Full House Craft Beer Festival

All posts tagged Full House Craft Beer Festival

We’ve got lots of new news for you this week, including a trio of breweries who have opened in the last seven days, tickets for two great festivals are on sale now, plus close to a dozen new beer and cider releases in the region for you to enjoy. Let’s skip the formalities (we know we’re late!!), and get right to it!

Hampton New Brunswick just got a bit more beery, as Matchstick Beer Factory opened their doors this week. Operating in a private residence close to the former Flewelling Saw Mill and Match Factory in town, they are brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system, and supplying kegs of beer to local restaurants and bars. They have launched with Matchstick Pale Ale, a 4.5% ABV Pale Ale features lots of late- and dry-hopping of Mosaic, Amarillo, and El Dorado for tropical and citrus notes, and their Fired Up Red, at 8.0% ABV, features a solid malt backbone with a touch of Rye malt spice, and finished with an English Ale yeast. Keep an eye on their social media (FB/Tw) for the latest news, and drop into the Match Factory Cafe in Hampton, Bootstrap BrewPub in Quispamsis, and/or Sussex Ale Works to grab a pint this weekend. We’ll give you the full Matchstick story early next week. Congratulations Luke and family!

Drive 300 km due North from Hampton, and you will reach Bathurst, New Brunswick. It is the home to 13 Barrels Brewing, which opened its doors for the first time this week. Built from the ground up at 830 Harbourview Blvd, the 5100 square foot brewery and taproom overlook the Baie de Chaleur. They launched yesterday with their Pabineau Pale Ale, and five guest taps of beer and cider, and will be adding more to their own lineup very shortly. Keep up to date with them on social media (FB/IG/Tw), and we’ll be publishing a Profile with 13 Barrels soon!

From Bathurst, you’ll want to head 625 kilometres Northeast to reach Cormack, Newfoundland, the site of the third brewery opening its doors this week. Crooked Feeder Brewing is located just North of the town of Deer Lake, and is not currently open to the public. The best place to grab their beer is at Newfound Sushi in Corner Brook, where kegs of their Bonne Bay Blonde have been dropped off and are pouring. Look for more releases on their social media (FB/IG/Tw), and we’ll try to pin them down for a Profile very soon!

From brand new breweries, to one that opened a few months ago, let’s turn our attention to New Scotland Brewing, located in downtown Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. They are launching a brand new beer this weekend, brewed with plenty of local ingredients (and love!). Slowburn is a 6.1% ABV Chocolate Porter, that saw the use of locally-grown chilli peppers added during the boil, and later in a pair “dry-peppering” additions over the course of four weeks. The result is a medium/full bodied beer with hints of spice and vanilla, building to chocolate and black cherry, with a building heat as the peppers take hold. Served on nitro, the smooth beer is perfect for enjoying in a cozy nook with friends, and watching the snow fall outside. Slowburn is launching at opening Saturday at the brewery, so drop by for a pint! They’ve got live music by Willie Stratton tonight, and Rob Wigle will be jamming in the taproom Sunday afternoon.

Over in the land of Big Tide Brewing (that’s Saint John, for those of you who aren’t aware), they’ve release their very first New England IPA. The Dickens – hopped in the kettle and during active fermentation (taking advantage of biotransformation) and dry-hopped with generous amounts of Amarillo, Azacca, and Cascade – is currently on tap at the brewpub for pints and growler fills, and is showing off tons of juicy, tropical, and citrusy hop flavour and aroma. It weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 50 IBUs, and since it’s new (and an IPA… all the rage with the youngins these days!), you best drop by sooner rather than later if you’d like to give it a try. And with the cooler months ahead, look for loads of new and returning faves from Big Tide in the coming weeks, including Boiling Point Honey Ginger Saison, Indian Beach Nut Brown, and Sandpiper Pilsener, brewed with Ultra hops from nearby Darlings Island Farm.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock brewed up a beer especially for their Tap Takeover last week at Battery Park but if you missed it there, you’re in luck because there’s still a chance to try it! Head on over to Local Source Market and you can get yourself a growler fill of Hell Bat, a Licorice Imperial Stout. A big, 8.2% ABV beer, it’s got plenty of bitterness and spice from hops that’s balanced by roasty chocolate malt. Add to that a hit of anise aroma and flavor from additions of both real licorice root and star anise, and you have a smooth, complex and substantial beer to work your way through. And in other Boxing Rock Imperial Stout news…we told you last month that the brewery was offering folks the chance to pre-purchase cases and half-cases of their annual release of U-889 Imperial Stout with Coffee and Vanilla at a discount. That deal is in effect for one more week (pickup is November 30th) so if you’re interested it’s time to pull the trigger. Regular price on a bottle is $10.50, but you could be paying closer to $9/btl on 6 for $55 or even $8.33/btl on 12. Pickup can be arranged at the brewery in Shelburne or at Local Source in Halifax. Contact the brewery to place your order; their contact info can be found at the bottom of their web site.

Hey, if you’re in the Rothesay area of New Brunswick right about now, you really should drop by the Hammond River Brewing taproom (ok, you should probably drop by there anytime that you’re in Rothesay, to be honest), as they’ve got a couple new beers pouring… well, one new, one returning favourite. The new brew is The Unforgiven, an Imperial IPA hopped entirely with the fabulous, delicious, not-so-easy-to-get, and pricey Australian variety, Galaxy. At 8.3% ABV, it’s no wee beer, but the “wonderful flavours of citrus and passion fruit” come through front and center, so it’s easy to get carried away and drink this one a little faster than you should! The returning beer is the Glenora Whiskey Barrel-Aged Vanilla Imperial Porter; this one’s coming in at over 8% ABV as well, so you’re receiving your second warning! You know you’re going to want to have both of these beers on tap – because they won’t last long – so why not get dropped off and make an evening (or day!) of it?

The Harbour Brewing Company in Musquodoboit Harbour has a brand new release this week, as they move into the big and dark beers. Dreadnought Stout is a 5.6% ABV full-bodied stout, featuring loads of chocolate and dark fruit flavour, with a smooth finish of roasted grain. Look for it on tap in the area, or better yet, drop by their brewery along Highway 7 for a taste and growler fill!

This weekend brings us/you lucky Haligonians yet another 2 Crows barrel-aged bottle release, this time in the form of Mellarium. Brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Flaked Oats, and Aromatic malt, it was lightly hopped with Calypso, Hallertau Blanc, and Bramling Cross. The wort was soured with Lactobacillus, and then fermented with a blend of several Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains (the very same blend used in the new and delicious Glamour) in a single Sauvignon Blanc barrel. It spent a nice long time in said barrel (6 months) before being transferred onto 60 kg of Apricot puree, as well as some honeycomb, and allowed to referment/age for another 6 weeks. Finally, they decided to dry-hop it with Saffron (dry-Saffron?) before finally bottle conditioning with Champagne yeast. Now, it’s finally ready for you to eagerly purchase, and – hopefully – drink! They’re describing it as “bright, lively, and opulent, with smooth honey notes, fuzzy peach, and floral”. You can grab these bottles (5.3% ABV, btw) tomorrow at the brewery at opening. Eeek! We heard from 2 Crows this afternoon that this release has been slightly delayed until Saturday, December 1st. So you’ll have to wait a week for that barrel-aged, sour, funky, fruity, honey goodness!!

Halifax’s North Brewing has a pair of releases we’re keen to mention today. First up is another release of their Champagne-style IPA, Alloy. Inspired by the extremely dry and effervescent sparkling wine, Brut or Champagne IPAs feature very little body, low residual sweetness (gravity readings are often at or below 1.000 specific gravity), but tons of hops, and Alloy is no different. This batch features loads of Amarillo, Callista, and Vic Secret, and a low body, to really let them show off. As in previous releases, you can grab a single or 4-pack of cans, and can also fill growlers in both Halifax and Dartmouth. And if one IPA wasn’t enough for you, grab some of their Divination today too. This is a Double Dry Hopped (DDH) American IPA, in the tropical/stonefruit/citrus vein, with a touch of dank character. This 7.2% ABV beaut is also available in cans, either singles or a 4-pack, and on both sides of the harbour.

We teased it last week, but now have more information on Niche Brewing’s Moonage Daydream. The latest in their bevvy of sour offerings, this 4.4% ABV beer is generously dry-hopped with El Dorado and Citra, and features hibiscus in the secondary for a lovely pink hue. It is available on tap in Fredericton at 540 Kitchen & Bar, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce, Peppers Pub in Saint John, and in the Moncton region at CAVOK Brewing and at the Pump House Fill Station. If you drop by the latter location, you’ll be able to grab a growler or crowler to take home with you!

You probably guessed from their name that it was only a matter of time before Sourwood Cider released a barrel-aged cider… and if you did indeed guess that, you are now proven correct! While the beginning of the life of this cider occurred in a tote, it was then moved to a total of eight barrels; two of those barrels (which previously held red wine in Niagara) have produced Cherry Blaster, which is available now. As the name indicates, cherries were used in this release – 77 lbs, to be exact, all of them hand-picked from Dempsey’s Corner Orchard in Aylesford. Several different varieties of cherries were incorporated, including a type used in the making of sour pie, as well as “white/rose-fleshed sweet cherries”. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV, Sourwood is describing the cider as “naturally sour, tart, dirty rose in colour, and puckering”; overall, refreshing! Drop by their spot and Market stalls if you’d like to pick up some bottles. As for those other six barrels, as you’re probably wondering… they’ve had Haskap berries added, and will be bottled and released in the very near future!

The bottle releases continue with Halifax’s Tidehouse, with this week’s technically being a re-release. To-Wit! To-Woo! is, as you may have guessed if you’re a child of the 80s, the brewery’s little ode to Mr. Dressup… in Belgian Witbier form! Judging from the beer’s label (which you can check out here), they’ve upped the ABV this time around, to 6.1% ABV, bringing it slightly out of your classic Witbier range (but we’re ok with that!). With sweet orange peel, coriander, and Citra hops in the boil, expect aromas and flavours of all three. It’s available by the 340 mL bottle at the brewery, starting today at 2 pm.

Propeller Brewing has a brand new IPA out on the streets (well, by “streets” we mean, you know, at Propeller), Galaxy IPA. While Galaxy hops were indeed used in abundance in this beer, they were also partnered with the no-less-delicious Citra and Mosaic varieties. Since most of you reading this are likely personally familiar with all three of these hop varieties in some way or another, it may not surprise you to hear that the final 6.5% ABV product has “rich pineapple, peach, and tropical/citrus aromas”… but that doesn’t make it any less tasty! This is indeed a one-off, so get it while it lasts (cans are available). And drop by their Gottingen Street taproom tonight for a cask of their Russian Imperial Stout, which will be tapped at 5 PM.

We want to be sure all of you commercial brewers reading this know about next Friday’s Maritime Craft Malt Workshop, being held in Moncton. Organized by Chemical and Agricultural Scientists who have been bringing you the great Beer School events during the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, this event will focus on the art and science of understanding malt reports, how to maximize yield and flavour from malts, and which steps maltsters follow (and why) to provide you with the best possible product. Learn from maltsters, brewers, and the folks who analyze the product, all to help you incorporate Maritime-grown and -processed malt into your recipes. Check out the full schedule here. The session takes place next Friday, November 30th, at the Crowne Plaza in Moncton. Reserve your seat today!

We’ve got lots more events on the go to tell you about today, including tickets for a pair of favourite beer events happening next year, but are on sale now, and sure not to last!

Tickets for March 8 and 9, 2019’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are on sale today, and we highly recommend grabbing yours ASAP. With the Friday Night event, nicknamed Newbie Night last year, a smaller collective of 10-15 breweries will be pouring 50+ beers in the Convention Centre March 8th. This is a great way to ease into the weekend, as we’ve been told none of these beers will be available during the Saturday sessions. Speaking of which, there are two sessions on Saturday, 1:30 – 4:00 PM and 7:00 – 9:30 PM, where you’ll have your choice of 300+ beer and cider from 50 producers across the region, Maine, and beyond. VIP tickets are always the first to go, which offer you an early entry to get a quick lay of the land before the rest of the visitors arrive. Do not miss your chance to have a heck of a time in the beginning of March in Fredericton, grab your tickets now! Closer to the date, we’ll have more details on our Trivia Night, the Drain the Keg 5K race the Sunday morning, and the other cool events on the go leading up to the Fest.

In Nova Scotia, the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia has announced the dates, and ticket availability for their Full House Festival, the signature event of NS Craft Beer Week. Being held May 4th, 2019 at the Halifax Forum, more than 30 breweries from across the province, along with food vendors, will be slinging drinks and bites to the thirsty crowd. The afternoon session is 1:30 – 4:00 PM, and the evening session is 7:00 – 9:30 PM, with VIP tickets allowing you entry 30 minutes early. Pick your session, and grab your tickets today, while early bird pricing is still in effect!

Now that you’ve grabbed your tickets for future events, let’s get back to the present with a “Home and Home” Tap Takeover by Halifax and Sydney breweries, Garrison and Breton. Tonight, Breton will be visiting Halifax and joining Garrison in taking over the taps at Stubborn Goat in Halifax, with eight beers from each brewery pouring. And they’ll be doing the same at Retro 67 in Sydney, next Friday, November 30th. At each event, folks from both breweries will be there to chat and give out swag. And debuting tonight is Rye’d or Die IPA, a collaboration between the two breweries. A 6.0% ABV American Rye IPA, it features 50 IBUs thanks to Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria. Aroma of pine, citrus, and a touch of grain, lead to a solid bitterness with a touch of spice from the Rye malt.

Those in the region familiar with the great beer scene in Portland, Maine, will no-doubt know about the killer beers available from Bissell Brothers Brewing. They began life in the Portland Industrial park (one of a half dozen breweries that have called One Industrial Way home over the years), and now have their own space in Thompsons Point. And Peter Bissell, one of the aforementioned brothers, has more recently launched Highroller Lobster Co. on Exchange Street. Why are we telling you all of this? We promise, not just to tease you with some serious FOMO. We mention this because the Bissell Brothers and Highroller crews will be taking over the taps and kitchen at Stillwell Beer Bar on December 8th. A dozen bangers from Maine will be available on tap, and we’re sure that there will be some real magic going on in the kitchen that day thanks to the melting of minds (that’s a butter joke). No tickets necessary, but you’ll definitely want to show up early to avoid missing out!

And a few last notes to inform your beer- and cider-acquisition plans for the weekend:

Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, is happy to report that they’ve canned their Timbership Milk Stout and that those cans will be available this weekend at ANBL stores in major centres across the province. This 5.5% ABV and 25 IBU American-style stout with lactose has a clean and easy-drinking flavor with notes of freshly roasted coffee, caramel and dark chocolate. Available on Nitro in the taproom as well.

Chain Yard Urban Cidery in Halifax has announced that they’re going to be doing some limited bottle runs of some of their most creative and ambitious small batches and fan favorites. Only one hundred 750 mL bottles are available of each and they’re only available at the retail store on Agricola Street. The first two to be released are Country Rose Mead (Rose wine and mead which was on tap in September), and Brett To Be Determined (blend of Jona Golds & Mac’s, dry , unfiltered wild ferment and second ferment with brettanomyces which is also on tap now).

Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar had some big news hit the wire this week. They’ve announced that they will be expanding into the 1,400 sq. ft. space next door, almost doubling their size! This will allow them to provide an even better selection (hard to imagine!) of beer, wine, cider and spirits, including more products from afar, more cold beer storage, and more tasting room. Look for the expansion to take place after the holiday season, with a grand opening by Spring, 2019. Until then, you can continue to take advantage of their already awesome selection on Lower Water Street.

Unfiltered on North Street in Halifax has once again undertaken a canning run. This time, however, it wasn’t done on a mobile canning line it was done on their own machine. What does this mean? MORE CANS MORE OF THE TIME!! As of this weekend you’ll be able to get the previously announced Riddle of Steel along with Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, Playing With Fire, Hoppy Fingers, and Flat Black Jesus. Bow down to your new aluminum overlords.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, Good Robot has, as always, some beer news to share. This Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday release is called The Black Barrel and it’s a big ol’ bugger at 9.2% ABV and 53 IBU. Imperial Stout is the style, with lots of dark chocolate flavors. Be careful with this one! And on the Alpha side, Creature Feature is back, an IPA in the New England style, hoppy, hazy and juicy without a whole lot of bitterness. It’s 6.2% ABV and 46 IBU and will be available come next Thursday.

If you’re in NS, we hope you’ve been either resting your liver up or have had it in training, because it’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week is kicking off today and will be in full swing this weekend. It’s every NS beer geek’s favorite 11-day week, although for some it will no doubt feel like 14 (or more!). There’s a ton of beers to tell you about, a ton of events we’ll point you towards, as well as all the other beer-related news going on in the other three Atlantic provinces, so let’s start there…

• It may not really feel like patio season yet, but trust us, it’s coming (maybe?)! In preparation, TrailWay released a new beer – of sorts – yesterday in cans at the brewery. Beyond Reality is a “juiced up” version of their popular summer seasonal, Raspberry Wheat. Even more raspberries were added in this beer (as well as a different technique of getting that raspberry character into the beer), but that’s not all! TrailWay being TrailWay, they decided to go ahead and dry-hop the beer, with the wonderful El Dorado variety. The result? A 4% ABV brew with a “unique, crazy, juicy berry/raspberry character, while remaining dry and crisp”. The cans dropped yesterday at the brewery only; this, like all first batches at TW, is a limited release, so whether it’s sunny or pouring, drop by to pick a few up today!

• There’s a new beer hitting taps from Moncton’s Beckwith Road, that originally appeared at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in March. Care Package is best described as a New England APA, brewed to be hazy, hoppy, and juicy! Hopped entirely with Citra, this 5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs, downright-cloudy ale has a big aroma of citrus and tropical fruit, with a dry, not-too-bitter finish. It recently made an appearance at the Tide & Boar, and you may still be able to get it at the James Joyce in Fredericton.

Tide & Boar Brewing, another member of the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective, are holding another Growler Day today, offering up three new beers: Robot Food IPA (a hazy NEIPA), a Double-Dry-Hopped version of their Forum Pale Ale featuring Nelson Sauvin, and Layback Lager. Drop by right now to get your fill of these three beers, only available at T&B.

Hammond River Brewing is still picking away at their major expansion, and with construction being completed, equipment arriving and being installed, things are looking great! In the meantime, owner/brewer Shane Steeves doesn’t want to let his loyal fans go thirsty, so there’s not one, but *two* new beers that were brewed earlier this week! First up is Naval Daze, a kettle-soured Berliner Weisse with real peaches added in secondary. Tart, light and refreshing, it comes in at a supremely-drinkable 3.2% ABV and 4 IBUs. Next is yet another iteration of the Vegas SMaSH IPA, with this one featuring the fantastic Galaxy hop, an Australian variety. With aromas of citrus and passion fruit, this 6.5% ABV, 60 IBUs brew should satisfy all of you hopheads out there. Look for both of these newbies at your local HRB account within the next couple of weeks.

• In other nearing-expansion NB news, Celtic Knot is getting closer to receiving their 3.75 bbl (~435 L) brewhouse at their new location, which will also mark the beginning of growler sales from the brewery! Not to be outdone by Hammond River, they’ve also announced the upcoming release of two new beers: Summer Daze is a 5% ABV “lightly hopped” American Pale Ale, brewed with the intention of welcoming non-craft drinkers into the fold; and Ryetious is a 6% ABV, 60 IBUs Rye IPA featuring 18% Rye malt in the grist, and hop additions of Nugget and Simcoe in the boil, as well as Amarillo in the dry-hop. Look for these two to appear at CK accounts very soon!

• As mentioned briefly last week, PEI’s Gahan House Restaurant and Brewery (a subsidiary of sorts of the PEI Brewing Co.) are adding yet another brewpub to join their locations in Charlottetown and Halifax, as well as the upcoming Moncton location. The latest location will open in Saint John on Prince William St. in September, 2017. It will house a 7 bbl (~800 L) DME brewhouse, as well as a 120-seat dining room and 30-seat seasonal outdoor patio. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on its development, but no doubt you can expect to see PEIBC/Gahan favourites on tap, as well as one-offs brewed specifically at the Saint John location.

• The New Brunswick craft beer documentary, Beerocracy, hasn’t been officially released in its entirety yet, but if you have Bell Aliant, you can watch it as a four episode series! Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff have been hard at work over the last 12+ months putting the final touches on their production baby, so be sure to tune in and check it out! Here’s how to find it: “The series can be viewed on Bell Media TV1 Atlantic – Channels 1 and 401 on Fibe TV cable in the ‘Lifestyle’ folder of the VOD store”. If that confuses you as much as it did me, push your On Demand button and search for Beerocracy. There it is! A launch party and screenings of the documentary in full will be coming soon, and if you were one of the many backers on the production’s successful Indiegogo campaign, you’ll be receiving your DVD/digital copy as well.

• Last night, PEI’s Upstreet Craft Brewing held a tap takeover at Battery Park; along with a bunch of goodies, they debuted a very limited brew, Strawberry Banana Milkshake IPA. This one is their White Noize White IPA, but with additions of lactose powder and vanilla, to help give that light sweetness and extra body indicative to the Milkshake IPA “style”, along with the character from the flavours of banana and strawberry. If you’re in PEI and disappointed you missed out, fear not – there are two additional kegs in existence, both of which soon be pouring at the Upstreet taproom. And for you New Brunswick Upstreet fans, good news! Bottles of their White Noize and Do-Gooder APA are on their way to ANBL stores, and should be selling within the next couple of weeks. Look for the Commons Pilsner to appear by the end of the month.

• You may notice some new Shiretown beers popping up at select NBLC stores, with a generic, green label. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you sort this out a bit! The same label is being used for Shiretown’s latest seasonal releases; look closely, and you can see that several beers are listed on the side of the label, with the corresponding beer checked off. In addition, each seasonal has a colour-coded bottlecap. Two new ones have been released: La Vie Continue (yellow cap) is a 4.5% ABV “Summer Wheat Ale” lightly hopped to 9 IBUs, and Cartier’s Columbus (green cap) is a 6.5% ABV, 38 IBUs “hop-forward Golden Ale” hopped entirely with, you guessed it, Columbus. Look for up to four more seasonal releases from Shiretown in the near future.

• There’s a new beer from Foghorn that should be popping up any day (minute?) now at the brewery’s taproom. Raiders of the Night is a Black IPA that could be the brewery’s most heavily-hopped beer yet! Brewed as a classic Black IPA, meaning enough black malts to give some roasted, coffee aromas and flavours (but not too much!), it was hopped with Comet and Azacca in the boil, and dry-hopped with copious amounts of Citra, and even more Azacca. When you’re talking high amounts of those two varieties, you can definitely expect lots of citrus, tropical fruit, and basically lots of other fruit characteristics in the beer! It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs; this batch will likely be available at the brewery only, for pints and growlers.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe just released their newest kettle-soured beer, Partridgeberry Sour. Thanks to the addition of plenty of local Patridgeberries (which the beer was aged on for four weeks), this 4.5% ABV beer has a beautiful pinkish-red hue, and plenty of fruit flavour, along with a refreshing tartness from the Lactobacillus souring effect. You should be able to find it on tap at the usual Big Axe accounts, as well as at the brewery during their retail hours.

• Also released right about now from Big Axe is Florganic Pale Ale, the brewery’s first 100% organic brew. Brewed with Horton Ridge malt and Centennial hops from Southan Farms, organic lavendar and several types of locally-foraged flowers were added to the beer during the brewing process, including Queen Anne’s lace. Coming in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, it should be popping up on tap in Fredericton at 540 and the James Joyce.

• A reminder the Port Rexton Brewing is opening their tap room for the season today! They are open from 2-10pm today and tomorrow, and 2-6pm Sunday. With the new season, it’s the perfect time to launch a new beer, which they’ve done, to the tune of Mixed Opportunity. The mixed fermentation saison features a special blend from Escarpment Labs in Guelph, featuring both Scchromyces and Brettanomyces yeasts. Drop by for that and plenty more beers to kick off the season, and stay a while!

OK, we’ve put it off long enough, time to hit Nova Scotia for the rest of the news this week!

• Let’s start our tour of Nova Scotia with one of the first small local breweries, opened 20 years ago, who have big news this week. Propeller Brewing has completed renovations at their Gottingen Street location, and are now set up to serve samples in their newly opened taproom. Featuring more than a dozen taps, they are looking forward to inviting folks to sit down for a drink before grabbing a sixpack or growler, in addition to holding tasting events, educational sessions, and more in the new space. Last night also saw the rollout of their new branding, their first major one in 20 years in business. That also has spilled over to their labels, which now sport the same look, with a different colour for each beer. Learn more about both (and their future plans) in this week’s 902 BrewCast, when owner John Allen, and marketing guy Aaron Emery sat down with Kyle, Phil, and Tony.

• New taproom and brand, new beer! Also debuting last night was the latest One-Hit Wonder, MoppleBock. Using Horton Ridge Malt as the base, the Propeller crew brewed up an Imperial Maibock, their take on the German style. Medium-bodied, and malt-heavy, the beer features the iconic Noble hop peppery/spicy hop flavour and aroma. At 7.5% ABV and 50 IBUs, this is well beyond what may be expected in Bavaria, but still a nod to the original brews in character.

• And leading us into the rest of Nova Scotia is the return of their tri-brewery Organic release, Cerberus Double IPA. With collaboration and assistance from Big Spruce and Tatamagouche, the 7.9% ABV Double IPA features lots of late-addition hops for a solid 60 IBUs, from AmarilloCentennial, Simcoe and Zythos hops in the boil, and a serious dose of dry-hopping of Citra. The beer debuted on tap at Propeller yesterday, will see wider release today (including kegs at all three participating breweries for growler fills), with a portion of it also rolling out in bottles at the private stores this weekend.

• After a bit of a quiet period during their expansion and the installation of their canning line, Nyanza’s Big Spruce is back with a vengeance just in time for Craft Beer Week. First, they’ve advised us that all deliveries of their 3 wide-release canned brands have been made to the NSLC and to all four private stores in the HRM (Bishop’s Cellar, Cristall Wine Merchants, Harvest Wines & Spirits, and Rockhead Wine & Beer Market); that’s the Tim’s Dirty IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and the Bitter Get’er Black IPA. You can start looking for them on the shelves as soon as today, although the scheduled date for the 35 participating NSLC stores is May 8th.

• Jeremy White and the gang also have 4 (count ‘em, four!) beers coming out this week. First we have Un Tabou, a collaboration with Harvest Wines. Fermented using The Escarpment Labs Old World Saison strain, it has copious late additions of tropical New World hop varieties El Dorado and Mosaic along with a healthy dry hop of both. We expect to see this one on tap at Harvest for sure, but as with other Big Spruce collabs, you may well see it appear elsewhere, especially with Craft Beer Week coming up.

• Next we’ve got Tiger Lilly, a session IPL (India Pale Lager) with 70% Horton Ridge malt in the grain bill and single-hopped with “massive” amounts of Mosaic both in the kettle and as a dry hop. This one will make its debut at the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover at Battery Park tomorrow, and hopefully after that at NSCBW events, with tap accounts also a possibility.

• This week marks the return of She’s Maibock, brought out this time every year, made with 100% imported German malt and noble hops it comes in at 6.1% ABV and 26 IBU. This style is a harbinger of spring in Germany and its heavier hop presence and lighter malt balance are heralded as a bit of a relief from the heavier bock styles of the lenten season. The not-so-traditional infusion of lemon zest during both the boil and the lagering process, should accentuate the refreshing nature of the style.

• Last, but not least, Silver Tart, the Raspberry Sour beer that was found on many patios and beergardens last year. Fermented on more than a hundred kilos of local raspberries, the refreshing sour finish keeps you wanting more. Well, want no more, as the 4.5% ABV beer hits the taps in HRM this week. They’ve also ordered the cans for their first canning run in the summer; we’ll keep you posted on where you might expect those to start popping up.

• Keeping the new beers flowing is a full-time job for the folks at Tatamagouche, too! Cellar Slammer, their Session IPA collaboration with Bishop’s Cellar, will be debuting tomorrow at their Tap Takeover (drop by from noon to meet the Tata crew and get first tastes and growler fills of it), with cans of the beer going on sale Sunday at BC. For those in Tata, samples, cans, and fills will be available all weekend.

• Hitting the taps and shelves next week is a brand new one from Tata, Flat Liner English IPA. Inspired by the traditional English hop East Kent Golding, this 5.6% ABV beer features a healthy base of local Horton Ridge Malt, with some Caramel 60 for colour and malt flavour. All EKG throughout the boil, to about 50 IBUs, with another dosing of them in the secondary for a redoubling of the aromatics. This release will no be canned, so be sure to seek it out at the brewery, or at their licensees across the province, starting mid-next-week.

• And also hitting the shelves next week will be the latest in their Giant Beer series, Baltic Porter. The 8.0% ABV full-bodied beer was fermented with a lager strain of yeast, and conditioned (lagered, even) for several weeks before release. Featuring Czech Saaz hops, bottles will be released on Thursday at the brewery.

• Ashdale’s Meander River Farm and Brewery released a new beer recently, Seeing Double IPA. The 8.0% ABV beer features all Citra hops throughout the boil, for a firm bitterness and plenty of citrus and refreshing aroma. Grab it at the brewery this weekend, as well as their Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market table. And for someone in the area looking for a job that will have you working both inside and out of a brewery this summer, they are filling a full-time position assisting in the brewery and retail space, as well as working on the adjacent farm doing landscaping and gardening work. Check out the full details here.

• Good Robot comes screaming into Craft Beer Week with their collective hair on fire, bringing out 3 beta brews thanks to Kelly Costello, who brought a different guest assistant brewer along for each batch. Strangely Black, brewed with Brent Braaten, is a Black IPA with cold-steeped grains that will be released at the Good Robot Taproom today. Later Gator is a White IPA brewed with Dani Alarie that was dry-hopped with Amarillo hops and that will be released on Sunday, May 7. And lastly, Klezmer Kölsch was brewed with members of 2b Theatre Company. This one will be released on Wednesday, May 10, for the company’s Ambassador Night, featuring cast members of Old Stock, A Refugee Love Story, currently running (until May 14) at The Waiting Room. And if that wasn’t enough, this weekend will also see the return of DeWolfe of Wall Street, GR’s other pale ale, this one less bitter, less malty and definitely boozier than their flagship Burban Legend. It’s very crisp, gluten-reduced and comes in at 6.4% ABV.

• In Dartmouth, Spindrift is once again playing, “anything you can do we can do lager,” with their latest release, Plimsoll. Brewmaster Kellye Robertson enlisted a helping hand from former colleague Kyle Jeppesen and the pair took the summer crusher Berliner Weisse style and gently tweaked it into a lager. Featuring a grist of local Horton Ridge Pilsner and German Pale Wheat malts, the mash was soured for three days to achieve a complex fruity, tart and citrusy palate before fermenting and then finishing with a light dry hop of the modern German hop varieties Mandarina Bavaria and Hallertau Blanc. This 3.6% ABV beer should go down extremely easily, a very light 5 IBU of bitterness mingling with tartness and hop character, leading to a crisp lager finish. Available since at the brewery, it’s available for growler fills there and is likely to turn up at licensee taps as well. Given the malt bill it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that it might also be Spindrift’s entry at the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover at Battery Park on Saturday.

• Staying on the Dark Side with another member of #teamdartmouth in this Sunday’s Stillwell Open, Brightwood Brewery is releasing a new beer this weekend. The cleverly-named Halifornia Commons is a California Common-style beer, a style that dates back to the turn of the 20th century and one of the two styles widely held to be truly American. Brightwood went with a grist of 97% Horton Ridge malt and fermented the beer with the classic San Francisco yeast, a lager strain that tolerates ale temperatures. Clean and crisp, it was late- and dry-hopped with Green Bullet hops from New Zealand to provide fruity aromas that complement those coming from yeast esters, and at 6.0% ABV and 49 IBU, it should be a solid, flavourful brew for summer. Available tomorrow at Alderney Market, you’ll also find it on tap at Battery Park if you attend the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover!

• Across the harbour, or not, as the case may be (we note they’re #teamdartmouth in the Stillwell Open…), North Brewing has a new beer that they’re releasing this week. Made with wheat malt from Horton Ridge, it’s a dry-hopped American Wheat they’re calling Reverend Horton Wheat (cue psychobilly riff). Though low in bitterness at 13 IBU, the Simcoe and Cascade used in the dry hop should give this 5.9% ABV beer a noticable hop character. It was also fermented using the same Yeast Bay Funktown Ale blend that was used in their recent Malternate Reality brew, providing a hazy appearance and accentuating the hop presence. If you guessed that this one will be part of the Horton Ridge takeover at Battery Park, go ahead and reward yourself with a beer. It will also be available for growler fills, at least on the Dartmouth side.

• Next Wednesday, on May 10, you’ll also see two bottle releases from North. First is a version of their Midnight Glenora Barrel-aged Strong Dark also aged with the Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain known as Brett Q, which is known to impart a subtle Brett character with ripe fruit notes and underlying funk. You’ll also see their Milk Stout that’s been aged in Glenora Barrels. Both beers will be available in 650ml bottles; expect to see them at the North bottle shops and more than likely at select private liquor stores in the HRM.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows is releasing a brand new pilot batch brew (we like to call it their Attempted Murder Series, can that catch on?) in their taproom tomorrow to celebrate Open Brewery DayPromiseland is a super-juicy 8.3% ABV Double IPA, featuring a next-load of late- and dry-hopping, for a nose- and mouth-full of hoppy goodness, beyond its 64 IBUs datasheet. With all of these releases, they are *only* available at the brewery, so don’t delay in dropping by tomorrow. During OBD, be sure to drop by and have a chat with the Brewery Crew and take a tour of their location. And early next week will mark the release of two of their draft-only beers in cans: Fantacity Witbier and Midnight Mood Dry-Hopped American Porter. Look for those to be on sale at the brewery Tuesday or Wednesday.

• After several test batches, Garrison has finalized the recipe for their (no longer Code Name:) Juicy! Double IPA. With a grist of 2-row pale malt and flaked oats, this hazy Northeastern-style DIPA is hop-heavy, featuring several varieties including CitraCometMosaicEkuanot and at least one “secret” hop. It’s got aromas of citrus, pineapple and tangerine, with tangerine and citrus flavors on the palate. At 8% ABV it’s firmly in DIPA territory, but with a somewhat tame (for the style) 65 IBU, the soft mouthfeel of the style and the fruit flavors it’s likely to go down pretty easily. It’s being released today on tap at the brewery for tasting and growler fills and will head to select licensees later this weekend or early next week. We’ll have more details packaging plans over the next few weeks.

Annapolis Cider Co has some exciting news to share this week: they took home no less than SIX medals from the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP), the world’s largest cider competition! With 1200 ciders entered, competition was stiff, but ACC took home hardware with every product they entered: Their Heirloom and Toasted Oak and Maple were bronze winners, Old-Fashioned Gravenstein and Sour Cherry garnered silver medals, and Muscat Infusion and Hopped Pear took home gold. Even better, both gold medal winners took Best in Class status in their respective groups! You can purchase the Heirloom at your local NSLC and at the private liquor stores in HRM, but you’ll have to visit the cidery in Wolfville to try the others. For most Nova Scotians, truly World Class cider is only a lovely drive to the Valley away!

A few more events to get you excited for the weekend…

• NS Craft Beer Week is in full swing, with tickets still available for this evening’s Cape Breton Kitchen Party at Centre 200 in Sydney. Henley House and Sober Island are hosting two events tomorrow, so make a trip to the Eastern Shore to check out their new digs, and drink some great cask beer. Drop by Stillwell Sunday for the Stillwell Open, a province-wide competition pitting more than a dozen breweries, plus a handful of homebrewers (our own Aaron and Chris brewed up beers for competing teams!) in the quest to produce some killer brand new/one-off brews.  During the week, we are hosting a Trivia Night at Timber Lounge Wednesday evening, and then you can cap it all off with the Full House Craft Beer Festival, during which there will be 32 breweries in attendance. Tickets for Saturday are sold out, but Friday night session is still available!
If all of that is too much to remember, don’t worry! We’ve put together a Calendar of the events happening over the next 9 days to keep you straight, and even mapped them all out, perfect for an epic beery roadtrip across the province. Check that out here, and if we’ve missed anything, let us know!

• With both National Homebrew Day and Nova Scotia Open Brewery Day being celebrated this weekend, one of Halifax’s sources for homebrew supplies is marking the occasion with a homebrewing demo. Maritime Wine & Beer Emporium on Lady Hammond Road will be setting up three different all-grain brewing systems on their front lawn, with three different brewers each doing a different recipe. If you’re at all interested in the hobby, this is an excellent chance to see how it’s done, get a feel for the variety of equipment and techniques that are available to the homebrewer, and to talk to some folks about their passion for the craft. The festivities will start at 9am and are expected to go until 1pm. And if you venture into the store, you’ll find all regular-priced items are 15% off for the duration of the weekend! So stop by and see how water, grain and hops become wort, the first step on the road to beer!

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve read somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 words. We suggest you mark this achievement with a beer! Crack one open or order one up and see if you can’t push your brain to the point of being totally brimful of beer stuff – we’ve got a few more quick hits to send you on your way.

– Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider has released their first product to the NSLC, Foundation. The 6.0% ABV cider is available across the province, and they are expecting to open their Agricola Street taproom/tasting bar later this month. We hope to share more information on the ciderhouse and their products soon.
First City has re-released their award-winning Fruit Beer, Raspberry Wheat (6% ABV); you can find it on tap now at Pepper’s Pub, as well as other accounts in the near future.
Grimross has added yet another crowd favourite to their available-outside-of-pints-and-growlers lineup, as one of their first beers, Cheval D’Or (5.2% ABV, 18 IBUs), a Saison, is now available in cans.
– In Liverpool, Hell Bay has a new beer available. Sour Apple was kettle soured with organic yogurt before being fermented on Pazzazz apples. At 4.5% ABV it should be a lovely quaffer for the summer patio season. It’s available at the brewery for fills and is on tap at selected licensees, but it’s not (yet) in bottles.
Loyalist City in Saint John has a new beer coming as soon as the paperwork can wend its way through the labyrinthine ANBL licensing process. Their first DIPA, it is as yet unnamed, but they’re already planning a special small batch with their friends at New England Distilling. Watch this space for more information on this release!
Wayfarers’ Ale Society has canned up a few of their offerings, and their One-Eyed River Hog IPA is currently available at the NSLC. You can also grab Hellene, their 4.2% ABV Blonde Ale at the private stores.

Happy Friday everyone! Grab a mug of coffee, or pint of Coffee Porter, as we’ve got another dose of beer news for you today.

• After a very successful response to their first release of Session IPA, TrailWay Brewing has brewed up another batch that should be released sometime today, or later this weekend. This easy-drinking and low-ABV (~4.4%) beer is hopped a bit differently than the previous one, featuring both Centennial and Comet. They also plan on releasing an Oatmeal Stout this weekend or shortly thereafter; coming in at around 5% ABV, it features up to seven different grain varieties in the mash, including plenty of roasted barley and chocolate malts – giving the beer “intense” flavors – as well as a good portion of organic oats to bump up the body.

• Speaking of TrailWay, they also have a brand new beer that they will be releasing during next Sunday’s Superbowl party at the King Street Ale House. A currently-unnamed American IPA, it was brewed with lots of Comet, Amarillo, Centennial, and Cascade hops, with Comet and Cascade also being used in the dry-hop, to give the beer lots of fruity and citrusy hop aromas. There’s no charge to check out the Superbowl at the KSAH and try this new IPA; just drop in for a pint! They’ll also have happy hour on regional beers, and food specials. And for those of you lucky enough to have tickets for the sold-out New Brunswick Beer Tour next Saturday, you’ll probably be getting a sneak preview of TrailWay’s new IPA at the conclusion of the tour at KSAH!

Railcar Brewing has re-released their SMaSH IPA, and while brewed with the same malt (2-row) and hop variety (Cascade) as before, a different yeast strain was used for fermentation, resulting in a hoppier-tasting beer, according to owner/brewer Mitch Biggar. This very pale ale comes in at 5% ABV and 85 IBUs, and won’t last long, so get to the brewery ASAP! Also, Mitch just brewed an “Orange Rye IPA”, featuring six different malts, Cascade and Goldings hops, and real orange peel in the boil. Weighing in at ~7.7% ABV and 66 IBUs, look for this one to appear for growler fills at the brewery, soon.

Hammond River has announced the results of last Sunday’s judging of their 1st Annual Homebrew Competition: Mike Hebert and Jason Dobbelsteyn brewed the winning entry, and will get to brew a full-size batch of their Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer on the HR system with owner/brewer Shane Steeves today, to be released in the near future. Second and third place were awarded to Marc Melanson and Liam Walsh, respectively. Congratulations to the winners, and we’ll have more info on the winning beer soon! Steeves had this to say about the event, “I was pretty happy with the turnout and had a lot of fun organizing it. I’ll definitely open it to all of the Maritimes next year.” Good news to the rest of the region’s homebrewers. We’ll be releasing details on this when we have them.

• And while we’re on the topic on Hammond River, this is as good a time as any to mention that they’ve confirmed that they will be expanding some time in the future, likely to a 15 bbl (~17 hL) brewery (that’s 15-times larger than their current setup). While the expansion is still in the planning stages, we’re looking forward to having Hammond River beers more readily-available to the masses!

• As mentioned last week, Antigonish Townhouse will once again be featuring Double Pumped Fridays today. Today’s bonus beer, joining Terry’s Bitter on the hand pumps, is Terry’s English IPA. A traditional English IPA, with a focus on balanced bitterness and traditional English hop (earthy and floral, rather than citrus or resinous) and malt (caramel and biscuit) aroma and flavours. This light copper-coloured beer weighs in at 4.9% ABV, and 47 calculated IBUs from some Cascade early in the boil for bitterness, and more traditional English hops Fuggles and East Kent Golding used for flavour and aroma. Complementing the traditional recipe is the cask-conditioned character of the IPA (and Bitter), and the Townhouse’s hand pump helps to deliver the a perfect pint. The beer will be tapped at 4pm, and won’t last long!

• And while you visit the Townhouse, perhaps you can sign up for their Camino de Santiago-inspired communal dinner, being held January 27th. Traditional Spanish fare from regions along the Camino and Spanish wine will be served, as well as photos and lively conversation about the walk from several previous trekkers. Tickets are $35, and can be reserved by email or phone (02-863-2248).

Garrison Brewing has announced that they will be releasing a Rum Barrel-aged version of their Spruce Beer next weekend. Their 2013 release aged for 12 months in Ironworks Distillery Rum Barrels, was bottled earlier this month, and will be released Saturday, January 31st. They are holding a special day to commemorate it, Cellar Saturday. Details are a little thin, but we do know that they will be opening up the cellar to allow purchase of some of their bigger beers, worthy of cellaring and storing for months or years. The night before, they are hosting a vertical tasting of Ol’ Fog Burner Barley Wine, where folks can try a few ounces of each of the 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2015 releases, plus the 2011 Barrel-Aged release. Attendees will also be able to enjoy snacks, and have first dibs on the beers available in the cellar. There are just over a dozen tickets left, so contact Justin at the brewery (902-453-5343 x225) today to secure your spot.

Boxing Rock has announced that they will be celebrating International Women’s Day (March 8th) by teaming up with the Ladies Beer League to brew up something special, with a portion of the proceeds going to two local charities. The base style has not yet been decided, and the brewsters are looking for your input! Vote here for your favourite style. Also a quick note that the LBL has made their memberships available online, in case you haven’t had a chance to attend one of their events. And look for a return of Boxing Rock’s The Darkness Cascadian Dark Ale in a few weeks, as they were brewing up another batch of this popular seasonal this week.

• In order to keep up with demand, North Brewing has installed more hardware at their Agricola Street location. They received a 13 hectolitre brite tank this week, and will be taking delivery of a 23 hectolitre fermentor in March. And keep an eye on their Twitter feed for a special one-off cask of cold-brewed coffee-infused Milk Stout to be served at Smiling Goat Coffeehouse & Cafe at Bishop’s Landing later this month.

• There are only a handful of tickets available for the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, March 7th at the Fredericton Convention Centre. Breweries from all over the Maritimes and Quebec and Ontario will be attending and pouring their wares. The festival has also secured discounted rooms at the Crowne Plaza immediately across the street, which will make for a very short trip to the next pub.

• And speaking of beer festivals, tickets for the Full House Craft Beer Fest being held May 16 as part of the NS Craft Beer Week are still available, but the second session (4-7pm) is almost sold out. At $25 for 12 samples (additional samples are just $1), this will be a great opportunity to try almost all of the breweries and brewpubs in Nova Scotia in one place at one time. We expect to have more info on the Week very shortly, and will share the details with you.

rustik magazine wrote a feature on local breweries using local and innovative ingredients in their beers. Check out the article, featuring Tatamagouche Brewing, Bad Apple Brewhouse, and Professor Gordon McOuat of University of King’s College, who teaches a course entitled Brewing Science.
Premier Wines & Spirits is moving! At the end of the month, they will be moving to a new location in the North End of Halifax, at the Sobeys at 2651 Windsor Street (at the corner of North Street). To lighten the amount of inventory they will be moving, they are having a sale on many of their beers, wines, and spirits. We contacted manager Anthony Wight for some details on the sale and move, and he was able to give us the inside scoop: local (Pump House Red six-packs) as well as Canadian (Trou du Diable Grivoise de Noel), American (Anderson Valley Brother David’s Double and Triple) and European (Buxton Special Pale Ale) beers are on sale for 10-20% off. And a bonus for anyone taking part in the moving sale, they will receive a coupon for 15% off at their new location. A new location also means a new name, Rockhead Wine & Beer Market. Premier will be closing Wednesday, January 28th, and RockHead will be open Thursday the 29th. In addition to a more convenient parking setup (ie, they have some!), the new location will be offering growler fills. Their growler station will have four beer on tap at a time, with a focus on Nova Scotia beer. They will be offering their own branded growler, but will also fill other breweries’ 1.89 litre growlers, provided they are clean!
Be sure to track down some tasty and local beers this weekend! Petit-Sault has just released their Amber Ale, Louis XVII, in bottles in NBLC stores across the province. Grimross has been ramping up production to attempt to keep up with the high demand for their beers at their new brewery, and has a couple of old favorites – Pugnatious Porter and Rye IPA – now on tap for pours and growler fills. Picaroons hinted earlier this week that they’ve brewed another test batch of beer on their Brewtique system; they’re keeping details under wraps for now, but their SS Cocoa Beware is available at all four ANBL growler-fill locations this week; as always, check the ANBL list to see what is pouring near you. Tatamagouche Brewing Co’s collaboration with Stubborn Goat GastropubHorns Over Hooves Double IPA, has been spotted in the wild; catch it at the Goat, Bar Stillwell and Lion & Bright.