Half Cocked Brewing

All posts tagged Half Cocked Brewing

Hey folks, welcome to your late (or is it early?) “Friday” Wrap-up for COVID-19 Quarantine Day Eleventy-seven. Time has lost all meaning for us, how about you? The good news is that our region’s breweries and cideries are continuing on in the only way they know how, marking time by brewday and fermentation schedules. You can, in turn, mark your time in beers consumed; in moderation, of course! In order to help you with that, read on for information about what is hitting curbside contactless pickup areas or even your front doorstep this week. Plus, we’ve done a total update across the entire region on our delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries. We think we’ve hit every producer out there who has changed their practices since last time! So spread a little love to them, if you’re able, and we’d appreciate a quick nudge via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred) if anything is out of date.

As you might expect, Niche Brewing, in Hanwell, NB, isn’t able to send their kegged offerings anywhere right now, but they’re happy to announce that their latest bottled offering, Bridget is on its way through the ANBL system. A barrel-aged Saison avec Rhubarbe, it’s a tribute to the strong and amazing women in all of our lives. With a recipe developed by Rob Coombs before Niche was even a gleam in his or Shawn Meek’s eye, it was first made with rhubarb from his grandmother Bridget’s garden in Labrador City. Fermented with Niche’s house blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, it was then conditioned on rhubarb purée (including some of Bridget’s!) before being aged in Chardonnay barrels and then packaged. Coming in at 7% ABV, it’s funky and tart, with some clear rhubarb character coming through. Update: The gang at Niche have let us know it is live the newly-minted DrinkNB.ca website, delivering to the Fredericton and Saint John regions weekly. Also now out at ANBL locations in Fredericton (York Street), and any second now in Dieppe.

Our friends at North Brewing have been keeping busy, and not just on the beer end. They’re releasing a cider this week, Core Values. Featuring an equal blend of both McIntosh and Idared apple juice (pressed by Greenwich’s Stirling Farm) which was brought up to the initial fermentation temperature for 36 hours on “an expressive Chardonnay yeast strain”, the cider was then cooled for a slow, weeks-long fermentation. Once it was close to terminal gravity, they raised the temperature again, to take care of any leftover sugars, before it was cold-crashed and conditioned. Weighing in at 5.8% ABV, the final product is “clean, bright, slightly tart and fully dry”, with aromas of fresh apples and sliced melon, and light tannins on the palate. With sparkling carbonation, this sulfite-free cider has been canned and can be ordered on North’s website. 

North is also celebrating the return of a favourite beer brewed to celebrate their move to 899 Portland Street last year. Originally named We Do Helium, in honour of the former tenant Cost-U-Less and their always-available balloon supply, the summer sipper is now B.Y.O.B. The 3.5% ABV beer’s recipe has not changed, still a super-light beer made with flaked corn and lemon & lime zest, perfect for bringing to all of those BBBQs* and backyard parties that WE SHOULD NOT BE HAVING RIGHT NOW (#staytheblazeshome). But for those days that you want a couple of beer, but not feel them the next morning, we suggest a B.Y.O.B. In addition to their own shop, it will be on the shelves of the NSLC in the coming weeks. And after a brief hiatus, fresh Malternate Reality New England IPA is back on their virtual shelves, joining the latest batch of Dartmouth Dark, their Coffee-Infused Dark Lager. Everything mentioned is available for contactless pickup and delivery, check out their online store to score some of your own.

Speaking of North Brewing, they met up with the cool cats at Tatamagouche Brewing, then went Northeast to Big Spruce in Nyanza last month, to brew up this year’s Cerberus American IPA. This three-headed ode to Organic hops is once again released during NS Craft Beer Month (RIP), usually a time meant for celebrating the province’s breweries spirit of togetherness. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the fruit of their labour, will all three breweries offering this beer for sale and delivery in their online stores. At 7.5% ABV, this is a big bold blast of hops, thanks to additions of Simcoe, Amarillo, and El Dorado throughout the process. Think pithy and resinous, with plenty on the nose and tongue. Big Spruce delivery options, North’s way to beer nirvana, and Tata’s Takeaway and To Your Door options (where you can also grab bottles of their just-back-this-week Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout).

Back to cider, but this time hopping to Georges Brook-Milton in Newfoundland, where Newfoundland Cider Company calls home. Available for pickup through online pre-ordering, are four new ciders this week. First up is their Pet Nat Sour. Starting from locally harvested “feral” apples, the blend was fermented with naturally yeasts, and aged in former Glenora barrels for three months. It was then transferred to bottles where it continued to ferment and condition, and has carbonated naturally (Pet Nat = Pétillant Nature = Naturally Bubbly = yum). The end result is a bright apple character, turning tart and sour, with a bubbly refreshing palate cleanser. 750 ml bottles will ready to pick up at the shop tomorrow, along with ten other ciders, including their “Flights to Go”, three new options in smaller bottles allowing you to get a taste of a wider selection of their ciders. These are Barrel Aged Sour Cherry, Rose Perry, and Spring Mead. And for those not in the Clarenville area, find NLCC at the NLC, which you can order online and request to your local outlet.

Kentville’s Maritime Express has been working on a special cider for a very long time, and it’s finally available for sale. Maple Bourbon Cider features an addition of pure maple syrup (from Hutchinson Acres), and was fermented (and aged for close to 14 months) in a Kentucky Bourbon barrel that was previously used to age maple syrup (you can buy some of that through Wabanaki Maple). Described by the cidery as “remarkably smooth and complex, with notes of maple, caramel and oak”, you can also expect some Bourbon and spiced apple on the palate. Only 300 bottles are available, so check out their online store to grab a couple (we suspect it is an excellent candidate for aging). 

Those of you in Antigonish are likely taking full advantage of the twice-weekly (Fridays and Saturdays) delivery options offered by your local brewery, Half Cocked Brewing. And this week, they’ve got a new, hazy IPA that you should probably consider tacking onto your order. Named Bleu Nuit (if they think those of us over the age of 35-40 aren’t getting that reference, they’re sadly mistaken), we won’t have a lot of details on the… well, details of the beer, but we can report that it was fermented with a Kveik strain, and the brewery describes it as having “lots of fruit and citrus, and a touch of bitterness”. They’ve got their flagship brews available, as well; contact them at halfcockedbrewing@gmail.com to place your order.

We keep coming back to cider-related products… did we miss a memo? Anyway, Spindrift has teamed up with Lake City Cider to brew a snakebite, which is typically an equal mix of Lager and cider. In this case, Blackcurrant Snakebite Rosé is a blend of Lager from Spindrift, and cider and fruit wine from Lake City. With some balanced acidity, sweetness, and fruit character, you can order cans right now through Spindrift’s online store; it’ll be available through Lake City in the near future as well. 

Back to Newfoundland with Quidi Vidi, who have brought back a collaboration originally released in 2018, that was created with local chefs. Bog & Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose (2019 vintage) is the same recipe as the 2018 vintage; however, due to the variance each year in the bakeapple harvest, you’ll likely notice some differences in this batch, if you were lucky enough to try it the first time. It comes in at ~7% ABV, and once again will only be available in a very limited supply. Look for bottles at the QV retail shop this weekend; it should be at select NLC stores next week.

You’ve probably all heard “Stay the blazes home” in one form or another over the last couple of weeks, so it’s probably safe to say you’re expecting one or six beers to be named after the latest social physical-distancing phrase. The first one out of the gate (we think) is from Garrison Brewing: Stay the Blazes Home is a 4.5% ABV unfiltered Blonde Ale that has a “crisp and dry finish”. Sorry, that’s all we’ve got! We can pass along that $2 from every 473 mL can sold will be donated to Feed Nova Scotia. It’s available, starting today, for home delivery only via phone and online sales

Actually, we’re not 100% sure who “wins” here, but YellowBelly has also released Stay Where You’re At “Islander Pale Ale”, which we believe is very similar to their Come From Away. Beyond that, we know nothing! But hey, it’s available in bottles at the brewpub now, and NLC next week, so we got that going for us, too.

In a “sold out before we had a chance to tell you about it, sorry!” mention, Port Rexton Brewing announced a new beer Tuesday, that was already pre-sold within 24 hours. But since we love to tease you, we’ll still share the details with y’all. 😐 Teaming up with their pals at St. John’s Toslow breakfast/lunch/evening chill hangout, they’ve put together Sea Buckthorn Sour. Starting from a lightly sour base beer, the addition of the Sea Buckthorn berry puree bumps up the tart character, thanks to its high malic acid content, while adding great notes of peach, pear, and pineapple to the brew. Sporting a killer label thanks to local artist Pepa Chan, the plan was originally for a big launch party at Toslow, but they’ll be holding something equally fun in the future. While the beer may already be all spoken for, you can still get some goodies from Toslow in the form of their usual morning pastries, wide variety of sandwiches and other handhelds, and merch, either via online pre-ordering, or by phone and email when checking their IG stories for availability. And peep the Port Rexton online shop to request your curbside pickup from their St. John’s Retail Shop, Thurs – Sat, 12 – 7 PM.

Let’s end the week’s news on a high note, this time in Cole Harbour, or more specifically, Colby Village. Hardisty Brew opened their doors just a couple of weeks ago with their Block Party SMaSH (still some available) and Smoked Porter (sold out for the time being), and are set to release their newest one this weekend. The New England IPA weighs in at 5.7% ABV, and at 20 IBU, is fairly low bitterness, but with plenty of hops in the mix. Skipping those early buttering additions, but with loads of Mosaic added late in the mix for flavour and aroma, and further enhanced with a healthy dry-hopping. Citrus and tropical and hazy, as is the style. The newest beer is out Saturday, but deliveries of Block Party will be happening Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Colby Village area, with the best way to order via email (info@hardistybrew.ca) with your request. And great news for those angling for more, the addition of another unitank will allow production to increase and have more of the good stuff available.

 

*The extra B is for BYOBB.**
**That extra B is a typo. 😉

Check it, we’ve got MORE RAIN coming this weekend. Whodathunkit? So grab your bee costume, queue up some Blind Melon (yes, we’re old) and grab some beer from your favorite Atlantic Canada producers. And if you’re looking for some suggestions, well, read on!

Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has a brand new beer out this week. Citronella is a 6.5% ABV amping up of the hazy New England IPA style with the essence of a bitter & resinous West Coast IPA. A base of light malts, with lots of Citra and Summit hops throughout, the beer was fermented with a blend of the Conan and Coastal Haze yeasts for an easy drinking beer with a big nose of citronella. Grab cans of this brand new killer beer at Bad Apple’s brewery in Somerset, or at their taproom in Wolfville, The Core, at 3 Elm Avenue, open from noon daily.

Hampton New Brunswick’s Matchstick Beer Factory is undergoing a name change today, so we wanted to be sure we get you up to speed. Their name is an ode to the Flewelling Saw Mill & Match Factory that used to operate in Hampton, but it being a significant landmark in town means that other businesses in the area can take inspiration from the historical building. In order to reduce confusion, the brewery is changing their name. And so, Gridiron Brewing is born! Named after the Gridiron, a small set of rapids located on the Tusket River inYarmouth County, NS, and located near the old family homestead of Head Brewer Luke MacGregor. So be sure to update your links to include their new addresses on the web and social media (Web / Fb / Ig / Tw ), as they are going live today. And be sure to follow them on social media, as they are running a contest for tickets to the Beer on the Bridge Festival in Fredericton, July 6th. Plus another exciting development coming later this month that will definitely having you pop in to Hampton for a visit!

And while we have you, let’s talk about a brand new beer that Match…. Gridiron debuted at last week’s Sussex Rotary Brew Festival. Luckily for those of us unable to attend, they’ve sent some kegs of it out in the wild to local licensees. Moose Draw Session is a Session IPA, featuring hops from nearby Moose Mountain Hops in the Upper Saint John River Valley, and grain from Island Malt House in New Glasgow, PEI. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV and a hefty 70 IBU, you can/soon find it on tap at Cask and Kettle, Peddlers Creek, Sussex Ale Works, and the Match Factory in Hampton.

Let’s head up the Number 1 Highway to Dieppe, where CAVOK Brewing calls home. They have debuted a brand new light summer sipper this week in the taproom, Soleil d’Ete. Dubbed a “New England Summer Ale”, this 4.5% ABV beer was fermented with an iconic yeast often used in NEIPAs to keep it juicy, which is only enhanced by the generous use of Mosaic and New Zealand Wakatu late in the brewing process to reduce bitterness and enhance aromatics, to the tune of about 15 IBU. The best place to grab a sample or pint is at the brewery, though we’re sure there will be kegs of it on tap at CAVOK’s accounts across NB soon.

As almost everyone knows, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing largely makes their bones with big and bold beers, usually featuring irresponsible hopping levels. But lest you think that limits them to IPAs and West Coast Stouts, they’ve got a new beer this week that should disabuse you of that notion. Helles Bock, or Maibock, is a German style traditionally brewed in the Spring as a shift from the very malt-forward “bread-in-a-bottle” beers that dominate the winter months. Enter Hellevator, brewer Greg Nash’s take on the style. Consistent with the tradition of the style being pretty big (and perfect for Unfiltered), it comes in at 7.0% ABV and was brewed with malt, yeast and noble hops all sourced from Germany. We don’t reckon that many German brewers have ever described a Helles Bock as “juicy” but this one is, while still having a malt-forward character befitting a Maibock. Look for this one at the brewery starting today at noon, with pints, fills and cans all on offer.

Our buddies at Big Spruce have a new barrel-aged bottle release for us, and it’s one that sounds perfect for enjoying with a little hot, sunny weather. Wild Wild Wheat is a light-bodied wheat beer that was fermented with the brewery’s Farmhouse yeast (specifically, Pin Cherry 2 of their Scotia Sauvage), and aged in Chardonnay barrels for five months. Expect plenty of floral and peppery characteristics in this 4.9% ABV beer, along with some nice oak character. It’s currently available only at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, in 650 mL bottles. And while you’re there grabbing yours, Sublime – their double-dry-hopped-with-Mosaic 5% Session IPA, conditioned on organic lime juice – is back, so you might as well pick up some of that one as well!

Breaking their tradition of ping ponging between styles from release to release, Niche Brewing’s followup to last week’s Paradox is another ultralight offering coming in at an extremely sessionable 2.9% ABV. But lest you think the guys have lost their flair for changing things up, Living Reflection isn’t another Session IPA, no, it’s a fruited Brettanomyces beer that trades hops for funk. Leveraging a Niche favorite, the Amalgamation blend of 6 Brett strains from The Yeast Bay, you can absolutely expect plenty of varied Brett character from this one. Managing to avoid a too-thin body for the weight with a grist largely composed of Pilsner and wheat malt, tangerine puree was added in the secondary for a delightful citrusy and fruity kick along with a touch of tartness. This one is on its way to Niche tap accounts in New Brunswick, with a chance of an appearance at Stillwell (HQ and/or BG) in Halifax.

Over in Montague, PEI, newly-opened Bogside Brewing has a new one-off that they’ve added to their taplist, to go with their flaships. Named after the salty, sour, German style that we all know and love, Gose is a 4% ABV salty, sour… oh wait, I guess you probably figured that out from the first part of this sentence. But it is! Coriander is also typically added to this style of beer, but in Bogside’s case, the coriander presence is minimal. Easy-drinking with “some nice grainy notes”, you can grab it at the brewery’s restaurant/taproom (along with some BBQ!) over the weekend, in sample, pint, or growler form.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing continues to surprise and delight with their willingness to bring new beers to their seasonal lineup with their summer lineup of NE IPA, Galaxy, Session IPA, Azacca, and Summer Fruit Beer, Stone Fruit, all winning plenty of fans in the region. This week, though, they’ve upped the ante even a little more with a special limited release of a beer that’s been quite a while in the making. Brett IPA doesn’t have a fancy name, but it’s sure to be a complex beer. Coming in at 6.0% ABV, with some wheat in the grist and plenty of Mosaic and Azacca, as befits the IPA aspect, it was also aged for more than 8 months in red wine barrels with Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Look for plenty of hop character, with notes of tangerine, papaya and passionfruit, some complex barnyard funk, and no doubt some further complexity and tannins from the barrel. Bottle conditioned in 750 mL bottles with cork and cage and a gorgeous label courtesy of Densley Design, only 200 of these are available in total starting tomorrow at both Propeller locations. The question is, do you drink it now and get the full effect of the hops, or do you cellar it for a year or two and let the Brett develop even further? Let’s be honest, the answer is probably to buy two and do both!! A quick warning from the brewery, though, the corks used for this bottling were somewhat sub-optimal and will likely require a corkscrew to remove; they’re addressing this issue with different corks on future limited releases. And if you’re considering hitting up Propeller (or the Propeller Arcade) tonight for a pint or two, we think that knowing that tonight’s cask is their Rye IPA with Grapefruit might help you make your decision.

Bannerman Brewing, located in St. John’s, has been up and running for a couple months now, and while they’re still working at ramping up production to keep up with demand, they DO have two brand new beer releases for us all this weekend. Let’s start with Hard Yes, a dry-hopped kettle sour. Brewed with a good percentage of wheat, this tart beer was dry-hopped with heavy amount of Citra and Galaxy, which, as you can probably imagine if you’re familiar at all with hops, results in a lot of citrus and tropical character, all supported by a biscuity finish. At 5.2% ABV, you’re probably ok to enjoy one or two of these without going overboard (results may vary)! Next up is Medium Cool, a malt-forward American IPA brewed with Golden Promise, Pilsner, and Crystal malts. Dry-hopped with large amounts of Mosaic, Simcoe and Columbus, the 7% ABV beer has “notes of honey, with a rounded bitterness and a resinous, earthy hop profile”. Both of these beers should be available at the brewery right now, for pints and growler fills. And if it happens to be nice out while you’re there, take a minute and enjoy a beer on their newly-opened deck!

New beer coming out from TrailWay today, a beer they’re referring to as an “Oatmeal IPA”. Overnight was brewed with “near maxed-out recommended dosages of both malted and flaked oats”, according to the brewery. Hopped – likely intensely with, being TrailWay and all! – with El Dorado and Citra, two American varieties that TW has used with many of their other hoppy offerings, expect “melon, berries and cantaloupe” in the aroma/flavour. The oaty grist comes through in spades in the mouthfeel, lending a creamy, soft body to the beer, without being cloyingly sweet. And as with most TW beers, there’s very little bitterness in the finish of this 6% ABV brew. It’s available right now (because there’s no way this post is published before noon… NO WAY) at the brewery on tap and in cans. While there, you can also grab some Good Weather, another of their popular summer American IPAs.

If you’re around the Corner Brook area of Newfoundland this weekend, you might just want to head over to Bootleg Brew Co. They have released a special collaboration beer they cooked up with St. John’s beer bar Toslow, kinda-sorta in time for their first anniversary. Starting from a Berliner Weisse (sour wheat beer) base, the piece de resistance was a whole whack of Newfoundland berries, donated by Toslow co-owner Chris Scott’s grandmother, with partridgeberries, blueberries, marshberries and cranberries. Hence the name, A Nan Jam, seems quite fitting to thank her! 🙂 Tart from the berries as well as the souring technique, plus aromatic from the fruits as well as a generous Galaxy dry hopping, this is a complex and beautiful pink beer that we’re sure won’t last long. It’s available right now at Bootleg’s taproom, and very soon on the other side of the province at Toslow, hopefully this weekend.

The team at Halifax’s Good Robot has certainly been enjoying the sunnier weather this week, and given the glorious space that is the Gastroturf (with more taps added this week care of Beer Tech), why wouldn’t they? They’ve got a new beer out this week that’s just right for enjoying some sun, assuming we get more at some point, and they’re calling it Viking Holiday. Fermented with a kveik yeast strain, a great choice for this time of year when temperature control gets more difficult and a quick turnaround is paramount, it was built on a grist of two-row barley and wheat and gets a delightful zing from an addition of pineapple. Reminiscent of the ever so rare Pineapple Creamsicle™, it aims to be light and refreshing at 4.2% ABV and a gentle 15 IBUs and with a fairly spritzy carbonation. Look for it on tap at the brewery for pints and fills.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet is continuing their “Do Good Resident Artist” program with the release of their newest beer, Orange Mandarin Gose. Brewed with their current RA, Peter Christenson (hailing from the state of Washington), the grist is simply made up of 2-row and malted wheat, and hopped very lightly to 5 IBUs with Herkules. While this kettle sour features the normal-for-a-Gose additions of sea salt and coriander, they’ve also added orange peel and mandarin, which contributes some nice citrus notes to go along with the tart, salty flavours of the beer. And at just 4% ABV, the refreshment factor increases even higher! If you’d like to check out Peter’s artwork, they’ll be holding an Artist Talk/Beer Release this Sunday at 2 pm, in the white building adjacent to Upstreet’s taproom, which will be followed by a trot over to the taproom to try the beer!

A couple of things to tell you about in terms of beery events coming up:

If you’re beer-motivated and looking for something to do on the evening of Saturday, June 29th, consider grabbing one of the remaining tickets for Curated Magazine’s East Coast Craft Beer Festival in the Multipurpose Room at the Halifax Forum. Tickets are $35 (plus taxes and a $1 fee) and will get you 12 tickets, each good for a 4 oz pour from 18 Nova Scotia breweries plus two out-of-province guests: Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub from Saint John and Dominion City from Ottawa. There will also be local food on offer (cash only), live music, and taxi service. Designated Driver tickets are available for $10 at the door.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing Company is pleased to announce that they’ve partnered up with the team from Murphy’s on the Water to bring a weekly Brews Cruise on the Tall Ship Silva every Thursday night this summer from 9 – 11 PM featuring live music and New Scotland beer. Tickets are $15 and are available from Ambassatours. Meanwhile, keep an eye on Social Media to see who’s playing each week!

And a few last mentions of new releases, re-releases, and openings to help you figure out where you’re going to buy the beer you’re likely to be drinking inside this weekend:

In case you missed it during your morning commute, fellow beer-crazy cats 902 BrewCast have dropped their June Tasting Episode today. Highlighting their choices for their Nova Scotia Summer Slammers as published in The Coast, they once again curate and fawn over their favourite brews, wines, and news going around our little piece of the beer world. Check into your fave podcast app for the latest episode.

Boxing Rock has brought back Bravo!, their 6% ABV single-hopped American IPA featuring, you guessed it, the Bravo variety. It’s available in six-packs for those of you who enjoy this “perfectly bitter” beer and need more than one. They’ve also revealed that they’re currently building a taproom in Shelburne; stay tuned for more info on that project.

Tracadie, NB’s Brasseux d’la Cote is releasing their Barram Witbier this week, a silver medal winner at this year’s Down East Brewing Awards. Now packaged in cans, it’s a 4.5% ABV Witbier available at the brewery (where we guess you can also grab it on tap).

Congratulations are in order as Dildo Brewing Company has opened their St. John’s retail location today. Located at 332 Water Street, next door to good friend of good beer The Adelaide Oyster House, the retail location will be open from noon today, with sales of growlers, cans, and their deadly popular merchandise. No onsite samples or pints are available, but look as close as next door, or further down the street, to imbibe.

Up on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, in Grant (near Antigonish), Half Cocked Brewing has announced their summer hours and the opening of their patio. In addition to their usual Thursday Growler nights, check them out Fridays from 5 – 8 PM and Saturdays from 2 – 7 PM for fills, pints and flights. Hey, pop in today after you sign off for the work, why dontcha? Bring your own umbrellas if you dare sit on the patio!

Hell Bay has released their own take on a Gose, The Salty Piper (5% ABV). Brewed in collaboration with the White Point Beach Resort, the sea salt used in the brew was actually harvested from the resort. Drop by the brewery and resort for a taste of the final product.

Shipwright’s newest beer, released this week, is an Australian Pale Ale named Aussie Rules (5.5% ABV). Hopped with Galaxy and Enigma, expect aromas of “peach, pineapple, and cantaloupe”, with a touch of malt sweetness. Find it on tap at the brewery, or downstairs at the Grand Banker, both located at 82 Montague Street in downtown Lunenburg.

So, ok, we’re a bit late today, but hey, Christmas IS only a few days away, and when you throw in work getting busier, staff parties being inconveniently scheduled for Thursday evenings, and just the general crap-storm that is preparing for the holidays, on top of a seemingly-extra large amount of brewery news/new beers, it’s tough! Ok, that’s enough wallowing in self pity for today. A note that this is the last Friday Wrap-Up for us this year, as we’ve decided to take a little break next week. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media as we will be pushing out a Profile or two (fingers crossed!), as well as shorter blurbs as we learn of new releases to share. We’ll definitely have a full post Friday January 4th, as we begin our 8th (EIGHTH!!) year of bringing you the freshest beer news from across Atlantic Canada. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Let’s start the news rolling this week with some fantastic news from the west coast of Newfoundland. Port au Port East is located on the outskirts of Stephenville, 2 hours from the Port aux Basques ferry terminal to the mainland. Located at 92-96 Main Street in Port au Port East is Secret Cove Brewing, which opened its doors yesterday for the first time. Operating a brewery and taproom in the former Viking Lounge location, they have four beers for enjoyment onsite and to take away in growlers: James Blonde 00709 Belgian Blonde, Malt Water Joys Brown, When in Stout Stout, and Hard Case in your Face DIPA. The brewery is open today and tomorrow 4 – 11 PM, with Sunday’s, and beyond’s, hours to be determined. Drop by to welcome the newest of your Island breweries to open, and we will share a full Profile with Secret Cove very soon! Congratulations Jason and Sheila! This marks the 5th brewery to open in Newfoundland in 2018, bringing the number across the Island to 13.

In other great news for breweries opening in our region, we mentioned a few weeks ago that Sussex Ale Works had opened their taproom on Main Street in Sussex. This week, for the first time, they have been able to serve their own house-made beers on tap and to go in growlers. Their first beer is Who’s Your Daddy Red Ale, a 6.8% Red Ale featuring 20 IBUs. It is complementing their all-New Brunswick offerings, including local Matchstick Beer Factory’s Matchstick Pale Ale, Long Bay’s Full Pleasure Passonfruit Sour, and several from Hammond River, Maybee, Niche, and Graystone, as well as Yip Cider. Look for more from Sussex Ale Work’s own 1 BBL (120 litre) brewhouse in the New Year, including their Holstein Milk Stout, and Picadilly Pale Ale. Congratulations Rick and family!

Back to the Rock for the next new beer to hit the taps, we’ve got Home and Away American Pale Ale from Landwash Brewery. Located in Mount Pearl, this is Landwash’s first release since their launch earlier this month. This 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale is a tribute to the iconic style which helped fuel the North American beer renaissance. Featuring loads of American Cascade and Citra hops, the aroma and palate are full of orange and grapefruit character, with bitterness to balance the malt. Home and Away is available on tap for pints and flights now, and for growlers to take away, along with their core lineup of beers.

Off Tracking Brewing in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and are releasing a couple of new beers to celebrate, as well as a special collaboration with a brewing pal. First up is Charles in Charge, a hopped-up version of their 5.0% ABV Good Grief Charlie Brown Brown Ale, increasing the hopping rate to more than 50 IBU. They are also releasing Frank Citra-Natra, a 4.7% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring nothing but, you guessed it, Citra hops (to the tune of 40 IBU).

These two new Off Track beers are gracing the newly-expanded tap offerings, which now sits at 15, and also includes a few guest offerings. The latest collaboration-guest-hybrid beer to hit the chalkboard is the first from Sackville brewery Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse in several months, Funktown American Pale Ale. Brewed with OBB owner Keith Forbes at Off Track, this 5.1% ABV APA features loads of Centennial and Falconers Flight hops for a floral, lemon, and grapefruit character on the nose and flavour, with a light body and clean and dry finish. Grab a flight or pint, and then take a growler to go to enjoy in front of your holiday tree.

And in more Off Track news, they are keeping with the tradition of being open regular hours (Thursday through Sunday) during this holiday time, including next Monday and Tuesday (Christmas Eve and Christmas), 12 – 6 PM. If you need a break from the family, you’ll be sure to find some friends in the same boat there next Tuesday! They’ll also be open 12 – 6 PM on New Year’s Eve. And while you’re there, check out their new line of bottles, with their Crash Course IPA, Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout, Alias Pale Ale, Universal Soldier Kolsch, and Not About You ESB all available in singles or 4-packs.

The elves over at 2 Crows have been extra busy lately, as we’ve got three new beers to report this week, two of which will be hitting your mouth this weekend. The big release today at noon is Waltz, a 5.5% ABV, 22 IBUs German Pilsner. Brewed with 100% German Pilsner malt, no shortcuts were taken in brewing this one to style. Using de-aerated brewing water, a low oxygen brewing environment (don’t worry, no one passed out!), and a multi-step mash, let’s just say the brew day was a little longer than usual. Hopped with German varieties (Huell Melon, Hallertau Blanc, and Saphir), it was then fermented with the classic German Lager strain, Weihenstephan, and then allowed to lager for more than 8 weeks. Sounds like the wait/hard work was worth it, with the final product being “beautifully crisp, doughy, with some lovely lemony and herbal notes”. The good news is there’s lots of this one, as it was a full 40 bbl batch, so you can find it on tap and in cans at 2C today, and it should also be hitting the local private stores soon.

You could always wait to head to 2 Crows tomorrow, when you’ll be able to grab one of the very few bottles of Razzle Dazzle, a “Champagne Brett Lager”. Brewed nine months ago with Pilsner malt and rice, the wort was hopped with Hallertau Blanc in the boil to just 12 IBUs. It was then fermented with the Weihenstephan strain, lagered for 7 weeks… and then that’s when things got a bit weird! They added glucoamylase and Brett C, and allowed the beer to condition for another 5 months, where it was finally packaged in 750 mL cork-and-caged bottles, with Champagne yeast. It’s tasting “super dry, crisp, and funky, with notes of pineapple, hay, and pear”. It finished at 6.1% ABV, and if you’d like to try it, get there when they open… there’s only about 90 bottles or so available, and there is a 2 bottle-per-person limit.

And finally, 2 Crows has got one more humdinger dropping next Saturday, and were kind enough to give us the inside scoop early on Biere de Champagne. Follow along with this one closely, it ain’t the simplest beer. Originally brewed over a year ago, in October, 2017, it started off as two beers: 1) a lower-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, and fermented with TYB207 (a Brett brux strain), and 2) a high-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Nova Scotia honey, and fermented with Omega All The Bretts (that’s a blend of at least 10 Brett strains!), and Champagne yeast. After both beers fermented out, they were blended and bottled in Champagne bottles, and dosed with Champagne yeast and priming sugar, aiming for a carbonation of 6.8 vol CO2 (for those of you not in the know, that is a LOT of carbonation… your typical APA or IPA is likely somewhere around 2.5). Head brewer Jeremy Taylor can do a better job of explaining the next long process: “The bottles were conditioned horizontally for 2 months, then very gradually moved until they were sitting cap-down, riddling them every day or so over a period of many months. The beers were then chilled for several days, then the neck of the bottles was super chilled with dry ice; we removed the cap and shot out the yeast plug that had settled in the neck, then bottles were corked and caged.” Yikes! Sounds like it came out tasty, extremely effervescent (ya think?!) with “big honey notes, funky, cantaloupe, earthy”, 8.4% ABV. Releasing next Saturday (Dec 29) at 2C, there’s only 140 bottles available.

If you were a fan of Propeller’s recent one-off NEIPA, Galaxy (and we’re guessing those of you who tried it ARE fans of it, considering it’s currently the brewery’s highest-rated beer on Untappd), we’re sad to say that it is now sold out. On the upswing, they do have another once-a-one-off IPA returning, Skyrocket DIPA. Showcasing the experimental Skyrocket hop variety (related to Chinook) from the Gorst valley, it was originally brewed as a Gottingen small batch brew in January, and is now returning in cans. This 8% ABV beer is “intensely aromatic, with big, beautiful notes of mango, papaya, and pineapple”. Look for it at your nearest Propeller location! We should also mention that today’s cask release is Russian Imperial Stout, with smoked black tea, which gives the already-big-and-bold beer a “powerful smoky aroma and flavour”.

In Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing has two releases for you this week. The first is a beer, Storm Surge, that they’re referring to as a “Maritime Ale”. They describe it as a 5.4% ABV brew that is “a prime example of a malt-forward beer, beautifully balanced by the subtle, spicy citrus of hops”. We’re guessing something along the lines of an American Pale Ale, perhaps? Either way, you’ll have to try it yourself to decide for sure; you can stop by and grab a growler right now. They’ve also just released a cider, Backyard Cider, which is made up of 100% Heirloom Gravenstein apples (grown locally in NS). Exhibiting “a balance of sweet and tart”, just like the apple that it came from, it finishes dry and crisp with floral notes. Also available in growlers, both Backyard Cider and Storm Surge should be making an appearance in cans in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that.⠀

With the changing of the seasons, Meander River is giving us a changing of the seasonals. The latest in their Farm Cider series is First Frost, which will be taking over from Fall’s offering, Dusty Road. Made from the freshest press of the year’s apple harvest, it’s a 5.5% ABV cider that’s citrusy, tart and juicy while being very dry. Scheduled for release on the first day of Winter (hey, that’s today!), you’ll be able to grab some this weekend at the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, and it will also go on tap at Tusket Falls, Stubborn Goat, Battery Park and Chain Yard.

Summerside, PEI’s Evermoore Brewing has a new offering that started pouring earlier this week. Called Smokey Double IPA it’s exactly what the name indicates, a double IPA with a touch of smokey character thanks to some smoked flaked barley in the grist. On the hop side, it features Brewer’s Gold, Hallertau Blanc, and Amarillo in the kettle during the boil before being hit with Simcoe and Tettnanger in the whirlpool. At 8% ABV and 60 IBU it’s a bigger beer and fairly bitter. You’ll find it at Evermoore’s taproom at 192 Water Street if you fancy a taste.

You may recall that in celebration of their 20th Anniversary last year, Garrison released XXX IPA, a Double IPA, for a brief run. They’ve just released a barrel-aged version of the same beer, where it spent 12 months in Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey barrels. They’re referring to this one as an Imperial IPA/American Barleywine hybrid, as it comes in at a whopping 11% ABV. If you’d like to decide for yourself, it’s available at the brewery only, in 650 mL bottles. They’ve also brought back their Imperial IPA in bottles and on tap at their retail store; this time around they’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, and hopped it with 100% Cascade.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is keeping up with the new brews lately, as they’ve just released a DIPA, Golden Horse. Named after the Golden Horse Fountain located in the community of Milton, the beer was hopped heavily with a blend of three high alpha acid hops. Early, late, and dry hop additions contribute to high bitterness (130 calculated IBUs) and “plenty of dank, pine, and citrus flavours”. Hazy and alarmingly drinkable (even at 7.6% ABV), sneak into Heritage before the holidays for a pint/growler, and satisfy your hop urge!

Those crazy folks at Tidehouse must have found a sale on bottles, as this is the… I don’t even know how many consistent weeks of bottle releases they’ve had, and I certainly don’t have the time to check! It’s a lot. But hey, that means more take-home beer for all of us, right? And this week brings the release of Bonny Stormer, an Extra Special Bitter hopped with Progress and First Gold. Coming across as “a pinch earthy, with notes of sweet tangerine and orange”, it finishes fairly bitter (expected with this style), and comes in at 5% ABV. In addition to being available in bottles (limit 6/person) today at 2 pm, you can also find it on tap at Tidehouse.

It’s almost December 23rd, and you know that everyone in Newfoundland (well, the fun ones, anyway!) are gearing up for Tibb’s Eve on Sunday. Those characters at Port Rexton Brewing are no exception, of course, and have a couple of brand new beers to help you celebrate, just in time. First up is Tibb’s the Saison, a “Festive Saison” that was hopped with both French and Czech hop varieties, and fermented with the Fruit Bomb Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Containing both a Saison Saccharomyces strain and two Brettanomyces strains, the combination of the three ensures lots of tropical fruit character in the finished beer. This particular Saison features “gingerbread aromas and a light rye spice” and weighs in at 6.6% ABV. This was a small batch, and half of it is already resting peacefully in a grape brandy barrel; the current iteration can be found on tap at PR for their Tibb’s Eve party Sunday, and also at their St. John’s retail shop for growler fills today and tomorrow.

Next up from Port Rexton is Round Table, a nice, big, Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Designed by head brewers Les and Chris shortly after trying some similar beers at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards in Halifax, the oak character from the barrel comes through nicely, blending with the Bourbon found on the nose and palate, as well as some “dark chocolate-covered berry and coffee flavours”. Smooth and quite drinkable even at 8.8% ABV, the carbonation was purposely kept fairly low, and is best enjoyed served at a slightly-warmer temperature. This one is available in 500 mL bottles only, and was released yesterday evening with a limit of 2/person. Seek it out at both PR locations this weekend!

TrailWay has a new iteration of Beans coming out today when they open, with this batch being dosed with cocoa nibs and 250 lbs of cherry puree, to help complement the regular addition of freshly-roasted coffee beans from Whitney Coffee Company. The coffee character is prominent as usual, along with “rich and deep chocolate in the aroma, with a subtle, fruity, tart cherry component”. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery. They’ve also got fresh kegs and cans of one of their crowd-favourite American IPAs, Green Island (6% ABV).

One of the region’s newest cideries, Maritime Express in Kentville, NS, has a brand new cider available that features an ingredient better known for its use in beer. Train Hopper is made from 100% Annapolis Valley apples across four varieties: Cortland, Macintosh, Gravenstein and Spartan. To that base was added three types of hops, all sourced locally, to provide a decidedly citrusy and hoppy aroma. On the palate, look for grapefruit, floral and lemon notes that lead to a strong tart finish. Look for it at the cidery, both pouring from the taps and in bottles.

Antigonish’s Half Cocked Brewing is excited to have their first bottle release and they’re doing it in style with a big one. Tapped & Feathered is being called a “maple sap imperial stout,” as it was brewed using sap from Haveracres Maple Farm in nearby St. Joseph’s in place of water, a handy way to extract additional sugars from the mashing process and thus not lose significant efficiency on a big beer. Once fermented, the beer was aged for several months in a Glenora whiskey barrel. Coming in at a hefty 10.3% ABV, it features aromas of candied orange rind and dark chocolate, with flavors of figs, brown sugar, dark chocolate and vanilla. Expect it to be available at the brewery very soon; to find out exactly when check out their social media (Fb, Ig, Tw), where the release will be formally announced.

CAVOK in Dieppe, NB, has been doing some experimentation with their Stout. So far they’ve released salted caramel, cold-brewed coffee and peanut butter variations. These are small batches, each about 1 BBL, aimed at testing the flavourings and getting a feel for the appropriate levels. As such, they are only available by the pint in their taproom. All three are 4.9% ABV. Meanwhile, in terms of bigger batches, they’ve also got a light American lager on the go that they’re calling Joe Blow Lager. Crisp and refreshing, it’ll be a great beer for a holiday party and guests who might be looking for something a little lighter. At 4.5% ABV and very low bitterness, we think they might be onto something!

Boxing Rock continues to push out some new beers from the Test Kitchen location in Local Source Market on Agricola Street in Halifax. Late last week, they released the Blue Collar Blonde, a collaborative 5.0% ABV Kolsch brewed with the fine folks at Halifax’s HopYard, which debuted during last weekend’s YMCA fundraiser at the bar. It was deemed so popular that it will be brewed again very soon, this time at their big system in Shelburne, for a full release in the New Year. Out this week is another collaboration, this time with the crew from Canopy Creative, who came in and brewed Canopy Cane Chocolate Milk Stout, which features lactose, chocolate, and peppermint in the boil for the full Christmas experience. As with all of these releases, they are very small, so if you see something you like, best get there ASAP to grab it! And keep your eyes peeled for the re-release of their 4% ABV Winter Session Ale, The Biggest Spruce Axe-worthy, brewed with spruce tips right in the boil.

If you manage to get away from the family in the couple of weeks, be sure to double check that your favourite brewery, bar, or watering hole is open, as many are adjusting their schedules over the course of the next two weeks. We’ve got a pair of events you’ll certainly want to check out if you’re in the area!

Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub is hosting their annual Free Oyster Day today, with oyster shucking happening all day to complement your beer and food. As well, they’ve released a pair of new/returning favourites on tap, with a limited amount available to go in growlers: Herbies Coffee for Breakfast Stout, Special Blend IPA, and Melting Mountains IPA. Plus there may be a couple of bottles of their cellar-aged sour for you to take home! Details on their FB Event page.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release of their latest batch of One Hundred Wild next Saturday, December 29th, at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Obviously an important of this 100% Nova Scotia equation with grain/malt, hops, and yeast (isolated from a fruit tree on their property in Nyanza), Horton Ridge is the perfect place to host the event, and will have the beer flowing from 1 PM, with live music 3 – 5 PM, and 7 – 9 PM. Cans can also be pre-ordered for pickup the day before. More details on their FB page. And in more Big Spruce news, they’ve just announced that they will be a permanent part of the Halifax Seaport Market, beginning tomorrow, with bottles and growlers.

Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax is once again holding their New Years Day Levee, when they will be opening their doors at noon January 1st, and will be pouring up a dozen special beers, holding super sales on many of their cellar bottle list, and a slew of hangover-curing brunch items to help you forget the night before. Pop by to see what they’re sharing to celebrate the beginning of 2019!

Just a couple more things to finish off the year, before you head out and grab that eggnog stout or nutmeg blonde…

Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove has bottled up a few of their beers, and now have the Norwegian Kviek Ale available at YHZ Airport’s Liquid Assets. Look for those to hit the shelves elsewhere in HRM soon. And keep an eye out at their market stall for their 10.1% ABV Russian Imperial Stout, available this weekend.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has their Chromatic By Design Red IPA available again throughout New Brunswick. This 6.6% ABV beer features load of Ekunanot, Mosaic, and Citra, for a bold blast of tropical, dank, and citrus hops, with a touch of toffee and caramel flavours from the specialty malt. And hitting the taps next week is Wayfarer, their 6.0% ABV Sour IPA, featuring Centennial and El Dorado hops, for a lovely hybrid of sour and tropical.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has released the latest version of their High Street Wee Heavy. This 6.3% ABV classic Scottish Ale is the first beer to feature barley and hops from their Millstone Harvest farm, the future site of their estate brewery, set to open next year. We hear that the next batch of their barley is actually being malted at Horton Ridge currently, for use in future Sea Level brews. High Street is available on tap at the Port Pub, and to go in cans and growlers today.

And finally, in a bit of humour around this Holiday time, St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery is looking for your unwanted/extra fruitcake! They’ll be brewing up a beer in the New Year, and would to use your un-loved fruitcake in the mash. With all of the sugars, and a little booze, that these divisive holiday baked goods contain, they are sure to lend plenty of character to the final beer. Check out this article for more information.