Gahan House (Fredericton)

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Howdy folks, we know you’re probably looking for something to pass the time at work when there’s nothing to do because half your office took Friday off for an extended long weekend. Well you’ve come to the right place, this is a long one (for the sake of the trees we don’t recommend printing it out). Whether you call it May 2-4, May Long, or Victoria Day Weekend, here’s all the beer info you need to know for your long weekend and into next week.

• Let’s start things off with North Brewing, who are celebrating the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference (happening next week in Halifax) in a very big way – they’ve teamed up with breweries (and a yeast lab!) throughout the country, and are releasing five (5!) new beers. There’s no easy or quick way to get through all these, and we think they deserve the attention we’re giving them, so let’s dive right in…

Aries – A long time coming, this is the first time North and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for an official beer release, and it sounds like it was worth the wait! This one features a “delicate Saison base”, which after brewing was aged in Tempranillo red wine barrels for six months, with a pitch of Belgian Sour Blend (four Brettanomyces strains, four Lactobacillus, and two Pediococcus) from Escarpment Labs. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s coming through as “lightly vinous with notes of tropical fruit, melon, berries, and a nice Brett funk”. 5.4% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles, with half going to each brewery for sales.

Hapi – This Berliner Weisse was brewed with Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing; soured with Escarpment Labs Lactobacillus Blend (L. brevis and L. plantarum), it was fermented with Brett Q (also from Escarpment), a rising-in-popularity B. bruxellensis strain isolated “from a barrel-aged sour beer from Quebec”, known for giving notes of “ripe strawberry, pear, and apple, with an underlying funk”, according to Escarpment. Conditioned in the bottle, expect it to be light, citrusy, and refreshing (like all good Berliner Weisses should be!). 3.7% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles.

Chrysomallon – With all of the yeast and bacteria they provide to North, it’s only fair that Escarpment Labs gets their own collab, no? This one is a Witbier fermented with their “Fruity Witbier” strain, and conditioned on locally-foraged and dried goldenrod from East Coast Wild Foods. “Citrusy, herbaceous, and refreshing”, easy-drinking at just 4.1% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Caltha – Heading back west, this is a Grisette brewed with Ale Architect, a brand new brewery in Edmonton. Fermented with Escarpment’s “Old World Saison” Blend (two “classic” Saison strains), the finished beer was conditioned on dried rosehips and calendula (a member of the marigold family) from World Tea House. “Tart, floral, and delicate”, super-drinkable at 3.8% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Njörðr – Yep, we copied and pasted the name of this one! Brewed with the wonderful Four Winds Brewing from Delta, BC, this is a Nordic Farmhouse-style beer, fermented with Escarpment’s “Hornindal Kveik” Blend. This is a beer style that is fermented very warm (we’re talking 25 degrees and beyond) to achieve complete attenuation, and Njörðr actually underwent a secondary fermentation with locally-foraged sea buckthorn juice and berries from East Coast Wild Foods and Newell’s Jewels, and was finally conditioned on camomile. This beauty has been bottle conditioning for a spell in 500 mL bottles, and come in at 5.2% ABV.

All five of these beers will be pouring at the Coast to Coast Tap Takeover at Battery Park from 11:30AM – 6PM Thursday May 24 (and then BP will close for an Industry Night event), and in bottles and cans at both that Dartmouth location, as well as their home on Agricola Street in Halifax at opening the same day. The colourful label designs are courtesy of local artist John Newgard. Filling out the 16 taps will be another 11 Escarpment-flavoured collaborations, several of which are with local breweries, but there will also be lots from further afield, including Toronto’s Blood Brothers.

• Also pouring at Battery Park on the 24th is Tatamagouche’s Edel Saison. If that name sounds familiar, pat yourself on the back! First released in Fall 2017 as a draught-only, stainless-fermented Saison, this release received a little extra time and care to bring it to fruition. Partnering up with the Escarpment crew for the yeast blend of Saison origin and Brettanomyces, this light beer had a malt bill of mostly Pils with raw wheat and raw rye, and was hopped to 20 IBUs with Strisselspalt, which was what was available in the fall. This current release featured a portion of that original brew aged for an additional 5 months in Spanish Tempranillo barrels after blending with Muscat grape must. The resultant dry, fruity, and funky beer has been bottle conditioning since February, and will be available for purchase only at their storefront in Tatamagouche beginning Thursday (beside the very few kegs at Battery Park and elsewhere in HRM).

• Not to be outdone by North’s CBA bounty, Halifax’s 2 Crows also clearly put some serious effort into welcoming the country’s brewers with four new beers of their own, each also being a collaboration brew. Here’s the details on all four beers that are slated for release:

All In – The East Coast swing by Escarpment Labs naturally included a stop in Halifax’s home for wayward fermentation organisms. A 5.0% ABV foedre-aged Wild Saison featuring a grist of Pilsner, chit malt, raw wheat and malted wheat, it was hopped gently in the boil to 17 IBU with Sterling and Simcoe hops before being fermented in foedre with a crazy concoction of yeast and bugs – Escarpment’s Fruit Bomb Saison strain, which itself contains both a saison-appropriate Sacchromyces strain along with two varieties of Brettanomyces, a hop-tolerant strain of Lactobacillus, and “probably a few other yeast thrown in there too.” This microbe stew chewed away at the beer for some 5 months in foedre before a transfer to stainless and a light dry hop with Loral. The beer walks the line between old world and new world with a “rustic earthiness and light herbal character” but you can also expect some citrus and stone fruit.

Vic Wild – Continuing the trend of including suppliers in the brewing fun, 2 Crows produced this beer with help from representatives from hop supplier Hops Connect. Known for their focus on quality and freshness, they’re also known as the source for many sought after Australian hop varieties; this beer reflects that, as well as 2 Crows tendency towards funky fermentation. Brewed with Ireks Pilsner and Wheat malts (also sourced through Hops Connect), this beer was kettle hopped solely in the whirlpool, with a bit of Ella and a whole lot of Vic Secret. It was then fermented warm with the Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation blend of Brett strains, with two large dry hops of Vic Secret, one during active fermentation, one after. Described as a “funky hop bomb” look for passionfruit, pineapple and a hint of pine in this extremely quaffable 5.0% ABV and 11 IBU beer. Only about 1000 liters were made and 600 cans packaged, so be quick or be disappointed on this one.

Good Air – Again leveraging their big wooden barrels, this beer was a collaboration with Block Three Brewing out of St. Jacob’s, Ontario (just north of Waterloo), that was fermented in foedre. Starting with raw buckwheat, which was cereal mashed for conversion, Pilsner, flaked barley, and some rye malt were added before a multiple step mash was undertaken to produce the sweet wort. During the boil, Golding, Sterling and Hallertau Blanc hops were added to the tune of 15 IBU and, we suspect, some flavor and aroma. The yeast in this one was harvested from a bottle of Coalesce Brewing’s Foreward and a touch of hop-tolerant Lactobacillus. After four months in the foedre, the beer was transferred to stainless steel tanks for final treatment with a dry hop of Azacca and Huell Melon before packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer that is earthy and rustic with a slight tartness, big pineapple and orchard fruit notes, and complex esters formed from the combination of Brett and compounds from the buckwheat.

Cool Kid – Last but not least is a beer brewed with Rob Coombs and ACBB’s own Shawn Meek of Niche Brewing, hailing out of Fredericton, NB (fine, “Hanwell”), and it’s a wild one. Brewed with Pilsner, wheat, spelt and a touch of rye, only Hallertau Blanc was used for hopping in the kettle. Before fermentation, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus to ensure an assertive tartness, before being transferred to a foedre where it received a pitch of 2 Crows house Saison strain, the Amalgamation blend, and Brettanomyces lambicus. A month into fermentation it was hit with 400 lbs of tart cherry purée. After refermenting and another month of conditioning, it was then hit with 400 lbs of raspberry purée. After a total of 4 months in the foedre it was transferred to stainless for packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer sporting 14 IBU that’s tart and bright with “massive” fruit flavors, both dry cherry and a jammy raspberry, with hints of marzipan and cinnamon. Sounds to us like something that is likely to taste pretty great right now, but which might also have some serious potential for tasting very nice after some time in the cellar!

All four of these beers will be available in cans at the brewery as of noon on Thursday, May 24th. All except the Vic Wild can be expected to appear at the private stores in Halifax as well. Kegs have also been packaged, but expect those to be largely reserved for the brewery and the CBA booths.

• Sticking with Niche Brewing for the moment, they’ve released another new beer for New Brunswickers (mainly) to enjoy, a 6.4% ABV dark beer they’re calling Receding Darkness. Although it may resemble a stout in the grist, with Pilsner, Wheat and Midnight Wheat being joined by Rye for some spicy character, that’s where the similarities stop. Lightly hopped in the boil with Amarillo, it was then fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being allowed to develop for nearly two months. We’re told that the result features milk chocolate flavors blend with light Brett aromatics and overripe fruit character. You’ll find it soon at the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton and the Laundromat in Moncton, and at other Niche tap accounts in the near future (here’s hoping we see some kegs make it to Halifax!)

• Late last week, Sober Island Brewing released a special beer brewed in collaboration with the Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum, Blueberry Express. Named after a track that the railway used to run on, the beer is, naturally, a Blueberry Ale. Brewed with 2-row, Carapils, and Honey malt, it was hopped very lightly with Magnum, Cascade, and Mt. Hood, to just 14 IBUs… basically, the base beer for the brewery’s Blonde Ale. The difference is the addition of local blueberries from Glenmore Farms, which were added after primary fermentation, to keep as much blueberry character as possible in the aroma and flavour of the beer. Unfortunately, it sold out at the brewery in just two days… but this is also a good thing, as each can sale brought in $0.50 to the museum, in honour of their 100th anniversary. On the bright side, they’re currently making more, and plan on having the beer available year-round, and there may be some still available at some private stores in HRM.

• There’s some people out there who say that craft beer has become too gimmicky; that someone is always looking to do the next shocking beer, add some weird ingredient, etc. Well, if you’re one of those people, Tidehouse Brewing would like to have a few words with you! Possibly unrelated, they’d also like for you to try their latest beer, Pepperoni Ghost (yeah, you see where this is going). Brewing a “pepperoni beer” has actually been on their minds since before the brewery even opened, and it was an idea that stuck, apparently (unlike that Nutmeg Bomb we’ve all been craving)! After purchasing some pepperoni from local deli Brothers Meats, they rendered the fat, dried the meat, and crumbled it into a coarse powder, which was added at the end of the boil in the brewing process. Ghost peppers were also added in the kettle, as well as in the fermenter, to add some heat. You can find this 5.3% ABV beer at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on tap, with a limited amount in bottles, starting today at 2 pm.

• The two Gahan locations in New Brunswick are churning out some new beers, thanks to brewer Spencer Gallant, who is currently doing all of the brewing at both locations. At Gahan House Port City (Saint John), Terpene Dreams – the latest hoppy brew to hit their taps – is a NEIPA hopped with Amarillo and Vic Secret. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 40 IBUs, it has notes of stone fruit, and plenty o’ dank! This location will also soon be launching a barrel program, as they expect to be receiving six barrels (three each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the very near future, some of which will be soon housing a Saison for some aging; in addition, some spirit barrels are also expected to join the family over the next few months. Over in Fredericton, Gahan House Riverside just tapped Hoppy Lager, which was brewed with a very simple grist of Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and hopped with Columbus, Citra, and Mosaic, giving “super tropical and melon undertones”; it comes in at 5.4% ABV and 24 IBUs. And on deck to be released next is Multigrain IPA, the grist of which is – as you may expect from the beer’s name – a little more complex, including the addition of Malted Oats, Flaked Rye, and some rice to go along with several barley malts. Hopped mostly with Simcoe, as well as some Azacca, the beer has aromas of peach, apricot, and a bit of coconut. Hazy, and with an “approachable bitterness” at 46 IBUs, look for this 6% ABV IPA to be on tap, soon.

• New on the scene at Lazy Bear in Smith’s Cove, NS, is a cider to join their regular line of beer offerings. Exit 24, ostensibly named for where you get off Highway 101 to reach Smith’s Cove, is a dry cider made with juice from Honeycrisp, Macintosh and Cortland apples. Crisp and flavorful, is comes in at 6.4% ABV and will no doubt help you appreciate the apple blossoms starting to make their presence known throughout the Annapolis Valley and the rest of Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, the beer also continues to flow, as Bear Bones, their IPA, is making its return. Dry hopped with both Columbus and Cascade hops from Southan Farms in New Brunswick, it’s a citrusy, floral and fruity brew that weighs in at 6.5% ABV. You can check out one or both of these offerings at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market or, if you’re in the city, kegs have reached Battery Park and Harvest Wines in Dartmouth.

• The Good Robot Beta release for next week has been pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday (maybe the holiday Monday is throwing them off… seems weird for a brewery open on Christmas Day, no?), and this time it’s a cask. Originally put together by the Femmebots for the Stillwell Open earlier this month, Say My Name is a dark Belgian ale that was “conditioned with Candi sugar”. Bittered to 27 IBUs with Perle to offset some of the residual sweetness, the 5.2% ABV dark brown beer is “spicy, fruity, and light-bodied”. And the next day, All-Inclusive IPA is returning after a brief hiatus. This 6.8% ABV, 74 IBUs American IPA features a “smooth, medium-light body, with a balanced bitterness rounded out by mango and pineapple hop aromas”, with the addition of Grains of Paradise giving some spice character to the beer as well. And keep an eye open for Tiny Tigers, their 5.8% ABV Saison which just hit the wall of their taproom yesterday. Check the full details in last week’s post.

• If you’re in the Wolfville area, look for the latest in the Annapolis Cider Company‘s Something Different series to be released today. Pazazz & Grapefruit was made with all Pazazz apples, a relatively new variety of dessert apple (descended from the Honeycrisp), which is grown locally in Nova Scotia and has a crisp texture, as well as a sweet and tart flavour. The 6.8% ABV sparkling cider was also infused with fresh ruby grapefruit zest, and finished with a bit of fresh Pazazz juice, making for a refreshing cider with “fresh apple notes, complemented by subtle hints of grapefruit”. For this release, $0.50 of every refill will be donated to Kentville’s Chrysalis House, which provides shelter and outreach services for women and children.

• You may recall the release of The Passenger, a Berliner Weisse from Lunn’s Mill, last fall. Well, that beer is making its triumphant return this week, with a change – it has been aging in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel since February, allowing this sour, light-bodied, German-style beer to pick up a bit of wine and oak character, and it’s tartness to develop further. Look for this 4.7% ABV, 4 IBUs beer to be available at the brewery’s taproom over the weekend.

Port Rexton Brewing in Newfoundland has a new beer available for the long weekend. Day Tripper is a modern, American Pale Ale with a hazy appearance. Zesty, refreshing and citrusy, it weighs in at a very drinkable 5.5% ABV, perfect for having another. You’ll find it along with their Baycation Blonde available for growler fills at their St. John’s retail store just in time for May 2-4!

• The CBA special releases continue with a collaboration between Propeller and Beau’s (Vankleek Hill, ON), Wild Gruit Ale. Gruits (a centuries-old style where spices, herbs, and other botanicals replace hop additions) are increasing in popularity, but you still don’t see them very often; luckily, Beau’s has been brewing the style fairly frequently, making them the perfect brewery to team up with in this case! Beau’s contributed some hand-harvested organic bog myrtle (native to Northern Ontario and Quebec), which was added with staghorn sumac that was locally-foraged in Halifax. The beer was non-traditionally hopped as well, with Warrior, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast from Escarpment Labs, the final product has a “sweet aroma and balanced bitterness, and some herbal and spicy notes” thanks to the bog myrtle, with the staghorn sumac contributing “a red fruit and citrus complexity”. The beer will be launched at a Collaboration Release Party at Propeller’s Gottingen St. taproom location next Wednesday, May 23rd, where it will be joined by six other Beau’s brews on tap. Lots of great beer and giveaways available, and it all starts at 6 PM!

• Today’s weekly new release from TrailWay Brewing is a collaboration with Brewers Supply Group (BSG) names Mou-ska-tere. This 6.5% ABV American IPA was hopped primarily with Moutere, a New Zealand variety that is quite new to these parts. Moutere is a high-alpha acid hop that exhibits characteristics of passion fruit and grapefruit, with notes of hay, spice, and pine, according to BSG’s description. A little bit of Galaxy and El Dorado were also used in this beer, to help boost the juicy, tropical flavours even further. You’ll be able to find cans and pours of this one at TrailWay today, with other NB licensees having it on tap as well, soon. And for those of you in Halifax, it will also be showing up at a few locations and events there next week, during the CBA celebrations.

Let’s switch from new beers to new events for the coming weeks…

Tomorrow, Big Spruce is kicking off their summer season with a big to-do at their taproom away from home, Bras D’Or Yacht Club. With six Big Spruce beers flowing from 4PM, including new beer releases and special casks, there will be live music from Asaph Deuce and Mitch MacDonald all evening, with games, door prizes, and food from Stand & Stuff Your Face made especially to pair with the beers. No word yet on which beers will be available, but a little birdie told us to keep an eye open for the return of Tag You’re It, their New England IPA brewed in support of the Ocean Tracking Network, in cans as well as in kegs.

Copper Bottom Brewing is celebrating the release of their Parkman Ave Double IPA tomorrow, with lots happening in the brewery. From 4-8PM, Sneaky Cheats will be onsite with beer-pairing-worthy food, and music from Johnny Ross, Kelley Mooney, Dion MacBeth, and Bennett Buell. At 9PM, there will be a change of pace with The Love Junkies taking the stage until close. Making life for folks from town a little easier, there will be shuttles to/from the brewery available. Find out much more at their FB event page.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider turns One on Sunday, and is holding a party all day to celebrate. From 11 AM, they’ll have drink specials, giveaways, and a seafood boil on the go from their Unchained Kitchen crew. They are also holding a contest and draw, with your chance to share your favourite of their many ciders, perrys, meads, or cysers from the past year. Fill out the form here to enter, and drop by Sunday to take part in the fun.

2 Crows and the North End Runners will be hosting a little Bluenose Marathon shindig this coming Sunday morning, May 20th. They’re calling it “Mile 26.3” (1 marathon = 26.2 miles) starting at 8 AM when they’ll have cold brew available from Low Point Coffee along with some special breakfast treats. If you’re thinking of watching the race, this would be a fine vantage point. Might not be a bad idea to stake your claim before the race is over though, as 2 Crows is likely to be viewed as an extremely convenient post-race hydration station by thirsty runners! Look for more details to be posted on 2 Crows social media as the event approaches.

There are plenty of events surrounding the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax next week, being held Thursday to Saturday, May 24-26. While the Awards and Conference are only open to those in the beer business, there are plenty of other events happening in town. We’ve already told you about the Escarpment Tap Takeover at Battery Park Thursday, but here are a few more:

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing will be setting up a pop-up taproom at World Tea House on Argyle during the CBAC, with a rotating selection of 4 taps pouring at any time. WTH is responsible for sourcing the ginger and green tea for their Hunky Dory Pale Ale, so it will always be available, and will be joined by some recent releases as well as perennial favourites. Pop by to grab some samplers! They may be featuring BR’s brand new High Altitude, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped lager, fermented with Escarpment’s lager strain. If not, or even if it is, you can grab bottles of it at Bishop’s Cellar now.

• Boxing Rock is also holding two Tap Takeovers at private stores RockHead Wine & Beer Market and WestSide Beer Wine Spirits. Thursday afternoon from 4PM, pop by to meet up with Emily or Henry from Boxing Rock, and grab a growler or three of their beers.

Stillwell Beer Bar, and the just-opened-for-the-season Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden (#BGonSG), have been collecting and curating some of their favourite beers to showcase during the 3 day celebration of beer, for an ongoing event they’ve dubbed Grand National. The number of beers and breweries is too long to list here, but trust us that there will be plenty of great stuff flowing through their 22 shared taps, with lots of it pouring on the yEast Coast for the first time. You can get a little excited by checking out their Facebook event page for some more details. As always, tune into their social media pages for the latest info.

• Halifax’s The Auction House is hosting a Prince Edward Island Tap Takeover on Friday, May 25, with all five PEI breweries represented: Barnone, Copper Bottom, Moth Lane, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet. Look for old favourites and new releases to be flowing on Argyle that evening from 3PM, with a few brewery staff on hand with giveaways and to chat beer.

We know your coffee break (or lunch?) was over 10 minutes ago, but there’s a few more things to tell you:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer yesterday: Creedence Coconut Revive-Ale features copious quantities of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops along with a bunch of late-addition toasted coconut. A tropical experience like summer in a glass, you’ll find it at their taproom on Bridge Avenue.
Bulwark Cider has a new entry in their Fruit Series hitting NSLC stores soon, Strawberry Lime. Juicy and fresh, it’ll no doubt be a go-to summer refresher. Yesterday they also announced the launch of Bulwark Ciders at Wishbeer Thonglor in Bangkok, Thailand!
– After releasing their Tickle Fight IPA a few weeks back, Half Cut has now put kegs of their Alter Ego Altbier back into the wild. Brewing at Petit-Sault in Edmundston, these releases are available on draught only, occasionally on growlers in the region as well.
– Making the most of a horrible situation due to flooding at their Roundhouse location, Picaroons has released was able to salvage a batch of their Irish Red by dry-hopping it with Azacca while working in less-than-ideal conditions. The 5.0% ABV Flood Red is available at the brewery and Brewtique now, as well as Picaroons’ other lcoations outside of Fredericton.
– On Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Rockbottom Brewpub has released Peaches & Cream Ale, a light, sweet and easy drinking north american style cream ale sweetened with all natural peach extract for a pleasant fruit finish.
– Tickets for this year’s Seaport Beerfest are on sale as of 11AM today. On August 10 & 11, more than 100 producers will be sharing more than 300 beers from across the Atlantic Provinces, the rest of Canada and the US, and, for the first time, there will be an Icelandic Beer pavillion, with just shy of 20 beers from the island nation. Friday evening and Saturday afternoon tickets are $45 (+fees and taxes), while Saturday evening tickets are $50++. VIP access is available for all sessions, which includes early entrance (an extra hour!) and a special tasting glass, which is yours to keep. Grab your tickets today!
– Dartmouth’s Spindrift has another pair of 7th Wave brews on tap this weekend at the brewery: Baby Whale, a hazy and fruity 6.5% ABV New England IPA and Palm Springs Guava Pale Ale a 6.1% pale that was flavoured with guava purée. Also, their new Hurricane IPA is now available at NSLC locations around the province.
Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax has cans available again as of noon today, featuring the return of Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, their 7.5% ABV Citra SMaSH DIPA. Also available will be Hoppy Fingers APA, Exile on North Street IPA, and Front Line Rocker DIPA.
– PEI’s Upstreet has announced the availability of their Commons Pilsner in sixpacks of 355 mL cans available at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner just in time for the long weekend! Look for distribution to widen to PEI Liquor locations by next weekend and hopefully beyond PEI’s shores after that.

 

In honour of this weekend’s St John’s BrewFest, we wanted to lead this week’s post with the great beery news from The Rock. While the number and reach of locally-owned breweries in Newfoundland and Labrador was lacking for many years, the past few years have seen an explosion in number and variety of offerings available to the public. For a more thorough overview of that history, as well as the present and future of beer in Newfoundland (and soon Labrador), check out the Newfoundland Beer History site, and the latest post from writer Chris Conway (himself part of the opening-late-2018 Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl). The local alt-paper The Overcast also keeps an eye on the latest Nfld Beer News, and has summarized the history in The Overcast’s Guide to Beers of Newfoundland, out this month. After reading those and getting excited for the rest of 2018, here what’s new this week:

• Port Rexton‘s retail shop on Torbay Rd is open again this weekend (Friday 4-8pm, Saturday 12-6pm), and will have 3 varieties in cans: Chasing Sun New England IPA, T-Rex Porter, and the return of Mixed Opportunity, their 5.6% ABV mixed fermentation Saison, employing multiple strains of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts to ferment, giving funky farmhouse flavours and aromas. On growler fills are Baycation Blonde and T-Rex Porter. With their brewery taproom opening May 4th, they will continue to operate the retail location in town, concentrating on growler fills and merchandise sales, as they will be winding down their canning offerings.

• Also keep an eye open this weekend for Port Rexton’s Barrel-aged Brett Porter, which was a collaboration brewed back in September with Jana of Motion Bay Brewing (coming soon to Petty Harbour), and our own acbbchris. This beer was fermented in a freshly-emptied red wine barrel with Brett D (a specific strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis), where it sat for several months before conditioning and packaging (sorry, kegs only!). The lovely wine notes complement the funky nose and flavour from the Brett fermentation, with the dark malt providing a pleasant base. It debuted at the Melee in the Market Port Rexton x 2 Crows Tap Takeover last night, and should be available this weekend.

• YellowBelly Brewery launched a new beer earlier this week, Patridgeberry Wheat. The Wheat Ale base was enhanced by the addition of local partridgeberries, known for their tart kick and full flavour, for a true taste of the Island. At 5.0% ABV, and quite quaffable, you could certainly be forgiven for going back for a second. It is on tap at the brewery and Takeaway (down the street at 264 Water) now, and in 1 litre bottles at the Takeaway and select NLC locations this weekend.

• Renovations continue at Quidi Vidi Brewing, as they expand their retail shop and transform their event space into a full-time taproom, which will offer visitors great views of the gut, and a fine pint to pair it with. The recent additions to their beer line-up, Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Belgian, will be around for the summer months, and complemented by beers brewed on their 350 litre pilot brewing system. We’ll let you know when the renos are done and the beer is pouring once again.

A few NL events for you this week, too:

• Believe it or not, a few tickets for tonight’s St John’s BrewFest are still available, and if you don’t already have yours, you’re best served to grab one now. In addition to beers from Mill Street, Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Split Rock, Storm, Western Newfoundland, and YellowBelly, there is a good showing from the rest of the Atlantic Provinces, including New Brunswick’s Hammond River, Loyalist City, Maybee, TrailWay, and Yip Cider; PEI’s Gahan and Upstreet; Nova Scotia’s 2 Crows, Bad Apple, Big Spruce, Garrison, No Boats on Sunday, and Spindrift. Plus from (further) away, Blindman, Flying Monkeys, Half Hours on Earth, and Other Half. The full list is available here. And all attendees receive a code for the pre-sale for the St John’s Cider Fest, which is June 22nd and 23rd.

• For those wanting to meet up with other beer fans in the area, The Brewnettes Beer Appreciation Club are holding a bottle share next Thursday, April 26th at 7pm, at Common Ground on Harvey Rd. This is a BYOB event, where you can share your latest homebrew or a cool bottle you picked up while traveling or your current fave from around town, and talk with friendly folks who love beer as much as you!

• If this weekend’s BrewFest isn’t enough, the NLC’s Beer Expo is happening May 11 and 12th at the Delta Hotel. As it is an NLC event, most of the beer will be those currently available at the stores and/or available after the event, though Quidi Vidi will be debuting several small batch beers at the event. The full list is available here, to plan your attack. The ticket includes pub grub, and a $10 Taxi Voucher to get home safe. There is also a separate Saturday afternoon Tasting Panel from 5:30-7pm, with speakers tasting and discussing 9 products in a more relaxed setting. Tickets are available online, or at the Mile One Box Office.

Let’s jump into the rest of our region now. Not surprisingly, with the weather warming up, we’re seeing a steady increase in the beer release frequency, the patios of the region are being set up and enjoying a beer outside seems like a fine plan, and not the crazy idea my neighbour yelled at me for last week.

• Starting a ferry ride from Newfoundland in Nyanza on Cape Breton Island, we mentioned last week that Big Spruce had some big releases coming up and we weren’t kidding. They’ve clearly been busy preparing to make a splash for NS Craft Beer Week. As we mentioned (late) in our Friday Wrap-up last week, The Gose of Christmas Past is already pouring at the Sprucetique and tap accounts around the Province. This is a 3.8% ABV beer in the Gose style, of course, brewed with Indian Coriander and French Sea Salt back in December with Merit Brewing of Hamilton before being racked into Tequila barrels for 2 months of aging. Also released this week, to strong reactions of every stripe, is The Real McNeil a Red IPA that was brewed with our Province’s Premier, Stephen McNeil. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 48 IBUs, however bitter the beer actually tastes, it’s almost certainly not nearly as bitter as some of the public response to it. Seemingly forgotten is the open letter to the province owner Jeremy White penned last year, detailing many of the frustrating laws in place holding back the flourishing of small business, and is still actively pushing for changes in those. While some progress has been made on these issues, further improvements aren’t likely to come without education and engagement, which is the stated point of this exercise. And if it also yielded tasty beer? Well, that’s surely a bonus. If you can stomach it, you’ll find it in red cans featuring a typically masterful caricature of the Premier by Bruce MacKinnon at the private stores in Halifax and coming on April 30th to 35 select NSLC stores around the province. Probably only in Liberal ridings, wha? Meanwhile, those who’ve pledged never to buy Big Spruce beer again surely won’t care that the first batch of their incredibly popular Silver Tart Raspberry Kettle Sour is ready and will be available at the Sprucetique this coming Wednesday, April 24, before hitting the private stores in Halifax next Saturday.

• Speaking of next Saturday, fans of Big Spruce’s Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout are probably feeling the itch, knowing that it’s traditionally released around this time each year. But this year Jeremy White and the gang have upped the ante considerably. Yes, you’ll be able to buy the Ra Ra you know and love, aged in Whiskey Barrels from Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton. But you’ll also see a version aged in French Cognac barrels. And another in California Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. And another in good ol’ American Bourbon Barrels. And finally one that spent time in Nicaraguan Rum barrels. Yes, that’s five, count ’em FIVE different variations of Ra Ra Rasputin available for your dilection. Whether you’re an existing fan of Ra Ra Rasputin, a fan of big beers in general, or just BA-curious, we can vouch for all five of the variations. Have you ever done a bottle share? It’s a great way to try several beers without a serious financial commitment. Consider getting some friends together to split a set of 2018 Ra Ras and figure out which are your favorites before going back for more. Tasting the same beer with 5 different treatments can also be an excellent beer education experience that shows just how much influence a single variable (barrel type in this case) can influence otherwise identical base beer. These will be available a week from tomorrow, Saturday, April 28th, at the brewery and in private stores in Halifax! Some bottles of the 2017 vintage are still around if you want to do a comparison and some tap accounts may see the 2017 version on tap to open craft beer week!

• And lastly in Big Spruce news is the release of another annual spring tradition, Cerberus Double IPA. Brewed this year with Tatamagouche Brewing and Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing, this is an organic beer whose recipe has been rejigged for 2018. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV, it’s described as “abundantly bitter and deeply aromatic,” with late-addition hops in “lip-smacking” quantities that produce a complex, yet balanced beer. Also new for this year is availability in cans. You’ll find them as of today at the private stores in Halifax and, we believe, at each of the participating breweries.

• Continuing with Tatamagouche Brewing, after more than a year’s hiatus, they’ve brought back Square One, their 6.2% ABV dry-hopped Saison. With a fairly simple grist made up mostly of Pilsner malt, with some Oats, Spelt, and Rye in there as well, it was bittered with Chinook to 32 IBUs, and dry-hopped with a blend of Citra, Hallertau Blanc and Amarillo, giving tons of fruity, citrusy goodness. Fermented with the New World Saison blend – which includes both Sacch and Brett – from Escarpment Labs, this year’s bottles have been bottle-conditioned to let the Brett funk develop further with time… so, buy some now to enjoy the hops, and cellar some to compare over the coming months! Don’t want to wait? Stillwell has a keg of this year’s batch AND one from the last batch, both of which will be tapped alongside one another today. For bottles, pick up yours at Tatabrew now, and at the private stores in the HRM next week.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing was among several breweries in the region to brew a beer with Angus Ross from Canadian Yeast producer Escarpment Labs and theirs is, we believe, the first to come ready. Country Road Farmhouse Ale was brewed with Honey from Wolfville’s Cosman & Whidden Honey and dry-hopped with modern German variety Huell Melon hops. Slightly funky from the use of the Brettanomyces-esque Saccharomyces strain known as Sacch Trois provided by Escarpment, and deliciously hoppy from the healthy dry hop, this is a refreshing beer at 6% ABV. In other Garrison news, their traditional spring seasonal maple beer has undergone a metamorphosis this year as Sugar Moon Maple Ale is now Sugar Moon Maple Porter! Featuring a base grist of Maritime Pale Ale, with Crystal,Chocolate and Amber Malts for color and character, it was hopped to 28 IBUs with Polaris. But the key ingredient, as always, is Maple Syrup from Sugar Moon Maple Farm in Earltown, NS. With dark and sweet flavors and an ABV of 6.3%, this is one to sip under a cold sugar moon as you anticipate the turn of Spring that will almost certainly happen any month now…

• Earlier this week, 2 Crows released another of their one-off, taproom-only beers, created by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop on the brewery’s pilot system. Great Plains is a 6.2% ABV, 22 IBUs American Wheat Ale brewed with a high percentage of Wheat malt to help boost the mouthfeel, as well as provide a dough-like character to the beer. Hopped with Falconer’s Flight and Mandarina Bavaria to give a burst of citrus, it was fermented with wine yeast and Brett C, lending “subtle grape and pineapple notes, as well as a small amount of funk”. If there’s any left, it’ll be available for by-the-glass only at 2 Crows; stop in today to give it a try before it’s gone!

• Not too far away, at Good Robot, you can expect the return of Awesome Beer, Great Job!, an “Autumn Saison” originally released by the brewery back in 2016, next Thursday. At 6.4% ABV and in the low-20s for IBUs, it has notes of plum, banana, and burnt sugar. For next week’s Beta Brew, Frank Robb from the Lion’s Head helped design Clifford the Big Red Brew, an American Amber Ale. Aiming to have lots of malt character and low bitterness, they went with Pale malt, Red X, Vienna, Crystal 60 L, and a “secret malt” in the grist, and threw in a little Green Bullet to get to about 18 IBUs. It should come in at about 4.5% ABV, and will be available on tap next Tuesday.

• It’s another second Friday (arguably, isn’t it always?), which means it’s time for another entry in Upstreet‘s Neon Friday, a series of hoppy beers. This week gives us West Coast Session IPA, a 5.5% ABV, 65 IBUs golden-coloured brew that was hopped solely with Falconer’s Flight. Some Melanoidin was included in the mash to provide a “nice, round malt finish”, complemented by the citrus character from the FF. You can find this one today at Upstreet and the Craft Beer Corner, and a couple of kegs may even be heading to Halifax. Upstreet is also releasing a limited number of bottles of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy with Spruce Tips, the next beer in their barrel-aged series, Million Acres. Head brewer Hogie made a concentrated spruce tip tea, which he blended with the 9.5% ABV beer at bottling, to help balance that massive malt character from the base beer. Bottles are available at both Upstreet and the CBC (the beer CBC, not the other one), and a small amount will also turn up in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

• If you live near/in, or are passing through Chester, Nova Scotia, drop by Tanner & Co. Brewing to give their new Saison a try. The grist was made up of Pilsner, Vienna, Munich and Wheat malt, with the wort being hopped in several stages with East Kent Goldings (a dry-hop addition was made with the same hop as well). Fermented with the lovely French Saison yeast, giving aromatics of pepper and lemon, the EKG additions also lend some earthy, spicy notes to the beer. The brewery describes the entire experience as having “flavours of lemon, honey, cereal, and roasted pear, with a dry finish”, which is definitely more eloquent than we would may have come up with! It’s available right now, and weighs in at 6.8% ABV and 34 IBUs.

• A blast from the not-so-distant past is back at Spindrift Brewing in Dartmouth’s Burnside Industrial Park. After brewing stints at Gahan Harbourside in Halifax and consulting to help get The Good Word Brewing up and running in Atlanta, Georgia, Kyle Jeppesen is back where he spent time as Quality Manager and Assistant Brewer earlier in his career. With a new brewer in the fold there are bound to be some changes and we’ve been advised that though Spindrift will remain a primarily lager brewery, some ales are definitely going to creep into full production. If you’re in attendance at the NS Craft Beer Week Full House event you’ll have a chance at a first taste of two new brews, the core Hurricane IPA and the seasonal Wheel House Radler. Look for more info on those in coming weeks. We’ll keep an ear to the ground for any other new brews or tweaks to existing brews as time goes on.

• Meanwhile, Steve Crane, Spindrift’s Assistant Brewer and Admiral of the Seventh Wave Pilot Batch Fleet has a new brew available today that he’s calling Fill Yer Boots. Born of a deal with Mother Nature to hasten the arrival of Spring (we think you might’ve been played there, Steve), it’s a lovely and light 4.0% ABV wheat-based beer bittered to a barely-there-but-you’d-miss-it-if-it-wasn’t 6.6 IBU and backed with a serious Blood Orange kick. As with all entries in the Seventh Wave series, this one is available for fills only at the brewery.

• The PEI Brewing Co. has brought us their latest IPA and After Hours entry, Snowbird Juicy IPA (just in time for most of Canada’s “snowbirds” to arrive back to give it a taste). This 6% ABV, light-coloured beer was brewed with the type of grist – Pale malt, Wheat, and Oats – that you just know will allow the hops to be the star of the show. The hops chosen for this one were El Dorado and Ella, giving big aromas of tropical fruit and floral/spice, with low bitterness in the finish. It’s available on tap at all the Gahan House locations (including Gahan House – Riverside, which just opened in downtown Fredericton earlier this week), and in cans in PEI and New Brunswick.

• And speaking of Gahan, we managed to track down the very busy Spencer Gallant, who has been splitting his time brewing at the Gahan locations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to find our what’s on next on tap at each location. Let’s start in Fredericton at the Riverside, with the first two beers brewed on their 5 BBL (600 litre) DME system debuting next week. The first is a 5.2% hoppy lager, with a malt bill of Belgian Pilsner malt and Oats, and features loads of Mosaic, Citra, and Columbus for hopping to about 30 IBUs, and plenty of flavour and character. The second beer is a 6.0% ABV mixed-grain IPA, with barley, oats, rye, and rice, featuring Azacca and Simcoe for a 45 IBU bitterness and flavour. Down Highway 7, you’ll find Gahan Port City, where Gallant brewed up a New England-style IPA, featuring Pale Ale and Wheat malts, and oats for a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and iconic haziness. Using Vermont Ale from Escarpment, and generously hopped with Amarillo, Vic Secret and Palisade. This 6.8% ABV beer will be debuting next week as well.

• Looks like Loyalist City is giving us their first new beer in some time, after weeks of brewing and packaging several of their core brands. Refraction is a Session IPA, a style that head brewer Mark McGraw has been working on tirelessly to pack in plenty of flavour and aroma, while keeping the mouthfeel from becoming too thin, always an issue with low-ABV beers. Well, low-ABV this beer is (4%), and with Perle and Citra used in the boil, and two dry-hop additions of Vic Secret, expect “an intense aroma of tropical fruit, with some awesome pineapple and passion fruit notes that are accompanied by moderate citrus aromas of grapefruit and tangerine”. Yellow and hazy, with a medium-light body, you can find it on tap only, at your favourite Loyalist City account.

• We’ve got the details on the latest release in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Company, which is coming out today. Mixed Berry & Pear is a 7% ABV sparkling cider that features a blend of strawberry, black currant, and Bosc pear juices with their signature dry cider. The black currants help darken the colour of the cider, as well as add tannins, resulting in a medium-bodied cider with a rose colour, and “vibrant notes of ripe strawberries and subtle hints of aromatic pear”. Drop by to get your fill, where $0.50 from each will help support The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay is taking a breather from the hoppy beers – for a moment, at least – with the release of Beans, their latest Coffee Stout. Returning to their earlier days by brewing what they describe as basically the same recipe as their Whitney Coffee Stout from 2014, Whitney Coffee is still featured in the brew, with a “slightly-adjusted technique of adding the coffee” to create a stronger coffee aroma. It comes in at 6.3% ABV and is available as of today, at the brewery, on tap and in cans. And look for their hugely popular Hu Jon Hops in the fridges of the four private stores in HRM in the next few days.

• Back to Nova Scotia, Annapolis Brewing Company has been brewing up a storm on their new 5 BBL (600 litre) system, preparing themselves for the warmer months, and the opening of their taproom next month. A 1500 square foot location, it will have seating for 60 people, and feature 20 taps (including 4 for nitro beers!), for a showcase of their own lineup, plus guest beers. They will be offering growler fills, 355mL stubby bottles (their first packaged product), and kegs to go, as well as merchandise. They are currently looking for craft beer and hospitality fans to join their taproom team on both a full- and part-time basis, so email them today! And look to their social media (Tw, FB, IG) Sunday for the fun as they join with the crew from Horton Ridge for a collaborative brew day, with all Maritime-grown malt and hops, to be released in time for the Craft Beer Farmers Market in Annapolis Royal, which opens for the season May 13th. We’ll have lots more details on the Market, and the beer, next month.

• As yet another school year starts to wind to an end, it’s the perfect time for some news from Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewing. First, Schoolhouse is the latest brewery to bring in mobile canning company Craft Coast Canning to fill 5 pallets worth of cans with their Principal Ale. You’ll see these in NSLC locations across the province by the end of the month with a pre-release event scheduled at the brewery for this coming Tuesday, April 24th. Brewer Leigh Davison has also been working on some tweaks to a couple of beers, with both Skratch Plaskett and Vice Principal IPA getting recipe re-works. The Skratch Plaskett now features organic Horton Ridge Wheat and Pilsner malts and is heavily hopped with Galena and New Zealand Summer hops; you’ll be able to try the new formulation of this “slightly hazy, subtly fruity, refreshing and easy drinking ‘Festival Ale'” in early May. And already on the market, and quickly becoming the brewery’s best seller, the latest batch of Vice Principal IPA has twice the hops of previous batches, with a heavy dose of Simcoe leading the way and Amarillo also in the mix yielding a piney and juicy hop character with “just the right amount” of bitterness. At 5.6% ABV it comes in a bit higher than previous batches, no longer fitting the Session IPA label. Regardless of classification, if it sounds like the kind of IPA you like to drink we recommend looking for it at the brewery.

• Last year, British Columbia’s Central City Brewing celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday by releasing Across the Nation, a variety of collaboration beers brewed with all ten provinces and two territories, each represented by one of their local breweries. Released as a 12-pack, it was extremely popular and the beers sold out quickly, and as a result, they’ve – luckily for us! – decided to do it all again for 2018! With this year’s 12-pack (which will be in 355 mL cans this time around) scheduled to be released in May, let’s get into what our regional breweries who were selected to participate have brewed up!

• New Brunswick (TrailWay) – Keeping true to form, the TrailWay folks brewed up something pale and hoppy with Central City, an American IPA named Three Beasts. The name refers to three of TW’s favourite hops to brew with, Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy, all of which were used in copious amounts. As with most of their beers, expect one with low bitterness, yet plenty of tropical fruit in the aroma and taste. And don’t worry if you’re anxious to try this one and don’t get to purchase a 12-pack… TW has assured us they will be brewing the same beer on their own system in the future, to be released sometime in June.

• Newfoundland (YellowBelly) – Brewmaster Liam McKenna of YellowBelly made the long trip West to Central City, and brewed up Me Ol’ Trout, a Cream Ale. Partially based on a previous collaboration McKenna had brewed with Australia’s Top Shed Brewery, this version is a new take on the style, with plenty of Mosaic hops used to keep you excited. At 4.8% ABV, 18 IBU, the Newfoundland-brewed release is currently available at the brewery and Takeaway shop, and in 1 litre bottles at select NLCs.

• Nova Scotia (2 Crows) – Jeremy Taylor travelled to Central City to brew Coast 2 Coast, an “Ancient Grain Rustic Saison”. Borrowing off an idea from one of his earliest small batch beers at 2 Crows, Sunny Days – a Brett Saison brewed with sunflower seeds – Jeremy concocted the recipe, taking a grist that included Flaked Rye and Spelt, and added a pretty-healthy percentage of malted sunflower seeds. It wasn’t long before everyone involved regretted that decision, however, as we can now confirm that sunflower seeds are a b**** to brew with. Let’s just leave it at that, emotions are still too high to get into details. Regardless, the resulting wort was fermented with Wallonian Farmhouse II (from The Yeast Bay), with Sacch Trois being pitched at roughly 60% attenuation as well. The goal is a 6.6% ABV beer with an “earthy, restrained ester profile, and a touch of rustic fruitiness”.

• PEI (Upstreet) – Moving from hops to Belgian to Lager, Upstreet certainly didn’t go with what most people think of when they hear the “L” word, with their collaboration, Singing Sands, being entirely different. Described as a “Salted Caramel Lager”, a high amount of Medium Crystal malt was used in the mash, with brown sugar and lactose added to the beer to up the sweetness even further. But they didn’t stop there! Salt, vanilla, and Cholaca (a pure liquid cacao) were also added, post-fermentation, giving you an idea of the flavours and aromas you can expect to experience with this beer. Upstreet plans on brewing their own batch of Singing Sands for a mid-May, draft-only release in Charlottetown.

If you’re wondering when and where all the Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week events will be, look for a separate post on those this coming week. Until then, here’s what’s happening in the next few days:

• This Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, and Picaroons is celebrating with the release of likely their most popular seasonal, Dooryard. Rather than just making this 4.5% ABV American Wheat Ale available to the masses, however, they’re holding a special Launch Party that involves more than just drinking beer. Starting at 11 am, you’ll be taking part in Clean Up Fredericton, where you’re encouraged to pick up trash around the city, before returning to the Picaroons Roundhouse for lunch. Then, at 2 pm, there’ll be plenty of live music thanks to the Flourish Festival, which will continue until the Roundhouse closes up shop for the day at 6 pm. Of course, beer will be available throughout the day, and Monks & Jonesie Gastro Truck will be on hand if you get hungry again. Your entry fee is by donation.

Wow, it’s December already! Time flies when there’s so much beer news to collect and share across our region! This week’s news is a mix of new and returning beers, some holiday-themed events, and hints of new breweries set to open in the New Year. Crack open that Advent Calendar beer or chocolate, and let’s dive right in.

• We lead off with lots of new beer news from Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing, who actually sent all this info in days ahead of the post going up (we’re still a bit dizzy with shock)! To start off, they have a new brew on tap at their tiny taproom, a Saison named Sylvan Specter. Featuring some noticeable malt flavours thanks to the use of Munich and Melanoiden malts in the grist on top of a base Pale malt, as well as some Wheat malt to boost the mouthfeel, this 4.9% ABV was hopped with Enigma and Saaz at the end of the boil, for “a blend of earthy, fruity, and herbal components”. Fermented with two Saison strains (Farmhouse Ale and French Saison), expect a very dry beer with some spicy phenolics, in addition to the flavours mentioned above.

• Continuing with the rest of the Tidehouse news, they have brewed three other new beers to celebrate the opening of new restaurant aFrite, which opens tomorrow at 1360 Lower Water St. in Halifax. They are the following, with each designed to pair with specific plates: Bishop’s Porter, a 6.2% ABV “Raspberry American Porter”, the raspberry presence is fairly light to pair with aFrite’s sous vide Side of Beef with Frites and Bernaise sauce; Salter Saison, a 5.4% ABV amber-coloured Saison hopped heavily with Perle and Tettnanger featuring lots of herbal notes, to pair with their Donair Gnocchi; and Morris Ale, a 5.3% ABV American Pale Ale hopped with Citra, with fresh lime zest also added, paired with Fried Cauliflower in curry sauce (featuring cilantro, cumin, ghee, and lemon).

Roof Hound has a new Sour that incorporates a different approach to the souring method, compared to previous releases of theirs in this style. They actually made their own yogurt with a bacteria culture used by a local Nova Scotian family for close to 100 years, according to owner/brewer Les Barr. Built up over several weeks in coconut milk, the resulting coconut yogurt (therefore dairy-free) was added directly to the wort to lower the pH (to just barely above 3). Shredded coconut had also been added to the mash, and the whole thing was fermented with a blend of five yeast strains. Named Dooflicker Tropical Brown Sour, the resulting 5.3% ABV beer hits you “with a jaw-cramping mouth pucker, followed by a good remaining body, and a slight chocolate and coconut finish”.

• The crew at Port Rexton Brewing has had a busy fall, and are ready to unveil several new and returning beers this weekend. At this evening’s 12 Beers of Christmas in St. John’s (more details below), they are debuting Rewind Saison, which is a take on their previously-released Mixed Opportunity mixed-fermentation Saison. The Rewind, however, is fermented solely with Sacchromyces yeast (no Brett here), for a different profile. Light-to-medium in body, with a mild sweetness with herbal notes in the flavour, and fruity esters and spicy phenolics on the nose, the beer ends up at 5.5% ABV. If there’s any left after this evening’s event, it will be available tomorrow at the brewery. Speaking of which, for the next four Saturdays (Dec 2, 9, 16, and Tibb’s Eve), the brewery will be open 2-10PM for all of your sample, pint, and growler needs.

• Also available this weekend at the brewery will be a trio of their beers in cans, following their successful, and sold out, release of Blazing Sun NE-DIPA mid-November. Baycation BlondeT-Rex Porter, and Chasing Sun NEIPA will all be available at opening, and the only spot to grab them is at the brewery.

• And debuting next Thursday, December 7, is a fundraising collaboration in support of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium. The beer was brewed with the folks from the Aquarium, as well as Motion Bay Brewing Company, opening next year in Petty Harbour, as well as the folks from Jack AxesOceans & Orchards is a truly Axe-perimental brew, as the base beer (grist of 2 Row, Oats, Honey, Vienna and a touch of Crystal 60 malts) features 50 litres of fresh-pressed apple juice courtesy of Newfoundland Cider Company (debuting their ciders in 2018 as well). The resultant 4.5% ABV graf (that is, beer/cider hybrid) features notes of honey and apple, enhanced by the El Dorado and Huell Melon dry hopping. O&O is debuting at the December 7th event at 7PM at Jack Axes on Water Street, for an evening of throwing axes and sipping on this and other beers, all while benefiting the new aquarium in PH. More details are available at the FB Event page.

• Ashdale Nova Scotia’s Meander River has a new cider available this weekend, in celebration of their expanded production space. Two 2,000 litre fermenters, and one brite tank, all dedicated to cider production, have been added to their brewery, so as not to inhibit their brewing pipeline, and increase their cider availability. The fermenters have already been filled, so stay tuned for those releases in the New Year. In the meantime, the latest release is Perry Noel, a 5.5% ABV perry cider, made with 100% Nova Scotia pears from Davison Farm in Falmouth. A light and dry cider (no back sweetening used), aromas of earthiness and tropical fruit are present on the nose. Available at the brewery today for growler fills, kegs have been delivered to bars and restaurants in Hants County and HRM, so keep an eye out as you make your way around the area.

• And you can learn even more about the brewing and cider plans if you listen to the latest episode of the 902 BrewCast, as the gents visited Alan and Brenda Bailey (and Angus) to learn about their farm, brewery, cider production, and plans for the future. The latest episode can be streamed directly at their site, or downloaded for offline enjoyment.

• Like clockwork, our pals at 2 Crows in Halifax have got a bunch of new beers to tickle your tastebuds this week and next, so let’s get you the details post-haste. Released earlier this week is their latest small batch brew, Shoreline. A 4.6% ABV Pale Ale, with a base of 2 Row and Oat malts, and hopped with Azacca and Huell Melon, before fermentation with a blend of a dozen different strains of Brettanomyces yeasts, before dry-hopping with Vic Secret, and a final keg conditioning with champagne yeast. Phew! The resultant beer is dry, funky, and fruity, with notes of guava, tangerine, and pineapple. As with all of these small batch brews (the Attempted Murder Series name still hasn’t caught on), this one is only available by the glass.

• Tomorrow, 2C is unleashing the latest of their full canned releases, brewed by Jeremy Taylor in collaboration with a fellow former-BC brewer, and current Manitoba brewery owner, Miguel Cloutier, of Kilter Brewing. Firmly in the Milkshake IPA territory, Hawaiian Ivory has a slew of light-coloured malts at its base, including Pilsner, Wheat, Oat, and Honey, along with the heavy dose of lactose and vanilla, iconic for the style. Playing up on the milkshake idea, bananas, dried coconut, lime zest, mango and pineapple purée were added in the boil and conditioning tank. The hops chosen are also quite fruity and tropical, with AzaccaCitraHuell Melon, and Simcoe in the boil, with all but Huell Melon also added in a dry hop for another aromatic blast. Hawaiian Ivory will be available from opening at noon tomorrow, by the glass and can, and in a first, Kilter and 2 Crows fans in Manitoba will be able to purchase this collaboration in Winnipeg later this month.

• And in upcoming beer news, 2C’s Linnea Finnish Imperial Stout will be released next Wednesday, December 6th. Brewed in celebration of Finland’s 100th anniversary Independence Day, the beer incorporates popular flavours from Finnish cuisine, including cardamom and salty liquorice. Taylor lived in Finland for a time, and his brother still lives in the country, raising a family. Linnea is named after Taylor’s niece. Using 95% Finnish-grown and -produced malt from Viking Malt (courtesy of local company Nordic Malz), it features Pale, Oats, Crystal, Chocolate Malts and Roast Barley, with molasses, to 9.1% ABV. Moderately hopped to 60 IBU with Columbus, and Golding (and a touch of Centennial for a light, bright, nose), it features additions of sea salt, liquorice root, star anise and cardamom pods. Drop by the brewery Wednesday to celebrate all things Finnish, and grab a pint to celebrate. And it may even be available to those outside of the province thanks to some holiday-themed boxes many folks have started opening today… Kippis!

• And we’re already behind schedule with today’s publishing, so we do not have time to tell you about the details on the next releases, but rest assured you’ll want to keep an eye out for their next canned release mid-month, as well as the beers they have cooked up for their First Anniversary in January.

• This weekend marks the third straight week of new releases from Stillwell Brewing, with the latest, Gosh, dropping first at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow, followed by a bottle release at the brewery on Sunday from 12-4. A pale Farmhouse Ale aged in a red wine barrel, Gosh is described as “bone-dry, with a tropical fruit fermentation character and grippy finish”. Dry-hopped with Mosaic to help boost that tropical fruit character, we’re sure this one will sell out as quickly as the last two, so show up early on Sunday!

• There’s two new beers coming out of TrailWay this week, with the first one being a new winter seasonal. Parallel is a “Session Ale” with a grain bill made up of 100% German Pale malt, and hopped entirely with Mosaic. The brewery describes it as “super-balanced”, with the hop-focus not being quite as strong as in many of their other beers. Indeed sessionable at just 4% ABV, expect a “rather subtle tropical fruitiness with a solid, crackery-malt profile”. It’s available on tap now around Fredericton, as well as in cans (both at the brewery and ANBL stores). The next beer, Good Times in the Fridge, is another hop bomb that released today at noon. A pale-coloured American IPA with minimal bitterness, it was hopped with Galaxy and Motueka. At 6% ABV, cans of this one are available at the brewery only.

• Now that Fredericton’s Bogtrotter is back to full-brewing mode, they’re releasing a brand new beer this week. Cranky Crab Coconut Porter is a 5% dark ale brewed with toasted coconut (added in the mash, boil, and secondary) and chocolate nibs. Also featuring hints of vanilla in the flavour (thanks to the addition of pure extract in secondary), it weighs in at 5% ABV and will soon be available on tap at the James Joyce and Cask and Kettle.

Rockbottom Brewpub on Spring Garden Road in Halifax has a new beer available, an American Wheat that was dosed with raspberries they’re calling Witty Pun. With his feet now firmly under him in RB’s cramped brewing quarters, brewer Ian Kean is starting to exert himself on the beer menu more and though it might not seem “seasonal” in November, this beer is certainly accessible, with a solid wheat presence underlying a lovely raspberry aroma and flavour. Clean American yeast yields an otherwise fairly dry finish to this 5.0% ABV beer, which also sports 12 IBU worth of balancing hop bitterness. As of yesterday, it was available for growler fills and pints at the pub.

Good Robot released a new Alpha Brew, Steambot Willie, earlier this week. With a grist made up of Maris Otter, Amber malt, Carapils, Red X, and Rye, it was hopped with Mt. Hood, Perle, and Magnum to 32 IBUs, and dry-hopped with more Perle, and Tettnang. Fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast strain, think of this one as an Ale-Lager hybrid, similar in a way to a California Common. At 5.5% ABV, and described as an “earthy, malty Lager with a bitter finish”, it’s available on tap now at GR, and will likely pop up around the HRM. And for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew release, we have Alien From Next Door, an American Pale Ale brewed by Kelly C. and Lianne Lessard. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, Red X and Crystal 30, Polaris was used for bittering (to 27 IBUs), with later hop additions including Galaxy and Willamette, and then a dry-hop with more Polaris. And finally, note that cans of GR’s Extra Big ASS Lager and bottles of Barrel-Aged Mississippi Goddamn can now be purchased at the Halifax private liquor stores.

Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House in Lower Sackville continues to round out their line of easy-drinking beers with a light wheat ale they’re calling Orange American Bastard (we’ve no idea what, or who, that name could be referring to). Boasting orange peel, both sweet and bitter varieties, along with coriander, all added late in the boil for a Belgian flair, it was fermented (we think) on an American yeast for a clean ester profile. This 4.7% ABV beer is built on a base of wheat and pale malts with a little bit of Vienna for character. Crisp and clean with a nice mouthfeel, this is, according to brewer Keith Forbes, “a Summer beer heading into Winter.” It’s available now, but only on one of the guest taps at Good Robot on Robie Street in Halifax.

Heritage Brewing has a follow-up to their popular Citra Session IPA, meaning if you like hops, you should have no problem with this one! White Sands Milkshake IPA was brewed with a “touch” of lactose and ample amounts of Ekuanot and Citra hops, giving lots of “fruity, citrusy, and tropical” aromas and flavours. Available now, it comes in at 6.7% ABV and 60 IBUs.

• Darmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing has announced that they have a new brewer working alongside Head Brewer Jake Saunders. Connor MacLeod is originally from Bridgewater, and has studied in the Certified Brewmaster course at the prestigious VLB Berlin. Previously working at Garrison Brewing in Halifax, he brings several years of experience of homebrewing and passion to his commercial work, which started in part thanks to his father, who is also a beer fan. Welcome aboard, Connor! And perhaps to celebrate their new arrival, 9L has brought back their Vanilla Porter, a 5.0% ABV porter with a touch of vanilla for a light sweetness and aromatic meld with the chocolate and dark malt character. Available in cans and growler fills at the brewery today!

• Last weekend was the party and announcement for the Sober Island Brewing Foraged Homebrew Competition, at the brewery in Sheet Harbour. From 15 entries, Andrew Deveaux’s entry Raspberry Beer Eh! took top honours. Brewed with 95% malt from Horton Ridge, Deveaux’s beer featured late-season raspberries foraged from his own backyard added to a Wheat Beer base. Congratulations to Deveaux, and we expect to see a full release of the winning beer once raspberries make their return next year. In the meantime, look for SIBC’s Winter Rye to debut this month.

• Last Sunday saw an excellent turnout at the Dartmouth location of the Wooden Monkey for the 5th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge. As announced back in September, this competition was wide open style-wise, as it was instead entered around the use of the “Pin Cherry #1” yeast strain harvested from the property of Big Spruce in Nyanza, Cape Breton. This yeast was identified to have somewhat of a Belgian character, in the Trappist vein of being somewhat spicy and phenolic, with a medium flocculation and attenuation. As organized by ACBB’s own Chris McDonald, 39 entries fermented on the yeast were evaluated and scored by 12 judges, with the assistance of 4 stewards, over the course of the afternoon, culminating in a Best of Show round where the 9 favorites were slowly winnowed down to a top 3 with an honorable mention. Top prize went to Justin Clarke’s Split Personality a North American Saison that was fermented with both the Big Spruce yeast and a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being aged on wood chips. The variety of beers entered was vast, with classic Belgian, North American and even English styles competing against more outré beers featuring additional ingredients as varied as lime zest and tomatillo, habanero peppers, pineapple and coconut, peach and sage, and applewood tea. There was even a mead entry from local meadmaker Nancy Hartling that was not able to be accepted into the competition but which was tasted at the gala and turned out very nicely. The overall quality, according to the judges, was top notch, especially considering the range of beers and the fact that not a single brewer had previously used the yeast. Congratulations to all those who entered, and especially those who placed, and many thanks to Jeremy and the team at Big Spruce, and all those involved in helping reach the result. Sláinte. We look forward to tasting Justin’s winning entry when a production batch is brewed sometime in the future. And don’t forget the Big Spruce tap takeover at Battery Park this coming Thursday, November 7th!

• The Murphy Hospitality Group – owners of the PEI Brewing Co. / Gahan House – have announced that they will be opening yet another Gahan House Restaurant & Brewery location, this time in downtown Fredericton. They have purchased Vault 29, a restaurant/bar at 426 Queen St., for the new brewpub, which will have a 120-seat dining room, oyster bar, two seasonal patios, and a 5 bbl (600 L) brewhouse onsite. The plan is for the brewpub to open sometime in the spring, making it the fifth Gahan location (Charlottetown, Halifax, Saint John, and soon-to-open Moncton). The full press-release can be read here.

• As we’ve mentioned previously, the ambitious “East Coast Crafted” was released earlier this week, and is available for purchase at book stores across the region, as well as many of the breweries featured in the book. Learning more about the 80+ breweries in our region, authors Christopher Reynolds and Whitney Moran interviews and visited many of these spots to speak face-to-face with those behind the breweries we talk about weekly. The book also features dozens of photographs by Jessica Emin. Don’t forget that the authors will be celebrating the book with a launch December 9th at Stillwell, with beers from all four Atlantic Provinces pouring, where you can meet the authors and many of the brewery folks featured in the book.

Another weekend full of events for you to enjoy across our region:

• As mentioned above, the 12 Beers of Christmas is taking place this evening in St. John’s. At Club One on New Gower, from 7:30PM, attendees will be greeted with a full glass of beer, plus tokens to enjoy samples of the other 11 onsite. In addition to the debut of Port Rexton’s Rewind, Mill Street YYT is debuting their Crooked Cow Latte Stout, and you will be able to enjoy many beers not otherwise available in the province (Big Spruce Cereal Killer, 2Crows Pollyanna, Upstreet Eighty Bob and White Noize, and Maybee Stone House Tripel. Check this page for the full list of what will be pouring. After you’ve tried them all, you can purchase more tokens for samples or full pours of your favourites. Grab your tickets now, dust off your ugly Christmas sweater, and head out for a party!

• Good news, thirsty Cape Bretoners! The 2nd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 2nd, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. VIP tickets are sold out, but there are still some general admission tickets available ($55 + tax, each), which gets you entry into the festival at 7-9:30 pm. A special glass and unlimited beer samples are included, and many local breweries will be on hand to pour their creations, and chat beer! Note that Designated Driver tickets ($15 + tax) are also still available; all tickets can be purchased from the event website above.

Tidehouse Brewing is turning one, and are celebrating in style with a Tap Takeover at Tom’s Little Havana next Saturday, December 9th. All eight taps will be dedicated to Tidehouse, which they’ll be filling with some of their best beers brewed over the past year. The fun starts at 5 pm and will continue until close; stay tuned to their event page for a full taplist release next week.

• Christmas is just around the corner, with Boxing Day of course right behind it; if you’re in the Fredericton area, what better way to celebrate Boxing Day than a Boxing Rock Tap Takeover? Being held on Tuesday, December 26th at the King Street Ale House, there’ll be tons of BR beers pouring, starting at 5 pm. You can just show up and pay by the pint, but if you reserve your spot now for $15, you’ll get a flight of beer and a pound of wings. Sounds like a good deal to us! Tickets can be purchased on the event page.

And a couple more returning favourites this week:

– Following last week’s release of Midnight, their Glenora Distillery Barrel-aged Strong Dark Belgian beer, HRM’s North Brewing has teed up the non-barrel version. Dark Sky is available today in 650 mL bottles at both their Halifax and Dartmouth bottle shops.
– And down the road on Gottingen Street, Propeller has a new cask for us this evening, a version of their Double IPA dry hopped with Idaho 7 and Ekuanot hops. They’ll be cracking into that at 5 PM as usual.
Red Rover has brought back their festive Jingleberry Cider, featuring additions of wild blueberry, cardamom, and nutmeg paired with notes of caramel, you’ll find it at the Ciderhouse and ANBL locations around the province.