Gahan House (Charlottetown)

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It’s shaping up to be another lovely weekend across the region, so let’s keep this short and sweet and get you that pint in your hand ASAP! Here’s what’s new and exciting in Atlantic Canada this weekend. As usual, if we’ve missed something, let us know and we’ll get the word out next week!

The Church Brewing Company at 329 Main St in Wolfville, NS, is now serving their own beer! Having opened their restaurant and taproom at the beginning of 2019, the brewery took a little bit longer to set up. As of last weekend, their Sanctuary Enkel (3.8% ABV) and Mayflower White IPA (5.8% ABV) are pouring at the restaurant for your enjoyment. With cans are coming in August to both their retail shop and the NSLC, the only place to grab a pint of Church Brew Co beer for now is at the brewery, so pop out and toast their success! The restaurant is open from 10 AM, seven days a week, so now’s the time to visit, in case you have not yet made the trip. More information from them, and more of their own beers on tap, soon! In the meantime, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb / Ig / Tw) for updates. Oh, and peep their podcast episode recorded just this week with the 902 Brewcast crew, at your finer podcast retailers.

And speaking of new breweries, word went out on social media a couple weeks ago from newly revitalized DME Process Systems that they’re building a system for a place in Bedford. That’s right, someone has noticed that the stretch from Clayton Park to Sackville is relatively bereft of craft breweries and has decided to do something about it. That someone is the Grafton Connor Group, who operate more than 14 establishments throughout HRM and beyond, including long-standing family restaurants like The Esquire and Kempsters, the classic seafood house Five Fishermen, and possibly Halifax’s most (in)famous nightclub, The Dome. Of late, another of their properties, The Auction House, has quietly become a destination for craft beer in the downtown. You may also remember that when The Auction House opened, it featured a much-maligned ferment-on-premise (FoP) system in the front window, but this new brewery will not be that: a full 10 BBL (12 hL) mash tun and kettle will be installed along with four 10 BBL fermentation tanks and a hot liquor tank besides. Beer will be served on-premises direct from four 5 BBL bright tanks, and some kegging will take place to service other Grafton Connor properties, including Roxbury Urban Dive Bar, Riverside Pub, Redwood Grill, The Dome, Hide + Seek, and The Auction House. Where, you may ask, is this place going to be? On the south side of Bedford at Mill Cove, in Brewster’s Bar & Grill. We’ve been told they expect the equipment to be delivered in October, and hope to be up and running in November, just in time for Christmas Party season. We’ll check back in with them later in the year to see how they’re doing and hopefully get some more details on what they plan to offer in terms of beers.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing celebrated their First Anniversary last weekend, which brought with it two new beers into the fold. Thanks to an expansion of their fermentation and conditioning capabilities (they’ve added 7 new tanks!), they’ll be able to keep up with demand of their core beers, as well as introduce new recipes. The first is Yacht Rock, in celebration of their weekly Thursday night Brews Cruise on the Tall Ship Silva, running all summer long. Single-hopped with Comet, this Session IPA features a light base of Pilsner, Munich, CaraPils, and Crystal malts, and at 3.7% ABV and 28 IB, perfect for enjoying on the boat, wharf, patio, or wherever you find yourself this weekend. And pop by the brewery taproom at 91 Alderney Drive to grab a sample, pint, or growler of their other new release, Louisville Chugger. An old-school Kentucky Common weighing in at 4.5% ABV, this historic recipe features corn in the grist, and is lightly hopped to 21 IBU with Cluster hops. Keep an eye on their social media for details on their ever-rotating list of musicians playing on their taproom stage.

St. John’s latest brewery, Bannerman Brewing Co., released a new beer late last week. Mood Improvement is a kettle sour that was inspired by the Moscow Mule, a mixed drink traditionally made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. While there’s no vodka in Mood Improvement (thankfully!), they did add ginger, along with a dry hop of Motueka, before finally conditioning the beer on lime puree. The resulting beer, which weighs in at 5.2% ABV, is tasting “light and refreshing, with citrusy and spicy notes” to go along with the tartness. If you’re in that fine city this weekend, we highly suggest you drop by for a pint or fill to take away.

This year’s Stan Rogers Folk Festival (aka Stanfest), being held in Canso, NS from July 25th-28th, will include Nyanza’s own Big Spruce at the event. This is the 23rd year for the music festival, and the first year that they have used a local brewery as the beer provider. Big Spruce is pretty hyped about that, so naturally they’ve created a new beer for the occasion! Stanfest, a 4.2% ABV “Session Ale” created with the intention of being the perfect outdoor-concert-summer-sipper. Lightly hazy, nice tight foam, dry and light-bodied. Those not in attendance *may* have a chance to try it at the brewery or better retail spots after this weekend, if they’re lucky! In order to reduce glass issues, the Beer Tent at Stanfest is all cans, so look for other faves like Kitchen Party, Cereal Killer, and The Silver Tart, as well as bevvies from Bulwark and Nova Scotia Spirit Co

And available now at the brewery taproom in Nyanza, and soon at better bars and retail locations in HRM, is Maracu-YES!, a 7.1% ABV “Passion Fruit IPA”. Starting with a base of a Hazy IPA, it conditioned on a ton (figuratively) of Organic passion fruit to impart its iconic tart character along with the floral, tropical fruity notes from the flesh. The result is a lovely melding of these two worlds, with the beer giving the drinker something new with every sip. Maracu-YES! is a draught-only release, so find a patio pouring it, and take your growler to the brewery this weekend!

2 Crows Brewing on Halifax’s Brunswick Street is continuing their summer of bottle releases, with Persica hitting the shelves tomorrow at noon. This Golden Sour beer started from a malt base of Pilsner malt, oats, spelt, wheat, and special aromatic malt in the tun, made a quick turn into the kettle, but did not receive any hops in the boil. After cooling, the wort was transferred directly into freshly-emptied peach brandy barrels, ready to impart their fuzzy fruity goodness. After fermenting and conditioning in the barrels for a total of 3 months, the beer was transferred to a tank, with a heavy addition of Organic dried peaches. After 2 more months to allow everything to be extracted from the fruit possible, the still (flat) beer was bottled with a touch of sugar and champagne yeast, and has spent the last two months carbing up. That’s quite the journey for this little beer, but now the wait is over! Peach comes through the beer in waves, on top of the lightly funky, tart, and bright base, reminiscent of fuzzy peaches candy. Bottles of the 6.5% ABV beer are available from noon tomorrow at the taproom, with one keg available for onsite pours (or in bottles, if you’d prefer).

Niche Brewing is releasing another new beer this week, a dry-hopped kettle sour that they’re calling Wander. Coming in at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU, it was hopped very lightly during the boil with two hops known for citrus and fruity character, Idaho 7 and Citra. After fermentation had completed, however, massive amounts of both varieties were used to dry hop, giving a powerful hop nose and flavor notes of tropical fruit and stone fruit along with a bit of dankness. Given that it’s quite tart, it’s a lovely palate cleanser and will no doubt make a great companion to food. Look for it on tap at The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Southside Shake, Graystone Brewing, Le BarBu and Laundromat Expresso Bar, and hopefully some other places as well.

Propeller Brewing keeps the new beers coming and coming, with a couple releases this week to help keep your thirsts satisfied, just in time for the weekend. Hypocrite American Stout ain’t your typical American Stout… it was fermented with the Norwegian Voss Kveik yeast. Brewed on Prop’s pilot system in collaboration with Peter Davis, winner of this year’s Everwood Homebrew Competition, the use of Kveik yeast adds an orange, citrus flavour to the beer, to go with the typical roasted characteristics seen in American Stouts. A very small batch that comes in at 6.1% ABV and 31 IBUs, it will be available for pints and flights at Prop’s tasting room, and will be pouring at tonight’s Cask Night, starting at 5 pm. There’s also a couple of kegs going to Battery Park, the Board Room Cafe, and Truro’s Nook and Cranny, in Davis’ hometown. 

Next up is Sabro Sour IPA, a 6.1% ABV kettle sour brewed with lots and lots of flaked oats to help give a smooth mouthfeel. While Sabro hops were indeed used in this beer, Mosaic was also used as a late-boil addition, and Galaxy was thrown into the dry-hop addition (along with the Sabro). Featuring a lactose addition in the boil to add a touch of sweetness, the hops provide plenty of tropical fruit aromas to this tart beer, and at just 10 IBUs, you don’t have to worry about any lingering bitterness. This one is the latest in their line of Gottingen Small Batch releases, which means draught-only, and should be available for growler fills at both Prop locations, and pints and flights in Halifax, as of 5PM today. 

There’s a brand new outdoor sidewalk patio at Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing, and what better way to celebrate than with a brand new beer to drink on it! Appropriately named Sidewalk Saison, the beer was brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, as well as equal amounts of oat, rye, and wheat. Some fresh lychee, tangerine peel, and cardamom were added to the boil; the wort was then fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast strain. This is a very light, easy-drinking brew (at just 3.8% ABV) that has the cardamom coming through prominently in the aroma, with “some slight Belgian funk, followed by some upfront acidity and a balance of citrus and spice”. Grab your seat on the sunny patio (the weekend looks quite nice) and order up a pint! 

Looks like Horton Ridge is keeping up their collaborating pace, as they’re latest team-effort beer, brewed with Annapolis Brewing, has been released this week. The beer is a 6.5% ABV NEIPA named Juicy Bits, and it was – of course – brewed with 100% Horton Ridge organic floor-malted malt. Hopped heavily (3 lbs/bbl) with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Idaho 7, this hazy beverage is very fruit-forward and juicy. Available in limited quantities only, at both taprooms. 

Today marks the third collaboration beer release that Tidehouse has brewed with Dartmouth’s Low Point Coffee, but this one is definitely a step away from the first two beers. Sidama is a Saison… probably not the first beer style you would think of to feature coffee, but stay with us, we’ll walk you through it. Brewed with a Pilsner malt base as well as additions of flaked oats, flaked wheat, and Vienna malt, there was also a touch of Pale Chocolate malt added (via sparging only) to add a “touch of orange colour” without extracting any chocolate flavours. The wort was hopped with Huell Melon and Motueka, and then fermented and allowed to condition since late May, until it was ready for the coffee addition. Speaking of the coffee, the beans (specifically, Green Ethiopia Tolima coffee beans) were first added to peach brandy barrels, and then extracted and lightly roasted at Halifax’s Java Blend. These beans were then made into a “very potent” cold brew, which the chaps at Tidehouse blended into the Saison before bottle conditioning. And now it’s ready! With notes of peaches, vanilla, and tropical fruit, there’s also plenty of malt character and some toasted oak in the background, along with a bit of citrus and honeydew from the hop additions. You can find it on tap at the brewery for pints and tasters, and there’s also bottles (both 340 mL and 650 mL) to purchase for takeaway. 

Charlottetown’s Upstreet has brought back a pair of seasonal favourites, perfect for enjoying outside amongst friends this weekend. First up is Rainbrew Strawberry Lavender Saison, released Monday to celebrate Pride PEI, and tomorrow’s parade through downtown Charlottetown. Featuring ingredients from all colours of the rainbow including Red strawberries, Orange and Yellow malts (all from Island Malt House in PEI), Green hops (wild hops from NB’s Moose Mountain), Blue water, and Purple Lavender. The resulting beer shows influence of the berries, flowers, and yeast, on a dry yet complex base. Grab a pint of this 5.5% ABV brew at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner today! Plus back on tap and in cans is Island Hopspitality, their annual ode to hops, this year focusing on Australia and New Zealand, thanks to Galaxy, Waimeau, and Wakatu in the boil and dry hop. Hazy, juicy, tropical, resinous, this is everything we’re looking for in a 6.5% ABV NEIPA this summer.

Port Rexton Brewing has released the second of their beers for the Port Rexton Come Home Year, celebrating 50 years of the town. Events continue this weekend, which can now be highlighted by Lamplighter, PRBC’s latest brew. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV, this beer is best described as a “craft lager”, sure to pique everyone’s taste buds. “With light floral notes and a smooth body, this easy-drinking beer is crisp, clean and super crushable!” It’s available right now in the taproom, as well as at the St. John’s Retail Shop (while supplies last).

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks is releasing the fourth installment in their series of Summer Seasonals this week, with a Witbier featuring blood orange and an unwieldy name. From Brussels with Blood: a Blood Orange Witbier is pretty much what it says on the tin: a wheat-laden beer with classic notes of coriander and orange peel, but also featuring some additional character, especially citrus, from additions of curaçao (a liqueur made with bitter orange peel) and, of course, blood orange (and a hefty dose at that). Look for aromas of orange peel, vanilla and even some bubblegum along with a pronounced citric tartness. At 5.0% ABV and only 15 IBU you can expect this one to be refreshing in the heat and especially well-paired with hearty foods. Although it’s been canned, it’s only available at the Nine Locks retail store, so you’ll need to get yourself to Dartmouth to grab some.

School has been out for 5 weeks now, but luckily for residents of Windsor, NS, Schoolhouse Brewery is still going strong. Their latest addition to their lineup, Early Dismissal, is a Kolsch that was fermented with a yeast strain “traditionally used in mostly wheat beers”, to 5.5% ABV. The beer was then aged at cool temperatures for four weeks after fermentation was complete, before packaging in kegs. Only available on tap, with the majority at the brewery’s taproom, they’re describing it as having a bready flavour with a “subtle but noticeable fruitiness” and a clean finish. 

What’s on the go this weekend, and beyond? Here’s what’s got us excited…

Unfiltered is turning four, and they’re celebrating tomorrow, July 27th, with a party, Unfiltered-style. What does that mean, you ask? Well, they’ll be pouring plenty of beer (including the return of both Daytimer and Front Line Rocker), with special prices, and lots of cursing throughout the event! Food will be available on-site from The Other Bean, and DJ Chris Toms will be spinning some tunes until they’re forced to shut ‘er down. They’ll even be taking over a portion of the parking lot, to take advantage of that beautiful weather. The fun starts at noon… don’t forget to bring your empty growlers!

Those Stillwell events just keep on comin’, with next Saturday, August 3rd being no exception, as they welcome Ontario’s Bellwoods to Halifax. One of the highest-rated breweries in the country, they’ll be taking over the taps (11) all day, and will also be bringing plenty of bottles for purchase to enjoy on-site. You know what that means –  lots of hoppy, sour, wild goodness… and more! A special menu from the kitchen will also be on hand to fill your eager tummies, and the next day they’ll be serving a selection of Bellwoods sour beers at the Stilly Beegarden, from noon to close. And check out Bishop’s Cellar that Saturday at 8 am; they’ll have some Bellwoods cans on hand for sale.

Tickets are still available for next weekend’s Down East Brew Festival, being held in downtown Fredericton. Taking over Carleton Street 4 – 8 PM August 3rd, breweries from across the province, as well as food trucks, will be serving their wares for thirst and hungry visitors. The accompanying Beer Run kicks off at 3 PM, so maybe you can work up a thirst to get the party started. Check out tickets here.

One of Saint John’s longest-running breweries, Big Tide, is turning the big 1-0 in a couple of weeks, and they’re holding a 10th Anniversary With a Purpose on Monday, August 5th. The small, ticketed event will occur from 7:30 pm – 9 pm, and will feature a tasting of a number of BT beers, with the brewers also in attendance to provide details and answer questions on each. The kitchen will also be providing a selection of finger foods, and your $20 ticket entitles you to a commemorative souvenir. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Bobby’s Hospice; call the brewery today to reserve yours at 506-214-3311 (you can also purchase them directly at the brewpub). 

On August 9th and 10th, the Halifax Seaport Cider and Beer Fest will once again be taking over the Cunard Centre, and pouring beers and ciders from across the world to attendees. With most Nova Scotian breweries in attendance, plus 20 from New Brunswick and PEI, the Maritimes’ producers will be well represented. Guest beer from the rest of the country, and afar, will also be in full supply, including a delegacy from Iceland braving the Atlantic to attend. The Maine Brewers Guild is sending the Maine Beer Box to the event, featuring 78 taps of beer from our closest state. Grab your tickets here!

Before we let you go, just a few Newsbites for ya:

Gahan House in Charlottetown is pouring a new creation from the brewpub, German Hefeweizen (4.7% ABV, 20 IBUs). Medium-bodied with “aromas of fruit and phenols, leading into a pillowy mouthfeel with notes of banana, clove, bubblegum, and a slight yeast finish”. 

Good Robot has a fresh batch of their El Corazón de Ángel (a Mexican Lager w/ orange peel and lime zest) on tap, and will soon be pouring a collaboration they brewed with Graystone Brewing, Outdoorsy Brut IPA (7.2% ABV, 25 IBUs). Described as “herbal and light”, you can also find it on tap at Graystone’s taproom in Fredericton. And pick up their El Espinazo del Diablo Corn Lager with lime and jalapenos at your local NSLC, and check their Facebook and Instagram pages for a contest they’re currently running.

Hilltop Hops in Newport, NS, is pouring a pair of new beers this weekend, perfect for a hot summer’s day. Smash is a 4.6% ABV light and crisp beer brewed with their 215 hops, old growth hops planted by English settlers, growing in nearby Summerville. And Hill Top Saison weighs in at 4.1% ABV, and while it can be described as hoppy (naturally!), it’s light on bitterness with more fruity character. Pop by their taproom right beside Tidal Bore market on Highway 14!

Microbrasserie Houblon-Pecheur has just bottled their latest beer, Balbuzard Pêcheur IPA (6% ABV). They’re describing it as an East Coast IPA with “big tropical fruit flavour and aroma”. Looks like it’s currently available at the Caraquet, Tracadie, and Shippagan ANBL stores, with others to follow in the fall.

Tatamagouche Brewing has a pair of returning favourite this week, the first being their Englishish Golden Ale, a 4.5% ABV brew perfect for a session in your favourite local. English hops bring out traditional earthy, floral, and spicy aromatics, and make it a nice pair to pub food. Also returning, and now available on their online store for shipping Canada-wide, is Feronia. This 5.1% ABV beer is fermented solely with Brettanomyces (a blend of three strains, in fact), and was aged on Organic plums before bottle conditioning for a melding of dark fruit and funky yeast character, all in a lovely package. 750 mL bottles can also be found at Bishop’s Cellar as of today.

TrailWay has brought back their extremely popular DDH Hu Jon Hops (6.5% ABV), the double-dry-hopped (you figured that out already, didn’t you?) version of their flagship IPA, HJH. Brewed only once a year, it’s hoppiness dialed to 11, with “flavours of pineapple, overripe tropical fruit, and citrus, with a firm, spicy, dank backbone”. On tap and in cans at the brewery, with a few local pubs getting kegs as well.

Howdy howdy folks, and welcome to another ACBeerBlog Friday Wrap-up where we blather on at length about as many of the beer happenings in Atlantic Canada as we were able to get details about. This week we’ve got a new brewery announcement, some collabs, the usual fresh releases, and a couple of events to tell you about, so grab a beer and get ready. But before you read further, we’d like to give you a heads-up that next week we’ll be taking one of our (ultra-)rare weeks off from the blog, so you’ll have to do your own social media mining for beer news on Friday, July 19. We’ll be back on the 26th, refreshed and ready to bring you our usual high quality reportage.

While details are a bit light at the moment, we are thrilled to share news of a soon-to-open brewery coming to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Delta Force Brewing is the culmination of well over a decade of recipe development and perfection of techniques by decorated homebrewers Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart. Concentrating on “farmshed” beers (think “farmhouse”, but smaller and with a local bent), Delta Force will serve the Valley and HRM before fall. Follow along on their social mediums for progress ( Fb / Ig / Tw ), and we’ll have a full Profile with Keddy and Stewart (aka Alexander and McCoy) closer to opening, with background on their beer, brewhouse, and plans. 

Lake City Cider celebrated their Anniversary this week, marking their cidery and taproom’s first year of operation with a tap takeover at fellow downtown Dartmouth business Battery Park. One of the ciders ahem beverages debuting yesterday was Hometown Hybrid, a collaborative graf brewed with North Brewing. Graf (or graff) is the melding of beer and cider, with the starting wort and juices fermented together for the best of both styles. Hometown Hybrid is a 5.0% ABV bevvie, and is available on tap and in cans today at both host fermentories, with kegs being sent out to licensees as well. And if you’re lucky, there may still be a few ciders on tap at BP to quench your thirst today.

Speaking of downtown Dartmouth, Brightwood Brewery shares a space with Lake City at 35 Portland Street, and is releasing a new beer today, a hybrid in its own way. Pineapple Crushable is a Sour Wheat Beer, but arrived at in a unique way. Using techniques developed a couple of years ago, the Brightwood crew used a SCoBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)  from Pop Culture Kombucha to first sour the wheat-heavy wort, before halting the process by boiling (and killing all bacteria and yeast). Yeast is then used to complete fermentation, generating alcohol instead of lactic acid as in the first step. After fermentation, loads of fresh pureed pineapple and Idaho 7 and Simcoe hops were added to the fermenter to round out the beer. Pick up this tart, fruity, and refreshing 4.7% ABV beer at the brewery’s taproom today for pints and growler fills, with cans to follow next week.

Last weekend’s Beer on the Bridge festival in Fredericton saw the debut of several new beers, one of which was the latest to come out of Harvey’s Think Brewing. Train of Thought is an American IPA brewed with a grist that includes flaked oats, and malted and flaked wheat, giving the beer a smooth body and slight haziness. Hopped with Citra and Amarillo, expect juicy and tropical aromas and flavours. No need to be upset if you missed this 6.9% ABV, 43 IBUs beer last weekend – it’ll be popping up at regular Think tap accounts across the province.

Tatamagouche Brewing, conveniently located located on Main Street Tatamagouche (that was good planning!), has a new brew out this week. Holiday Honeycomb is a 5.5% ABV Blonde Ale with all malts originating from the Valley’s Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. Featuring the addition of 60 lbs of honey (20 lbs in the kettle, 40 lbs in secondary) from Holiday Inn Truro’s hives, the beer was hopped with Saaz to 25 IBUs. Grab this one on tap at the brewery, partner hotel, and at better beer spots around the province (including Horton Ridge, Battery Park, Stillwell, and HopYard Halifax).

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has spent the last few months releasing new and interesting things for you to drink and they’re continuing that trend this week with their Brut Rosé Sparkling Ale. This one has been inspired by classic light and easy summery rosé wines, perfect for this time of year. A “sparkling ale” (which we assume means more highly carbonated than your average ale), it carries the brut designation, implying a very dry body and finish, and a blush color provided by pinot noir grapes and hibiscus. Very light and refreshing at 4.4% ABV and a mere 8 IBU, limited kegs have been filled for Propeller’s own locations and, most likely, licensees around the city, but it’s also been packaged in 473 mL cans, which you can pick up at both Prop shops and hopefully the private stores in the city.

No one has ever accused Big Spruce Brewing of a lack of experimentation… or, if they have, they likely received a well-deserved smack! But with their latest beer, Slam Dunkel, they’ve even got us admitting that the “style” is one that likely hasn’t been seen before: a “Jamaican rum-barrel-aged Dunkel Wit”. This 7.3% ABV brew has a Dunkelweizen-type grist, fermented with a Witbier yeast strain. Aged for five months in dark rum barrels from Jamaica, the final beer has an aroma of chocolate-spiced rum cake, with lots of dried fruit and spice on the palate… and more rum! A touch warming in the finish, as you may expect, this dark beer is meant to be sipped on during these fine summer evenings. It’s available in kegs only, so look for it on tap at the brewery and a select few tap accounts in Nova Scotia. And in returning beer news for Big Spruce, their organic guava IPA, Guava Get Me Some (6.4% ABV), is back on tap and in cans, so grab some tropical goodness wherever you see it.

Moving westward to Amherst, where Trider’s has a brand new beer for you fans of American Wheat Ales out there. American Orange in Paris isn’t your typical wheat beer, however, as it was dry-hopped with the French variety, Triskel. While this hop is known for imparting citrus and floral character when used, the brewery decided to add a bit more punch with an addition of sweet orange peel. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, it was fermented with a neutral American ale yeast to allow the hop and orange peel additions to shine. It’s draught-only for now, at the brewery tap room and maybe one or two lucky licensees.

Up in Fredericton, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go this week, the first to be designed and brewed solo by Matt Scott, secret squirrel member of the Niche team for the past few months (but not anymore!). Westfalia is a straight-up, classic Hefeweizen built on a grist of Pilsner and lots of malted and flaked wheat and fermented on Niche’s favorite Weizen yeast strain. Look for plenty of banana and clove presence from the yeast and a classic wheat-driven body in this 4.5% ABV refresher. Kegs of this are going out to The Joyce, Ringo’s Grill, Peppers Pub, Brasseux BrouePub, and Graystone Brewing in New Brunswick, and folks in Halifax will also get a chance at this one thanks to Stillwell and The Auction House.

While it kinda feels like Port Rexton Brewing just opened yesterday, it also feels like they’ve been around forever. That’s probably just old age talking, but regardless of that, they’re turning the big 0-3 this Saturday, and you’re probably not too surprised to hear that they’ve got some celebratin’ planned! With four new beers, new glassware, and free cake – at both the taproom AND St. John’s retail shop – it’s fun times for all, guaranteed! Let’s dive into these beers and get started…

John Jacob Lichtenhainer Schmidt – Brewed with a portion of smoked malt, this is a 4.1% ABV sour beer that has “a limeade tartness” to contrast all of that delightful, smoky BBQ character

Dry-Hopped Baycation Blonde – Name gives it away, this is their regular Baycation Blonde that has been dry-hopped with Cascade and Azacca. The 5.2% ABV base beer is showing plenty of “grapefruit, peach, stone fruit and pineapple” thanks to that dry-hop addition, along with a little more bitterness than the non-dry-hopped version. 

Continuum w/ Mandarina Bavaria – The latest in the Continuum series, a whole whack of Mandarina Bavaria (along with some Simcoe) was added in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry hop additions. Hazy, bitter, and 5.6% ABV, this IPA has notes of mandarin orange and wildflower in the aroma, along with “tropical mango/pineapple, apricot and rose” on the palate. 

2019 High Fives – Some of you may recall that for their 2nd birthday bash, PRB released High Fives as a tribute to their customers (that’s you!); this year’s batch is another “thank you” to the people they love and appreciate! A mixed-fermentation Farmhouse Ale that was aged for 11 months in their Calvados foeder on their Brett-packed house culture, it’s finally ready, just in time! Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, it’s showing lots of Brett character, with “undertones of oak, apple brandy, and pear” in the aroma. Expect a dry cider-like experience in the flavour, with “Champagne-esque vibes backed up by green apple Jolly Rancher/kiwi/green grape skin”.  

All of these birthday beers will be available on tap, and will be sold as 12 oz pours only… at a discount! If you get there nice and early, however (i.e. you’re one of the first 40 people through the door), you’ll be given a special 16 oz PRB birthday mason jar, which you’ll not only be allowed to take home, but you’ll also have filled at the 12 oz price all day! When the birthday brews sell out, there’ll be other PRB flagships ready to go on, to ensure the beer/fun keeps flowing. Happy birthday, PRB!

Earlier this week, Maybee Brewing released the second beer in their barrel-aged series, Maple Bourbon Elevensies. As you may have guessed from the name, this beer is their regular Espresso Stout, Elevensies, aged in Maple Bourbon barrels (more specifically, Kentucky Bourbon barrels which previously held Vermont maple syrup). The beer was fermented in stainless, then moved into barrels where it went through a brief, secondary fermentation, and then was allowed to age in the barrels for seven months. Carbonated before packaging, this dark brew has aromas of maple syrup, Bourbon, and vanilla, with a touch of chocolate and caramel, all supported by notes of oak. Both the oak and maple carry through to the flavour, with a low level of carbonation allowing the barrel character to be more prevalent. At 6% ABV and 41 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery right now in 750 mL cork & cage bottles, and is also pouring on one of their nitro taps. Look for kegs to make their way to select tap accounts across NB over the coming weeks.

Brand new bottle release from Halifax’s Tidehouse this week, a 7.5% ABV Double IPA named It Was All A Dream. A tropical, juicy brew hopped heavily with El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Ella, it’s available exclusively at the brewery. You can purchase some 650 mL bottles to go, or stay for a visit in the taproom and sip on a glass. Growler fills are available as well, but limited to the 1 L size.

Congratulations are in order, as homebrewer Derek Woods’ winning D Rock Dunkel has been released. Gahan House in Charlottetown hosted Woods as he won the Maritime Home Brew Challenge in the fall, with his 5.7% ABV Dunkel taking top honours. Woods reports that the experience was great, and “Brewmaster Trent Hayes let me get my hands dirty on brew day and the Gahan team gave me a healthy dose of Island hospitality”. Cans of the brew are currently available at the host brewery in Charlottetown, as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom, and the three Gahan locations in New Brunswick (Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton). Fingers crossed that it will also be available at the Nova Centre location soon. And if you want the chance to brew up a full batch with Hayes in 2020, check out the details of this year’s Challenge, submitting your best IPA (any style), Mixed Fermented/Sour, or Stout by October 27th. Check out their website for more information.

And speaking of homebrewers, and those looking to transition away from amateur brewing and making it a career, The Capital Complex in Fredericton is adding a 4 BBL (500 litre) brewhouse to their portfolio. Take a look at their Assistant Brewer job posting on Indeed, package up some of your homebrews to share. They are focusing on easy-drinking Pale Ales to start, with expansion of the offerings to come later.

We don’t have a whole lot of events to report on this week, or at least we didn’t manage to find out about a whole lot, but as always, check your favorite breweries’ social media pages to see what they’ve got going on.

We’re a little late to be mentioning this one, as online ticket sales have ended, but this weekend marks the 3rd edition of the Big Axe Beer Festival in Nackawic, NB. Billed as the largest outdoor beer festival in Atlantica Canada, it’s taking place near the World’s Biggest Axe on the shores of the Saint John River. Taking place tomorrow, July 13th, from 4 PM (gates open at 2 PM), attendees are welcome to roll on up via the river, by car, or by one of the several buses they’ve got running from Fredericton, Woodstock, Saint John/Quispamsis, and Moncton. More than 35 producers, mostly of beer and cider, but with some mead as well, will be pouring, with representation from all Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the State of Maine. Tickets are still available for the Friday Night Kickoff Party featuring Denum tonight starting at 6 PM.

Thanks to the brewers in our region, we in Atlantic Canada can celebrate the IPA style all year round, but as some may know, there has been a movement, started by Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co. in 2011, to designate the first Thursday in August as International IPA Day. This year #IPADay falls on August 1 and Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has decided to celebrate it in style at The Carleton in Halifax. Chef Dolente will be on-hand introducing his five-course dinner menu paired with five unique beers in the India Pale Ale style from Propeller, with beer sommelier Pat Robichaud providing insight into the pairings. Only 20 tickets are available for this intimate dinner, so if you’re interested it’s best that you act quickly; cost is $60 per person plus tax (gratuity included) and tickets can be purchased online on The Carleton website.

And, as is our wont, we end with a few final items to inform and possibly influence your beer buying this weekend:

Good Robot is pouring Nova Scoby at their taproom this weekend, which is a blend of Pale Ale with Goodmore’s Black Sage Lavender Kombucha. At 4% ABV and 14 IBUs, it’s refreshing and easy-drinking… and maybe good for your belly!

Grimross has brought back Grimdonk (6.5% ABV, 17 IBUs), their award-winning (from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards) Belgian Blonde. “Golden, crisp and dry, with balanced fruity and spicy notes”, it’s available now on draft and in cans at the brewery, with cans heading out to ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future. 

As a follow-up to last week’s mention of Dream Time, the DIPA collaboration between Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl, Landwash is pleased to announce the release of the version of that beer that they brewed on their system, packaged in cans. Look for it at the brewery as soon as they can get the labels on to ‘em!

And on the West Coast of the Rock, Secret Cove Brewing is releasing Newfoundland Light & Sour, a 3.8% ABV Berliner Weisse with loads of local Marsh Berries. Grab a pint or fill at the brewery in Port Au Port, and you may be lucky enough to see it in Central or the Avalon too!

The weather has certainly taken a turn for the better this week, with patios and beer gardens open more than closed this week! The final couple days of PEI Craft Beer Week are upon us, with events at all 8 Island breweries (no, not 5, PEILCC!), so let’s kick off the week with the latest news from the Fair Isle.

PEI’s Upstreet has been in operation now for close to four years; Gahan, originating and still operating on the Island, for much longer. It’s taken awhile, but the two have finally come together to brew their first collaboration beer, and they’re hoping you will find it worth the wait! Appropriately named, About Time was brewed with Pilsner, raw wheat, and rye in the grist. Hopped (and dry-hopped) with Czech Saaz and Kazbeck, as well as Cascade, it was fermented with a Brettanomyces blend, as well as a Kveik strain. The hazy, yellow beer finished at 5% ABV and 19 IBUs, and has aromas of “fresh hops, lemon zest, fresh mown grass, and undertones of wet hay”, with lots of herbal spice and citrus in the flavour. This one will be available only on tap; you can find it at Upstreet and the Craft Beer Corner, as well as Gahan locations…

In even more Gahan/PEI Brewing Co. news, it looks like they’re releasing another in the series of their bottled Brett beers; you may remember Patience, a dry-hopped Saison with Brett, which was originally released a couple of years ago. Their latest beer, Persistence, follows the same line – it’s also a dry-hopped Saison with Brett – although it definitely has its differences! Persistence was fermented entirely with Brettanomyces (Patience had Brett added for a secondary fermentation) and features a dry hop with a very large amount of Citra. Look for notes of tropical fruit and light funky character in this 6.0% ABV high carb, dry beer. Bottles are available now at the PEIBC and Gahan shops, and at several PEILCC locations across the province. And this week is the kick-off of their Growlers of Summer series of beers, special brews only available at the PEI Brewing Company and Beer Station at the North River Causeway for growler fills, natch. This week’s release is Margarita Gose, a 5.2% ABV beer that was originally released about a year ago. Tart and salty, this take on a Gose has an addition of tequila-soaked lime and orange zest. Crisp and refreshing, grab your growler(s) at the PEIBC taproom starting today at 4pm, or at the North River Causeway.

Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing has a brand new kettle sour hitting taps and shelves starting today, just in time for a sunny weekend (kinda). Blueberry Sour was brewed with a simple grist of 2-row (from PEI’s own Island Malt House) and a healthy percentage of wheat malt. Soured with Lactobacillus, and hopped very lightly with Centennial, an addition of over 100 kg of wild blueberry puree (from local Terry’s Berries) is what gives this aptly-named beer its bright purple colour. Lots of blueberry in the flavour, the tartness helps the 5% ABV brew from being too sweet. Grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery today; it should follow at a few PEILCC stores later on in the summer.

Turning to the latest Island Brewery, Bogside Brewing has been welcoming visitors for the past week, serving up some authentic low and slow BBQ thanks to Chef Dave Mottershall (including Pork2BeerFest from 4:00 PM today!). While they’ve been waiting for their beer to be ready, they’ve had a variety of Island ciders and beers on tap. Well, your patience will soon be rewarded, as the final pieces of their serving equipment is almost onsite, which means you’ll soon be able to enjoy Brewer Mark Patriquin’s brews. Keep an eye on their social media (Fb/IG/Tw) for the release details, but you’ll be able to their Session IPA, Hefeweizen, and Brown Ale within the next week, and we’ll have a full Profile with them early next week.

Big Spruce has never been a brewery accused of lack of experimentation, and they’re keeping that up with the latest entry in their experimental hop series of IPAs. This 7.9% ABV brew is named Makes ¢¢¢¢ (considering the first beer in the series was simply named $$$$, you shouldn’t be too surprised!), and features the experimental hop HBC-644 (don’t worry, if the variety catches on it’ll eventually have a much sexier name). The final product is showing plenty of apricot and nectarine in the aroma, with “notes of ripe mango and summer strawberry”, and some pink grapefruit zest on the palate, all with a piney finish. Considering the enthusiasm from beer drinkers for $$$$, this one has a lot to live up to, and it sounds like it may have accomplished that feat! Judge for yourselves… swing by Big Spruce for a taste/growler, or check out one of their many licensees if you’re not in the Cape Breton area.

Couple new beers coming your way this week and next from Good Robot, the first being their collaboration with the Anchor City Rollers, Thick Thighs Save Lives. This American Pale Ale comes in at 5.3% ABV and 39 IBUs, and is described by the brewery as “superbly crushable, with a great bracing bitterness”. Next week’s release is another collaboration, this one with a brewery, and a brewery that pretty much all of us will recognize – Quebec’s Trou du Diable. Beelzebot! Is another APA, but brewed with an addition of spruce tips straight outta Shawinigan (TdD’s home town), and fermented with a Kveik yeast strain. The beer is tasting fruity, with a good amount of spruce popping through in the aroma. It comes in at 6.66% ABV and 47 IBUs; you’ll have to pop by the source (read: Good Robot) to give it a try.

Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing is bringing back their very popular La Saison du Nord Saison, but have made some changes to the yeast and hops to switch up the beer. Released to celebrate the lobster fishers in Northern NB, this version of the Saison still weighs in at 7.0% ABV, but features the New World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs, which contains both Sacc and Brett. After fermentation was completed, the beer was dry-hopped with European Saaz and New Zealand Motueka. The resultant beer is a true blend of the contribution from the yeast, malt, and hops, with fruity, funky, spicy, and earthy notes, on a dry beer with plenty of refreshing zip. Grab it on tap at Euston Park Social Beer Garden and CAVOK Brewing.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock is back in action in their Halifax Test Kitchen with a couple of new beers to tell you about, one on tap now and one in the works. Already pouring at Local Source is Shoreline SMaSH, a 5% Pale Ale. By now most dedicated blog readers already know that a “SMaSH” is a “single malt and single hop” beer that shows off the best of both. In this case the grist is composed entirely of malt from PEI’s Shoreline Malting Company; the hop is the grandaddy of American hop varieties, Cascade, known for its citrus, floral, and spicy character (sourced from Ontario’s Clear Valley Hops). You’ll find this one a pleasant and easy-drinking brew with low bitterness and a full mouthfeel, perfect for outdoor drinking on a warm day in late spring. The beer yet to come was inspired and co-brewed by Halifax beer writer Kim Hart Macneill. A Belgian Blonde Ale with peaches, it sounds perfect for patio drinking if summer ever comes. We expect to have more details about this one closer to its release, but for now the folks at Boxing Rock are appealing for name suggestions for this one. Slide into their social media DMs to give them your best ideas that aren’t “Peachy Keen.”

Another week with a new Shipwright beer release (that’s at least a few in a row, no?), a West Coast IPA named after one of many British ships carrying the first IPAs to England, HMS Hop Bombay. Hopped heavily with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe, expect obvious notes of grapefruit and pine throughout, with a firm bitterness to finish it all off. Grab pints and growlers (and crowlers!) of this 6.6% ABV, 60 IBUs IPA at the brewery this weekend; you can also likely find it on tap at the local The Grand Banker.

Twillingate is known around Newfoundland as one of the best places in Iceberg Alley to spot bergs. While there, you will most definitely need to stay hydrated, which means a visit to Split Rock Brewing is certainly in order. They are kicking off their summer sour series this week with their Sour Patch B’ys: Mosaic. This 3.4% ABV kettle sour has a medium acidity, with plenty of tropical fruit (think pineapple and mango) from the generous dry-hopping of Mosaic. They also have a pair of new IPA on tap these days, both worth checking out while in the taproom. Skipper D’s is a 6.8% ABV IPA, featuring Cascade and Amarillo hops, used heavily both late in the boil and in dry-hopping, concentrating on flavour and aroma notes, rather than bitterness. And celebrating the impromptu Sunday jam session that often fills the taproom, Sunday Session IPA is a 4.3% ABV light IPA with plenty of late Chinook, Citra, and Mosaic hops for pine, mango, and citrus character. Grab your guitar, mandolin, or squeeze box, and pop by for a session!

Let’s get you up to speed with what’s on the go this weekend…

The Inaugural PEI Craft Beer Week is entering its final weekend, which saw all of the breweries in the province taking part in the celebration of beer releases and events. Today, Bogside is celebrating Pork2BeerFest from opening at 4:00 PM, Copper Bottom is celebrating their Sour Blueberry release, Evermoore is hosting live music and continues their Island Tap Takeover, Gahan is holding PEI Tap Takeovers with guest taps gracing their draught all day, PEIBC is hosting a Cask & Comedy event starting at 7:00 PM, and Upstreet is celebrating with an Island Tap Takeover, as well as debuting this year’s release of Go Devil IPA. Saturday sees multiple live music events at the taprooms around the province, giving you yet another excuse to get out and visit. Check the details on the PEICBW site! And celebrating the end of the week, Moth Lane Brewing is releasing a new Pale Ale named Last Kick at the Can on Sunday. Look for more details from their Facebook page.

If you’re in the environs of Pleasantville on Saturday, June 8th, and you like a bit of cidery goodness, you could do worse than grabbing a ticket for the Newfoundland Ciderfest. Brought to you by the same folks behind the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival and taking place at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 56, Pleasantville. Doors open at 7:00 PM and inside you’ll find 45 ciders from 14 producers, both big and small, old and new, from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, BC, and Denmark. Tickets are $65 plus taxes and fees, and include all your tasting samples, an event passport, live entertainment, and a tasting glass to take home. Food will also be available for purchase. Grab a ticket online and get your cider on.

Halifax’s The Carleton has another entry in their Craft Draught Showdown series of friendly beer pairing competitions coming up on Thursday, June 13th, at 7:00pm. As always, you’ll get 5 courses from The Carleton’s Chef Michael Dolente, each paired with two 4 oz pours, one from each of two breweries. Diners will vote on which beers they enjoyed the most and at the end of the night a winner will be announced. This edition of the event will feature two breweries from Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Mahone Bay’s Saltbox and Liverpool’s Hell Bay. Tickets for the event are $60 + tax ($69 all-in) and include gratuity; they’re available online from the event page on The Carleton’s website, which also includes information about the dishes that will be served.

Those who were excited to read about the NL Ciderfest above but were lamenting being in Halifax instead of St. John’s need not fret too much, as there’s a similar event coming up more locally. The Curated Guide is presenting their 3rd annual East Coast Ciderfest next weekend, Saturday, June 15th, at the Halifax Forum Multi-purpose Centre. Two sessions are scheduled, afternoon and evening, but if you haven’t got your tickets already you’ll want to act quickly, as the evening session (6 – 9 PM)  is officially sold out and the afternoon session (1 – 4 PM) is already at 90%! Tickets (available online through the link above) are $35 plus taxes and fees (another $6.25) and include 12 sample tickets and a tasting glass to take home, with additional tickets and food available for purchase on-site. There will be ciders pouring from 19 different Nova Scotia producers as well as a couple from New Brunswick as well. Designated Driver tickets are $10 and are available at the door.

Have you been keeping tabs on the new brewery and tap room build by North Brewing on Portland Street in Dartmouth? We know we have. But somehow it slipped by us (and maybe you too) that, in the grand tradition of Dartmouth, they’ve built themselves a Cold Beer Store!! Scheduled to open next weekend, official hours will be Wednesdays to Sundays, 12 – 7 PM. To celebrate this fabulous development they’ve got a big celebration going on next Saturday, June 15th. Starting at noon will be a BBQ fundraiser for Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum featuring hot dogs and veggie dogs from North friend and partner Side Hustle Snackbar (which will be opening onsite later in the summer). Since it’s Father’s Day that weekend, they’ll be bringing in a bouncy castle from 12 – 3 PM that will be free of charge so you can let the kids run out some energy while you grab a hot dog and your beer-to-go. North would love to have their new neighbours in the area stop by and see what they’re all about, as well as friends and fans from around HRM and beyond. But wait, there’s MORE!! What better way to celebrate the opening of a cold beer store than by releasing a new beer for folks to buy? We do Helium, Lighter Than Air is an ultralight ale weighing in at only 3.5% ABV, with Pilsner malt and flaked corn in the grist and a bright element from lemon and lime zest. This will be a full release, with cans available on Saturday at both the new spot as well as their retail counter at Battery Park on Ochterloney, as well as draught around the city. Congrats to the North Brewing team on this latest development and we look forward to even more good times when the Tap Room is finished!

Just a few more new and returning beers this weekend.

Grimross has brought back their Bishop Belgian IPA, which will be available at the brewery in cans and on tap starting today. This 6% ABV, 50 IBUs brew is hopped and dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc, Mandarina Bavaria, and Amarillo; expect spicy phenolics in addition to pineapple, orange, resin, and bubblegum.

Niche has a new batch of their Day Tripper back in circulation, a Belgian Tripel at 8.4% ABV that’s hopped with the classic noble hop Saaz. Look for spicy phenolics, fruity esters, and a dry finish to go along with a little bit of alcohol warmth. This one is being sent out to tap accounts in New Brunswick only at this point.

Tatamagouche Brewing knows how to time a beer release, as they’re re-releasing Cellar Slammer (4.4% ABV), arguably one of the finest Session IPAs brewed in our region. Hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic, giving lots of juicy citrus flavours, it’s refreshing and delicious, and extremely drinkable. Did we mention delicious?

Tuskets Falls Brewing is currently pouring an “Experimental IPA” at the brewery; we’re light on the details, but we can tell you it’s a 6.4% ABV NEIPA with lemon and lime rind added. If you’re nearby the brewery, you can stop in to give it a try this weekend!