Granite Brewery

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Fans of great beer in Halifax are no stranger to the name Stillwell. Since 2013 the bar has been pouring the best in local beer, bringing in tasty treats from other parts of the country and beyond, pioneering the modern beer garden concept in HRM, and putting on events that have spoiled our little city for world-class beer. Throughout that time they’ve teamed with local breweries for collaborations and contract brews under the Stillwell brand, including several mixed fermentation beers that have showcased the tastes and interests of Christopher Reynolds, one of the three primary owners of the bar. Back in spring of this year word got out that Chris had decided to take another leap of faith and start Stillwell Brewing in the spirit of some of his own personal favorite breweries. Although we’ve already seen the release of Stilly Pils, a hoppy, rugged and eminently drinkable brew that was a highlight of the late summer season at the Stillwell Beer Garden, we are quickly approaching the first bottle releases from the brewery, the culmination of many months of fermenting, aging and blending, bottling, and aging some more. We caught up with Chris to find out more about who and what his inspirations are, why he (finally!) decided to start the brewery, and what we’re likely to see from Stillwell Brewing in the coming weeks, months and years.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is the team involved in your brewery?
The brewery is mainly a project of mine (Chris), borne out of a desire to create the sorts of beers that I a) really love to drink and b) aren’t available locally. Namely, mixed-fermented, bone-dry beers. De La Senne, Oxbow, Jester King, etc. I am the main brewer, recipe maker, yeast steward and squeegee operator.

I made the first 10 batches with brewer Kyle Jeppesen, but unfortunately he’s had to take a job abroad, kind of an offer he couldn’t refuse. He was very bummed leave SBC, but given the experimental nature of the brewery, it was not (and may never be) in a position to pay anyone a salary, myself included.

Nikki Lockington, my lady, is also a daily contributor to the brewery. She helps me to plan beers and label designs, and takes care of a lot of logistics in terms of materials, and (eventually) sales.

I would say that the staff at Stillwell are officially and unofficially involved, too. Sam Fraser made our logo (from her tap wall handwriting, a ubiquitous feature of the bar), and Graeme, our chef, made a joke suggestion for a beer, which will be one of our first releases (“Sport”). Everyone kind of weighs in and offers support and feedback.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Being lucky enough to drink great stuff around people passionate about great stuff. Bar Volo was a real influence, as were a lot of the great beer books out there (Beaumont, Pashley, etc.), and finally and most importantly, traveling. We opened Stillwell in 2013 and beer has been my full time life ever since.

What made you decide to take the step of opening a brewery?
I’ve always enjoyed making beer. Homebrewing, as you would probably agree, is a wonderfully meditative process, and is something that makes me use a different part of my brain (and body – it is a workout). Personally, I find I’m happiest when I’m making or creating something, and unfortunately making bars and restaurants all the time, though I’ve certainly tried, is incredibly difficult and risky. Brewing a beer, as risky and big a process as it is at the commercial level, allows me a creative outlet. For several years, brewing my beers in other people’s breweries fully scratched the itch, but eventually I found that the beers suffered a little by not being fully in my control (and, mostly, on my timeline). I always said I would never open a brewery, but listening to an episode of The Sour Hour featuring Troy Casey of Colorado’s Casey Brewing and Blending, I realized that his set-up is actually attainable and manageable by me. Basically, a lot of oak, bottles and time, and some years of experience with yeasts and recipes, and it finally clicked that I could – and should – take the leap. In business and in life, if something is a foregone conclusion, like I just know it will work, I have to listen to that and take the leap.

What is the ethos of the brewery?
I’m looking for the brewery to be just like the bar, i.e., a “workshop” that will hopefully sustain us long enough to realize some goals in beer. I want to produce beers of character that are super drinkable, but immediately special. I’m very inspired by the family-sized breweries of Belgium, places like Cantillon and De Dolle. I love that they’re run by a small handful of family and friends, they make what they like, sell what they can, and aren’t bound by a group of stakeholders, production schedules and crazy equipment loans looming over their heads. When I hear someone is opening a brewery, I want to know that they have something to say with their beer, and I believe that I and we do, in this case.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
I would say that we’re technically “open” as of April, i.e., we’ve been brewing in our own space since then. We released Stilly Pils in August, which went great, but I was only able to get around to brewing a new batch in mid-September, which, of course, won’t be ready for months. On November 18 and 19 we will finally have a bottle release at the bar and brewery, and once we have bottles out, with the promise of more to follow, I think it’ll feel a little more real.

Can you tell us about the beers you’ll be offering initially?
Stilly Pils is something we want to make over the long haul, with tweaks along the way. A house beer for our bar and beergarden, we’ll try to have it on as much as possible. It’s my quest to make the ultimate pilsner, which, of course, can never end.

Most of the rest of our beers are and will be blends of barrel aged and/or barrel fermented farmhouse ales. We have bitter things, sours things, funky things, pale things, darker things, complex things, clean things, etc., in various stages of fermentation, and from those we’re blending and bottling.

The very first bottle release will be Stillwell Four, this year’s beer to celebrate the birthday of the bar. It’s a tart and effervescent farmhouse ale aged in a single sauvignon blanc barrel. We’ll be pouring it at our 4th Birthday Party before selling bottles the next day from our warehouse location.

Another of the earlier releases is called Sport, a tart barrel fermented farmhouse ale with sea salt and lime zest added. It’s margarita, gatorade and sour beer all in one, with notes of coconut and vanilla, and is bright as all get-out, with a big, rocky, long lasting head. It’s awesome and almost ready.

Possibly released on the same day will be Gosh, a tart red wine barrel aged farmhouse ale heavily dry-hopped with Mosaic. There’s a lovely fruit-meets-dankness of the hops on the nose, with tons of fruit character also showing through from the fermentation. The beer is very sparkly and, near the finish, the grapey, red wine character starts to show itself, and really comes out in the tannic, grippy finish. You immediately want another sip.

In mid-September I brewed a beer which, other than Stilly Pils, might be our first beer that won’t see oak. It’s my quest for Taras Boulba, or even young Stillwell 3. Hops and restrained fermentation character. It may see kegs, but I’m not sure yet.

Everything is a one-off until it’s not!

What are your plans for distribution (aka, how can people try your beer)?
A lot of this will be decided by the reception. If the beers are good and people buy them, then we’ll have a better idea of how this could look. I’ll say we’re making pretty niche beers and we’re not planning to get into the licensee keg game at all. We will likely have to export to sell all of our bottles, and we’ve been speaking to some agents in provinces abroad. We’re predominantly packaging bottles and most kegs will be just for Stillwell and the Beergarden, locally. We will never do growlers. Bottles will be available via our bottle release days (i.e., out of the brewery on certain afternoons), and very possibly available to-go from Stillwell (working on that licensing). We might look at figuring out a separate-from-Stillwell tasting room in a year or three, if that ever makes sense. I have some ideas!

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We don’t, but there are some restaurants in the city who I think may carry our beers, mostly pals. We won’t really be on tap anywhere.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries or people along the way?
100%. I owe a debt to North Brewing for hosting a whole slew of contract and collab brews, to Boxing Rock, Big Spruce & Bar Volo for making collabs with me in the early days, and to Propeller for renting me the space on Gottingen to work. Greg Nash from Unfiltered lent me some stuff yesterday. It’s true that we have a very collaborative and friendly industry. In terms of knowledge, there have been many brewers, especially in the U.S. and Belgium who’ve been willing to have a chat and throw me an opinion or two.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I’d love to see us have a solid reputation for great farmhouse-style beer. We kind of have that already, so I guess I just hope we don’t frig that up! I’d like to create a job or two. I’d like to attend some cool festivals. I’d like to be happy drinking our beer!

What type of system are you brewing on, and what is your expected output?
We’re brewing on a very old, very manual 15bbl, two-vessel steam-powered brewhouse. The same kit Propeller brews their one-offs on. We have no expectation of yearly or monthly output.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Sure – I first started with kits in Toronto in 2010ish, then moved to Halifax and started really playing with mixed fermentations. I won something in a Brewnosers home brew competition, which was a real honour. I pretty quickly moved from homebrewing to collab brewing commercially — having a bar to buy the beer is pretty helpful when convincing a brewery to do a collab, and luckily they were all great. Definitely learned lots doing this — anytime one co-brews either at home or in a brewery one learns something, of course.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery whose beers you particularly enjoy drinking?
I like dry beers for the most part. I like hoppy beers and bitter beers. I like drinkability in beer most. Give me De La Senne Taras Boulba, Birrificio Italiano Tipopils and Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet and I’m a very happy man. Granite Ringwood. A good cask bitter or mild. A vintage barleywine. A geuze – any will do. Saisons from the classics to Quebec.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Yeast first, then hops. I like Noble hops primarily, or their hybrid descendants. Saison & Pils.

How can folks keep up to date with the latest news and brews?
@stillwellbrewing on Instagram

A big thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer our many questions and hopefully give the uninitiated a good idea of what he’s got planned for Stillwell Brewing. If you like the sounds of what you read here, you should probably mark your calendar for later this month when the first bottled beer, Stillwell Four, becomes available, first for pours during the Stillwell (bar, not brewery) fourth birthday party on the 18th, and then the next day for retail sales at their warehouse location on Gottingen Street (entrance at the rear parking lot of Propeller Brewing). We’re looking forward to sampling not only this release, but the releases of the others Chris mentioned above, as well as those he hasn’t brewed or even dreamt up yet.

Happy Friday, and the beginning of a long weekend (maybe… depending on your job I guess?)! Unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking too hot for celebrating Canada’s big 150, but don’t let that stop you from getting out and (responsibly) enjoying some of the fine local beer in your area. And speaking of fine, local beer, we’ve got some news to report on just that very subject…

• Bathurst, New Brunswick will soon be the home to its first craft brewery, as Four Rivers Brewing Co. is planning to open their doors this December. Family-owned and operated, the four owners are currently renovating an entire building to house the 15 bbl (1750 L) DME brewhouse, which will also be home to a taproom. Likely launching with a Pale Ale and Amber Ale, with plenty of seasonals and one-offs to follow, beers will available in growlers, cans, and on tap at licensees across the province. We’ll keep you up to date with Four Rivers’ progress, and will be posting a Q&A with the owners in the future!

• The kind folks at Tatamagouche Brewing don’t want us beer lovers going thirsty, so they’re releasing plenty of brews this week! Let’s get right to it by starting with the brand new ones. First up is Main St. Mayhem, a 6.3% ABV, 65 IBU American IPA brewed with Pale and Pilsner malt, and a bit of Wheat and Rye malt for some extra character. Hopped with Citra, El Dorado, Huell Melon and Mosaic, it was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast to boost that juicy character that we all love even more. Growlers are now available at the brewery, and kegs are in the wild… a limited number of cans will be released next week.

• Moving right along, Tata Brew’s latest kettle-soured Berliner Weisse is next, and they’re calling it Guava Heist. With a base of Pilsner and Wheat malt, and a touch of rolled oats, this beer was aged on organic guava purée. At a super-sessionable 3.6% ABV and 4 IBUs, look for this one to be released next week in kegs, growlers and cans. Curious what the base beer itself tastes like? Well, luckily the brewery racked off some of the “lemony, bright citrus” base beer so visitors to the tasting room could do a side-by-side with the fruited version; a few kegs have also been released to select accounts. Be sure to seek out both!

• Finally, a couple of Tata favourites are returning as well. Their RR#2, a 4.9% ABV, 18 IBU light Lager brewed with Malagash-grown hops, is out now in kegs, growlers, and cans. This time around, the beer was hopped entirely with Mt. Hood – small amounts in the kettle, but with very large hopback additions, giving “very earthy, grassy, and floral” aromas. And Sunrise Trail ISA, one of the brewery’s Session IPAs, is also back for summer, with a slightly-tweaked recipe. The grist still features 2-row and Pilsner malt, but the Wheat has been replaced with Spelt. Hopped with lots of Azacca, as well as some Falconer’s Flight, Hallertau Blanc, and Simcoe (to 30 IBUs),  this one will be around all summer at the brewery, bars, and private stores, with cans even hitting the NSLC by August!

• The latest cider in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider is now available, for a limited time only. Strawberry Rhubarb is a delicious-sounding blend of the cidery’s cool-fermented dry apple cider with the juice of local, hand-picked ruby red rhubarb and garden strawberries, along with a bit of fresh-pressed apple juice to finish it all off. The final 6.3% ABV, pale-red, cider exhibits “bright notes of juicy strawberries paired with the bold zing of tart rhubarb”, with a crisp and refreshing finish that’s perfect for summer. The Blue Route will be the recipient of the 50 cents-from-every-fill donation for this release. Drop by the cidery today to get your fill!

Garrison Brewing released another sour beer yesterday at the brewery. Sour to the People is a “Strong Sour Ale”, brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat malt. Kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus pitch, no hops were added at any point in the brewing process. While the majority of kettle-soured beers tend to be in the sub-5% ABV range, this new brew comes in at 6.5% ABV, and has aromas of green apple, peach, and sweet malt, and more green apple and lemon on the palate. Drop by the brewery for a sample and growler fill, and look for this one to pop up on tap around the HRM.

Spindrift has a new beer they just launched yesterday at the brewery, Blood Orange India Pale Lager. With a grist of Heidelburg (a very-light coloured malt), Light Munich, and Vienna, the beer was hopped to 35 IBUs with El Dorado, Chinook, Citra, and Simcoe. Aged on 900 lbs of pure blood oranges, it was then dry-hopped with more Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria… needless to say, we can expect lots of tropical and stone fruit notes to complement the citrus and red berry characteristics of the blood orange. This 5.5% ABV Lager is available now in cans and growlers at the brewery, with the cans likely trickling into private stores over the weekend.

• It’s Friday, which (usually) means that 2 Crows is releasing another small batch brew at the brewery! Crystal Rhythm is a “Brett Session Ale”, a 3.9% ABV, 35 IBUs beer fermented with Amalgamation, an increasingly-popular pitch made up of six different strains of Brettanomyces. With late boil additions of Azacca, Citra and Galaxy, the beer was dry-hopped with Simcoe and a touch of Calypso, and conditioned on lime zest. Described as “dry, crushable, citrusy, and a bit funky”, if all that isn’t enough to make you non-Haligonians want to move to Halifax, here’s something else – like the other small batch releases, it’s only available for pours at the taproom. Dang.

• Though we might be accused of stretching the credulity of “beer-related” on this one, hear us out. If you’ll recall a few months ago, we told you about the magnificent Calvados Foeders brought in by 2 Crows for some barrel-aging projects. As it turns out, beer isn’t the only thing that can benefit from some time in the barrel: a recent trend in coffee is to age green beans in a spirit barrel before roasting them. Dartmouth coffee and cold brew purveyors Low Point Coffee Co. (formerly Bottleneck Coffee) jumped on that train and hit up 2 Crows’ brewmaster Jeremy Taylor for some foeder time for a bean lot from Burundi. Already sporting notes of caramel, candy apple, lemongrass and a faintly floral aroma, it’s now been kissed by decades worth of Calvados which impart toffee and black cherry undertones and some noticeable boozy notes, especially on the nose. The gang at Low Point has brewed a small amount that you can look for to pop up around the city via keg accounts and the remaining roasted beans will be available by the bag. They recommend a one-cup method, be it pour over, siphon, aeropress, cold brew or espresso and would be happy to provide advice to you if you’re lucky enough to lay hands on some of these beans. And here’s where we come back around to beer: one of the popular uses for barrel-aged coffee beans is for flavouring big dark beers known for coffee flavours, such as Russian Imperial Stouts. So if you’re a home brewer with a RIS in the works, maybe consider some barrel-aged beans and making it an extra special batch. Meanwhile everyone else can look forward to the inevitability of a production brewery taking advantage of this new resource in town.

• Newly-opened Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth has already released a new beer, Rusty Truck Red Ale. With lots of malt flavour thanks to a grist of five different types of grain, the 5% ABV beer was generously hopped with Cascade to give a firm bitterness in the finish, as well as some citrus. Available at the brewery for growler fills on Thursdays from 4-8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am-4 pm, it’s also on tap at Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe. And if you’d like to win a Heritage gift card, share your experience with Heritage beer on their Facebook site and tag it with #HeritageMoment; the contest closes at 11:59 pm on July 1st.

• For those of you who miss having access to certain Red Rover one-offs, we have some good news to share: the cidery has announced a new Summer Series, where they’ll be releasing a different seasonal or Reserve blend every second Friday over the summer. First up this week is VeRRy PeRRy, a bottle-conditioned 7% ABV pear blend, which was packaged last year. All of the Summer Series releases will be exclusive to the Cider House in downtown Fredericton, and the Friday Farmers Markets.

• The menagerie on Halifax’s Robie Street known as Good Robot Brewing has a few things on the go this week, starting with yesterday’s return of their summer favourite Leave Me Blue, an easy-drinker in the pre-prohibition Kentucky Common style that’s much like a cream ale, but with a darker colour and more prominent sweetness. Meanwhile their Friday Cask in the Sun (possibly in-aptly named for today) will be their Goseface Killah with Watermelon and Arctic Kiwis. “But arctic kiwis haven’t come into season yet!” you say, to which the wise folks from GR respond, “yes, but we froze some last year so you could have some tasty beer in June!” Look for it to be tapped at 4 PM this afternoon. The Red IPA originally brewed for International Women’s Day back in March, Red Moon Landing, is returning next week with a minor recipe tweak to the grist (Pilsner replaces Vienna alongside Red X and flaked barley) but the same combo of GR’s proprietary bittering blend, Ekuanot and Perle. And finally, this week’s Beta Brewsday falls on a Wednesday due to GR being closed for a “Staff Appreciation Day” (read: digging another trench) on Tuesday. This week’s offering is called Re:Drella and it’s a 6.5% ABV and 28 IBU SMaSH of Red X malt and the super-versatile Australian hop variety Ella. As always, this Beta Batch was brewed by Kelly Costello, this time joined by Dan Hendricken.

• Deep in the downtown core of Halifax, Salter Street’s Tidehouse Brewing is welcoming back a beer that helped them make a splash when they launched in December of 2016. Enigmatic, an ‘India Saison’ marries the yeast character of a classic Saison to the hop-forward flavour and aroma of a modern IPA. This super hoppy batch was hopped with an alliterative assault of Ahtanum, Azacca, and Amarillo for a heavy grapefruit presence with lime zest and a light floral character. Get it at the brewery while it lasts! Meanwhile, the 3 principals behind the Tidehouse brand are going to be taking a well-deserved vacation from the 7th to the 11th of July. Does that mean you’ll be without tasty beer? Hell no! Once again, local home brewers Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell have stepped up to production batches of some of their beers on the Tidehouse system and will be hosting a tap takeover while Peter, Shean and Shannon get to remember what it’s like to breathe for a few days. Lil’Wheatey is bringing a Northeastern/New England IPA featuring big late additions and a double dry hop of Citra and Amarillo  as well as a kettle sour flavoured with raspberries he’s calling The Platinum Tart. We trust that he came up with that name all on his own ಠ_ಠ just like the Lactobacillus culture he grew to do the souring. Nick, on the other hand, will be bringing Smooth Criminal, a crisp Kölsch based on Pilsner and wheat malt that features Tettnanger hops, along with a Saison he’s dubbed Lanky Bastard that was fermented on a Saison yeast blend and hit hard with Mosaic hops. The alternative experience starts next Friday; and fear not, if your hankering is for Tidehouse standbys they’ll be available alongside the guest taps.

Get your butt out the door this long weekend:

• Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery is officially launching with a soft opening today! Starting at noon, their first two beers will be pouring and available in growlers at the brewery’s location on 82 Marr Rd. The first beer is Chalice, a tribute to the strong blonde ales brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium. Pale, dry and refreshing, it’s a 6.5% ABV, 25 IBU ale that has a “classic spicy character” thanks to fermentation with a Belgian yeast strain and a small addition of Grains of Paradise. Secondly, they’ll be pouring Bantam, a 5.5% ABV and 40 IBU American Pale Ale named for the small but mighty chickens known for their attitude. This one is dry-hopped with classic American hops Cascade and Centennial as well as relative newcomer Citra for an unmistakable citrus hop presence to balance the specialty malts in the grist. So if you’re in Rothesay this afternoon, give a thought to stopping by and welcoming the latest addition to New Brunswick’s family of independent breweries and trying some beer! And if you happen by around 6 PM, you’ll find Josh from PEI hop supplier Darlings Island Farm holding forth on the subject of hops.

• With Canada Day this Saturday, a note about the provincial stores: the NSLC is closed, as is the NLC, ANBL stores are open 10-6, and the PEILC is open. In Nova Scotia the private stores are all open, but be sure to check that your local brewery is open. Breton Brewing is holding a Canada Day Party from 1-11pm complete with live music and beer specials, Quidi Vidi is open from noon for Pints in the Gut and selling the last few cases of the Central City Across the Nation Collaboration packs.

Tomorrow, July 1stBattery Park is holding a Gold Medal Patio Takeover to celebrate the four Nova Scotia gold-medal winners at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards. Pouring will be Gus’ 65m and Midnight (Glenora Barrel-Aged BSDA) from North Brewing, Stayin’ Alive from Boxing Rock, and Vohs Weizenbier from Uncle Leo’s. The taps open (figuratively and literally) at 11:30 am and will keep pouring (not literally, hopefully) through the weekend, while supplies last).

• The Moncton Craft Brewers Collective is hosting the Canada Day Craft Beer Garden tomorrow, July 1st. Located at Waterfront Park with the other Canada Day celebrations, the tent will be set up in front of the courthouse. Over a dozen beers from the area’s finest craft breweries will be pouring, so pop on down to have a few (or more) and enjoy the fireworks in the evening, along with plenty of games and food.

Stillwell is showing their love for Canada Day at both HQ on Barrington, and the Beer Garden on Spring Garden with summer-themed taps and bottles from around the Maritimes, plus some goodies from Toronto heavy hitters Bellwoods and Burdock (pretty much the only spot outside of the brewery to feature Motley Cru, for instance). Check out the at-opening taplist here.

• Join the crew from The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish in celebrating their Fifth Anniversary on July 4th. Kick it off 4-6pm with Happy Hour and oysters ($2/shuck), two (2!!) cakes being cut and served at 5:30 and 9:00, with food and beer pairings until 10:00, and live music from OQO. It’s sure to be a heck of a time, with plenty of SUDS Club members and neighbours dropping by to wish them well.

• Drop by Roof Hound Brewing just outside of Digby on Saturday July 8th 22nd, for a screening of “Sociable!“, the ode to Nova Scotia beer and those who make it. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be there to introduce the film and answer any questions about their wild trip around the province filming, and the NS Craft Beer scene.

Hammond River‘s major expansion from a 1 bbl, in-house brewery to a 15 bbl (1750 L) brewery with attached taproom is almost complete. The brewery will finally open its doors on Monday, July 10th., with the beer bar and attached patio accessible for your HR fix! All four of the first beers brewed on the new system (Gammie, Hopflash IPA, Blood Orange Hefeweizen, Blueberry Ale… and maybe even Paisley Park and the Galaxy version of The Vegas SMaSH IPA) will be pouring for pints and growler fills. In fact, you can drop by The Barrel’s Head now for a preview, as they are featuring the Gammie California Steam Ale on tap now.

Just a few more things this morning…

– Halifax’s Unfiltered has brought back another one of their classic DIPA SMaSH beer, this time the Mosaic-laden RSMA. Don’t remember what RSMA stands for? Don’t worry, a growler of this 7.5% ABV tropical fruit bomb will help you forget that you couldn’t remember. Available for growler fills at the brewery and pints and fills next door at the pub starting at noon today.
– The two local breweries taking part in the “Fathers of Fermentation” project, in celebration of the Peter Austin Brew Systems across the country. Sir John Eh-le is being released at both Halifax’s Granite Brewery and Fredericton’s Picaroons Brewery tomorrow. Check out our previous Wrap-Up for more information on the beer and project.
– Charlottetown’s Gahan House Pub has released a new concoction lately, Daily Dose Hard Root Beer. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, it is available exclusively at the pub for samples, pints, and growler fills.

It’s another busy beer week in the region, with summer literally just around the corner and the weather taking a predictable step or two backwards into spring after a couple of scorchers. This week saw the official opening of Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth and we’ve got a bunch more beer news and events to tell you about, so let’s get you right to what you came here for.

• Although the cat has been out of the bag since late May, an official announcement took place in Halifax this week that the 16th Annual Canadian Brewing Awards & Conference are coming to Halifax in May, 2018. This is the culmination of significant effort on behalf of CBANS and Brian Titus of Garrison Brewing. Part of the announcement is that the event will take place at the brand new Halifax Convention Centre where some 500 delegates are expected to descend to attend the event. This will be the first time the awards have taken place in Nova Scotia, which now leads the nation in craft breweries per capita! It’s a perfect chance to show off both our beautiful province, the quality of our beer and local support for our breweries.

•  The Biorefinery Technology Scale-up Center at CCNB Grand-Falls is putting out a call for beer samples as part of a project with the National Research Council Canada. The BTSC has the methodologies for testing and doing Quality Assurance on hops, malt, water, yeast, and finished beer, using their state-of-the-art instruments. From Jared Christensen of CCNB, “Free chemical and microbiological testing! The CCNB-BTSC is collecting finished craft beer samples for an NRC study on beer biochemical quality and local ingredients. This is for licensed craft breweries only. The testing includes: %ABV, SRM, IBU, sugars, organic acids, pH, anaerobic/aerobic Lactobacillus strains, etc. Selection will be done on a first come first serve basis, so contact us as quickly as possible, as we are collecting a limited amount of samples. If you are interested in participating in the study and getting some free beer analysis and data interpretations that could help optimize your product and/or your brewing process, please contact Jared via email or phone (506-475-4029) to get filled in on the specifics of the project.”

Taste of Nova Scotia has launched the Good Cheer Trail again this summer. Featuring more than 60 alcohol producers from across the province, your passport (both paper and virtual) is your key to a great time touring the province for the best in beer, cider, wine, and spirits. Pick up a copy of the passport at any of the participating locations, and get started on filling it out today! To take part digitally, you’ll need to Register, and then follow this link on your device (this link shows all of the locations if your device can’t see where you are), check into the location you’re visiting, share a photo, and you’re done! After 10 stamps, you’ll be able to send in or apply online for your free t-shirt, when they become available in July.

• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing Company has a a pair of new beers flowing at their brewery this weekend, giving you yet another reason to visit their beautiful location. First up is Hop Bill IPA, a 6.5% ABV American IPA, with a touch of honey malt for some sweetness to balance out its solid 60 IBUs of bitterness (in addition to tons of whirlpool- dry-hopping for lots of juicy aromas). Hop Bill‘s origin is from the Newfermenters‘ 2016 Home Brew-Off competition, won by Bill Burton, which we wrote up here. The 2017 Home Brew-Off is taking place Sunday at the Lions Club Chalet on Newtown Rd in St. John’s. In addition to live judging of the entries vying for top Kolsch in the region, there will be talks and demonstrations on how to keg beer, the latest and greatest homebrew gadgets, and hang with your fellow homebrewers and professional brewers alike. The event starts at 7PM, be sure to check out the Facebook Event or email the Newfermenters for more details. Grab Hop Bill shortly at PR’s tap accounts around St. John’s.

• Port Rexton has also been putting Assistant Brewer Jane Tucker to work developing some new beers, and she has come through in spades with a line of small batch beers, available exclusively at the brewery in Port Rexton. The latest beer currently available from this series is Sasscot, a 5.6% ABV & 19 IBUs Scottish Ale. A complex malt bill, including Biscuit and Smoked Malts, it features a light smokiness with sweet caramel and rich mouthfeel. And waiting in the wings, possibly on tap this weekend, or early next week, is Metric Heavy Hefeweizen, a true-to-origins German Weissbier with the iconic yeast-derived banana and clove aroma and flavour, with malt-derived soft bready notes. This beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and a light 16 IBUs.

• Have you been missing the Propeller One Hit Wonder series of the past? Well, good news! It’s undergone an evolution of sorts, and the Gottingen Small Batch series is the result! The brewery’s intention is to roll out a new style on a monthly basis, while “bringing forward a greater variety of true-to-style (but rarely seen) beers”. The first beer in the series, Gratitude, is a 4.5% ABV, 56 IBUs India Session Ale (aka Session IPA) brewed with 2-row, Munich, Crystal, Carapils, and Wheat malt. Hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo, the melon and citrus notes from the Amarillo come through front and center, followed by a “forward bitterness” in the finish. It’s on tap now at the Gottingen taproom.

• Speaking of new beer series, the PEI Brewing Co. has released the first in their After Hours series, after an initial launch of pilot brews two weeks ago. U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale was brewed at the Gahan Charlottetown location (their 7 bbl system will be responsible for most entries in the After Hours series) with Vienna malt, bittered to 50 IBUs, and conditioned for a couple of weeks on puréed strawberries. It was then dry-hopped with Comet and Simcoe, resulting in an APA with citrus and tropical fruit on the nose, and “finishing with a hint of strawberry flavour, adding another dimension to a Pale Ale”, according to head brewer Chris Long. Look for it at select tap accounts across the Maritimes, including the PEIBC taproom and all Gahan locations.

• Months ago, we reported that Maybee Brewing had just finished brewing up a Belgian Quad (aka Belgian Dark Strong Ale). Big beers like these often take a lot of extra time to finish fermenting, and to allow the high alcohol levels to smooth out. Well, we’re happy to report that half of the double batch of this beer, named Orion, is being packaged in kegs today! This half includes the addition of maple syrup from Briggs Maples, and clocks in at a whopping 11.5% ABV. Expect flavours of caramel, brown sugar, and a bit of molasses and maple, to accompany the warming sensation from the high alcohol. With a medium bitterness in the finish, this malty-sweet ale may not taste like it’s 11.5%, but you’ve been fairly warned! Watch for this one to be show up at your favourite Maybee tap accounts over the next few days; of course, it will also be on tap at the brewery for pours and growler fills. A portion will eventually be packaged in corked-and-caged bottles in the near future.

• We mentioned last week that The Shocking Pink, Good Robot‘s Gose-Radler hybrid, was being re-released yesterday for the OUTeast Film Festival. On top of that, they now have two new brews on the horizon, both of which will be released mid-next week. First up is a new Beta Brew, Cream Team, a Cream Ale brewed by Kelly Costello and Doug Kehoe. Coming in at 6.56%, slightly higher than your typical Cream Ale, it features an aroma of honey and straw, and a “slightly lemony flavour, and grassy aftertaste”. Lightly hopped with Tettnang, Warrior, and Willamette to 15 IBUs. Next up is the second in their series of SMaSH Pale Ales, Pacifica. Named after the solely-featured hop in the brew, Pacifica is a New Zealand variety known for its orange marmalade character. Featuring a grist of Maris Otter malt, the beer was fermented with the East Coast Ale strain. Flavours of citrus, spice, and resin accompany the orange marmalade notes; it comes in at an easy-drinking 4.7% ABV, and 24 IBUs. And finally, drop by the brewery today for the beginning of Cask Fridays, starting with a series of Goseface Killah re-fermented with a variety of organic fruit purées!

• If you’ve been sad to see all of those entries in the Annapolis Cider Company Something Different series come and go, good news! The cidery has listened to the calls from the public, and have brought back three of the most popular entries to re-release in their new Creative Series. Rhubarb Ginger, Hopped Pear, and Sour Cherry are all now available again, this time in 750 mL bottles, for you to take home and enjoy. Available only at the cidery in Wolfville, for a limited time!

• Summer is right around the corner, and Fredericton’s Graystone has you covered with their latest release, Wild Child. The brewery’s first Radler (a mixture of beer and juice, or fruit soda), it’s light and refreshing, with notes of “subtle citrus” from the addition of both grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Also, the puréed flesh of 50 grapefruits was added, to up your grapefruit love even more! Completely crushable at 4.5% ABV, it’s available now at the brewery for pints, crowlers, and growlers. You’ll also likely see it on tap across the city very soon.

• Halifax’s “Littlest Brewery That Could”, Tidehouse Brewing at Salter and Barrington, has another new beer on tap today. Birthday Sauce IPA is their modern take on a classic American IPA; weighing in at 6.5% ABV, the beer features a solid bitterness (hovering around 60 IBUs), with lots of citrus and pine notes from the CascadePacific Jade, and Simcoe hops used throughout. Grab a growler at their downtown location today 2-9PM (tomorrow, too), or visit their Market locations at Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market every Saturday, Tantallon Village Farmers’ Market every Tuesday 2-6PM, and the fortnightly Spryfield & District Community Market, next held June 25th. Happy Birthday Shean!

St. John’s Mill Street Brewpub has launched their latest beer this week, The 150 S’EH!son!. It was brewed in collaboration with Mill Street Ottawa’s Head Brewer Tim Hulley, during his visit earlier this month. A partial sour mash brings a bright acidity to this Saison, along with notes of Fuzzy Peaches and citrus. The unfiltered straw-coloured beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV and 25 IBUs, and is available on tap at the brewery, and to take home in growlers today. And keep an eye on social media for details of their First Anniversary Celebration, happening June 28th. Live music, plenty of special beers and casks, and lots of fun.

• We have some excellent news for those of you that have been patiently waiting for the Hammond River expansion to be complete… owner/brewer Shane Steeves has confirmed that the first two beers were brewed on the new, 15 bbl (~1700 L) system earlier this week! Both Gammie (a California Common) and Hop Flash IPA are currently fermenting, and will be released to bars and restaurants in kegs within a few weeks. All of the first batches brewed at the new brewery will be packaged in kegs only, to fill all of the tap accounts across New Brunswick; subsequent batches will have a portion bottled as well. Look for the brewery taproom to open within the next month, where you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite HR beers by the pint and/or growler! Congratulations, Shane!

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is gearing up for a big weekend, or at least a big Saturday (followed by a mighty hangover on Sunday, no doubt). Tomorrow afternoon the gang from Central City will be on the Garrison patio from 1 – 4 PM as part of their tour across the country to celebrate their Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration for Canada 150. Central City’s Daryn Medwid, Gary Lohin and James Hume will be pouring samples of their Central City x Garrison Collaboration alongside the Garrison gang. Speaking of which, that beer, ”New” Scottish Ale, is available at the brewery now for pints and growler fills. It’s a 5.7% ABV beer with a moderate bitterness at 38 IBU. It features a smoky aroma from peat malt with some berry notes, and a smooth caramel palate accentuated by a smoky character and balanced against a slightly bitter finish.

• But the big event is tomorrow night, namely Garrison’s third annual Backlot Bash event starting at 5:30 PM. This year’s version is an extra-special, super spectacular edition, as it’s also part of Garrison’s 20th Birthday Celebrations. The event supports the Ecology Action Centre and features musical acts The Sheepdogs, Port Cities, the Garrett Mason Band and The Royal Volts. A plethora of Food Trucks will also be on hand, including The Gecko Bus, Halifax Press, Asado Wood Fired Grill, Cheese Curds and Ol’ School Donuts. There will also be demos and fun from Proskates and Timber Lounge. Tickets are $35 in advance via Ticket Halifax or $40 at the door. A note to those planning to attend: the event was always advertised as rain or shine, and due to the expected weather tomorrow night, the concert has officially been moved indoors to the Cunard Centre, so don’t be shocked if things aren’t where you expected them to be upon your arrival tomorrow night!

Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax has tapped the final keg of their Barrel Aged Golden Ale with Brett, a beer that features Brettanomyces for a distinct yeast character. It was also aged for 8 months in Hungarian Oak, which should give it some barrel notes as well; it weighs in at 5%. They’ve also just released their second batch of Impatience Sour Brown Ale, which was aged on Morello cherries and raspberries, a darker, but still refreshing drink thanks to the fruit. And lastly, they’re also at the end of their Mexican Lager, Cerveza Maritimo, having tapped the last keg this week. You might still find it on the Island later this summer, as The Gahan House in Charlottetown will have some of this light thirst quencher available.

• After an official announcement and press release from Sebastien Roy of Fils du Roy, we have more information on the Acadian Nut Brown style we mentioned last week. Several Acadian breweries united to create a “100% Acadian beer” to mark the 170th anniversary of the poem “Evangeline”, by Henry Longfellow. The style has many descriptors, including “caramel, light coffee, hazelnut, chocolate, fruity, molasses, and licorice”. We already wrote up Petit-Sault‘s entry, La Madoueska, last week, but there’s others to mention as well, as several breweries in Atlantic Canada are participating. Fils du Roy has released their Evangeline (7% ABV), Flying Boats their General’s Armada (5.5% ABV, 23 IBUs), and Savoie’s has a Nut-Brown Ale. As well, Acadie-Broue is including their previously-released La Bringue.

• Big Spruce has their Consiglière Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Saison back on tap at the brewery, first released as part of the Stillwell Open during NS Craft Beer Week. They’ve also released another batch of their One Hundred recently, their all-Nova Scotia beer, featuring Organic malt, hops, and yeast harvested from a Pin Cherry on their farm. Their Food Truck weekends have started for the summer, drop by the brewery for fresh food from Cruisin’ Cuisine from noon Thursday through Saturday until mid-September. And with Beer + Yoga each Saturday from 11AM, there are plenty of reasons to stop in Nyanza this summer.

• This morning both Halifax’s Granite Brewery and Fredericton’s Picaroons mashed in on a very special beer that will celebrate both Canada 150 and the legacy of the great Peter Austin, who was responsible for the creation of the system in use at both breweries, the Peter Austin Brick Kettle Brewing System. Breweries based on this system, over 140 of which have been installed around the world over the last 30+ years, are also known as “Ringwood” Breweries both after Austin’s original Ringwood Brewery and the yeast strain that they generally favour. These two breweries from our region are joining 5 others from across the country, Golden Lion Brewery in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Granite Brewery in Toronto, Ashton Brew Pub and Clocktower Brew Pub in Ottawa and 4 Mile Brewing Co in Victoria, BC. These breweries have come together under the name “The Fathers of Fermentation” to brew Sir John’s Special Eh’le based on a recipe by Alan Pugsley of Pugsley Brewing International, Peter Austin’s good friend and former partner, who was responsible for the design and setup at all of the participating breweries. Everyone is brewing their batch today; the beer will be fermented and then delicately aged and released on July 1st. As you anticipate the final product you can read more about this special collaboration and see some video of the cross country brew days on the The Fathers of Fermentation Facebook page.

Chill Street Fresh Beer and Cider Market opened this week in the Elmsdale Sobey’s at Exit 8 of the 102 Highway. Featuring a SmartBrew Ferment-on-Premise system, they are offering cans and growlers of their beer and cider now. Look for their Eh? Light Lager, Hants Down Light Ale, Honey I’m Home Honey Brown, Life’s a Beach Grapefruit Radler Out of the Blue Blueberry Wheat, Skinny Dipping Cider, Storm Day White IPA, and Unplugged Pale Ale. Chill Street is the first grocery store-based brewery in Canada, a business model that could catch on, given the compact size of the SmartBrew system.

• Truro’s Salty Dog Brewing (beer brewed on the system at the Nook and Cranny next door) has released a new beer this week, HOME Brew Session Ale. The 3.5% ABV beer is a collaboration with nearby My HOME Apparel, makers of NS-inspired clothing and merchandise. Drop by the brewery Saturday for a My HOME pop-up, and grab a sampler, enjoy some music, and take home a half-priced branded growler (which gets you a discount off a fill of the Session Ale). And keep your eyes peeled as Salty Dog will soon be canning their offerings.

Another busy weekend ahead:

• A reminder that Maybee Brewing is holding their Summer Pig Roast tomorrow, June 17th, from 5 pm till late. With plenty of food, beer (including a special cask), and live music from house band Extraordinary Measures, it’s sure to be a great time! Tickets ($29.50 each) are still available.

Tatamagouche Brewing is turning 3! Be sure to join them at the brewery for celebrations tomorrow, June 17th for face painting, food truck deliciousness courtesy of Route 6 Food Truck Co., and a draw to win a $150 gift bag or Brew Day Package. And if you’re wearing your Tata Brew gear, you’ll receive 10% off your entire purchase. Happy Birthday! See if they’ll give you a sneak peek at the freshly-bottled

• It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, June 18th (you forgot to send a card? Too late! Worst son/daughter ever!), and Railcar is holding a special event at their soon-to-officially-open new location in Perth. Father’s Day Flight will feature a guided tasting from Railcar’s very own Mitch Biggar, of six 5 oz beers brewed in the Maritimes. The two hour tasting begins at 2 pm; a selection of appetizers will also be served. Only 30 spaces are available, and tickets are $20, first-come-first-served.

• We told you about the new brewery and taproom at Horton Ridge Malt House a few weeks ago, and the taps have been flowing since June 1st, but on Saturday, June 24th, they’ll be having a proper Grand Opening. From 11 AM to 10 PM they’ll be serving up some of their new beers and others from breweries around the province that feature Horton Ridge Malt. Food will be available from a new food truck in the region, Let’s Eat Beer, recently started by the folks at Draught Pro. This truck serves beer-infused food and donate all proceeds from the events it attends to Atlantic Canadian Charities! There will also be some live music, games like washer toss and Mega Jenga, and tours of the brewery and malt house. So maybe give a thought to stopping in at Exit 10 on the 101 next Saturday and celebrating one of the newest breweries in the region!

• Prince Edward Island’s only beer festival, PEI Beer Fest, is returning this September to the Delta Prince Edward. Part of the month-long Fall Flavors Festival, a culinary celebration of the Island, the dates for this years tastings have been set and tickets are on sale now. There will be three tasting sessions this year, one on the evening of Friday, September 8th, from 6:30 – 9:30 PM, and two on Saturday, September 9th, in the afternoon from 2:00 – 4:00 PM and in the evening from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. There will be beer, of course, and some cider options, with live entertainment as well. Tickets for the evening sessions are $40, for Saturday afternoon it’s $30 and they’ve got Designated Driver tickets available as well at $10 each (be aware that various service fees are likely to make those more like $50, $40 and $15 respectively). If you’re interested in attending, don’t delay too long, last year’s event was sold out in advance and no tickets were available at the door! And keep an eye on the web site for news about what breweries will be bringing their wares to the event this year.

And a few more things today:

– Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing has the last keg of their Smoked Cherry India Black Ale on tap now. Brewed in collaboration with the gents at FirkinStein, who actually smoked the malt themselves using Cherrywood, this Black IPA is hopped with Cascade and Falconer’s Flight, with cherries added to the fermenter for a hint of fruit flavour. There isn’t much of the 6.8% ABV, 75 IBUs beer, so be sure to get down to the brewery today! And look for the release of their Privateer Pilsner, which will be returning soon to celebrate next weekend’s Privateer Days.

North Brewing is releasing the Barrel-Aged version of their Milk Stout today. First previewed at the Full House event in May, the Headline Milk Stout spent 5 months in Glenora Whisky Barrels, and has been bottle conditioning for a couple more. The 7.5% ABV special brew is available now at both their Halifax and Dartmouth stores. Insider pro-tip: visitors can show their receipt from Battery Park for a discount at the North store. Tell em ACBB sent ya!

– A quick reminder that the Schoolhouse Graduation and 2017 Grad Party is on tomorrow in Windsor, with the family-oriented Graduation festivities starting at 11am and the ticketed “afterparty” beginning at 8pm (tickets available here).

Welcome to the weekend, and a beautiful Friday! Beer news in our region is a bit slower this week, but there’s still plenty to talk about…

• Prince Edward Island should soon be expanding options for enjoying craft beer, as the Island’s first outdoor beer garden is being planned for downtown Charlottetown, as reported by the Guardian late last week. Business partners Steve Barber and Jacob Hiemstra, owners of local restaurants such as Hunter’s Ale House, hope to have the location open on the corner of Prince and Kent streets by late June. The Charlottetown Beer Garden and Seafood Patio should have about 25 taps, with 12 dedicated to craft breweries and another several reserved for imports. While local, Island breweries will naturally be a big focus, Barber is in talks with PEILCC to feature other craft breweries from the Maritimes. Live music and fresh, local seafood will also be a feature of the restaurant, as well as other beer-pairing favourites such as sausages and pretzels. Stay tuned for more info…

• But that’s not all! HopYard, a craft beer bar focusing on “local Island beer, regional breweries, and beers from across the continent”, is set to open downtown at 151 Kent St. on Monday, May 9th. Owned by Mike Ross and Brett Hogan, the bar will feature draught beer only, with 10 always-rotating taps. Award-winning Chef Jane Crawford will be in charge of the food menu, with all items priced at under $8 (note that while bar snacks will stay the same, all menu entrees will also be rotating). Cider, wine and spirits will also be available, and a “vast vinyl selection” will be on-hand for customers to look through and make selections to be played on the bar’s sound system. Open every day at 11 am, the bar’s simple motto – “Beer. Food. Vinyl.” – perfectly sums up their mission statement!

• Halifax’s Granite Brewery has released their latest seasonal beer, Granite IPA. Light copper in colour, the 5.5% ABV beer was brewed with healthy doses of East Kent Goldings and Cascade hops, to 55 IBUs. Grab a growler at the brewery, or a pint at better beer bars in the city.

Back in March, we reported on a new beer being brewed by YellowBelly that involved the addition of a large amount of stale bread from neighbouring Rocket Bakery, as a statement to support those who minimize the wasting of food. Well, that beer, named Brewis Hard Tack Ale, is now on tap at the brewpub. The brewery describes the brown, 4% ABV beer as showing notes of “pepper from the rye, a lactic bite from the sourdough, and figs and raisins as backnotes”, along with some herbal and spiciness from the Willamette hops. Bottles will be available shortly at both the brewery and NLC, as well. Learn more about the ingredients, process, and beer, at YB’s site.

Unfiltered is releasing another new beer today (and those at yesterday’s punk album evening got a sneak peek) – Riddle of Steel is an American IPA described as “bright and juicy, with a serious New England influence on top of the usual San Diego roots”. Coming in at 7% ABV and 70 IBUs, this very-pale-coloured hoppy beer will be on tap for growler fills at the retail store at noon, by the pint at Charm School at 4 pm, and in the wild at local bars shortly.

•  Good Robot has released what they’re referring to as “a damn good cup of beer”, their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale. Brewed with a grist including Pilsner, Red X, and Rye malt, plus some Flaked Barley, it was hopped with Falconer’s Flight and Cascade to 40 IBUs. In addition, approximately 3.5% of the beer volume comes from the addition of cold-brewed Java Blend Ethiopian Guji coffee, which is “grown in cherry soil and known for its berry character”, according to the brewery. The resultant 5.1% ABV Pale Ale is described by the brewery as exhibiting notes of coffee and caramel, with a chocolate forefront; slight acidity and tartness come from the Guji coffee as well, as the beer starts off as creamy before turning slightly sharp/acidic. Grab a pint or growler at Good Robot now, and look for it in rotation at taps around HRM.

Saltbox Brewery, currently in development in Mahone Bay, has confirmed that they have successfully purchased the building on Main Street that will serve as their brewery and storefront. With their 12 hL DME brewhouse to be delivered in May, they are planning on a mid-summer launch. Read more on their site.

There are a few events coming up in the next bit that are worth checking out. And remember, NS Craft Beer Week kicks off in just two weeks, May 6th! Check out our Calendar and Map for all of the events, and we’ll be adding more as details are announced.

Bishop’s Cellar is holding a free in-store tasting hosted by Dartmouth’s Nine Locks this afternoon, 4-6pm. Featuring their four flagship beers, Dirty Blonde, ESB, IPA, and Porter, drop by for a taste and grab a few cans to enjoy on the patio. While there, also check out their extensive beer sale, as they’ve marked down several American and Quebec craft beers, to make room for new arrivals.

• Celebrating Earth Day is an annual event for Lion & Bright and Big Spruce Brewing. In support of Ecology Action Centre, the two companies teamed up to collect funds throughout April, whenever patrons ordered tacos or a pint of Big Spruce beer. Tonight at 6pm, drop by L&B to celebrate Earth Day, with a Big Spruce tap takeover featuring some returning favourites, including Gimme Citra Single-Hop Pale Ale, She’s Maibock Lemon Maibock, and Watchtower Conspiracy Imperial IPA, joining their core lineup of beers. During tonight’s event, $1 from every pint, and order of tacos, will add to the donation coffers. More details here.

• Good Robot Brewery are also celebrating Earth Day today, by encouraging patrons to take part in the North End Cleanup starting at 4pm (prizes for those who collect the most street trash), and are inviting some goats from Moo Nay Farms to “graze” on their (faux) lawn on Robie Street. There will be guided yoga at 3pm to limber up before collecting trash, and when the sun goes down, the tap room will be lit only by tea lights. Moo Nay Farms, by the way, are the proud recipient of Good Robot’s spent grains, reducing the feed requirements, and therefore agricultural resources, needed to keep their animals fed. Check out a video of some Robot/Animal fun.

• Tomorrow, April 23rd, is the Winemaker vs Brewmaster event at the Grand Banker in Lunenburg. Featuring Nyanza’s Big Spruce, squaring off against L’Acadie Vineyards, in a five-course meal, each paired with both a wine and beer. Guests vote with either a beer cap or wine cork, and the winning producer will be crowned at the end of the meal. Tickets are available at the Grand Banker, or by phone (902-634-3300).

• On Saturday, April 30th, Railcar is pairing with the Algonquin Resort to present Maritime Beer & Cheer. Being held from 6-9 pm at the Algonquin in Saint Andrews, NB, there will be five courses paired with five different Railcar beers. Tickets are $55 + tax and gratuity, and will feature such pairings as braised beef brisket and butternut squash ravioli with Smoked Molasses Porter. Reserve your tickets by phone (1-855-529-8693) or in person at the resort.

Local Connections has announced the date for Halifax’s first cask festival, the Cask Beer Showdown. Scheduled for Saturday, September 24th, there will be two sessions (12-3 pm and 5-8 pm) available to attend. Early-bird tickets are now on sale at the above link for $33 each, which includes entry, a Belgian-style take-home glass, and twelve 4 oz samples of a variety of “unique cask-conditioned beers” from local breweries.

That’s all for this week. And, of course, before you go…

Picaroons is releasing their popular summer seasonal, Dooryard, today; this 4.5% ABV “Organic Wheat Ale” will be available on tap at most Picaroons accounts through the end of summer, as well as for growler fills at both retail locations, and in bottles.
– Grimross Brewing is hiring yet again, this time in the Assistant Brewer position. For details on the requirements and work detail, check out their link.
Uncle Leo’s has re-released their Altbier today. This traditional German style features a copper colour, and a light body with a significant bitterness and flavour hop presence. At 5.2% ABV, it is available at the brewery for growler fills, and on tap at select bars in the province.
North Brewing has released another batch of their Barrel-Aged Strong Dark Ale, aged for five months in barrels from Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery.
Bore City‘s Equilux, their APA hopped with the mega-delicious Equinox and Citra, has been sent to the James Joyce in Fredericton; it should be tapped later today, and won’t last long, so head in for a pint!
Tatamagouche Brewery has sent off several pallets of cans of their popular Deception Bay IPA to the NSLC, for distribution across the province. Look for it in the first week of May. Around that same time, just in time for Open Brewery Day on May 7th, they will be opening their larger storefront on Main Street Tatamagouche, with more space for bottles, cans, and growler fills, and they will be offering tasting flights of their beer to visitors. Keep an eye on their Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the progress.

Despite the holiday season, our brewing friends have not slowed down one bit! From new breweries to new beers and holiday events, this week has been a busy one!

• Another new brewery has quietly opened in New Brunswick – Johnny Jacks, located at 281 Restigouche Rd in Oromocto, is the newest nanobrewery in the province. Father and daughter David and Vanessa Foss, along with Young Joo Lee, are sharing the brewing responsibilities on their 100 L Blichmann system. The brewery is named after a colourful homebrewing grandfather in the family, Jack ‘Johnny’ Gullison, and is currently serving two beer styles on tap next door at the Sour Grape Cafe (which is co-owned by David Foss). The first beer is their Smokin’ Amber, a “caramelly, sweet, earthy, rich and warm” beer that weighs in at 5.1% ABV and 29 IBUs. The next, Showshoe Winter Ale, is a darker ale that the brewery describes as “layered chocolate with a whisper of vanilla”; this one is a bit stronger at 5.7% ABV and 32 IBUs. While currently only on tap at the Sour Grape, they hope to be able to expand to other accounts in the near future. We’ll have more details on their venture, soon!

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has released a new beer this week, Hyper-Galactic India Pale Lager. The IPL is the cousin of the IPA, featuring assertive hop aroma, flavour, and bitterness, but brewed using lager yeast for a crisp finish, minimizing the characteristic esters and other yeast-derived aromatics from most ale strains. Hyper-Galactic comes in at 7% ABV and around 75 IBUs, with hop aromatics of passionfruit, mango and tangerine dominating. Loads of Australian went into this beer for a taste that’s outta this world! (sorry, I’ll see myself out) Hyper-Galactic is available at the brewery and adjacent Charm School now, and will be on tap at Unfiltered’s other tap accounts shortly. The arrival of the IPL signals the departure (for now) of the very popular DOA (Double Orange Ale), but we understand it will make a return in the New Year. Be sure to grab a pint or snarl of the slightly-modified Exile on North Street IPA, changes to the hopping schedule have this beer exhibiting big hop aroma, while still registering as gluten reduced (less than 5ppm). And for those of you in the The Club, your 2015 edition Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, King of Kings, is ready for pickup. Enjoy this 11.9%, 100 IBU brew during the next few chilly months, or save the bottle for enjoyment later (this style of beer is perfect for aging in a cellar). For those not in the club, you may be SOL.

• On January 1st, Upstreet will be participating in Charlottetown’s New Year’s Day Levee schedule, with a day full of music, food, and (of course) beer! The 2016 Kick-Off will begin at 10 am, and takes place all day until 10 pm. Six different bands will provide live music from 10:30 am on, $4 pints will be pouring in the taproom (as well as various beer cocktails), free brewery tours will be put on, and a special brunch menu will be available from chef John Pritchard. Admission is by donation, with all proceeds going to Upstreet’s brand new Do-Good Fund. This charitable program has been set up to support community initiatives throughout the year; a portion of the proceeds from every Do-Gooder APA will go into this fund. And in other Upstreet news, their White Noize White IPA (7% ABV, 70 IBUs) is now available for purchase in bottles at the brewery and select PEILCC stores; be sure to pick some up, they make the perfect last-minute stocking stuffer!

• Not to be outdone, PEI Brewing Co. is also holding their own Levee event on January 1st; with last year’s inaugural event attracting over 500 people, they hope to have even more this year. Full bar service at the brewery will be available, with $2 half-pints featured, along with free chili and gourmet popcorn, and live entertainment. And if you’d like to really enjoy yourself, there will be a free shuttle running throughout downtown to take you to and from the brewery! There’s no charge to attend.

• There’s a new Double IPA on tap Gahan House Harbourfront (Halifax) this week. Weighing in at 7.8% ABV and about 90 IBU, this big brew features loads of Topaz dry-hopping, for resinous, grassy, and fruit aromas to complement the assertive bitterness. It is on tap for enjoyment on the waterfront now, as well as for growler fills. And look for a pair of lagers from Brewmaster Karen Allen in the new year, including a Schwarzbier in early January.

• The opening of the Good Robot Tap Room in Halifax has allowed the creative juices of Brewmaster Doug Kehoe to flow freely, and as such, he’s put together some experimental brews. The latest to hit the taps is a Märzen. This traditional German Amber beer is given the GR Twist by small additions of Smoked and Rye malt. German hops, in Magnum and Tettnang, were used for a light bitterness and aroma. The 5% Märzen is available on tap at the Tap Room only, and will not last long, so don’t delay. And just a note that the brewery and Tap Room will be open regular hours during the Christmas holiday; check their website for hours.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery released a new beer at their tap room yesterday, Soleil Belgique IPA. This golden-coloured 7.4% Belgian IPA was brewed with floor-malted pilsner malt and toasted wheat, for a medium body and pleasant mouthfeel. Generous amounts of European hops (including Jaryllo) offer a fantastic aroma of pineapple to complement the yeast aromatics of clove and sage. Look for Soleil Belgique on tap at Big Axe’s accounts around Fredericton shortly.

• The James Joyce has tentatively scheduled their next Meet Your Maker event for Wednesday, December 30th, featuring soon-to-open Maybee Brewing. If all goes as planned for licensing, this will be an official launch party for the brewery as well. Two of their flagship beers will be pouring (Roseway Red and Workhorse IPA), and owner/brewer Paul Maybee will be on hand to chat beer and answer questions. For more info on Maybee Brewing and their beers, check out our Q&A with Paul from October.

• Halifax’s Bar Stillwell will be closed for the next few days (Dec 24-26), and again on Dec 31, but they are holding a levee of their own on January 1st. Opening at noon, they will be featuring a load hoppy, sour, wood-aged, and vintage beers from the cellar all day. And of course, they will have some excellent food to complement, including smoked brisket, a special breakfast sandwich, and pajeon. A few more specific details are available here.

• Need some local cider for Christmas or New Year, but don’t have time to pick it up? Red Rover to the rescue! Customers in Fredericton can fill out an online order form and receive (or send) a gift pack of cider to keep them warm during this holiday week. Details are available here. They’re also offering a Christmas Selection Case, which includes twelve 750 mL bottles (four each of their Spring, Fall and Fire) for $108, which saves you $1 per bottle.

• Bottles of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (this year’s release is a Cranberry Chocolate Porter) are flying off the shelves at both the brewery and NLC. Adding to that Christmas feeling is their Cranberry Cider, a 6.5% ABV cider prepared with West-Coast Newfoundland cranberries. It is on tap at the brewery now, and will be available in bottles shortly at select NLCs.

• And in more great news for Newfoundland breweries, the crew at Port Rexton Brewing received word that the environmental assessment for their future location has been approved by the Minister. This was a non-trivial hurdle to overcome in their future home, and it’s very exciting to come through before major construction was to take place. Look for their launch mid-2016.

A few parting notes this morning: Grimross has announced that they’ve officially hired their new brewer, Martin Henderson, a graduate of Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management. Congratulations, Martin! Look for their Dubbel Noel (and Pump House’s Winter Warmer) on the ANBL growler fill stations this week. The barrel-aged version of Tatamagouche’s Ging’ Sync: Rye Rye Rye will be launching very shortly. Look for it in bottles at the brewery store shortly. Halifax’s Granite Brewery has their popular Darkside Black IPA back on tap for growler fills at the brewery, and their tap accounts around HRM. And more good news for Fredericton beer fans, Gray Stone Brewery has found their forever home! The brewery will be opening at 221 King Street in 2016. A reminder that the provincial stores (as well as many private and brewery stores) will be closed Dec 25 & 26, so today may be your last day in a while to pick up some local craft beer. Be sure to check your favourite bars’ and restaurants’ website or social media pages before heading out for a pint over the next few days, just to be sure. Have a safe Christmas, and we’ll hit you with another batch of beer news next week.

Happy Friday! There’s lots of new beers – and some other beer-related news – out this week for our region; time to start getting caught up…

• Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing released a brand new beer this past weekend. Bockman-Turner Overweiz is a Weizenbock, meaning a dark wheat beer (Dunkelweizen), but brewed to a higher ABV (hence the “bock” moniker). The BTO weighs in at 7.6% ABV, and was brewed with a grain bill of half wheat malt, with the remainder composed of German Munich, Bohemian Pilsner, Crystal and a touch of chocolate malt for colour and roast flavour. Hallertauer hops were used throughout, and a top fermenting German Wheat Ale yeast was used to bring out the characteristic banana and clove aromas to round out the brew. It is available on tap now at the brewpub, and in growler fills to go; it was a small batch, so it won’t last much longer… drop by today!

Big Spruce Brewing has brought back their very popular The Whole 9 Yards Scotch Ale. First released in April 2014 as a beer celebrating their First Anniversary, this latest version again features the addition of Glenora Glen Breton Rare 10 year Single Malt Whisky to the batch to enhance the roast, peat, and smoke characteristics of the underlying Scotch Ale. Available now at the brewery for samples and growler fills, and on tap at better beer bars in the province. And don’t forget, time is quickly running out on Big Spruce’s Third Annual Home Brew Challenge. If you haven’t already brewed up your Red IPA (or Dark Czech Lager or Altbier), you might be able to squeeze it in under the wire this weekend!

• Last night, the second Meet Your Makers tap-takeover event was held at the James Joyce Irish Pub. Red Rover Craft Cider was featured, with a total of ten taps pouring various regular-release and special one-off ciders. Two brand new ciders made their debut at the event: first off is their Tinderbox, a semi-dry cider featuring notes of vanilla, that has been aged with the addition of bourbon and oak (this one was brewed specifically for the Guy Fawkes Day-themed tap takeover). Next up was the Bee for B, another semi-dry blend which was made with honey produced on the roof of the Crowne Plaza hotel; this one will continue to be on tap exclusively at the James Joyce for the foreseeable future. Also, the White Witch made its triumphant return last week and was on tap last night; first released last fall, it features plenty of fresh orange zest and locally-grown cilantro out of Wellwood Farm in Saint John. All three ciders are, as usual for Red Rover, 7% ABV.

• Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has a few returning favourites on tap at the brewery these days. Their award-winning Mosaic Double IPA is back on tap at the brewery now. This 8% ABV big IPA is brewed to showcase the Mosaic hop, and it does that in spades, featuring big aromas and bitterness. All of the proceeds from Mosaic are donated to attend camp at Brigadoon Village and other community projects, to support families and those living with Mosaic Down Syndrome. This is something very close to the Bad Apple family, as one of owner Jeff Saunder’s children has Mosaic Down Syndrome. In addition to the brewery (where a limited number of bottles will also be available), the beer will be on tap at Lion & Bright, Stubborn Goat, and La Torta Pizzeria in Wolfville, as well as few spots in New Brunswick.

• Also available from Bad Apple is their Operation Green Ring, a 5.0% ABV Cucumber Mint Wheat Ale. It was brewed with Delta Force Brewery, two members of the Brewnosers Homebrew Club. Using fresh local mint and cucumbers, this field beer features lots of mint aroma and cucumber flavour, coming together with a great Wheat base. It is available now at the brewery for growler fills. And keep your eyes peeled for the return of their Russian Imperial Stout, currently conditioning and waiting for release closer to Christmas. As in some previous releases, a good amount of this brew is being barrel aged in Glenora casks.

• There’s a new beer from Flying Boats currently hitting taps; Beach Cruiser DIPA is a test batch of sorts that came in at 7.2% ABV and 72 IBUs. Featuring a “generous” dry hop, it was also hopped at several points throughout the boil with four different varieties: Magnum, Centennial, Amarillo and Chinook. It’s currently on tap at the James Joyce, and should be on a rotating tap at Marky’s Laundromat later this month. The newly-installed pilot system at the brewery is also up and running, with the first test batch currently undergoing active fermentation. More on that beer, soon!

Meander River will be releasing their latest batch of cider this weekend: First Frost Hard Apple Cider is a 5.5% ABV apple blend featuring juice from Fair Acres Farm. “A touch sweeter and juicier” than their original dry cider releases, according to the brewery, it still finishes very crisp. It will be released this weekend at the brewery, and at Christmas at the Forum (Fri-Sun) in Halifax. And speaking of Meander River, the crew from Garrison dropped by yesterday to collect spruce boughs for their Spruce Beer winter seasonal. Look for that beer in the coming weeks.

• Over at Granite Brewery in Halifax, they have a new beer on tap for pints and growler fills. Described as a “Red Ale” by the brewery, Flander’s Fields was brewed with honey and ginger to give it extra aroma and flavour to go with the maltiness from the grist. It weighs in at an easy-drinking 5.3% ABV, and will be available at the brewery until it’s gone (approximately three weeks).

• Fredericton’s Half Cut Brewing (operating out of the brew system located at the Picaroons Brewtique) recently released their second beer, an American Brown Ale named Belligerent Brown. Described as roasty and hoppy with “notes of dark chocolate and dried dark fruit”, it was hopped heavily with Centennial and Chinook. While technically on the higher end of bitter with a calculated 74 IBUs, it comes in at an easy-drinking 5.4% ABV. It’s available for growler fills at the Brewtique, and should be on tap around the city at the King Street Ale House, James Joyce, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and Snooty Fox.

• It’s getting closer to the official ticket-release for the 2016 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and those behind it all have been releasing some sneak peeks for what they have in store for the Fourth Annual event! Organized by Lloyd Chambers, this will be the first time the event has been stretched into Fredericton Craft Beer Week, featuring plenty of beer-related activities from March 9th-12th, finalizing with the beer festival on Saturday. There will be two sessions this time around (afternoon and evening), both of which will feature the largest gathering of Atlantic Canadian craft beer yet – 45 confirmed breweries pouring over 160 different types of beer, cider and mead. We’ll have lots of information as we get closer to the events, but for now, keep in mind that tickets for the festival will go on sale at 11 am on Friday, November 27th through their website. Stay tuned for more!

Rudder’s Brewpub in Yarmouth has released a new beer this week, Runic Stone IPA. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV and 46 IBUs, it was brewed with a load of late hopping in the boil by Cascade, Columbus, Saaz and Sorachi Ace hops, and was further dry hopped with more Saaz and Sorachi Ace. This hop schedule allows for a big hop aroma, without the beer being too bitter. It is named after the Runic (or Fletcher) Stone in the local museum, thought to be a Norse artifact, discovered in the early 19th century. While the exact origins of the stone are unknown, it is certainly part of Yarmouth’s history. Grab its namesake beer on tap at Rudder’s while it lasts!

TrailWay has brewed up a fresh batch of their popular Session IPA, and next week it’ll be a little easier for those in Fredericton to get their “fill”! As of next Thursday, 250 L of this hoppy, ~4.3% ABV beer will be making its way to the Prospect St. ANBL for growler fills. This will be TrailWay’s first time at the ANBL growler station since last March. And in other TrailWay news, Dan Mason and Jake Saunders of TrailWay Brewing have officially signed the lease on the location for their new brewery when they expand in 2016; located at 280 Main St. on Fredericton’s North Side, they hope to be producing beer on their 10 BBL system by Spring.

Grimross has added two new fermentors to their existing line-up, and with this minor expansion comes the need for more assistance in the brewery! As a result, they are currently looking to hire a full-time brewer. Interested parties can find the full list of requirements here, and resumes should be sent to stephen@grimross.com.

We hope everyone has a great weekend! Petit-Sault‘s award-winning La Buckdjeuve has returned; it’s currently on tap at the brewery for growler fills. Picaroons has brought back their popular seasonal, Winter Warmer; you can find it on tap at the Brewtique, at select beer bars/restaurants across the province (and beyond?), and in 500 mL bottles at ANBL stores. PEI Brewing Co. will be re-releasing their Transmitter Coffee Stout later this month; featuring a new blend of beans from Receiver Coffee. And don’t forget to grab a bottle of their Hell Street barrel-aged Doppelbock on sale at the brewery now. While there, grab a pint of their latest cask, SmOAKed Brown, a smoked version of their Iron Bridge Brown, aged on oak chips. Storm Brewing in Newfoundland has brought back their winter seasonal Coffee Porter, available at their usual licensee and retail locations. Rockbottom Brewpub in Halifax has released a new seasonal themselves, Strawberry Blonde, a 5.0% ABV fruit beer.

Good morning! What better way to celebrate the end of January, and the beginning of Superbowl weekend, than by reading about beer?

• In addition to the snowstorm blowing outside Tuesday morning, there was a storm erupting on Twitter, with the announcement of a new brewery coming this Spring to Sydney, Cape Breton. Breton Brewing is the collaboration between two homebrewers Bryan MacDonald and Andrew Morrow. We will have more details on their endeavour soon, but we do know that they will be using a 15 barrel (18 hectolitre) steam-fired system, and the 5000 square foot brewery and tasting room will be located on Keltic Drive. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed for now, and we’ll update you when their Facebook and website are published.

• There’s a new beer on tap from Pump House at their brewpub in Moncton – Easy Amber 4.3 Session Ale. The name pretty much says it all, as this is a sessionable Amber Ale coming in at 4.3% ABV. While an easy-drinking beer, the brewery describes it as having a “full malt taste” thanks to the addition of kilned Amber and Munich malts, giving both toffee and caramel flavors. It’s also lightly hopped with Tettnang and Saaz, giving only a touch of bitterness at 12 IBUs. It’s also currently pouring at the Dieppe ANBL this week for growler fills, and will be available on tap at select bars/restaurants across the Maritimes in the near future.

Red Rover released a new cider yesterday, just in time for Fredericton’s winter celebration, Frostival (Jan 23rd – Feb 15th). Fire Cider is a 7% ABV semi-dry cider brewed with fresh ginger, and is now available for flagon fills at the Ciderhouse. While it can be served cold (like Red Rover’s other brands), they encourage you to drink it warm, to bring a little heat into your life during these cold winter months! Just pop it in the microwave (40 seconds per 300 mL/10 oz), and you’re good to go! Look for it at the Boyce Farmers Market this Saturday, and on tap for a limited time at the King Street Ale House soon.

• We have a few more details on the Cappuccino Stout from Brasseurs du Petit-Sault that we mentioned a couple of weeks ago. They just brewed it last Saturday, and are hoping to have it released by the second week of February! Canon Franchetti is named after pastor/architect Nicolo Franchetti from Edmundston’s St. John the Baptist Church, which was destroyed in a fire last September. The beer was brewed with coffee from three downtown Edmundston cafes, including Cafe Lotus Bleu, Sucré Salé and Boutique Au Bout Du Monde. Look for it on tap soon, and if you’re not in Edmundston, make sure to request it for growler fills at your nearest ANBL growler-filling station!

• It’s sold-out already (within one day!), but we thought we should fill you in on the latest one-off beer from Railcar Brewing, Vanilla Brown Sugar Stout. Brewed with four malts and three hop varieties, this massive dark beer (9.9% ABV) had 6 lbs of brown sugar added at the end of the boil and real vanilla beans in secondary, making this a sweet, strong monster of a beer! But don’t feel bad if you missed out – owner/brewer Mitch Biggar has assured us that he will be brewing it again!

• While on the topic of Railcar, they just announced details on their 1st Annual Railcar Brewing Home Brew-Off. Open to all homebrewers in the Maritimes, the competition style is Scottish Export (14C) from the new 2014 BJCP Style Guidelines. Entries must be all-grain (no kits, extracts or sugars are permitted), and will be evaluated in a blind tasting by a panel of non-BJCP judges. The winner will get the opportunity to brew their beer with Mitch as a full-sized batch on the Railcar system, for commercial release as a Railcar seasonal! Registration is $15; each participant will receive a special 2015 Railcar Brew-Off glass. Entries are due by Thursday, March 26th (six 341 to 500 mL bottles are required); the top four will be selected for final judging. Awards and prizes will be handed out the following Thursday, April 2nd. For more information on rules and prizes, check out the link above. Fire up those kettles, homebrewers!

• In other homebrew competition news, Brasseurs du Moncton Homebrewers are holding one of their own… sort of. The St. Patrick’s Day Beer Challenge is more of an excuse to get Moncton-area homebrewers together to evaluate each other’s beers, specifically in the style of either Dry Stout or Irish Red Ale. There’s no entry fee or official prizes yet (other than bragging rights), and it’s a great opportunity to meet other homebrewers and taste their beers. Keep an eye on the link above for final details on the date and location, but expect the event to occur around March 15th, shortly before St. Patrick’s Day. Six weeks is plenty of time to put together a solid brew, so get to it!

Granite Brewery has released a small batch of Winter Warmer, and it is available now. Malt-forward and “very English”, this strong beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV. We expect that folks who enjoy Peculiar and Old Cardinal will enjoy this beer. It is available in growlers at the brewery, and will make it to finer beer establishments in Halifax soon. And a reminder that time really flies: Granite is celebrating their THIRTIETH Anniversary this year! To celebrate, Brewmaster Kevin Keefe will be bringing back some of their classic, and perhaps forgotten, beers for us local drinkers. Congratulations to the entire Granite family!

• From Nova Scotia’s oldest craft brewery, to one of its youngest, North Brewing is celebrating their second anniversary this weekend. And we get the presents! They are offering their 1.89 litre growler fills for $10, Friday through Sunday. This weekend also marks the release of their Coffee-Infused Belgian Milk Stout cask at Smiling Goat at Bishops Landing. They used Cold-brewed Kenyan Karindundu beans from Java Blend Coffee Roasters. Drop by from 4-6pm to try it out, for only $1/4oz sample. When you drop by the brewery, you may notice a new face, as their retail/bottle-filler/spirit animal Grant is moving on to another local business.

Uncle Leo’s has released a new seasonal, Winterschlaf, a German Hybrid Beer. This Kolsch-style beer was brewed in collaboration with Matt Vohs, who also assisted with the Weizen last year. Brewed with pilsner malt and a small amount of Munich malt, bittered with German Tettnanger hops, and weighing in at 5.5% ABV. They fermented the beer with an ale yeast, but cold, to keep the yeast character minimal (reduced ester profile). When trying the beer for the first time, Vohs smiled and said it tasted just like the beer he drank while living in Cologne. Well done! Look for growlers at the brewery, bottles at the private stores at the end of next week, and at better beer bars in the province, including Piper’s Landing in Lyons Brook and Apple Seed Diner in New Glasgow.

• RockHead Wine & Beer Market opened yesterday at 2651 Windsor Street, in/adjacent to the Sobeys grocery store. They launched with three beers on their growler station: RockHead Pale Ale (brewed for them by Garrison Brewing), Tatamagouche Brewing’s Butcher Block Red, and Sea Level High Street Scotch Ale. They will be adding a beer from Uncle Leo’s shortly. Their hours are Monday-Saturday 10am-10pm & Sundays 10am-8pm. Their new Twitter, Facebook, and website are up now, to keep an eye on their specials and new arrivals.

• Speaking of Garrison Brewing, they have brought back their Unfiltered Wheat. This hazy American Wheat is 4.6%, and very easy drinking. Don’t forget that their Barrel-aged Spruce Beer is being released tomorrow, along with lots of other Barrel and Cellar-aged beers, at their Cellar Saturday event. Doors open at 10am, and we’ve seen the list, and there are several beers that folks will definitely want to pick up (2009-2013 Ol’ Fog Burner and their Barrel-aged counterparts, 2009 Grand Baltic Porter, aged Winter Warmer, and much more). There may be a ticket or two left for tonight’s Ol’ Fog Burner Vertical tasting (which also allows early access to the Cellar!), contact Justin for more details.

PEI Brewing Co. is bringing back their Spud cask for the second year in a row, to coincide with today’s 2015 Spud Event being held at the brewery. This year’s Spud is their Beach Chair Lager that has been dry-hopped with Citra and Comet, two very citrusy and flavorful hop varieties; it comes in at a sessionable 4.5% ABV, and 20 IBUs. The event will also feature live music, food, and trivia; tickets are $10, and the doors open at 7pm.

Muwin Estate Wines, producers of Bulwark Cider, have installed two new 200 hectolitre tanks, with plans to add two more. The extra capacity will allow them to expand their production across more Canadian provinces, as well as into the US and UK markets. Over the past year, they have already doubled both production and staff at their location. In addition to expanding their territory, the extra capacity will allow them to expand their cider line further, and we can share that their next new product will be a hopped cider. We’ll have more details on it closer to the release.

• Good news, Fredericton beer drinkers! The James Joyce Irish Pub (located in the Crowne Plaza downtown) is greatly increasing their craft beer offerings! They’ve added new tap lines to their current selection (for a total of 18) and are in the ongoing process of filling them with new beers, most of which are from local breweries. This week includes the addition of Petit-Sault Tante Blanche and Big Axe Wrath of Putin; keep your eye on the Food at the Crowne Facebook page for updates on their taps!

• There have been some major changes at Rogues Roost this week. Brewmaster Lorne Romano, who has been with the brewpub since its opening in 1999, is no longer with the company. Going forward, Karen Allen will be taking over the brewing responsibilities at the Roost. Allen is the brewmaster at Gahan Halifax Harbourfront (and will remain in that position), and has brewed on Rogues’ system previously, so she will fit right in to the cramped space and high pressure situation of brewing at this busy brewpub. Rogues’ core products will remain untouched, but Allen will bring her own twist to seasonals and one-offs. Keep an eye out for PEI Brewing/Gahan beer at Rogues, as they plan to expand their number of taps, and begin to pour beer from other Murphy Group brands.

• This big change has not slowed down the new beer releases, as there will be a new English IPA out next week at Rogues Roost, and an English Bitter at Gahan House. And next Tuesday’s cask (remember it is Industry Night every Tuesday, where members of the beer business enjoy staff-priced pints) is the Bitter with fresh lemon zest, and lightly dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace.

Enjoy your weekend! For those in the Antigonish area, look for Big Spruce Brewing at tomorrow’s Antigonish Winter Market, at the Antigonish Mall 10am-2pm. Don’t forget that the King Street Ale House Superbowl party (no cover) is all-day Sunday, where a new one-off American IPA from TrailWay Brewing will be pouring.