Grimross Brewing

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St. Paddy’s Day and shit we guess?

Last Friday (a little too late to make the blog, sorry!), Maybee Brewing announced the details of their latest collaboration beer, Chai Carumba! Released on International Women’s Day, it was brewed with the female staff members of Maybee, Wendy Papadopoulos of Big Tide Brewing, and several members of a local “Feminist Books and Beers Club”. A “chai-inspired Porter”, this dark beer was hopped with local Sterling and Goldings, and fermented with an English ale yeast. A chai spice blend was added in the mash and in the whirlpool, with a final helping of pure vanilla extract thrown in once fermentation was complete. The final 5.2% ABV, 19 IBUs beer has an aroma of “chai, earth, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla”, and flavours of the same (with the vanilla lingering in the background). The official launch involved a party at Maybee last Friday (sorry if you missed it!); the proceeds of this beer will go towards the Outward Bound, East Coast: Women of Courage program. It’s still available on tap at Maybee and select accounts if you missed it last weekend.

Elsewhere in Fredericton, Grimross is debuting their latest Scratch series beer, Scratch #18: Session Sour. Hitting taps and Grimross shelves today, this is the brewery’s first leap into the world of sour beer. Soured with Lactobacillus in the kettle, the wort was then boiled, cooled, and fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces strains. With flavours of “stonefruit, citrus, peppercorn and berries”, it is indeed sessionable, at 3.7% ABV. Only a single batch was brewed, with some going into kegs (popping up around Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton), and the rest into cans for sale at the brewery and a few ANBL stores.

Might as well stay in the area, as TrailWay has a new beer of their own coming out today. Motherlode is their latest “Hoppy Session Ale” (Session IPA?), this one was hopped with Galaxy and Eureka, giving the beer “massive, pungent and robust aromatics”… they’re even claiming it’s the most aromatic Session beer they’ve brewed yet! “Dank character blending with tropical fruit and grapefruit rind, finishing with a resinous, earthy component”. Only one way to find out… get your butts to TW today when they open and grab a pint, growler, or some cans of this 4% ABV brew. It’ll also show up at a few of the local beer-drinking thingies in the near future.

Montague, PEI’s sole brewery (for now), Copper Bottom Brewing, launched a new beer late last week, just in time for Saturday’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Saaz Pils is a Bohemian Pilsner brewed with all Czech malt and hops (Saaz, we’re guessing? Just a hunch), giving a 5.3% ABV crisp, refreshing beer “with a soft malt backbone, featuring notes of toasted biscuit and an earthy, floral aroma”. The beer was inspired by a trip to the Czech Republic that Brewer Ken Spears took earlier in the winter, drinking some of the iconic beers of the country at the source, made with their locally-grown and -sourced hops and malt. No worries if you missed it at the festival; it’s available at the brewery’s tasting room in pints, growlers, and cans.

If you follow Big Spruce on social media, no doubt you’ve noticed that they’re taking part in the Vermont Brewers Festival on Saturday, March 23rd. As you may have expected, they’ve brewed up a couple of new beers for the event, and while they may be “officially” debuting there, us lucky Maritimers may have an opportunity to grab a sneak peek. First up is Death Cookies, Big Spruce’s ode to the New England IPA, a style brewed to perfection at many breweries in the state of Vermont. Intensely-hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra, this 7.1% ABV downright opaque beer is “pillow soft, and dripping with tropical fruit aromas”. Next up is The Hour of Sour, a beer that may excite those Silver Tart fans that are reading this blog. It’s a “Wild-fermented sour on raspberries”; the wort had Lactobacillus pitched into it, where it was kept warm until the pH hit the desired level. A blend of wild yeasts were then pitched, and the beer was fermented out to 6.3% ABV. Finally, it was conditioned on organic raspberry puree before kegging for draught (the only format you’ll be able to try these two). Big Spruce understands that most of us won’t be making it to Killington, Vermont for the festival, so they’re currently pouring both beers (for pints and growler fills) at their taproom in Cape Breton. After the big event in VT, you’ll be likely to see these beers pouring in the HRM and other Big Spruce tap accounts in the province, assuming those Vermonters don’t drink it all!

On to Halifax for the time-being, where Tidehouse Brewing has their latest bottle-release, Wolfberry Parade, available as of yesterday at the brewery. An American Pale Ale at its heart, the wort was fermented with Kviek Voss yeast, one of the family of unique Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated in Norway and used in traditional farmhouse brewing. Hopped with Azacca and Hallertau Blanc, and then conditioned with goji berries (aka wolfberries). The 5.0% ABV beer features bright citrus and tropical notes, including lemon pith, berry (think gooseberry), and tangerine/grapefruit. This is a bottle-only release, and the only spot you’ll be able to grab those bottles are at their Tiny Tap Room on Salter Street.

Tidehouse also has two draught-only releases out this week as well, more in the European-inspired vein. Phil Yer Boots is a continuation of their line of hoppy Saisons (think Enigmatic), featuring a light-coloured base of Pilsner, Vienna, and Flaked Oats, and only-late-hopped with Falconer’s Flight. Named after a Saison-loving fan who was in the right place at the right time, this 5.5% ABV French Saison is available on tap for samples, pints, and phils.

Also on tap on Salter is Beacon In The Sun, a 5.1% ABV Belgian Ale, with Pils/2-Row/Wheat/Flaked Wheat and Oats/Vienna in the malt bill, and fermented with a traditional Belgian Ale yeast. It takes a turn to the New World with the use of Cashmere and Mosaic hops, exhibiting citrus and melon notes. Grab it today!

Let’s head down the South Shore to Lunenburg (yes, Lunenburg, sorry about the faux pas two weeks ago!), and pop into Shipwright Brewing. Located upstairs from the great Grand Banker Bar & Grill, Shipwright has a new beer out this week. Night Watch Coffee Porter started life as a 5.0% ABV English Porter, thanks to traditional Maris Otter, Brown and Chocolate malts, and was lightly hopped with Perle (to 23 IBU). The addition of Laughing Whale coffee beans (Grand Banker’s own blend, even!) kicks the beer up a notch, leveraging the medium roast Mexican and dark roast Mexican, Sumatran, Ethiopian, and Nicaraguan beans. Chocolate, cocoa, and coffee on the nose and palate, and a little bit of bitterness from the beans, extending into lovely coffee and chocolate finish. Grab it on tap at the brewery for pints, growler and crowler fills, and downstairs at Grand Banker with a meal.

After last week’s FemmeBot Festivities, Halifax’s Good Robot had a fairly quiet week to catch their collective breath before the craziness begins anew next week. Speaking of FemmeBot, though, the aforementioned festivities included the announcement of the winners of this year’s 2nd annual FemmeBrew Competition. As you may recall, the style was Saison (both light and dark) and a wide variety of high quality entries were submitted for judging this year. An Honorable Mention went to Krista Collier-Jarvis, Bronze went to Therese Donnelly, Silver to Cassie Gilroy, and the big winner was Brittany McAloney! Congrats to all the winners as well as those who took the time and made the effort to enter!

Carrying on with Good Robot news, next up is this week’s BetaBrewsday, which will see Poddle’s Porter, a 5.2% ABV and 23 IBU “very rich” black porter made with Joe Connelly hit the taps in the usual way at the usual time on Tuesday. With that comes a bit of bad news, though. This will be the last BetaBrewsday for a while, as the SABCO BrewMagic system on which the BetaBrews are made has decided it’s been overworked and is taken a (hopefully!) short hiatus for repairs. This means that if you’re already on the list to do a BetaBrew with Kelly you’re probably going to be waiting a little longer than you thought. And if you’re not yet on the list but were planning on putting yourself there, you now have fair warning that things aren’t moving right now.

As is traditional, there’s also an Alpha batch to tell you about, although its release is not exactly this week: FlavaBot: Rake ‘n Scrape is a “very tropical” double IPA made with mango and pomegranate. Brewed by Giovanni and the Limestone Group, this juicy and frutiy number comes in at 6.9% ABV and a hefty 70 IBU. If you’re wondering what that “FlavaBot” qualifier in the name is all about, it’s about the FlavaBot event they’re holding on March 24th where this beer will be released. With authentic Caribbean food, island music, and, yes, beer, you can dream pleasant dreams of warmer places while giving your booty a shake. There will also be three BetaBrews with Bahamian roots hitting the taps that day:

  • Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – a reference to the island’s tradition of piracy, this one has plenty of berry character paired with a rich malt backbone and an assertive tartness. Hop bitterness plays a supporting role to those bold flavors and keeps things from getting cloying. This one’s a very sessionable 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU.
  • Pineapples & Coconuts…Bro – If you like pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain?) you’ll want to check this one out. A wheat ale with lots of tropical fruit and coconut character that weighs anchor at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs.
  • Passion Bliss – Yet another fruit-infused beer (I mean, if you’ve got fruit year round you’re going to use eat it aren’t you?), this one a refreshing passionfruit pale ale with distinct orange flavors and some resinous undertones leading to tart and juicy passionfruit, this one’s 5.5% ABV and 50 IBU.

As always, BetaBrews are small batches, so if you want to try any of these Caribbean-themed treats you’d best get yourself to GR close to the opening of festivities at 10 AM.

Let’s pop over to Newfoundland for a brand new release this week. Baccalieu Trail, Bootleg BrewCo, Crooked Feeder, and Landwash Brewery all celebrated their openings in 2018, part of the cohort to double the number of breweries on the Island. And as it tradition, Port Rexton Brewing invited the Class of 2018 into their brewery earlier this winter for the brewing of Next Gen 2019. The crew put together Newfoundland’s first Brut IPA, and has named it, not surprisingly, The Next Gen Brut IPA. This 6.2% ABV beer features an extremely dry body and high carbonation, and notes of melon, white grapes, and banana, thanks to big additions and dry-hopping of Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc. On tap at the brewery now, it is also available in cans at their St John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road. Grab a pint or can and celebrate the great history and future of craft beer in Newfoundland! And big congratulations to the PRBC crew who were awarded major repayable funding to help fuel their expansion to a second facility in Port Rexton, to allow them to better serve their thirsty fans across (and off) the Rock. More details here!

Newfoundland’s Class of 2019 is not slacking either, as the recently-opened Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a new beer available today. Taking a hint from this weekend’s holiday, they’re releasing an Irish Red. Leveraging 2-row and light caramel malt, with a little bit of roasted barley for color and flavour, it tips the scales at 5.7% ABV and joins their White IPA, English Pale Ale, English Porter, and Blonde on their taps (the former three also available for growler fills). And they’ll be celebrating with Happy Hour pricing all day Sunday! Still in their Soft Opening hours, pop by Thursdays and Fridays 4 – 10 PM, Saturdays 12 -10 PM, and Sundays 2 – 8 PM (but later this week to celebrate the day).

Charlottetown’s Upstreet has a new beer on tap, an English Porter carrying the very British-sounding name William Windsor. Who is William Windsor, you might ask? A member of the royal family maybe? An inventor? An explorer? A military hero? That last one is closest, we suppose, as William Windsor was, in fact, a Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh. He’s also a Cashmere Goat. Retired from active duty, we’re sure “Billy” would love to relax with a pint of this one. Coming in at 5.25% ABV and 25 IBU, it features aromas reminiscent of chocolate-espresso torte and woody and minty hops and flavours of toasted bread and dark chocolate. Moderately carbonated, with a smooth and lightly creamy body and a bitter finish to cap it all off. You’ll find it in bottles in Charlottetown and at Upstreet Barbecue Brewhouse in Burnside as well as on tap. Also available from Upstreet this week is the latest in their series of hop-heavy one-off brews. This edition, #14 by our count, features some Southern Hemisphere hop varieties, namely Rakau, Pacific Jade, and Nelson Sauvin. Golden orange in color, the grist is a combination of Pilsner and English malts, with oats for body and mouthfeel and a little rye, which no doubt lends a touch of spiciness. With aromas of peach and lychee, with black pepper spice and honey rounding it out, you’ll find this 6.0% ABV and 40 IBU pillow-soft beer in cans in Charlottetown and on tap in both Charlottetown and Burnside.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has something new to share starting tomorrow. An American IPA weighing in at 50 IBU and 6.3% ABV, it’s made with barley, wheat and oats and hopped with lots of classic American hop varieties that start with “C” (maybe some Cascade, and/or Centennial, and/or Columbus, and/or Chinook, etc.) before finished with a dry hopping with Mosaic Cryo hops. This one was a brewing adventure for the team that included a stuck mash, two broken pumps, and a clogged heat exchanger (you can bet any brewers reading this just winced); in short, the beer threw so much shade as they were making it, that they felt they had no choice but to call it Shade. With a strong fruity aroma and tropical, piney and some dank and “catty” flavours, it’s available in the tasting room tomorrow and some kegs will go out to tap accounts around town as well.

Last but not least in today’s new beer news, is another of the many that debuted at last weekend’s Freddy Beer Fest, from almost-hometown Niche Brewing. The pride of Hanwell, they’ve cooked up another “Best of Both Worlds” Belgian-New England hybrid, Coalition. This 5.4% ABV beer has light- and pale-coloured malts at its base, hopped generously with Citra and Ekuanot, and was fermented with a blend of Belgian and hazy/low-flocculating yeasts, for a combination of juicy and tropical notes (lots of dry-hopping didn’t hurt that either!) with some Belgian phenolic to spice it up. Now that the rest of us can give it a try, ask for it at your local watering hole in New Brunswick, and it will be making an appearance on tap at Battery Park in Dartmouth and Stillwell in Halifax as well.

You’ve barely had one week for your liver to recover after Fredericton’s fun last weekend, but keep your eyes peeled for more celebrations this weekend thanks to St. Paddy’s Day (not Patty’s!). Here are a few coming at you…

Propeller’s Gottingen Street Taproom will be celebrating Sunday with an extra cask on the bartop. Already celebrating their Barrel-Aged ESB on hand pump all month long, they will be adding a firkin of their Irish Red for the day. Pair that with Irish Stew made with their Russian Imperial Stout (both beef and veggie options available), and the Propeller Arcade downstairs, we figure this will be a perfect spot to keep the good times rolling that day.

Sad, but happy news from the Halifax waterfront, as Gahan House Harbourfront is closing its doors Sunday. They are going out in style, however, as they’re holding a Last Hurrah with live music and everything-must-go-priced pints. The party kicks off at 7 PM, and more details are available on the FB Event page. Good news in the works, however, as the Gahan location will actually be moving into the Nova Centre in spring, with an expanded brewhouse (and room for foeders!). They’ll be re-branding at Gahan House Nova Centre when that happens. And for those fans of the current location on the water, it will be staying in the Murphy Restaurant family, and re-opening in April as Pickford & Black. Think seafood and craft beer with a great view of the harbour.

Once you dry out from the weekend’s festivities, it will be the perfect time to drop by the Agricola Street Brasserie on Tuesday, March 19th, for a Beer Dinner with Garrison Brewing. Brewmaster Daniel Girard will be on-hand to speak of the beers and pairing choices made with ASB’s specially-created menu. And it will be the debut of their collaborative Milk Stout, which the Brasserie crew helped develop and brew in late February. Check out the menu here, and grab your tickets via email or phone (902-446-7664).

And a couple last wee mentions on your way out the door to buy beer for the weekend:

Savvy folks in the beer industry know that lots can go wrong between the keg and the glass, so they do their best to make sure that quality lines are installed and cleaned on a regular basis. How does one arrange that? Through a company like BeerTech, of course. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with the “last mile” of beer delivery, BeerTech has a position open for a line cleaner/service technician. If you’re interested in seeing a wide variety of brewery taprooms and bars in the region and helping them make sure that their beer is pouring in the best possible way, maybe send an email to info@beertech.ca; perks include hands-on training, competitive salary, uniforms and the use of a company vehicle.

As is their wont, Newfoundland’s YellowBelly has a special brew for St. Patrick’s Day again this year, a session pale ale in honor of Padraig himself. Patrick’s Pale Ale is 4.5% ABV and on tap now, with growler fills available at the Takeaway shop and bottles heading to the NLC. Slàinte mhath.

And a final reminder for the week: the Town of Wolfville is holding the Public Hearing on the amendment of their Land-Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to specifically allow breweries, distilleries, and cider producers to operate and sell off-site on Monday, March 18th. If you can make your way to the KC Irving Centre at 6:30 PM, you can have your voice heard ahead of the vote the next day. Not only impacting the in-development brewery(ies), these could greatly affect those operating in town today. Here is the agenda and information package for that hearing, and a bit of a summary we had two weeks ago. As always, the gents from 902BrewCast are on the case, and we encourage you to lend them your ears. This week’s episode is with Sean Dunbar of Picaroons, so listen in for a quick history of their brewery, and in effect, the entire New Brunswick Craft Beer scene!

Happy Friday folks! If you’re anything like us, you’re nursing a headache/prepping your liver for the fun happening in New Brunswick’s capital city this weekend, as the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival celebrates its 7th year. There are still a few tickets available for Saturday afternoon session (grab ‘em here), and be sure to say hi if you see us with a beer in our hand (or waiting for one). We’ve got lots of great news and new beers to kick off the weekend, including a whole bunch of awesome beers and events celebrating women in the industry, as today is International Women’s Day. So raise a pint to all of the brewsters and other women and femme-identifying folks working in the industry around the region, and let’s dive right in!

Port Rexton is among the breweries who have brewed up a special beer in honor of International Women’s Day. Designed and brewed by the women of PR, Early Rise is an American Pale Ale with a twist, namely all the Earl Grey Tea that could be procured from the Bulk Barns in the St. John’s area (or at least 1.5 KG)! Every other ingredient in this beer was selected specifically to complement the special ingredient, from the malt to the hops. Coming in at 5.9% ABV, look for a light and spicy malt sweetness and a lingering orangey hop character. You can grab this one starting today at the taproom during their IWD Celebration starting at 4 PM (including IWD-themed trivia at 8 PM with registration at 7:30). It’ll also be on the taps at the Port Rexton St. John’s Retail Shop while supplies last.

2 Crows is focusing solely on the hops with their latest release, Perfect Recreation, the newest in their series of NEIPAS. Like the other entries, the grist has been kept fairly simple (Golden Promise, Wheat malt, and flaked oats), to allow the huge amount of hops to come through nicely, while at the same time keeping the mouthfeel of the beer smooth and pillowy. Plenty of Citra and Simcoe were thrown into a hopback addition (after the boil, on the way to the chiller and fermenter), with the beer then being fermented with a “super juicy yeast strain”. Of course, there were more hops added after fermentation, with two dry hop additions – both including more Simcoe and Citra, as well as Vic Secret and a bit of Centennial. The result is a 6.1% ABV beer described by 2C as “super lush, soft, and absolutely exploding with tropical hop aromas of mango, passionfruit, and guava.” You’ll be able to find it at the brewery today (cans and on tap), and at select 2C tap accounts over the weekend… and maybe it’ll even pop up at tomorrow’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. Finally, a big congratulations to head brewer/co-owner Jeremy Taylor and his wife, Elaine, on the birth of their new baby girl!

Speaking of NEIPAs, straight outta Hanwell, NB, comes the latest in that style from Niche Brewing, one they’re calling Make it So. Also built on a grist of primarily Golden Promise and also featuring wheat (flaked), oats (also flaked) and chit malt, it’s almost enough to make you wonder if Niche and 2 Crows brewers occasionally might talk a little bit… or at least read the same blogs 🙂 Hops in this one include Citra, Chinook, and Columbus as very late kettle additions, with more Citra and Galaxy comprising the massive dry hop. Fermented, per their usual, with one of their favorite NEIPA-geared strains, it’s described as “super fruity and juicy,” while displaying the characteristic haziness and medium bitterness one would expect. You’ll find this one pouring at Niche’s usual tap accounts, at Halifax’s Stillwell in the near-ish future, and, if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket, at the evening session of the FCBF tomorrow night!

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk, a beer they’ve been conditioning for awhile now. Overdosse (rough English translation would be “idiot” or “loser”… note that the FB post for this beer was accompanied by a picture of the current U.S. president) is a 9.5% ABV Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and wheat malt. Hopped with East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented with the wonderful Duvel yeast strain (with temperatures allowed to rise as high as they could go). Conditioned in the fermentor for a few months, it’s now ready for you, and is exhibiting lots of Belgian phenolic and ester characteristics on the nose and palate. Look for it on tap at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole, at the ANBL Vaughan Harvey growler station, and at FCBF.

Looks like Spindrift is moving forward with more experimentation in brewing, with the introduction of the first entry in their latest series, Future Thoughts. Lemon to a Knife Fight falls in the Witbier style, and is more-specifically billed as an “Imperial Blueberry Lemon Witbier”, if you’re picky (which we are!). The grist is made up in the traditional sense for a Witbier – with Pilsen malt and a blend of both malted and flaked wheat – but at a grander scale, resulting in a 7.5% ABV beer. Hopped lightly with Herkules and Cascade to 18 IBUs, fresh lemon zest (from 200 lemons!) was added, along with a dose of Indian coriander. As for the blueberry portion, puree was added during fermentation, as well as a bit of blueberry extract after fermentation was complete. The finished beer is tasting estery, slightly boozy, with aromas of blueberry mixed with lemon. This one is a draught-only release, with most of it available exclusively at Spindrift (although a keg or two may make it to a couple of local licensees). Future entries in this series may be bottled; only time will tell.

We think we’ve got the details on that special beer from Secret Cove Brewing we briefly mentioned last week, which was brewed for their Grand Opening party. Hop a Ryed in My Dory is a different take on your traditional DIPA; while at first this 7.4% ABV brew seems fairly typical, featuring late hop additions to give flavours of “mango and citrus, with a sweet apricot finish”, they threw in an addition of Canadian Rye malt to give the beer a “spicy complexity”. by the brewery in Port au Port East, Newfoundland to grab a pint and judge for yourself.

Is the high alcohol in all of those DIPAs, Winter Warmers, etc. getting you down these days? If it is, Tatamagouche Brewing has the cure for what ails ya with Dekorum (English translation: “behaviour in keeping with good taste”). Truly keeping the “light” in Light Lager, this 2.9% ABV beer still manages to pack in some crisp, refreshing flavours, while still allowing you to enjoy a few without having to worry about calling a cab (although that’s subjective, so still, enjoy responsibly!). You can find cans and growlers of this one at Tata, and we know for a fact it’s already popped up on tap in the HRM. Cans will also be hitting shelves at your local NSLC in the not-too-distant future.

It’s been a bit of a spell since we’ve seen a bottle release from Tide & Boar Brewing in Moncton, but luckily, our wait is over! That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is an extremely-limited release, so you best jump on it if you’re interested. The beer is And You May Find Yourself, a “Pastry Stout” that was brewed with maple syrup and cocoa nibs, all conditioned on an “insane” number of vanilla beans. Billed as low-carbonated and sweet, this is a big beer at 11% ABV, and is meant to sip on as a dessert beer of sorts (they also recommend to consume this one fresh… no aging!). You can buy tickets to purchase this beer here; if you’re lucky enough to get a bottle, you can pick it up at the Duo Cafe next door to T&B (or ask for it directly at T&B); have your idea and ticket with you. And by limited release, we DO mean limited.. only 40 bottles are available for purchase. Though we have it on good authority that if you ask nicely at the FCBF, they may have it pouring from their jockey box. And be sure to pop by their table at the fest tomorrow, as Chad and crew are sure to have something special on the go. Those of us who’ve done that previously got to try their unique Peach Ale Shake, served through by a slushie machine!

If you’re in the area of Tusket Falls Brewing this weekend, and feel like you have a bit of a sour tooth, you may want to drop by the brewery to see if they have any of their latest one-off left, Passionfruit Sour. This 4.5% ABV kettle sour has lots of passionfruit on the nose and palate, according to the brewery, finishing with a “pleasant tartness that complements the juiciness well”. It won’t last long, as their experimental beers tend to move quickly. They’ve also started canning their Beyond the Haze NEIPA (5.8% ABV), so grab some of those while you’re there! Those will also be hitting the shelves of the private stores and NSLC very soon.

The brew crew from St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery took a trip down to New York City last month, to brew up a special beer with Five Boroughs Brewing. Celebrating the Come From Away Broadway show, and the story of town of Gander during September 11, 2001, they lent their hands Newfoundland-style, to brew up a collaboration beer. Come From Away is a 6.0% ABV “Islander Pale Ale”, featuring tons of Amarillo, Cascade, and Cashmere hops added at every step of the brewday and beyond, and has plenty of citrus and tropical fruit character. While this beer is only available in NYC for the time being, a little birdy told us that YB will be brewing the same recipe on their system on Water Street soon, so soon we can all be singing and dancing along to this great beer.

Attention Home Brewers! It’s that time of year again, as Boxing Rock has announced that registration for their super-popular Black Box Challenge is now open. As a reminder, this is a different type of brewing competition, as brewers are not aiming for a style, per se, but starting from the same ingredients (and only those ingredients, except water), and the end result is totally in their hands. Previous winners have been a smoked cinnamon beer, a kettle sour with orange peel, and a American Brown Ale with ginger. There are only a few spots left, grab your tickets here, and pop into HopYard in Halifax to pick up your box of ingredients starting today. This year’s competition features a new twist that reflects Hop Yard’s involvement, where each contestant must pair a record (as in vinyl) with their entry. Beers are due mid-April, and the live judging (including a presentation by each finalist explaining why they selected that particular record) and crowning of the winner will be at HopYard April 28th.

The big events that have our attention this weekend (beside the FCBF) are the great Femme-focused events happening at Good Robot in Halifax this weekend.

  • Today from 6 PM, Cheers for Lady Beers. Female-brewed beers from across the province (and beyond!) will be taking over their taps, with many of those brewsters on hand to chat and answer questions. Lots of beers we’ve talked about in the last couple of weeks will be pouring, including Good Robot’s own Big Witch Energy, Garrison Brewing’s Susannah IPL, and the Propeller x Ladies Beer League Call Me Blondie collab. The winners of the FemmeBrew competition will be announced during a private party before the public event (4 – 6 PM).
  • Tomorrow from 12 PM, Women in Entertainment. A panel of women in the entertainment business will be sharing their knowledge, stories, and advice for those looking to get involved or further their career. Doors open at 10 AM, with food served and beer pouring from that point.
  • Tomorrow from 9 PM, Dance Through the Pain-triarchy. A dance party in a safe space, open to everyone!
  • Sunday from 7 PM, RobieScope: The Help. A female-strong period drama, BYO-PJs.

And tickets for their Brewster Fest, being held April 27th, are now available. Celebrating women-owned breweries and female-brewed beers, they have breweries from across the province and beyond pouring at the Mayflower Curling Club that day. Click the link to see the brewery list and grab a ticket!

Before we let you go this week….

Boxing Rock has brewed up a beer for the Good Robot Femmebot Tap Takeover taking place today. Catarina Sour is a 5.7% ABV kettle sour brewed with pineapple and mango brewed with their “Femmebot friends”, Jana and Patricia; it’ll also be on tap at Boxing Rock.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Grimross has teamed up with Fredericton’s Ladies Beer Connection to release two special casks – Strawberry Champagne and Pomegranate Cheval D’Or – at tomorrow’s FCBF. One of each cask will be tapped at the beginning of each VIP session.

Up in Village-au-Poirier, NB, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur is happy to let folks know that their Nigogue Pale Ale is now available at several ANBL locations including Bathurst, Miramichi (both locations), Shippagan and Tracadie. You’ll also find their other two beers, Pèlerin IPA and Astérie Winter Beer at the Pleasant Street location in Miramichi.

Hot off their opening late last month (congrats guys!), Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has a brand new beer hitting the taps. It’s a 4.6% ABV Blonde Ale, and complements their Porter, Pale Ale, and White IPA already pouring. Pop out for a pint and/or to fill a growler this weekend!

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing is the latest brewery in our region to take on the “mixed drink in a can” market with the introduction this week of Sand Piper Vodka Soda. Zero carbs, zero added sugars, and all-natural flavoring in a convenient pre-mixed format. Look for more info on the dedicated Insta account for the brand and/or pick some up at the Nine Locks Retail Store, select private liquor stores in Halifax and, soon enough, at NSLC locations.

And a quick note to end the post today, thanks again to everyone who came out to take part in our trivia last night at The Joyce, and big thanks to all of the breweries who donated great swag to give away to our winners. We had lots of happy folks last night! For those breweries who missed out, we’ll be doing it all again in Halifax during NS Craft Beer Week, so reach out if you’ve got anything to share!

February 8th, how time flies! More wicked weather in our region this week, and no, we won’t shut up about it until we get consistently above-freezing temperatures. Great news, your friendly neighbourhood brewers haven’t slowed down their releases, with plenty of new and returning favourites available this week, and lots of events to keep you warm. Grab a pint and follow along!

After releasing their Winter Warmer several weeks ago, Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing is heading in a different direction with their latest beer (and first Lager), Starlight, a German Pilsner. This crisp beer was brewed with a grist made up entirely of German Pilsner malt, and hopped with Hallertau Tradition from local Darlings Island Farm. After being cold-fermented with a Lager yeast strain, the beer was lagered for two months before packaging. The gold-coloured brew has a “grainy-sweet aroma with hints of light honey”, with the hops giving some herbal notes as well. That sweetness and herbal presence comes through in the flavour as well, with a crisp, clean finish. Easy-drinking at 4.5% ABV and 37 IBUs, most of this beer will be available in cans at ANBL stores; there are a few kegs available as well, which will be on tap at the brewery’s unofficial taproom at the BunkHaus Hostel & Cafe.

Newfoundland’s Port Rexton has a new beer from the eponymously named Port Rexton Brewing Company, and though it’s the second iteration of this one, some significant changes to how it’s made should give you extra reason to check it out. Salted & Soured Pale Ale features both tartness due to a souring with Lactobacillus and salinity from an addition of salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company. Belma hops provide some bright berry and tropical fruit notes to this brew with a “sure I’ll have another” ABV of 4.5%. This version of the beer is the result of two brewings, one soured and one not, which were then blended, allowing the team to dial in the balance of tartness, salt and hop character to exactly where they wanted it. Look for it on tap at the brewery and in town this coming weekend and also, as of last evening, at the Port Rexton Retail Shop in St. John’s for growler fills.

Grimross has a new canned beer out this week, brewed in honour of Sara Burns, one of the shooting victims in Fredericton from last August. Burns was an officer with the Fredericton Police; the beer, Grimsby, was named after her horse. It’s an American Pale Ale hopped and dry-hopped with Delta, giving it “a touch of citrus and some grassy notes”. Well-balanced and refreshing, it weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs. The brewery teamed up with Craft Coast Canning and Ginger Design for the release of this beer; all of the proceeds will go towards the Sara Burns Police Memorial Fund, which will fund several initiatives to make the city of Fredericton a safer place to live. While the majority of the beer will be sold in cans, a few kegs will be tapped in the Grimross taproom for pints and growlers. And while you are at the brewery today picking up cans, make a plan to stay for a pint of today’s cask, Pugnacious Porter aged on local wild blackberries. The 20 litre pin will be tapped at 2 PM.

While serving pints from local breweries at their bar, the crew at Sussex Ale Works are continuing to experiment with their own beers, as they’ve got yet another new one on tap right now. English War Bride is a SMaSH beer brewed as in the English style – all Maris Otter for the grist and East Kent Goldings for the hops. Lightly bready and herbal/spicy, it comes in at 6.2% ABV and 38 IBUs. As always, drop by the brewery/taproom at 597B Main Street in Sussex for a taste if you’re nearby.

Back over in Newfoundland, one of the Rock’s newest breweries, Baccalieu Trail, has released a brand new American Pale Ale named Bay Run. Utilizing only late additions and a healthy dry hop of Centennial, Simcoe and Azacca lends a “burst of fresh citrus fruit aroma, with some floral qualities” to complement the “clean, crisp finish” of this 4.9% ABV and 36 IBU beer. It’s on tap right now at the brewery’s location in Bay Roberts… head on over and pick up a growler!

Now that TrailWay’s “Summer IPA”, Good Weather, is long gone (<shakes fist at winter>), they’ve decided to replace it with another seasonal IPA, Stormy Weather. It has one major similarity with it’s cousin, in that it features a large portion of Vic Secret in the hop bill… however, the “supporting” hops are quite different (but secret, so don’t ask us for specifics!). It’s still light-coloured and extremely hazy, of course, but with more “overripe tropical fruit and berries” in the aroma/flavour, as opposed to the citrus characters of Good Weather. You can grab cans/growlers of this 6% ABV IPA when the taproom opens today.

You may recall the Barrel-aged Baltic Porter released by North Shore Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing which had matured for 9 months in barrels from Glenora Distillery and was initially released in October of 2017. What you might not know is that there was some beer that remained unbottled and has been cradled in the loving arms of one of those barrels ever since. Thankfully, the folks at Tata didn’t forget about it and they’ve packaged the remainder, which has now been aging for 2 solid years, for your enjoyment. Only available at the brewery store, there’s a two bottle per person limit. With winter still in full force, this big ‘un originally listed at 10% ABV will likely make a very fine sipper on a cold February night. And while we have you, details are out for Tata’s annual Oyster Cloister party and beer release: Next Friday, Feb 15, they will be releasing their oyster stout, and celebrating with live music, oysters (of course!), and tons of special beers at the brewery. This is a ticketed event, so drop by the brewery to pick them up, or grab them via email or phone (902-657-4000).

Not content to bask in the success of their first bottling run (Evolution has damn near sold out a week after release), Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, continues to feed the demand for their beers with another new release this week, another entry in their series of one hop Session IPAs. You Had Me At…Galaxy features one of the most popular hops in the business right now, the tropical and passion fruity Australian Galaxy. Featuring a bit of crackery malt character and a medium bitterness, it came in a little higher than previous YHMA editions at 5% ABV, but we don’t expect anyone will complain. Kegs are already on their way to The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Britt’s pub + eatery and Laundromat Expresso Bar, and more will go out as homes are found for them. And those in Moncton should pop by the Growler Station at the ANBL on Vaughan Harvey Blvd to grab pours of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout, and Coalescence, their Sour Milkshake IPA w/grapefruit.

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new release from Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing, but they’re giving us both barrels this week with the re-release of a fan-favorite and an all new beer. Oak-aged Sour Motherfucker is their kettle sour aged on tart cherries and aged on oak. Look for a tart character with definite cherry presence along with a slight creaminess and tannic presence from the wood. Last seen with ABVs of 6.4% and 6.8%, this one weighs in quite a bit heavier at 7.5%. Meanwhile, also on the docket is Fruity Motherfucker featuring a co-pitched (i.e., multiple yeast strain) fermentation, a double-dry hop of dank Mosaic and orange-y Citra and a re-fermentation on apricots, mangoes and blood oranges. The result is a 7% ABV beer that will smack you upside the head with tropical fruit, citrus and pithy character. You can find both of these beers available today at noon in all your favorite packages: cans, growlers and pints.

After recently celebrating their annual brewing of their FemmeBot Alpha batch (which we’ll have more details on in the future), Good Robot has settled down in time to fill us in on the details of next week’s releases. In Beta world they’re bringing us Mad Love, a Red Ale brewed with Mary Ann Daye. Other than a description of “easy and smooth”, we don’t have a whole lot to share for this one! Oh, it’s 4.5% ABV and 21 IBUs. As for Thursday’s Alpha, Creature Feature I is making a return. It’s a 6.4% ABV, 46 IBUs NEIPA hopped with Amarillo, Cascade and Citra.

Lunenburg’s new brewery, Shipwright Brewing Company, has another new beer on the taps this week. Lil Dingy ISA is an India Session Ale with a sessionable ABV of 4.5% and a moderate 30 IBU. Light in body as you’d expect for the style, it still packs plenty of flavor thanks to two Southern Hemisphere hop varieties, Ella and Vic Secret, which bring tropical, pine and citrus flavors to the mix on top of a clean malt finish. We don’t have official word on packaging, but we expect you’ll probably be able to have a growler filled, grab a crowler, or enjoy a pint of this one at their taproom or their roommate Grand Banker.

Back again to the rock and St. John’s, where YellowBelly has a new Doppelbock on the go that appears to be known as The Navigator. Describe as “an old school barley sandwich” this one, as is typical for the style, leans heavily to the malt side, with Pilsner, Vienna, Munich and Caramunich bringing bready and sweet flavors and a solid mouthfeel. A bit of Spalter Select rounds out the beer from the hop side of this 7.1% ABV brew. Available on tap for pints at the brewery or the Underbelly or get a growler to go at the Takeaway shop.

Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is pouring a whole slew of new and returning favourites in their Tiny Taproom these days, so let’s get you up to speed. Kashmir is a 7.6% ABV Double IPA, marked by a smooth and low bittering from Cashmere hops, with some Hallertau Blanc, on a simple and keeps-out-of-the-way base of 2-Row, Carafoam, Flaked Wheat, and Vienna malts. Tropical fruit and a touch of sweetness, the Th crew are proud of the balance and drinkability of this release. Grab a sample, pint, or growler now.

From restrained to anything but, the Tidehouse crew love to have fun in the brewhouse (a benefit of being small and nimble), and are sure to catch some ire from traditionalists. We say, beer is supposed to be fun, so brew (and drink) what you’d like! Which brings us to Choco-Nilla… This 9.6% ABV beer began life in late December as a high gravity Imperial Stout, to which they added an irresponsible amount of Chips Ahoy chocolate cookies (think 15+ bags), marshmallows, and Fluff in the boil. Additions of vanilla and lactose were also incorporated, lending some residual sweetness to offset the very fermentable baked goods and sugary snacks. The result is a thick, sticky, and complex stout that starts with chocolate and biscuit on the nose and vanilla and more chocolate on the palatte. Choco-nilla is on tap for pints and growlers now.

The fun doesn’t end there, as they’ve got a pair of returning beers in bottles, one available now, and one being released Tuesday. Enigmatic is a bottle-conditioned version of their India Saison (one of their beers at launch), think hybrid of IPA and Belgian Saison. A light malt bill supports a playground for both hops (Ahtanum, Azacca, and Amarillo) and yeast (a Belgian Saison strain), allowing the two to come out and play and shine through. Also returning in bottles is Tidehouse’s ode to Valentine’s Day, The Sex. Featuring a “definitely outlawed in Russia” label, this 11.9% ABV Russian Imperial Stout is fermented on raspberries, and then given an extra bump with the addition of Port. A change in the bittering level of this release counters the residual sweetness from malt and raspberries, helping to keep everything in its place. Look for these bottles to hit the shelf at the Tiny Taproom on Tuesday. A note that all of their bottle releases going forward, of which there are plenty more in the works, will be bottle conditioned, and given the appropriate time to carbonate in the bottle before release.

You will no doubt see some new bright aquamarine cans on the shelf at Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen and Windmill locations today, as well as popping up at the private beer and wine stores in the area. Not a beer, but rather the second in their line of ready-to-drink beverages (the first being their The Perfect Storm Ginger beer and rum blend). Winter Blues is a 7.0% ABV “tiki-style” beverage, a mix of pineapple, lime, and falernum (yup, we had to look it up too!). A mix of star anise, allspice, clove, and toasted almonds, the mix originated in the Caribbean, with a Nova Scotian twist put on it. This RTD is a collaboration with Shane Beehan, an award-winning mixologist working in Halifax. The mix is the first release under the new Windmill Craft Cocktails line, which will see more one-off releases in the coming months.

Mark your calendars for these events coming in the next few weeks:

Next weekend, The Townhouse Pub in Antigonish will be hosting a multi-day tap takeover by Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing. From Friday Feb 15 until Sunday the 17th, they’ll have more than 6 taps (and maybe a couple of casks) of the good stuff pouring, with some special food pairing dishes created to complement.

Details are a bit light at the moment, but circle next Saturday on your calendar, as award-winning Toronto brewery Godspeed will be taking over the taps at Bar Stillwell on Barrington. From noon on February 16th, there will be a dozen taps (plus some cans) a-pouring, with food pairing provided by a pop-up by Sushi Shige next Saturday, February 16th.

The following weekend sees a battle of the heavyweight Halifax brewers Garrison and Propeller, as they go head-to-head at The Carleton in “Chef Dolente’s Craft Draught Showdown”. On February 21st, both breweries are bringing their best beer forward to pair with five courses of food, with Daniel Girard of Garrison and Pat Robichaud of Propeller on hand to talk about their choices. Attendees will vote after each course, with the winning brewery crowned the new champion. The real winners, of course, are those in attendance! Tickets are available online now, for $60 +HST (gratuity included).

Darmouth’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is holding another of their dual tap takeovers in a couple of weeks, with this one featuring Tatamagouche Brewing and Good Robot. The takeover will take place from February 21st-24th, with each brewery having 8 taps to play with. As always, there’ll be plenty of food and live music to go with the beer! Stay tuned to Jamieson’s social media pages for the full taplist, which should be announced shortly.

February 20-26th is the first ever KV Craft Beer Week, with breweries and restaurants in the Kennebecasis Valley taking part in some sweet events and deals. Bootstrap BrewPub, Hammond River Brewing, and Long Bay Brewery are teaming up with local restaurants Amici Pub, Barrel’s Head, Boaz, Commons Creperie, Peddlers Creek, The Robertson, and Vito’s to offer discounts on beer and food in the region. Check that first link for the deals on pours and pairing throughout the week, and pop-in. The week also features the KV Craft Beer Festival, taking place on February 23rd at the Quispamsis Qplex, with beer pouring from the attendees above, as well as other breweries in the South of New Brunswick. Tickets are $45+HST and available at The Barrels Head, Bootstrap and Long Bay.

Beer fans in North Shore Nova Scotia should be happy to hear that the first annual Antigonish Craft Beer Festival is a go for March 30. Presented in partnership with CACL Antigonish, Legion Branch 59 and Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre, they’ve got 12 breweries lined up to show you the best of the region’s craft beers, including The Townhouse Pub, Half Cocked, Propeller Brewing, 9 Zero 2, Big Spruce, Meander River, Maybee, Garrison Brewing, Sober Island, Upstreet, and Tatamagouche Brewing. The event runs from 6 to 10:30 PM with the first hour reserved for VIP ticket holders. A regular $40 ticket ($35 if you buy soon enough to get early bird pricing) gets you a souvenir glass and 8 beer samples, with additional drink tickets available at $2 each; VIP tickets are $55, and include complimentary food as well as the beer samples. Tickets are on sale right now, and can be purchased online.

And here be your final bits of beer news; have a great (beer-filled) weekend!!

Boxing Rock has a new beer available at their Local Source Market location in Halifax, a beer brewed by their production brewery team from Shelburne as a test drive for their Test Kitchen. Nick and Daniel brewed up Buddy in December as a beer that their buddies would enjoy. A lagered ale, it’s crisp, clean, and eminently drinkable. Don’t sleep on it though, as some of the small batch that was brewed went back to Shelburne.

Flying Boats has a new entry in their Test Pilot series with Test Pilot No. 4 – Lover’s Quarrel IPA. They’ve released this beer before (first time was three years ago), but this is the first time this 6.2% ABV IPA with Mosaic and Galaxy will be available in cans. Check the brewery or your local ANBL store to pick some up.

Heritage Brewing now has cans available of Freezing Spray, their 6.5% ABV American IPA hopped with Chinook, Citra and Ekuanot. You can grab cans at the brewery, or at select NSLC stores in the near future.

If you’re in or around Bedford this weekend, and in the mood for something light and easy-drinking, Off Track Brewing has just released Got Me Drove, a 5.5% ABV, 12 IBUs Cream Ale. Limited supplies with this one-off, so drop by soon if you’d like to give it a try.

Feeling in a chocolate-y mood now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner? Petit-Sault has you covered with their latest beer, La BuckMousse, a 6.5% ABV “Chocolate Mousse Porter”. Dark, rich, and smooth, they added a “generous” amount of cocoa nibs to this brew. It’s available on tap now at the brewery, and at select ANBL growler stations.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing has a new release out now, a hybrid reminiscent of two of their other popular beers. Rhuby Sour is a 5.0% ABV beer that combines the rhubarb and strawberry fruitiness of Rhuby Social, with the tart acidity of Major Tom. Available in bottles or on tap at the brewery on Allen Street, as well as their Craft Beer Corner location downtown.