apple and lime juices provide flavour notes to pair with the acidity of this 5.2% ABV sour. As mentioned, these are draught-only releases that you can find now at the brewery or by times at Garrison tap accounts. If you’re super duper keen, you can specifically seek it out using their website’s On Tap feature.

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a pair of new/returning beer that you will want to check out this weekend, plus a heads up on one coming next week. Returning from a summer off, Set Sail Pale Ale is back in the rotation. At 6.0% ABV, this light-bodied beer receives a heavy dose of hops, but very little in the kettle. The resultant beer has tons of citrus aroma and hop flavour, but very low bitterness. A brand new debut is a pepper beer, Hot as Firk (which is what you’ll be exclaiming after you drink a pint of it, we imagine!). Featuring multiple peppers, including Thai Bird’s Eye, Cayenne, and the infamous Carolina Reaper, this beer is a must-try for chili-heads. No waiver needed to sign before you try it, but best to have one of their other beers nearby in case you need some relief. HaF is only available at their King Street location. And keep an eye out for their as-of-yet-unnamed Black IPA, debuting next week. Weighing in at 7.0% ABV, it features lots of hops, with CascaseChinook, and Simcoe coming through with citrus and pine notes, melding with the light roast character of the dark roasted malts. Keep an eye on their social media for the release date!

2 Crows Brewing in Halifax, who recently released a delightful little number known as Amateur Hour that you should totally drink, released another new beer from their pilot system on Tuesday of this week. The brainchild of their tasting room’s Graeme, it’s his take on the Dutch Bokbier (differentiated from a German Bock by the use of ale yeast instead of lager yeast) but with a twist. Leveraging hearty Munich as a base malt, to which was added Pilsner, Caravienne, along with small amounts of Wheat and Flaked Oats and some Chocolate malt for color, this beer was hopped with Magnum for bittering and Sterling later in the boil. But the real twist is the use of 2 Crows’ house strain of Brettanomyces for the fermentation, which is likely to balance what would otherwise be a fairly prominent maltiness. If you’re lucky enough to try it, look for notes of toffee, caramel and plum complementing a residual sweetness and finished by the Brett. It’s a hefty 8.2% ABV and 35 IBU. Proost!

• In Yarmouth, Heritage brewing has a new beer available as of last night. Freezing Spray is an IPA that packs a solid hop flavour and aroma thanks to a blend of Chinook, Citra and Equanot hops. At 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU this is right in the sweet spot for IPAs. And we’re told the batch is already half sold, so you best be moving quickly if you want a taste. Available at the brewery as well as select tap accounts in the region, including the Good Robot taproom as of last night.

• After going on hiatus for the summer, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their popular Seventh Wave Series this week. Smaller batches, brewed on their 50l pilot system, give the brew crew a chance at testing out new recipes that may make it onto the big system, try out new ingredients, or just play around with ideas they have. We’re not sure which category the latest brew falls into, but this week’s release is Altbier, an ale from Germany, traditionally known for their lagers, that tends to undergo a long conditioning (lagering) period after primary fermentation. Copper in colour, and usually well-hopped, details are light on Spindrift’s release. That means you’ll have to go and try it for yourself! With the small volume available, we expect Altbier to sell out before they close at 6pm today.

• Our favourite beer podcast buds at 902 BrewCast are celebrating their First Anniversary today, with the release of their November tasting episode. They threw caution to wind and decided to embark on a Garrison Ol’ Fogburner Barleywine vertical. Joined by our very own acbbchris, and fellow frequent shout-out receivers Damian and Duncan, the six drank all years of OFB from 2009-2016 (except for 2014, as there was no release that year). The discussion also turned to how the beer scene has changed since 2009 (and even since 902BC launched in 2016), favourite beers, trends to expect in the future, and everything in between. Tune in, and let them know if you agree if Barleywine Is Life.

Lots of events on the go this weekend, including two brewery anniversary parties!

• We’ll keep it brief since we mentioned it last week, but it bears repeating: tickets for the next Fredericton Craft Beer Festival went on sale today at 11 am. If you forgot to get VIP tickets, you’re likely already out of luck, but remember there’s two sessions (afternoon and evening), and lots of fun to be had! Grab your tickets here.

• In Port Williams, The Port Pub and Sea Level are celebrating their 10th Anniversary tomorrow, November 25th, with a party and new beer release! Kicking off at 10AM with Ice Carving Demonstrations, food and beer discounts, music all day and night, and hourly giveaways from 5PM until close, it will be one heck of a good time! And kicking it up a notch will be the release of The Devils Backbone, the first barrel-aged beer from Sea Level (from our memory). This 8.5% ABV Baltic Porter was fermented in a pair of Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels for nine months, before conditioning and packaging. Available on tap at the Port and in bottles at the brewery to take away, this limited edition beer is sure to be a special gift for the beer lover who has *almost* everything (hint hint blog wives). Congratulations Sea Level and Port Pub!

Foghorn is celebrating one year in business with their Fog the Parade 1st Anniversary Party tomorrow. The party will be held all day, and includes open mic from 3-6 pm (sing a song and they buy you a beer!); live music not-sung-by-you; beer snacks, cake, and other treats; and, of course, lots of beer! In addition, with every pint or growler purchase during the day, you can enter a contest to win 52 growler vouchers for 2018!

Sober Island is celebrating their line of Foraged Beers with a joint event this Sunday. The judging has already been done, but the winners will be announced for their Foraged Homebrew Competition. Featuring entries from across the province (and even an entry flown in from Calgary), the top beers will be celebrated (and maybe even poured), at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, from 1PM. Joining the finalists will be their Chanterelle Mild Ale (now in short supply, so if you were hoping to try it, time is running out), and the debut of their Juniper IPA. At 7.0% ABV and 58 IBU, the beer features local whole leaf hops from Wicked Hops in Stewiacke, to the tune of CascadeCentennialChinook, and Magnum. But the star of the beer may be the Juniper berries, with 1.5 kg macerated and added late in the boil, with another kilogram added during conditioning. All of the beers will be available in “Foraged Flights”, along with a small menu of foraged food items. After its debut, keep an eye out for cans and kegs of Juniper across the province.

Big Spruce will be taking over the taps at Battery Park December 7th, featuring more than 15 different beers, with plenty of food and cheer to go around. The taplist has not yet been released (but should be added to this event as it is), but we’re sure there will be a good mix of new and cellared beers, and maybe even a new release or two. And prepare yourself, as Bis Spruce is offering a delivery service for those fans unable to make it up to Nyanza to grab their wares. Scheduled to hit HRM December 16th, flats of cans can be ordered in advance, with any combination of Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Bitter Get’er India Black IPA, Tag! You’re It! NEIPA, and One Hundred – Cape Breton Wild Ale. A minimum of one flat is required, and it is attractivel priced at only $98.40 (all in). Bottles of two of their barrel-aged brews are also up for grabs, Ra Ra Rasputin Whisky Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, and Complexified Bourbon Barrel Aged Baltic Porter (both $16 all in). Get your orders in before the 15th to avoid disappointment! Keep an eye out on this page for any updates.

And before you go…

Picaroons has released PIVOT #9 (8% ABV), the latest in their Imperial IPA series, with this one showcasing Zythos, as well as “some home-grown Moose Mountain hops”. Available in bottles and on tap, also note that their long-running Yippee IPA is now available in cans, for the first time.
Propeller fans will be ecstatic to hear that their big, dark, and tasty Russian Imperial Stout (8% ABV, 60 IBUs) is back; you can find it pretty much all bottle stores in Halifax, at the brewery, and on tap.
– Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery has some of their holiday meads arriving at ANBL stores, with Queen’s Nectar, Scuttlebutt, Latifah, Punky Pie, and Cinfully Yours – a chocolate cinnamon mead – making the list. Some of these are in quite-limited supply, so be sure to check with your nearby ANBL to make sure they have some in stock.


It’s another big weekend for beer in our region, with a beer release that’s very pertinent to our interests here at the ACBB, a sudden (and welcome!) rush of canned products we totally didn’t see coming, and some killer events going on in the downtown core of Halifax. So we’ll skip the traditional commentary on the weather this week and get right into it…

• There’s a cool new beer being released tomorrow from 2 Crows, a collaboration brewed with some pretty awesome guys… us! Named Amateur Hour (well, I guess that put us back in our place), the beer features a light-coloured primarily Pilsner grist with healthy amounts of Wheat malt, Malted Oats and Spelt, and heavy whirlpool-hopped with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. Thanks to two dry-hop additions of those same varieties (during active fermentation, and again during conditioning), you can expect notes of orchard fruit and melon, further accentuated by a light funk resulting from fermentation with the Yeast Bay’s glorious Brett Amalgamation, a combination of six Brettanomyces strains. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, we’re thinking of this as a Brett Session IPA, or even a Brett Session Ale. Available on tap and in cans (check out that label by Midnight Oil Print & Design House!) at the brewery tomorrow, expect to see it around Halifax at the private stores shortly after. And a big thanks to Jeremy, Miles and the rest of the gang at 2 Crows for inviting us to participate in brewing a beer!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing is sporting a rockin’ new logo this week and they’ve also got a new beer available today, one that goes to eleven. Nunmoar is a Black IPA, big and bitter, that’s been heavily hopped with Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe. Tipping the scales at 6.5% ABV and a hefty 75 IBU, expect it to marry a distinct roastiness to a prominent hop presence. How much more black could it be? NUNMOAR BLACK. Meanwhile, AJ and the gang have settled on opening hours for the brewery – for the foreseeable you’ll be able to visit for growler fills and merchandise Wednesdays from 2-6 PM, Thursdays 12-6 PM, Fridays 12-8 PM and on Saturdays from 11-5 PM. Even better, they’re now able to accept debit and credit transactions and the dreaded “cash only” sign has been taken down. Expect those hours to shift and hopefully expand a little once they’ve got all the permits in place for their taproom. And, speaking of growler fills, also available right now are the 5.1% ABV Pale Ale known as Daydreamer and two, count ‘em two, versions of the Headliner IPA. The first batch, where efficiency was better than expected, clocks in at 7.3% ABV and the second, matching the original specs for the beer, is 5.9% ABV. Maybe sample them both and let AJ know which version should top the marquee.

• After launching their new Takeaway shop last week, YellowBelly also released a pair of brand new bevvies. We already told you about their Blueberry Hill Milkshake IPA last week, and now we can share more details on their latest cider on tap. Bakeapple Cider is a 7.0% ABV blend, featuring a base of apple cider with the elusive bakeapple (aka cloudberry, aka if you want some, you’d better know someone!) added for a lovely crisp and tart fruit blend. Back-sweetened ever-so-slightly with some of the original cider to reduce a bit of the dryness, the cider is on tap now, and should see limited release in bottles too. And speaking of their Takeaway location a few doors down Water St from their home base, in addition to bottles and 1.89 L growler fills (new for YB), you can stay a while to enjoy samples and pints, as well as pizza from their kitchen.

North Brewing is releasing the Fall 2017 edition of their Canadian Brewing Awards Gold Medal-winning Midnight today. They took a batch of their Strong Dark Belgian and let it sit in barrels from Glenora Distillery straight from the source (i.e., still wet and with plenty of single malt whiskey flavour and aroma to go around) for the past several months, before packaging recently. Look for a melding of Belgian Abbey flavours (fruity esters with a light toasted bread character) with the barrel and whiskey character (vanilla, caramel, wood), resulting in a 10.5% ABV fireside sipper. Midnight marks the first in a series of several special Barrel-Aged bottles releases coming from North, which will featuring some beers in the coming weeks with funkier beginnings and unique aspects.

• Up in Amherst, NS, Trider’s Craft Beer has released their newest offering, Chaga-Lug Brown Ale. Focusing on local ingredients, this earthy and crisp beer in the Northern English Brown Ale style boasts additions of honey, Chaga and hops that were all sourced locally. Fifteen pounds of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) were harvested by Shawee, a real life lumberjack; this provided the beer with its distinctive deep brown color. Wildflower honey (over 100lbs) from nearby Nappan, NS, was added during the whirlpool for a slight tartness. And the hops came from Jeff Smith, a member of the Brewnosers homebrew club from the area, who provided roughly four pounds of backyard-grown Cascade, Galena, CTZ and Centennial to this 5.1% ABV brew. Bitterness was kept low to allow the character of the other special ingredients to shine through. It’s available for growler fills now with 500 mL bottles in the works.

• A few weeks ago, TrailWay hinted that they would soon be releasing their first Milkshake IPA, and the day is today, with the launch of Velvet Fog. Brewed with plenty of oats in the mash, to enhance the haziness of the beer (although, really, when have they ever had a problem with that?), as well as the mouthfeel, the addition of a “healthy dose” of lactose powder boosts the body even more, and adds just a touch of residual sweetness. Hopped entirely with El Dorado, the brewery also threw in some peach and apricot purees, as well as some vanilla, to bring everything together with aromas and flavours of “tropical fruit, peaches, bubble gum, and vanilla”. Cans, pours and pints at the brewery starting at noon, and this one will also be pouring at their Tap Takeover at Stillwell today.

Firkinstein has a new beer, one that features the addition of fresh ginger. Added to a Pale Ale base for a unique twist, Root Pale Ale has just a subtle hint of ginger, with a light malt backbone and a minimal hop presence. At 6% ABV, you can find it now wherever Firkinstein beers are sold. The brewery is also now applying for a beverage room licence, so expect to see them able to sell pints of their own beer (as well as guest taps for other breweries) in the not-too-distant future.

• In our weekly “heads up for the Tuesday’s Beta Brew” Good Robot blurb, we’ve got an Irish Extra Stout dropping on the 21st. Extra Sass is a 5.8% ABV brew featuring 2-Row and Vienna with Caramel 30 for sweetness and Caramel 120, Roasted Barley and Black Prinz for colouring. The balancing bitterness, to the tune of 53 IBU, is thanks to East Kent Goldings and Summit hops. Notes of coffee and dark chocolate are punctuated by a light addition of Sarsparilla root. As always, the Beta Brews are only available at the taproom for enjoyment onsite, so drop for a taste. And if you’ve got a killer idea for a beer, be sure to let them know, they’d love to have you in the brewery! No brewing experience required.

• And in other Good Robot news, after several weeks of conditioning, their first canned offering is hitting the shelves today. We’ve mentioned Craft Coast Canning, a mobile canning business based in Fredericton previously, and it’s this new business that has made this new format possible. Extra BIG-ASS Beer is the first GR beer to get the treatment, their 5.2% ABV amber Marzen/Oktoberfest style beer (and recent ACBA medal winner). Featuring Vienna, Coffee, Flaked oats and a touch of memoirs malt on a 2-Row base, the hopping is from traditional German Perle and Willamette varietals. This won’t be the last canned offering from Robie and the Robots, as they’ve hinted that more of their lower-ABV/approachable/crushable beers will soon be available this way, including their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common. Cans are available at noon at the brewery (single and four-packs), and at private stores around HRM.

• It’s also a big weekend for Bad Apple Brewhouse, as they too release their first canned products. And why not shoot for the stars, as their first two beers to get the silver bullet treatment are the Mosaic, their award-winning, and charity-benefiting, Double IPA, and their also award-winning Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout. Showcasing its namesake Mosaic hops, the Mosaic is an 8% bitter and aromatic brew that has been an off-and-on favourite for years, whenever owner Jeff Saunders can get his hands on those hops. All sales from Mosaic go towards Down Syndrome Nova Scotia, who make possible the Maritime Down Syndrome Family Camp at Brigadoon Village. These organizations are close to Saunders’ heart, as his son Hunter lives with Mosaic Down Syndrome. On the deep and dark side, Bad Apple’s Black & Tackle, which has won awards as both a “regular” Russian Imperial Stout and in a barrel-aged variation, is also now much more portable, so you can it lots of places and enjoy its big roast presence and 9+% ABV as winter approaches. Cans of these beers are available this weekend at the brewery in Berwick Somerset, and are also headed for the private stores in the HRM. Follow along on their social media for the exact availability details. We’ve also seen hints on Bad Apple’s social media accounts that canning these two beers is just a start and other tasty things are on the way in that format in the coming weeks.

• And lastly, but perhaps most uncanny of all (not even sorry), Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing made a splash on social media yesterday when it was revealed that they’ve gone ahead and put four of their beers into cans now available at the brewery and very soon (as in very possibly this afternoon) at Bishop’s Cellar. The flagship IPA Exile on North Street and DIPA 12 Years to Zion are joined by fall/winter seasonal Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and everybody’s favorite Citra bomb Double Orange Apocalypse Ale in a hoppy quadfecta. Interest was immediate from folks far and wide as the prospect of shippable Unfiltered became a sudden and unexpected reality. We suspect few will breach the borders of the province or even HRM, at least at first, as having these beers unbound from growlers will be a novelty that takes some time to wear off.

• Last week we told you about the Garrison and Boxing Rock collaboration Courage brewed in honor of Gord Downie. The response to that bear was pretty impressive, with both brewery locations and the private stores all selling out within 24 hours or so! To date, just shy of $11,000 has been raised for two charitable causes: Brain Tumour Research and Indigenous People’s Reconciliation. And hopefully that number is only going to grow, as the beer will be available in 11 NSLC stores by next week (want to know which ones? Go here and click “Check Store Availability”). It will also be hitting PEI LLC this week, and ANBL and NLL stores soon after that. And in other Garrison beer news, their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA has been canned and will be available at the NSLC and private stores shortly and their fall/winter seasonal Winter Warmer will be at the NSLC in bottles very soon as well.

• Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has a new beer of their own on the go this week, called Northumbeerland. Brewed partially as a trial for a new local malt, this beer is in the saison style, and the grist is a single pale base malt. In the kettle, Warrior hops were used for bittering while Saaz were added at the end of the boil and later, post-fermentation, for a dry-hop. The saison yeast strain used was selected for its ability to dry the beer out, and it has, while also yielding subtle hints of hay and berries along with a slight tartness. This is a very sessionable beer at 4.1% ABV and you’ll find it for growler fills at tiny tasters at the brewery’s operation on Salter Street.

A few events to tell you about this weekend and beyond, with a clear concentration of activity in downtown Halifax:

• A little bar named Stillwell opened on Barrington Street in November, 2013, and has been helping to grow the enthusiasm (and number) of breweries and drinkers alike in Halifax. They’re celebrating their Fourth Anniversary with a weekend full of events. Today from noon, the beers (and people) from Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing will be taking over, with a full dozen beers available on tap. Old favourites and new releases (including the Velvet Fog Milkshake IPA mentioned above) will be pouring; there will be free glassware for the first 100 to show up, and the full taplist can be found here. Saturday will see the annual Stillwell Birthday event, featuring an absolutely ridiculous tap, bottle and cask selection that celebrates the best of local offerings, highlights from other parts of Canada and the U.S. and very special treats from Europe. The full list can be found here (try not to drool) and it also includes the first public pourings of Stillwell Four, the first bottle release from Stillwell Brewing Co. which, as a matter of fact, will also be available the very next day for sale at the brewery’s warehouse around back at 2015 Gottingen Street. We’ve been advised that the Four is in somewhat short supply, so there will be a signup sheet at the bar during Saturday’s festivities so you can ensure you don’t miss out. We’ll should also warn you, especially those from out of town, if you’re planning to hit the birthday celebration on Saturday, that the 22nd Annual Parade of Lights is going on downtown that evening. It has been called a “traffic apocalypse” and “the worst traffic of the year”; things start getting nutty at about 4:30 PM and really don’t start to clear up until close to 9 PM or later. So maybe plan to take a bus or cab downtown, get good and settled in, and really explore what’s on offer.

• We mentioned that Montague, PEI’s newest-and-first brewery, Copper Bottom Brewing, would be holding their official grand opening soon, and looks like “soon” is even sooner than we thought! The Grand Opening is happening tomorrow from noon-close, there’ll be live music going on all day, a TBA food truck will be onsite, and lots of other fun stuff throughout the day, including kick-the-keg prizes, brewery tours, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 pm. And if you’d like to get out to the party without having to commit to driving, the brewery has teamed up with a local company to bring you the Copper Bottom Brew Bus, which leaves from the Peakes Wharf in Charlottetown at 5:15 pm, and departs Copper Bottom at 10 pm; contact Sonya or Loralei at 902-213-5177 if you’d like a ticket, which is just $15 round-trip.

• Yes, it’s months away, but we really need to let you know that tickets for the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival officially go on sale next Friday, November 24th, at 11 am. This event, which is being held on Saturday, March 10th, 2018, continues to grow in breweries represented, beers poured, and overall excellence every year, so we can’t even imagine how awesome it’s going to be next March! And did we mention that Maine’s Orono Brewing will be pouring? Have this ticket link all ready to go next Friday at 11 sharp, especially if you want to get your hands on VIP tickets (which sold out in something like 2 minutes last year… no, we’re not joking). We’ll have lots more information on the event as the date approaches!

And a couple of last mentions before we let you get started on your weekend:

– A reminder that the launch party for 100 from Big Spruce, their beer made with 100% Nova Scotia-produced ingredients, is taking place at Horton Ridge Malt House tomorrow at 2 PM. Big Spruce beers will also will be taking over the guest growler taps during this kitchen party-styled event. The 100 is now available now in cans at Westside in Halifax, where a Big Spruce 5-tap mini-takeover of their growler station (including fills of the 100) started last night and is likely to continue into the weekend.
– Halifax brewpub Rockbottom has a new beer on the menu this week, an American Pale Ale dubbed Mostly Maris for the use of the venerable British malt called Maris Otter. It lends a biscuity note and a sweetness that should pair nicely with the very American hop schedule that includes Cascade, and Columbus. This beer is balanced to the hoppy side of the spectrum and comes in at 5.5% ABV and 55 IBU.