HopYard Halifax

All posts tagged HopYard Halifax

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.

Here we are on another Friday and November is coming to an end. We’ve got a big bunch of news from Newfoundland this week, but don’t worry, the rest of the Atlantic Provinces are also well-represented. And we’re somewhat on time this week after last week’s debacle. Huzzah!

There was some big and rather unfortunate news in the regional beer scene this week as it was announced in a joint statement by PEI’s departments of Workforce & Advanced Learning and Economic Development that Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) has entered receivership by order of the Supreme Court of the Province. DME has fitted out some 1,600 breweries in 70 countries over the past number of years, including quite a few in Atlantic Canada. Though we don’t know any names for sure, it is almost certain that there were brewhouses in development whose futures are in question based on having orders in with the company, and it stands to reason that some of those would be in our region. DME has manufacturing facilities in Charlottetown as well as Abbotsford, BC, and South Carolina under the Newlands banner that in total employ over 300 people. There has been speculation that the merger with Newlands had a part to play in this reversal of fortune, however financial details of that transaction are unknown. It has been reported by the CBC that efforts are being made to complete in-progress orders, that the provincial Government is becoming involved in efforts to prevent the demise of the firm, and that the receiver, Alvarez & Marsal intends to attempt to find a buyer. We very much hope that strategy pans out and we can report in the coming weeks and months that DME is back up and running with all of its employees back at work. It is, however, a sobering reminder that even in a booming industry like craft beer, things can go wrong in a hurry.

In a decidedly happier note, brewing and selling beer in Newfoundland will soon be a little bit less expensive, thanks to some changes being implemented by the provincial government January 1, 2019. The remission paid to the NLC (akin to the RSMA charged in Nova Scotia) is currently the highest in the country, sitting at more than $1.50 per litre, three times the next closest provincial rate. The local producers are currently eligible for a 33% reduction on the first 1 million litres, down to roughly $1.10 per litre. The new levels will see an improvement to 50% discount in the remission rate for beer sold at their own facility (taproom or retail), and 40% discount at retail stores (NLC and corner stores), bringing the levels to $0.85 and $1.00 per litre, respectively, for the first 1 million litres annually (roughly 8200 BBL, or much more than the craft breweries are currently producing). The reduced levels are still the highest in Canada, but are at least closer to the rest of the country. Local distilleries, ciderhouses, and wineries will also see further reduced rates in the new year. This will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced fees annually that the breweries will be able to reinvest in their equipment, labour, and infrastructure, in order to better serve the local beer drinking community. These changes are in no small part to the hard work of the Newfoundland & Labrador Craft Brewers Association, formed earlier this year, lobbying lawmakers in the province. And for future/amateur brewers, the introduction of U-Vint/U-Brew at the local homebrew shops is now legal with relaxation of that prohibition. The province has also promised a full review of the positive economic impact the craft alcohol producers are having in the province, and have set a November 2019 timeline for that release. With a dozen independent breweries and cideries now operating in the province, and two or three more set to open before January 1st, things are certainly looking up for the Newfoundland Beer Scene! Check out the full details of the reduction in the press release above.

Speaking of Newfoundland breweries, let’s give you a tease on one of the handful that are opening very soon. Like, very, very soon! Landwash Brewery is located in Mount Pearl, and will be opening their beautiful taproom at 181 Commonwealth Drive next week. We’ve got a full Profile with them lined up for early next week, but in the meantime, you can hear co-owner Chris Conway speaking with VOCM about the positive changes to the remission rate, as well as hints of their starting lineup of beers. Their Brackish Gose, One Wave Blonde, Hazures’ Rock Breakfast Stout, and That Much Ocean NEIPA will be available to enjoy by the pint and flight onsite, to go in cans and growler fills, next Thursday from 4 PM.

On the other side of the Island, you’ll find Bootleg Brew Co in Corner Brook. They’ve released a brand new beer this week, in the relatively new “Milkshake” style. Juice Arse is a 5.0% Milkshake Pale Ale, featuring loads of Amarillo and Simcoe hops, fermented with Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs (a favourite of hazy IPAs), with small additions of lactose (milk sugar) and vanilla bean, to complete the Milkshake experience. As with all of their beers, the best place to grab a sample, pint, or growler is at their 92 Main Street location, but keep an eye on their social media (FB/IG/Tw)to see where their beers are being tapped across the province.

After launching last week with kegs at local restaurants and breweries, Crooked Feeder in Cormack, NL, has begun selling growlers. Located at 351 Veterans Dr, about 15 minutes North of Deer Lake, the brewery is only open a few afternoons each week, so it’s best to contact the brewery to ensure they are open (FB/IG/Tw). Visitors will be rewarded with one (or more) of the six beers brewed on their system: Bunker “C” Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (7.1% ABV, 35 IBU), Big Falls Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 37 IBU), Bonne Bay Blonde (4.9% ABV, 21 IBU), Western Brook Wheat (5.4% ABV, 44 IBU), Spillway IPA (6.4% ABV, 66 IBU), and Rideout Red (5.3% ABV, 22 IBU).

Heading back across the Island to St John’s, where YellowBelly Brewery has released their annual Mummer’s Brew. The 2018 edition is a light-coloured Winter Warmer lager, featuring two special Canadian ingredients: the malt is an Albertan heirloom Barley named Olli, and features the brand new Sasquatch hop, which started as a wild varietal North of Vancouver, and now grown in BC, ON, and QC, under license by Hops Connect. The 6.8% ABV beer features some soft berry character from the malt, with citrus, melon, floral and earthy hop character (to the tune of 30 IBU). The beer is now available at the brewery for pints and growler fills at the Take Away Shop, and in 1 litre bottles at several NLCs in the area. Grab yours today before donning your costume and braving the weather!

In other Sasquatch news, Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing their own beer featuring this Canadian variety. Sam-Squamptche (enjoy ordering that one at the bar!) is an American IPA that has been hopped entirely with Sasquatch, which we’ve already told you about just above us! TrailWay’s beer comes in at 6.5% ABV, and they’re describing the flavour profile as “uniquely citrus, with an underlying sweetness reminiscent of butterscotch or honey, resulting in an overall juicy character”… definitely sounds a bit different than your typical hop variety. This beer has a light body, to help the drinker focus on the hops. As always with TW’s Friday releases, you can grab it at the brewery immediately upon opening today (growlers, pints and cans), with a few nearby bars and restaurants tapping it likely over the weekend.

After the Antigonish Townhouse changed hands earlier in the year, the future of their on-site brews was up in the air. We are thrilled to note that those have continued, with a steady supply of Terry’s Bitter supplying their taps, but there’s always room for more! Owners Caitlin and Ryan Shimozawa have tapped her father, David Macfarlane, to take over the brewing duties. The latest new beer from their onsite 50 litre brewhouse is available on tap now. Caitlin’s IPA is a 5.0% ABV malt-forward English IPA, brewed using Fuggles and Goldings hops, with three hop additions during the boil. The carbonation level is on the lower side, and coupled with pouring from a stout faucet with Nitrogen, the beer is quite quaffable and perfect for a session in the pub. No word how long this batch of Caitlin will last, but good news that there is another batch fermenting now, and will return to the Townhouse in December.

There’s another beverage pouring over at Meander River, and it ain’t beer! It ain’t cider either, if that was what you were thinking. It’s Perry, and a “true” Perry at that… that is, it was made entirely with pears (many Perry producers blend pear juice with a certain quantity of apple juice). Featuring of blend of Annapolis Valley pears, Perry Noel is a drinkable 5% ABV, and the brewery describes it as “sparkly and delicate”. It’s available in 500 mL bottles starting today at the brewery, at this weekend’s BOTTLED Wine and Spirits Festival in Truro, and soon at Little Oak in Halifax; 750 mL bottles will also be appearing at Bishop’s Cellar in the near future, and they’ll even have kegs pouring on one of the guest taps at Chainyard! If you can get to Meander River itself, try to do so, as they’re currently running a campaign where $1 from every growler fill will go to fighting Period Poverty in Nova Scotia (by purchasing menstrual products for local food banks).

Let’s travel back to Halifax, where Tidehouse has two beers they want us to tell you about this week, one new, and one returning favourite… and both of them named in homage to songs. The new one is Oh! My Darlin’ Lemon Thyme, a Saison brewed with Pilsner, Oats, Dextrin, Wheat, Vienna, and Acid malt. Hopped minimally with Saaz, it was fermented with a Saison strain, with thyme and lemon peel added as fermentation was winding down. The thyme comes through first in the aroma, with the lemon making itself more apparent the more you sip. Very dry in the finish, and 6.4% ABV; this one is available on tap only, at the Tidehouse tasting room, by the flight, pint, or growler. And returning is their NEIPA, Cryo Me A River, hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Ekuanot hops (of the cryo form, naturally). Pretty much all of the hops were added late in the boil and in the dry-hop, so expect low bitterness to go with all of that “tropical fruit and papaya/berry, followed by a pinch of pine”. On tap, of course, but it’s also been bottled for the first time, so you can grab some of those to take home with you as well.

Our friends at Niche in Hanwell, NB, are back again this week with another new beer. After last week’s release of a sour, they’re returning to their other wheelhouse this week with a hoppier offering. A NE IPA featuring nothing but Australian hops, Aussie Aussie Aussie is packed with three different varieties, namely Vic Secret, and Enigma, which they’ve used liberally before, and Topaz which is a new one in the Niche brewhouse. Very juicy and boasting plenty of tropical fruit flavors, it has the requisite low bitterness and easy drinking nature fans of the style have come to expect. Coming in at a quaffable 6% ABV, you’ll find it at The Joyce Pub and King Street Ale House in Fredericton, and at Peppers Pub and Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub in Saint John, with more accounts to follow soon. Fans of Niche in Halifax will also be happy to hear there are kegs on the way to Stillwell and Hopyard as well. Oi Oi Oi!!

Back in Halifax, Boxing Rock’s Test Kitchen on Agricola Street (in the Local Source Market) has a new release hitting the taps today. Banana Hopsicle is a hybrid beer, bringing together the traditional German Hefeweizen style with the modern Session IPA. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Rob North of Great North Aleworks in Manchester, New Hampshire. North grew up in Halifax before moving south, and had another career before brewing took over his life, first as a highly lauded homebrewer, and now as owner of Great North. The beer features loads of late- and dry-hopping additions of Ekuanot and Huell Melon, fruity hops to complement the banana and clove from the Weiss yeast. And while you’re getting your fills of Banana Hopsicle, check to see if they have any of their Hell Bat, the Imperial Licorice Stout brewed with Battery Park left. It won’t be around much longer! Don’t forget your orange growler!

Maybee Brewing dropped a new beer shortly after noon yesterday, Brut IPA. As you probably guessed, this is the brewery’s take on the Brut IPA style (which continues to gain momentum, based on how many breweries in Atlantic Canada have brewed it the past few months!). It was hopped very minimally in the bittering addition (20 IBUs), with most of the American and European hop varieties being added late in the boil and in the dry-hop. Fermented with a neutral yeast strain, enzymes were added to the brew to bring out the dryness even more, with the final product showing off a long-lasting head, aromas of “bright tropical fruit, herbal/grassy notes, some spice and a hint of floral, white wine and honeydew melon”. With a thin body and high carbonation, it has lots of tropical fruit on the palate, with a very dry finish. It weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available on tap only – you can find it at Maybee, various tap accounts in the province, and at the ANBL growler stations next Thursday, December 6th.

Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is pouring a brand new IPA to join their other 11 offerings currently pouring on tap. Norseman is a NEIPA “with a twist”, as it was fermented with a Norwegian yeast strain… specifically, the Voss Kveik strain from Escarpment Labs. These Kveik strains can be fermented at very warm (ok, downright hot compared to what you usually see with fermentation) temperatures. The grain bill for Norseman is made up simply of 2-row, Wheat malt, and Oats, and it was hopped with El Dorado, Amarillo, and Mosaic (all of which was added either in the whirlpool or dry-hop additions, keeping the bitterness low). Lots of fruity flavours and aromas with this one, so why not pop into the brewery’s taproom to give it (and the other beers!) a taste? And hey, they’re also filling growlers now, so they’ve got that going for them, too!

Since Good Robot opened several years ago, they have been consistently adding Clarex to every batch, an enzyme that reduces gluten to levels below 20 ppm (the international threshold for brewing considered “gluten free”). For next Tuesday’s Beta Brew, however, they’ve gone all the way and brewed a “completely gluten-free beer”, First Draught. By using sorghum syrup, buckwheat, and rice, they’ve produced a light beer (4.3% ABV) that still has plenty of hop presence, thanks to the additions of Citra, Cascade and Simcoe (to 37 IBUs). It should be noted, for those of you who are extremely sensitive to gluten, that this beer was brewed on the brewery’s pilot system, which has most-assuredly had glutenous products in its realm throughout its life! In Alpha news, next Thursday welcomes the return of Infinite Saturday, their Vienna Lager (5% ABV). Oh, and we should also mention that they’ve added seating in their upstairs space, meaning it may be a bit easier to actually have a seat in one of Halifax’s hottest taprooms from now on!

Last weekend the 6th annual Big Spruce HomeBrew Challenge wrapped up with the judging and announcement of winners. This year’s competition revolved around styles featuring wheat, namely German Weißbier and Belgian Witbier. The top three beers in each category were named and then an overall top three was selected from those six. This year’s big winner is a name you’ve seen in this blog on several occasions, as he’s brewed beers with Tidehouse and on Spindrift’s pilot system, and, in a “boy is that ever on the nose,” moment, he goes by the brewing moniker “Lil Wheatey.” Yes, Ian Wheatley took first place overall for his hefeweizen (1st place weißbier) and third overall for his witbier (2nd place witbier). George Arnott’s wit (1st place witbier) came in second overall. Additional category nods went to Devin Delaney in 3rd place for wit, Mark McKay in 2nd for weißbier, and David Pepper (2016’s overall winner) in 3rd place in weißbier. A big congratulations to all those who placed and a big thanks to Big Spruce for continuing to support the homebrewing community; look for Ian’s winning hefeweizen to debut at this year’s 10th Annual Eat. Drink. Local. Fest on January 10, 2019 (tickets are already on sale).

And in other Big Spruce news, just like last year, Jeremy is looking to load up the Sprucemobile and play Santa Claus, delivering beer to folks in Cape Breton and the HRM. Big Spruce Holiday Home Delivery will take place on December 15th (that’s a Saturday), but you’ll have to put an order in. Minimum order is 1 case of cans (24) or bottles (12) and, with mixing allowed, that gives you plenty of options. You can also add all manner of Big Spruce swag to that order, including their house-made edibles. Check the Facebook post for details on which beers and other items are available and be sure to get your order in soon.

After celebrating 11 years in business on the weekend, Port Williams Nova Scotia’s Sea Level Brewing has announced that they have broken ground on a brand new brewery, which will be located in Sheffield Mills (about ten minutes-drive away from their current location). Together with local farms, they are forming Millstone Harvest Brewhouse, to create Nova Scotia’s first “Estate Brewery”. Well on their way already, the new facility is slated to open in the spring. They’ll be brewing with their own farm-grown hops and malting barley, and the new location will house a tasting room and retail store. Fear not, the current location in Port Williams will still be operating as usual during this transition, and will remain open as a pilot brewery/retail location after the new brewery opens. The expansion will also allow the brewery to start selling their canned beers in the NSLC, greatly increasing their availability to other areas of the province. And for a sneak peek of the great beers to come, keep an eye out for their High Street Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, using some of the same malt and hops that will be gracing their new releases in the spring.

Details are being kept secret right now, but we did want to mention that those of you living in Miramichi, NB, who have been wondering when exactly the craft beer scene was going to improve in your area, have no need to wonder any longer! Timber Ship Brewing, a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, should be opening in the area in the near future. They’re realistically aiming for early 2019, and will be producing a variety of beers for sale in kegs to local establishments. We’ll have more information, including a standalone post, for you very soon. In the meantime, check out their Facebook page to follow along with their progress.

This week’s shamefully late message about a new release come from Tatamagouche Brewing who are releasing a Bourbon Barrel-aged version of their Russian Imperial Stout. Built on their base RIS recipe with a little extra chocolate wheat added, the beer was then racked into barrels from two different distilleries. Bottles and pints are available already at the brewery, with kegs going out next week.

A few things to remind you about this weekend, plus a tease of what’s coming in January…

After a bit of a tease last week, those crazy folks at 2 Crows are releasing their latest barrel-aged, bottled beer, Mellarium, tomorrow at noon. No, really, we guarantee*. We’re not about to do them the huge favour of typing out all the info on the beer again (or even cutting and pasting for that matter, we don’t get paid for this, you know!), but here’s a link to last week, where you can check it out there! Buttered Bliss will also be on site from 2-7pm, serving up some delightful fried chicken sandwiches.

*Not a guarantee

Propeller Brewing is kicking off a month of “Black Casks” at their Gottingen Street tasting room, with the first hitting the bartop tomorrow at 3 PM. The first is their Russian Imperial Stout, cask-conditioned and served via gravity, rather than carbonated after the fact/on draught (though they will have this version as well, so we encourage you to get both and compare!). And they will be celebrating throughout the month of December with more interpretations of their Russian Imperial Stout and Porter, with the following offerings being tapped at the next four Fridays: Dec 7: Russian Imperial Stout with coconut, Dec 14: Porter with orange and chocolate, Dec 21: Russian Imperial Stout with smoked black tea, and a special cask on Dec 28, yet to be announced. Take note that beside tomorrow, all of the casks are tapped during their usual Cask Friday timeslot, at 5 PM. And for those of us who can’t get enough of the good stuff, they are raiding the cellar and releasing the last of their 2017 Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. First released back in February of this year, the 8.5% ABV beer hung out in Bourbon barrels for a few months, picking up both wood and spirit character, complementing the roast and dark fruit character of the underlying beer. Grab a bottle or two to enjoy yourself, or gift to a special someone. And keep your eyes peeled here for the details on another release in the same vein, coming next week…

If you were perusing Instagram stories a couple of days ago and happened upon the right account, you might have gotten a heads-up that Bar Stillwell is planning another Belgian Celebration to take place (tentatively, we expect) on January 5th, 2019!! Thanks to the ephemeral nature of Instagram stories the details of the beer list are no longer available, but amongst those of us who saw it the general reaction was something along the lines of, “Holy Shit!” and/or “Hellz yes!” We’ll have more details as they are released, but for now, maybe block off that afternoon in your calendar, mmkay?

And here we are at the end of the line for this week, but there are a couple last things to mention before we let you go.

It’s not often that their bottles are available outside of the brewery, so we figured we’d let you know that Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar has received a shipment of goodies from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewery. They are hitting the shelves at opening tomorrow morning (that’s 8 AM, so grab a coffee to stay warm in line). With two versions of their Jelly King fruited sours (Pineapple Tangerine Grapefruit [also available online at 8 AM], and Sour Cherry), as well as Skeleton Key 2018 and Barn Owl #16. For those who want to be the first in the know, subscribe to their Behind the Taps mailing list, which hits your inbox about once a month, and highlights the latest beer arrivals and tastings they are hosting. Edited: Only the Jelly King PTG will be available online, BC has altered the distribution of the other 3 due to availability.

We mentioned it a couple weeks ago, but just a last reminder that the Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 1st in Sydney. Looks like there’s still some general admission tickets remaining; you can purchase those right here.

Those who remember the saga of the Beer Garden on the Halifax Waterfront might be interested to hear that a new tender opportunity has been announced by Develop Nova Scotia. Vendors interested in running a food and beverage operation at Summit Place during the summer months (May 15 – Oct 15) for a three-year period from 2019 to 2021 have been invited to submit their proposals no later than December 19, 2018, with the award expecting to be settled by January 18, 2019. The tender document mentions creativity and innovation, although we note that there’s only 10 points available there, whereas the financial portion (i.e., “How much are you willing to pay for the privilege”) gets 25 points. Color us unsurprised. The tender document can be viewed here. It will certainly be interesting to see whether it will remain with the incumbent Stubborn Goat or whether another interest will submit a successful bid.

We hope you’ve all recovered from your turkey, ham, or whatever food you used to celebrate Thanksgiving on the weekend. The brewers certainly had a good rest, because they’ve got a metric crap-ton of new beers and events to keep you satisfied this weekend. Let’s skip the small talk and get right to the good stuff!

In case you missed our heads-up post, the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse brewery and restaurant opened in Burnside yesterday. Sporting a 10 BBL (1200 litre) brewhouse, and a full BBQ pit straight from the South, the Upstreet crew teamed up with Chef Inspired (of the Cheese Curds and Habaneros restaurants) to do a One-Two punch on food and beer. Drop by daily (except Monday) from 11 AM for food and beer to enjoy there or takeaway. Speaking of beer, there are a pair of new releases from Upstreet on the shelves and taps in Dartmouth and Charlottetown this week. Launching yesterday was the Major Tom Sour, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped sour, featuring a grapefruit citrus aroma and flavour thanks to New Brunswick-grown Centennial and Chinook, with a refreshing underlying acidity. Bottles are available in Dartmouth, as well as the brewery and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown. And launching today is the twelfth in their Neon Friday series, Tropic IPA. This 6.0% ABV 40 IBU IPA features Amarillo, Citra, and Ekuanot hops for heavy tropical notes of orange, papaya and mango, with a touch of floral aroma from the hibiscus added to the beer. While it begins with a sweet flavour, it has a dry finish and high carbonation, clearing the palate quickly (and inviting you back for another sip!).

We have a few big news items to tell you about Berwick’s Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse. First off, last month they released cans of their extremely popular Box Cutter IPA. This 6.9% ABV ode to hops has been winning awards in the region for years, but this was the first time available outside of draught or growler-if-you-visit-the-brewery format. And not only is BC now available in an easy-to-grab format, it is also available at NSLC locations all across the province. 3 pallets of the good stuff was distributed from Yarmouth to Sydney, and should be found at your local shop (if not, ask the manager to bring it in!). And we’ve heard it’s been super-successful on their shelves, and they’ve requested another delivery from Bad Apple.

And in perhaps even bigger news, if you’ve spotted a new apple-themed bar just off Main Street in Wolfville, your eyes are not deceiving you! The Core by Bad Apple opened on the weekend, with a small pilot brewery onsite, sit down taproom where flights and pints can be enjoyed, and retail beer to go. Eschewing the standard glass growlers, and always innovating to new highs (or lows?), they are instead offering fills in their Bottle Rockets, a reusable high density 2 litre plastic bottle (complete with BAB-stamped paper bag). Drop by their location at 3 Elm Avenue daily from 12 – 8 PM (closed Mondays).

Quidi Vidi brewing in St. John’s, Newfoundland continues their renaissance with three new beers hitting the taps this week. Up first is Open Saison on Rhubarb, a beer with a wittily self-explanatory name. In the saison style, this pale gold beer is said to be “strangely reminiscent of a Jam-Jam.” Grainy-sweetness balances with rhubarb tartness on the palate, while you’ll note red berry and biscuit on the nose. A sharp bitterness and a dry finish complete the picture for this 5.5% ABV and 15 IBU beer. Next is the Metal Kettle Sour, a Berliner Weisse-style sour that might have you longing for the summer just past. Highly-carbonated, light and crisp, there’s still plenty of flavor in this very sessionable beer. With a flavor that is “almost cider-like,” there’s a definite apple tartness along with notes of lemon and sourdough bread. You’ll be able to have a few of these too, as it comes in at a paltry 3.2% ABV and 9 IBU. And finally is Femme Fatale, a beer brewed in collaboration with the St.John’s International Women’s Film Festival running in town from October 17 – 21. A coffee stout, it’s dark as night, with a long lasting cappuccino-toned head, mocha and toasted grain aromas, and burnt caramel and café au lait flavors on the palate that yield to a smooth coffee finish. At 5.7% ABV and 28 IBU, this one won’t knock you over with heat or bitterness, but is more likely to make its mark subtly and sensually. Look for all three of these beers starting today at the brewery with the Open Saison on Rhubarb also available in bottles to go from the brewery, NLC, and some convenience stores.

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery continues to roll out the new hotness since opening their digs on Portland Street. You may recall that part of the plan for the expansion out of the garage and into their own facility was the addition of packaging to the mix. Hitherto only available in growlers, at tap accounts, and then pints at the brewery, Brightwood beer is now available in cans thanks to their new canning line! To this point they’re still working out the kinks and they’ve only processed Made Me Blush, their Belgian IPA with rosehips and hibiscus, but the plan, of course, is to put more of their beers into cans, with the The Big Lift American IPA and Portland St Porter likely the next to be packaged. We’ll be sure to let you know when that happens. For now, if you’d like to experience the novelty of Brightwood Beer in a can, you can grab one with your meal at Stone Pizza or pick some up to go from the brewery and enjoy it in the comforts of your own home. We expect once they get rolling you’ll be able to find their products at the private stores in Halifax as well.

Also doing cool stuff in Dartmouth is New Scotland Brewing. Continuing to differentiate themselves in the HRM market with meads, they’ve got two hitting the taps this weekend, one that’s coming back for a second go-round and one that’s all new. The return engagement is their Slippery Slope, a Root Beer mead that folks requested so much they couldn’t help but make another batch. At 6.6% ABV it packs some punch and, we can’t help but presume, a significant root beer flavor as well. The brand new one is called Steep Curve, which they’re referring to as an “autumn-inspired spiced mead.” Light and drinkable, but carrying a hefty 7.4% ABV to warm you up in the cooler days of October, it features a special blend of teas and spices courtesy of Phil from World Tea House (that guy is everywhere in the NS brewing scene these days!!) Look for both of these meads to hit the taps tomorrow afternoon at the brewery.

Like many smaller breweries in the region, we didn’t hear much from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia’s Heritage Brewing over the past couple of months, as they no doubt were up to their eyeballs keeping up with summer demand, but this week they’ve come out of the woodwork with not one but three things for us to mention. The first, appropriately enough, is a beer. Hopfenweizen is a traditional German wheat beer (Hefeweizen) punched up for the modern palate with plenty of hops. Heavy late and dry hop additions of two modern German varieties, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria were designed to give fruity and citrus aromas to complement the traditional banana and clove yeast profile. Look for this 5% ABV and 15 IBU brew on tap at the brewery this weekend. Next up is the news that Heritage is another brewery that is getting into the canning game with product soon to be hitting the shelves at the NSLC. And how do we know this? Well, that’s the third bit: Heritage are the brewery featured in the 902BrewCast episode that dropped this past Tuesday. Check out the episode with your favorite podcast app and hear more about the brewery, their beer and their plans for the future.

Halifax’s North Brewing Company is completing their trifecta of sour beers known as the Breakwater Series this week with the release of the third and final installment. Breakwater Pineapple Lime Sour is a summery kettle sour that was tarted up with the Lactobacillus blend from Escarpment Labs. In addition, lime zest and, you guessed it, pineapple were added as well. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV, and with artwork by Josh Horner, you’ll be able to find cans in singles and 4-packs as of this afternoon at both their Halifax and Dartmouth bottle shops. Come get a last little fruity, tart and refreshing taste of summer before the cold weather sets into your bones.

Still in Halifax, and still in the north end, Propeller has a new beer in their Small Batch Series coming out this afternoon, one that’s been a while in the making. Citra Pale Lager is a golden lager that was brewed with Pilsner malt and hopped up with Citra cryo hops for notes of melon, grapefruit and passion fruit. Cold-conditioned for an extended period to achieve a smooth and crisp finish, it will only be available for growler fills and pints in the Propeller Tasting Room. And as we mentioned last week you can also look for Nocturne Black IPA during Saturday night’s Nocturne. They’ve got a handy-dandy mobile-friendly guide website with a map that will help you locate the beer between your visits to the various exhibits around the city. Nocturne will also be featured at this evening’s Cask Night feature, pouring from 5 – 10 PM at the Gottingen Street taproom as a Nocturne Eve celebration. And lastly if you’re in the “pumpkin beer is awesome” camp and especially if you like Propeller’s version, they’ve let us know that this year’s version has been extremely popular and that they’re expecting to be out by Halloween. So if you haven’t gotten your gourd on, you best be making your move; cans are almost gone already, but six packs of bottles are still in fair supply.

We hinted at a new American Pale Ale from Spindrift a few weeks ago, and you may have noticed their campaign both online on social media and in the real world via more traditional formats, but next week will finally see the release of the beer. Dubbed Free Trade, it’s a deep gold and moderately carbonated brew made with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat and Crystal malts and hopped with Magnum, Cascade, and Simcoe hops. Look for pine, grapefruit and floral notes from the hops balanced against a solid malt backbone. Packaged in 473 ml cans, expect this 5.5% ABV, 40 IBU tribute to one of the pillar styles of North American craft beer to be available at NSLC locations around mid-week next week.

In cider news this week, Halifax’s Chain Yard has another new one. Brett to be Determined is more than just a clever name, it’s a wild-fermented Brett cider made using two varieties of apple: Jonagold and McIntosh. Dry, with a tropical fruit nose and a clean finish, it’s been left unfiltered and tips the scales at 6.1% ABV. You’ll find it only at their location on Agricola Street for pints, as part of flights, and for growler fills.

In Fredericton, Trailway is at it again packing as much fruit and hop character as they possibly can into beer before releasing it to a frenzied public. This week’s release is the return of Hopical Trop, their heavily fruited and heavily hopped DIPA. Described by the brewery themselves as the result of “[taking] this beer further than [they’ve] ever taken it,” massive amounts of apricot and mango puree were added in addition to damn near illegal levels of El Dorado hops, yielding a thick and hoppy tropical fruit bomb with a 8% ABV that will sneak up on you if you’re not careful. You can grab it at the brewery starting at opening today, but if you do, be sure to drink it right up while the fruit and the hops are at their absolute peak; this beer isn’t meant to be aged!

Way way up in Twillingate, Newfoundland, Split Rock have released a new beer this week as well. 6-String Session IPA an easy-drinking 4.3% ABV beer packed with plenty of hop flavor. Leveraging five hop varieties, it’s easy to see where that flavor comes from, as Magnum, Cascade, Amarillo, Chinook and Mosaic all saw action in the making of this one, but they also added a sixth hop source, in the form of some local wild hops that were also included in the mix! With a citrus and grapefruit aroma leading to a dominant grassy flavor, look for a big hop bite throughout. And with such a low ABV you can maybe have a couple and really take some time to savor all the flavors coming from those hops. 6-String is on tap now at the Stage Head Pub.

On the South Shore of NS, specifically in Chester Basin, Tanner & Co. Brewing has some news for us as well. First off is the first of their fall beer releases, Dunkel Weizen. Translated from the German as, literally, “dark wheat,” this is a (surprise!) dark wheat beer! Featuring the traditional characteristics of clove and banana esters from the yeast paired with a doughy presence from the wheat, there are some non-traditional things going on as well due to a complex grain bill that brought some roastier malt character and even a touch of rye spiciness. At 5.5% ABV and 14 IBUs, expect an easy drinking but complex beer with plenty of yeast character. The other piece of pertinent news from Tanner is that they’re getting into packaging as well, in the form of bottles. To date they have two of their regular offerings, Nelson Saison and Lemon Lavender both available at the brewery with more in the works over the next couple of weeks. Look for them to possibly appear at the private stores in Halifax over the coming weeks as well; we’ll be sure to let you know when that happens.

In the bustling beertropolis that is the Kennebecasis Valley of New Brunswick (seriously, there’s breweries everywhere up there!) Hammond River Brewing has already started to package their first run of this year’s Imperial Vanilla Porter. That 8.2% ABV beauty is seeing kegs and should start to be available at tap accounts in the near future. Just like always, owner and brewmaster Shane Steeves will also be doing a version of Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter with Maker’s Mark bourbon that will be released somewhere in the environs of 9.2% ABV. In a bit of a departure this year, we’ve also been advised that he’ll also be doing versions using Bulleit and Tin Cup bourbons as well. But wait, there’s MORE! Shane will also be putting 225 litres of Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter into a Glenora Whisky Barrel for a while, which will yield Glenora Barrel-aged Bourbon Imperial Vanilla Porter. You won’t be saying that three times quickly, especially after you’ve had a glass or two. Look for firm release dates for these on social media, especially HRB’s Facebook page.

After a week where Good Robot not having any news for us was news enough to write about, Kelly saved us from having to figure out what we’d do if there were no GR news for a second week in a row by sending us some. First up is a beer that was released yesterday at the brewery, Granddaddy Purp Pale Ale. Nominally a fairly straightforward pale ale in the Good Robot style, this 5.8% ABV and 46 IBU brew was also dosed with terpenes, which are the smelly molecules in lots of plants. Particularly certain plants we love, like hops and cannabis. Not that there’s any cannabis in this beer; that wouldn’t be legal. But there’s a mix of terpenes like there are in cannabis, and not only cannabis, but a particular strain of cannabis called Granddaddy Purp. We ain’t starting the ACWeedBlog though, so that’s where we’ll stop it with the ganja talk. We figure if you really want to you can Google “Granddaddy Purp” and find plenty of interesting things (OMG it’s so PUUUURPLE!!). To recap, Granddaddy Purp Pale Ale is a beer at Good Robot that probably smells like weed but won’t get you high. Drink it anyway.

Launching today in the GR taproom, as well as around the city, is a collaboration they brewed with Gahan House and Garrison in celebration of this month’s Halifax Pop Explosion. The three breweries are co-sponsors of the October 17-20 music festival, taking place at many venues across the city. The beer fit to toast the event is Lizard Queen (cue the Simpsons references), a 4.8% ABV Pale Ale, with a light body (Flaked Wheat and Oats are included in the malt bill), featuring loads of El Dorado, Simcoe, and Mosaic near the end, and after, the boil, for massive citrus and tropical aroma and flavour, and certainly worth crowd-surfing for. It is on tap at Good Robot today, and we believe the same can be said for Gahan and Garrison, and will be available at several of the HPX venues.

Also this coming week is the triumphant return of BetaBrewsday wherein GR taps a keg of a beer brewed by Kelly with someone from the community. This time it was a gentleman named Randy who, recently retired, decided that brewing a beer might be a fun thing to do. We suspect he’s onto something there. Randy and Kelly talked lots about his grandkids while they brewed a Red Ale that came in at 6.4% ABV and 30 IBU that they’re calling Simply Red. You can try it at the brewery on Tuesday starting at 4 PM.

Halifax’s littlest brewery (don’t worry, they’ve got big attitude), Tidehouse, has two re-releases out this week at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street. First up is The Sex, an itsy bitsy huge honking Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout at 11.9% ABV. Hit with some raspberries and port-fortified, it takes on some chocolate and fruit notes along with an aged character that might make you believe it had spent some time in a barrel. With just enough hop presence and bitterness to keep it on the right side of sweet, you can buy it by the bottle (expect a bottle limit to be in effect) or sit and have a 4 oz glass on site from 2 PM today. Careful though, this one could very well creep up on you like a Russian Dictator on a horse. And previously returning earlier this week was the Cryo Me a River, an NEIPA featuring all Cryo Mosaic and Simcoe hops which were all added towards the end of the boil and in the fermenter. Expect a hazy, bright and hoppy result that you can purchase and take away in growlers or sit and enjoy by the pint or as part of a flight.

As is their yearly tradition, Boxing Rock has announced that they will once again be releasing their U-889 Russian Imperial Stout with Coffee and Vanilla Beans this year. For the first time, however, they are offering the chance for folks to pre-order cases and half-cases and save on the retail price. Twelve bottles can be had for $100 (regular $126) or 6 for $55 (regular $63). If you’re interested you can contact the brewery to place your order and pick it up when it’s ready in late November, either at their HQ in Shelburne or in Halifax at their Local Source location.

On Cape Breton Island, in the little burg of Nyanza, Big Spruce has not one, not two, but FOUR new beers on the taps this weekend. I Love Lucy is their fresh hop offering this year, featuring hops grown right on Big Spruce’s farm. Cascade, Centennial and Chinook varieties were packed into this 7.0% ABV, 40 IBU beer that positively screams with local flavor. Bucklaw Baby is a new NEIPA that also hits the 7.0% ABV mark, but with a slightly burlier 53 IBU. Going a little farther afield for the hops, it includes Amarillo, Waimea, and Mosaic for notes of pineapple and grapefruit and a floral character as well. Rounding out the hoppy offerings is Heavy Handed, a 5.4% ABV and 38 IBU American Pale Ale that was “crammed” with Nugget, Centennial, and Amarillo. This one is expected to be a hit with those who are already fans of Big Spruce’s flagship APA Kitchen Party. And last but not least, and taking a left turn from the hop onslaught, is a collaboration brew done with the gang from Halifax brewing collective Bràthair Brewing. Mostly an authentic Gose, it’s got a twist of lemon, both figuratively, in the form of Lemon Drop hops, and literally, with an addition of fresh lemon zest. Reunited Gose Feels So Good is bright and fruity with an herbal character and a snappy finish. All four of these beers are available at the brewery right now; keep an eye on Big Spruce social media to see where kegs might pop up at tap accounts.

And rounding out the news this week is more news on the exciting project from Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing and Acadia University. Thanks to a $25,000 grant from NSBI, they are continuing a research project looking at indigenous yeasts. Working with Drs. Russell Easy and Allison Walker of Acadia University, the team collected more than 300 samples from across the province (including some notable landmarks that we’ll tell you about soon!), before isolation and testing to ensure they can ferment wort, are alcohol- and hop-tolerant, and taste good! The research is ongoing, so we’ll update you on the project once more information is available. And for a taste of local hops, their Bluenose 1850 wet-hopped beer is available now in the taproom. Brewed with hops from High Tide Hops Farm, look for lots of green and citrus aroma and flavour thanks to the fresh hops.

Let’s check out the beer events happening in our region over the next little bit…

Nackawic Big Axe Brewing is celebrating the Grand Opening of their new brewery and taproom this weekend. Haddies Fish and Chips will be onsite starting today, but the big party kicks off tomorrow. With a 1PM ribbon cutting, plus brewery tours at 2, 3, and 4PM, and music as well (Oland Monteith starts at 3PM, Crosscut at 8PM). Check the full details on their Facebook Event Page for more info. Congratulations!

Also celebrating their Grand Opening is Halifax’s HopYard. From opening at 11AM tomorrow, they will be slinging some awesome beers from around the Maritimes, thanks to the great breweries on their To Call list. And this is the last weekend of their Fan Favourites menu, so be sure to load up on those dishes you’ve tried before and missed, or want to enjoy for the first time. More details here.

One final reminder that Niche Brewing is taking over the taps at Stillwell on Barrington Street tomorrow. Starting at 4PM, the Cool Kids from Hanwell will be on hand to chat beer, how damn expensive vanilla has become, and the minutiae of Fredericton geography. Check last week’s post for the full taplist (including substitutes as the first kegs are emptied). Great food will accompany, thanks to Chef Graeme Ruppel and Co in the kitchen.

Next Thursday is the latest Tap Takeover in Battery Park’s arsenal, this time from Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing. Starting at 11:30AM on October 18th, 2C is taking over their 18 taps with kegs of many core beers, past one-off and seasonal favourites, as well as the debut of at least five new beers. We won’t spoil the fun as to what you can expect (in all honesty, we don’t know yet either!), but we can assure you it WON’T be the new beer they brewed on the weekend. They took their pilot system on a bit of a trip to the great outdoors, where they brewed up a traditional lambic-style wort, including Pilsner and raw wheat, and aged hops (used for their preservative qualities more than anything else). Left overnight, it was spontaneously inoculated, with wild yeasts doing the job a lab pitch would normally do. And in keeping with traditional methods, the beer will ferment and condition for many months (maybe even a few years), as the different yeast and bacteria do their job. We’ll be sure to let you know when *this* one is coming out!

Later in the month, on October 30th, Dolma Food in Moncton is hosting an evening of beer knowledge with Patrice Godin of Acadie-Broue. Godin has been brewing on a small scale since 2010, and Acadie-Broue was the first of the nanobreweries (sub-100 litre) in our region. Using knowledge from both professional and brewing life, he will be sharing his insights on the brewing process, how to get started with homebrewing (and scaling up to commercial), as well as tasting through a flight of beer (Godin is also an accomplished BJCP judge). Tickets are available online now, or in store.

Just a couple more things before we let you go this week:

Garrison Brewing has announced the style for their upcoming 2019 Home Brew-Off Competition, the 6C Dunkles Bock. This is the 11th year for this competition, whose winning entry will be brewed on their system and see wide release across the Maritimes. Entries won’t be due until next year (probably mid-February), but we wanted to let you all know so you can start your recipe trials now!

– In Sydney, Breton Brewing has released version 2.0 of a beer in their refreshing and low ABV series of sours: Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Sessions has a hint of up front sweetness and a sour kick at the finish and in between will have you thinking of Grandma’s strawberry rhubarb jam. Available at the brewery only for pints and fills.