Hill Top Hops

All posts tagged Hill Top Hops

Happy Friday, everyone! While we have your attention, would any of you be opposed to us renaming this weekly post the “Almost-Saturday Wrap Up”? No? Great, we didn’t think so!

And now, beer.

We’ve got the news on the latest bottle release from Halifax’s Tide House, which was just released yesterday. Turtles All the Way Down (<brain explodes>) is a Saison with a grist made up mostly of Pilsner and Wheat, with some Flaked Oats and Acid malt thrown in for good measure. Hopped with Ahtanum, the wort was fermented with the Old World Saison blend (made up of two “classic” Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs, giving a light-bodied beer with notes of “pepper, lemon, honey and spice”. It’s an easy-drinking 4.7% ABV, so when you’re at the brewery to pick up your stock, you might as well grab a few, no?

For the second year in a row, Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing has paired up with Bangor’s Geaghan Brothers Brewing for a collaboration beer, which will be released in Fredericton today. A Lot in Common is a California Common which was brewed at Maybee, with several of the Geaghan Brothers team making the short trip north to participate in the brew day. With a grist featuring a blend of Canadian, German, and British malts, it was hopped with Cluster to 38 IBUs. Fermented at cool ale temperatures to keep the production of fruity esters to a minimum, this 5.6% ABV amber-coloured “hybrid” has aromas of “raison, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and Baker’s chocolate” with more of the same in the flavour, followed by an assertive bitterness in the finish. This one will be available on tap and in cans, both of which can be found at the Maybee taproom right now; it’ll also be on tap at many Maybee accounts, as well as the ANBL growler program as of March 7th. And of course at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, where both breweries (and many, many more) will be pouring the best and newest beers. More details below.

If you’re eating and drinking in Dartmouth this weekend, you may want to swing by North and/or Battery Park (and if you’re doing your eating and drinking there, even better!). Why, you ask? Well, North is releasing Into the Aether today, an Imperial Stout that has a lot more than just roast character going for it. This 5 bbl batch of beer has additions of 5-6 lbs of toasted cocoa nibs and 12 lbs of toasted coconut, as well as vanilla and sea salt to top it all off. They’re aiming for a beer with a balanced blend of all of these flavours, so that no single one of them overshadows the others. You can grab cans at both retail shops, with the only kegs being poured at Battery Park on their nitro tap.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a brand new sour hitting the taps over the next few days, Ginger Spur. This 4.7% ABV beer started with a grist of Pilsner, 2-Row, Munich and Wheat malts, and was soured with Lactobacillus plantarum, before being boiled and lightly hopped with Amarillo (to 6 IBU… like we said, “lightly hopped”, mainly to ensure the Lacto cannot survive). After fermentation is when the fun began, as the beer was conditioned on fresh lemon zest and a mixture of fresh and powdered ginger, for a complementary blend of citrus aroma and ginger flavour and zip, on top of the lightly sour base beer. Kegs of Ginger Spur will be delivered to a few restaurants in Fredericton and Saint John next week, and will be available to Niche fans in Nova Scotia, pouring at HopYard Halifax before the end of the weekend.

TrailWay has got their hop-oil-soaked hands on a popular new American hop variety, Sabro, which they’ve used in their latest American IPA, Urban Sabrero. Sabro is an odd variety in that it doesn’t have a European heritage (like most hops do); it actually comes from a sub-species that has been growing wild in the mountains of New Mexico for the past million years (according to the Washington Beer Blog). Many sources have described Sabro as very unique, featuring flavours of tangerine, tropical fruit, citrus, coconut, and even hints of “cedar, mint and cream”. In TW’s beer, they also added some other hop varieties they deemed showing similarities to these descriptors, resulting in a 6% ABV brew with aromas and flavours of “coconut, pina colada, tangerine citrus, and vanilla”. Urban Sabrero is releasing today on tap and in cans at the brewery.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has released a mixed four-pack of cans this week, the winning beers of their collaborative contest with the Newfermenters Home Brew Club. The homebrew competition was held in the Fall of 2018, and saw the top 4 brewers drop into QV for a brewday. The winning beers are: Uncle Fred’s Kolsch (4.5% ABV), Iron Cherry Sour (5.5% ABV), Milky Way NEIPA (5.9% ABV), and Perfect Storm Dunkelweizen (6.0% ABV). Four-packs flew off the shelves at QVBC yesterday, but they assure us that there will be more available soon. They are also available at a few NLCs today, so be sure to ask at your local one!

We think that maybe Good Robot is mad at us or something, because instead of making us report on their usual weekly Beta Brew release, they had to go and make FOUR of them! To be fair, they *are* pretty psyched about celebrating FemmeBot, so it may actually have more to do with that than actually messing with our heads. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt! So, let’s get right to these beers, shall we? All were brewed with local ladies who are keen on the beer scene in Halifax.

  • #yololager – A 4.8% ABV “light and crushable lager” made by local real estate agent Jess Tasker (March 5th release)
  • The Ploughwind – A 6.7% ABV “big, rich stout” made by Missy Searl (March 6th release)
  • Aunty Fukkup’s Blueberry Pie-PA – A 4.4% ABV light Pale Ale hopped with Saphir, with a generous addition of blueberries, brewed with Dalhousie nursing student Leslie Langille (March 7th release)
  • Imposter’s Syndrome – A 4.1% ABV Dark Wheat Ale brewed with Whitney Moran, co-author of East Coast Crafted (March 9th release)

Actually, that wasn’t so bad. Sorry for complaining! Finally, next week’s Alpha beer will be this year’s official FemmeBot brew, Big Witch Energy. Brewed with Golden Promise malt, Summer hops, and sweet orange peel (which was added with the dry hop), it sounds like a refreshing break from some of the other big beers out there this time of year.

Halifax stalwart Garrison, now rocking their third decade of production in the city, have all kinds of new beer news to share with us this week. First up is the return of Sour to the People, brewed in conjunction with the folks from The Carleton restaurant on Argyle Street. Originally brewed in Summer of 2017, this will be an excellent beer to help get you through the last dregs of winter and help remind you that better weather is (maybe!) just around the corner. With lots of notes of peach, lemon and green apple sour notes balanced against pineapple, citrus and pine notes from new hop Denali, the beer is 6.1% ABV and, as is often the case with sour beers, 0 IBU. Available in cans and on draft at the brewery (and we suspect both cans and kegs will make it to other places in the city).

Next up, as is traditional with Garrison, the winning beer from last year’s Garrison Home Brew-off is being released at the same time as the winners of this year’s competition are announced. Kölsch 1149, a 5.2% ABV Kölsch by Dave Martin and Kent Brooks was on tap last night at this year’s awards gala and will continue to be available at the brewery, including cans. As for the 2019 competition results, this year’s category was another European style that was perhaps a little difficult for local brewers to wrap their heads around, with no commercial examples readily available. A fairly sweet and full-bodied lager balanced very much towards the malt side (“a sandwich in a glass”), it also generally packs a punch, in the 6.3 – 7.5% ABV range. Four beers won accolades this year, starting with an honorable mention for Kevin Sweezey’s entry. The top three were Jeramy Slaunwhite in 3rd place, Scott MacLean in 2nd and David Pepper winning the competition. Pepper and Slaunwhite are no strangers to the winners’ circle in local homebrew competitions; the two were category winners in the 2016 Big Spruce competition where Pepper’s Risky Biscuits Dark Mild also took Best of Show. Look for the winning beer to be brewed in time for next year’s awards gala where the category has already been announced: New England IPA!! Garrison also made sure to include a shoutout to local homebrew supplier Noble Grape who every year help immensely with the logistics of this competition.

And in still more Garrison news, this coming week also marks the release of the first beer they’ve ever produced by an all-female team. Starting with brewer Kellye Robertson, Susannah is a collaboration with East Coast Wild Foods, who provided wild-foraged sumac and sea buckthorn to this all-German malt Imperial Pale Lager that was heavily hopped with Topaz and Hallertau Blanc. Look for elements of sweet grain complemented by elements from the hops and fruit, including notes of lychee, grapefruit and pineapple. Proceeds from the beer, which is being packaged in 473 mL cans will support women in trades in Nova Scotia through the NSCC Foundation. A launch party for the beer will take place next Friday, March 8th, at the Garrison Brewery. Starting at 7 PM, it will feature live music from Halifax rockers Like a Motorcycle beginning at 8:30 PM. Meanwhile Ray Brisson, the artist who designed the label, will be present, Birdie’s Bread Co. will have food available for purchase, and East Coast Wild Foods will be on site to talk about foraging and the workshops that they run. No tickets are required for entry, but donations will be taken at the door in support of the NSCC Foundation.

Propeller Brewing, also in their third decade of operation, has plenty of news for us this week as well, including the launch of a pair of new beers for us to enjoy. First up is the return of their Irish Red, just in time for that *big celebration of all things Irish* later in the month. While the recipe for this 5.0% ABV, 25 IBU beer has not changed, this year’s version has been left unfiltered, letting more flavour molecules through to your sniffer and taster. Look for sweetness and light roast from the malt, with an earthy hoppiness from the traditional UK hops.

Debuting today at their Gottingen taproom is an experiment months in the making: they took their ESB and aged it for 4 months in the barrels that previously held their Baltic Porter. The light malt in the base beer, along with the light barrel and dark malt notes from the porter, make this a wonderful beer to enjoy lightly carbed, so they will be featuring this beer on their bartop at the taproom for the entire month of March (or as long as the casks last!). Pop by today at 5 PM for the tapping of the first Barrel Aged ESB, and enjoy a pint. Paired with the Propeller Arcade downstairs, and/or today’s Cask Night snack, Vandal Doughnuts, you can kick your weekend off right!

Also hitting the taps today is the release of a beer Propeller brewed in celebration of International Women’s Day, Call Me Blondie. Brewed with the fine crew of the Ladies Beer League, CMB is a Blonde Ale with a twist, as it is dry-hopped with Simcoe, featuring a melon and cantaloupe aroma, complementing the citrus flavour and light and crisp body. This draught-only beer debuts at today’s Cask Friday event as well, and will be pouring at LBL’s big International Women’s Day event at Halifax’s Timber Lounge on March 8, Axe the Patriarchy. From 7 – 10 PM, drop in to enjoy the beer, live music, craft corner, and meet your fellow local beer enthusiasts! There is no fee to attend, though a portion of axe throwing costs, and donations, are being collected to support Alice House.

Newly-opened 3Flip Brewing out of Douglas, NB has a one-off, limited release that should be hitting a couple of taps soon, and will also be pouring at the FCBF Nano Night next Friday. The beer is Sassy Cow, a 5% ABV “Root Beer Milk Stout” that showcases a “sweet malt/lactose flavour with hints of roasted coffee”. Complemented by aromas and flavours of root beer (thanks to the addition of a special extract), the finishing bitterness is low. If you don’t have tickets to next week’s Nano Night, and still want to try the beer, both The Joyce and Saint John Ale House will be receiving a keg over the next few days.

After an extremely busy couple of weeks after opening in mid-January, Hill Top Hops Brewhouse in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, had to re-fill their fermenters and build up some product. They are scheduled to reopen today, Friday March 1st starting at noon and going ‘til 10 PM. The full lineup of taps will be available, including their Cream Ale, Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, Pilsner, Red Ale, and Porter. Fans of their IPA will have to wait one more week. Be sure to check out their Fb page for updates to their hours for the winter season.

New Scotland in Dartmouth has a brand new beer on the go, one they’re calling Eastbound Brown. An American Brown Ale, a somewhat surprisingly uncommon style in our region, it’s big and malty, but hard-hitting in the bitterness department with 64 IBU and in terms of ABV at 6.8%. Look for some hints of chocolate paired with malty sweetness underlying a very firm bitterness and an aroma characteristic of American ‘C’ hops. You’ll find it at their taproom this week for sure, with the potential for a few kegs to make it to other locations about town.

Also in Dartmouth, Nine Locks is celebrating their 3rd Anniversary with the release of Champagne IPA. Combining lots of hop aroma (leaning on citrus and Juicy Fruit) with high, downright spritzy carbonation, it finishes very dry with a moderate bitterness. Nothing says “celebrate” like Champagne, ya know? It weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 38 IBUs, and can be picked up at the taproom as we speak.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing continues to crank out beers in their more experimental First Sail series. This week’s entry, Dark Cherry Blonde was based on their Kölsch from a malt and mash perspective, but fermented with clean American yeast and with some dark cherries added towards the end of fermentation. At 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, expect something akin to a rosé wine, with a light body and a slight sweetness balanced by some tartness from the cherries. Only at the brewery and in very limited quantities, it’s available for pints or crowlers to go. And if that weren’t enough to get you there, the Midnight Oil milk stout is back by popular demand. A blend of six malts, it’s a medium-bodied milk stout with bit of nuttiness sitting on top of a base of cacao, coffee and vanilla flavors, with a sweetness from an addition of lactose. Coming in at 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU, you can sit down for a pint, bring a growler for a fill, or grab a crowler to go!

New beer coming at you from 2 Crows when they open today at noon (although by the way things are going, I’m going to assume when this post is actually published, noon has already come and gone). Livewire is a hoppy Brett Saison brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, as well as some Wheat, Rye and Oats. Hopped lightly with Calypso and Azacca, a portion of the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then blended back in with the rest of the beer when the acidity reached the level they were looking for. The entire batch was fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, and finally dry-hopped with the delicious Enigma variety. Expect a very dry beer with funk, light pith, and “notes of Pinot Gris, lemon zest, and rock melon, with a firm minerality and a touch of tartness”, according to 2C. It weighs in at 4.6% ABV and 17 IBUs, and can be found (probably now!) at the brewery in cans and on tap.

In yet more beer competition news (well, sorta), this time from Spindrift, the winning beer from their first (annual, we hope) homebrew competition is once again available, this time with a twist. Brian Whalen’s Naughtius Maximus v2.0: Naughtier Maximumus has a slightly different grist from the original recipe due to some crystal malt left at the bottom of the grain mill, but it’s also been cellared since 2018. Perfectly balanced between bitter and crisp this 7.3% ABV and 22 IBU Belgian Saison is on tap at the brewery now, though only 40 L were made, so you’ll want to move fast if you want in on this.

In what could be seen as sad news, Naughtier Maximus also marks the end of Spindrift’s Seventh Wave Series, those growler-fill-at-the-brewery-only small batch, often experimental brews that would taunt those who couldn’t get over to Burnside before they were gone. But weep not, gentle reader, as is often the case, as one door closes, another opens. Coming March 7th is the first beer in an all new series designed and curated by Steve Crane, Spindrift’s Assistant Brewer, called Future Thoughts. Designed to be like Seventh Wave in being somewhat experimental, and notably exploring contemporary styles, flavours and brewing techniques, Future Thoughts batches are scheduled to be larger, allowing for more customers to have a chance to try them and at a somewhat more leisurely pace versus the old mad dash to Dartmouth. Look for the first beer in this series, Lemon to a Knife Fight Blueberry Imperial Wit to be released this coming Thursday, March 7th. We’ll no doubt have the full details on that beer next week.

For those of you interested in keeping track of the going-ons in the Town of Wolfville, the first reading of the amendments to their Municipal Planning Strategy and Land-Use Bylaws happened Feb 4, and we were in attendance to take in the action. The issue at hand is whether to make changes to the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Usage By-laws (LUB) to (a) have a clear policy statement on alcohol producers, (b) specifically allow off-site sales of product, and (c) forbid contract brewing. With the legality of contract brewing already decided (as far as we can tell, it’s illegal in Nova Scotia), the second amendment is where the rubber meets the road. Last week’s meeting was the first reading of the amendments, and was crammed with members of the public wanting to be heard, mostly expressing their objection to the changes. Video of Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here, or, if you prefer to just listen instead, you can find an audio version here (loud audio warning at 8:20).

But let’s back up for a second. Why the fuss? The public are concerned that Church Brewing (who have recently opened their restaurant, but whose brewery is still under construction) will increase truck traffic as much as 10-fold on Main Street, take up many parking spaces, and have 24/7 noise and brewing smells. These concerns seem to be largely based on a preponderance of poor information, some of which has a particular odor of its own, and the most dubious of which is the notion that Church Brewing will somehow reach 15,000 hectoliters of production, the legal limit for a craft brewery in this province, in the near future. We noted above that both Garrison and Propeller have passed the 20 year mark in their respective lifespans. Both have spent over two decades working to extend their distribution footprint from Halifax to not just beyond Nova Scotia but beyond Atlantic Canada as well. And both fall well short of 15,000 hL per year in production. To suggest that Church could attain even greater success in any kind of short time is either a massive nod to Church’s business plan and leadership or fearmongering at its worst. Most of the doom and gloom scenarios being proffered as dissent are heavily anchored in this number as a realistic estimate of production.

We encourage everyone with an interest to educate themselves; there is plenty of material available online thanks to the Town of Wolfville and interested parties such as the 902BrewCast. While we understand some of the consternation and concern about how things have been done, we believe that, as in so many communities in our region, having Church open and producing quality beer will benefit the town and its citizens. You can find the agenda for the next town council session regarding the MPS and LUB changes here. We hope that these meetings lead to us writing a profile of Church after their successful opening as a brewery in the near future.

A few things coming up events-wise:

Secret Cove Brewing Co. has been celebrating their Grand Opening the past couple of days, but don’t worry if you missed it! They’re continuing with more events throughout this weekend. Tonight they’re launching a brand new beer (which they’re not sharing details on yet… sorry!) to go with their open mic night, and while closed some of tomorrow for a private event, they’ll be reopening their doors to the public at 6 PM, with live music starting at 7 PM. Finally, Sunday will feature a Kitchen Party from 2 – 6 PM; they’ve also hinted at a “special announcement” sometime throughout the weekend. Congrats to all of the Secret Cove crew!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is turning one, and in true Newfoundland fashion, they’re celebratin’ (ok, most breweries celebrate their anniversaries, but it’s NL so maybe it’ll be even more fun?) at the taproom today. Starting at 4 pm when they open, there will be snacks throughout the day, plenty of beer from both Bootleg and local guest breweries, and live music starting at 10 PM tonight. No cover!

We mentioned the big Belgian beer drop at Moncton’s Tide & Boar two weeks ago, but wanted to remind you all since the event officially happens tomorrow, March 2nd. Check out the link for all the details, but rest assured if you love Belgian beer, you want to be going to this. They open at 11 am; it’ll be going on all day, but we’re pretty positive that some of these bottles will be gone quickly, so best that you get there early!

As we’ve mentioned earlier in the post, the annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is next week, with the main event – the beer festival! – happening next Saturday, March 9th. While tickets for the evening session are sold out, there ARE still a few regular-entry afternoon session ones available (grab them here). There are also events going on throughout the week, leading up to Saturday, including our Trivia Night at The Joyce on Thursday, March 7th, which is also happening at the same time as a Hammond River tap takeover. There’s some educational seminars as well, including Distilling School and Home Brewing School on Thursday, and Beer School on Friday, March 8th, which is a day-long event that focuses on several aspects of the brewing process. As for the main event on Saturday, you know what to expect… hope to see you there!

And our usual last mentions on our way out the door (where? To get BEER):

Picaroons has released CBA, a 7.5% ABV “Canadian Black Ale”; described as “big, dark, and hoppy”, we think it’s pretty safe for you to put this in the Black IPA category. You can currently find it at all Picaroons locations, and it should be hitting ANBL stores sometime next week.

Port Rexton has their newest American Pale Ale exclusively on tap, Pith and Substance (5.9% ABV). Featuring “grapefruit pith vibes and a delicate strawberry aroma”, it has a medium bitterness in the finish; look for it at the PR taproom and retail shop, as well as on tap at Bootleg Brew Co. for tonight’s One Year Anniversary Tap Takeover that we mentioned earlier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hill Top Hops Brewhouse is a small batch brewery located in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia. Owned by John and Adrienne Peters, the brewery arose out of their love for the local brewing community, which they got into through hop farming for the past 3 seasons. They will be celebrating their Grand Opening this Saturday, January 19th, from noon. We caught up with Adrienne to learn more about their hop farm and brewery, beers they have available, and plans for the future.

Can you tell us about yourselves?
We are John and Adrienne Peters we live in Avondale, Hants County. We have three young children and are passionate about living and thriving in our community. We own a hop yard in Scotch Village, 15 min away from our home, called Hill Top Hops. And we’ve recently opened Hill Top Hops Brewhouse in the Brooklyn area, adjacent to the Tidal Bore Farm Market, about 5 minutes from where we live.

How did the hop farm come to be?
John definitely has a green thumb and really enjoys being outside and gardening. By trade he is a Pipefitter with UA Local 56, but knew he always wanted to farm, and enjoyed brewing beer at home. As the opportunities presented themselves, he decided to make his two passions a reality. John loved the idea of starting some “farming” and growing hops seemed like something different. Not a lot of people were doing it, our family has land we had access to, so we thought why not! Soon after that came talk of craft beer and experimenting, and that’s what brought us to where we are today. Since starting the hop farm, John has had some great collaborations with the guys at Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery, including an exclusive ale, and selling them hops for their Annapolis beers (Hants County Hop On Harvest Ale in 2016 and Annapolis Hop Field Pale Ale in 2017). He had been brewing at home as a hobby for years prior to opening the brewhouse.

Can you tell us about the Hill Top Hops ethos?
Hill Top Hops Brewhouse has a rustic, warm and inviting atmosphere. We are a very hands on business, doing all our work ourselves with the help of our friends and family. We’re especially grateful to John’s dad, Fred, he’s been very helpful with renovations and put in a lot of time with John. Our mission is to have many great memories made there. We use only local NS hops, the majority of which are our own. Today we grow AlphAroma, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus. When we want to use a hop that we don’t grow, we will look to our friends in the hop growing industry for those varietals. We have purchased hops from Levy’s Country Acreage, and from our good friends at Wicked Hops in Stewiacke. We brew on a 220 litre (2 BBL) brewhouse.

Which beers will you have available for Saturday?
The beer that we have on tap for our Grand Opening are:
Avondale Cream Ale – Lightly hopped with our Cascade hops. A smooth drinking beer. 4.6%
The Tidal Bore Blond – A blend of our hops including Columbus, Chinook & Cascade. 5.3%
Hants County Proud Pale Ale – A medley of our Columbus, Centennial and Chinook dry hops.
Cashmere Pilsner – A crisp and citrusy 5% beer. Brewed with Cashmere hops from Levy’s farm.
Hop Storm IPA – Six kinds of hops in 5 additions, all from our farm. A strong and delicious 6.6%
Red Tale – A Red Ale, has Galena, Columbus and lots of Centennial hops from our hop yard and is a 6% beer.
We will be offering other great specialty beers throughout the year.

We are licensed for on-site sales, we have a hospitality room and retail permit. We sell 1L and 500ml refillable growlers, and will offer keg sales in the very near future. We exchange our own growlers, and will fill other breweries’ growlers.

Can you tell us about your plans for the future?
Our vision is to expand and build a brewery at the hop farm in Scotch Village, provide hopyard tours, tidal bore viewing and more, as well as keep our current location running.

Any parting words?
We are excited to be part of the craft beer world, so far it has been an inviting one.

Congratulations to Hill Top Hops on their Grand Opening this weekend! Drop by their location at 7232 Highway 14 from noon Saturday, January 19th, to enjoy their six beers onsite or to go in growlers. Going forward, the brewery taproom is open Wednesday and Thursday 12 – 8 PM, Friday 12 – 10 PM, Saturday 10 AM – 10 PM, and Sunday 12 – 6 PM. Keep an eye on their social media (Fb / IG / Tw) for updates on opening hours, new releases. Congratulations to the Peters family on the opening!