Good Robot Brewing

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Happy mid-January! Now that the spill-over cheers (and hangovers) from the Holidays have subsided, it’s back to business as usual for the breweries in our region. That means more new beer releases and catching up on the crush of folks buying beer as gifts for family, or drinking to avoid them. Let’s kick off this week’s round up in Newfoundland this week, which we assure you has nothing/everything to do with acbbchris taking a visit to the Rock and getting to meet up with some of the friendliest people anywhere!

Let’s kick off the Newfoundland Beer News with a visit to Port Rexton Brewing. They are debuting their second-ever lager this week, and are keeping with a simple name, Craft Lager. Crispy lager fans unite, as this one ticks all of the boxes: herbal and earthy notes from Northern Brewer in the boil and Hallertauer Mittelfrüh in the whirlpool, on a dry and refreshing base built with pale malts, fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager yeast. This is the same yeast that PRBC used in their Long Trek Helles, released last month. This 5.1% ABV crushable beer is currently on tap at the brewery taproom (reminder that it is open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the winter, 4 – 10 PM), as well as their St. John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road this weekend. And in upcoming PRBC beer news, they are deep in plans for the latest brewing of their Next Generation 2019 beer, a collaboration with the Class of 2018 Newfoundland breweries. Look for this beer to be released late Winter/early Spring. And in future-future plans for Port Rexton, they are looking to increase their brewing operation in Port Rexton significantly, by opening a second production facility. With their current brewery maxing out their space, a second brewhouse just off of Highway 230 in Port Rexton will allow them to keep up with demand at the brewery, retail location, and now NLC, where they have 6 products across the province. Construction and opening is still months away, but a real sign of the success of local business and breweries in the province!

Good news for those of you in Mount Pearl, or nearby: Landwash Brewery on Commonwealth Drive is restocked with cans and growlers this weekend. One Wave Blonde Ale and That Much Ocean New England IPA are available in both growlers and cans, with growlers (and cans soon) of their Brackish Sour Ale also available. All three, plus their Hazure’s Rock Stout with coffee are available at their taproom for enjoyment onsite. And with the Saucy Mouth foodtruck set up in the brewery, there’s not much need to go anywhere else! And to help keep up with the great demand for beer, Landwash is hiring a full-time production assistant. Packaging assistance, cleaning, equipment maintenance, cleaning, stocking shelves, cleaning, ingredient preparation, and more cleaning are the key tasks for this position, with the possibility of moving to the production side in the future. Experience in the industry as well as a valid forklift license are assets to keep in mind. Reach out with a cover sheet and resume via email to start/continue your job in the brewing industry!

And great news for beer fans in Conception Bay South, as Ninepenny Brewing on the CBS Highway near Manuels River is chugging along, getting closer and closer to opening their brewery and taproom. As the finishing steps are being completed in the taproom, they are looking to hire staff to come aboard and help open the doors. They have job openings right now for an Assistant Brewer and Front End Staff. The Assistant Brewer will help with the beer production, packaging, maintenance and troubleshooting, as well as all of that aforementioned cleaning! Front End Staff will be responsible for working in the taproom tending bar, filling growlers, merchandise, etc. Postings for both positions are open for the next week, and should be responded to with a resume and cover sheet via email.

Let’s head back to the mainland and Saint John, New Brunswick, where Loyalist City has launched their first new beer of 2019, Trap Setter. An 8.7% ABV, 68 IBUs Winter Warmer, it was brewed with a variety of both British and Belgian malts, giving the beer a “wonderful fruity aroma of raisin and dark plum”, to go with a touch of floral hops, as well as flavours of “sweet malt, and subtle toasted notes”. Full-bodied, with a light carbonation, expect a bit of warmth from the high alcohol as it’s going down, typical for the style. Grab a pint of this mahogany-coloured brew at your favourite LC tap account; you’ll even be able to take home a growler in the near future, when kegs hit the ANBL growler program.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has another funky beer hitting the taps today, after the great success of their El Dorado Brett IPA we told you about earlier in the month. Golden Brett is a 6.5% ABV pale farmhouse beer, that started with a simple malt bill, including lots of wheat to enhance the grain/cereal flavour. A secondary fermentation with Brett Vrai yeast leads to a complex beer with plenty of barnyard, earth, and spice character, with a dry finish. Grab a sample or pint at the Propeller tasting room today! And in the basement of their Gottingen location, Propeller is opening the first “brewcade” in HRM. Propeller Arcade features more than a dozen classic pinball and arcade games in a cozy space, perfect for passing an afternoon or evening reliving the glory days of the bowling alley arcade. A full complement of Propeller beers will be pouring to keep your whistle wet. The Arcade is slated to open next weekend, with a Halifax Pinball-sponsored knock-out event kicking off the opening. Stay turned to PA’s Instagram for all of the details!

Just outside Fredericton, NB, in Hanwell, Niche Brewing has another beer to bring you, a mixed-fermentation pong to last week’s hoppy ping. Zeste was fermented with Niche’s own house culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains before aging for 2 months in stainless steel and then finishing on a blend of lemon, lime and grapefruit zest. Bright and tart, with aspects of the fruit shining through, this is a low-ABV in the saison style, coming in at 4%, perfect for a light and refreshing break from the heavier beers that tend to dominate in the winter months. So if you’re looking for a break from the barleywines, Russian imperial stouts and winter warmers, you’ll want to seek this one out. Look for it soon at The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Sussex Ale Works, Au Bootlegger, and at the Radisson in Hanwell. And Nova Scotia Niche fans take note, a keg of this one is expected to get to Stillwell along with a keg of their Patersbier, Enkel.

The folks at Off Track Brewing are happy to share the news on their first DIPA, Let’s Dance. Before we get into the nitty gritty details, a warning that this was an experimental batch, with only a few kegs packaged… meaning that it’s gone already. However, they’re brewing more of it next week, so let’s tell you about it for when it’s available again! The simple grain bill (featuring a portion of Maris Otter to give “slight bready notes”) allows the blend of Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra hops to bring forth their mighty flavours of citrus, tropical fruit, and pine. Quite bitter at 93 IBUs, they kept the ABV low, at 6.8%, meaning arguments are sure to ensue about whether it’s an IPA, or DIPA. Have at it!

Back to Fredericton, where TrailWay is releasing a souped-up version of one of their past American IPAs, Seeing Citra. As you may have expected, Seeing Double Citra is the DIPA take on the first beer, coming it at 8% ABV and with higher hop rates, according to the brewery. If you’re a fan of the Citra hop (and we assume that most of you hopheads are), this is the brew for you, as it’s a single showcase bonanza of the American variety, featuring lots of “pungent, tropical mango”. As always, available on tap and in cans at the brewery, starting today, with some local accounts pouring it over the coming days.

If all the new Winter Warmers, big Stouts, and other “winter-friendly” beers has got you overwhelmed, we’d like to point out that Chester’s Tanner & Co. Brewing has a refreshing counter-punch that they’ve got hitting taps and shelves this week. Helles is a Munich Helles, a malt-forward Lager that has more flavour than your typical American Light Lager, but with not too much more alcohol. T&C’s version is light-gold coloured, “mildly hopped” to just 18 IBUs, and weighs in at 5.4% ABV. They fermented it cool, giving the beer enough lagering time to allow it to condition properly, resulting in “a clean bread and light biscuit flavour, balanced by a touch of bitterness”. It’s on tap at the brewery, and should be available in bottles now, as well.

The number of Scratch beers from Grimross has been on the rise lately, with #17 hitting taps this week. Scratch #17: Multigrain Farmhouse Ale was brewed with a blend of Spelt, Golden Naked Oats, as well as flaked and malted Rye, Wheat, and Barley. Hopped with noble varieties, and fermented with the brewery’s house Farmhouse yeast, the final product is “warming and floral, with a balancing hop bitterness, and aromas of citrus, stonefruit, and pepper”. It comes in at a fairly-hefty 6.7% ABV (and 28 IBUs), and is on tap right now at the brewery for pints and growlers. Cans should be available for sale next week (at Grimross and select ANBL stores), and kegs should be hitting local accounts soon as well.

If you’re not a fan of hops, and live in Halifax, shame on you! Oh wait, sorry, we meant to say we have good news for you. Good Robot will be releasing No-Hop-Scotch, their take on the hopless Gruit style, for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew. Brewed with Pale malt, Cara 30, Honey malt, and Peat-smoked malt, the orange-red wort was further flavoured with meadowsweet, heather tips, and lavender (herbs are used in place of hops in Gruits). Once fermentation was complete, elderflower cordial and a touch of rose water were added. You’re probably wondering what this 4.5% ABV brew tastes like… well, you only have a few more days before you can find out for yourself, right at the source! As for next week’s Alpha, that’ll be the return of Leave Me Blue (5% ABV).

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a new IPA available this week. Batch #258 is a 6.5% American IPA with a wide spectrum of flavour and aromatics from the massive amount of hops added throughout the boil and in dry-hopping, including Citra, Ekuanot, and Chinook. Billed by the brewery as a slightly more bitter take on their flagship, Freezing Spray, the grist was kept fairly simple, with 2-row, Wheat, Cara 40 and Carapils, all the better to let those wonderful hop varieties shine through. Pop by their brewery taproom for a pint this weekend! And while there, check out the return of their Golden Horse DIPA, which was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs this go-around.

We’ve talked on and off over the past couple of years about Sociable!, a documentary about the craft beer business in Nova Scotia. It’s been a long time coming, but the final product is now complete, and available to watch online… for free! Featuring interviews with many of your favourite local brewers, it’s definitely worth checking out. Have a watch (or three) here, and congrats to Chris and Helen on all of their hard work!

As usual, there’s beery things going on around the region this weekend and beyond that you might wish to check out:

A quick reminder that Hill Top Hops in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, is holding their Grand Opening tomorrow. Located at 7232 Hwy 14 beside the Tidal Bore Farm Market, they will be pouring the six beers brewed onsite with the hops grown at their nearby hop farm. The fun kicks off at noon and goes all day. In case you missed it, learn more about Hill Top Hops from the Profile we published yesterday.

It’s a bittersweet time for North Brewing – while they’re no doubt excited to be moving to their new production facility at 899 Portland St. in Dartmouth, they can’t help but be sad to be leaving their first “home” on Agricola St., where their brewery has been located for the last six years. As they’re now about to leave, they’re throwing a Farewell Party for all of their North End supporters, on Thursday, January 24th, at Gus’ Pub. Starting at 8 pm, there’ll be live music (featuring two bands, each of which include a North employee), food giveaways from Taco Lina’s, specials on beer, and merch freebies! No cost to attend, just show up for a good time… and keep a stiff upper lip!

We’re not ones to simply tease events without a whole lot of info (ok, maybe we do that SOMEtimes), but the 2 Crows 2nd Anniversary Party is next weekend (January 26th and 27th). We’ve done a little chatting with them… and oh boy, they’ve got some great things planned! We have to keep mum on the finer details right now, but we will be releasing them soon (as will they, of course). Rest assured there’ll be lots of beer (including six new packaged beers, and lots of fun stuff on tap), food, live music…you get the idea. Good times! In the meantime, they’ve told us you *might* want to show up at the brewery this Sunday when they open at noon. That’s all we got for ya, sorry! Whups!! While it’s always a good idea to show up at noon on Sunday at 2 Crows to get a seat, nothing particularly special is happening this coming Sunday, just the usual lineup of excellent beers. Next Sunday on the other hand, well, you might even want to get there a little early. 😘

Are you a fan of offal? If you’re not, you may not be any closer to becoming one once you find out what it means. Ok, we’ll tell you – offal is the “entrails and internal organs of an animal, used as food”. But some people think of it as quite the delicacy, and they’ll likely be psyched to hear that Good Robot has paired with RumbleFish Food Co. and the Black Sheep Restaurant to present Offal Night on Monday, January 28th. Black Sheep head chef Steph Ogilvie has put together a four-course meal that can definitely be described as “interesting”, no matter your feelings on whether offal is delicious, or….. or….. I’m not going to say “awful”, that’s too Dad-like. You get the idea; check out the event link for a detailed menu. The meal is $55 + tax, and each dish will be paired with a different Good Robot beer. There will be two seatings (early evening, later evening), and reservations can be made through John at 902-293-5282 or rumblefishfoodco@gmail.com.

And a few more quick mentions before you get on with your day:

Boxing Rock has a new release from their Test Kitchen at Local Source Market, Dr Deluxe’s Apple Pie Amber Ale. Brewed in collaboration with Matthew from Local Source Market, dried apple slices were added to the secondary, enhancing the apple pie experience. Grab a growler of it today!

Garrison Brewing has a new beer debuting today in their retail shop. We told you about the A Thief in the Night event last week, and now one of the beer that attendees were able to preview is now available to the general public. The Cherry Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wintervention is a beer years in the making, as it was brewed in 2017, and has been aging in Bourbon barrels, with cherries added, for almost two years. This 11.0% ABV beer is available at their retail store now, at $15.95 for a 650 mL bottle. Keep your eyes open for more treatments of Wintervention set to hit the shelves in their 2019 Cellar Series.

PEI Brewing Company and Gahan have a new beer on tap these days, the latest in their After Hours series. Hoppy Brett is a 5.0% ABV pale farmhouse beer, fermented with a blend of Escarpment Labs’ Brett D and Brett Q, the first time they’ve fermented exclusively with Brettanomyces. Enhancing the fruit and funky flavour and aroma is a dry-hopping addition of Mosaic. Grab it at PEIBC and all of the Gahan locations, as well as a few favourite bars in the region.

And in great news for the thirsty crowd in Miramichi, new brewery Timber Ship now has their full complement of beer pouring at The Piping Plover Gastropub in town. Drop in for some food and their Ballast Island Blonde, Broken Paddle Pale Ale, Dungarvon Hopper IPA, and/or Miramichi Irish Red. Looking for a reminder on those beers and the Timber Ship story? Check out their Profile we published last week. And keep your eyes peeled here and on their social media for their Launch Party happening at the Plover next weekend.

Another wild week in the region, with snow bringing the mainland to a full-stop/crawl, but thankfully we’ve got loads of great beer news to share this week. And in case you missed it, Timber Ship Brewing, which we featured in a Profile on the blog yesterday, did in fact have their launch last night at The Piping Plover Gastropub in Miramichi, pouring their Dungarvon Hopper IPA and Broken Paddle Pale Ale. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest news on where to grab a pint. Congratulations again! Let’s get to the other new news in the region…

Brut IPAs… love ‘em, or hate ‘em? No matter how you feel, it looks like the style is here to stay, at least for awhile. To give you some further food for thought on the subject, Lunn’s Mill is throwing their hat in the ring with their latest beer, And You. Their take on a Brut IPA was hopped with late additions of Galaxy and Mosaic, which combine to provide “an intense grapefruit character”. The bitterness lingers despite its relatively low 33 IBUs (likely due to the high dryness thanks to a low finishing gravity), and its alcohol level isn’t too high either, at 5.5% ABV. You should be able to still find this one at the Lunn’s Mill taproom for pints and growlers, and quite possibly at your favourite drinking spot in the HRM.

If you were lucky enough to attend Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event last night, you probably noticed a few new beers making their way around the room. One of them is the Brut IPA from Lunn’s Mill we just mentioned. Not to be outdone, Tatamagouche Brewing brought two new beers, one of which was a special sneak peek of their latest barrel-aged brew. The first beer is Kitty Clyde, a DIPA hopped with two of our favourite Australian varieties, Galaxy and Vic Secret. Thanks to plenty of both in the recipe, expect “Five Alive-type citrus flavours, along with the usual tropical and mandarin” in this 7.8% ABV, 40 IBUs hop bomb. Kegs are already being delivered to various Tata licensees, and they’re also canning it today, so expect some of those next week! Their other preview was a beer brewed two years ago that finally got to see the light of day (before being lost to the darkness of mouths and stomachs) – Kiskadee. This beer started off as a clean Porter, before being racked into second-use Glenora Whisky barrels, where it sat for 18 months. The Tata elves then added a hop-tolerant mixed culture from Escarpment Labs to help the beer develop some acidity; it was then racked onto organic NS strawberries for a second fermentation, for another four months. The final, much-awaited result, is a hefty 9.8% ABV, and has notes of “chocolate, spirits, and tart strawberries”. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to taste it last night; it’s been packaged in kegs and 500 mL bottles, and should be released in a couple of weeks.  

We’ve got another 2 Crows bottle release for you this weekend… or, more accurately, they do (the big glory hogs!). Those of you from Newfoundland may be particularly excited for Cloud 9, as it features the addition of the highly-coveted bakeapple. Sometimes referred to as cloudberry, bakeapple is a tart, flavourful, golden-coloured berry that is very difficult to forage, and even harder to find. In Newfoundland, some locals have places they know to find them, but keep it a closely-guarded secret since they’re so rare. Cloud 9 has been brewed on a smaller scale in the past, for release on tap at the brewery’s launch, and 1st anniversary party. As for this batch, it was brewed last March with a grain bill of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Lightly hopped with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was soured first with Lactobacillus, and then fermented in freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces cultures. After spending four months in the barrel, the bakeapple was added (about 50 lbs of it, the result of several days of foraging by Paul Smith, a friend of 2C who we think is owed a major favour!) to the barrel. The 5.2% ABV beer then conditioned for another two months, before packaging in bottles with Champagne yeast. Five months later, it’s finally ready and is described by 2C as “tart, lively, bright, with a distinct funk and bakeapple character”. Don’t worry, there’s some of that barrel goodness in there as well! They’re releasing it at the brewery tomorrow at noon; with about 900 bottles available, it’ll go pretty quickly, so don’t delay in getting down to grab yours (a few bottles will also be available on the 2C web store, for shipping in NS).

Up in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing continues to pump out small batches of lovely beers with two releases since last we mentioned them. Last week saw Enkel, their take on the traditional Patersbier style. Designed by Trappist monks to be light enough to drink during the workday, “enkel” is the Dutch word for “single” leading to the beer also being known as a “singel” for maximum confusion in the marketplace. Dark candy syrup provides some light sweetness and dark fruit to this one, contrasting with a spicy and fruity character from a typical Belgian yeast strain. At 5.5% ABV it’s probably a little higher on the scale than a more traditional example, but you can still expect it to be light and refreshing. And as is their wont, the boys of Niche are putting out a hoppier style this week to balance the Euro stylings of the Enkel. A Hazy Shade of Winter is a NEIPA with a lightish 5.6% ABV and a heavy hopping of tropical fruity Galaxy and dank and piney Simcoe. Look for a low bitterness and plenty of passion fruit flavor in this easy drinker along with some yeast character generated by their own blend of haze-encouraging yeast strains. Look for both of these beers to be available at tap accounts in New Brunswick.

There’s an appropriately-named new addition to the Something Different lineup at Annapolis Cider CompanyStorm Cider (sorry, but we’ve got to mention the weather at least once a week, right?)! Starting off as a dry cider made from the juice of handpicked Gravenstein apples, it was fermented at cool temperatures and then blended with local blueberry, strawberry, arctic kiwi, rhubarb, and blackcurrant juices. The final rose-coloured product has “vibrant notes of fresh berries, and a crisp finish”, and comes in at 7.3% ABV. The charity recipient for this cider is The Red Door, a youth health and support centre; they will receive $0.50 from each refill.

Sticking with cider, Chain Yard has their own new release now available, Scoby Blu. The latest entry in their Kombucha series, it started with the base of their Foundation cider, and then features the addition of Kombucha from local Sòlas Kombucha (New Ross, NS), as well as homemade blueberry wine and matured lavender from Meander River Farm. As you might expect, the resulting 6.4% ABV cider has some of that wonderful Kombucha funk, as well as floral and fruit notes. You can find it on tap right now at their retail store.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company has a new beer on tap and in cans, a 4.3% ABV Session IPA. Light in body, with plenty of hops on the nose and palate, but light on bitterness, reminiscent of tropical fruit and melon. They have packaged it in a limited release can, featuring the logo of the South Shore Lumberjacks hockey team. Purchasing the can helps support the Lumberjack players and personnel. Saltbox is also currently pouring Backyard Cider, made with local heirloom Gravenstein apples. This 6.5% ABV single varietal cider is crisp and dry, with floral notes on the nose.

Newly-opened Sussex Ale Works has released their latest brew to be poured at their taproom in Sussex, Holstein Milk Stout. Brewed for those who love stouts, and for those who maybe don’t think they like stouts, some malt and lactose sweetness comes through on the palate, along with chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee. Complemented by some floral character from a light addition of East Kent Golding hops, it finishes clean, and is quite drinkable at just 4.8% ABV. Described by the brewery as “adult chocolate milk”, make sure to drop by if you’re in the Sussex area before it’s gone.

In St. John’s, YellowBelly continues to experiment with cider, releasing a new “Winter Series” entry on tap, Raspberry Cranberry Apple Cider. This deep pink beverage features the addition of 60 kg of seedless berries in about 800 L of cider; it was then back-sweetened with more cider, to round things out. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV, and is tasting “floral, jammy, and very tart”. While you can currently grab it on tap at the brew pub, there’s a chance that it’ll pop up in bottles, soon.

If you like hanging out at Good Robot, and you like NEIPAs, they’ve got some happy news for you – next week’s Beta release is, yes, a NEIPA named Tri-Sarah-Hops. Co-brewed with Sarah Gallant, it was heavily late-hopped and dry-hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra (see, the beer name is more clever now, right?). Not too too much bitterness (42 IBUs), and a whole lotta grapefruit and mango flavours, it comes in pretty low in the ABV department for an IPA, at just 5.2%. As for next Thursday’s Alpha, it’s a new one named Chäir Beer. Loosely-based on their Leave Me Blue, the grist contains 2-row, flaked corn, and Rye malt. Hopped to 20 IBUs with Sorachi Ace and Perle, they added some Lingonberry juice to the 4.9% ABV resulting beer. What’s a Lingonberry? Well, it’s a small, red, slightly tart berry that is also known as a partridgeberry in Newfoundland and Cape Breton. Hey, the more you know! The final product is easy-drinking and a touch tart, but you’ll have to taste it for yourself! Again, at the taproom, next Thursday.

Yarmouth’s Tusket Falls has put a couple of new beers on tap in recent days. The first is Wild Sour, a beer with a subtle tartness and a lot of lemon citrus notes. Dry-hopped with Amarillo for a hoppy presence, at 4.5% ABV, it’s an easy drinking and refreshing number that will likely make you wish that little bit more for warmer weather. The other new beer is in the Northeast/New England IPA style, this one paradoxically called The Nameless Juicy New England Pale Ale. We don’t know much more about it except that it’s 5.8% ABV, but we suspect you’re familiar enough with the style at this point to take a guess. Also, stacks of kegs were seen recently on Tusket’s Instagram story, we hope this implies that Tusket Falls beers will soon be seen more frequently outside their taproom so that the rest of the Province (and perhaps the region) can get a taste of the beery things going on near Yarmouth.

Sticking to the Southwestern parts of Nova Scotia, Roof Hound has put together a three-headed beer that may also have you thinking of warm summer days. Triple Threat Brown is being called a “Neapolitan” beer, bringing together the classic flavors of the original three-flavor ice cream. Featuring chocolate malt, vanilla, and strawberry puree, you can expect all three flavors to be well-represented. At 5.4% ABV it’s light enough for you to have a couple. Look for it on tap at Roof Hound’s taproom and other select locations, but if you’re not in the area, stay tuned as this one is scheduled to be put in bottles as well.

Over on the Island, PEI Brewing Company has a couple of new beers on the go, both seeing fairly wide release. Black Banks is a black IPA, brewed with light toasty malts, but also with a good portion of debittered black malt to provide some mild roasty notes and a deep dark color. Hopped both in the kettle and via dry hop with lots of modern tropical varieties, it weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a sturdy 60 IBU. Also on the go is a new beer in the After Hours series, a big one that should be perfect for the depths of winter. Barrel-aged Barleywine tips the scales at a massive 10.5% ABV, with a mild carbonation, a slightly sweet palate and a balanced bitterness. Herbal English hop varieties and some fruity yeast character are complemented by vanilla and wood flavors from an extended aging period in Kentucky bourbon barrels. You’ll find both of these beers at several Gahan locations, including the original Gahan House in Charlottetown, Gahan Riverside in the Fredericton area, and Gahan Port City in Saint John as well as at the PEIBC Taproom and select PEILCC locations.

And a quick hop back to Yarmouth for this week’s entry in the “shamefully late email” sweepstakes, this one from Heritage Brewing, who have a couple of interesting things on the taps of late. The first is their Angry Blonde Jalapeño Ale. Based on their light and refreshing standard blonde, they’ve added some additional interest through the addition of fresh Jalapeño and Habanero peppers. With a solid hot pepper flavor and a not-so-mild spice, you’ll only be able to get this one at the brewery. Also only at the brewery is their Vanilla Cream Ale, which is also a variant on a base beer, this time their usual cream ale, but conditioned on vanilla beans for a soft and creamy flavor profile. Next up is a re-release of their Norseman NEIPA which they’ve fermented with the Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs and tweaked the hop profile of slightly. Slightly more sessionable than previous versions, they’ve been quite generous with the late and dry hop additions for a classic NEIPA juiciness. And keep your eyes out in the near future for another re-release, this time their Blueberry Grunt Sour, a very popular brew that they’re also making some minor changes to.

A note for all amateur and professional brewers, those who work in the industry, or looking to learn more, the next Beer Judge Certification Program Tasting Exam for our region will be taking place in Halifax on May 10th. If you are interested in sitting it, learning more about the BJCP, or taking part in the tastings the examinees will be running before then, hop over to the Brewnosers Forum and say Hi.

What’s on the go in our region over the next few weeks? We’ve got the goods for you today!

A quick reminder that tomorrow will see one of Halifax’s premier imported beer events when Belgian Fest goes live at Stillwell on Barrington at noon. Featuring beers you very well may not have had the chance to try before, especially in this region, or that if you have, you’re likely eager to taste again. With rare Lambics by the glass, bottles that say Westvleteren and other hard to pronounce words, and plenty of other tasty treats on tap, this is an opportunity to expand your palate and see what all the fuss over Belgian beer is about. As always, the kitchen will be putting out some well-considered thematically consistent foods, and we’re sure there will be plenty of folks around (both employed by Stillwell and not) to help guide your exploration of some of the best that Belgium has to offer.

Dartmouth’s Battery Park is continuing their series of Tap Takeover events from local breweries on January 17th, when they are inviting Nyanza’s Big Spruce back in house. They’ll have more than a dozen beer pouring that day, including a handful of reserve kegs from the cellar, lots of new/favourite seasonals, plus the return of their BP/BS collaboration beer, Blood Donair, the Imperial Stout brewed with donair meat and aged on raspberries. The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day and night, so pop by for a pint!

Also on January 17th, which could make for a fun 1-2 punch of a beery day, Garrison Brewing is holding an event they’ve dubbed “A Thief in the Night”. This ticketed event will have Brewmaster Daniel Girard leading a tasting of several beers before they are released. They include five brand new beers drawn straight from the barrel, a taste of their upcoming Wintervention 2019 with cocoa nibs, a pre-release bottle of Cherry Bourbon Barrel Aged Wintervention, a Cellar Series Teku glass, plus more perks. Tickets ($50) can be reserved in person or over the phone (Veronika at (902) 453-5343 ext. 222). This is sure to be a fun and enlightening event!

Roof Hound Brewery is hosting the Second Annual South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night on Wednesday, January 23rd. From 7 – 10 PM, there will be ten different beers from a handful of the region’s breweries, namely Heritage Brewing, Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, and Tusket Falls join the host Roof Hound on tap. Your $35+tax ticket includes your first 4oz sample of each beer and an appetizer, while live music by David Chamberland, and the brewers themselves will be on hand for entertainment and learning more about the beer. Grab your ticket at Roof Hound, or via email before they sell out!

Tickets are now on sale for the Pasadena Brew-Fest, being held Friday February 15th. From 7 – 10 PM, Pasadena Place will be full of great local beer, thanks to Bootleg Brew Co, Crooked Feeder, and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Your $50 ticket is available online through the e-Service account, or in person at Pasadena Place.

Not so fast, here are a few final beer and release notes to get you fully up to date!

Montague, PEI’s, Copper Bottom Brewing has a new Dry-Hopped Sour on tap at the brewery these days, this one featuring Ekuanot hops. Tart and refreshing, this 5.0% ABV beer features notes of tangerine, papaya, and orange peel. Grab it as part of a flight, a full pint, or a growler to take home. Plus look out for cans of Ken’s Stout and Parkman Ave DIPA at your local PEILCC this weekend!

FirkinStein Brewing in Bridgewater welcomed two hoppy beers to the taps this week: one a returning favourite, and one brand new. Set Sail Pale Ale is a 6.0% American Pale Ale, generously hopped late and after the boil, it features loads of citrus aroma and flavour, and low bitterness. And debuting yesterday was King Street, a 7.7% ABV IPA generously hopped with Cascade and Mosaic. Catch both of them at their taproom (on King Street, of course) for pints and growlers.

A note that today’s Cask Friday release at Propeller’s Gottingen Street location will be their London Porter, cask conditioned and served by a gravity tap. Food from Alteregos, including Mac and Cheese, will be available for pairing to your heart’s content. And for those of us eagerly awaiting word, the very-limited El Dorado Brett IPA that we mentioned last week is pouring today at the taproom. May as well stick around for two then, eh?

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has a new beer pouring for you this week, as they continue to explore the wide variety of ale styles available. Newkirk is a 3.4% ABV and 15 IBU English Mild, known for their lower ABV (perfect for a full afternoon session), with notes of toast/bread crust, toffee, and dark sugars. Using iconic Fuggles for the hops completes the ode to the style. Pop by for a growler fill today or tomorrow, if it lasts that long, as these small batches sell out quite quickly.

Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is looking to hire someone to support their brewing operations. From Brewmaster Matt Vincent, “Brewing experience is an asset, but training will be provided.” Send them a message or email Matt to learn more and to apply.

Two Islands Brewing in Parrsboro, NS has lots of news for us this week. First up is a new batch of their Sailor’s Delight, their 5.0% ABV Irish Red Ale hit the taps, as well as their 5.0% ABV Blonde Ale. And it’s that Blonde Ale that needs your help: it is currently nameless, and they are holding a contest on Facebook to fix that. Check out this link and weigh in. You can also now take away their Irish Red, Blonde, APA and Porter in 240 mL bottles, as well as growler fills. And why not drop in next Thursday, January 17th, for Trivia and Wing Night. Or January 19th, when Mark Raven will be entertaining the tap room with his music.

Welcome to our first Friday Wrap-up of 2019 (Whoot! Got the year right!!). Although we took last week off, it’s clear that the breweries in our region did no such thing, giving us plenty to catch up on from the holidays as well as news of a few new releases hitting the taps and the shelves this weekend. We’ve also got a couple new breweries open in Nova Scotia and the sad news of the demise of Fredericton’s stalwart craft beer destination, the King Street Ale House. So have a read and plan your purchases for the weekend; it’s fixing to be a snowy one in much of Atlantic Canada, so maybe grab a couple extra this afternoon to help soothe yourself after any shovelling that needs to be done. And breweries take note! Entries are now open for the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards. This year’s event will be in Toronto, but judging takes place in April. Atlantic Canadian breweries had a strong showing at last year’s event; hopefully we’ll see some of the fantastic brews being produced out East continue that trend in 2019!

Let’s kick off the news with the details of two new breweries opening in Nova Scotia since our last Wrap-up…

Hill Top Hops has operated as a hop farm in Scotch Village, Nova Scotia, since 2016, supplying hops for two  Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery annual harvest brews (Hants County Wet Hopped Pale Ale in 2016 and Annapolis Hop Field Pale Ale in 2017). Now, the family behind the farm have opened a small brewery to showcase their hops and love of the industry. Located at 7232 Hwy 14 in Newport, their brewery and taproom is now open for pints and growler fills. Operating on a 2 BBL (240 litre) brewhouse, they have currently have six beers available: Blonde Ale, Cream Ale, IPA, American Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Red Ale, as well as a full complement of merch to show your HTH pride. They will be celebrating their Grand Opening January 19th from noon, and until then, the taproom and brewery is open on a “by chance” status as they complete small renos and brew. Best to check with them on social media (Fb / IG / Tw) or by phone (902-791-0776) to be sure. They are currently operating by cash/EMT for the moment, and will update their social media when that changes. Congratulations to the Peters family on the opening, and we look forward to sharing a full Profile with them soon.

Congratulations also go out to the crew at Shipwright Brewing who opened their doors in Lunenburg on December 30th. Owner Adam Bower has long been a fan and promoter of local beer while managing, and then buying, the Grand Banker at 82 Montague Street in Lunenburg. Shipwright Brewing is located in the same building, and Brewer Kellye Robertson is using a 1 BBL (120 litre) system to create their own beers. The brewery and taproom is open 12 – 10 PM daily, and they are currently serving three beers to enjoy onsite or to take away in growler or crowler fills. They can also be enjoyed at the Grand Banker, who recently expanded their all-local draught offerings. Cutwater is a 4.8% ABV and 18 IBU traditional German Kolsch (hybrid of lager and ale), First Sail Banker Roast is a 4.5% ABV and 21 IBU Blonde Ale with coffee beans added, and Icebreaker is a 5.3% ABV and 40 IBU New England Pale Ale. Congratulations to Adam, Kellye, and the entire Shipwright family on their opening! Keep an eye on their social media (Fb / IG / Tw) for more updates.

Let’s get caught up with a few beers that were launched over the last two weeks…

Brightwood Brewery released John’s Punch at their brewery taproom last Friday. This 7.5% ABV NEIPA was generously hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon, and is full of citrus and juicy bright notes on the nose and palate. It is currently on tap at the Brightwood Market, with kegs on their way to The Auction House, Battery Park, and HopYard, with cans coming later this month.

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co released a pair of new beers late last year (we can say that!) that should still be around for your liquid enjoyment. First up is Gin & Spruce, a 5.0% ABV kettle sour, dry-hopped with Citra. However, the real fun is in the other ingredients added to the beer, which were spruce tips and juniper berries, soaked in gin from the Newfoundland Distillery Company in Clarke’s Beach. They followed that release up with another the following day, a style they’ve nicknamed “Snowball Stout”, after the eponymous cookies. In keeping with the rap theme, this one is named Untitled 02 | 12.28.18. The 5.0% ABV stout was brewed with plenty of cocoa powder and coconut to match the baked treat’s flavour profile, on a creamy smooth base. Look for these on draught at their taproom, and keep your eyes peeled in St. John’s at your favourite good beer spot.

Speaking of stouts, Quidi Vidi Brewing released their own back in December, which is back now in a limited re-release. Cappuccino Stout is a 6.5% ABV stout featuring 2-Row and Crystal malts, accented with Flaked Barley, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley for a smooth mouthfeel and dark brown appearance, but brought to the next level with the use of lactose (milk sugar) and coffee from Trinity Roastery. These extra ingredients balance each other with sweetness, a touch of bitterness, and nutty dark roast, like a well pulled and blended capp. The beer is available at the brewery now, and at NLCs this weekend.

Earlier in December, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing released Beaufort 10, a 10% ABV, Doppelbock. This traditional German style is malt-forward, taking advantage of the roast, bread, and dark fruit character of the malts used in the mash, while keeping it lightly hopped to just over 20 IBU. A long fermentation period followed by more than a month of lagering lead to a smooth and deceptively easy-drinking beer for the alcohol level, a solid choice for these colder months. Beaufort 10 is available at the brewery and HRM private stores in cans.

Chester’s Tanner & Co. released a new beer over the holidays that’s actually a bit of an older beer, but in a good way. Bottle-aged Wheat Wine is similar to a barleywine in style, big and boozy, but with 50% wheat malt in the grist. Fermented with an American Ale yeast strain, the result is a 10% ABV bruiser with plenty of molasses, caramel and toffee character. Brewed way back in February of 2018, it was bottled and set aside until now, giving it some time to smooth out and for the flavors to come together. There wasn’t a ton of this one available to begin with and it was released just before Christmas, so you might want to check with the brewery before heading down, as that’s the only place to grab this one.

After that wrap-up of previous releases, let’s share some brand new releases with you…

PEI’s Upstreet Brewing has a new beer called Third Place that has nothing to do with winning a bronze medal. When talking about the places in your life, your first place is home, your second place is work, and your third place is “that special haunt where you come together with your community.” Released on January 1st, this beer celebrates those special places that we all (hopefully) have in our lives. An Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV and 60 IBU, it boasts aromas of mango, clementine and peach, with a distinct piney note thanks to hop additions of Ella, Ekuanot, Azacca, and Simcoe. Look for it both in bottles and on tap at Craft Beer Corner and the Upstreet Taproom, on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse and select tap accounts, and in bottles at select PEI Liquor stores. And if you’re at the taproom or CBC, you should check out the available bottles, currently including DeNovos I, II and III, and, from their Million Acres series, Bourbon Barrel-aged Apple Brett Blonde, Chocolate Salted Lager, Spruce Tip Wee Heavy, and Chardonnay Barrel-aged IIPA with Belma, Imperial Saison with Nelson Sauvin, Peach Cream Witbier, and Apricot Cream Witbier.

Halifax’s Good Robot has some big news this week as it has been officially announced that they are getting their first listing with the NSLC. El Espinazo del Diablo Mexican Lager is a fan favorite beer for the brewery with an ABV of 5.7% and 14 IBUs and featuring lime and jalapeño peppers on top of a grist that contains a “perfectly reasonable” amount of flaked corn. Like getting your salsa and your chips in a glass. Look for it at NSLC locations across the province and don’t be surprised if you see it joined by other Good Robot beers as 2019 rolls on.

Meanwhile, back at the farm on Robie Street, there’s plenty in the hopper for the first couple weeks of the year, starting with yesterday’s release of the latest in the Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs. Creature Feature III was hit with Columbus, Simcoe, and Nelson Sauvin hops for an assertive bitterness and a dank aroma. It’s 6.4% ABV and 51 IBUs and available now in the taproom. The first BetaBrew of the year will be released on Tuesday, January 8th, and it’s one made by GR staffer Drella and her father, Tim. An homage to their family’s Russian heritage and love of spicy things, it’s a chili stout they’re calling A Chili Night in Minsk. Big and bold at 7.5% ABV and 32 IBU, it’s rich, roasty, and spicy thanks to an addition of Bird’s Eye chilis after primary fermentation. And two days after that beer is tapped you’ll see another new one hit the lines at GR: The Humans Are Dead is their latest India Pale Lager with a twist of New Zealand hops, namely Azacca, Rakau, and Topaz. A calculated IBU level of 60 provides firm bitterness to this 6.8% ABV beer. Will it be the perfect accompaniment to your favorite binary solo and/or dancing the Robot or the Robo-boogie (which will be the only remaining dances in the distant future)? Affirmative!

A short distance away, on Gottingen Street comes the latest in the Propeller Small Batch series. A black lager in the Schwarzbier style it is called, most appropriately, Schwarzbier. It’s light in body, but with a flavorful punch of chocolate and toasted brown and finished off with noble hops for a subtle earthiness. Moderately dry, with a crisp and clean finish, it’s 5% ABV and is available in limited quantities for pints and growler fills only. Also in limited supply from Propeller is their El Dorado Brett IPA, which has been aging for the past nine months in red wine barrels. A mixed fermentation of classic ale yeast and Brettanomyces Claussenii have created a beer that is complex, funky, spicy, and a little earthy. Finished with a healthy dry hop of El Dorado for a tropical burst, it’s 6% ABV. We’ve confirmed that some of the very few kegs of this have gone to Hopyard Halifax, Stillwell and Battery Park, so keep an eye out for it at those places. Propeller also intends to tap a keg at their own tasting room on Monday (pints only). And lastly, the team has installed a beer engine in the Tasting Room that’ll be perfect for a traditional cask experience! So it makes sense that tonight’s Friday cask will be twist on a British style, their ESB aged on oak. Look for it to be tapped at 5 PM and to keep pouring through the weekend, as long as it lasts, anyway.

Unfortunately, we close out the news portion of today’s Wrap-up with some sad news. It was announced yesterday that Fredericton’s iconic beer-centric restaurant King Street Ale House, has closed. Opening 10 years ago as the Garrison District Ale House, Doug Williams and then-partner Shane Fraser saw that there was a big hole in the market for beer-focused establishments, and curated an impressive tap and bottle list well before the craft beer explosion hit our shores. After a fire destroyed the GDAH in January 2013, they rose from the ashes on King Street that November, with a renewed focus on local beer and great food. Having poured over 400 different beers from the Maritimes and beyond, the Garrison District and King Street Ale Houses were many first people’s introduction to well-made local beer. In fact, it’s where Shawn and Chris first met all of those years ago; we’ve conducted trivia nights during Fredericton Craft Beer Festival for several years; met countless other beery friends there over the years, and so we sincerely thank Doug, Shane, and the entire crew there for the many years of great beer. We wish them all the best in their next endeavours. For more details, check out this CBC article.

Only a couple of events to mention this week, but they’re a couple of doozies:

There are a handful of tickets still available for next Thursday’s, Jan 10th, Eat. Drink. Local. event at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. Formerly known as the The Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration, this is an all-inclusive evening of local beer and cider, with fresh and innovative food pairings from local restaurants. The event also serves as the launch to several new beers in our region, including the winner of Big Spruce’s Home Brew-Off, this year’s will be Ian Wheatley’s Hefeweizen. 30 different stations of food and drink, along with live music all evening, will surely keep you happy. Grab your tickets now before they disappear!

Do try to keep your wits about you after Thursday’s event, as you’ll definitely want to pop up to Bar Stillwell on Barrington Street for their Belgian Beer Fest on Saturday, January 12th. From noon, the Stilly crew will be pouring Lambics, Saisons, Flanders Red, and a bevy of style-breaking beers from one of the best beer-making regions in the world. A full dozen taps, as well as more than double that in bottles, will give any novice or veteran beer fan something to fawn over. Check out the full list here, and we’ll see you there!

A few more notes before we leave you today…

Boxing Rock released a new beer brewed in their Halifax Test Kitchen in mid-December. Knitwise is a Christmas Cake- Inspired Scotch Ale, weighing in a 7.5% ABV. It was brewed with Kim Hart Macneill, a home brewer and beer writer for Halifax Magazine. Brewed with Nova Scotia cranberries, blueberries and raisins to enhance that Christmas Cake character. It’s on tap for pints in Shelburne and growler fills at their Bottle Shop at Local Source Market in Halifax!

Distillerie Fils du Roy released a new beer in December, in a style they are calling “Sour Mash Brut”. At 10% ABV, Biere Brut is a heavy hitter, and started using the sour mash technique usually reserved for whisky. Also fermented with whisky yeast, and finished extremely dry, at 1.000 gravity. Described as hazy, with a sourness reminiscent of green olives, light body and high carbonation. Bottles are available at the brewery in Petit-Paquetville.

Sussex Ale Works has a new beer pouring in their taproom these days. Piccadilly Pale Ale is a 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale with notes of citrusy Chinook and Cascade hops. Grab a sample or pint at their spot this weekend!

St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery has released this ode to the season with Twelfth Night Porter. This 6.5% ABV porter features traditional English ingredients such as Bairds Crystal malt and Thomas Fawcett Roast Barley, along with East Kent Goldings used in the boil and dry-hopping. As described by the brewery, it is “spicy, earthy, warming, roasty, and full bodied with a slight hint of phenol/smokiness”. On tap at the brewery restaurant, in growlers at the YB Takeaway, and in bottles shortly.