Hill Top Hops

All posts tagged Hill Top Hops

Welcome to October 2019! While the temperature has dropped across the region, that’s only spurred on activity from our brewers. We’ve got plenty of great news from around the horn today, including two important openings happening this week in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Let’s get to it!

Let’s kick things off with Roof Hound Brewing, whose brewery and taproom are located just outside of Digby. With the acquisition of a new space in the heart of Kingston, they are expanding their operations east along the 101 Highway, bringing great beer and food to the folks in the Greenwood area. The new spot features a full kitchen, with the same diversity of offerings that fueled the Digby location, with nachos, burgers, tacos, and loaded fries on the menu. Beer-wise, the location features twelve taps of Roof Hound goodness, along with a full retail of bottles and growler fills. RHK (Roof Hound Kingston) will also be the site of their new barrel program, with beer aging in red and white wine barrels in the facility (and spirit barrels coming later). The first beer going into these barrels is a Brett and Sacch pale beer, which will sit for a spell before release. There is no brewhouse onsite, as the wort will be prepared in Digby and brought to Kingston for fermentation. Speaking of Digby, that location is closed this week as it undergoes a facelift, and will re-open next week with a new menu, with the much-anticipated return of pizza! During Fall and Winter, RHD will be open Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 PM. Roof Hound Kingston is located at 573 Main Street in the village, and is open daily 11:30 – 8 PM (closing at 9 PM on Friday and Saturday). Congratulations Roof Hound team!

Further East in the Annapolis Valley, you’ll find that the town of Sheffield Mills, famous for its Eagle Watch held every winter, now has a year-round attraction to entice visitors off the highway. Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing, which opened in 2007, is now expanding 10 minutes up the road to 9146 Hwy 221, between Sheffield Mills and Canning. This new location is the Millstone Harvest Brewhouse, the province’s first estate brewery, with 22 acres of malting barley (yielding 38 tonnes of grain), as well as hops grown on-site. They are brewing on a 24 hectolitre brewhouse (20 barrel), which is coming online shortly, and including cider in their offerings in the future as well. Millstone Harvest features a taproom with twelve taps, and a retail space fully stocked with the canned offerings. While there is no kitchen onsite, there are some snacks available, and local food delivery or BYOF is encouraged. And fear not, their Port Williams location will remain open, featuring their retail spot with the full complement of canned and growler offerings, and the home of their Pilot brewery to experiment with new recipes and ingredients. Millstone Harvest is open this weekend for soft opening “Happy Hours”, 3 – 6 PM today, and 2 – 6 PM Saturday, and we encourage you to visit their new spot to check out their location and see their plans for the future!

Miramichi’s Timber Ship Brewing has been up and running since early this year, and now that the busy months of summer are behind us, they’re releasing their first seasonal since July. “Gourd”on’s Wharf Autumn Ale was named after the local Gordon’s Wharf, and as you may have guessed from the name, is a Pumpkin Ale. A toasty, malt-forward brew that features additions of pumpkin, as well as cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice late in the boil, it comes in at 5.8% ABV and 20 IBUs. You can find it on tap now at the Apero Lounge in Miramichi. 

If you like fruit IPAs, Big Spruce’s newest beer, Hopsitality, is the beer for you! This 7% ABV American IPA was hopped with El Dorado, Mosaic, and Nugget, and has an addition of organic pineapple juice concentrate. The colour of “ripe mango”, the beer has a strong aroma of pineapple (of course!), as well as “mango, fuzzy peaches and warm pine”. Moderately bitter in the finish, the flavour is strong with more pineapple, in addition to some grapefruit. But that’s not all from BS this week, as they’ve also released It Gose Without Saying, a Citra dry-hopped Gose. Tart, and with a light salinity, this 4.2% ABV Gose has aromas of “fresh cut lemon zest and ocean air, with meringue-like foam and the taste of fresh lemon curd”, according to the brewery. Both beers are available on tap at the brewery, and most-likely some of your favourite Big Spruce accounts as well. Finally, there’s a fresh batch of their NEIPA, Death Cookies, available, so you can hit some of that up, too!

We are also thrilled to announce the details of this year’s Home Brew-Off, the seventh year Big Spruce has hosted their homebrewing competition. This year’s theme is Kveik The East!, with the competition open to all beer styles, but they must be fermented with Kviek Voss yeast, provided by Escarpment Yeast Labs. Registration is now open, and you can get the ball rolling by emailing for an entry form, and to find out the details on where to pick up the yeast. Entries must be received by November 22nd, with the judging and awards ceremony taking place at Wooden Monkey Dartmouth November 24th. As always, the winning brewer will be invited to scale up their recipe for release at the Eat. Drink. Local. Event in January 2020. Best of luck to all entrants!

PEI’s Upstreet recently hosted Summerside native Tanya Davis for a three-week stint as their artist in residence where she produced a new collection of text-based work with a theme of “Climate/Change.” While we missed the boat last week in telling you about the Artist Talk she did at the Upstreet Taproom in Charlottetown, we’re not too late to tell you about the beer that the brewery released in concert with that work. Climate/Change is a bright and tropical IPA that “pairs well with existential questions.” Featuring notes of citrus and stone fruit, this 6% ABV and 40 IBU golden-coloured brew is refreshing and juicy. As of last week it was available at the Taproom, Craft Beer Corner, and at the Pour Authority in Founders’ Hall in Charlottetown. Hopefully that’s still the case for those who haven’t had a chance to try it yet!

Staying on the Island, Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a few new beers available in their taproom and retail space. Pitcher in the Rye is a 5.4% ABV Roggenbier, a German style known for its healthy use of rye malt in the grist. Working as a complement to their Wheat Kings County Hefeweizen, Pitcher uses a Weissbier yeast style to bring out banana and clove character, with the rye (making up a third of the grist) enhances that spicy flavour on the palate. Available on draught now, and cans shortly, it can be found at better beer bars around the island. And debuting more recently is a Double IPA brewed up as a collaboration with Tatamagouche co-owner Matt Kenny. Bogside’s Mark Patriquin began his brewing career at TataBrew, which later saw him attending VLB Berlin, and working for Central City and Four Winds in British Columbia, before returning home to the Maritimes. Celebrating that return is Holiday Island, an 8.3% ABV, 83 IBU DIPA, featuring loads of Galaxy and Mosaic for a taste of the Southern Hemisphere right here in Canada. It is available on tap in Montague and Charlottetown, with cans coming post-haste to their retail shop. May’sell pop by for a feed, drink, and grab some bacon and cans to go this weekend! 

And in “Coming Soon” news from Bogside, very soon will be Bogside’s first foray into cider, using their own crusher and press to see the whole process go down from fruit to glass. Next weekend should see the release of their newest beer, a Champagne/Brut IPA hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon, which we’ll tell you more about next week. And keep your eyes on their social media for news of another beer that is just a couple of weeks from release. Lighthorse Lagered Ale is brewed in the classic Kolsch style, and is being released October 19th in celebration of the PEI Light Horse Regiment, the first on the island. $1 from each pint sold will go towards the Last Post Fund, and there will be plenty of fun to be had from 4 PM on the 19th, so be sure to drop by! 

Two of Nova Scotia’s highest-regarded breweries, North and Tatamagouche Brewing, have teamed up to brew a beer for those of you not quite ready to let go of summer, yet. Cool Melon, a Watermelon Kolsch,  is a light, easy-drinking 4.5% ABV beer that incorporated over 800 lbs of pulped watermelons (oddly, that doesn’t sound like a fun job to us!), and was hopped with Huell Melon. They’ve packaged this one in cans, which you’ll be able to find at both North shops starting today, and at TataBrew as well (word is they also have it on draught, there). This won’t be the last North/Tata collab you’ll be seeing; keep your eyes open for some fun blending and aging projects in the future!

Sticking with TataBrew, they’ve actually got a couple of new beers of their own launching this week. One is a traditional Lager brewed to squeak in to officially make it during Oktoberfest, Daybreak Kellerbier. Literally translating to “cellar beer”, Tata’s take on this ancient style (many speculate it originated in the Middle Ages) is a 4.8% beer that has “an intense gold to ripe mango colour”, with malty aromas of “sweet scone,  biscuit, white bread, and toast”. All of this malty goodness translates over to the flavour, along with hints of woodiness and grassy herbal notes, with a little lingering bitterness in the finish. Tata also has Haskap Berliner Weisse for us, a 4.3% ABV Berliner with an addition of organic Haskap berries from Sweet Earth Farms. Hazy and mauve-coloured, expect “bursts of blueberry and tart cranberry” to go with flavours of wheat in this crisp, sour, refreshing beer. 

There’s been a very odd lack of new release from 2 Crows over the past several weeks… but don’t worry, turns out they’re still alive! And we can prove it, with details of their latest beer, Old & New. The brewery’s newest Wild Saison, it was brewed with a 50:50 blend of Wheat and Pilsner malt from PEI’s Shoreline Malting. Hopped in the boil (to 20 IBUs) with Citra, Enigma, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was open-fermented (a first for 2 Crows!) in one of their foedres, with a blend of house Saison cultures (along with some yeast they grew up from a recently-opened Brett beer from the US). Conditioned for four months, the beer was finally dry-hopped with Galaxy, Loral, Azacca and Tradition, and then packaged in cans where it was allowed to carbonate naturally. The final product is 5.4% ABV, and is tasting “super bright and lemony, with a pithy bitterness, a bit of new world tropical (mandarin orange, guava) notes and a great herbal backbone”. Sounds great to us! In addition to being available in cans at the brewery, they’ll also have it pouring on tap. 

Back to Oktoberfest beers with Brightwood’s latest, Siegestor. Their take on the Märzen style, it was brewed with a grist made up of Pilsner, Biscuit, Amber, and cherry wood Smoked malt. Hopped with Hallertau and Bramling Cross, this amber-coloured Lager has a good amount of bready character on the nose and palate, with “a hint of smoke” from the smoked malt addition. It finishes clean and crisp, and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It’s currently pouring at the brewery for pints and growlers, and should be available in cans sometime next week as well.

Church Brewing has a brand new beer hitting the taps and shelves of their Wolfville taproom and retail shop today, their first containing fruit. Til Death Do Us Tart is a 5.9% ABV Framboise, namely a Pale Belgian Ale with raspberries. Using a clean Belgian yeast, the tart character of the beer is all thanks to the large addition of fruit. Restrained use of Magnum and Perle lend a light earthy and spicy note, complementing the yeast character, and taking a backseat to the raspberries. It is available today (and all weekend!) in both cans and crowlers at their retail shop adjacent to the brewery. And keep your eyes peeled for Saltwater Joys, a 4.4% ABV Gose, brewed with Pink Himalayan Salt and coriander, and fermented with Voss Kveik yeast after a partial souring with Lactobacillus. It will be released next Friday, the 11th, at the taproom for flights and pints to enjoy onsite, and cans and crowlers to take away.

Let’s head back into HRM to Propeller, where they are launching just the second beer in their very limited bottle release series. Today’s release is Farmhouse Saison, a Saison that was fermented with a blend of yeast strains: a Saison yeast, and two Brettanomyces strains (B. anomalus and B. bruxellensis). The beer was aged in red wine barrels for 8 months before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s exhibiting aromas and flavours of fruity esters, spice, and tropical characteristics thanks to the Brett strains. There are only 280 bottles available, so there will be a 3 bottle per person limit. They go on sale today at both Prop stores, so don’t wait to pick yours up! Keep in mind that this type of beer will age and evolve beautifully, so you may want to grab more than a single. As an aside, tonight’s cask night beer is Porter w/ Coffee and Chocolate

Over in Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing has yet another new iteration of their Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog, releasing at the brewery today. Those of you who are big fans of banana will be excited for this one, as it features an addition of close to 300 lbs of banana puree. They also threw in 25 lbs of toasted coconut, as well as the usual additions of lactose powder and pure vanilla extract. “But what about the hops?”, you may be asking (rightfully so, this IS TrailWay, after all). One of the newest, popular varieties out there, Sabro, was used to help bump the coconut character. The final result is a beer with huge banana aroma, and coconut and vanilla lurking in the background. They also wanted to make it clear that this beer is not hazy/murky like other Velvet Fogs* (see what we did there?), with “the banana addition aiding in flocculation tremendously”. You can find your cans, growlers, and pints of this 6.5% ABV brew at the taproom!

* For the record, Mel Tormé, the original Velvet Fog, was neither hazy, nor murky.

With fall in full swing and bigger, the bigger, darker beers are starting to make their appearance in the region. Cue Halifax’s Garrison Brewing who have once again brought back their Grand Baltic Porter, a beer they’ve released on a pretty consistent basis for quite a few years now. Big and burly, at 8.5% ABV, it’s got enough bitterness (37 IBU or so) to balance the rich and malty sweetness. With plenty of dark fruit, molasses and caramel, you should find it quite smooth thanks to the use of lager yeast, which is typical for the style. Find it in bottles at the brewery and, we expect other places where you normally get your Garrison fix. We’ve also had word that there’s a barrel-aged version of this one afoot, we’ll get the details of that to you once we have them.

Over in Good Robot land, they’ve got the latest in their Creature Feature series, Creature Feature VII – The Storm Beer. Luckily, it was actually brewed BEFORE Dorian hit, but the power was knocked out shortly after, meaning the beer/wort was left without temperature control during fermentation. Temps did get a little high, allowing the yeast to produce some “ripe fruitiness”. It was then dry-hopped with Rakau to give even more tropical character; look for this one – 5.3% ABV, 50 IBUs – on tap now. And we can fill you in on next week’s beer, Go Kart Jack Ass. A Scottish Ale brewed with some Scottish friends, it’s amber-coloured, with “low, subtly-spicy hop character, and a slight honey aroma”; 4.8% ABV, 19 IBUs.

Lots of beery events going on in the next couple of weeks in the region, with a pretty big emphasis on tomorrow! Check ’em out:

One of New Brunswick’s oldest and largest breweries (of the craft era, anyway), Picaroons, is starting a new fall tradition with their first annual Cst Robb Costello Memorial Oktoberfest. Festivities will kick off tomorrow, Saturday, October 5th, at noon, with a Fun Walk/Run to raise funds for the Cst Robb Costello Memorial Fund, a charity set up in his name to provide scholarships within the community and support both ongoing Police training and first responder families in crisis. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already it’s too late to sign up for the run event and there is no registration available at the event. But it’s NOT too late to support the cause and have some fun by purchasing tickets for the Oktoberfest celebration being put on by Picaroons. Hosted at the brewery in Fredericton, going from 2 – 6 PM tomorrow, tickets for the event itself are $30 (plus fees) and are available online through Eventbrite. While you’re purchasing, you’ll also have the opportunity to donate $20 or $50 (or an amount of your choosing) to the memorial fund. Your ticket gets you a commemorative stein, 2 beers and a sausage, with addition food and beer available for purchase on site. Pics has also brewed up a special batch for the event that they’ve canned with Craft Coast Canning, entitled Cst. Robb Costello Memorial Oktoberfest, a 5.7% fest-style lager. You can rest assured that beer will be pouring all afternoon, but given the packaging, we’d expect it will also be available for purchase at Pics locations and, hopefully, elsewhere.

PEI Brewing Company is holding their inaugural Okto-beer-feast event this weekend, putting their own spin on the traditional German event. The celebrations begin today with a “beer stein hoppy hour”, German-inspired food stations, food demonstrations, live entertainment and activities. It also marks the release of their newest seasonal, Scarlet Race Helles Lager, which attendees will be the first to try. Tomorrow’s event continues with happy hour, food trucks in the parking lot, photo booths, and more. There are games and competitions on the go throughout, with gift cards up for grabs! The weekend culminates in a live concert by Hoolerado at 9 PM. Tickets for the event are $10, or $15 for a “Beer Lovers Ticket”, which includes the first fill of your 32oz beer stein. Grab your tickets here!

If you’re in Halifax and itching to get your Oktoberfest this weekend, don’t worry, Garrison has you covered. Das Big Party takes place tomorrow, Saturday, October 5, at their Seaport Hall facility near the Halifax Seaport Market, which will be transformed into a Bavarian Biergarten. A family-friendly event, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be lots of beer. Admission is free to all and they’ll have live music starting with oompah music from 2 – 5 PM and followed by Kids Losing Sleep and Rain Over St. Ambrose starting at 6 PM as well as food for purchase from Asado Wood Fired Grill.

And Halifax’s Stillwell ain’t gonna let no dangling crane ruin their annual Oktoberfest celebrations! While this year’s event obviously can’t happen at the Beergarden location, it will still go on at Stillwell HQ on Barrington St. tomorrow, October 5th. The all-day, no-tickets-necessary party will feature steins of some of the finest Lagers and Lager-like beers available locally and beyond. But of COURSE it’s not going to stop just at beer… expect oompah music, and special food items from their wonderful kitchen, including currywurst and fries, schnitzel sandwiches, and pretzel bites with mustard and cheese sauce. It all starts at noon!

If you’re in the Annapolis Royal area this weekend and looking for a party, we’ve got one for ya! Annapolis Brewing is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow, October 5th, and they want you to drop by to join in on the fun. The party starts at 3 pm – of course there will be plenty of beer flowing (with a free glass per person for the first 100 pints sold), in addition to axe throwing from 3-5 pm, and live music by Callehan from 8-11 pm. 

If you’re in Moncton on Sunday, October 6, you’ve got the opportunity to attend an Oktoberfest event that’s maybe a little different from the traditional big lederhosen-laden bash. Euston Park Social, New Brunswick’s newest Beer Garden, is hosting noted food, drink, and travel writer Evan Rail for a guided tasting of 6 beers and 6 Oktoberfest-style food pairings from Euston Park’s chefs, Gene Cormier and Manny Brison. Beers will be courtesy of New Brunswick breweries Grand Monk, Flying Boats, Holy Whale, Brasseux d’la Cote, CAVOK, and O’Creek Brewing. Tickets are $55 (plus fees) and can be purchased online through EventBrite up until tomorrow.

The Ladies Beer League of Halifax is putting on an event bringing together crafting and beer for a good cause. In concert with Kind Krafts and Garrison Brewing, and benefiting the Prescott Group, Crafty Fall Bevvy on October 10th from 8 PM to 10 PM at Garrison’s Seaport Hall will give you the chance to make some handmade cards, leather coasters, and/or bracelets while you socialize and sip some of your Garrison favorites. Admission is free and all crafting materials are provided. At the end of the session you’ll have the choice of purchasing your coasters and bracelets or donating them to be sold by Kind Krafts to benefit the Prescott Group, their charity of the season. Prescott Group operates vocational, personal development and employment programs for individuals with an intellectual disability. A worthy cause indeed. Check out the event page to sign up for your ticket (again, free, but a limited number of spaces are available).

And a few last quick mentions before we leave you to your Friday afternoon:

Chain Yard Cider is putting a call out for any apples that you may have (sexy or gross, doesn’t matter!), which they would like to use to brew a special “community cider”; a portion of the proceeds from this cider will go to Feed Nova Scotia. If you’re interested in participating, drop them a message on Facebook or email info@chainyardcider.com, and they’ll take it from there! 

Heritage Brewing has a new beer this week, Strawberry Rhubarb Kettle Sour, a 5% ABV kettle sour that was conditioned on strawberries and rhubarb (you probably guessed that!). Tart and refreshing, you can find it on tap now at the brewery. 

Hill Top Hops has released Harvest Ale (5% ABV), a wet-hopped beer for the season and de rigueur, we think for a brewery with its own hopyard; available at the brewery.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has brought back the beer that launched them two years ago, and one that makes a frequent appearance on their brew schedule. Single Origin is a 5.0% ABV Coffee Sweet Stout, featuring Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, as well as lactose power for a light sweetness. Find it at better beer bars in New Brunswick.

Think Brewing has rebrewed their American IPA, Train of Thought, but upped it to a DIPA that is bigger in both ABV (9.3%) and hops. Heavily dry-hopped with a dose of El Dorado and several other American varieties, it has tropical fruit, resin, and pineapple on the nose. Look for it at your usual Think tap accounts; it’s also on at the growler station at the York St. ANBL in Fredericton. 

York County Cider has released the latest in their bottled Seasonal Reserve line; Apple Pie (8.2%) was aged for three months in Cape Breton whisky barrels and has notes of “apple, oak, whisky, cinnamon, and vanilla”. You can find 750 mL bottles at various ANBL stores in NB, and it’s also on tap at York County’s taproom in Fredericton.

It’s shaping up to be another lovely weekend across the region, so let’s keep this short and sweet and get you that pint in your hand ASAP! Here’s what’s new and exciting in Atlantic Canada this weekend. As usual, if we’ve missed something, let us know and we’ll get the word out next week!

The Church Brewing Company at 329 Main St in Wolfville, NS, is now serving their own beer! Having opened their restaurant and taproom at the beginning of 2019, the brewery took a little bit longer to set up. As of last weekend, their Sanctuary Enkel (3.8% ABV) and Mayflower White IPA (5.8% ABV) are pouring at the restaurant for your enjoyment. With cans are coming in August to both their retail shop and the NSLC, the only place to grab a pint of Church Brew Co beer for now is at the brewery, so pop out and toast their success! The restaurant is open from 10 AM, seven days a week, so now’s the time to visit, in case you have not yet made the trip. More information from them, and more of their own beers on tap, soon! In the meantime, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb / Ig / Tw) for updates. Oh, and peep their podcast episode recorded just this week with the 902 Brewcast crew, at your finer podcast retailers.

And speaking of new breweries, word went out on social media a couple weeks ago from newly revitalized DME Process Systems that they’re building a system for a place in Bedford. That’s right, someone has noticed that the stretch from Clayton Park to Sackville is relatively bereft of craft breweries and has decided to do something about it. That someone is the Grafton Connor Group, who operate more than 14 establishments throughout HRM and beyond, including long-standing family restaurants like The Esquire and Kempsters, the classic seafood house Five Fishermen, and possibly Halifax’s most (in)famous nightclub, The Dome. Of late, another of their properties, The Auction House, has quietly become a destination for craft beer in the downtown. You may also remember that when The Auction House opened, it featured a much-maligned ferment-on-premise (FoP) system in the front window, but this new brewery will not be that: a full 10 BBL (12 hL) mash tun and kettle will be installed along with four 10 BBL fermentation tanks and a hot liquor tank besides. Beer will be served on-premises direct from four 5 BBL bright tanks, and some kegging will take place to service other Grafton Connor properties, including Roxbury Urban Dive Bar, Riverside Pub, Redwood Grill, The Dome, Hide + Seek, and The Auction House. Where, you may ask, is this place going to be? On the south side of Bedford at Mill Cove, in Brewster’s Bar & Grill. We’ve been told they expect the equipment to be delivered in October, and hope to be up and running in November, just in time for Christmas Party season. We’ll check back in with them later in the year to see how they’re doing and hopefully get some more details on what they plan to offer in terms of beers.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing celebrated their First Anniversary last weekend, which brought with it two new beers into the fold. Thanks to an expansion of their fermentation and conditioning capabilities (they’ve added 7 new tanks!), they’ll be able to keep up with demand of their core beers, as well as introduce new recipes. The first is Yacht Rock, in celebration of their weekly Thursday night Brews Cruise on the Tall Ship Silva, running all summer long. Single-hopped with Comet, this Session IPA features a light base of Pilsner, Munich, CaraPils, and Crystal malts, and at 3.7% ABV and 28 IB, perfect for enjoying on the boat, wharf, patio, or wherever you find yourself this weekend. And pop by the brewery taproom at 91 Alderney Drive to grab a sample, pint, or growler of their other new release, Louisville Chugger. An old-school Kentucky Common weighing in at 4.5% ABV, this historic recipe features corn in the grist, and is lightly hopped to 21 IBU with Cluster hops. Keep an eye on their social media for details on their ever-rotating list of musicians playing on their taproom stage.

St. John’s latest brewery, Bannerman Brewing Co., released a new beer late last week. Mood Improvement is a kettle sour that was inspired by the Moscow Mule, a mixed drink traditionally made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. While there’s no vodka in Mood Improvement (thankfully!), they did add ginger, along with a dry hop of Motueka, before finally conditioning the beer on lime puree. The resulting beer, which weighs in at 5.2% ABV, is tasting “light and refreshing, with citrusy and spicy notes” to go along with the tartness. If you’re in that fine city this weekend, we highly suggest you drop by for a pint or fill to take away.

This year’s Stan Rogers Folk Festival (aka Stanfest), being held in Canso, NS from July 25th-28th, will include Nyanza’s own Big Spruce at the event. This is the 23rd year for the music festival, and the first year that they have used a local brewery as the beer provider. Big Spruce is pretty hyped about that, so naturally they’ve created a new beer for the occasion! Stanfest, a 4.2% ABV “Session Ale” created with the intention of being the perfect outdoor-concert-summer-sipper. Lightly hazy, nice tight foam, dry and light-bodied. Those not in attendance *may* have a chance to try it at the brewery or better retail spots after this weekend, if they’re lucky! In order to reduce glass issues, the Beer Tent at Stanfest is all cans, so look for other faves like Kitchen Party, Cereal Killer, and The Silver Tart, as well as bevvies from Bulwark and Nova Scotia Spirit Co

And available now at the brewery taproom in Nyanza, and soon at better bars and retail locations in HRM, is Maracu-YES!, a 7.1% ABV “Passion Fruit IPA”. Starting with a base of a Hazy IPA, it conditioned on a ton (figuratively) of Organic passion fruit to impart its iconic tart character along with the floral, tropical fruity notes from the flesh. The result is a lovely melding of these two worlds, with the beer giving the drinker something new with every sip. Maracu-YES! is a draught-only release, so find a patio pouring it, and take your growler to the brewery this weekend!

2 Crows Brewing on Halifax’s Brunswick Street is continuing their summer of bottle releases, with Persica hitting the shelves tomorrow at noon. This Golden Sour beer started from a malt base of Pilsner malt, oats, spelt, wheat, and special aromatic malt in the tun, made a quick turn into the kettle, but did not receive any hops in the boil. After cooling, the wort was transferred directly into freshly-emptied peach brandy barrels, ready to impart their fuzzy fruity goodness. After fermenting and conditioning in the barrels for a total of 3 months, the beer was transferred to a tank, with a heavy addition of Organic dried peaches. After 2 more months to allow everything to be extracted from the fruit possible, the still (flat) beer was bottled with a touch of sugar and champagne yeast, and has spent the last two months carbing up. That’s quite the journey for this little beer, but now the wait is over! Peach comes through the beer in waves, on top of the lightly funky, tart, and bright base, reminiscent of fuzzy peaches candy. Bottles of the 6.5% ABV beer are available from noon tomorrow at the taproom, with one keg available for onsite pours (or in bottles, if you’d prefer).

Niche Brewing is releasing another new beer this week, a dry-hopped kettle sour that they’re calling Wander. Coming in at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU, it was hopped very lightly during the boil with two hops known for citrus and fruity character, Idaho 7 and Citra. After fermentation had completed, however, massive amounts of both varieties were used to dry hop, giving a powerful hop nose and flavor notes of tropical fruit and stone fruit along with a bit of dankness. Given that it’s quite tart, it’s a lovely palate cleanser and will no doubt make a great companion to food. Look for it on tap at The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Southside Shake, Graystone Brewing, Le BarBu and Laundromat Expresso Bar, and hopefully some other places as well.

Propeller Brewing keeps the new beers coming and coming, with a couple releases this week to help keep your thirsts satisfied, just in time for the weekend. Hypocrite American Stout ain’t your typical American Stout… it was fermented with the Norwegian Voss Kveik yeast. Brewed on Prop’s pilot system in collaboration with Peter Davis, winner of this year’s Everwood Homebrew Competition, the use of Kveik yeast adds an orange, citrus flavour to the beer, to go with the typical roasted characteristics seen in American Stouts. A very small batch that comes in at 6.1% ABV and 31 IBUs, it will be available for pints and flights at Prop’s tasting room, and will be pouring at tonight’s Cask Night, starting at 5 pm. There’s also a couple of kegs going to Battery Park, the Board Room Cafe, and Truro’s Nook and Cranny, in Davis’ hometown. 

Next up is Sabro Sour IPA, a 6.1% ABV kettle sour brewed with lots and lots of flaked oats to help give a smooth mouthfeel. While Sabro hops were indeed used in this beer, Mosaic was also used as a late-boil addition, and Galaxy was thrown into the dry-hop addition (along with the Sabro). Featuring a lactose addition in the boil to add a touch of sweetness, the hops provide plenty of tropical fruit aromas to this tart beer, and at just 10 IBUs, you don’t have to worry about any lingering bitterness. This one is the latest in their line of Gottingen Small Batch releases, which means draught-only, and should be available for growler fills at both Prop locations, and pints and flights in Halifax, as of 5PM today. 

There’s a brand new outdoor sidewalk patio at Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing, and what better way to celebrate than with a brand new beer to drink on it! Appropriately named Sidewalk Saison, the beer was brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, as well as equal amounts of oat, rye, and wheat. Some fresh lychee, tangerine peel, and cardamom were added to the boil; the wort was then fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast strain. This is a very light, easy-drinking brew (at just 3.8% ABV) that has the cardamom coming through prominently in the aroma, with “some slight Belgian funk, followed by some upfront acidity and a balance of citrus and spice”. Grab your seat on the sunny patio (the weekend looks quite nice) and order up a pint! 

Looks like Horton Ridge is keeping up their collaborating pace, as they’re latest team-effort beer, brewed with Annapolis Brewing, has been released this week. The beer is a 6.5% ABV NEIPA named Juicy Bits, and it was – of course – brewed with 100% Horton Ridge organic floor-malted malt. Hopped heavily (3 lbs/bbl) with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Idaho 7, this hazy beverage is very fruit-forward and juicy. Available in limited quantities only, at both taprooms. 

Today marks the third collaboration beer release that Tidehouse has brewed with Dartmouth’s Low Point Coffee, but this one is definitely a step away from the first two beers. Sidama is a Saison… probably not the first beer style you would think of to feature coffee, but stay with us, we’ll walk you through it. Brewed with a Pilsner malt base as well as additions of flaked oats, flaked wheat, and Vienna malt, there was also a touch of Pale Chocolate malt added (via sparging only) to add a “touch of orange colour” without extracting any chocolate flavours. The wort was hopped with Huell Melon and Motueka, and then fermented and allowed to condition since late May, until it was ready for the coffee addition. Speaking of the coffee, the beans (specifically, Green Ethiopia Tolima coffee beans) were first added to peach brandy barrels, and then extracted and lightly roasted at Halifax’s Java Blend. These beans were then made into a “very potent” cold brew, which the chaps at Tidehouse blended into the Saison before bottle conditioning. And now it’s ready! With notes of peaches, vanilla, and tropical fruit, there’s also plenty of malt character and some toasted oak in the background, along with a bit of citrus and honeydew from the hop additions. You can find it on tap at the brewery for pints and tasters, and there’s also bottles (both 340 mL and 650 mL) to purchase for takeaway. 

Charlottetown’s Upstreet has brought back a pair of seasonal favourites, perfect for enjoying outside amongst friends this weekend. First up is Rainbrew Strawberry Lavender Saison, released Monday to celebrate Pride PEI, and tomorrow’s parade through downtown Charlottetown. Featuring ingredients from all colours of the rainbow including Red strawberries, Orange and Yellow malts (all from Island Malt House in PEI), Green hops (wild hops from NB’s Moose Mountain), Blue water, and Purple Lavender. The resulting beer shows influence of the berries, flowers, and yeast, on a dry yet complex base. Grab a pint of this 5.5% ABV brew at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner today! Plus back on tap and in cans is Island Hopspitality, their annual ode to hops, this year focusing on Australia and New Zealand, thanks to Galaxy, Waimeau, and Wakatu in the boil and dry hop. Hazy, juicy, tropical, resinous, this is everything we’re looking for in a 6.5% ABV NEIPA this summer.

Port Rexton Brewing has released the second of their beers for the Port Rexton Come Home Year, celebrating 50 years of the town. Events continue this weekend, which can now be highlighted by Lamplighter, PRBC’s latest brew. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV, this beer is best described as a “craft lager”, sure to pique everyone’s taste buds. “With light floral notes and a smooth body, this easy-drinking beer is crisp, clean and super crushable!” It’s available right now in the taproom, as well as at the St. John’s Retail Shop (while supplies last).

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks is releasing the fourth installment in their series of Summer Seasonals this week, with a Witbier featuring blood orange and an unwieldy name. From Brussels with Blood: a Blood Orange Witbier is pretty much what it says on the tin: a wheat-laden beer with classic notes of coriander and orange peel, but also featuring some additional character, especially citrus, from additions of curaçao (a liqueur made with bitter orange peel) and, of course, blood orange (and a hefty dose at that). Look for aromas of orange peel, vanilla and even some bubblegum along with a pronounced citric tartness. At 5.0% ABV and only 15 IBU you can expect this one to be refreshing in the heat and especially well-paired with hearty foods. Although it’s been canned, it’s only available at the Nine Locks retail store, so you’ll need to get yourself to Dartmouth to grab some.

School has been out for 5 weeks now, but luckily for residents of Windsor, NS, Schoolhouse Brewery is still going strong. Their latest addition to their lineup, Early Dismissal, is a Kolsch that was fermented with a yeast strain “traditionally used in mostly wheat beers”, to 5.5% ABV. The beer was then aged at cool temperatures for four weeks after fermentation was complete, before packaging in kegs. Only available on tap, with the majority at the brewery’s taproom, they’re describing it as having a bready flavour with a “subtle but noticeable fruitiness” and a clean finish. 

What’s on the go this weekend, and beyond? Here’s what’s got us excited…

Unfiltered is turning four, and they’re celebrating tomorrow, July 27th, with a party, Unfiltered-style. What does that mean, you ask? Well, they’ll be pouring plenty of beer (including the return of both Daytimer and Front Line Rocker), with special prices, and lots of cursing throughout the event! Food will be available on-site from The Other Bean, and DJ Chris Toms will be spinning some tunes until they’re forced to shut ‘er down. They’ll even be taking over a portion of the parking lot, to take advantage of that beautiful weather. The fun starts at noon… don’t forget to bring your empty growlers!

Those Stillwell events just keep on comin’, with next Saturday, August 3rd being no exception, as they welcome Ontario’s Bellwoods to Halifax. One of the highest-rated breweries in the country, they’ll be taking over the taps (11) all day, and will also be bringing plenty of bottles for purchase to enjoy on-site. You know what that means –  lots of hoppy, sour, wild goodness… and more! A special menu from the kitchen will also be on hand to fill your eager tummies, and the next day they’ll be serving a selection of Bellwoods sour beers at the Stilly Beegarden, from noon to close. And check out Bishop’s Cellar that Saturday at 8 am; they’ll have some Bellwoods cans on hand for sale.

Tickets are still available for next weekend’s Down East Brew Festival, being held in downtown Fredericton. Taking over Carleton Street 4 – 8 PM August 3rd, breweries from across the province, as well as food trucks, will be serving their wares for thirst and hungry visitors. The accompanying Beer Run kicks off at 3 PM, so maybe you can work up a thirst to get the party started. Check out tickets here.

One of Saint John’s longest-running breweries, Big Tide, is turning the big 1-0 in a couple of weeks, and they’re holding a 10th Anniversary With a Purpose on Monday, August 5th. The small, ticketed event will occur from 7:30 pm – 9 pm, and will feature a tasting of a number of BT beers, with the brewers also in attendance to provide details and answer questions on each. The kitchen will also be providing a selection of finger foods, and your $20 ticket entitles you to a commemorative souvenir. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Bobby’s Hospice; call the brewery today to reserve yours at 506-214-3311 (you can also purchase them directly at the brewpub). 

On August 9th and 10th, the Halifax Seaport Cider and Beer Fest will once again be taking over the Cunard Centre, and pouring beers and ciders from across the world to attendees. With most Nova Scotian breweries in attendance, plus 20 from New Brunswick and PEI, the Maritimes’ producers will be well represented. Guest beer from the rest of the country, and afar, will also be in full supply, including a delegacy from Iceland braving the Atlantic to attend. The Maine Brewers Guild is sending the Maine Beer Box to the event, featuring 78 taps of beer from our closest state. Grab your tickets here!

Before we let you go, just a few Newsbites for ya:

Gahan House in Charlottetown is pouring a new creation from the brewpub, German Hefeweizen (4.7% ABV, 20 IBUs). Medium-bodied with “aromas of fruit and phenols, leading into a pillowy mouthfeel with notes of banana, clove, bubblegum, and a slight yeast finish”. 

Good Robot has a fresh batch of their El Corazón de Ángel (a Mexican Lager w/ orange peel and lime zest) on tap, and will soon be pouring a collaboration they brewed with Graystone Brewing, Outdoorsy Brut IPA (7.2% ABV, 25 IBUs). Described as “herbal and light”, you can also find it on tap at Graystone’s taproom in Fredericton. And pick up their El Espinazo del Diablo Corn Lager with lime and jalapenos at your local NSLC, and check their Facebook and Instagram pages for a contest they’re currently running.

Hilltop Hops in Newport, NS, is pouring a pair of new beers this weekend, perfect for a hot summer’s day. Smash is a 4.6% ABV light and crisp beer brewed with their 215 hops, old growth hops planted by English settlers, growing in nearby Summerville. And Hill Top Saison weighs in at 4.1% ABV, and while it can be described as hoppy (naturally!), it’s light on bitterness with more fruity character. Pop by their taproom right beside Tidal Bore market on Highway 14!

Microbrasserie Houblon-Pecheur has just bottled their latest beer, Balbuzard Pêcheur IPA (6% ABV). They’re describing it as an East Coast IPA with “big tropical fruit flavour and aroma”. Looks like it’s currently available at the Caraquet, Tracadie, and Shippagan ANBL stores, with others to follow in the fall.

Tatamagouche Brewing has a pair of returning favourite this week, the first being their Englishish Golden Ale, a 4.5% ABV brew perfect for a session in your favourite local. English hops bring out traditional earthy, floral, and spicy aromatics, and make it a nice pair to pub food. Also returning, and now available on their online store for shipping Canada-wide, is Feronia. This 5.1% ABV beer is fermented solely with Brettanomyces (a blend of three strains, in fact), and was aged on Organic plums before bottle conditioning for a melding of dark fruit and funky yeast character, all in a lovely package. 750 mL bottles can also be found at Bishop’s Cellar as of today.

TrailWay has brought back their extremely popular DDH Hu Jon Hops (6.5% ABV), the double-dry-hopped (you figured that out already, didn’t you?) version of their flagship IPA, HJH. Brewed only once a year, it’s hoppiness dialed to 11, with “flavours of pineapple, overripe tropical fruit, and citrus, with a firm, spicy, dank backbone”. On tap and in cans at the brewery, with a few local pubs getting kegs as well.

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.