Holy Whale Brewing

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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.

Happy Spring Everyone! Now we just need to tell Mother Nature that! But it will be nice to see the snow eventually receding so that you have a big more time to dodge the potholes. A handful of new beers and events this week, so grab that coffee, or coffee stout, and get up to speed on the beer news. As always, if you have beer info you’d like us to share, please don’t hesitate to send it along! We’re always happy to spread the word about the great beer in our region.

News concerning collaboration beers brewed for International Women’s Day keeps trickling in; this week, we can fill you in on the one released by Petit-Sault and Big Tide. Brewed at the Petit-Sault brewery in Edmundston, Brighid is an 8.8% abv “Strawberry Brut IPA”. Hopped with Mosaic and Lemondrop, enzymes were added to help the beer dry out as much as possible, as is typical for the Brut IPA style. During fermentation, strawberry puree was added (to the tune of 300 lbs), giving the beer a hazy, pinkish hue. Tropical, juicy, and super-dry (as expected), it’s currently available on tap only, at both breweries. Look for 750 mL bottles to appear at both locations next week, as well.

One of New Brunswick’s newest breweries (for a little while longer, anyway), Hampton Brewing, dropped a new beer release in time for St. Patrick’s Day last weekend. Ol’Marley is a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, brewed with a mixture of Roasted Barley and Chocolate malts to impart plenty of roasted, coffee-like character in the aroma and flavour. The beer also features the addition of rum-soaked, organic cacao nibs, adding even more chocolatey goodness to the finished product. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 32 IBUs, it has a medium body and moderate bitterness in the finish. Look for it on tap at your favourite Hampton Brewing account.

Let’s move back to Brut IPA territory; specifically to Smiths Cove, NS, where Lazy Bear Brewing has released their very own. Simply named Brut IPA, it was dry-hopped with Ariana, Callista, and El Dorado; we’re going to assume no hops were added during the boil, as the brewery lists the IBUs as “very low to none”. The beer comes in at 7% ABV and finishes very dry (again, thanks in part to the addition of enzymes); it’s available on tap at the brewery during the Thursday Growler Evenings and the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, with kegs possibly being sent elsewhere soon.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing has a new beer out this week that hopefully will put you in mind of warmer days to come. A grisette, In Limbo was brewed with primarily Pilsner malt, with plenty of spelt and both flaked and malted wheat rounding out the grist, and it was hopped lightly with classic noble Saaz before being fermented with Niche’s house culture. The result is a beer with a light body and a pleasant lemon presence that’s definitely on the funkier side of the style, but which certainly doesn’t bash you over the head with yeast character. Easy-drinking and refreshing, at 4.2% ABV you can have a few and without worrying you might dart out in front of an oxcart during the festival of the vernal equinox! Look for it at Niche tap accounts around NB and, if the folks in Halifax are lucky again, maybe some will come to that city as well.

We warned you a month ago to keep your eyes out for a beer featuring carrots, and sure enough, it has come to pass as those crazy kids at Boxing Rock in Shelburne, NS, have pushed the boundaries yet again with 14 Carrot Gold. This beer is a collaboration with Square Roots, a brand that encompasses a pair of projects under the aegis of Enactus SMU that aim to help reduce food waste and eliminate food insecurity in our communities. One way to address the former is to find uses for the less pretty produce that might not be sold if it were put on the shelf. So this beer isn’t just full of carrots, it’s full of ugly carrots, carrots that might roll a rabbit in a dark alley, carrots that you wouldn’t bring home to meet your Mom, but carrots that taste just fine. The juice of these carrots was added to the mash, joining a grist that included some honey malt to encourage some balancing malt sweetness. Into the kettle the wort went, to be hopped up (sorry*) with Calypso, Magnum, and Hallertauer Mittelfruh. The overall result is a clean and refreshing rather orange pale ale that is herbal and slightly spicy, but which also definitely tastes of carrots. You can find it already in 650 mL bottles at the brewery, Boxing Rock Bottle Shop at Local Source and private liquor stores in Halifax, and it will also be on the shelves at NSLC locations starting April 1st. Maybe grab an extra to put out for the Easter Bunny to enjoy? And speaking of the bottle shop, thanks to the associated Test Kitchen, they’ve also got a brand new one on the taps: FLEX IPA clocks in at a hefty 7.3% ABV and sports plenty of Falconer’s Flight, Centennial, and Simcoe hops. Stop by to grab a growler if you’re in the North End.

* totally not sorry

Spindrift Brewing has their latest entry in their Out of the Hold series bottled and available for sale, FIKA. This one is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout that was fermented in stainless, and then transferred to a French oak barrel for months of aging. Once it was ready to be packaged (in 500 mL bottles), the beer was infused with espresso beans, vanilla, and cardamom (in essence, now making it an Imperial Coffee Stout). Wondering about the beer’s name? Well, “fika” is apparently the Swedish word for “coffee break”, and the espresso beans were bought from IKEA (which we’re sure we do not have to explain to you what that is). You can pick up your bottles at the brewery’s taproom right now; check out the HRM’s private liquor stores in the near future as well. Note that this beer was brewed with lactose, just in case you’re intolerant of such things!

Halifax’s Garrison brewed up a special collaboration with the staff of Agricola Street Brasserie that made its debut last week at their beer dinner at that restaurant. How Dairy?! is a one off draft-only release available for now at the brewery for samples, pints, and growler fills, although it’s expected to be sent out to a few tap accounts as well. A stout weighing in at 4.7% ABV, it was built on pale ale and Munich malts, with oats, crystal malt and roasted barley rounding out the grist. Hopped to 32 IBU with Millennium, it also contains lactose, which very well might take it into the sweet stout or milk stout category. You can make that determination for yourself if you head down and give this smooth and full-bodied beer with notes of coffee and chocolate a try.

Bryan Carver, certified Cicerone, former Brewmaster at PEIBC, and former employee in the technical services department at DME Brewing, will be opening his own brewery – Modern Brewer’s Village Green – in Cornwall, PEI, this summer. Located at 1 Cornwall Rd, the building currently houses a dentist’s office which is relocating at the end of this month. While his equipment has not been ordered yet, as he’s waiting for the building to be rezoned, Carver plans to brew on a 2 bbl (240 L) system, to concentrate primarily on serving the 25-seat taproom. Locals can expect to try beers that they may not have tried before, as Carver plans to focus on styles that may not be easily-accessible to the area. We will have much more with Carver on Village Green as the project progresses.

We’ve got a few events to tell you about this week, definitely worth leaving the March Madness behind for a few hours, we reckon!

We mentioned it a few weeks ago, but here’s your reminder that this year’s Péché Day will be happening tomorrow and folks in our region are lucky enough to have two options available: Stillwell in Halifax and Tide & Boar in Moncton. Péché Day celebrates Péché Mortel, a Imperial Coffee Stout from Dieu du Ciel! that continues to be one of the finest beers in the country year after year. There will be seven variants on offer this year, all boasting an ABV of 9.5%:

  • Péché Mortel – the original
  • Péché Mortel Bourbon 2018 and 2019 – two different vintages aged in bourbon barrels
  • Péché Mortel Cerise – brewed with cherries
  • Péché Mortel Coconut – matured on toasted coconut
  • Péché Mortel Islay 2019 – aged in Islay Scotch barrels
  • Péché Mortel Moka – brewed with cacao

If you’re at all a fan of big, dark boozy beers, especially those featuring wood aging or other additions, you might want to find a way to check it out. You might also want to strongly consider 5 oz tasting glasses if you want to run to try them all!!

Last week we gave you the full rundown on the Flavabot: Rake ‘n Scrape event being thrown down on Sunday by the Lime Stone Group at Good Robot in Halifax, but we thought it prudent to give you a little reminder that there will be four brand new beers available, all with a Caribbean influence:

  • Rake ‘n Scrape – 6.9% ABV Tropical IIPA with mangoes & pomegranate, 70 IBU
  • Blackbeard’s Amber Ale – 4.5% ABV, Blackberry Amber Ale, 30 IBU
  • Pineapples & Coconut … Bro – 5.6% ABV, Pina colada Wheat Ale, 27 IBU
  • Passion Bliss – 5.5% ABV, Passion fruit Pale Ale, 50 IBU

Brunch starts at 10 AM but the party goes ALL DAY. That said, only the Rake ‘n Scrape is a full-size Alpha batch, so if you want to increase your chances of tasting the other three best get there early.

Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is celebrating the release of a brand new beer Sunday, a collaboration with the Hopped Up Gaming East (HUGE) podcast. Button Masher is a 7.0% Cherry IPA, featuring loads of Citra hops for a hazy, aromatic and bitter IPA, that was then “juiced up” with black cherries. Keeping with the mutual love of video games and beer, the teammates will be launching the beer at the Board Room Cafe on Barrington Street in Halifax. From 7 – 9 PM, there will be Video Game Trivia, with the beer pouring all evening. Drop by to grab the first pints and take part in the fun, and then look for it on tap around Halifax, with bottles of Button Masher coming next week.

Next Saturday, March 30, White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL, will be celebrating BrewSKI 2019! With Beer Yoga kicking off the day at 10 AM, to a fun ski & snowboard race at 12 PM, to the BrewSKI Craft Beer Fest starting at 7 PM, there is a whole day of fun to be had on the ski hills. The evening’s festival will feature beer from 8 Newfoundland breweries and cideries: Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co (Conception Bay), Bootleg Brewery (Corner Brook), Landwash Brewery (Mt Pearl), Port Rexton Brewing Co (Port Rexton), Quidi Vidi Brewery (Quidi Vidi), Split Rock Brewery (Twillingate), YellowBelly Brewery (St. John’s), plus the Newfoundland Cider Company (Milton). There will be live music by 3 Shades of Grey and The Dimaggios, and food from Oh My Cheeses. Tickets for the day’s events are available now, grab them and find your best retro snowsuit to fit right in with the crowd.

Just a few more notes to pass along this week!

We mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s post with His Excellency Pavel Hrnčíř, the Czech Republic’s Ambassador to Canada, but wanted to remind you that the 902 BrewCast has dropped their March Tasting Episode today, and it covers all things Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. In addition to that interview, they spoke with Geaghan Brothers, Holy Whale, and O’Creek Brewing. Listen in!

Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery has brought back their Brackish, a 4.8% ABV Sour Ale that features Newfoundland Sea Salt, their take on a German Gose. With draught, growlers, and cans available at the brewery now, we suggest popping by to grab some. And to celebrate its return, the folks at Landwash have a couple of fun things on the go. They actually brewed a second full-sized batch, and added mango puree to it, and so Mango Brackish is pouring (and available to go in growlers) at the brewery now. And, also, too, they’ve cask conditioned 20 litres of the unfruited Brackish, and swapped out the standard sea salt for Newfoundland Salt Company’s Juniper Smoked Salt, for a floral and herbal cousin of the original. This one is in short supply (and we’re not even positive it’s still available!), so if that sounds like something you’d like, be sure to pop by the brewery today when they open at 4 PM.

Propeller Brewing has brought back a favourite from the fall, their Galaxy IPA. This 6.5% hoppy, hazy, and juicy IPA feature a ton of the great Aussie hop Galaxy added in the kettle and fermenter, for tropical, citrus, and stonefruit character. Back now on tap and in cans, with four-packs available at the NSLC for the first time next week.

Unfiltered is bringing back their Fist of God DIPA again, a “fruity, tropical, soft, and delicious” 7.5% ABV hop bomb. Available today at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans. So is their Citra bomb DOA which came back last week. If you love some hops, you know where to go.

In a case of a community doing the right thing, the Town of Wolfville agreed Tuesday to amend their Land Use Bylaws and Municipal Planning Strategy to explicitly allow breweries to operate and sell beer off-site. This is great news for Church Brewing, who continue construction of their on-premise brewery at 329 Main Street in the town, to complement the already thriving restaurant. If struck down, it would have severely handcuffed them from the start, and had the unintended consequence of hurting other craft alcohol producers in the same zone, including Annapolis Cider Company, Bad Apple Brewhouse, and Paddy’s Pub.

Here we are in the shank of February and I think it’s safe to say lots of us are already looking forward to Spring (*shakes fist at groundhog*). Plenty to tell you about in these parts this week, with some new openings, plenty of new beers, and even some brewery jobs opening up. Let’s get right to it!

In case you missed the big news, Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South is opening their doors tomorrow! Saturday from 2 – 10 PM, they will be pouring three of their beers for onsite consumption and to take away in growlers. Pop by to try their Porter (4.9% ABV), Pale Ale (4.7% ABV) and White IPA (5.7% ABV), which may also be complemented by some other great Newfoundland Craft Beer. They’ll be open Sunday at 2 PM as well, if you need a refill on that growler! To learn more about Ninepenny, check our yesterday’s Profile with them, and keep an eye on their social media (Fb/IG/Tw) for the latest and greatest news from CBS!

Southern New Brunswick also has a new brewery to call their own, as Hampton Brewing Company has recently launched their first two beers. While they wait for their forever home in the town of Hampton to come together, they are brewing in Saint John, thanks to their buds at Loyalist City. HBC’s first two beers to hit the taps are their take on hoppy brews, an ode to their love of the styles. Victory! is a 5.5% ABV American Pale Ale, with Citra and Vic Secret hops to the tune of 50 IBU, for a citrus, tropical, and piney aroma and flavour profile on top of a smooth base. Crush is a 4.6% ABV Session IPA, featuring loads of late addition Centennial and Mosaic hops (also about 50 IBU), for a citrus and stone fruit character with a floral touch. This smooth mouthfeel and medium-light body make this a beer one can truly enjoy for a full “session”. Find the first two Hampton Brewing beers at the Cask and Kettle and Peppers Pub in Saint John and at The Joyce in Fredericton, and other local-beer-friendly establishments in between very soon. We’ll have a full Profile with HBC early next week!

There was a new beer release from 2 Crows last week, and the jerks didn’t even remember to let us know! As a result, there’s still some left at the brewery for you to grab, so we might as well tell you all about it now. Jamboree is their latest sour beer, brewed with Pilsner, wheat malt, raw wheat, and oats. After being soured with Lactobacillus, the wort was fermented nice and warm with Ebbengarden Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, they conditioned the beer on a whack o’ fruit… specifically, 190 kg of strawberry purée and 130 kg guava purée. Woo! They also dry-hopped the beer with Huell Melon to add more fruit flavour (and to hold back that Lactobacillus, as the wort was not boiled after souring). They’re using the words “crazy tropical, lush, fuzzy, and smooth” to describe this one, and we’ll take their word for it! Available at the brewery on tap and in cans.

Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. continues to play with new beers with the release of Cherry Bomb!, a “Sour Red Ale”. This kettle sour features a portion of Rye malt in the grist to add a touch of spice in the aroma, which also has notes of dark fruit, thanks to the addition of cherries (you probably gathered that from the name, we’d guess). Pretty sessionable at 4.5% ABV, there’s “just enough sweetness to balance the tart”. Drop by the Bootleg tap room in Corner Brook for a taste/growler.

The Neon Friday series from Upstreet returns today, with the release of Neon Friday Session IPA. This actually isn’t the first Session IPA in the series, but we’re pretty sure it’s the first one with a shortish name! This one was hopped with Amarillo, Cashmere and Motueka. Bittered in the medium-low region (on paper) of 25 IBUs, this 4.5% ABV brew has “lime and melon aromas, with hints of tropical stone fruit and tangerine”, and a soft mouthfeel. They’ll be celebrating its release today at the Craft Beer Corner from 5-7 pm with a Daytime Disco, featuring DJ Bradford Rooney. As for the beer, you can find it on tap and in cans at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown, and on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, with cans following at the private stores in Halifax in the near future.

We’ve got a pair of releasesMore bottle releases at Tidehouse, with this week’s featuring the brewery’s first stab at the strong Wheatwine style. King Friday was brewed with over half of the grist made up of Wheat malt (as is common for the style), and hopped entirely with Ahtanum. It is indeed strong, at 9.5% ABV, making it similar to a Barleywine, but lighter in colour. TH is describing the beer as sweet and malty, definitely meant for sipping (as we hope any beer with this ABV would be!). Bottles of this one (in both 341 mL and the “one-person-all-night-party” 750 mL) will be available at the brewery today at 2 pm. Also available today is a new beer from frequent guest brewer Ian Wheatly, with his Lil’ Witty. Wheatly’s take on a Belgian Witbier is true to style with lots of wheat in the grist, and coriander and orange peel to enhance the citrus and spice from the yeast. Lightly bittered with Magnum to balance, this 5.1% ABV beer is available on tap for samples and pints, and to go in growler fills.

St. John’s brewery and brewpub YellowBelly continue their series of winter ciders this week with another apple and fruit blend. Strawberry Passion Fruit Apple Cider is a 6.5% ABV cider, featuring, you guessed it, Passion Fruit and Strawberry. Tropical notes of citrus, mango, pineapple, capped by strawberry bring memories of summers past, and a hope for the months to come. It is available now on tap at the brewpub, their airport location, and the YellowBelly Takeaway, where it can also be grabbed in growler format.

In the Annapolis Valley area and itching for something smokey? Annapolis Brewing has you covered with their 1921 Smoked Lager. Released earlier this week at their taproom, the beer had beechwood smoked malt in the grist to provide plenty of smokiness in the flavour. Hopped with Hallertau, it was fermented with a German Lager yeast strain, and then lagered (natch) to bring the flavours together even more. The brewery’s first Lager comes in at 5.3% ABV and 24 IBUs, and you can drop by right now (do it!) to give it a try.

Continuing with Annapolis Valley news, by popular demand, Annapolis Cider is re-releasing a favorite from their Something Different series, Hopped Pear. A sparkling perry and apple blend coming in at 6.3% ABV, the perry was created with two separate fermentations, one of Flemish Beauty pears fermented dry and then dry-hopped, and one of Bosc pears, also fermented dry before being finished with a touch of fresh-pressed apple juice. Put together, the two create a crisp and refreshing perry with a distinct hop character that is balanced by more mellow notes of ripe pear and fresh apple. A slight bitterness completes the picture and highlights the dryness of the overall product. As always, this one is available at the cidery on Main Street in Wolfville with $0.50 from each refill being donated to Refresh Annapolis Valley.

The mad scientists at Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, have yet another new beer for you this week, one they’re calling Vibrant. A mixed-fermentation saison with raspberry and hibiscus, it weighs in at 5.9% ABV. Based on a grist of mostly Pilsner malt with a healthy portion of wheat added, it was fermented with Niche’s house culture. Raspberry puree was added to the mix after fermentation had slowed down and the hibiscus was introduced during conditioning. Slightly floral and herbal, with a slight tannic quality and a light funkiness, the raspberry is predominant, but the hibiscus certainly makes itself known. This deep red brew will be released to tap accounts in New Brunswick next week, but the first two kegs are actually going to Nova Scotia, where Stillwell has spoken for two kegs (along with one each of Single Origin, Niche’s coffee sweet stout, and Counting Stars, their latest NEIPA).

O’Creek Brewing, a nanobrewery in Dieppe, has debuted a brand new beer this week. Coffee Island is an 8.8% ABV Imperial Stout, which features the addition of cold brewed coffee during conditioning. The grist consists of Chocolate, Roast, Coffee and Carapils malts (on top of the 2-Row base). Chocolate malt notes blend with the intense coffee, all on a lovely balanced beer. Grab a pint of it on the guest taps at CAVOK Brewing or Marky’s Laundromat, and at this weekend’s beerfest at Dolma Food (more details below).

As the region gets ready for the premier bash of the year in a couple of weeks’ time, the folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have teamed up with Flying Boats Brewing to create a special beer just for the fest. Flying Sasquatch Pale Ale is described as a “medium-bodied East Coast Pale Ale” and it features Canada’s first patented and trademarked hop, Sasquatch™ from Hops Connect (who generously provided the hops for this brew). Most of the hops were added towards the end of the boil, imparting a balanced herbal and grassy character with a gentle orange and tangerine citrus flavor and aroma. Coming in at 5.6% ABV and 42 IBU, you’ll find it in select ANBL stores as of this weekend in 473 mL cans, at ANBL growler stations starting February 28th, and on tap for pints and fills (and in cans as well) at Flying Boats’ taproom at 700 Malenfant Boulevard in Dieppe!

Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is getting ready to launch one of their biggest beers yet, a Russian Imperial Stout named Star Anise Destroyer. With a big grist that includes a pretty hefty portion of Dextrin malt (to help give that full body that you may expect from the style), this 9.7% ABV brew was dry-hopped with a pound of hand-crushed star anise pods (is dry-star-anised a word? It should be!). Brewer Les Barr was looking to bring some black licorice character to this beer, similar to a Jager liqueur, and it sounds like he may have succeeded! Hopped to a high-IBU level to help balance all that roast and sweetness from the grain bill, it’s “surprisingly smooth and refreshing for such a big beer”, according to Barr. Look for bottles to be officially released on March 1st; it’ll also show up on tap at the Roof Hound tap takeover at Battery Park on March 7th… don’t worry, we’ll have more details on that event, soon!

Attention, Mount Pearl, Newfoundland hop lovers! Your local brewery, Landwash, has just released their first DIPA, Dream Island #1, and it’s sounding delicious! With a grist that includes flaked oats and malted oats to boost the beer’s mouthfeel and haziness, it was hopped heavily with Simcoe and Mosaic, giving the final product notes of “orange zest, tangerine juice, and mango flavours”. Who are you to say no to Simcoe and Mosaic? This one comes in at a hefty 8% ABV – it IS a DIPA, after all – so don’t be too eager to chug that hop goodness down. As you may have expected from the name of the beer, this is the first in an intended series of DIPAs, so look for more entries, soon. It’s currently available on tap at the brewery (along with six other brews; cans may appear in the future.

For you Good Robot regulars out there, we’re pleased to report that their weekly Beta release returns next Tuesday, after a brief hiatus this week. They’ve teamed up with Colin Smith to brew Barrel, Ontario, an attempt at brewing a beer similar to a certain flagship from a certain Toronto brewery that is owned by a certain company that maybe we’re not going to mention here… oh, the hell with it, it’s a beer similar to Tankhouse Ale. Basically expect a Red Ale hopped with a “solid” amount of Cascade (to 36 IBUs), and weighing in at 5.1% ABV. As for Alpha beers, it’s all cans next week… Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie and Espinazo del Diablo. Finally, in other Good Robot news, they’re looking to hire a part-time salesperson; if you’re interested, check out the application here.

In other hiring news, Sober Island Brewing Company in Sheet Harbour is looking to high a full-time Head Brewer. This person will be responsible for their 850 litre (7 BBL) brewhouse, supplying the Henley House, packaged product to the NSLC and private stores, and licensees across the province. As this is a head brewer position, previous experience and education are big pluses! Check out the full job posting here, and start/continue your path in a growing craft brewery!

And if brewing isn’t in the cards for you (not right now, at least), maybe you can try your hand as a Sales person, or working on a packaging line? Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is looking to hire people in both of those positions, as they continue to expand their offerings far and wide. The Sales Person will be responsible for HRM accounts (existing and new), and is a full-time position. The Packaging position is part-time (for now), and will be working on the bottling and canning lines, as well as other maintenance and tasks in the brewery. Pop them an email to apply or learn more about either position!

For those of us keeping track of the goings-on in Charlottetown, it has been announced that a purchase agreement in the sale of DME Brewing’s Charlottetown facilities has been agreed upon. CIMC Enric is a Dutch company, and manufacturer of equipment used in brewing, distilling, and other related industries. They intend to keep the interim staff who have been working for the past couple of months, and possibly hire back some of those who lost their jobs. The purchase gives them access to all records, inventory, customer base information, and everything else to continue operating. We’re keeping our ears to the ground on this front, hope to share more good news soon.

The events slate is a little light this week, but we expect we’ll see that change in the next couple of weeks!

Just one new event to tell you about this week, and it should be a fun one! Put on your favourite retro snowsuit or outfit for an outdoor rooftop beefest in Moncton. Dolma Food is hosting Winter Beerfest On The Rooftop, tomorrow from 4 – 10 PM. Acadie-Broue, CAVOK Brewing, Holy Whale Brewing, O’Creek Brewing, and Tatamagouche Brewing will all be sharing their finest beers for you, plus VALK Fermentation will be a special guest and will be collaborating with Acadie-Broue for an exclusive kombucha beer. Dolma’s BBQ will be fired up and roasting a pig, and there will be much more to enhance the afternoon and evening. Tickets are available two way: purchase a pre-sale ticket for $15 which includes entry, 2 drink tickets and your glass for the evening  and to take home (available online or in store), or pay at the door for $25. Additional beer, or pulled pork sandwich or churros, are $5. Check out the links above for more details!

Before you go, just a couple more things!

Boxing Rock recently released this year’s version of La Rive du Sud (7.5% ABV), their Bière de Garde that they’ve been brewing annually since 2014. Various malts in the grist lend the beer biscuit, caramel and toffee notes, with a “noteworthy complexity”. And keep your eyes open for 14 Carrot Gold, a collaboration beer featuring the juice from 1100 lbs of carrots. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Stay tuned for more info!

Off Track Brewing has debuted another in their line of experimental and limited releases, with Sankara Amber Ale. This 5.3% ABV beer is malt-forward, with notes of toast, caramel, and is lightly sweet, but well-balanced, with Northern Brewer hops bringing its typical woody profile to the mix. Grab one (or all 5, so the legend goes) on tap at the brewery this weekend. And keep an eye out for the return of their Let’s Dance, a 6.8% ABV Double IPA, also on tap at the brewery now.

Propeller wants you to know that their popular XPA, their 5% ABV “Extra Pale Ale”, is back again for a limited time, available at their stores only. If you’re in any NSLC stores, however, Dark Berry Sour should be popping up there next week. Finally, tonight’s cask beer is an Oatmeal Stout that is essentially a preview of a beer that should be released, outside of a cask, in the near future.