Garrison Home Brew-Off Challenge

All posts tagged Garrison Home Brew-Off Challenge

Well, we knew crowing last week about how much it had slowed down would come back to haunt us… and haunt us, it has (just think how much more clever that would have sounded if Halloween was today instead of earlier in the week)! With news and events bringing us into the world of 4,000+ words again, there’s a lot for all of you to get caught up with, including news on two breweries opening their doors. Get comfortable, grab something to sip on, and let’s get to it!

• The Gahan House has officially opened their newest location, Gahan Port City, in Saint John, NB. Located at 87 Prince William St., the 7 bbl (~800 L) brewhouse came to the city from the now-closed Rogues Roost brewpub in Halifax. With three 7 bbl fermenters and three direct draw serving tanks, the aim for the brewery is to have three seasonal taps pouring, with a wide variety of brews available, to complement the standard PEIBC/Gahan brews. While the brewhouse is not yet online, we expect the SJ-brewed beers to be available in December. Experimentation will be key! Expect collaborations with local businesses and other breweries as well. We’ll keep you up to date on all of their future endeavours, including a Q&A with Head Brewer Spencer Gallant once his beer is flowing.

• In more newly-opened news, Copper Bottom Brewing, located on Main Street Montague, PEI, officially opens today at 4 pm! Their beautiful new taproom will be open for growler fills and pints, with their first two core beers pouring: Centennial Stock Blonde Ale and Broadside APA. Centennial Stock is a 4.9% ABV, entry-level beer brewed with a simple grist of equal parts 2-row and Maris Otter, and hopped with some late-addition Centennial to just 13 IBUs. Broadside is heavily-hopped after the boil is complete, and dry-hopped, to lend some “citrus, grapefruit, and pine” flavours. From Saturday on, Copper Bottom will be open daily from noon to midnight, with live music playing a central role every Saturday. Their first musical event will start tomorrow, with musician Dave Gunning performing at 7:30 pm (get your tickets here). Look for their official grand-opening party to occur later this month. More news to come, but in the meantime, you can check out our Profile of Copper Bottom!

• Those who’ve been waiting with bated breath for news of the first mixed fermentation release from Stillwell Brewing got a pleasant surprise yesterday when it was announced via Instagram that the upcoming Bar Stillwell 4th Birthday Party on November 18th would feature the first pours of Stillwell Four, a tart and effervescent 6.2% ABV farmhouse ale that was matured in a single Sauvignon Blanc barrel. Even better, the day after that party you’ll be able to head down to the brewery (located at the back of Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen location) and purchase bottles to go. And even more better than that, the following weeks will see three additional bottle releases. The Four isn’t expected to be available anywhere outside of the bar and the brewery, so you’ll maybe want to make some plans to head to Gottingen Street on November 19th. And meanwhile, if you’re looking for a feast for your craft beer curiosity, look for East Coast Crafted, a book written by Bar Stillwell and Stillwell Brewing guy Christopher Reynolds and Halifax-based editor, journalist and craft beer fanatic Whitney Moran, to make the city on or about November 28th. We’ll have more details as that official availability date approaches.

• A lot has changed for Hammond River Brewing since they opened almost four years ago, but their homebrew competition continues! The Fourth Annual Homebrew Competition is now open to all homebrewers in the Maritimes, and they’re looking for your best European beer. That’s right, any European style can be entered, ranging from Continental Pilsner to English IPA, Berliner Weisse to Altbier, and beyond! With a registration fee of just $10, you can enter up to three different beers for judging by certified BJCP judges. Prizes will be awarded to the top three beers, with the gold-winning beer being brewed on HR’s new 15 bbl (~1750 L) brewhouse (with you assisting, of course!). Full competition details can be viewed here; if you’re interested, fill out your form and have your beers sent in by February 2nd; judging will take place on February 4th. And speaking of competition winners, last year’s winning beer in the HR comp is now available on tap at the brewery. Black River Milk Stout is a 6.8% ABV Milk Stout that was originally brewed by Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, who recently helped owner/brewer Shane Steeves replicate the recipe on his system. Drop by the brewery today to give it a try!

• Let’s keep rolling with the homebrew competition theme with one with a bit of a twist: Noble Grape is once again offering up their annual cider group buy, which gives home makers a bucket of freshly-pressed apples from a local producer. This year, they are partnering with the folks at Bulwark to allow customers a chance to use a special blend designed by Bulwark’s Alexandra Beaulieu. If you follow the included ingredients and instructions, you will end up with a dry sparkling cider. However… the crew from both Noble Grape and Bulwark are encouraging folks to flex your creative muscles and get a bit crafty. For those who take part in the purchase, using some or all of the ingredients provided (and you may add your own), they can choose to be entered in a friendly (but serious) competition for the most creative and unique cider possible. Pre-orders for the cider close Thursday, November 9th, with pickup of the cider November 22-23 (don’t miss this, as this unpasteurized cider may start to ferment if not dealt with promptly). Your entries (no entry fee, by the way!) for the competition are not due until February 2018, so you do have a bit of time to plan and implement your entry. And fret not, if you want to keep all of your cider for yourself, there’s no requirement to enter!

• And finally in homebrew competition news, we have the details on Garrison’s 10th Annual Home Brew-Off Challenge we first mentioned a few weeks ago: the deadline to submit your Kolsch (2015 BJCP 5B) is February 12th, and should be accompanied by the brew sheet and your $15 entry fee (which gets you entry to the March 22nd gala, a commemorative glass, and a Growlito and its first fill). Take a look here at their page for a bit more details.

• There’s plenty going on in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia this week, with TataBrew releasing a new beer, and bringing back a couple of favourites. In the new category, they’ve finally brewed up a dry-hopped Sour to go along with all of their other tart releases over the past months. Jitney is a 4.5% ABV kettle-soured beer brewed with 2-row, Oats, Wheat, and a touch of Acid malt. After bringing the pH down with a pitch of Lactobacillus, the beer was heavily dry-hopped with a combination of El Dorado and Mosaic, as well as a smaller amount of Azacca and Citra. Fermented with Foggy London (a strain suggested for NEIPAs) from Escarpment Labs, it finished off at a quaffable 4.5% ABV, with “lots of lemon and grapefruit upfront, and a sweeter stone fruit character in the background”. Kegs and cans will be distributed out as well, with cans even making an appearance at your local NSLC!

• And over to their re-releases, Tata has brought back their Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter, a 10% ABV monster that was aged for 9 months in second-run Glenora barrels. Brewed with lots of Horton Ridge Pale malt, and some Roasted Barley and Chocolate malt, it was fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain to keep the beer as clean as possible, allowing the spirit character from the whiskey barrel to shine through. Warm – but not hot – thanks to the high ABV, expect notes of graham cracker, rich dark chocolate, and dark fruit… a perfect beer for the quickly-approaching colder weather! Available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery only (for now), it’s also on tap there for samples, and a couple of kegs may make appearances elsewhere for special events. And finally, their Blue Bales Blueberry Wheat is being re-released at the brewery this weekend. A 4.6% ABV beer, it’s the same recipe as the last go-around (featuring 250 lbs of organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm), but was fermented with a different yeast strain this time, bringing it closer to a Hefeweizen than an American Wheat. Look for cans and kegs to appear in the HRM next week.

• With quite a bit of beer news coming out of Horton Ridge lately, it’s understandably sometimes easy to forget that first and foremost, their main job is providing malt for other breweries in the Maritimes! They’ve recently begun malting some Newdale 2-row grown by Fred Dollar of Kentdale Farms (Winsloe, PEI), and decided to take some of it and make a new SMaSH brew (hey, what better way to get to know your product?). Fred’s First Ale was hopped entirely with Pacifica, a floral, citrusy varietal from New Zealand; at 6% ABV and 20 IBUs, you can find this malt-forward ale at the HR taproom in growlers and pints.

• Winning all those awards at the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards a couple of weeks ago hasn’t slowed down Big Spruce one bit, as they continue to release new brews. Their latest is Muddled Mule, a Witbier aged on organic strawberries from Wings of Dawn Farm (Masstown, NS). Coming in at a very-approachable 4.3% ABV and 12 IBUs, the beer also features the addition of locally-grown house-candied ginger. On tap at the brewery now, expect it at your usual haunts that pour Big Spruce beer.

2 Crows just called… to say… I Love You (sorry, the jokes get worse as the day goes on). Really, though, it’s a beer! A Saison brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, Rye, and oats, it was hopped lightly with Bramling Cross and Calypso. Then it starts getting a bit complex: a portion of the wort was actually left unhopped and was inoculated with a Lactobacillus strain (most strains of Lacto are not hop-friendly); once the desired acidity was reached, this portion was blended back in with the rest of the wort. The brewery then used their house Saison strain to ferment the brew, along with an experimental Brettanomyces strain (TYB 207). Once conditioned, the resulting beer was dry-tead (no, I don’t think that’s a word) with Lemon Verbena from Halifax’s World Tea House, and then dry-hopped with Huell Melon. Phewf! Described as “funky, bright, lemony, and tart”, I Love You comes in at 4.9% ABV and 17 IBUs and will be available tomorrow in cans and kegs.

• After several weeks of no new Alpha beer releases, those lazy buggers at Good Robot have got off their collective asses and brewed up Falstaff, a 4.7% ABV, 43 IBUs American Pale Ale being released later today. With a grist of 2-row, Red X, Caramel, Rye malt, and Flaked barley, it was hoped early and late with the “Good Robot blend” hops, as well as more late additions, of Amarillo and Cascade. More hops were thrown in the dry-hop, including more Amarillo and Cascade, as well as Azacca and Jarrylo. Malt presence is low with this one, with plenty of citrus coming through thanks to all those hops, along with a bit of pine. And don’t worry, those of you who tune in weekly just for the BetaBrewsday release news! Next Tuesday will see “Quite an Enigma” Black Ale, brewed by Kim Hart Macneill and Kelly Costello. “Nutty, roasty, and light-bodied”, with some balancing hop bitterness from the Enigma and Summit additions, it weighs in at 4.5% ABV and 51 IBUs.

• In other benign automaton news, they’re also excited to release their first Barrel Aged beer today. You might remember the big old barleywine Mississippi Goddam that they released back in April. Well, there was more where that came from, and it spent the last 6 months or so soaking up the goodness of fresh Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels, which have imparted woody, vanilla, toffee and candied fruit flavours to the beer. You’ll find bottles of Barrel-aged Mississippi Goddamon for sale today starting at noon at the Good Robot store, the taproom, and possibly other private retailers in the HRM (check first!). And oh, by the way, for the second year running, Good Robot has won both the Best Brewpub and Best Craft Brewery awards in The Coast’s annual Best Of Halifax, thanks to their loyal (and vocal) fans! Congratulations are in order, we think.

• Edmundston’s Petit-Sault is helping to celebrate the first official activities of the town’s new Jean-Daigle Centre by releasing Snap Dickie, a “Sport Ale” named in honour of the local hockey legend, who played for the Edmundston Eskimos in the 1930s. Actually falling in the Cream Ale style, the beer is available on tap now at the Jean-Daigle Centre and at the brewery taproom, it comes in at an easy-drinking 4.6% ABV and 15 IBUs. Depending on the response, it could possibly be bottled in the future.

• We have news on the latest hoppy offering from TrailWay2 Jackets, to hit this week. This one is an American IPA hopped with the brewery’s “all-time favourite hops”: Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and Mosaic. As expected by anyone familiar with these hop varieties, the beer is full of “citrus, intense juiciness, and some spice”. Releasing today at noon, 2 Jackets will be available in cans at the brewery only, along with pints and growlers. Of course, a few spots in Fredericton will likely have it on tap in the near future as well.

• Alma’s Holy Whale Brewing is releasing a frightfully good beer this weekend, inspired by the changing seasons and cooler weather. Medusa’s Milk Stout is 5.7% ABV, and instead of venemous snakes added to the boil, a tincture of vanilla beans and coca was added post-fermentation. As always, the best place to grab a pour of HW beer is at the brewery taproom in Alma, at the Buddha Bear Cafe. You can try it on nitro, as well as the standard CO2 faucet. And even better, they’ve recently implemented a “Positive Pints” program, where $0.50 from each pint goes to a partnering not-for-profit organization. Check here for more details.

• Fredericton’s Coastliner Cider will be releasing a couple of new ciders in bottles, for sale at some ANBL stores this week. Castaway, a 5.4% ABV cider featuring the addition of Tropical Hibiscus, was originally on the ANBL growler program last month, and Hop on Board, a new cider (5.4% ABV) infused with New Brunswick-grown Goldings hops. As of publishing, they were not yet listed on the new ANBL site, but should be showing up shortly, and will be on the shelves over the next couple of weeks.

Propeller‘s popular Coffee Porter (5.9% ABV, 35 IBUs) – their deep-brown coloured, coffee-forward ale – has returned at both Prop Shop locations in both growlers and 650 mL bottles. Brewed with hefty amounts of specialty malts and Java Blend Fog City coffee beans, it has “subtle hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt” too complement the coffee character. You’ll be seeing it on tap over this weekend, and a cask will be pouring exclusively at Stillwell; more bottles will be available at the NSLC after Remembrance Day. And tonight’s Propeller Cask Night will feature their IPA dry-hopped with Laurel; be there at 5 pm when the cask is tapped!

• Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has a new beer that should be making rounds to Think tap accounts over the weekend. Churchill is a 6.7% ABV, 35 IBUs “British Strong Ale” (likely similar to an ESB) that has some caramel malt character with a touch of sweetness, and a little bit of chocolate in the flavour. Balanced by a moderate bitterness in the finish, it has a little alcohol warmth as it goes down.

Lazy Bear in Smiths Cove released a special beer/wine hybrid last night during their Thursday Growler Night. First Crush is a 5.9% ABV Saison-base with Pilsner and Wheat malts, fermented with saison yeast from Bootleg Biology. After fermentation was complete, L’Acadie blanc and Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (grown onsite at their own vineyard) were added to the tank. The resultant beer is light and effervescent, finishing quite dry, but with pleasant fruit flavours from both the yeast and grapes. For those who missed out on last night’s release, fear not, it will be available in growlers tomorrow at their table at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, and a limited number of kegs available soon, and half of the batch has gone into French oak barrels (via the Napa Valley) for release at a future date.

• Back over to Newfoundland, St. John’s Mill Street Brewpub is pouring their new Seaside Sparkling Ale, an “Australian version of a Cream Ale, with traditionally higher carbonation”. Available on tap and in growlers, it has “bready malt flavours” upfront, balanced by some “herbal hop bitterness”. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, as always with these one-offs, it’s available only at the brewpub.

• And one more piece of St. John’s new beer news with YellowBelly, who announced that they will soon be releasing a “Blueberry Milkshake IPA”. A NEIPA hopped with plenty of Citra, conditioned on 45 kg of blueberries, and fermented with the wonderful Funktown yeast blend, it should hopefully be kegged by late next week. At last glance, they were still looking for some name suggestions for this beer, so hop on over to their Facebook page and give them your best shot!

It’s not just beer and brewery news that’s heavy this week, as there’s plenty of events going on this weekend, as well as the near (and distant!) future. Get caught up with a large handful of them below:

• St. John’s Quidi Vidi Brewing is bringing back their Fogtown Lager with a Release Party at the brewery tomorrow, November 4th. While the taproom opens at noon, with Fogtown on tap all day, the real party begins at 7 pm, with live music, food, merch for sale, and a Fogtown Barber & Shop pop-up. Only $5 at the door, the event will kick off the weekly Fogtown Fridays at QV, featuring happy hour from 4-7 pm with $5 Fogtown pints… the perfect way to end your work week! A reminder that this beer is brewed every fall as a fundraiser for Movember, raising funds to support men’s mental and physical health research and programs.

Roof Hound is tickled stink (see? I warned you about these bad jokes) by their ACBA Gold medal win for their American IPA, The Big Stink, so they’re hosting a Big Stink Party tomorrow, November 4th to celebrate! Drop by the taproom for some free live music, starting at 9 pm, and order a pint of the winning beer (and some of their other offerings on tap) to toast their win. Kitchen closes at 9, so if you’d like some food, best show up early.

• If you’re participating in tomorrow‘s Run the River in Nackawic, Big Axe will be waiting for you at the finish line! Well, maybe not right at the finish line, but they’ll have warm soup and plenty of beer pouring at their Beers, Soup & Music Jam, the perfect reward for all of your hard work. And if you’re musically-inclined, bring your instruments to jam with your fellow runners and beer-drinkers for the rest of the day; it all starts at 11:30 am at the brewery on Otis Dr.

• The Moncton Craft Brewer’s Collective is excited to announce that they’ll be hosting their second tap takeover next weekend, Thursday, November 9th to Sunday, November 12th. The primary venue will be the Laundromat Espresso Bar and there you’ll find a huge collection of local beers and ciders from Acadie-Broue, Bore City, Celtic Knot, Flying Boats, Pump House, Scow and Tide & Boar. In addition, they’re partnering with Notre Dame de Parkton on Thursday and Friday to have draught beer available to go with beer-friendly food like wings, nachos and more! So if you’re at the Laundromat and you’re feeling peckish, you can hop a couple doors down for a bite and keep the beer flowing. And if you’re at Notre Dame de Parkton you can order up some tasty local beverages. This is the largest selection of Moncton-local beer and cider products available anywhere! Check it out!

• Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe is hosting a Brewer’s Dinner on November 10th, featuring Yarmouth’s own Heritage Brewing. Featuring appetizers, a three course meal, and a pint of beer chosen to accompany each plate, there will also be live music, it is sure to be a fine night out. You can find out the full food and beer pairings here. Reservations are a must, and can be made via email or phone (902-307-2250).

• The Cape Breton Beer Fest is returning December 2nd, and tickets are now available. Featuring twenty breweries and food vendors, the CBBF is taking over the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion (aka The Big Fiddle) from 7-9PM (VIP tickets will get you in an hour early) that evening, for plenty of beer, food, and fun. The fest is kicking off their partnership with Children’s Wish Foundation and Families for Families Toy Drive today with an event at Breton Brewing today at 5PM. Learn more about it, and enter for a chance at free Fest tickets by dropping by. And throughout November, the CBBF will be giving away pairs of tickets to the Fest every Friday. All you need to do is tag your friend, and @capebretonbeerfest on IG and Facebook (@beerfestcb on Twitter) and use the hashtag #whodeservesabeer, and you’re entered! Check the full list of breweries here.

• After a hiatus last winter due to some truly weird weather (remember? It went something like this: snow, rain, freeze, repeat), NB HopSpiel is returning to Fredericton in 2018! The all-day event will be held on Saturday, January 27th, and you can start signing up your team now! Tickets are $60/person or $240/team, with each team participating in 2-3 curling games. Tickets also include coffee and other hot beverages, lunch, and access to the FROSTival Beer Garden (with three complimentary beers). Plenty of prizes will be awarded after the event, and it’s always a great time! Remember, it’s outdoors, so dress accordingly! Grab your tickets here.

A couple more notes today:

– For fans of Dark & Stormy Night (4.8% ABV), Picaroons‘ take on a Dunkelweizen that was discontinued a while back due to an ongoing legal feud, it has returned as Cease & Desist. Still the same recipe as before, it’s on tap now/soon at all three Picaroons locations, and other licensees in the Maritimes. And their Halloween-themed Black IPA, Best BiTer, has been renamed Walk In The Dark, to avoid confusion with their Best Bitter.
PEI Brewing Company has announced the return of a pair of barrel-aged beers. Hell Street is their 8.1% ABV Doppelbock, which is available at the PEIBC and PEI Liquor storesIce Boat is their barrel-aged Imperial Stout, which will be making its return in the coming weeks, as well as the launch of a new beer, Shortest Day, a 5.3% ABV Spiced Milk Stout, coming November 16th. We’ll have more details on those beers when available.
– In Moncton, Pump House once again sees the return of their gourd-filled beer, now named Glenn’s Pumpkin Ale and sporting 5.5% ABV.
– Gander’s Scudrunner Brewing is coming along nicely, with the delivery of their 10 BBL (1200 litre) last week. Take a peek at a few pictures of the progress here. And as they prepare for a late-2017 opening, they are expanding their crew. No brewing experience is required, they’re just looking for some motivated folks to join their team. Contact Sam via email or FB message.
Unfiltered in Halifax has brought back their paean to unfair (illegal?) taxation, the Mosaic-heavy RSMA, a classically NASHian DIPA at 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU and bursting with tropical hop flavors.
– PEI’s Upstreet Brewing‘s Black Tie Affair, the sweet and roasty stout with hints of chocolate, vanilla and tart cranberry, hits the shelves again today in advance of the PEI Symphony Orchestra’s Black Tie Evening featuring Atlantic String Machine.

Easter egg: this post is 4000 words.

With the summer heat holding on across our region earlier this week, it is now beginning to feel a little more like fall. There’s a new brewery for us to announce, plus the usual tidal wave of new beers and events for you to check out. Grab a pint and settle in!

• There’s a new brewery coming this fall to the town of Hanwell, just outside of Fredericton. Niche Brewing will be operating a 2 BBL (230 litre) brewhouse, and concentrating on keg sales to licensees in the area. The two folks behind the brewery will be familiar to readers, as they are Rob Coombs and Shawn Meek, two long-time Fredericton-area homebrewers who are looking to share their award-winning homebrews with a larger audience. Their location has been secured, but most of the gear is still on its way, so look for their beers to be available at local bars and restaurants in a few months. We’ll have the full details on beer styles and where to find them, with a Q&A closer to launch. In the meantime, follow along with them at their Facebook page above (a website will be popping up in the future), as well as on Twitter and Instagram. Congratulations, Rob and Shawn! And for those wondering, acbbshawn will keep up his blogging duties (both here and on his own Meek Brewing Co. blog) for now, until he realizes he’s way overworked and smartens up, because we frankly can’t afford to lose him with all of the news in our region. 😐

• On Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Sober Island has a few new things on the go. The first is the Harvest Rye we told you about a couple weeks ago, a 7.4% ABV and 40 IBU amber-colored brew featuring spicy rye and an assertive hop presence. It will make its first appearance at Cavicchi’s Meats for the Fall edition of their Bangers & Beer event from 4 – 8 PM this evening that features live music, sausages, beer and a campfire. After that it will be found at the brewery in growlers and at the usual Sober Island Farmers Market locations. Next up is a small batch beer only available at neighbouring Henley House: Belgian Single was brewed with a couple of malts (Maris Otter and Vienna) from a new provider in the region. These malts, paired with classic Czech Saaz hops and the Belle Saison yeast, produced a 4.7% ABV beer with 25 IBU. Look for a noble character from the hops, a fair amount of maltiness from the malt selections and a definite yeast presence. Only 40 L was produced and it’s all at Henley House, so go there if you want to try this beer. Lastly we have another beer designed to test out that same Maris Otter malt, British Golden. Similar in specs to the Belgian Single, the hops in this one are the classic English East Kent Goldings and the yeast used was the very British S-04. Look for a spicy and citrus hop character with floral undertones as well as some fruity yeast esters. There will also no doubt be a detectable malt presence, although this is a lighter beer at 4.5% ABV with a solid bitterness of 30 IBU. We’re not sure how much of this one there is, but we do know it’s on tap at the Henley House right now!

• If you’re able to pop down to the 2 Crows tasting room today (and why wouldn’t you? Who are you to waste that opportunity, huh?), it’d be a good idea to follow through on that, as they’re releasing another brand new small batch beer as we speak. Rookie Move is the brainchild of brewery coordinator Mitch Gilbert, but don’t let the beer name fool you… this is no simple beer recipe, here. Brewed with Pilsner malt, with some malted and rye Wheat thrown in, it was hopped to 20 IBUs with Calypso, and then fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house Saison culture, along with an “experimental Brett strain”. After fermentation was complete, the beer was further conditioned on a “healthy dose” of yellow plums for one month, before being keg-conditioned with a Champagne yeast strain. Described by the brewery as “bright, funky and effervescent, with notes of barnyard, bright plum, and earthy tea”, it weighs in at just 5.1% ABV, making it the perfect pour for you to enjoy on a mid-work-on-a-Friday kind of day. Heck, maybe even have two! (Disclaimer: we would never condone drinking during a work day; who do you think we are, anyway?)

• Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing has a new brew out for the dog days of summer with their recently released Crush, a German-style Hefeweizen brewed with over 150 lbs of blood oranges. Built off of their base Weizen recipe, Württemberg Weissbier, blood oranges aren’t the only star, as an additional several pounds of orange zest were also thrown in. Hopped lightly with Summit to 15 IBUs, this 5% ABV brew is hazy-orange in colour, with lots of fresh orange flavour thanks to the combination of the blood oranges and zest. With a touch of clove from the fermentation with a Bavarian yeast strain, it’s sure to refresh your palate as summer continues to linger. On tap now at your local LC licensee.

• Coming off their presence at last weekend’s HalCon, Garrison made a couple of announcements this week. The first is that their pumpkin beer, the venerable Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale, is back as of today, exclusively at the rewery and private liquor stores in Halifax. Packaged in 650 mL bombers, this is one of the bigger pumpkin offerings in the region, coming it a 8.0% ABV. Complex and nutty on the malt side, the body is augmented with Cinderella pumpkins from the Dill family farm in Windsor. Pumpkin pie spices and hopping with Millennium to 30 IBU complete the picture, and it arrives just in time to pair with the crisp fall air. Homebrewers following Garrison’s Facebook page surely took note earlier this week when the style for their upcoming 2018 Home Brew-off was revealed to be Kölsch. Though the dates of the competition have not yet been decided, classically the entry date is in late February/early March. Why reveal so early? With the Kölsch style, developed in Cologne, Germany, timing is everything. Generally top-fermented at warm temperatures with an ale yeast, it is then lagered at cooler temperatures to achieve a characteristic crisp finish that balances its soft, rounded palate. Best served fresh, this style challenges the brewer to bring a fairly light, but characterful ale that displays some characteristics associated with lagers. Plus, this extra time will give keeners the chance for a test batch or two to nail down a recipe and technique. Check out the Kölsch Style Guidelines for inspiration. And finally, if you’re looking for something to do (read: warmup beers!) tomorrow afternoon in the lead-up to the Cask Beer Throwdown, head on down to Garrison’s SeaPort location and bring your Wiener Dog (if you’ve got one). In support of the Atlantic Canadian Dachshund Rescue, you’ll find the Wunderbar Wiener Dog Rally going on, with fun, games, and a BBQ. Oh! And don’t forget the home-and-home tap takeovers Garrison and Breton are doing this week. Tonight at the Stubborn Goat in Halifax expect to find a bevy of Breton brews and coming up next Thursday, look for Garrison to bring their wares to Governor’s Pub in Sydney. Both events start at 6 PM and go ’til late!

• Speaking of Pumpkin beer, Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing has released their Pumpkin Ale, brewed with plenty of home-grown ingredients. Featuring pumpkins from Fullerton Farms in Kingston, and hops from Darlings Island Farm in Darlings Island, this 6.3%, 28 IBU autumn seasonal is truly a taste of the Kennebecasis Valley!

Western Newfoundland Brewing has announced that their beers are now available in packaged format to grab and enjoy at home (or one of the amazing trails in nearby Gros Morne). While their brewery retail shop is not quite open full time, visitors can drop in Thursday and Friday from 12-7PM to grab crowlers of their beer. Currently available are the Killdevil Backcountry Pale Ale, and Stout. Drop by the back entrance at Unit 8 at 23 Stentaford Ave to check out the brewery and buy a few cans for later.

• Do you find yourself constantly hanging out at Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing, ordering pints, filling growlers, and just enjoying the atmosphere? Well, you might as well join the new KV Beer Club! For just $30 you get a t-shirt, free growler fill, a members-only mug, and $1 off all pints until 2018. Sound good? Well, there’s only 50 spots available, so you best get down to the brewery to sign up, ASAP!

Breton Brewing has brought back two of their fall seasonals, just in time for, well, fall! The first beer is a style that is always expected aplenty this time of year, their Pumpkin beer, Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs). Brewed with over 100 lbs of roasted, locally-grown pumpkins, it was also spiced with their secret blend to pump up the pumpkin presence (I did that on purpose). Joining this beer at the taproom is their other fall favourite, Celtic Colours Maple Lager (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs), brewed with local maple syrup. Both of these beers are available now at Breton for pints and growler fills, for a limited time only.

• Down at the gateway to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in Windsor, Schoolhouse continues to pump out the beer from their expanded 10 BBL system. The latest version of their Vice Principal ale is currently fermenting, this time a harvest version featuring a wet hop of 6 kg of Zeus grown on Bremner Farm, very close to the original Schoolhouse location in Falmouth. Also in the works is a new entry in the local hop series, keeping the name The Big Red Schoolhouse. It’s an imperial red ale that will have lots of locally grown Centennial, Cascade, Magnum, Brewers Gold and Zeus. We’ll have more information on that one when it hits the taproom in the late October/early November timeframe. This week’s Cask Friday beer with be the Scotian Export with a dry hop of East Kent Goldings available from 4 PM today for tasters, pints and growler fills.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has a few things on the go this week (seems to be a theme this week, actually). First, DeWolfe of Wall Street, their “alternative” APA is back in their taproom. They’ve also let us know what they’ll be pouring at tomorrow’s Cask Throwdown: they took the base beer for their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie, a mix of Pilsner, Red X, rye and flaked barley, and to it added various combinations of wild-foraged and other off-the-beaten-path ingredients, including roasted dandelion root, elderberry, ginger and freshly-picked rose petals. They’ll have 5 different variations pouring in all. Next, we’ve been advised that the wackiness we told you about last week known as Golden Goomba did eventually make the taps and is still available. It ended up with a pile of fresh ginger to go with the Yuzu juice, sour culture and two different yeasts we described last week. And this week’s offering for Beta Brewsday is called Reclaiming My Time. Brewed, as always, by Kelly C., this time with help from Evelyn White, it’s an attempt to recreate one of Evelyn’s favourite beers, Mackeson Milk Stout, a beer first brewed in Hythe, Kent, in 1907. It’s heavy on the chocolate and honey malts, with some dark crystal, all on top of a base of 2-row barley. The hopping is Willamette for early additions and Vic Secret in very limited amounts later in the boil. Cold-steeped malt was added in the fermenter to punctuate things. Coming in at 4.5% ABV, this should be a very sessionable beer, likely to be dark, sweet and roasty, with a bitterness in the 25 IBU range. It will be tapped in Beta Brewsday tradition, this coming Tuesday.

• Continuing to bring some truly interesting cider experiences to Halifax, we have more information on a blend we mentioned briefly last week. Chain Yard has another interesting offering available this week. Orange is the New Wild started with a wild fermentation of juice mixed apple blend. Noticing “pleasant floral notes…with a citrus element” developing during fermentation, the cider makers encouraged further development of these aromatics through a nutrient strategy. Close to the end of the fermentation, orange blossom water was added to highlight the aroma before a temperature drop was applied to slow the final stages. In the end, a crisp and refreshing, easy drinking, high-ABV (7.7%) cider was produced.

• Making its debut at last night’s Tap Takeover is a brand new beer collaboration between Tatamagouche Brewing and Battery Park Beer BarPfiel-Mund is a 5.3%, 23 IBU Dunkelweizen, brewed with Wheat, Munich, Horton Ridge 2 Row, and a touch of Chocolate Malt for colour. Traditional German Hallertau and Tettnang hops were used for a light bitterness, and Escarpment Lab “Weizen 2” yeast completes the authentic package. The resultant amber beer shares a distinct banana and clove aroma with its pale Hefeweizen cousin, with a bit more malt flavour and character from the darker malts. This weekend, the beer will see wider distribution, hitting tap accounts in HRM and at their own brewery on Main Street Tatamagouche.

• Coming in just under the wire (again!), Tidehouse would like us to let you know that they’ll be launching a new “Belgian-inspired Ale” at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room over the coming weekend. Franco is best-described as a Belgian Amber, and was brewed with 2-row, Munich, Wheat malt, and a touch of Chocolate malt to darken the colour Post-boil-hopped with Ahtanum, Azacca, and Citra to add some tropical and citrus notes, the 6.3% ABV brew was fermented with both a Saison and a Witbier strain, giving plenty of clove character. “Autumnal as all get-out”, according to the brewery, drop by this weekend to give it a try (and maybe firmly suggest they don’t email us at 10:34 am on Friday morning?).

• To celebrate the birthday of Alexander Keith, the Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery will be releasing a new beer, Peated Blueberry Ale. With a grist that includes a small portion of Peated malt, locally-harvested blueberries from Glenmore Farms were also added at various stages of the brew, including in the mash, kettle, and aging tanks after fermentation was complete. The result is a blend of “smoky, earthy woodsy character with the moderate-intense wild fruity blueberry notes”, with a tart finish. At 5.3% ABV and 10 IBUs, this dark purple beer will be released at the brewery’s party on October 5th.

• It was only a matter of time before this happened in our region, but it still feels like a bit of a surprise. This week saw the demise of Downeast Beer Factory in Burnside. Although their website is still operating, Halifax Retales noted yesterday on Twitter that the doors have been locked for several days and there are no signs of life inside. We were able to confirm independently later in the day that the brewery is finished. Though some other breweries in Atlantic Canada have had some hiccups and at least one is on hiatus, this is the first brewery to close permanently since Rogue’s Roost in October of 2015, and, before that, the Hart & Thistle in February of 2014. But both of those establishments had long term runs of 5 years or more, whereas Downeast had only been operating since May of last year. While it is likely that misfortune in the form of equipment failure during the initial startup had a hand to play in the closure, and while there are certainly some fairly well-publicized concerns surrounding the brewery’s ownership and operations, the fact remains that there doesn’t seem to have been much of a business model there. Attempting to put a brewery in an industrial park and make it a destination for food and drink is not a strong play in 2017. Coming to market in a city with more than a dozen established breweries (and more in the works) with a limited and somewhat uninspired product line (blonde, Irish ale and IPA) does not sound to us like a good idea even if the beers are top quality. It is unfortunate that a local business has failed and that, as a result, people are out of work. At the same time it is a reminder that our craft beer industry is maturing. In a previous era Downeast may have been able to limp along for more than a year, possibly even overcoming some of the obstacles it had set for itself. But in today’s market, with the level of competition (however friendly) rising, there is less runway and less margin for error. We wish the staff of Downeast all the best and hope to see their brewer running a mash tun and boil kettle somewhere else soon. But we certainly also feel that there are some important lessons to be learned here for prospective brewery owners. To be clear, this isn’t any kind of tipping point for craft breweries in the province and we’re not expecting any others to fall any time soon, but it’s definitely a signpost on the road to a truly mature industry: the margin for error on starting a brewery in Atlantic Canada has definitely narrowed.

Another busy weekend ahead with both the Cask Beer Throwdown and Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest on Saturday, plus a bunch more new events coming soon!

• The crew from Boxing Rock are visiting HopYard in Charlottetown this week, with a full Vinyl and Tap Takeover. Pouring 10 different BR beers yesterday and today, the visit to the island may also signify the possibility of a return in the Rumble in the Alley series of collaborations between Boxing Rock and Upstreet. Drop by Kent Street today to grab a pint and meet the BR folks!

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is taking over the taps at Lion & Bright tomorrow during MOJO – Indie Dance Night with DJ Loukas Stilldrnk. From 9:30 till late, the 8 taps at L&B will be pouring a wide variety of Roof Hounds beers, including their new Oat of My Mind Double IPA, and at least two sours. Always the overachiever, there will actually be 9 beers flowing, so don’t be afraid to grab a full pint or two of your favourites, as there are reinforcements waiting in the wings!

• A reminder that the second running of the Falmouth TrALE Run (5 and 10 km) is going down tomorrow at Castle Fredericks Farm. You’ll find beers from Schoolhouse and Roof Hound alongside Sid Cider and Davison’s (non-alcoholic) as well. And look out for the Schoolhouse team in the 19th Annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor on October 15th! They’ll have an outdoor beer garden from 1 – 8 PM in a great spot to watch the race with lots of great beer including their own Pumpkin Paddler Ale. There will also be food trucks, a corn boil and live music from 3 – 7 PM. Meanwhile a team from the brewery will be participating in the race.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has announced their next event, set for Wednesday, October 11th. This social will be held at Wilser’s Room in the Capital Complex downtown, from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a flight of beers to sample, for just $9.50. As always, you’re welcome to hang out afterwards and continue chatting – and drinking! – with your fellow beer lovers. If you’d like to secure a spot, you can RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com.

And just a couple more things before we let you get back to work…

– The Pumpkin Ales won’t be ending with the ones we’ve mentioned this week; Hammond River has just brewed up their Pumpkin ale, La Maitresse, which should be appearing on tap at the brewery, and at licensees, within the next few weeks.
– The North / Boxing Rock collaboration, Many Hands 5.0, a wet-hopped Gruit/beer hybrid that we mentioned last week, is now available; you can find it in 650 mL bottles and growlers at both North bottle shops and at Boxing Rock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now for your regularly scheduled beer release news…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good day, and welcome to another beautiful Friday! Before diving headfirst into your long weekend, there is a ton of beer news to get through, so sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy!

• With expansion soon underway at Hammond River, brewing – luckily for fans of their beer – hasn’t slowed down a bit! Two favourites were rebrewed earlier this week: White Walker White Stout (a pale-coloured Stout brewed with Java Moose Foghorn coffee, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cacoa nibs) was brewed on Tuesday, and Imperial Breakfast Stout (featuring more local coffee and cacao nibs, along with Applewood home-smoked bacon) yesterday. Owner/brewer Shane Steeves also has two new beers in the pipeline, to be brewed very soon. First up will be a new Imperial IPA that will be hopped continuously with Simcoe during the 90-minute boil (with a large dry-hop addition as well, of course). With a grist composed of Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Vienna malt, along with some Carapils, expect this 9.2% ABV, 101 IBUs DIPA to be very hop-forward, as expected. Shortly after, Steeves will be brewing a new take on his The Vegas SMaSH, with this iteration featuring the extremely-popular Citra hop variety. We’ll keep you updated as to the release of all four of these beers in the future.

• The beer keeps flowing at Mama’s Brew Pub, as yet another couple of new brews became available on tap earlier this week. Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout features a grist of 2-row and Medium Crystal, with some Carafa III and Chocolate malt to darken the colour and add some roasted notes to the beer. Hopped lightly with Goldings to 20 IBUs, dehydrated chocolate peanut butter powder was added to both the boil and secondary to add the eponymous flavours; it weighs in at 7.1% ABV. Next up is Pumpkin Patch IPA, an interesting take on the love-it-or-hate-it Pumpkin Ale. This 6.7% ABV beer uses 2-row as the only malt, but gains colour from the addition of pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar, and molasses. “Generously spiced with brown baking spices”, and hopping with Cascade, Amarillo and Summit to 37 IBUs, it’s available just in time for the holiday weekend, as it will be released today. Finally, good news for those of you unable to make frequent trips to the Northside brewpub – Mama’s is currently installing three new 3 BBL (350 L) fermentors, and a crowler machine. This means more beer of course, but more importantly, some of this beer will be available for off-site sales at local beer bars/restaurants in Fredericton.

Celtic Knot has released Murky Depths, a new take on their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout. Featuring the addition of the meat and water from local wild oysters, it’s a great beer to pair with a variety of salty cheeses. Still quite drinkable at 5% ABV, it’s been pouring at a few select locations throughout Moncton; look for it to hit the taps at Tide & Boar very soon (if it’s not on already). If you missed out, fear not – owner/brewer Bruce Barton has confirmed that a new batch has just been brewed, and will be available on tap, soon. And in other Celtic Knot beer news, their 7.5% ABV Toque and Mitts Barleywine should be released this coming December. Perfect for sipping on cold winter nights, this will mark the third year for the annual release of this full-bodied ale.

Graystone Brewing hasn’t had any trouble breaking in their new brewing equipment – they’ve got several beers in the pipeline, one of which – the first “new” beer brewed on their in-house system – is being released today. Base Camp Idaho is their newest India Session Ale (aka Session IPA), brewed entirely with Idaho 7 (to 60 IBUs), a new experimental hop variety. Described as displaying characters of tropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus and pine, this could very likely be the first time this variety has been used by a brewery in Atlantic Canada. Supremely sessionable at 4.1% ABV, look for it at the brewery for pints and growler fills.

• The bigwigs at Good Robot are a sentimental bunch, and with the departure of Liam, a beloved employee who has returned home to Australia, they’re releasing Chazzwazzers, an “Oceanian Ale” today. Yellow-coloured thanks to a fairly-simple grist of Maritime, Vienna, and Golden Promise malt, plenty of New Zealand and Australian hop varieties were added: Ella and Rakau as whirlpool additions, and Dr. Rudi, Kohatu, and Wakatu in the dry-hop. Expect big aromas and flavours of tropical and stone fruit. Fermented with an American Ale strain to keep the hops front and center, the beer comes in at 7.2% ABV and 46 IBUs. Look for it on tap at Good Robot, and at better beer establishments across the HRM.

• There’s a head-to-head Gose competition underway on PEI, featuring brewers from the PEI Brewing Co. and the Gahan House brewpub, who split up and developed two brand new Gose recipes for draught release only. Let’s start with the PEIBC version, Spiced Gose – brewed with Pilsner malt and a blend of malted and torrefied wheat, it was kettle-soured before being boiled with toasted coriander and a portion of PEI seawater. Hopped-to-style – that is, extremely lightly, to 7 IBUs – with the German Saphir variety, the resulting 3.5% ABV beer is described as “malt-forward, with a balanced salinity and acidity; very drinkable”. A very limited supply will be pouring at the PEIBC taproom and a few regional beer bars, with the rest heading to New Brunswick, where it will be available this weekend at all five ANBL growler stations. Unfortunately, we do not have much information on Gahan’s entry to this friendly competition, but will be sure to share it next week!

Railcar Brewing brewed a special seasonal batch on October 5th that will be hitting the taps in a couple of weeks: Smoked Apple Ale features 25 pounds of locally picked apples added to the mash, a little smoked malt, and a touch of brown sugar at the end of the boil. Look for more details as its release approaches!

• Don’t be surprised if you see a lineup Friday at noon at Unfiltered Brewing, as they bring us another entry in their SMaSH series this week. Spec’d very much like its siblings DOA and Deity, and made with brewmaster Greg Nash’s unique SMaSH technique, the new RSMA is 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU, and features Mosaic hops. This variety, also known as HBC 369, was released in 2012 by the Hop Breeding Company and has become a favourite in hop-forward beers across North America. It’s known to provide a complex combination of floral, fruity, earthy, and especially tropical flavours. If you’re lucky enough to be going to Cask Days in Toronto later this month, you’ll find this one alongside Unfiltered’s Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and a bevy of other Maritime brews. If you’re not so fortunate, you can head on over to the brewery or Charm School Pub for a pint or a growler fill. Get on it!

Savoie’s Brewhouse, way up north in River Charlo, New Brunswick, has two items of interest for us this week. The first is the impending release of their new Fall Fair Harvest Ale, containing selected malts from their four main brews into one. This year it uses Chinook, Magnum, Palisade and Cascade (all of which are also featured in their regular line), but going forward it will feature locally grown hops. It is amber in colour and has a slight bitterness. The second piece of news is a move of the brewhouse just down the road to the Heron’s Nest Cottages, home of the Heron’s Nest Pub, where Savoie’s brews are exclusively on tap (where you’ll also find a wide selection of craft and imported beers). This move has also given them the opportunity to follow a welcome trend in the region by expanding their brewhouse capacity from 80 gallons to 160.

Sea Level Brewing is extremely excited to announce the arrival of a true farm-to-glass Nova Scotian beer this weekend. Brewmaster Randy Lawrence has been dreaming of a beer made solely of locally-sourced ingredients since he began growing his own hops in 1983, and the new Indigenous Pale Ale sees his dream become reality. The barley was grown in Port Williams at TapRoot Farms and malted at Horton Ridge Malting Company. The bulk of the hops are of the Cascade variety and were harvested from Sea Level’s own hop farm, while the small remainder comes from other Nova Scotia growers. The beer is 5% ABV, with a smooth malt flavour that allows the floral and citrus notes from the wet-hopped Cascade to shine. A pre-release took place on Thursday at the Port Pub in Port Williams, with cans and 1L growlers available at the brewery today. If you’re in HRM you’ll be able to find this truly Nova Scotian Ale this weekend at Bishop’s Cellar and at select tap accounts around the city. 

• Launched during their epic takeover of Battery Park’s taps last night, there’s a brand new Tatamagouche brew now flowing this week. Batattery Pale Ale has all the hop character of a West Coast IPA, but in a smaller ABV-delivery system, at 60 IBUs and 5.6% ABV. Battery Park’s head bartender Marc Wilson, a native of the West Coast, and BP/North Brewing’s Peter Burbridge made a trip to Tatamagouche to brew up a special collaboration in September. Featuring Malagash-grown Cascade hops added during the mash, with loads more hops added during the boil (namely Cascade, Chinook, and Simcoe), and through even more of the local Cascade in a hopback, then with extra dosing of Cascade and Chinook dry hops. Though an ode to hops, the use of Horton Ridge Pale Malt helps to complete the local twist on a West Coast-inspired beer. The beer is available now at Tatamagouche for samples, growler fills, and cans, and will be available at licensees within the next week.

• Attendees to the Tata Takeover were also treated to a sneak peek of their next Berliner Weisse release, Philomenaroma. This 4.0% ABV kettle sour features dark cherries, for a brilliant colour and bright fresh cherry aroma. Look for the full release of this beer next week, on tap and in growlers only. Also launching this coming week is Tata’s collaboration with the crew from Bishop’s CellarCellar Slammer Session IPA; at 4.4% ABV, it features the same light malt recipe from the first release, but is further enhanced, aromatically, with a pass through the hopback with some of their own home-grown whole leaf Cascade. Grab the beer at the brewery in growlers and cans, rotating through the growler station at Bishop’s, and on tap at favourite bars in HRM.

• And speaking of North Brewing, they are releasing a brand new beer today, Headline Milk Stout. It features big chocolate flavour from three different chocolate malts (including debittered chocolate malt), complemented with toasted nut and coffee notes. The addition of lactose lends a creamy and lightly sweet finish to the beer, for a full 360° experience. This 5.5% ABV beer is lightly bittered to just under 30 IBUs for balance. It is available now at their Ochterloney and Agricola locations in 650 mL bottles and 750 mL swing tops, growler fills, and sure to be available at your local watering hole shortly.

• A cross-harbour collaboration was released late last week, between Halifax’s Gahan House and Dartmouth’s Spindrift BrewingYser is a 20 IBU, 5.9% ABV Saison, featuring light amounts of both flaked rye and flaked wheat in the grist for a light spiciness and haze, and persistent head retention. Lemondrop and Meridian hops lend a bright lemon citrus aroma, which is offset with an addition of pink peppercorns late in the boil. With the yeast drying the beer out (taking the final gravity quite low), the wheat and rye help to maintain a pleasant full body mouthfeel. This is one complex beer, perfect for pairing with oysters (the beer was released in celebration of last weekend’s Oysterfest), or your favourite cheese. Grab it on tap at Gahan and Spindrift for growler fills, and there are a few kegs in the wild around the HRM, too.

• There are a pair of other new beers flowing on the Halifax side of the harbour at Gahan as well. Dead Drift Double IPA is definitely American in inspiration and execution, featuring Chinook, Palisade, and Simcoe hops for pine, citrus, and stonefruit flavours and aromatics, but with a restrained 45 IBUs. At 8.2% ABV, the grist is made up solely of 2-Row malt. A light heat does come through, but only serves to deliver more of the hop aromatics directly to the nose.

• The third new beer is Tommy’s Chocolate Orange, a 4.0% ABV Hefeweizen brewed in collaboration with Gahan’s Chef, Thomas Hulford. The aim was to achieve a blonde-coloured beer reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, featuring notes of chocolate, citrus, and maybe some banana. The German weizen yeast helps to bring in the banana, while aging on fresh orange zest and cacao nibs bring in the other flavour and aromatic notes. From head brewer Kyle Jesspsen: “While the aromatics are big, the flavour is still very light, quenching and approachable.” Grab all three new beers, as well as core beers Maritime Brine Gose and Night Vision American Porter on tap and in growler fills now, and keep an eye open for a new version of Crosscurrent Pale Ale (this time with Centennial and Comet) releasing Monday.

Mill Street Brewery St. John’s has released a new batch of their Capelin Hound, their 4.0% ABV Session IPA. Plenty of hops are used in this small package, to the tune of 50 IBUs, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story of the big grapefruit and melon aromatics, thanks to a boatload of dry-hopping. While originally brewed to enjoy in great volume while awaiting the Capelin to roll, this beer can definitely be enjoyed into fall. They are also releasing Leder-Helles next week, their Oktoberfest-inspired Munich Helles beer. At 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs, this golden lager is medium-bodied and malt-forward with a sweet, grainy, and nutty aroma. Light hopping from Hersbruker and Saaz hops give a light spiciness, pairing with the dry finish. Grab these two beers, as well as Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale, on growlers to go, upon release.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is releasing a special collaboration brew this Saturday, brewed with the help of local beertographer and beer fan @kelticdevil (aka Phil Church). Kelticdevil Pumpkin Spiced Latte Strong Porter is an 8.0% Porter, featuring light pumpkin spicing, Sissiboo Coffee Roaster Honduran Coffee, and lactose. The result is more than the sum of its parts, with the cream and coffee coming together with the light spicing for a special seasonal release. To celebrate the release, there will be live music tomorrow night from 10pm, featuring Marc Durkee. Learn more at RHB’s Facebook page.  And there are still a few tickets available for their October 20 Supper Club, more details and the menu are here. And keep an eye out in HRM for their Rooftop Rye-It beer, as kegs were delivered yesterday to Battery Park, Good Robot, Stillwell and Bishop’s Cellar for growler fills.

• Attention homebrewers, the style for this year’s Garrison Home Brew-Off has been announced! Wee Heavy (Category 17C of the 2015 BJCP Guidelines) is a Scottish style of beer, 6.5 – 10.0% ABV, malt-forward and low bitterness, with a full mouthfeel from the crystal and caramel malts. The judging will take place in February with the Gala shortly thereafter. More details will be available soon, and Garrison’s Brew-Off page will updated soon after. Get those test batches on the go now!

• Saint John’s First City has been busy lately, with one recent new beer release and two others on the way. Out now at a handful of beer bars is their American Pale Ale, brewed with “four West Coast ‘C’ variety hops”; it comes in at 5.5% ABV and 42 IBUs. In the next few days, look for Spiced Pumpkin Ale (6% ABV, 25 IBUs) to join the flurry of pumpkin beers currently hitting bars. Finally, their Red IPA (7% ABV, 60 IBUs) will be returning within the next week or so as well.

• In celebration of this year’s Celtic Colours Festival (Oct 7-15), Breton Brewing has just released their Celtic Colours Maple Lager. Featuring more than 20 litres of local maple syrup in the batch, this 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs Helles is pouring at the brewery and at local bars now. And releasing later today is their Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale, at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBUs, featuring more than 100 kg of roasted pumpkin added to the beer. Today, and into the weekend, they are featuring musicians in their taproom, in celebration of the Festival. Check out the listings here.

Propeller Brewing has brought back their ode to next weekend’s “Art at Night” festival, Nocturne. The 4.8% ABV Nocturne Dark Lager is now available in 500ml bottles and growler fills, and is only available at the Prop Shops on Gottingen and Windmill. And during Nocturne, drop by their Gottingen location from 6 to midnight, when they will be hosting a local artist. A percentage of proceeds of the sale of this beer go to the Nocturne Festival.

Sober Island Brewing has taken to Kickstarter to help fund the next steps in their expansion on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. With rewards ranging from stickers, cooler backpacks for that perfect picnic, to designing and brewing your own custom brew, there are benefits to everyone who takes part. Be sure to check out their campaign and be a part of their exciting future!

• Drop by the Brookside Mall location of ANBL this evening from 5 to 8pm for a taste of some seasonal releases from Sunset Heights Meadery. In addition to Queen’s NectarPunky Pie and several other expressions and still meads will be available. Tomorrow, drop by the Train Station for their “Saturday Sips” from 11 am until 3 pm. They will be serving Queen’s Nectar, Punky Pie, Latifah, BluePrintz, and a new cocktail they’ve temporarily named “Morphine Dance” in honour of author Shelia McPhee’s book The Naked Wine & Morphine Dance, with whom they are sharing the space. It features Queen’s Nectar, Fils du Roy Absinthe, Egg White and Lemonade.

• In case you missed our post earlier this week, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub is now brewing their own beer onsite. After only a week of availability, they have gone through at least six different flavours, the latest of which, at time of publishing, are: Forum Pale Ale, a 5.8% ABV cloudy hoppy ale with flavors and aromas of melon, lychee and peach; and Amarillo, Citra and Summit Pale Ale, a 5.9% ABV ale featuring loads of the eponymous hops for notes of citrus and apricot.

• Good news for New Brunswickers who are fans of PEI’s Upstreet Brewing – the brewery has confirmed that kegs of several of their beers have been sent to the province for the first time. Look for these to pop up at select bars and restaurants this weekend. If your favourite local watering hole is missing out, be sure to put your request in!

How about some upcoming events to get you inspired?

• The I Love Local Halifax City Harvest is being held October 22nd. This celebration of local businesses is a great excuse to get out and visit the many breweries in our city. Among them, Garrison will be setting up an outdoor bar, sampling some special one-off beers, and will be welcoming Halifax Press to sell grilled cheese sandwiches. Other participants in the event include Bishop’s Cellar and Stubborn Goat.

• November and December are going to be busy for beer and cider fans at Stillwell’s Barrington Street location. On November 5th, they will be hosting their first-ever cider Tap Takeover, featuring West Avenue Cider from Hamilton. Look for a dozen-plus blends to go on tap from opening Saturday. On November 20th, Stillwell will be celebrating their 3rd anniversary with some great blasts from the past, as well as the celebration and release of their latest beer, brewed at North. We now know that the Bissell Brothers / Orono Brewing Co tap takeover will be happening Saturday December 10th, and will be sure to be a Maine-iac of a weekend! And while no date has yet been set, they have announced that Danish gypsy brewery Mikkeller will be sending a full 24 beers to invade their taps during an epic weekend some time in December. Keep your eyes peeled here for the details on this event. And be sure to drop by the Beergarden this weekend, before the outdoor space closes for the year. The crew from Rinaldo’s are serving up some Italian inspired sandwiches and dishes today from 4pm.

Wow, do things seem busier today, or is it just us? Be sure to check ahead on breweries’ and bars’ status over this long weekend, as some may be closed (in addition to the provincial stores). A few more parting shots:

– Bad Apple Brewhouse has released their collaboration with the Delta Force homebrewing collective. Operation Green Ring is a 5.0% Cucumber Mint Wheat beer. Also keep an eye out for their BAB’s Russian Imperial Stout, as the latest batch of this 9.0% ABV roasty beast is hitting local taps shortly. These, as well as a handful of others, are available at their Somerset location now.
Petit Sault‘s Oktoberfest, La Padrix, is back on tap for a limited time; with a “rich malty taste, and light biscuit notes”, it comes in at 5.6% ABV.
– Speaking of Oktoberfest beer, the Pump House Oktoberfest is back out in six packs. At 5.5% ABV and 12 IBUs, this amber-coloured lager can be found at ANBL stores, and likely on tap at the brewpub in Moncton as well.
– Yellowbelly Brewpub have released a brand new beer, Flatrock Freshie. This 5.6% ABV Saison features loads of locally-grown Blackcurrants, and is available on tap and in bottles to go, at both the brewery and NLC stores shortly.

Another week, another fresh batch of beer news to get you up to speed! Let’s go!

• After announcing plans to start brewing on-site in late November, Mama’s Pub on Brookside will officially have beer for sale starting tonight! Brewer Ryan Kingston has all three of their first flagship brews ready for consumption: Mama’s Golden Ale, a 5% ABV, 17 IBUs pale ale that is “light, crisp, and really easy to drink”; Mama’s Session IPA, a 4.2% ABV, 23 IBUs ale, dry-hopped with Comet and Citra; and Mama’s Vanilla Bean Stout, a 5.7%, 19 IBUs dark beer with “tons of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla notes”, featuring real vanilla beans that were pre-soaked in Kahlúa liqueur prior to being added to the fermentor. These beers will currently be available only at Mama’s Pub for pints, so drop in to give them a try, and be sure to check out the brewery behind the new 9×6 window in the restaurant! UPDATE: Unfortunately, Mama’s has let us know that the beers will NOT be pouring tonight as originally planned; look for them to be available sometime next week.

• This weekend, Flying Boats is launching a special one-off IPA for Valentine’s Day. Lovers Quarrel IPA came to be thanks to a short in the heating element of the brewery’s electric brew panel; after over two hours of troubleshooting, brewer/owner Marc Melanson decided to change his brewing plans and concoct something new. The beer was bittered with Columbus, with several late additions of Chinook and Cascade; dry-hopped with Amarillo and Centennial, expect aromas and flavours of dank, citrus, and tropical fruit. Weighing in at 6.4% ABV and 76 IBUs, look for this one on tap at select accounts, including Ducky’s in Sackville, and Fredericton’s James Joyce Pub.

• Speaking of beers perfect for Love Day, Breton Brewing just launched their third seasonal brew: Cocoa Envy, a Robust Chocolate Porter. With fresh cocoa nibs from the U.S., coffee beans from Costa Rica, and a hint of added cinnamon, this complex brew should be just what you need to get you in the mood… to have another. Available now for growler fills and at select Breton accounts; 6.5 % ABV and 37 IBUs.

• There’s a new beer on tap at the YellowBelly brewpub, a 5.3% ABV British Pale Ale named Landsmen. Featuring a simple grist of Maris Otter and Dark Crystal malt, it was hopped solely with Brewer’s Gold to ~50 IBUs; two dry-hop additions were made to allow its “earthy, spicy, and berry fruit character to shine”, according to the brewery. Grab it on tap at the pub/restaurant today, and in bottles to go next week, as well as on NLC shelves.

Acadie-Broue‘s Patrice Godin has made another trip to Edmundston, which is good news for all of us… it means that there’s another collaboration beer in the works with Petit-Sault! While we aren’t privy to the name yet, we can give you some other details on this strong, dark and malty lager: it should come in at about 7.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, and will feature “bready, chewy malt flavours with hints of chocolate and dark fruit, along with a slight nuttiness from toasted buckwheat”, according to Petit-Sault. Cold-conditioned, or lagered, for six weeks to help smooth out the flavours further, this one should be ready sometime in early April. It should be available on tap AND in bottles, for a limited time; we’ll keep you updated on its progress!

• In other Petit-Sault news, their annual brew day on March 5th for the Pink Boots Society is approaching fast, and ladies, they need your help! Led by Petit-Sault brewer Julie Long, the style being brewed is a “Honey Rye Ale”; two other currently-unindentified women will be helping with the brew, and they’re accepting volunteers for the fourth and final team member! If you’re interested in participating, send an email to the brewery’s own Mychèle Poitras. The winner will be chosen randomly on Feb 19th.

Grimross recently acquired some new yeast strains from a Canadian yeast lab, Escarpment Laboratories, located in Guelph, ON. Stephen Dixon of Grimross has been wanting to do a Saison fermented with Brettanomyces, a “wild” strain that is well-known for the funky, fruity, barnyard characteristics it imparts in beer. Several strains were ordered, including variations of their “New World Saison Blend”, which contains both a Brett strain and Saccharomyces strain. If Dixon is happy with the results, he plans to continue to harvest and repitch the yeast, allowing the culture to evolve into a Grimross house blend. The first beer brewed will also feature local hops from Southan Farms. We’ll be sure to keep track of this interesting experiment!

• Moncton’s newest brewery, Bore City, has released their third flagship beer, a 6% ABV American Porter named Spacetime Odyssey. Brewed with dark roast coffee and hopped with the super-tropical, Australian variety Galaxy, you can expect an interesting blend of roasted, coffee flavours, along with the fruitiness from the hops… if you can find some. Two kegs were sent to Marky’s Laundromat on Monday, and there was a bit still available last night, so we suggest heading there today for lunch to finish it off. In doing so, you’ll help to bring BC’s next been on tap, Marécage, their Belgian-style Saison. At 7% ABV, it features a yeast-driven palate of cloves and spices, with a bit of pepper taste to finish. Again, we expect these to be drained quickly, but don’t worry though, more Bore City beer is on its way, and may find its way to Fredericton in the near future.

• We have some details on the collaboration beer brewed between Tatamagouche Brewing and Bar Stillwell, Englishish, which is being described as an “English-ish Golden Ale”. While the beer features a simple malt profile and is low in bitterness, it “draws inspiration from the aromatic North American Pale Ales that we love” according to Tata brewer Christiane Jost, as plenty of English variety hops were added (Fuggles and East Kent Goldings) to give earthy, floral and spicy aromas. British hops, American malt and brewing technique = “English-ish”. Easy-drinking at 4.5% ABV, it will make its debut this Sunday during the Tatabrew tap-takeover event at Stillwell for Valentine’s Day (a few tickets are still available), with cans to follow sometime next week.

Red Rover will soon be celebrating their 2nd Anniversary, and they have a big announcement to do it in style… they’re opening a new Ciderhouse in the near future! Details are being kept under wraps for now, but we can tell you that the new location will still be located within Fredericton, and will provide an outlet “unlike any other in New Brunswick”, according to owner/brewer Adam Clawson. Stay tuned for more, soon!

• Tomorrow at 5 pm, Big Axe is holding a Mediterranean/African food and beer pairing event at the brewery/B&B in Nackawic. Three courses of  Mediterranean and African fusion food will be paired with three Big Axe beers, with Red Rover cider, Sunset Heights sparkling mead, and wine being offered at an additional cost. Tickets went on sale in late January and sold out in two days; however, there WILL be similar food and beer pairings at the brewery in the future, so keep your eyes on their Facebook page for announcements!

• It’s been a busy week at Halifax’s Garrison Brewing! With entry closing for the 8th Annual Home Brew-Off yesterday, it was time for 2015 winner Dave Martin to brew up his winning beer. Martin joined Brew Master Daniel Girard and Head Brewer Jonathan Harris on Marginal Rd to put together Mr Robusto, last year’s winning Robust Porter. It will be released at the gala party where this year’s Experimental IPA winner will be crowned, March 3rd. Returning to the brewery this week is Pucker Up, a pink-hued pomegranate-hibiscus wheat beer. Joining it is a brand new brew, Shack Wacky. This 5.2% ABV Radler is built on an APA base, features loads of orange aroma and finish, along with hints of lemon and other citrus. This is another brewery-only product, for samples and growler fills.

Stubborn Goat have announced the details of their next in the series of beer events. Beer Social with Big Spruce will be taking place next Sunday, February 21st. The Big Spruce himself, Jeremy White, will be in attendance and introducing the food and beer pairings for this four course meal. Among the beers pouring that day will be one of only four kegs of the just-released Ra Ra Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, the 10.5% ABV Glenora barrel-aged beauty (remember, bottles will only be on sale at the Nyanza brewery, and there are not many available!). Grab tickets for the Beer Social today!

BarNone has released their latest in the “Sessions” series: Vic’s Secret Sessions made its debut at Growler Night yesterday, featuring the dual-purpose Australian hop Vic Secret. At 4.8%ABV, this beer is low in alcohol, but big in flavour and aroma, perfect for an all-day session.

• There’s another new style to try at Spindrift today, with their weekly 7th Wave beer being a Lichtenhainer. While there is some discussion as to whether traditional Lichtenhainers contained wheat, modern interpretations tend to be a hybrid of Berliner Weisse and Rauchbier, resulting in a tart, smoky, sessionable beer. Either way, it’s a style rarely seen around these parts. Spindrift’s Lichtenhainer is a light 5%ABV and 15 IBUs. As with all of their 7th Wave brews, it will be on sale today at the brewery today at noon for growler fills only.

Good Robot has introduced a “Glee Club” at the brewery and taproom. Members receive their own custom 18oz mug at the taproom (and receive larger pours at regular price), discounts on growler and grunter fills and merchandise, specials on their birthday, access to exclusive members-only events, and a chance to be a part of a brewday with Doug. Registration is now open for this $100/yr club, and more details are available on their site.

Liquid Assets, the NS beer, cider, wine, and spirits store opening this spring at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, is hiring. Full- and part-time associates with knowledge of the local scene (or a thirst to learn), are encouraged to apply. The job skills include inventory control, customer assistance in choosing the right product, leading tastings, and everything in between. The job posting is here, and open until the end of the month. Construction at their storefront, located beyond security at the Airport, has begun, with an anticipated opening of April.

• For brewers (and potential ones) looking for insight into the “next step”, Springboard Atlantic is hosting a Liquid Courage event at Acadia University next Thursday, February 18th. An event highlighting the potential partnerships available between the brewing and scientific community for quality control, taste panels, and R&D, as well as insights into exporting beyond provincial and national borders, from local successful businesses. It will feature presentations from brewers and wine makers, scientists and academics from across the Maritimes, and business development agencies to aid in making it all happen. Registration is still open for the full day event.

Have a great beer- and love-filled weekend! Not because it’s Valentine’s Day, but just because! A few last news items…

Big Tide‘s Sandpiper Pilsner is back on tap at the brewpub; a 5.5% ABV Bohemian Pilsner hopped with Hallertau and Saaz to 50 IBUs, it’s available for both pints and growler fills while supplies last.
– Boxing Rock has re-released The Next Chapter Rye IPA; first brewed in 2015 with Andrew Estabrooks and released at last year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, this brew is available now in bottles and growlers, and will be seeing release in New Brunswick.
North is re-releasing their popular Belgian Milk Stout today, after a long hiatus. The 5.0% ABV beer was out of rotation for a period, due to their expansion to Dartmouth through Battery Park, as well as the birth of Brewer Josh Herbin’s child in the fall. Look for more special beers to be released in due time, now that the brewhouse has settled down.
PEI Brewing has brought Black Banks Black IPA back for another year. It is currently available at the brewery’s taproom, and many PEILCC stores. It has also been sent to New Brunswick, and should be appearing on ANBL shelves in the next few days. Check inventory here.
– Petit-Sault’s Canon Franchetti, their Cappucino stout, is back, currently on tap and in bottles at the brewery, and will be pouring at ANBL growler stations next Friday, Feb 19th.

We’ve added some more events to the Atlantic Canada Beer Events Calendar, be sure to check it out to be sure you don’t miss the many happenings in our region in the coming weeks and months. Included are this weekend’s events at Good Robot and Upstreet, and upcoming events like Craft Beer Cottage Party (Feb 27), and Fredericton Craft Beer Week (March 4-13). If you have a beer-centric event to add, please fire us an email.

Happy 2016 everyone! We are starting off the year with one of the longest posts to date, with a new brewery announcement, new inter-provincial beer launches, more than a half-dozen new beers, and the return of some old favourite beers and events. It just goes to show that there is no slowing down the Atlantic Canadian Beer news, and we are sure to stay busy this year, bringing you the scoop!

• We start off this week with the announcement of a new brewery, to open this summer in Smith’s Cove, Digby County, NS. Lazy Bear Brewing is the brainchild of Andy and Erin Norman, a husband and wife team of local homebrewers. They will be focusing on brewing English and American ales on a 3 barrel brewhouse. Both Erin and Andy have been homebrewing for years, Erin’s love of which was sparked during university, while taking a Food Science degree. “That’s where I started to learn about what beer really was. I really got into home brewing a few years ago when I had the space to do so and it has become quite a hobby.” They initially plan to offer direct growler sales, and at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market. Lazy Bear’s name borrows from their proximity to the Bear River and nearby Bear Island, and just taking time to relax, enjoy a beer and your surroundings, and being lazy! Keep an eye on their Twitter and Facebook pages, where they have been posting pictures of their brewery build progress. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Lazy Bear!

• From new brewery to new beer, Propeller has released their newest One-Hit Wonder, an American Amber that showcases a new Australian hop variety, Vic Secret. Vic’s Resolution was brewed with a Pale malt base, along with specialty malts including Crystal, Victory and Chocolate to target an amber colour and provide some malty, caramel sweetness to the beer. Moderately-hopped to 23 IBUs, the late additions of Vic Secret give the beer an aroma of pineapple and pine. Easy-drinking at 5.4% ABV, it’s available for growler fills at both Prop Shop locations, and will be popping up on tap at better beer establishments across HRM. And drop by the Windmill location today from 11-3 to grab some jerk chicken and other island treats from the Jamaica Lee food truck.

• In other Propeller news, they’ve announced the date of their next Prop’r Cask Night; it will be held on Friday, January 29th at the brewery’s location on Gottingen St. from 6-9 pm. While the ticket price includes samples of several Propeller beers, the real star of the show is, of course, the cask. This event will feature a Coffee Porter, which will be tapped at 6:30 pm by one of Propeller’s brewers. Along with the beers, a selection of appetizers from chef Ray Bear of Studio East will be on-hand for sampling. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online.

• After officially launching with their Coastal Lager several months ago, Spindrift is releasing two new beers over the next week. First up is La Niña, a golden, unfiltered Wheat Lager that was sour mashed before being fermented by their house Lager yeast strain. A very small batch (50 L) brewed on their Blichmann pilot system, it’s meant to be a slightly acidic, easy-drinking (4.5% ABV) and refreshing Lager. Dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria for “floral and grassy notes” without a lot of bitterness (less than 10 IBUs), it’s the first of their planned weekly series of pilot batches that will be available only at the Spindrift Taproom for growler fills, for a very short time; it will be released this afternoon. The second new beer is The Abyss, a Schwarzbier. A German-style Black Lager, it features “toasted grains, coffee, and chocolate” in the aroma and flavour, leading to an “elegantly smooth finish”, according to the brewery. Hopped with Magnum and German Hersbrucker to 25 IBUs, it was conditioned for 6 weeks to smooth out the flavours even more, and at just 4.2% ABV, should be another easy-drinking beer. The Abyss will be available on tap only at the Taproom and select bars and restaurants Friday, with a sneak peek available during the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration Thursday. Look for a barrel-aged version of The Abyss in the coming months, which was amped up with a dosing of Coldstream Clear Distillery’s Classic Coffee spirit to enhance the beers character.

Upstreet has announced some exciting news for beer lovers not living on PEI: they will soon be available in Nova Scotia! Their four bottled beer offerings will be for sale at Bishop’s Cellar next week, including the Commons Pilsner, Rhuby Social, Do-Gooder, and White Noize, and kegs available to licensees through Bishop’s distribution. To celebrate, they’re planning several events to kick off their NS launch:
– Thursday (Jan 14), they’re holding a release party at Stubborn Goat at 10pm. Come meet and greet the Upstreet crew, and learn all about their beer. PEI’sDylan Menzie playing tunes.
– Friday, 12-10pm they will be holding tastings at Bishop’s Cellar. In addition to bottles, Upstreet’s Black Tie Affair Vanilla Cranberry Stout will be available on the growler filling station.
Later on, drop by Stillwell for more pints and fun with the crew, from 7pm to close.
– Saturday, 12-10pm they will be doing more tastings at Bishop’s Cellar.
They will also be taking over the guest taps at Good Robot’s Tap Room, and taking part in a GoodStreet Feats of Strength Mini-Olympics between the two breweries, 2-6pm. Be sure to drop by for this one, as you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to watch brewers make fools of themselves! If you’re interested in joining a team contact Mikey Woz or Joshua Counsil at the event link above.
– Sunday, they will be holding a beer pairing brunch at Stubborn Goat at 3pm, tickets are now available. Upstreet’s Joey and Hogie will lead a pairing of their four flagship beers with some special food prepared by the Goat’s kitchen.
Keep an eye on their Event Page for further details as they are released.

• With the bottles available at Bishop’s Cellar, this also means beer fans from Yarmouth to Sydney to Amherst can also enjoy bottles of Upstreet. For those who did not know, Bishop’s Cellar offers province-wide shipping on all of their products, and is free for orders over $150 of any combination of beer, cider, wine, and spirits. Keep an eye on their Beer page for the latest new arrivals and the current list of beers on tap for growler fills.

• After a soft launch at the Christmas Beer Garden on December 20th, and a “Meet Your Maker” event at the James Joyce on December 30th, Maybee Brewing now has their initial two beers – Roseway Red and Workhorse IPA – on tap at three locations in Fredericton: the James Joyce, King Street Ale House, and 540 Kitchen & Bar. No official announcement has yet been made as to when the brewery’s taproom will be opening at its location at 559 Wilsey Rd, but the brewery has stated on their Facebook page that both of their initial beers should be available for sale in cans at select ANBL locations by next weekend.

• It’s been just about a year since the James Joyce greatly expanded their tap list and seriously embraced local craft beer, and they’re holding a birthday party to celebrate! Starting at 5 pm on Friday, January 22nd, they will be welcoming everyone to drop in for some birthday cake and happy hour prices on select craft beers. As usual, there will be plenty of beers on tap, with a large emphasis on those produced in New Brunswick, with a strong possibility of a new brewery being present. Cheers to year one, and to many more to come!

• And speaking of the Joyce, they will be welcoming their first kegs from Saint John’s newest brewery, First City, this weekend. Two new beers are being sent for the brewery’s first appearance outside of Saint John: a Chocolate Coffee Stout and DIPA. While both are currently unnamed, we do have the details on each! The Chocolate Coffee Stout was brewed with cocoa powder and Jamaican Rum Butter coffee from Java Moose, and comes in at 6% ABV. The DIPA, while of course a lighter-coloured beer, weighs in at 8% ABV and 112 calculated IBUs; hopped with plenty of locally-grown organic Nugget (from Lunahops in NB) as well as Columbus and Mosaic, expect aromas and flavours that are fruity, earthy, resinous, and herbal. Don’t worry, loyal fans in Saint John – Bourbon Quarter, Lemongrass, and the R Bar are each receiving a keg of the Chocolate Coffee Stout; the R Bar also purchased a keg of the DIPA.

• After some unfortunate delays, Fredericton’s newest cidery, York County Cider, is making more progress towards opening in the near future. All of their brewing, fermenting, and storage equipment arrived shortly before Christmas, and set-up is underway! A juice delivery is planned for the end of this month; product should be following sometime later in the winter. We’ll continue to keep you updated on their progress.

Unfiltered is releasing another hoppy one-off beer today at noon: REALLY Falc’d Up is a bigger version of their All Falc’d Up, an already-pretty-big beer that was released last October. Like that beer, this one features the fruity and tropical Falconer’s Flight, a West Coast variety actually made up of several different hops. It weighs in at a calculated 100+ IBUs, and is even stronger than the last beer, at 9% ABV.  Drop by the brewery today for growler fills or a pint next door at Charm School.

Good Robot is continuing their Experimental releases this weekend with the release of Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale (David Lynch tribute), version 2.0. First released in October, 5.8% ABV, 38 IBUs beer features Pilsner and Red X malt to enhance sweetness, and Rye malt for a bit of spiciness. They used the same hops as their Burban Legend APA, for a pleasant citrus, floral, and grapefruit character. To add roast character, this new batch features an addition of two litres of cold-brewed Java Blend Sidamo Guji coffee to the conditioning beer (2lbs of beans in 2.5 litres of water). This technique allows the bean flavour and aromatics to be extracted, without any bitterness or harsh coffee character. As with their other Experimental brews, this will be for on-premise enjoyment at their Tap Room only, and will be out in the next day or two. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed for the announcement.

• The Robots also held their first Tap Room event Wednesday evening, Silent Reading. The idea was to encourage folks to put down their cell phones, cut out the din of loud music and talking, and enjoy some quiet time with their favourite tome. The event was extremely popular, filling the bar to capacity. Look for future Silent Reading events in the future, as it may become a monthly event due to the great community adoption. Again, stay tuned to their social media pages for more events.

• Do you live in New Brunswick? Are you a fan of Big Spruce Brewing? Well, great news! The brewery confirmed on Wednesday that they’re sending kegs of their beer to several beer bars/restaurants in the province, including the King Street Ale House in Fredericton, the Tide & Boar in Moncton, and Peppers Pub and Bourbon Quarter in Saint John. Beers being delivered will include some or all of the following favourites: Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, and Regatta Red Ale. They should be available at these locations now (or very soon); welcome to NB, Big Spruce!

• For those in Nova Scotia, Big Spruce will be debuting their newest conspiracy Thursday. JAC the SIPA is a Sour IPA, brewed with homebrewers Justin Clarke and Eric Gautier in early December. The beer was made sour using a kettle sour technique, during which natural Lactobacillus produces lactic acid from the wort in the warm (not hot) kettle; the wort is then boiled to kill the beasts, and then fermented using an ale yeast. This Sour IPA (the province’s first?) weighs in at 6.6% ABV and 55 IBUs, with big Amarillo and Simcoe late-, whirlpool-, and dry-hopping additions for tons of aroma. The beer will debut at the Local Connections event, and be available on tap and for growler fills after.

Tatamagouche Brewing is in a hoppy mood this month, which is good news for the rest of us! They’re re-releasing two of their more-popular hoppy offerings: Deception Bay IPA was just re-released yesterday, and is available in cans, growlers, and on tap; and Dreadnot India Black Ale will be available again next Thursday, January 14th. This version of Dreadnot will be amped up a bit, as the batch was dry-hopped this time around. Finally, TataBrew is introducing a new beer for the Local Connections event next week: Deadeye DIPA is an Imperial IPA hopped with Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, and Hallertau Blanc… and then double-dry hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, for a big blast of “pineapple, grapefruit, and passionfruit”, according to the brewery. Sounds delicious to us! If you can’t make the event, don’t worry; this 91 IBUs, 8% DIPA will be following on tap and in growlers as well, and in cans shortly after. Also pouring at the Local Connections event will be a cask of Barrel Aged Ging’ Sync, their 5.5% Rye IPA. This is the barrel aged version of the cask that was sent to Cask Days, conditioned in the cask with caraway seeds and fresh ginger. Look for additional opportunities to grab this Barrel-aged version on tap at better bars and restaurants around the province next week.

• The organizers of the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival still have room for more teams at their NB Hopspiel event being held Jan 29-30th at the outdoor rink at Officer’s Square. We have details on the event in our previous post, but as a refresher, your team entry ticket includes lessons and practice Friday night, games Saturday, a lunch of chili and rolls, and access to the FROSTival Beer Garden (Saturday, 12-6 pm), along with tickets for six 4-oz samples from seven breweries pouring ~15 different beers, ciders and mead. For those not interested in the curling, you can now buy a ticket for entry into the Beer Garden alone. This includes your first five samples (9 oz for beer, 7 oz for cider or mead), and additional tickets can be purchased at the event; food can also be purchased from outside the event and brought in. Note that while children are welcome to observe the curling, the Beer Garden is a 19+ only event, and tickets MUST be purchased in advance through the link above.

• And speaking of the FCBF, evening tickets are more than 90% sold out, so grab them now if you would like to attend the evening session. There are still plenty of afternoon tickets available as well; it will be a bit quieter, and a great way to kick off an evening downtown… or maybe even a return to the evening session!

Garrison Brewing is bringing back their NiT-WiT Belgian Wheat today. This 4.8% ABV, 12 IBUs Belgian Witbier features orange and coriander for an authentic Wit character. First brewed in 2011, it began life as homebrewer Scott Tilford’s winning recipe for Garrison’s Home Brew-Off. Refreshing citrus and tropical aromas meld with a herbal finish. It is available today at the brewery, and will be released to the liquor stores in the coming weeks. And a gentle reminder to homebrewers, the 2016 Home Brew-Off deadline is just one month away, with beers due Feb 11. Be sure to brew your Experimental IPA now, to leave enough time for proper conditioning and carbonating! More details here.

• Garrison is partnering with Board Room Game Cafe, and holding two nights of competitive Catan tournaments at the brewery, Jan 12 & 13. Beginning at 7pm, your $10 admission fee includes entry in the tournament, as well as a sampling of beer. If you are not a Catan person, Board Room will be bringing along lots of other games to play, and their Board Game Bosses to make recommendations and help with the rules. Advance registration is suggested, check their Facebook page for more details.

• We’ve made mention of it several times above, so just a note that there are still a few tickets available for the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration, being held at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. There will be 19 breweries and cider houses in attendance, many of which will be serving debuting new beers and/or serving special casks during the event. There are also 17 food vendors to keep you happy. With the expanded space at the hotel, this will be an excellent evening. Tickets are only available online.

• With all of the new beers mentioned today, how about a look back at an older one? In a story that first emerged last year, scuba diver Jon Crouse found an intact bottle of beer while diving in Halifax Harbour. He was able to identify the origin by the cork, noting it was from Alexander Keith’s brewery, circa 1870-90. While his original intent was to allow the beer to evaporate, Christopher Reynolds from Stillwell asked for a chance to test, and possibly taste, the beer first! Fast forward to this week, when Crouse and Reynolds visited the Atlantic Canada Fermented Products Institute at Dalhousie University. There, they met with Andrew MacIntosh who extracted some of the beer in a sterile fashion, and has begun analysis on it. In their lab, as well as a partner lab in Scotland, they hope to determine the recipe and brewing techniques used, and MacIntosh and colleagues will be publishing a paper on it in the future. So, how did it taste? “Like beer!” Be sure to tune into Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet on Jan 12 for a look in the lab, and being science nerds ourselves, we’ll be sure to follow up when the results are in.

Phew, that’s all we can muster for this week! In closing, be sure to drop by your local ANBL growler station this weekend, as two NB breweries will be featured: Hammond River‘s Red Coat India Red Ale will be on tap at the KV store, and Flying Boat‘s S-55 Special Mission Pale Ale will be at the other three (Fredericton, Dieppe, and Sackville), while quantities last! Oromocto’s first brewery, Johnny Jacks, has a new beer available on tap at the Sour Grape Cafe; details are slim at the moment, but we can confirm it is a 7.1% ABV American IPA named Trench Fighter. Finally, stay tuned to Red Rover early next week, as they have some big news to announce! Have a great weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! Lots of new beers and taproom openings to tell you about today, so let’s dive right in.

Petit-Sault just released their newest brew, Maxime Albert, a Belgian Tripel. Winner of the bronze medal in the Belgian-Style Specialty Ale category in the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards, it iss named after one of New Brunswick’s most famous bootleggers. The beer features a relatively simple recipe of Pilsner malt and Belgian candi sugar to boost the alcohol level (all the way to 9.3% ABV) and give a drier finish, both of which are indicative to the style. Hopped with Hallertau and Saaz to 35 IBUs, it was also lightly spiced with a “secret mix” of spices. Pouring with a “rich, golden honey” appearance, it has an aroma of sweet malt, spicy alcohol, and “light floral notes”, according to the brewery. Expect complex flavours of “malt, pepper, citrus, floral and herbal”, followed by a smooth alcohol warmth. The beer is currently on tap at the brewery and at all four ANBL growler stations this weekend, and should follow in bottles within the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled at your favourite beer bars/restaurant in the province, as it may turn up at these locations as well.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing opened their adjacent taproom late last week, Charm School. In addition to the three core beers, and handful of seasonals now pouring (Daytimer Berliner Weisse, Hop Riot IRA, Flat Black Jesus American Stout, Double Orange Ale DIPA), they are also featuring a special collaboration release with  Jeff Saunders of Bad Apple BrewhouseSmokeshow is an “Imperial Rauchbier” brewed with 100% Smoked malt; the beer was then aged on hickory for an entire year. It’s a big beer, coming in at a massive 11.2% ABV! The only way to grab this beer, for now, is on tap at 6041 North Street, so be sure to drop by for a pint. Charm School is open daily (except Monday) from 4pm.

• We now have more details on this year’s first batch of Yellowbelly‘s Mummer’s Ale. The grist is quite complex, with 2-row, light Carastan, Munich, Flaked Barley, Pale Chocolate malt and Black malt. Two different types of sugar (Belgian candi and turbinado) were also added, as well as local honey from Murray Meadows Farm. Including further additions of cacao nibs from the Newfoundland Chocolate Factory, and fresh-pressed cranberry juice from Rodrigues Winery. Weighing in at ~6.5% ABV, expect a warming, very complex brew! The Mummer’s will be released at the brewery mid-next week, and should also be available in bottles shortly thereafter.

• There’s a new beer pouring at the Rockbottom Brewpub these days, a special German-style brew. Sticke Alt is an Altbier, traditional to the German city of Dusseldorf. The name translates as “Secret Old”: Secret, as the breweries/pubs would keep this special brew on a hidden or unmarked tap handle, and only pour it for the regular patrons; Old, because this beer is closer to an ale than a lager (the refrigeration required for lager brewing is a relatively new development in beer’s history). The good news is, anyone can enjoy this brew at the ‘bottom! The grain bill features mostly Pilsner malt with a bit of German specialty malts for colour and body (and was brewed using the traditional Hochkurz step-mash schedule), and the hop bill is great Eastern European and Noble hops, featuring plenty of Dana, Magnum, and Saaz, for an American IPA feel from Continental European malts and hops. The final product comes in at 5.8% ABV and a hefty 50 IBUs, and is available now for pints as well as growler fills.

Big Tide has brought back a seasonal favourite, their Santa’s Chocolate Porter. Brewed with 2-row, CaraMunich, and Chocolate malt, the beer is lightly hopped to 25 IBUs. Coming in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, it features additions during secondary fermentation of vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon, making it a flavorful, spicy beer for the holidays. It’s currently on tap at the brewpub, and will be available for growler fills at all four ANBL stores at the end of next week (Dec 18th weekend).

• Also on tap now at Big Tide is Unbegrentz Lager, a Munich Helles. Featuring a Pilsner malt base, and generously hopped with Columbus and Hallertau, this beer features an addition of Labrador Tea for a twist on this traditional German style. The beer features 4.8% ABV.

• There’s plenty going on this month with Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery! First up is a “bottle takeover” at the James Joyce Pub tonight. This Mead Your Maker event will feature several of their still meads, including THORArthur’s Mischief, Hunt, Appily Married and the “Honey Cones” Dry Hopped Meads. The latter will be available as a set of eight 1 oz pours (featuring single hopped versions with Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Fuggle, Galena, Nugget, Magnum and Willamette, as well as a 2 oz pour of each of their Multi-Hop and unhopped base versions. In addition, if you try this sampler ($20), you will be given the opportunity to buy a case of “Honey Cones” (this weekend marks the second release of these meads, which sold out at the first release in October) before they officially go on sale online. And keep an eye on the Pollen Angels store on the weekend, as a limited number of these expressions will be available for home delivery.

Good Robot has announced that they will be opening their taproom at 2736 Robie very soon, and have released a video sneak peak at the space and plans. They will be pouring 12 taps, featuring their core lineup of brews, special casks/blends, and small batch experimental brews from homebrewers and friends of the Robots. As such, they will be temporarily pulling the Crown on the Ground Steam Beer from the brewing rotation, so fans should stock up now (they will still have it in kegs for a while, fear not!). Look for new brews like Marzen, Saison (which will be joining the regular lineup shortly), Session IPA (our own Chris was invited to help brew this collaboration), Smoked Molasses Porter, and many more as time goes on. Have a cool idea for a small-batch brew? Get in touch! The taproom will also feature food from some great local providers, including Food Noise, Halifax Press, and Salvatore’s Pizza.

• New Brunswick’s newest brewery, First City Brewery, has quietly made their debut in Saint John! Owned and operated by Adam McQueen and Jeff Gibbons, three initial beers are now listed through ANBL for beers bars and restaurants to order for kegs: their Extra Special Bitter, IPA, and Rhuberry Blonde Ale, with the IPA currently at the R-Bar in downtown Saint John. Plans are to be pouring at the Peel Pub and Bourbon Quarter in the very near future, with other accounts to follow shortly after. They will also have their beers at both the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival and Saint John Beer Fest in 2016. Welcome, First City! We’ll have more info on the brewery and beers very soon.

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has expanded their storefront hours to include Saturday hours (now M-F, 11-6, Sat 12-4pm). Drop by for samples and growler fills of their flagship Coastal Lager, which is also available in an unfiltered variant only at the brewery. Spindrift has also expanded their territory East, to Newfoundland. Coastal Lager hit the shelves of the NLC this week, and can be found from Labrador City to St John’s. Check the NLC site for locations near you.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has put together a new take on their Weizen beer. Pear Hug Weisse is a 5.2% Hefeweizen with an addition of pear juice to the brew. Bringing in a sweet character and characteristic fruit flavour and aroma, it is a unique take on this old style. This limited-time beer is on tap at the brewery for samples and growler fills now, and will make it to local bars as well. The brewery has expanded their taps to pour 11 beers for growler fills, or onsite tasting. Joining the Pear Hug and their 5 core brands currently are Imperial IPAMartello StoutRisin’ Stein WeisseSpruce Beer, and Winter Warmer. And remember, the Home Brew-Off entries are due February 11th, just two months away. Homebrewers from across the Maritimes are encouraged to take an American IPA, and make it something more, by adding herbs, fruit, different yeasts, etc. Details and forms are available on their site.

• Residents and visitors of Florenceville-Bristol in New Brunswick have a pair of new brews to look forward to this weekend. Railcar Brewing has released a pair of beers to keep you warm: Raspberry Stout is a 7.7% ABV American Stout, with raspberries added for a lovely fruit flavour and aroma, to offset the hefty 55 IBUs; Christmas Spiced Ale is a 5.5% ABV beer featuring spices reminiscent of gingerbread and mulled wine and keeping warm around the fire. Both beers are on tap at the brewery taproom now, along with their Artisan BrownCafe Buzz, Orange RyeTrainwreck IPA; the taproom will be open daily until Christmas for growler and schwag sales, as well as rental for parties.

Battery Park Beer Bar at 62 Ochterloney in Dartmouth opened yesterday, with a full complement of brews and food for thirsty patrons. Pouring beers (and wine and house-made soda) from across the province, the downstairs space also serves as North Brewing’s second storefront, offering growler fills and bottles to go. Debuting this week is Dartmouth Dark, a 4.5% dark lager with cold-brewed coffee from neighbours Anchored Coffee added to the brew. And just released today are bottles of Glenora Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian, available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth storefronts. North is open daily from noon, and Battery Park from 2pm (both are closed Tuesdays).

• A bit of an update concerning the upcoming Christmas Beer Garden at the Market in Fredericton, scheduled for Sunday, December 20th: due to overwhelming interest, tickets for the event have been sold out. Originally, a small handful of “early bird” tickets were made available, and included a special glass and four 20 oz beer tickets. More tickets were sold than originally planned; unfortunately, due to a limited number of people allowed to enter the market area, dropping in to the event is no longer an option. Luckily, organizers behind the market event already have bigger plans for next year’s holiday season, to allow more people to partake in the celebrations!

Just a few more notes for this week: The Grimross Dubbel Noel was just kegged, so look for that one to be popping up for growler fills at the brewery, and on tap in the area, any day now. The new hoppy Amber from TrailWay has been named – Good Aura – and is now pouring in Fredericton; more info on that beer in last week’s post. Hammond River just announced that their beers will now be available on tap at Moncton’s Tide & Boar; also, their new Foghorn Coffee Porter is on tap at Bourbon QuarterSaint John Ale House, and The Barrel’s Head. Upstreet is holding a tap takeover at the Water’s Edge upcoming Ugly Sweater party on Friday, December 18th at 8 pm; along with their regular line-up, look for a special cask of their new stout, Black Tie Affair, featuring the addition of coconut and cocoa nib tea. Phewf! Have a great weekend!