HopYard Halifax

All posts tagged HopYard Halifax

Another week of positive news in the region’s response to the pandemic, with very few new and ongoing cases, the provinces continue to relax restrictions and allow more businesses to re-open, including big news from Newfoundland, where they entered Alert Level 3 of COVID recovery this week. That means folks can enlarge their social interactions beyond their double bubble, engage in some outdoor sports and recreation, and restaurants are allowed to open (while still maintaining physical distancing for patrons). This means the local breweries are able to send beer out to licensees, and for those able, can open their own on-site dining and taproom spaces, so be sure to keep an eye on your local’s social media page.

Let’s kick off this week’s post with news from breweries across Newfoundland, including Western, Eastern, and Bonavista regions. Let’s start in Deer Lake, where Rough Waters Brewing calls home. They have just released their first Double IPA, simply named Pandemic. The label sports a picture of The Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, a name Newfoundlanders have learned over the past three months, giving guidance and advice, reporting on the recovery efforts, and sometimes having to put folks in their place when looking for loopholes. The beer brewed in celebration of Haggie’s efforts is 7.7% ABV, and features loads of Azacca, Centennial, and Chinook, including 3 separate dry-hopping additions, resulting in big tropical and citrus aromatics, and a little bit of haze (that’s how you know it’s working!). This is a limited release, available at their retail shop at 83 Wights Road with new hours established today (1 – 5 PM, Tuesday to Saturday). You can organize a no-contact curbside pickup (email info@roughwatersbrewing.com or message them through Facebook or Instagram), or if you can’t make it there in person, via delivery to Norris Point and Rocky Harbour (reach out the same way), with this week’s deliveries going out Friday (but maybe if you get in ASAP there will be some for the next delivery). Sorry, no Pandemic DIPA heading East, though you can find five other RWBC options at St. John’s NLC locations for purchase.

Let’s head East to the Bonavista Peninsula, where Port Rexton Brewing Company has recently released their version of the All Together world-wide collaboration. Hosted by Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn, this New England IPA was conceived with the goal of supporting the service and hospitality industries in breweries’ regions, hit very hard by the closures mandated to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. PRBC joins TrailWay in Fredericton, and 2 Crows in Halifax to take part (more info on that one below). Read more about it here. Ensuring even more proceeds go to the deserving parties, White Cactus Branding and Maritime Labels donated design and printing of the labels, which features an amazing picture of a recent visitor to Port Rexton, taken by Danielle Lethbridge. Port Rexton’s version stays true to the original, weighing in at 6.5% ABV, and featuring boatloads of whirlpool- and dry-hopping, resulting in massive tropical fruit punch flavour and aroma, with very little bitterness. They have also brought back a few favourites, including a re-stock of their Sea Buckthorn Sour, a collaboration with St. John’s Toslow restaurant. Not sitting on their laurels, the crew added an extra 25% sea buckthorn puree to the beer, giving even more character than the previous batch. And returning after a few months off is Long Trek Lager, their 5.0% ABV Munich Helles, ready to be stowed in your backpack for the adventures ahead. All of these releases are available for ordering and pick up now! A note, there are new instructions for their St. John’s Retail Shop: Online stock is refreshed each Thursday morning, so you can set your order for the weekend, and pick up at  286 Torbay Road Thursday and Friday, 12 – 7 PM, or Saturday, 12 – 5 PM. To grab it at the source, check this link, and pop by Friday and Saturday, 12 – 6 PM. And they are joined once again by Oh My Cheeses! food truck (open the same hours), giving you the perfect lunch or dinner accompaniment. No inside dining for the time being, b’ys!

Let’s head Southeast, to Mount Pearl, to be precise… where Landwash Brewery released a “Tiny Pale Ale” earlier this week, named after some very Tiny Fish. The stickleback, also known as prickly fish, are found all around Newfoundland, hanging out in brackish waters and tidepools, and have spines along their dorsal fins (you know, sticky backs…). Prickly Fish is a 4.5% ABV Session APA/IPA sorta thing, featuring hopping in the boil and conditioning tank with Sorachi Ace, Ekuanot, and Bru-1, giving great harmonious notes of coconut, orange, and other tropical fruit on a hazy base. It is joined by the return of their Green Nap Hazy IPA series, with this release featuring Simcoe and Amarillo hops, giving off dank citrus, mango skin, and dried apricots, with a bit more bite than their That Much Ocean NEIPA. Both are available for order and pickup through their online store, now open 12 – 8 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and we highly recommend coordinating your timing to grab something from Saucy Mouth, who continue their residency at the brewery the same days, 4- 8 PM. And keep your eyes open for news on the in-taproom enjoyment front, as the Landwash folks are busy making some moves in the direction, to be able to welcome you inside real soon.

One last stop on the Rock, as Quidi Vidi has a pair of small batch releases available for sale at their Hops Shop this week. First up is the Imperial Baltic Porter, an 8.0% ABV beast of a beer with plenty of chocolate and roast notes, with a bit of toffee and dried fruit character. Joining it is the Czech Pilsner, a 5.0% ABV continuation of the Continental European styles they’ve been dabbling in lately, opting for an unfiltered version, with light grain notes and a touch of bread crust and toast, with a slightly bitter finish. How do you get hold of these? Head to their online shop and choose “Pick Up Order” (both of these new ones are small batch releases, in the Hop Shop only), fill out your request, give them some time to pack it together, then head down for pick up. They are also running deliveries for other cans and bottles, Tuesday – Saturday afternoons, accessible from the same page, choosing the “Home Delivery Order” button. Be sure to keep any “Pick Up Only” items out of your cart, or you’re gonna have a bad time. 

We’ve heard of a brand new beer in the wild from Hanwell’s Niche Brewing, so let’s get you up to speed on this one. A “return to hoppiness” for them, Peaks Island is a 6.0% ABV hoppy hazy NEIPA. Named after the island in Casco Bay just offshore of Portland, Maine, a town home to many well-made NEIPAs (and sometimes you just need to escape them all for an afternoon!). Starting with a base of 2-row and Pilsner malts, with additions of flaked oats and wheat, as well as a touch of CaraHell, the star of the show is definitely the hops, with a variety used throughout. First hopped in the kettle with Chinook and El Dorado, it was dry-hopped with plenty of Ekuanot and Galaxy. The combination leads to a low- to mid-range bitterness, with a ton of tropical fruit on the nose and tongue, complemented with a bit of green pepper character from the Ekuanot. You can grab the first pints of these in Fredericton at The Joyce Pub and in Saint John at Peppers Pub, and may be picked up elsewhere if you’re lucky!

The worldwide collaboration brew started by New York City’s Other Half Brewing to support hospitality professionals during COVID-19 times, All Together, continues to be brewed by breweries, and late last week 2 Crows is releasing their iteration. This 6.5% ABV American IPA was brewed with 2-row, flaked oats, and Carapils; hopped in the boil with Columbus, and lots of Mosaic and Cascade in the hopback, it was later heavily dry-hopped with more Mosaic and Cascade, along with Simcoe and Citra. As you may be guessing… hoppy juice bomb alert! Specifically, “overripe mango, passion fruit, clementine, papaya, and a touch of pine”, if you’re into that sort of thing (you are). Some of the ingredients in this brew were graciously donated by local suppliers, and a portion of the proceeds from sales will go to Halifax’s Laing House, a non-profit organization that helps youth facing mental health challenges. In addition, 2C is also giving a portion of proceeds to their taproom employees, who have seen a reduction in hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ⁣You can grab it in cans and on tap at the brewery. And in other 2C news, their non-alcoholic carbonated water, Hop Water, is back in stock… refreshing, guilt-free, and with a nice hop presence of Citra, it’ll go down even easier in this warmer weather than it did before!

Elsewhere in the province, Roof Hound’s Kingston location is launching a new beer today when they open at noon, Fuzzy Navel IPA. Inspired by the cocktail of the same name, this hazy, juicy brew was hopped with lots of Summit, and features additions of orange juice and housemade peach purée. It comes in at 6.5% ABV, and is definitely tasting reminiscent of that drink you may have tried when you were younger, only it’s better, because it’s beer, you know? Available on tap and in bottles to go; the brewery is still doing home deliveries, so that’s an option as well.

These Kveik yeast strains are all the rage now, ain’t they? Luckily, there’s lots of good reasons for that, and Hampton Brewing is betting that you’ll love their latest beer, Koselig (pronounced “koos-uh-lee”), which was fermented with the Ebbegarden Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Brewed with the malt base of a previous release of theirs, Mosaic Blonde, they’ve increased the dry hop (we’re betting it’s Mosaic!) with this beer; that and the yeast combine to give “flavours of guava and mango, and aromas of tropical and stone fruit”. Definitely not your typical Blonde Ale! Coming in around the mid-5% ABV range, the first kegs can be found pouring at Grass Roots Grill and the Hampton Golf Course.

In Lunenburg, NS, Shipwright Brewing has a new beer available that they’d love you to try. Shoreline Export Ale is a 5.2% ABV Golden Ale brewed with Pale Ale, Wheat, and Light Munich malts, and hopped with Saaz and Hallertau Blanc. Featuring notes of honey and biscuit, with a balanced bitterness (22 IBUs), it’s meant to be one of those easy-drinking styles, yet with a lovely mix of hop and malt character, all in a clean package. You can grab crowlers to go from the brewery right now, and it should be pouring on tap soon at the Grand Banker

Riverdale Orchard in Bonshaw is open today, and this weekend, for retail sales of bottles and baked goods, and are also running a hot meal take-out special this afternoon and evening, featuring pulled pork in Scottish Rolls. The best way to success is via pre-orders on their site, and you will receive an email with a day/time confirmation. In addition to their award-winning 2 Scots 3 Apples flagship, they now have 2 Scots Go Wild, their low-intervention cider made with solely wild apples grown right on their property, and fermented with the naturally-occurring yeasts during a low and slow process, and has been maturing for 5 months before bottling. No sulphites added either! This 5.5% ABV dry cider features a heavy fruity undertone, letting the apple shine through.

Up in Northern New Brunswick, in Bathurst to be specific, Four Rivers is quite pleased to announce the availability of their first barrel-aged beers. Both based on a stout (the same one, we think), they got different barrel treatments for 7 months before 2 additional months of conditioning in the bottle: La Grande Hermine spent it’s time in a Shiraz barrel and Eau de Vie was cognac. Both beers finished at 5.5% ABV and due to the size of the barrels and the aging process, there’s only 200 (or so) 750 mL of each, so they’ll have bottle limits per customer per day and they won’t be accepting reservations. They will, however, be opening an hour early tomorrow specifically for the release, so if you’re in that area of NB and have a hankering for some barrel-aged goodness a trip to the brewery is probably better done earlier than later!

Let’s end this week’s main stories the same place we started, in Newfoundland! Split Rock Brewing in Twillingate has recently released their newest one-off brew, Dry-Hopped Rye Ale. They started with a grist chock full of rye malt, and added a hefty amount of Willamette and East Kent Goldings hops in the boil. Fermented with the brewery’s house English yeast, the final beer was dry-hopped with more Willamette and EKG, before packaging. At 6.3% ABV, it’s tasting “slick and full-bodied, with notes of spice, earth and honey”. Available right now at the brewery in 473 mL cans.

Well, the week got away from us (Chris!), and we didn’t get to put together the big list of re-openings that we had hoped to. For those in Nova Scotia, please check out Kim Hart Macneill’s guide to brewery reopenings and we aim to add our own deep dive into all Atlantic provinces this weekend. If you want to tell us if we’ve missed anything (y’know, like the entire province of New Brunswick), fire us an email! A few notable spots that popped up on our radar:

Newfoundland:

Bannerman Brewing has opened their cafe and restaurant today, with coffee and beer from 8:30 AM until midnight daily (closed Mon and Tues). Baked goods in the morning, with their kitchen operating with a reduced menu 3 – 9 PM. They have suspended their Curbside and To-Go service, as well as filling growlers (this one should just be temporary).

Dildo Brewing has opened their brewery taproom and restaurant for the year, open daily from 11 AM, closing at 8 PM Fri and Sat, 7 PM Sun – Thurs.

Nova Scotia:

Bar Stillwell Barrington is now open, Tuesday – Thursday 4 – 11 PM, Friday – Sunday 12 – 11 PM. RSVP required (902-421-1672). The Spring Garden Beergarden is also open, weather permitting, 12 – 11 PM daily. No resos needed. Canned beers (and other packaged product) can be added to a takeout food order. No word yet on the Freehouse’s re-opening. 

Battery Park is now open for in-person dining, from 3 PM during the week, and noon on weekends. The North Brewing shop onsite follows the same guidelines, check here for more details.

Big Spruce Brewing is opening their taproom, as well as their on-site food truck today, with pints and flights, as well as a full menu of options.

HopYard Halifax is now open for onsite and takeout, 12 – 9 PM daily. Reservations recommended.

Stubborn Goat’s location on Grafton Street is open from 11:30 AM until late Monday – Friday, and from 10:30 AM on the weekend. Their rooftop patio is open, weather permitting. The Beer Garden is open 11 – 11 daily, weather permitting.

Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse is back open for dining, from 11:30 AM until 8 PM, Tuesday through Saturday (closed between 2 and 4 PM, Tues through Thursday, and open until 9 PM Fri and Sat).

North Brewing has resumed in-store retail purchases, to complement their contact-less pickup and delivery options. The taproom is also open again, for on-site enjoyment and eats thanks to the folks at Side Hustle Snack Bar.

Prince Edward Island:

HopYard is open 11:30 AM – 11 PM daily, for sit-down or take-out options.

Bogside Brewing has re-opened their taproom and patio for onsite dining and imbibing, with The Wheelhouse providing food options for folks. They are open daily (except Monday), 12 – 7 PM.

Lone Oak Brewing has re-opened the taproom for pints and flights, and have the Terry’s Berries Food Truck set up onsite noon til 7 PM daily. And are working towards a more permanent kitchen setup inside, for year-round food service.

And if you’ve been missing the shorter newsbites section you’re in luck, as we’ve got a bunch for you today:

Grimross has a fresh batch of Hop Blonde (6% ABV, 23 IBUs) on tap at the brewery today; you can grab it in prefilled 750 mL and 1.89 L bottles/growlers, and it should also be popping up at restaurants and bars across NB. Look for the next batch to be available in cans.

Lazy Bear just released their latest beer, Balancing Rock Ale, at the brewery for growlers and pints. Brewed with a blend of Vienna malts and lightly-hopped, it weighs in at just 4.5% ABV.

Newfoundland’s Secret Cove Brewing is now canning, and have re-released their Come Home Beer, an Apricot Wheat Ale, with a temporarily-new name, Stay Home Beer (we’re sure you can figure out why). “Tart and juicy”, you can grab cans at the brewery’s Curb Shop, which means you do have to leave home…. *brain explodes*

If you’re looking for a job this summer, why not consider applying at your local brewery for a position? If you leave in or near the Chester area of Nova Scotia, Tanner & Co. is currently hiring for the summer; check out this link for more details.

Timber Ship Brewing has announced that they are re-releasing their popular How She Goin’, a “Honey Session Ale” again very soon (if not now!). Brewed with wildflower honey from My Lil’ Bee Honey Farm in Napan, NB, it’s light and crisp, with some slight aromas and flavours from the honey. 

We mentioned it last week, and now it’s a reality, Upstreet Brewing continues their Million Acres series this week with the release of Gamay Noir Saison, a saison aged on grape pomace. And we also mentioned the introduction of their Rewind vodka soda line of 5% ABV and 100 calorie alcopops; these are now available in 6 packs of 355 mL cans with the initial flavors of Raspberry Lemon Zest and Key Lime Sea Salt available now with Blood Orange Grapefruit coming soon!

Okay folks, this will be your COVID-19 joke-free zone for the day, we promise not to make any below. What we will say on the subject is that some breweries are adjusting their growler policies during this time, to reduce the chance of infection of employees and patrons alike, so don’t be surprised by those when you go in looking for a fill this afternoon (some are halting completely, others will only be doing exchanges, both of which we think are smart moves). And with some members of the public going a little over the top in hoarding and needless self-isolation, this could be a trying time for your favourite brewery taproom (not to mention local bars and restaurants), so do continue to support them how/when it makes sense. Perhaps now’s the time to buy yourself or a pal a giftcard for later use? Or take advantage of those breweries that offer online shopping? Here’s what caught our eyes this week, and worth checking out!

After a quick glance through all the info we have for this week, it looks like there’s a lot of hazy-and-hoppy releases, so let’s start off with Big Spruce, because why not? They’ve just released Shrediquette, a 7.6% abv NEIPA hopped entirely with experimental hop HBC-692. There’s quite a few aroma and flavour descriptors for this variety floating around the internet (such as grapefruit, stone fruit, floral, woody, pine, and cream), but Big Spruce is describing this beer as extremely orange-y, with “a subtle, pithy bitterness lingering behind”. Guess you’ll have to taste it and make your own decisions! Look for it at the brewery, or your favourite BS tap accounts, including Auction House, Battery Park, HopYard, and Stillwell in HRM.

Continuing on with hops over in Newfoundland, where Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a Double IPA pouring, Sample Port. Hopped with extremely-high amounts of Amarillo and Chinook throughout the boil, it was dry-hopped with more of the same, plus Mosaic. Medium-bodied and dry, with a hefty bitterness thanks to hefty use of hops (think West Coast style and proud of it), this 7.8% ABV brew got its name from its popularity with the brewing staff, who enjoyed the beer so much that they continued to return to the tank’s sample port for repeated samples. Still on tap at the brewery (until staff gets off for the day!), it is also pouring at Gander Airport’s Union East & Drinks (who are doing a great job showcasing taps from a great variety of the province’s breweries), and should be making an appearance at a couple of the better beer bars in St. John’s before too long. And back after a brief hiatus, and sporting their new house English yeast strain, is ABBA (aka Alli’s Big Brown Ale), their 5.6% ABV Brown Ale. Available at the brewery as well, those of you in St. John’s may have had a chance to try it at the Guv’nor Pub this past week.

Let’s take a break from hops for a moment, but stay on the Rock, East to Quidi Vidi Brewery. Delving into darker territory this week, QV has three of them out in time for next week’s St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. Let’s start light with their Dry Irish Stout. At 4.2% ABV, this beer is brimming with character from the Midnight Wheat, Pale Chocolate and Roasted Barley, complementing the base malts with notes of roast, coffee, and chocolate, with just a touch of balancing bitterness. A medium-light body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and a light finish. At the other end of the spectrum is their Russian Imperial Stout, a 10% ABV brute of a beer featuring many of the same dark and roast malts as its little brother, but amped up. Aromatics of dark roast coffee, and sweet dates from the esters and a touch of alcohol, follow to a full, smooth, mouthfeel with more coffee and chocolate on the tongue. And finally, they’ve got the Imperial Coconut Porter, a 9.0% ABV beer with, you guessed it, toasted coconut added to the brew, in addition to cacao nibs for extra chocolatey goodness, as well as vanilla for a touch of sweetness. Chocolate and Pale Chocolate malts colour and flavour the brew, giving the very dark brown beer a lovely beige head, with notes of toast and nuttiness to complement the adjuncts. All three beers are available on draught in the taproom and in cans in the QV Hops Shop now, and keep your eyes open for them on the shelves of select NLCs in your ‘hood.

With their full Tap Takeover at Stillwell happening tomorrow, Tatamagouche Brewing are bringing more beauties than you can shake a stick at, including four new releases on the taps.

  • Eventide, that midway point between day and evening, is also the name of their latest lager, an amber-coloured 4.6% ABV Vienna Lager. With notes of bread and toast on the nose, and following through to the palate with touches of apricot, Eventide is a showcase of the malt variety from Vienna, rich in character but still manages to finish dry, without too much sweetness. Hops take a back seat in this brew, and the lager yeast keeps the beer crisp and refreshing. On draught now, and in cans very soon.
  • Debuting tomorrow is Tata’s Grisette, a 3.4% ABV “small Saison”, which was carbonated naturally in the keg (and bottles, soon). Dry-hopped with Callista, it features bright and fresh aromatics of mandarin with earthy undertones and light floral notes. This one was kept in Stainless Steel during the process, whereas…
  • Remused is a second take on their Muse Flanders Red-inspired beer released in the Fall. Another batch of the sour Red Ale spent another four months on the same cherries as the initial release. Look for bottles of Remused in the next couple of weeks.
  • And finally, it will also mark the debut of the Stilly X Tata collaboration Staffy Kveik Pale Ale, brewed late last month. Featuring the new and exclusive Samba hop (as well as Huell Melon), this juicy Pale Ale with everyone’s favourite Norwegian Farmhouse yeast, is a lesson in tropical and citrus character in a bright and fresh package. After tomorrow’s debut, look for a wider distro of this one, with a canning run happening next week as well.

And with any takeover, you know that Stillwell goes all out with the food, so look forward to fried clams, haddock tips, smoked mackerel dip, and scallop ceviche on the menu. All day.

Ok, back to hops! We’ll dial it back a bit with Roof Hound, who were looking for a beer with lots of hop presence, but less alcohol than your IPAs and DIPAs. Of course, that means Session IPA, so they created a recipe and named the beer Gimme a Hint. Brewed with both Citra and Mosaic hops, they upped the fruit character even more with an addition of fresh orange zest. But this isn’t your “typical” Session IPA… when we think of the style, something in the range of 3.5-5% ABV usually jumps out. Gimme a Hint comes it at an extremely-low 1% ABV, which we guess is why Roof Hound is actually referring to this beer as a “Micro IPA”. This beer isn’t exactly available yet, but look for it late this month directly at the source (we understand if you’re weirded out that we are giving you advance notice on a beer… we’re a little freaked about it, too).

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has their latest hoppy beer hitting the taps this week after a debut last weekend. Hop Altered is a hazy NEIPA featuring a grist of 2-row, Golden Promise and Munich malts, with flaked wheat and oats providing the requisite protein component. Plenty of Mosaic and El Dorado hops were used in the kettle, with more of the same plus some Enigma in a very healthy dry hop. The picture is completed by the use of the Foggy London yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. Described as “pretty darn juicy” you can expect some tropical notes, a slight dankness and not too much bitterness on the finish of this 5.2% ABV easy drinker. Look for it first at The Joyce and Peppers Pub but we’re sure it’ll be hitting other Niche tap accounts shortly.

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has been tearing it up since they opened, with the taproom full most of the time (y’all are thirsty!). Not to let any slumps sneak up on them, they’re releasing a whopping FOUR new beers this weekend! We’ve got a few light details to share with you now, just to get you in the mood to head there right after work, or maybe tomorrow:

  • Dickie Dee – they’re billing this one as an “Orange Creamsicle Dry-Hopped IPA”, so expect a hoppy, slightly sweet, very orange-flavoured beer. Smooth and creamy, and 6% ABV, it has additions of orange and lactose, and was hopped mostly with Ekuanot. Shoutout for the Eighties kids on that name!
  • Weisse Squad – a German Dunkelweizen (think dark Hefeweizen), the use of Weizen yeast for fermentation has added your typical banana and clove flavours, and the use of some specialty malt helps balance with notes of caramel and toast. Just 4% ABV, so definitely safe to have one or two before responsible activity.
  • Rainy Days – a style along the lines of “je ne sais quoi”, they’re describing this as unique, and “a London Fog recreated in a pale beer”. Lots of lactose and Earl Grey tea were added, and it comes in at 4% ABV; better try this one yourself!
  • Hip Hop – the first in a series, this beer is a double-dry-hopped, hazy New England DIPA; coming in at 8% ABV to keep you firmly in your seat, they hopped this one exclusively with Mosaic. Juicy, juicy, and more juicy, don’t pound back too many of these, despite their easy-drinking nature.

All of these will be on tap at the brewery, naturally. Also a note, Tire Shack will be holding a St. Patrick’s Day party next Tuesday; they’ll be opening early (11 am), with live music by Fundy Ceilidh from 7-9 pm and green beer (yep) pouring throughout the day.

We have the latest details on the newest Something Different entry from Annapolis Cider, which is going to be available today. Arctic Kiwi Perry is a blend of a dry Perry (made from Bosc and Bartlett pears) and juice from locally-harvested arctic kiwis. Not familiar with arctic kiwis? Neither were we, but luckily the fine folks at Annapolis Cider inform us that they are “grape-sized kiwifruit grown in northern climates”. (Wiki article) They taste similar to your typical “normal” kiwi, and in this particular beverage offer pleasant tropical notes, all in a medium-bodied, crisp package. As always, $0.50 from each refill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association.

Over on the Island, we’ve got news that the winning beer from this year’s Maritime Homebrew Challenge by Gahan/PEIBC was released this past Sunday on International Women’s Day 2020, perfect timing for winning brewer Chelsea Meisner! The beer itself is a stout with a somewhat untraditional ingredient: Sichuan peppercorns! Known for their ability to leave one’s tongue a little bit tingly (or full-on numb, depending on how much is used), they provide plenty of interest to this rich and full-bodied stout that comes in at 55 IBU and a healthy 7.5% ABV. “Tingles the tongue and warms the soul,” is printed on the can and, we suspect, very fittingly describes the experience. Our congratulations again to Chelsea on her winning beer! You can grab pints and cans of Tingles Sichuan Stout at Gahan and PEIBC, and it should also be available in both formats in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia locations as well.

North End Halifax’s Good Robot has, as always seems to be the case, a couple of things on the go this week. First up, the GR team is trying their collective hand at the hard seltzer game with an Alpha batch of one they’re calling, The Fizz. At 4.7% ABV and no IBUs to speak of, they tried to avoid the “boozy carbonated water” and challenge their brewing skills by making the lightest beer they could, cutting it with some water, and adding lemon, lime and lavender. You can try this low-calorie option at the taproom now!

And meanwhile, in BetaBrew land there’s a “baby beta” coming out this coming BetaBrewsday (Tuesday, March 17th) they’re calling Beerbliotheque. Brewed by Kelly and her longtime friend Amy Lorencz, they leaned into Amy’s librarian vocation (and calling) for this one. A big, rich stout, with notes of dried fruit, there’s also plenty of chocolate character. A bit of a big’un at 7.3% ABV and 26 IBU, it sounds perfect for curling up by the fire on one of our still chilly evenings with a lovely book. We also have a PSA for BetaBrew fans, Kelly has advised us that there will be but one remaining BetaBrew. We’ll definitely try to get the full story on that for you next week, but maybe start planning to make it out for the final edition as soon as we advise you when that will be.

Lastly, Kelly is also the guiding light behind the FemmeBrew Homebrewing Competition for Womxn, Trans, Femme, non-binary and underrepresented brewsters in Nova Scotia, and they’ll be celebrating that this coming Sunday at the taproom starting with a private event for entrants (and their +1s) starting at 4 PM. Winners will be announced after 5 PM and then the doors will open to the general public at 6 PM to celebrate the winners, the entrants, and everyone else involved.

Looks like there’s a couple of new beers pouring at Maybee in Fredericton; well, maybe 1.5 “new” beers? The first one is a lighter take on one of their flagship beers, Work Horse IPA. For those of you who have been longtime drinkers of this classic take on an American IPA (or even those of you who may have been newly introduced to it, now that it’s available in NB’s grocery stores), but would appreciate a lower ABV, they give you Work Horse Light. They say it has the same flavour and hop profile as the original, but “with a cleaner finish and less lingering bitterness”. At 5.5% ABV (and 55 IBUs), it’s a bit easier to enjoy a couple of pints. The other beer – Lakeview Amber – is a true newbie, an American Amber brewed in collaboration with Bangor, Maine’s Geaghan Bros. This isn’t the first collaboration between these two breweries, but this is the first to also include Lakeview Hops (out of Harvey, NB). This easy-drinking Amber was hopped with Magnum to 40 IBUs, giving a “short-lived bitterness” in the finish, after hits of “slight caramel on the nose, with notes of light pine and unripe pineapple”. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, this beer (and Work Horse Light) can be found on tap now at Maybee; good chance you’ll see both beers pop up at local accounts around Fredericton.

HRM’s Propeller Brewing is continuing to play with packaging cans with nitrogen. This week their stalwart Irish Red Ale became available in nitro cans. If you’re interested but not familiar with beers packaged this way, maybe have a boo at Prop’s social media for information on how to best take advantage of this novel packaging (short form: crack it and dump it into your glass with a quickness, but make sure your glass is big enough for a whole pint!). Nitrogen tends to make beers smoother and “creamier,” which should pair nicely with the malty and earthy notes of the style. Still 5% ABV and 25 IBU as always, look for it in cans and on tap at Propeller locations, and they’ve advised us that a few kegs are also available to taprooms that have nitro capability. We’d also like the opportunity to hint that we think it would be awesome if the next beer they tried this with is their classic ESB

We mentioned back at the end of February that Garrison Brewing was brewing up an all-female developed beer for International Women’s Day 2020 and then failed to remind everyone about it in our post last week (yes, we feel appropriate shame). But we’re hoping to make up for that by reminding you about it now and telling you it’s available at both Garrison taprooms (Seaport and Oxford), as well as private stores in the HRM. A Honey Wheat Ale with honey from Meander River Farm, it’s 5.2% ABV and 25 IBUs, you can safely expect an easy-drinking beer with a doughy character, some melon notes, gentle bitterness, and some honey sweetness. And remember that every can and keg sold means donations toward the Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC (which will be more than $1300 once the batch is sold), so maybe take an opportunity to stock up on a few for a good cause, share them around, and celebrate womxn in the brewing industry!

In addition to the events we already mentioned above, just one more that we found on the calendar this weekend…

Wolfville’s Church Brewing Company is taking over the taps at Halifax’s Boxcar Social Saturday evening. From 5 PM until close, they’ll be pouring their super-refreshing Congregation Pilsner, Sanctuary Enkel (think Belgian Singel), Married to the Sea German Porter, Eight Bells Belgo Pale Ale, The Luxury Belgian Dubbel, as well as the very last keg of their Best Kind Kveik Pale Ale, their collaboration with St. John’s Bannerman Brewing. And because one can never have enough variety, they’ll be rounding out the offerings with cans of Mayflower White IPA, and Til Death Do Us Tart Framboise. To amp up the fun even more, Sun Parka will be playing from 7 PM, so be sure to drop in for a pint or two and stay a spell.

And in not-great, but entirely understandable news, the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia has made the hard decision to cancel the March 21st Nova Scotia Craft Beer Fest. Those who had purchased tickets will receive full refunds. No change to the other events planned in April for #NSCraftBeerMonth, and we’ll have lots more info on those plans in the coming weeks.

Welp, this is it, the end of January. It felt like it lasted 6 weeks, what with the epic snow seen across the region shutting down entire cities, but we’re emerging from our snow forts and thirsty as heck! Thankfully the brewers didn’t miss a beat and have plenty to satiate our thirst. Let’s get your weekend started now with brand new releases across the region this week, and what’s on the horizon.

Thanks very much to those of you who entered our giveaway for tickets to next weekend’s Craft Beer Cottage Party as part of Savour Food & Wine. Congratulations to Andy L who won the two tickets with his picture of Propeller Sabro on IG. For the rest of us, tickets are still available for the Feb 8 event at Halifax Seaport Beer Festival, with more than 30 breweries and cideries from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI donning their best cottage ware and pouring goodies from their booths. We hope to see you there!

Let’s ease you out of Dry January with a beer hitting the shelves in New Brunswick at the beginning of next week. Niche Brewing is continuing their limited bottle releases with a debut almost two years in the making. Taking inspiration from the Oud Bruin/Flanders Brown style originating in the Flemish region of Belgium, Quintessential is a 6.4% ABV beer with plenty of history. Beginning life in April 2018, this Brown Ale underwent primary fermentation in a Cab Sauv barrel with Niche’s house blend of Sacch and Brett yeasts, aided by a new pitch of Lactobacillus and Pediococcus bacteria for a complex souring profile. Over the next 18 months, they produced not only lactic acid, the same “clean” acidity found in kettle souring, but also some acetic acid character thanks to extra bugs. After bottle conditioning for a few more months, the beer is finally ready. Think rich balsamic acid, dark plum and cherries, with a light oak character. A special beer deserves a special label, so they tapped Maine fine artist Nico Lebarge (no stranger to the beer scene as a designer with Bissell Brothers in Portland) for a painting fit for the release. Bottles of Quintessential will be available at the York Street and Corbett Fredericton ANBLs Monday, and at Dieppe Wednesday. Ask at your local location, and they may be able to bring it in (though with only one barrel of the beer available, there are only so many bottles to go around!). To keep you satisfied this weekend, thankfully, they’ve got a fresh batch of their Single Origin Sweet Coffee Stout pouring around the region. And ready your livers for a tap feature at The Joyce on February 22nd, with twelve Niche beers flowing, including several small batch one-offs brewed specifically for the event. 

Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing has one new beer and one returning beer on tap this week. Starting with the newbie, which is appropriately named Raspberry Milk Stout. This is a Sweet Stout (meaning it features an addition of lactose powder in the boil) that had raspberry puree added once fermentation was complete. The result is a dark beer with a smooth creaminess, as well as subtle notes of raspberry. Full bodied, with low bitterness, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV. It’s currently available on tap for growler/crowler fills at the Pump House Fill Station in Moncton. Returning is I.P.Address, a very popular NEIPA that was last seen back in June. Brewed with a simple grist of 2-row malt, wheat, and oats, this batch was fermented with a different yeast strain than previous batches. Hopped with Vic Secret, Centennial, El Dorado, and Mosaic, expect “smooth tropical fruit, citrus notes, and a mild bitterness”; it comes in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs. Look for it at the Growler Bar at the ANBL in Dieppe on Regis St, where it should be pouring alongside Raspberry Milk Stout as well.

Despite the extra crappy weather Newfoundland has been seeing this month, Port Rexton Brewing has been keeping themselves busy, with the result being lots of beer news for this week! Let’s start with their latest bottle release, shall we? Cellar Season – 2019 Barrel-aged Gose is just what you’d expect it to be! Once brewed, the kettle-soured base beer was fermented in stainless before being transferred over to a red wine barrel. The Brett D strain from Escarpment Labs was pitched at this point, and the beer was allowed to age (and develop lots of pineapple and funk character) for 14 months. A limited amount of bottles are available (300, with a limit of 2 pp); the 4.1% ABV beer is showing “hints of oak and red wine” to go with the Brett funk, with all of it being “complemented by a touch of minerality and refreshing tartness” before finishing nice and dry. In draught news, the latest in their hoppy Continuum series is out; Continuum w/ Simcoe has a whole lotta Simcoe in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry-hop additions, accompanied by Mandarina Bavaria, giving this 5.6% ABV IPA a “candy-like sweetness on the aroma, with a distinct piney character on the palate”. Finishing moderately bitter, you can find this one right at the source and at their shop on Torbay Road. And coming tomorrow is their latest foray into Gluten-free beer, Coffee Brown. As the name implies, this 6.5% ABV Brown Ale features an addition of coffee, thanks to their neighbours at Trinity Coffee Company. A touch of malt sweetness and a light mouthfeel meld with the strong coffee aroma and flavour to round out the brew. The Retail Shop kegs will be tapped at noon tomorrow, and with the GF pilot system less than 100 litre capacity, it won’t last long, so be sure to drop by early to avoid disappointment.

We may be in the depths of winter, but the gang at Good Robot in Halifax is on a mission to bring some tropical and sunny times our way through February, beginning with a couple of new beers on the go. First up, from brewer and yeast wrangler Gio comes Boom, a “conch style Bahamian lager” at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU. Gio wanted to make a beer that reflected his two homes, the Bahamas and Canada, and wisely chose to do so through beer. Starting with a crisp lager base reminiscent of Kalik or Sands, he added lime juice and evergreen needles to take it to another level. Expect an easy-drinking beer that still boasts an unexpected kick. And on the Beta system, Kelly was joined with longtime BetaBrew supporters Cindy and Marilyn to put together another beer with inspiration from warmer climes. Inspired by a sauce they’ve been making for years, Island Punch features grilled pineapple, mango and habaneros. No doubt sweet maybe a little smoky, and bringing some heat, this one is 5.4% ABV and 24 IBU and, in accordance with the prophecy as is traditional for BetaBrews, will no doubt be tapped this coming Tuesday afternoon.

Up in St. John’s, where they’re no longer under a state of emergency but are still no doubt digging out from two weeks ago, YellowBelly has leaned into the storm, so to speak, with a beer they’re calling Flurricane 2020. Nominally an IPA, it’s 6.5% ABV, but only 35 IBU, so maybe more of a Pale Ale? No doubt about it, though, this one contains some hops, namely Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic, largely added as late and dry hop additions. Paired with a sturdy malt backbone, the result is a balanced beer with plenty of hop character and a lingering bitter finish. Look for this one on tap at their downtown location and with bottles to go hopefully available by the time you read this; and it will no doubt feature into the Crafternoon for Australia event you can read about below.

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has been making their biggest beer, a barleywine they call Ol’ Fog Burner, almost every year for a decade now. This year marks the first time, however, that they’ve produced a batch on their “new” system rather than their old plant in the Seaport Taproom. Owing to that difference in production, there’s been a small change in recipe, with some crystal and roasted malt joining 2-Row Maritime Pale Ale malt for the first time. There’s nothing new about the ABV though, it’s still a big bastard at 10.5% ABV or the bitterness, at 70 IBU. Bold spicy and fruity hop flavors from American varieties Columbus and Citra balance warm brandy-like toffee flavors for a very smooth experience with a long-lasting and warming finish. Look for this one to go in the classic 650 mL bombers (maybe plan to share one with a friend) at the brewery and the Oxford Taproom, and possibly other places you go for your Garrison fix.

In the town of Sussex, NB, just about halfway between Moncton and Saint John, there’s been a bit of a hum generated as local folks played up the idea of (ex-)British Royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle maybe choosing the town home base in Canada. After all, they are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are they not? The tongue-in-cheek “movement” now has a liquid manifestation as in-town brewery Sussex Ale Works has put together a beer they’re calling The Duke in honor of its namesake. Featuring a grist of Maris Otter, Vienna, 2-row, and crystal malts along with a bit of roasted barley, all paired with Saaz hops, this red ale is 7% ABV and 30 IBU. To try it you’ll have to head down to Sussex and check out the awesome tap handle they’ve got for pouring it. While you’re there you can also check out their other new beer, Hindsight 2020, a Golden Pale Ale with 2-row and amber malts and Chinook and Cascade hops. Sounding like a bit of a melding of British malts and American hops, it’s 6.2% ABV and 40 IBU.

Coming out of Tatamagouche this weekend is a brand new release featuring the hottest thing going (literally) yeast-wise, but with a cool (also literally) approach. Kveik yeast is known for its ability to ferment relatively cleanly even at temperatures that would make other beer strains produce things you absolutely wouldn’t want in your beer or your mouth. But what happens if you treat Kveik differently and, say, ferment it much colder than all the cool kids have been doing? Tatamagouche Brewing decided to find out! Cripple Kveik used the Halvorsgard strain, which comes from Ål, quite a ways from the epicenters of farmhouse brewing in Norway. Interestingly, it’s not actually called Kveik there, but “Gong,” which means Tata missed a great opportunity to name this beer Gong Show (but we’ll take a reference to The Band any day!) Cold-fermented at 9°C before being bumped up briefly for a rest at 14°C, it was then lagered for four weeks. With all local malt from Horton Ridge and Willamette and Chinook hops from Wicked Hops in Stewiacke, it’s also a very locally-focused brew. Coming in at 4.7% ABV, it’s described as, “clean and crisp, with nice fruit-forward hop character [and] mango aromas.”

We’ve got some good news for you if you’ve been waiting for a new, funky, bottled release from Propeller Brewing, as their latest is just hitting shelves today. Brett Porter is described by the brewery in three words: “Rustic. Roasted. Stubborn”. Brewed in the style of your typical English Porter, it was initially fermented with a British Ale strain; the beer was then transferred to barrels for a secondary fermentation (and 9 month aging period) with Brettanomyces claussenii. Packaged in 750 mL bottles, the final 6.4% ABV, 25 IBUs beer has “layers of rich, roasted malt” with earthy, fruity, and funky characteristics thanks to the Brett. Bottles likely won’t last long, so be sure to pick yours up at either Prop shop sometime over the weekend. 

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a release from Stillwell Brewing, no doubt owing a little bit to the craziness of cranes and pub openings and such, but also because you can’t rush beer like this, dammit! However, out this weekend is the latest iteration of their Gosh. Starting life amongst the brewery’s first releases, this was originally a red wine barrel-aged farmhouse dry hopped with Mosaic. When it came out several months later, v2 of this one was a blend of several barrels also hit hard with the hops. This time we had to wait a year and a half for v3, but we’re sure it’s worth it. Originally brewed over a year ago, it sat patiently in barrels getting tasty until September when it was dry hopped and bottled. Since then it’s been resting, waiting for the day when CPR pops a bottle, pours a glass, tastes it, considers it, and utters the fateful words, “It is ready.” Or at least that’s the way it happens in our beer dreams. (You know you have beer dreams too.) Anyways, the time is now. Go get some from their Barrington Street location, open today at noon.

What’s on the go this weekend? Here ya go!

Continuing with their trend of mini-tap-takeovers this month, Stillwell on Barrington will surely be making local cider fans happy tomorrow as they put 5 ciders on tap and serve 4 more by the glass from Guelph’s Revel Cider. Although we definitely believe that the cideries of Atlantic Canada are putting out delicious and innovative products, just as with recent beer events featuring top out-of-region producers, we think Revel’s small batch concoctions deserve your interest. Leaning towards the funky, the sour, the herbal and the unusual, there’s some definite delights to look forward to.

On draught:

  • Time & Place – Farmhouse Cider
  • Ostara Yarrow – Cider with Golden Plums and Yarrow Flower
  • Ostara Elderflower – Cider with Golden Plums and Elderflower
  • Cursive – Blend of perry on Riesling skins, cider on blueberries, and Maréchal Foch
  • Sonata – Cider with Montmorency cherries

And by the glass:

  • Soma – Pétillant Naturel apple wine
  • Petrol – Single barrel funky perry
  • Mirabelle – Cider with lemon verbena and strawberries
  • Revdock – A collaboration beer-cider hybrid with Burdock: tannic apple cider blended with an ale fermented on a sourdough culture with corn and spelt

No doubt Chef Joe Martin will have the tasty food coming out of the kitchen to pair with these, and, being a mini-takeover, there’s sure to be beer taps pouring if cider isn’t your bag (but seriously, try these ciders anyway).

Grey Rock Casino, located in Edmundston, NB, is holding a Beer Fest this Saturday, featuring a handful of breweries from New Brunswick, as well as one visiting from Quebec. On hand with be hometown brewery Petit-Sault, as well as Big Axe, Brasseux d’la Cote, Four Rivers, Grimross, SCOW Cider, and Le Caveau from Trois-Pistoles, QC. This event is a fundraising event for the local food bank, Atelier RADO, who will be receiving all of the profits. Tickets are available here, and also get you into the Izzy Ouellet concert after the beer fest is done.

Not to be outdone by their OG location in Charlottetown*, HopYard Halifax is doing their second annual Battle of the Breweries event over the course of the next couple months as a regular Thursday night thing. Fifteen Nova Scotia breweries have been invited to the dance, with three competing each time with three beers each. The opening round will take place each week from February 6th to March 12th with the winning brewery (the one who sells the most pints) moving on to the semi final round. What’s that you say? There’s 6 Thursdays there and only 15 breweries? That’s because there’s going to be a Cider battle on February 20th to change things up a little! With five winners moving forward, they’ll need a sixth for the semis, so the best of the second place finishers in the first round will also move on. We suspect you’ll see the two semis on March 19th and March 26th with the finals on April 2nd, but we’ll be sure to let you know if we find out that changes. It will surely be interesting to see how breweries play this one. Do they bring their usual retail sellers? Introduce new beers? Or debut something that’s been developing for some time? For now, we invite you to check out the upcoming first round battles below and make a plan to support your favorite breweries in this series. 

* The Battle of PEI Breweries continues the next three Thursdays with the Semi Finals and Finals on Feb 6, 13, and culminating on the 20th.

YellowBelly is holding a fundraising beer fest of their own next weekend, February 8th. The Crafternoon for Australia runs from 2 – 5 PM at the Brewery on Water Street. While Snowmageddon 2020 shut down the city temporarily, the fires, and now flooding in Australia are making life unbearable for thousands in the country. All profits from tickets sales will be going toward Australian Red Cross and WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organization. With plenty of new releases and old favourites from Baccalieu Trail, Boomstick, Dildo Brewing, Iron Rock, Landwash, Ninepenny, Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Rough Waters, Split Rock, in addition to host YellowBelly’s beers, there are plenty of choices to help do some good. Your ticket includes your first four samples, plus admission to the silent auction of many donated items available.

We first mentioned it earlier in the month, but we have some solid details now on the Spring edition of the Certified Cicerone Exam happening in Halifax. On May 6th, at the Stillwell Freehouse, you will be tested on your knowledge of beer storage and serving, beer styles, and off-flavours. Grab your seat at the table here, and best of luck to everyone! Let us know if you need a drinking partner to help “study”.

New beer on the taps from Hampton’s own Gridiron Brewing. Blind Date Brown is a 5.1% ABV Brown Ale made with 2-Row Barley from Island Malt House, and bumped up in colour and character with Biscuit and Amber malts. Not stopping there, however, they also added dates to the brew for the full experience. Available on tap at the brewery for growler fills now. Join them in celebrating those going on Blind Dates everywhere this weekend with a toast (in fact, that’s how the owners first met)!

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

In case we haven’t completely filled up your weekly Beer Reading Time, let us suggest another local beer blog that’s worth your time. Especially for those looking to do that exam in May… Malty Media is written by Evan Fougere, Certified Cicerone, beer educator, and all around good guy, as a way to share information on the ingredients that go into, processes that make it taste great, and the people who make that happen. The latest post is with John Webster of Shoreline Malting, located just outside of Summerside PEI. Give it a read, and follow along with MM’s posts and announcements of classes and events through social media.

We didn’t hear about it in time for last week’s post and it already took place last night, but a big congratulations from us to North Brewing on their SEVENTH anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years, and we don’t think we’ve seen any other brewery in the region go through so many changes in that timeframe, from their original little location at North and Agricola (under a different name), to the opening of Battery Park, to their big move to Portland Street and all the various beers they’ve given us in that time. It’s certainly been an odyssey and we’ve been lucky to be able to watch them grow and develop. We share the sentiments of those who toasted them yesterday on social media: “Good Beer made by Good People.”

Quidi Vidi Brewing is looking to hire a Brewer to join their fold, as they ramp up production for a busy spring and summer season ahead of them. Find out all of the details on their job posting. And stayed tuned here next week for the details of the Newfermenters X QV collaboration beers hitting the shelves!

Tidehouse doesn’t have a new beer this week (although they’re promising something “gorgeous” for next week), but there is some news coming out of their Tiny Tasting Room: CANS! They’ve got themselves a single-head canner and will have their first cans available next week. With any luck this will improve on the drudgery and inconvenience of bottling at least a little.

Fredericton’s Trailway  has brought back one of their fruitiest concoctions, Starblast. Sure, it’s got a smattering of El Dorado hops, but what it’s really got is tons of Peach and Raspberry puree and some orange zest as well. “Radler-esque” but still very much beer, it comes in at 5% ABV. In cans and on tap at the brewery.