Half Cocked Brewing

All posts tagged Half Cocked Brewing

Eek! We’re late this week. Why? Partially because we have these pesky day jobs. But also because our region Will. Not. Stop. with the new breweries, new beers, beer re-releases, and beer-related events. Also, somethingsomething about the weather. Enjoy!!

• After a full year of construction, brewing, aging, blending, and bottle conditioning, Valonray Farmhouse Brewing in MacDougall Settlement is ready to share the fruits of their labours with you. Celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow 10 AM – 4 PM, visitors can drop by the brewery for a tour, sample some of their initial offerings (five will be available), and grab a bottle or two to go. Available will be their flagship Saison, a Single and a Tripel, Blonde, and Pale Ale, all in the Belgian style. Learn more about Valonray in the profile we published last month, to get you excited for their opening and big plans for the future. Going forward, the brewery retail will be open every Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM, with the hours expanding in the summer. While the plan is for their beer to eventually be at local ANBL locations, it is only available at the brewery for the next while.

• After many months of planning and hard work, Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is finally just-about-ready to open their new brewery (15 bbl – 1750 L – vs. their original 1 bbl brewery) to the public. They’re holding a soft launch this weekend, starting today from 11 AM – 7 PM, and continuing tomorrow from 11 AM – 5 PM, at their new location at 700 Malenfant Blvd. They’ll have seven of their beers on tap to start, and will be filling growlers (which can be purchased there, or of course you can bring your own), pouring pints and flights, and also selling 473 mL cans of their Dixie Clipper IPA and Empress Irish Red Ale for you to take home. More beers will be popping up over the next few weeks, and they’ll be updating their taproom hours once they officially open.

York County Cider in Fredericton recently celebrated their second anniversary, and used that as an excuse to release their latest seasonal cider blend, Smoky Maple. As the name implies, the base apple cider is enhanced by additions of maple syrup for an iconic taste of spring in our region, as well as light smoke to complete the full “outdoor maple boil” of this 6.3% ABV cider. This cider was primarily available during their anniversary celebrations and now only three kegs are left until next year! That said, the YCC crew is happy to let us know that their Strawberry Ciderita is now on the shelves of the local ANBL locations. This strawberry and lime cider is 5.8% ABV, and crisp and fruity. Drop by Ed’s Garage (aka, the taproom) at 38 Main Street to grab your taste of their full line-up today.

Port Rexton Brewing brought back their annual Ten Eighty Series last week with the release of Imperial Saison. This single batch is the brewery’s take on a traditional style, taking the typically-mid-strength Farmhouse Ale and dialling it to 11… or, more accurately, 9.6. Yes, it weighs in at an impressive 9.6% ABV, coming through as crisp, effervescent, and warming. Fermented with the fruity and spicy French Saison yeast strain, the beer was dry-hopped lightly with Mandarina Bavaria. There are still a few bottles left at the retail shop at 286 Torbay Road (open today from 4 – 8 PM and tomorrow from 12 – 6 PM), be sure to pick some up if you’re in the area… as we mentioned, this is a single batch only, and they won’t last long!

• And debuting at the PRB retail location today is SeaWind Saison, made with Sorrel, a Jamaican preparation of hibiscus flowers, and orange peel. At 5.4% ABV, SeaWind offers floral aromatics, low bitterness, and a light bubblegum character from the Belgian yeast. It is available exclusively in growlers at the retail spot, where you can also pick up some PRB merch. And good news for those who’ve been waiting for an excuse to go for a visit, the brewery will be opening for the season May 4th.

• The latest in PEI Brewing Company’s After Hours series is now available at their taproom and retail shops. Perseverance is a 7.0% ABV malty Belgian ale, first fermented with saison yeast, and then transferred onto three strains of Brettanomyces for several months to develop a complex blend of aroma and flavour. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with German Tettnanger, packaged and bottle conditioned, and now ready for your enjoyment! Rather than packaging with Brett to condition in the bottle, the beer has already developed a full complement of secondary flavour and aromatics, drying out the bigger body, and is ready to drink right now. Mark your calendars for the April 12 official-re-launch of the After Hours series, where several more beers will be pouring at the brewery taproom, and a great way to taste several of them at once, more details below.

• As has become usual for them, Good Robot has news of two brews this week, an Alpha and a Beta batch. From the Alpha system a Chocolate Porter this way comes, with origins in the last chocolate porter brewed at Good Robot. Still boasting a “rich taste, exquisite mouthfeel, and tantalizing aroma” this time it’s got a brand new name: Bingo Bronson. Coming in at a very drinkable 6% ABV, it was made with classic English Maris Otter malt, flaked oats and flaked barley, chocolate and coffee malts, and some Vienna to boot. Hopped with Belma, of all things, don’t go looking for a big hop presence, but expect an impact from the carob powder, cocoa powder and chocolate extract used to provide chocolate flavor. This one should be available for growler fills at the brewery as well as pints in the tasting room. And coming out on Tuesday next for Beta Brewsday, Beta system Queen Kelly Costello teamed with Allana Dalrymple to concoct a low-ABV Scottish Ale leaning heavily on Golden Promise malt with some CaraAroma, Crystal 60 and Roasted Barley for character. High-alpha acid Warrior hops battered the brew and some Perle provide aroma. Finished on Caldera whiskey-soaked oak chips before being racked to a cask, look for this 3.9% ABV and 20ish IBU treat to top the bar this coming Tuesday!

YellowBelly Brewing in St John’s has a new take on an old favourite beer back on tap these days. First released as a home-and-home collaboration with Australia’s Top Shed Brewery (located on Australia’s East Coast), Me Ol’ Trout (formerly East Coast Cream Ale) is back at the brewpub, as well as bottes at local NLC. At 4.8% ABV, and less than 20 IBUs, the Cream Ale style can often be considered a boring (for both brewer and drinker), so Brewmaster Liam McKenna was sure to make the style his own, opting for a significant dry hop rate to raise the hop aromatics. Grab a pint or bottle today, and those across the country will be able to enjoy the beer starting in May, as Me Ol’ Trout will be available in the Central City “Across the Nation” collaboration mix pack.

• And speaking of YellowBelly, they are teaming up with Semintha Nutraceuticals to hold a birch beverage competition, with the goal of producing a tasty and healthful drink with Birch sap at its base. Interested folks are encouraged to reach out to the Newfermenters homebrew group for more details, including sharing their recipe and technique to produce a beer, mead, or cider, or even non-fermented drink, using Semintha’s sap. Check out the Facebook group for more details, and submit your plan via email before May 1st.

Off Track Brewing is getting closer to commissioning their larger brewhouse, but in the meantime, they’ve got several new beers pouring at their taproom in Bedford. Diving right in with Wheat in the Knees, an American Wheat Ale hopped lightly with Belma and Huell Melon; at just 4.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, it’s the perfect beer for what they refer to as “soon-to-be summer”, but we’re highly skeptical today! Regardless, an easy-drinking beer with a touch of citrus, meant to be enjoyed in quantity. In the same mold, Raspberry Wheat is another wheat beer, but with fruit. An experimental batch, look for others in the “series” to follow suit, with Cherry Wheat and Mango Wheat coming soon… as in later this weekend! These are all single kegs only, so be sure to drop by for your taste.

• And in non-Wheat beers, expect to see State Capitals for $500 from Off Track this weekend. An American Pale Ale hopped with Cascade, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, it’s described by the brewery as “very melony and fruity”; it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 43 IBUs. Finally, expect to see Pull the Pin IPA on tap as well, a 6% ABV, 58 IBUs IPA hopped mainly with Centennial, giving the beer aromas and flavours of light fruit, as well as some spicy and floral character.

• We have the details on the latest release from Brightwood Brewery, an interesting beer they’re referring to as a Rosé IPA. Dartmouth Blush is a Belgian IPA hopped with Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc late in the boil, and at flameout, to maximize the aroma and flavour characteristics of both varieties. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, and Hibiscus and Rose Hips were also added to give the final product a pink hue.

• In Halifax, 2 Crows has two new small batch taproom-only releases to share this week put together by staff members Graeme and Nick. First, from Graeme, is another obscure Dutch ale (he was also responsible for the Dutch Bokbier late last year), this time a Luyks Bier, whatever that is. Built on a grist of predominantly spelt, with Pilsner, wheat and some flaked oats, it was bittered with Magnum and hopped with a combination of Columbus and Goldings. Fermentation with Omega Labs Hothead yeast makes Peace Train a full-bodied 5.7% ABV and 34 IBU beer that features notes of grapefruit and clementine leading to a dry, slightly bitter finish (and Cat Stevens ringing in your ears). Next up is Nick’s Blithe, a Belgian Pale Ale featuring the middle eastern spice Sumac. At 5.9% ABV and 29 IBU, it was brewed with pale malt, spelt, malted oats, and a bit of Munich malt. Hops included the spicy/fruity British hybrid Bramling Cross and the citrus/floral/fruity American Calypso. Fermented with the 2 Crows house saison culture, the sumac (sourced from East Coast Wild Foods) entered the picture during conditioning. The beer is described as “bright, fruity, floral and dry” with some yeast-based funk and some bitter orange flavors from the sumac. You’ll find both of these brews only available by the pint on Brunswick Street at the 2 Crows tasting room.

• New Brunswick’s heaviest hoppists, Trailway Brewing in Fredericton have yet another IPA dropping this Friday. Featuring one of the industry darling hops of the last year or two, Ekuanot, alongside so-new-we-had-to-look-it-up Loral (HBC 291), Imagination is a 6.5% ABV super-refreshing brew with a hint of green pepper from the Ekuanot and a very soft and floral, yet fruity finish from the Loral. You’ll find it at the brewery and possibly over the coming weeks at ANBL locations. Watch Trailway social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram) for more on that.

• On Agricola Street in Halifax, urban cidery Chain Yard has a new batch on the go they’re calling Mallow Yallow. Leveraging malolactic fermentation where bacteria other than yeast are introduced to convert malic acid to lactic acid, and, in doing so, soften the acidity of the final product, this cider was also put into oak barrels for 4 months to condition. The result is a dry cider at 6.4% ABV, with a crisp, light carbonation, some sweetness, and featuring notes of caramel, whiskey and French oak.

Beerocracy, the independent documentary on New Brunswick craft beer (how the NB beer industry started and where it’s headed, as well as what challenges could hamper its growth), is finally viewable online for the world to see! Anyone interested in the story of beer in NB can go to Vimeo to either rent the movie for less than the cost of a fresh pint, or buy it to watch anytime, anywhere. Check it out here!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new session pale ale on tap this week. Called Night Moves, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV, 35 IBU beer that hopped with Citra and Mosaic. And a reminder that the taproom on Bridge Avenue is open for business and the guest are now in full force. The dozen beer currently pouring includes offerings from the Eastern Shore’s Sober Island, Antigonish’s Half Cocked, and others. So if you’re in the PC, AJ and his band have your craft beer fix; give a thought to heading down and checking it out!

Here are the events we’re excited about in the coming weeks:

• Back in 2013, Picaroons released their Plaid to the Bone, an English Pale Ale brewed with Heather tips. Don’t be too confused, but they’re releasing a new beer, named Plaid to the Bone – Scotch Ale, to continue the Scottish theme. A big (8.6% ABV), malty brew, this one-off has been bottled and will officially be released at a Launch Party today at the Picaroons Roundhouse in Fredericton. The fun starts at 4 PM, with lots of beer available in bottles and on tap, served alongside haggis samosas and Scotch eggs, with live fiddling music to jig to (or you can just sit and listen).

• First poured at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival last month, the Tide & Boar Gastropub is releasing their Sour Otis – Peach Barrel Edition tomorrow, April 7th at 11 AM . Spontaneously fermented and aged for 7 months in a Pinot Noir barrel, this limited edition beer will be available in short supply to enjoy at the T&B, and to take home. Only 125 bottles will be available for purchase, with the remaining 57 bottles going on sale to drink in-house at the brewpub. Look for another one of their beers to be on the growler filling station at Duo Cafe as well.

• A reminder that Revel Cider from Guelph will be taking over the taps at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow from noon, with a dozen of their fun and funky ciders available all day. Check out the tap list here to get an idea of what you’ll be tasting. Fans of mixed fermentation and spontaneous beers will enjoy their offerings, and for those who don’t… fear not, there’ll be plenty of cool bottles from Stilly’s fridges and cellar available for tasting and comparing!

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub has quickly lined up their next brewery-featured event, with one of New Brunswick’s newest breweries – Holy Whale, out of Alma – bringing their beers for all to enjoy! Call Me Ishmael – A Holy Whale Micro Tap Takeover will take place tomorrow, April 7th when the pub opens at 3 PM. Holy Whale is bringing four of their beers – Whitney IBUston (Witbier), Medusa’s Milk Stout, Pale Ale, and Keller Whale (Kellerbier), which you can order by the pint or flight. No charge to attend, just show up to give them a try!

• A few days later (Wednesday, April 11th) the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection will be holding their next Ladies n’ Beers Social, at TrailWay. Join them in the TW taproom at 8 PM for a flight of beer and some beer education; just RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot (cost is $9 to attend). As always, feel free to show up beforehand or hang around afterwards, to enjoy an extra beer or two and socialize some more!

PEI Brewing Co. is celebrating their After Hours series with a launch at the brewery April 12, 5 – 7 PM. You will be taken on a guided tour of the production area, sample some future releases straight from the tank, and hear from the brewers about the inspiration and brewing process of each beer. It will also mark the return of Patience, the dry-hopped Brett Saison first bottled and released last year. Learn more about the event here.

• They’ve been open since last fall, but Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has never had an official launch party. Luckily, they’ve found the perfect excuse to have one now, in conjunction with their upcoming tap takeover at Freeman’s Little New York, at their Sackville location. The joint event will take place next Saturday, April 14th at 552 Sackville Dr., with Ol’ Biddy’s bringing 8 beers, including the last keg of their Salty Fog, a toasted coconut Porter with pink Himalayan salt, and the latest release of their Sackvegas Sour.

• Tickets are still on sale for the Friday session of St John’s BrewFest, April 20th at Club One on New Gower Street. From 6 – 10 PM, sample your choice of more than 100 beers from across North America, with most not already available in Newfoundland. Joining the local breweries will be Brooklyn’s Other Half, as well as Canadian breweries Half Hours on Earth, Blindman Brewing, and Left Field. Plus regional favourites TrailWay and Hammond River. Secure your tickets today to avoid major FOMO that weekend!

• Early Bird Pricing is ending this Monday for the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, being held in Halifax May 24 – 26. The biggest gathering of brewers from across the country, there are sessions and presentations and plenty of fun events surrounding the weekend, which we’ll be sure to share in a handy-dandy gCal and map. The Keynote Speaker is Emily Tipton, co-owner and -brewer at Boxing Rock, and the President of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. While entry to the CBAC is restricted to brewery employees, there are volunteer positions available to keep everything running smoothly. Sign up today to help make the weekend a success!

A few News Bites today:

Gahan House on the Halifax Waterfront has tapped a new cider made with fresh apples from Windsor, Nova Scotia. Hazy, pale and dry, Harbour Valley Cider finishes with “just the right amount” of tartness and is listed at 6.4% ABV.
– We mentioned last week that The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, NS, has announced that they’re opening a craft brewery called Shipwright Brewing. This week they announced that their Brewmaster will be a local Lunenburger coming back to her roots, Kellye Robertson! We’ll have more details to share about the plans for the brewery in coming weeks.
Unfiltered in Halifax has their extremely popular Citra SMaSH, DOA, back on tap for fills in the brewery and pints at Charm School as of noon today: 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU. Rumor has it there are also still a few cans of other offerings from their last canning run available at the brewery.
Upstreet in Charlottetown has a small amount of their popular sour, Million Acres Twice-hopped Sour with Centennial and Chinook back in a limited re-release today starting at 11 AM at Craft Beer Corner. 200 bottles, limit 4 per person.

With the warm-ish weather we’ve been experiencing in the region this week we’re almost wondering if the Groundhog might have been right this year, which probably means an apocalyptic storm or four is just around the corner. To take your mind off this dreadful inevitability and the zombie apocalypse that will no doubt follow, we’ve once again collected all the beer news we could find in the region this week and put it all in one place.

• It looks like Boxing Rock has been playing around in the brewhouse lately, as they’ve just released Plum Crazy, a “plum-infused sour Porter”. Starting with a slightly-tweaked recipe of their Sunken Ledge Porter, where a portion of the mash was soured in the mashtun for 48 hours, with the remainder of the grist mashed in as normal. The resulting two worts were then combined in the kettle, and boiled as usual. After primary fermentation was complete, 120 lbs of plum puree were added for about a week, where the beer was then carbonated and packaged. The result is a 5% ABV brew that is “smooth, tart, and malty, with a bit of tannic character from the plums”. You should be able to find it in bottles now at the private liquor stores, in growlers at the brewery and farmer’s markets, and on tap at select licensees.

• Late last week, Big Axe managed to release a new beer despite receiving several new pieces of brewing equipment for their expansion. A Rye IPA, Aces & Eights was brewed with two types of rye malt: Flaked Rye and Pale Rye malt. Hopped with Amarillo and Citra, this 5.8% ABV beer is a light amber colour, with “reddish hues” (the picture we saw looked quite red!), and has a “slight peppery aroma” from the Rye additions. Look for it on tap at your favourite Big Axe account, and at the brewery taproom (which very well may BE your favourite Big Axe account, naturally!) for pints and growler fills.

• Halifax’s Propeller has a brand new beer available in cans, XPA. This “Extra Pale Ale” is their latest seasonal, hopped with Citra and Idaho 7, giving the beer “complex hop aromas of orange and apricot, finishing with a backdrop of resiny pine with hints of black tea”, according to the brewery. These 473 mL cans are available right now in both Propeller retail stores, and should be following at the NSLC sometime next week. Of course, it’s on tap at Propeller for growler fills as well, and will likely show up on tap around the HRM very soon.

• There’s another new Alpha Brew being released by our friends at Good Robot this week: All You Can Eat is being billed as a Coconut IPA. Featuring a “boatload” of toasted coconut (meticulously toasted by Kelly Costello herself), the beer has a base of Golden malt, and was hopped with both Topaz and Wai-Iti. It’s “smooth and creamy” and has an aroma matching a tropical fruit salad, with coconut! Keep your eyes open for it around Halifax, and of course you can find this 6.2% ABV, 43 IBUs newbie at the source (read: brewery taproom). But we’re not done… naturally there’s a new Beta Brew coming out next Tuesday! Creamsicale was brewed with local entrepreneur Krishna Parmar, and has a grist made up of Wheat malt, Oats, and barley, and hopped with Magnum, Mandarina Bavaria, and Zythos (to 32 IBUs). At 5.8% ABV, it tastes of “citrus and vanilla ice cream, with a very subtle hop profile”. Finally, the brewery has just finished their second canning run, so you can now pick up Tom Waits For No One American Stout in 16 oz cans at the brewery.

• Bucking tradition slightly, TrailWay released their weekly one-off a bit early this week, on Wednesday. This is their latest rendition of Binary, their rotating SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) brew. Golden Promise is the malt of choice, and this time around they went with the Australian hop variety Ella. This hop has been seeing more and more action in many brews in Atlantic Canada, and is known for the floral and spicy aromas it imparts in beer, along with a grapefruit and tropical flavour. This batch is bigger than their typical one-off, so expect to see some cans of this 6% ABV hoppy brew at select ANBL stores, in addition to at the brewery taproom.

• Today Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is bringing back a summer favourite a little early, possibly in the hopes of inspiring this unseasonably warm weather into even more unseasonable territory. You might remember Sour MFer, the kettle soured wheat beer aged on a metric fuckton of tart cherries. Well it’s back, and this time it spent some time refermenting with Brettanomyces lambicus, which is known for tending to impart a cherry-pie like character. Even better, the beer also spent several months aging on oak. Available from noon for pints and fills at the brewery and/or Charm School Pub next door. Speaking of growler fills, did you know if you bring another brewery’s growler to Unfiltered, they’ll fill it? And they’ll even slap on a high-quality vinyl Unfiltered sticker before they send you on your merry way. How incredibly controversial!!

• If you head down to Tidehouse’s tinytastybeverageroom in downtown Halifax this weekend, you’ll find a brand new beer. The Atomium is a Belgian blond that comes in at 6.4% ABV. It was brewed with Pilsner, Vienna and a touch of Aromatic malt, bittered with Perle and flavoured with noble Czech Saaz. Brewmaster Peter Lionais then chose to ferment with a pair of Belgian yeasts to create a beer with a largely fruity profile contrasted with a touch of phenolic spiciness. This beer is also expected to hit the taps at the Stubborn Goat in the coming days.

Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse continues to churn out beer, belying their nano scale. Brewer/owner Keith Forbes has a couple brews bubbling away to keep the tap accounts happy. As mentioned last week (or was it the week before?), there’s a batch of Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red coming for St. Patrick’s Day and a coffee-less version of Even Gooder Brown will be ready mid-next week, this one with a light-ish body, and chocolate, caramel and nutty flavors and an overall earthy presentation. And if you’ll be at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, look for Ol’ Biddy’s to make its debut at Newbie Night on March 9th. They’ll be bringing four beers at the event, Sackvegas Sour, Orange American Bastard, Disco Inferno Red IPA and a brand new one, brewed by Keith’s longtime homebrew buddy Michael Orr, Salty Fog Coconut Porter, a dark roasty beer with hints of chocolate, caramel and coconut, and finished with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.

Maybee Brewing is launching a new beer today, which will be the first of three over the next few weeks. Today’s newbie is Whistle Stop Belgian Pale Ale, a 6.5% ABV twist on the classic Belgian style. Amber-coloured, this brew was fermented with a Saison and Brettanomyces yeast blend, giving “upfront notes of biscuit, stone fruit, and bubblegum, with a European hop spice and citrus hop accompaniment”. Finishing crisp and dry, it will be released in kegs only for now (so look for it on tap at the brewery for growler fills, and at Maybee tap accounts in the province), but will also be available in bottles during Fredericton Craft Beer Week (starting March 5th).

• We mentioned last week (eventually…sorry guys!), that the 902BrewCast boys would be hosting a live recording of their Women in the Beer Industry Panel, an open discussion featuring Meghan Brennan (Garrison Brewing), Rebecca Atkinson (Sober Island Brewing), Laura MacDonald (Stillwell), and Kelly Costello (Good Robot Brewing). The event took place this past Monday evening and the team has already sliced ’n diced the raw tape into an episode available now. Get it direct from their website here, search it out in iTunes or your favourite alternative Podcast app, or twist the dial of your favourite podcast appliance (those exist, right?)

On top of the many events we’ve mentioned over the past couple weeks, there’s a couple new ones to throw out there today:

• Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is celebrating reopening this week with an all-NL tap takeover. Beginning last night with a ticketed event that sold right out, it will continue into Friday and Saturday. Head down to the brewery during regular hours (4 PM to Midnight) today or tomorrow and find taps pouring from Port Rexton Brewing, Split Rock Brewing Co., Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., Yellowbelly Brewery, Storm Brewing and, of course, the hosts themselves! Flights will be available at $12 per and they’ll have 16oz pints besides. So head on down and experience a taste of the burgeoning beer scene on the Rock!

Battery Park is holding another one of their all-day tap takeovers next Thursday, March 1st, but this one will feature six Nova Scotia breweries, instead of just one. Small but Mighty will bring you kegs from Half Cocked, Lazy Bear, Off Track, Ol’ Biddy’s, Tanner & Co., and The Townhouse. Beers will be pouring from 11:30 am for the whole day, until the beer is gone! As always, there’s no charge to attend, just show up and enjoy some pints from some of the province’s smallest breweries! Many of the brewers will be there to soak up the praise, so don’t be shy!

• Interested in learning more about the brewing process? Saint John’s Big Tide will be hosting a Brunch & Brew on Sunday, March 25th from 10 am-1:30 pm. Head brewer Wendy Papadopoulos will educate attendees on the magic behind brewing, and you’ll also get the opportunity to take part in an actual brew day. Luckily, a two-course brunch and flight of beer is included in the ticket price ($40 + HST and fee), to keep you going! You can book your tickets here.

That’s it for this week!

– Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has started bottling, and the first bottles (500 mL) of their Revelation IPA can be found at the Corbett Centre ANBL in Fredericton this weekend, with more locations to follow, soon.

Welcome to another weekend! Maybe it’s just us, but this weekend seems well-deserved, even more than normal. So cozy up to your nice, warm computer screen (phones don’t throw off enough heat), and get caught up on all the goings-on with craft beer in Atlantic Canada this week… and there’s quite a bit of it.

• Well, you lot on the West Coast of Newfoundland are a thirsty bunch! Launching their brewery and taproom in Corner Brook last Friday, the crew at Bootleg Brew Co were overwhelmed with patrons, nearly drinking them dry! Good news for everyone is that they will be open again this weekend, with hours 4PM til late today, Saturday, and Sunday. Returning on tap are their El Diablo Rojo Amber Rye, Hoppy Roger IPA, Just the Tip Spruce Ale, beside new beer El Ray and Friends American IPA. The beer weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 48 IBUs, but that only tells part of the story. Millennium hops were used as bittering in the boil, with Hopzoil from Glacier Hops Ranch in Montana used post-fermentation. This product is the concentrated essential oils, steam-extracted from freshly-harvested El DoradoPekko, and Azacca hops. This preserves all of the aroma and flavour, with no bitterness from the alpha acids. The hops used in the beer tell the story of the name. From the brewery: “El Rey Dorado (the Golden King), was the term used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical tribal chief (Zipa) of the Muisca native people of Colombia. Pekko is named for the Finnish God of Field and Crops. Azacca is named for the Haitian god of agriculture. In turn, once a millennium El Rey and his friends Pekko and Azacca get together and have a party and drink this beer. A gift from the Gods.” The only spot to grab a sample or pint of Bootleg is at the tasting room, so be sure to drop by this weekend for a spell.

• Newfoundland’s YellowBelly has a new, experimental beer available now that was many months in the making. Spring Session Wheat is a 5.1% ABV beer that started off as a pretty standard brew with a grist of 2-row, Maris Otter, and Wheat malt, hopped with Nugget, Cluster, and Cascade. It was fermented with their house ale yeast and dry-hopped generously with El Dorado, before moving on to secondary. Some “infecting organisms” were added at this point, with the goal to develop notes of funk (but not in a dominating way), which took some time. Success eventually occurred, with the characteristics of the El Dorado developing into a “deep berry character”, according to the brewery. It’s available now at the brewpub for pints and growler fills. There’s another experimental beer underway right now as well; look for that one to debut sometime this coming summer.

• Newly-opened Four Rivers Brewing, out of Bathurst, NB, released their latest beer yesterday – Rockbolter is a Black IPA with plenty of “coffee, dark chocolate, and toffee”, to go with the hop aromas and flavours. The 6.5% ABV beer clocks in at 40 IBU, thanks to lots of Cascade and Mosaic, offering a citrus and tropical aroma to complement the roast and other dark malt character. It is available on tap for pints and growler fills now, and joins their other beers, including Havre St-Pierre, now also available for growler fills (previously only available in flights).

Propeller‘s latest entry in their Hop Collection series, Skyrocket Double IPA, is now available. This one was hopped with a new American variety, Skyrocket, a relative of the classic Chinook. Giving “complex fruit aromas, but without the piney resin commonly seen in Chinook”, it has a full body and provides a bit of alcohol warmth at 8% ABV, and with 100+ calculated IBUs, a bitter finish. It’s available now at the taproom for pints, and at both Propeller locations for growler fills. And don’t forget to drop by their Gottingen Street taproom after work this afternoon for their latest Cask, this week featuring their Cascade Pale Ale, dry-hopped in the firkin with Citra and an addition of sweet orange peel.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released a new single-hopped American IPA, Bravo! Featuring the often-underappreciated Bravo, Boxing Rock used “advanced hopping techniques” throughout the entire brewing process, include a quadruple dry-hop approach with the high-alpha acid variety. The result is a 6% ABV beer with a clean bitterness and “floral, evergreen and fruity aromas”. Available now at the brewery and market stalls in 650 mL bottles and 1 L growler fills.

• Speaking of Boxing Rock, they’ll be showcasing their annual Many Hands Pale Ale, brewed in time for International Gruit Day on February 1st. This year’s batch is brewed with bayberry leaves and berries, sweet fern, and bog myrtle, instead of hops (Gruit is a centuries-old style of beer brewed with a mixture of herbs and spices to give balancing bitterness). Also celebrating IGD is Sober Island Brewing, who are showcasing their Juniper IPA, brewed with almost three kilograms of locally-foraged juniper berries, added in the boil and during conditioning. Look for plenty of posts and maybe some giveaways on their social media, as well as Beau’s Brewery in Vankleek Hill, ON. With nearly sixty breweries taking part across the world, it should be a fun time for checking out this close cousin to beer (or maybe grandparent, as it *does* pre-date it)!

• Next Friday marks the launch of the inaugural South Shore Lobster Crawl, with restaurants, retailers, art galleries, and even breweries getting in on the crustacean action. First up, Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool brewed up South Shorer Ale, named after the boat that supplied the lobster. A hybrid of a Pale Ale and Belgian Blonde, whole lobsters was added at the beginning of the boil, were removed after it was cooked, with the empty shells returned to the boil after removing and enjoying the meat. Featuring characteristics of biscuit malts and citrusy hops, it’s a Lobster Roll experience but in a 5.0% ABV liquid format! While it debuts on the 2nd, there will be a launch party February 8th from 7PM at the Sipuke’l Gallery in Liverpool, Lobster Tales and ARTifacts. In addition to the brewery, look for kegs of the beer at a few of the Lobster Crawl participants, and White Point Beach Resort, Grand Banker, and a few spots in HRM as well.

• The second brewery taking part in the Lobster Crawl is Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing, serving up Crustacean Elation beginning next Friday. This 5.5% ABV straw-coloured ale features a base of Pilsner malt and Flaked Wheat, lightly hopped with Hallertau and Huell Melon. Whole lobsters were added during the mashing process, removed and eaten, with the shells kept and roasted, and added back during the boil. The finished product will be light and refreshing, with “a finish that tastes just a bit like the sea”, according to the brewery. The South Shore Lobster Crawl is on from Feb 2 to 19, with events taking place at more than fifty spots in the region, so be sure to check their website for the full event listing.

• Saltbox also has a pair of new beers available now that are worth checking out. During their Robbie Burns event yesterday, they released Storm Surge Maritime Ale. This was a collaboration brew, with Kirk Annand joining brewer Jeremy Fehr in the brewhouse. Annand has decades of brewing and brewery consultation experience, and together with Fehr, that amounts to more than 50 years of collective knowledge. Featuring a base of English malts (including some Caramel for colour), with North American Cascade and German Mandarina Bavaria hops, the beer highlights the influences of these cultures and regions on the people of the South Shore. The resultant beer features a light spicy character, with hints of orange, on a toasted toffee base. The 5.4% ABV beer is available now at their taproom. Also available is Whiskey Jack, a barrel-aged version of their Jeezus Murphy Irish Red, which was aged in White Oak Whiskey barrels, finishing at 8.0% ABV.

• Earlier this week, Niche Brewing sent out kegs of their latest brew, Orange Creamsicle IPA. This brew is a Milkshake IPA, brewed with a good portion of Malted Oats in the mash, and hopped with Citra and El Dorado in the boil. Lactose powder was also added in the boil to boost the mouthfeel and give a bit of residual sweetness. Fermented with London Ale III, the beer was dry-hopped with more Citra and El Dorado, as well as some Equinox, to give notes of orange and tropical fruit. Once fermentation was complete, the beer was conditioned on fresh orange zest and real vanilla bean, before being packaged. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 55 IBUs, and should be available now/soon at the James Joyce, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and The Palate in Fredericton, at Cask and Kettle and Pepper’s in Saint John, and Marky’s Laundromat in Moncton. And for the first time outside of NB, drop by Halifax’s Stillwell today for pours of their Mines of Wallonia Grisette, and Something Different Brett Table Beer.

• Today’s TrailWay release is their latest Double IPA, Lampin. Hopped entirely with Cascade from local Bloomsfield Hops Farm out of Lindsay, NB, the brewery is describing it as having a “slightly sweet front, with a soft citrus/floral finish”. Coming in at 8% ABV, the beer nevertheless goes down smooth, as is pretty standard for TW’s hoppy offerings, due to low IBUs thanks to late hop additions (with much of it going in the dry-hop). You can find it in cans and on tap at the brewery today from noon on.

• We have the info on the latest entry in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Co. Crabapple & Tangerine is an unfiltered, sparkling cider made from hand-picked local crabapples. Pressed for their juices and fermented dry, it was then finished off with fresh apple juice, perry, and a “touch” of tangerine juice and zest. The resulting cider is “refreshingly tart, with notes of tangerine and sharp apple”. You can pick up your refills of this 5% ABV one-off at the cidery today; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to Kings Point-to-Point Transit.

• Today’s Good Robot update is brought to you by the return of Burban Legend… specifically, version 2.0 of the brewery’s popular 5.9% ABV American Pale Ale, hopped with Cascade, Amarillo, Falconer’s Flight, Citra, and Centennial. Meanwhile, Kinsman’s Ale – a new Beta Brew – is being released next Tuesday. Named for guest brewer John Kinsman, a local homebrewer, and billed by the brewery as an English Porter, maple syrup and honey malt were added to encourage a bountiful body, and it was hopped with several additions of Fuggles to 35 IBUs. A very sessionable 4% ABV, look for it on tap at the brewery for Beta Brewsday next Tuesday, January 30.

Garrison‘s seasonal Chocolate Imperial Stout, Wintervention, was re-launched late last week in Nova Scotia. A big beer at 10.5% ABV, it’s brewed with Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with some Munich and Chocolate malt, and hopped with Millennium to 60 IBUs. A dark beer with a tan-coloured head, it has “rich, bittersweet chocolate aromatics with dark dried fruit and vanilla underneath”, and flavours of chocolate and molasses. Available now in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and some private stores in the HRM, it will also be hitting provincial stores in NB and Newfoundland in the near future.

• Lower Sackville’s Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse continues to pump out the beer and it continues to be snapped up by the local market. For starters, their Disco Inferno Red IPA is back, it’s 5.9% ABV with citrus and floral notes and a clean chocolate caramel finish. Also making a return is their Saturday Night Fever IPA, but with a slightly modified recipe, with malty melanoidin malt replacing crystal for body and sweetness and a dry hop of both Centennial and Amarillo. The result is a light-colored 6% ABV beer with a juicy grapefruit and floral character and a touch of bitterness. And coming soon (just going into the brite tank this weekend) is the Sackvegas Sour. With a grist of wheat, acid malt and Bohemian Pilsner malts, it was soured with a mix of acid and 2-row malts for 28 hours before the boil where it was hopped with a small amount of Columbus for roughly 5 IBU. The batch, which came in at a little less than 1 BBL, was fermented on 26.5 lbs of whole raspberries. Once it’s ready look for kegs of this one to appear at Good Robot in Halifax, in Fredericton, and likely at another tap account. Speaking of tap accounts, they’re still working on lining up another one in Halifax as we hinted about a few weeks ago; we’ll let you know where it is as soon as it’s official!

• On the South Shore of NS, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co has a new entry in their Small Lot Series available now, this one a Porter. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 27 IBU, it offers a bitterness that’s balanced by a sweeter malt profile. Featuring “loads” of roasted dark malt character combined with notes of coffee, chocolate and caramel, you’ll find it at the brewery for both growler and grunter fills. And do check out their website, that’s now been updated with profiles of all their beers as well as current availability information.

• On the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Antigonish’s Half Cocked has announced that they’ll be taking part in the Antigonish Winter Market that’s happening every Saturday from tomorrow, January 27th, through to April 28th, from 10 AM – 2 PM, at the former National Philatelic Centre (say that three times fast!) building on St. Ninian Street beside the St. FX Campus. They’ll be bringing pre-filled growlers and grunters so those arriving with a clean and empty Half Cocked vessel can simply pay for beer and be on their way. They’re also hoping to be able to provide small samples. Availability will vary, of course, but plans are to have the full lineup available as often as possible, including Pete’s Sake, XPA, Cock of the Walk, Darkest One and Bury’d Son. This is a great chance for folks to pick up Half Cocked beer in town instead of having to drive all the way out to the farm. Stay tuned for news of new Half Cocked offerings, likely to soon include a new IPA and possibly a Valentine’s Day beer in the hoppy Irish Red vein!

• Have you ever found yourself wondering whether that beer you’re eyeing in the cooler at the NSLC or another purveyor of fine local malted beverages is at it’s best, freshness-wise? We certainly have. And unfortunately, while some breweries make it explicit with stamped-on dates, some use codes that aren’t easily deciphered to indicate when a batch was packaged. Enter local beer fan Duncan Fergus. When he’s not nailing barleywines with the 902BrewCast boys (and throwing potentially ill-advised shout-outs to his mother-in-law), Duncan is doing his best to crack the codes to help us all stay on the fresh side and avoid the dreaded shelf turds. Check out his web site at Fresh 2 Death – Atlantic Canada Beer Dating Codes. And if you see the man out and about, consider buying him a beer; this is public service he’s doing.

• Some unfortunate news came out of Hortonville, NS, this week, as it was revealed on Sunday that Horton Ridge Malt and Grain Co had suffered a break-in following a very successful Songs and Suds of the Valley event. The premises and some vehicles that had been left overnight were damaged and a significant amount of cash was stolen. It seems pretty obvious that this was a targeted attack by the perpetrators looking to take advantage of the revenue earned through hard work the night before. It’s a pretty sad day when a local business, who is helping to stimulate the economy not only in its own community, but indeed the province and the rest of the Maritimes, has to deal with a setback like this thanks to petty criminals. Horton Ridge is looking for any information that anyone might have and are promising confidentiality and drinkable rewards for any information that helps track down whoever was responsible; we hope that they are successful in this endeavour.

Lots going on this weekend and next, so mark your calendars!

• A reminder to brew up your beer for Good Robot’s FemmeBot Home Brew Competiton! While the beer is not due until March 1, they ask that you register online by February 1. Open to all female and femme-identified amateur brewers, with the style being “Pre-prohibition”. A wide variety there, so check out the BJCP Style Guidelines, and check the History section for some inspiration! And while we’re talking Good Robot, today is Aussie Day at their taproom, with Australian-themed music, food, Football on the big screen.

• If you’ve been missing the fun Kitchen Party events at Quidi Vidi each Friday in the warmer months, you’re in luck! They will be holding a very special one today, marking the end of an era. After this weekend, they will be completely redesigning the retail and hospitality room space, in order to build a full time taproom, with 16 taps. There will also be changes coming to their beer lineup, so drop by today at 5PM for hints of what’s to come!

• In Halifax this evening at 6 PM, Taste of Nova Scotia is hosting their annual celebration of local aquaculture with Sip ’n Shuck, this year hosted on the 8th floor of the Delta Halifax and sporting a wide selection of local fare, in both edibles and potable and potable categories. In addition to oysters from at least seven producers, you’ll find various other seafoods, including quahogs, soft shell clams, scallops, striped bass, salmon, trout, seaweed, mussels, halibut, and eel. And from the beverage industry Nova Scotia distillers and winemakers will be pouring along with Bulwark and Annapolis Cider Co bringing apple-y goodness and Boxing Rock, Saltbox, and Garrison ensuring that our province’s beer industry is well-represented. As of this writing, tickets are still available ($65 + fees and taxes), so if fruits de mer and fine drinkables are your jam and your Friday night is as yet unbooked, maybe give a thought to heading down and sampling some the best our Province has to offer.

• Don’t forget to drop by 2 Crows this weekend to help them celebrate their First Anniversary. We already described the 5 (five!!) new beers that they are releasing in cans tomorrow in last week’s post, which will be pouring from opening Saturday at noon. There will be bar snacks and giveaways for those who drop by. On Sunday (also from noon), they are filling the board with 11 small batch beers (and cold brew coffee from Low Point), available on tap only due to availability. The list is too long to enumerate here, but trust us, you’ll want to drop by! And for those looking for a teaser of what’s to come, drop by Harvest Wines, RockHead, and/or WestSide from 5-7PM to chat with the 2 Crows Crew, grab some merch, and receive an entry for  giftcard with each growler fill.

Acadie-Broue will soon be releasing Mi-Carême, a Doppelbock, and celebrating with a Beer Launch at Moncton’s 2nd Floor at Dolma Food on Thursday, February 1st from 4:30-7:30. They’ll be opening up the rooftop and firing up their grills, shucking oysters, and making smores… what better way to celebrate the release of a brown, malty, rich, strong German Lager? The 7.5% ABV will be available in limited quantities, so make sure to drop by to give it a try and join in the fun. For those wondering (like us) what Mi-Carême means, it is an Acadian traditional day of celebration mid-way through Lent, where revelers would dress in costumes and disguises, and travel from door to door, visiting friends and family, and having their identities guessed. We’ll toast to that!

PEI Brewing Co. is bringing back their popular Transmitter Coffee Stout – this time in cans! – and is celebrating with a Launch Party on Friday, February 2nd. Held at the Receiver Brass Shop Breadworks and Roastery (only fitting since coffee roasted at Receiver is used in the brew), Transmitter will be pouring on tap, alongside special menu items from Receiver, and live music. You’ll be able to buy cans of the beer at PEIBC and Gahan locations on February 5th; it’ll hit PEILCC stores shortly after.

Niche Brewing launched four weeks ago, but due to the craziness of the holiday season and getting things running, didn’t immediately have a chance to really celebrate. Now that things have calmed down a bit, they’re inviting you to join them for their Launch Party on Saturday, February 10th at the James Joyce in Fredericton. From 7 pm on, four of their beers will be pouring (Single Origin, Something Different, Orange Creamsicle IPA, and a currently-not-released NEIPA, Apt Pupil), and all will be on for Happy Hour prices. Both Rob and Shawn will be there, eager to talk beer, and will also have some merch (glasses, shirts, and toques) available for sale.

• A reminder that entries are now open for the Canadian Brewing Awards, taking place in Halifax May 24-26. Sign up for the competition closes March 9th, with the beers due in Mississauga from March 12-23. And for those brewery folk who will be attending the conference, 3 day conference passes are now available, at Early Bird pricing until April 9. The conference features talks from industry folk around the country (and often the We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!

And a few more quick mentions afore ye go:

– Digby’s Roof Hound had a rousingly successful Tap Takeover at Battery Park last night, with 15 beers, some special cocktails, and plenty of great food served. Of note were a few one-off beer iterations, that we’ve been told may be available at other spots again soon (or maybe even still on at Battery Park if you head there for lunch!): Pink SIPA is a Pink Lemonade/Session IPA blend, weighing in at 4.5% ABV; Oat of Thyme is a lend of their Thyme to Grow a Pear and Oat Of My Mind IPA, their take on the dry-hopped sour theme; and Kentucky Devil, a variation on their Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spice Latte Strong Porter aged on Bourbon-soaked oak chips.
– And finally, Nyanza’s Big Spruce has a couple of twists for us this week, first an Experimental Gose (3.8% ABV and 15 IBU) with sea salt and Indian coriander that was surplus beer that wouldn’t fit in their tequila barrels when they brewed their collaboration with Merit Brewing of Hamilton (look for that version in the coming weeks). And second, a version of their Whole Nine Yards Scotch Ale with an infusion of whisky; this one came in at 6.3% ABV and 25 IBU. And already preparing for next Christmas, Jeremy and the gang had local violinist extraordinaire (and burgeoning brewer, apparently) Donald MacLennan in the brewhouse last week helping put together an Imperial Barrel Aged English Fruitcake Stout that will be conditioned on brandy-spiked organic plums and aged in Glenora whiskey barrels until next December!