HopYard Halifax

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Although November is on the wane, the beer news in Atlantic Canada is showing no signs of slowing down. Last weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards Gala celebrated the best beers in the region at HopYard Halifax with all four Provinces represented in the winner’s circle and Montague, PEI’s Bogside Brewing taking home the title of Brewery of the Year. You can check out the full results in our post here and maybe use it as a guide to trying some beers you’ve not had before. Meanwhile, in eagerly anticipated news, especially for beer lovers in Halifax, the latest venture from the gang at Stillwell, The Stillwell Freehouse, is now officially open on Agricola Street in the North End. You can read (and see!) more about what is certainly to become a favorite haunt for many in our profile posted this morning. But that is far from all the news you need to know, read on for plenty more about this week’s releases, re-releases, and events in our little corner of the continent.

Good news if you’re a fan of Port Rexton’s ongoing Continuum series (hazy IPAs that tend to focus mainly on one single hop variety), as they’ve just released their latest entry, Continuum w/ Cashmere. While there’s plenty of the Cashmere variety used in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry-hop additions, they threw in some Columbus as well. Lots of pineapple, lemon, and pine in this one, as well as “a light herbal bouquet on the palate”. Pretty manageable at 5.6% ABV, it finishes with a smooth bitterness. Look for it right now on tap at the taproom, and it’s also available for growler fills at the St. John’s retail shop.

Speaking of the wonderful world of hops, Tatamagouche Brewing has their newest hoppy beauty out this week. Lotus DIPA is an 8% Imperial IPA that is loaded with Lotus (breweries take note, “Loaded with Lotus” is a pretty cool-sounding name for a beer), a quite-new American variety that has popped up in a few beers in our region since its launch. The Lotus is accompanied by Citra and Galaxy, resulting in a hazy beer with “sweet aromas and flavours of strawberry Campino candies, tropical pineapple, and citrus with a slight spice”. It’s available at Tata on tap, with cans hitting the shelves hopefully sometime next week (some of those may make it to some of the private stores in Halifax, too). 

New can release from your buds at 2 Crows, and after a super-hoppy and hazy American IPA, they’re giving us something to dial it back a bit, a Helles they’ve named Milosh. They’ve teamed up with the folks at Shoreline Malting and Darlings Island Farm to design/brew this one, a Lager that features Pilsner malt (from Shoreline) and all NB-grown hops from Darlings Island. Brewed using a low-oxygen, multiple step mash, the wort was hopped with Magnum, Ultra, and Tettnanger is the mash, first wort, and late kettle additions. After fermentation with a traditional German Lager yeast (and krausening with fresh wort and active yeast), the beer was lagered for nine weeks, before packaging. It’s tasting “crisp and smooth, with a bready/doughy aroma, a full malty body and a firm, lingering head”. Some floral and herbal notes accompany, and it finishes with a firm bitterness. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, look for cans and draught pours of this baby at 2 Crows, starting today at noon (we expect it’ll be on tap at several fine establishments across the HRM, as well). 

Waaaay up in Twilingate, NL, Split Rock Brewing Co. has their first lager available on the taps, a beer in the California Common style. Amber in color, it’s clean and malty as one would expect, with spicy and floral hop character owing to the use of American Cluster hops and a dry, bitter finish. Coming in at 5.0% ABV, you’ll find it pouring at their tap room as well as The Guv’nor and Fort Amherst Pub in St. John’s. As far as we know they’ve got no current plans to package it, but never say never, and if it’s a hit with the drinking public it’s certainly possible that future batches will see release in cans.

Moving Southeast down the shore, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. has teamed up with Tod Perrin, Steve Lee, and the crew  of Mallard Cottage for two new entries in their Bog & Barrens series. If you get up to Mallard you’ll be able to get a sneak peak of these new beers with special food pairings before they are packaged in cans and released to the wider public later this month. The beers in question are Parsnip & Golden Beet Kveik and Partridgeberry Stout, both clearly hewing to the ethos of the Bog & Barrens banner to collaborate with local providers and bring to market beers that could only come from Newfoundland. If you’re interested in this preview, you’d best get your reservation together for tonight or tomorrow by contacting Mallard Cottage directly.

And continuing with Newfoundland beer news, moving West this time to Cormack, Crooked Feeder Brewing has released a new beer as well, a brown they’re calling 12 Mile House Nut Brown Ale. This 5% ABV and 27 IBU beer has a lovely mahogany color and a firm off-white head. It’s available at the brewery, of course (open 6 – 10 PM tonight), and the Crooked Feeder Gastro Pub in Corner Brook, as well as being served at the Corner Brook 12 Beers of Xmas event happening tomorrow and, if you’re in town, on tap at The Guv’nor in St. John’s.

Lastly, before we leave the Rock, we head all the way up to St. Anthony to one of the newest breweries in our region, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Co. who are celebrating the Norse Goddess of Death with a beer they’re calling Hela’s Fury IPA. We don’t have much in the way of details on this one other than an ABV of 6.9%, but we do remember Atlantic Canada’s Hop Overlord Greg Nash posting pictures from a brewery in St. Anthony a few weeks ago, so we think maybe, just maybe, the gang at RagnaRöck got themselves some superstar help with this one. There’s only one way to find out for sure: head on up and give it a try! Brewery hours are currently Sunday to Wednesday, 3pm – 11pm, and Thursday to Saturday 3pm – 12am.

Good Robot is taking another swing at the wonderful Schwarzbier style, a dark Lager that is meant to be roasty yet smooth (i.e. not acrid), with a lighter body than other dark beers out there. This beer, which they’ve named A Cunning Plan, is a 4.6% ABV, 27 IBUs brew that is dark brown, light-bodied, with a bit of bitter chocolate on the palate and an herbal hop aroma. Finishing crisp and roasty, it was originally supposed to be released at the taproom this week; however, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for it now… look for it to debut at Good Robot next Thursday.

Down in Lunenburg, Shipwright Brewing has a new beer to put the wind in your sails (see what I did there? It’s because they’re a brewery named after ships and such). Hull N’ Boats is an “Irish Extra Stout” that has aromatics of “dark roast coffee, anise, and roasted barley”. There’s a bit of cacao bean on the palate as well with this one, and with the beer being brewed with a healthy addition of oats in the grist, a smooth, silky mouthfeel. It’s 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, and available now at the brewery, along with three other beers of theirs (apparently a first for Shipwright, having four different beers available all at once… that’s a good sign for them!). 

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery has a new beer on the go for the holiday season: Christmas on Portland Street is a version of their Portland Street Porter, a porter with plenty of chocolate malt for a dark chocolate-y bitter character, that was aged on raspberries. The result is something they’re describing as raspberry chocolate cake in a can. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, we’re told that it’s one of the beers in the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown box now available at certain private stores in Halifax. But if you’re eager to give it a try, a limited amount is available on tap and to go at the brewery as well!

Moncton’s Pump House Brewery has released a new beer this week, the latest in their limited edition Backdraught series. Now out is KAZAK Russian Imperial Stout. Inspired by co-owner Lilia Fraser’s Russian and Kazakhstani heritage, this 8.7% ABV beer is the perfect accompaniment to the cold days, and colder nights, we are experiencing. Featuring a variety of dark and black malts, the beer is punctuated with bitterness and light citrus notes from Magnum and Celeia hops. Available on draught at the Brewpub and Fill Station, tall cans are also available to go in their retail spot, and rolling out to select ANBL locations.

New bottle release at Tidehouse this weekend, and it’s got the three most profitable words in the beer industry: DDH (yes, we’re counting that as one word, because seriously, those three letters are $$ when used in that order), Milkshake, and IPA. Yep, Milk Trip is an 8.5% ABV DDH Milkshake IPA brewed with lactose, orange zest, and vanilla bean, and heavily-hopped with Citra and Mosaic. Hazy, with a full mouthfeel, and helluva lotta citrus throughout, it’s available today at 2 pm in 650 mL bottles (maximum 2/person). They won’t last long, as it’s a smaller bottling run than usual for TH, so drop by soonish or they may be all gone!

Your pals and ours, the 902 BrewCast triumvirate of Tony “Important” Wight, Phil “KelticDevil” Church, and Kyle “I don’t need no stinking nickname” Andrus, have somehow managed to survive three years of visiting breweries, drinking beer and talking (at length) about it all for your (presumed) education and entertainment! Head on over to their podcast homepage or check them out on your favorite podcasting app for their most recent episode, which dropped today, their Third Anniversary tasting episode where they reminisce about the antics of the last few years and no doubt toast to more in the next one, we also expect they busted out some bangers from their cellars in celebration. Congrats to the guys on managing to get this far and we look forward to hearing more from them in the future!

If you’re the type to keep abreast of trends in the beverage alcohol industry, especially the US markets, you might know that Hard Seltzers are currently hotter than a Times Square Rolex. Although they’re generally coming out of beer breweries, these very accessible products, low in carbs and calories, generally don’t feature much, if any, beer flavor at all, but boast bubbly effervescence, fruity flavors, moderate alcohol levels, and catchy slogans like, “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.” As is very often the case, trends tend to push north across the border and this one is no exception, as we’ve now got a brewery in our region with a release that’s ticking a lot of the same boxes (hopefully not the slogan part though, mmkay?). Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing is releasing Raspberry Bubbly today at the brewery, which they’re calling a “seltzer-style ale” no doubt owing to the portion of malt included in the recipe. “Super zippy, clean and ultra dry” you can expect this 4% ABV beer-adjacent beverage to be a low carb option for those looking to imbibe without paying a penalty in the waistline department and/or a more fruit-forward option for those who aren’t into hoppy or beer-flavored beer. If you’re curious, you can grab cans, pints, or fills starting today at the brewery. And stay tuned, Tw social media posts about this one certainly seem to imply that raspberry won’t be the limit of their explorations of the style, so it’s very possible that in coming months you’ll be able to taste the rainbow.

So, what’s on the go around the region this weekend?

Starting right …. about …. an hour ago (sorry!), Stillwell HQ on Barrington kicked off their tap takeover by St. John’s newest brewery, Bannerman Brewing. This is the first time these new favourites have been available outside of Newfoundland (maybe even outside of St John’s?), and we can’t think of a better place to hold it. Phil Maloney and Dave Bridger (Co-owner and Brewer, respectively) will be in the bar chatting with folks. Six Bannerman beers will be pouring this afternoon, including their All Hands Helles, Thirst Trap APA, Island Time DIPA, as well as brand newbies Nervous State Milk Stout (collab with Hogie from Upstreet), Medium Cool IPA, and Scenic Route Sour with blueberry and mint. We’ve heard you may also be able to pick up some merch when you drop by, so best visit early!

Don’t forget that Cask in the Sticks is being held at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, this Saturday. This roving beer festival is moving cask beer into the country, with 8 breweries (and one homebrew collective) sharing some old standards and new to the format. Your $30 ticket ($25 if you buy one at one of the participating breweries ahead of time) gets you your own take-home glass, and fills all afternoon long. Dress up in your favourite onesie to take part in the competition, and build your own S’mores too. Breweries in attendance are: Lunn’s Mill Beer Co., Sober Island Brewing Company, Big Spruce Brewing, Boxing Rock Brewing Company, Meander River Farm, Tatamagouche Brewing Co., Roof Hound Brewing Co., and Annapolis Brewing Company.

Just a couple more things to woo you with before we send you on your way:

Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar is having a large weekend, with plenty of new beers available on their shelves. Available from noon today, is SpontanBasil, a totally unique unique collaboration between Lindemans and Mikkeller. Their take on a gueuze, with one- and two-year old lambic blended and added with fresh basil at bottling. After conditioning and a final fermentation, the beer is now available for sale at their shop, as well as online. And dropping tomorrow morning are three releases from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewing, Fruit Jelly King PTG, Saison Pizazz, and Yeehaw Y’All. Available from 8 AM in store and online, we suspect these won’t last long, so set your alarms now! Probably a good excuse to get out to peep their newly expanded location in Bishop’s Landing, eh?

Propeller Brewing has brought back a seasonal favourite, their Coffee Porter. Using Fog City coffee from Java Blend Coffee Roasters, this 5.9% ABV beer is full of chocolate, coffee, and light toffee notes as well. This year’s batch is a bottle exclusive, and only available at the NSLC, so pop by your local to grab some!

Have you found yourself with an orange hop bomb-sized hole in your beer drinking life lately? Well we’ve got good news from Unfiltered about getting you what you’re missing. DOA (Double Orange Apocalypse) is back at the brewery in all formats (fills, pints, and cans) starting from noon today. As always, 7.5% ABV, hoppy as hell, and leaving you happily belching an orange grove.

North Brewing, formerly of Halifax, now firmly ensconced in Dartmouth, has two returning beers to mention this week. First up is a brand new version of their Sunshine Shandy, this time made with Meyer lemons and local honey, a tart and lemony brew with a teensy bit of residual sweetness from the honey. And also returning is the OG tiramisu version of their Twinkle Pony Pastry Stout, which features lady fingers and chocolate malt on the grist side, lactose and vanilla for some sweetness, and cold brew coffee for an espresso kick. Both are available at the brewery and the Twinkle Pony can be had on nitro pours at Battery Park on Ochterloney.

And in late-late-late breaking news, Rough Waters Brewing is opening their retail space in Deer Lake this Sunday. Located at 83 Wight’s Road, the space will be open 1 – 6 PM Sunday, and will have four beers available: their Selkie Wheat, Scallywag IPA, Sou’wester Sour, and Singaler Porter. You can also get a sneak peek of their beer at this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival in Corner Brook. We’ll have lots more details on Rough Waters very soon! Congratulations!

Hey! We heard you missed us, we’re back! We trust you all kept yourselves well hydrated while we took a hiatus, and are ready to hit the ground/taps running this weekend as we round up the news of the week’s releases. There’s always a danger that when we take some time off, we’ll miss some important news, and this time was no different, so let’s skip the pleasantries and get right to the important news for your first day of November (wow times flies)!

Great news for those of you in Labrador City, you finally have a brewery that you can call your own! Iron Rock Brewing Company opened their doors on October 19th, and have been going great guns ever since! They are currently pouring five beers, for enjoyment onsite, or to go in growlers, including: Lawn Sweeper Cream Ale (4.3% ABV), Shabogamo Sour (4.0% ABV), Railbender Red Ale (5.5% ABV), Spike Maul IPA (6.9% ABV), and Overburden Oat Stout (4.9% ABV). We’ll have plenty more information on Iron Rock, and the folks behind it in the coming days, but in the meantime, get out to the brewery at 118 Humphrey Rd in Lab City this weekend to toast their arrival! Hours are Friday 4 PM – 12 AM, Saturday 2 PM – 12 AM, and Sunday 2 PM – 10 PM.

Propeller Brewing has announced that they will be opening a new location in The Keep, a mixed use building at the corner of Quinpool and Vernon Streets in Halifax. It will feature a pilot system for experimentation, a taproom where samples, flights, and pints can be enjoyed, and a full retail shop to keep the local community well stocked. They’ll be offering cans and bottles, as well as growler fills. Watch this space for more details, as they aim for an early-2020 opening. For those who can’t wait that long for their Propeller fix, tonight’s cask at their Gottingen Street taproom is their Porter on rum-aged oak.

While we were away, Nova Scotia South Shore’s Tanner & Co were able to cap their second anniversary celebrations this month with the opening of their new Tap Room, in the heart of Chester. With a small batch brewery onsite for testing out some of the wilder side of brewing, visitors to “Tanner & Co on Duke St” (that’s 59 Duke Street) can grab a flight or pint, and then take their favourites home in bottles or growlers. The tap room is open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 – 9 PM. With the opening of the tap room, the brewery at 50 Angus Hiltz in Chester Basin is adjusting its hours to be open Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6 PM. At either location, you can pick up their latest releases, including the Barrel-Aged Porter with Berries, and Reserve Sauvage, a barrel-fermented (French oak Chardonnay barrels) version of their Sauvage, brewed with Horton Ridge Malt and the Scotian Sauvage yeast first isolated at Big Spruce.

Fredericton’s York County Cider is happy to announce their newest product to hit the shelves at ANBL, their first seasonal to be widely available. Previously only available at their taproom, Apple Pie is a spiced cider, but still crisp, with notes of cinnamon, vanilla and apple, perfect for the fall. Available in 355 mL bottles, this 5.8% ABV bevvy should pair well with an afternoon of raking leaves or a walk in the crisp fall air.

We were very sad to hear of the passing earlier this month of Jennifer Defreyne, one of the co-owners and founders of Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery. An Engineer, she was critical in the location searching, planning, development, and construction of the brewery, and many of her aesthetic and practical choices are part of what is making Landwash so successful to this day. In celebration of her life, raise a pint of your favourite beverage tonight. Her family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Landwash has a pair of new beers out recently that we’d like to mention, to keep you Mount Pearlers happy. First up is Rock and Willow, a 6.0% Amber Saison. Featuring Munich malts for strong bread and toast character, and then fermented with Escarpment’s Saison Maison yeast, for some spicy pepper character and a dry-as-a-bone finish. The beer was brewed to showcase and pair with restaurant Fork. in Mobile, just south of Witless Bay, who are competing in the Newfoundland stop of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party this evening. Their dish features partridge, hence the name – Rock and Willow – two common breeds of ptarmigan. The beer will pair with whatever you want to drink it with, even if that’s solitude, and is available in cans and growler fills at the brewery now. And while you’re there, you can grab the other recent release, Pearliner 2019. This Munich-style Helles was dry hopped with Ekuanot (formerly Equinox), for a blend of citrus, bread, and honeysuckle vibes in a crispy 4.5% ABV package. This is the first of their rotating fall lager they’ll be releasing annually, playing on whatever they’re into at the time. Stop by the brewery for a sample, pint, growler fill, or can of the good stuff.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has a new big and dark beer out, one named after the local term for a big storm. Tan Toaster is a Baltic Porter, full of smooth and sweet malt character paired with elements of dark fruit with a touch of spicy Magnum hops providing balance. Brewed in early September, it’s had plenty of time to rest and relax and for the flavors to integrate. Look for it at all the private stores in Halifax as well, of course, from the brewery shops in Halifax and Shelburne themselves, but be careful, at 7.5% ABV this one could very well blow you over. 

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is releasing a new beer to the Capital and Southern NB regions this week (and Halifax), the latest in their small line of Brettanomyces-fermented IPAs. Ramble On is a 5.9% ABV golden-orange hazy beer, late-hopped (think more aroma and flavour than bitterness) with Hallertau Blanc and Idaho 7, two hops known for tropical and fruity characteristics. That is only complemented by fermentation by a blend of Brettanomyces strains from Escarpment Labs, under the Mothership name. A further dry-hopping with these two hop varietals, as well as Vic Secret, seal the deal, with passion fruit and gooseberry notes enhanced by funky Brett notes. Grab it for pints at The Joyce and Peppers Pub, and pints & growlers(!) at Grimross Brewing; it should also be making an appearance at Stillwell very soon. As with all of their releases, they don’t tend to stick around too long, so we suggest checking in on your way home from work (or grab a quick lunch pint!).

If you’re in Saint John, you may want to drop by the Hammond River taproom, as they’re pouring a new beer that they brewed in collaboration from the fine people behind The Manatee (if you’re not sure what that is, we highly suggest clicking on the link and getting caught up!). Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff, co-founders of the Maritimes’ “biggest source of satire”, joined the brewers at HR to create Burning Manatee, a Rauchbier (aka German Smoked Lager). The grist contained a “hefty” amount of Beechwood Smoked malt, to give the final product a “distinctive and extremely tasty smokey flavour”. A beer for fall that can help you move away from all those Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales, it weighs in at 5.7% ABV and 29 IBUs. Aside from directly at the source, you’ll also be able to find it at various Hammond River licensees.

Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing has their latest beer hitting taps this week, and we’re guessing you’re going to have an idea of what went into this one, based on its name! NB Hops Pale Ale is – wait for it – an American Pale Ale hopped with all New Brunswick-grown hops… specifically, Cascade, Chinook, and Sorachi Ace from Moose Mountain Hops. With another dry hop of all Cascade, the final beer has floral and citrus notes, along with some caramel and earthy qualities from the malt. Finishing at 5.5% ABV, look for it at Marky’s Laundromat right now, and likely at other O’Creek accounts very shortly. 

Moving back over to Newfoundland, Port Rexton Brewing has their latest, a 5.3% ABV “Black New England IPA” named Chasing Moon. Dark as dark can be, thanks to the addition of a variety of dark malts in the grist, lactose was added to the boil to help round out the hop character from dry-hop additions of Mosaic and Vic Secret. With aromas of pine, blackberry, and tropical fruit, look for “dark chocolate-covered berries/coffee beans and tropical fruit” on the palate. This one is now available on tap at the taproom and their St. John’s retail shop location. And speaking of their taproom, now is a good time to remind you about their reduced hours, which will take place until Spring returns (sob). They’re now open Fridays and Saturdays 4-10 pm. The one exception to this is this weekend, when the Ales for Trails event is happening. What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s a fundraising initiative for Hike Discovery, a non-profit committed to the development of a hiking trail network on the Bonavista Peninsula. The event is happening on Saturday, and the brewery has some live music and beer planned for everyone after the run/hike; as a result they’re open 12-10pm Saturday, and 10:30-4 on Sunday. 

In St. John’s, YellowBelly is pouring a brand new sour beer, Blueberry Cheesecake Sour. If you assumed that this beer was kettle soured with Lactobacillus, you’d be correct, but you may be wondering how exactly they went about getting the blueberry cheesecake part of the beer to work. The answer is graham flour (added to the mash), lemon zest and vanilla in the boil, and lactose and 200 lbs of blueberries added while the beer was conditioning. The final, 5.4% ABV beer is finally ready, and currently available on tap at the brewpub for pints and growlers.

Over in Good Robot Land, they’ve just released Thompson and Thomson, a beer they’re categorizing as a “Belgian Party Ale” (that sound you heard was the BJCP exploding). Originally planned as a collaboration, but cancelled when the other party couldn’t show (some party!), they started with the idea of a Belgian Tripel with fruit, and created what you’ll be seeing on tap at the brewery’s taproom… a 6.8% ABV, 32 IBUs beer with “splashes” of blueberry and kiwi. Next week will see the return of Bingo Bronson, a 6% ABV Chocolate Porter, so keep your eyes and mouths open for that one.

The launching of dark beers continues in Fredericton at Grimross Brewing, which just yesterday (hey, it was Halloween, after all) released Tmavý Pivo, named after the Czech style that is most likely unheard of by the majority of beer drinkers in Atlantic Canada. Second in popularity in the Czech Republic to the beloved Pilsner, it’s a dark Lager that’s been around that part of Europe for hundreds of years. Grimross’s take on the style involves a grist made up of floor malted Bohemian dark and pilsner malt, as well as some Carafa Special III. Hopped entirely with Czech Saaz to 20 IBUs and fermented with their house Lager yeast, the beer was lagered for five weeks before packaging. The result is a 4.8% ABV beer that is “dark, hearty and dry, with notes of baked brown bread, roasted nuts, and a touch of creaminess”. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery, with cans following shortly at ANBL stores.

Until recently, those who wanted to experience the taste of beer without risking tipsiness or ingesting too many calories only had a few options and those options weren’t so attractive to those with a taste for flavorful beer. But no such product has emerged here in Atlantic Canada that we can think of. So it’s exciting for us to report that, near as we can tell, this week PEI’s Upstreet Brewing becomes the first brewery in the region to release an ultra-low ABV beer to market. Featuring Amarillo, Citra, and Galaxy hops, Pace Pale Ale has a fresh light citrus aroma, notes of brown sugar and tangerine, and an ABV that hovers around 1%! Even better, if you care about such things, it’s estimated to carry only about 50 calories. In development since Easter of this year, it took three pilot batches dial it in; Upstreet’s Brewmaster Mike “Hogie” Hogan describes it as “a very challenging beer to brew,” especially, “mak[ing] it taste like beer and not just hop water or unfermented wort.” You’ll be able to find it at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner now, with cans expected to go to PEILC in the near future and hopefully the private stores in Halifax soon as well.

If you live in New Brunswick, you’ve probably heard that finding beer to take home has just got a lot easier! No longer limited to ANBL stores and brewery visits, you’ll now be able to find beer at 66 different Sobeys and Loblaws stores across the province. Yes, a good portion of the brands available are “big beer”, but there are a total of ten beers from seven different craft breweries that will also join the mix. These craft offerings include Brasseurs du Petit-Sault (Snap Dickie Cream Ale), Graystone (Patagonia Pale Ale), Grimross (Maritime Cream Ale, Maritime Pale Ale), Maybee (Work Horse IPA), Picaroons (Yippee IPA, Feels Good Imperial Pilsner), Pumphouse (Blueberry Ale, Crafty Radler), and TrailWay (Hu Jon Hops). The “convenience” of having these beers available to you through these outlets means that the price of all these beers is about 7% higher than what you’d pay at ANBL stores. This *is* a trial run, so naturally all of this is subject to change; the program was officially started yesterday, and we haven’t seen the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse… yet. Stay tuned!

And in “coming to New Brunswick in early 2020 news”, Uncorked Tours NB is opening a location at the Saint John City Market next year. This new home base will be where you can sign up to take part in their tours of the city, as well as sample and enjoy local beer, cider, and spirits in their space. We’ll share all of the details when they have them, but in the meantime, congratulations on the new venture, Gillian and Crew!

Though we’re all familiar with the breweries in our region and many of the suppliers that support them with things like equipment (brewhouses and tanks), ingredients (malt, hops, yeast), and facilities like canning, there are some unsung folks around who you might not think of when you consider what goes into making our beer scene what it is. Do you have a glass growler (or 6) kicking around your house? How about branded glassware from your favorite local brewery? A couple (or a dozen) tasting glasses from various beer fests and other events? Well chances are that many, if not most of those came out of one facility in the HRM: Jym Line Glassware in Elmsdale, NS. Today marks 50 years since the registration of the company, formed by Jim and Lynda Adams and now capably run by their son, Tom. We’d like to take this opportunity to recognize Jym Line’s contribution to beer culture around these parts and wish them many more successful years. We can’t think of a better way to do that than to grab a favorite glass, whether it be a Becher, a Teku, a tulip, or even a shaker pint, pour a favorite local beer into it, and raise a toast. If you’d like to do something more, why not check out the celebration they’ve got going on this Sunday, November 3rd, from 1 – 4 PM at Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Burnside? Stop by, grab a beer (looks like there might be some fancy celebratory branded glassware to drink it from) and say hello to the Jym Line team!

Definitely some fine looking events coming up in the next couple of weeks:

You may recall that we mentioned a Newfoundland tap takeover at Charlottetown’s HopYard a few weeks ago; if you live in Halifax and were feeling a little left out, no reason to sulk any longer! That’s right, the Halifax HopYard location will be holding their own event tomorrow, November 2nd. All ten taps (we see nine on their page, but maybe there’s an extra surprise?) will be dedicated to Newfoundland beers: four from Port Rexton, three from Quidi Vidi, and two from Landwash (check out their FB page for the actual beer list). In true HopYard fashion, they’ve got a special Newfoundland Night food menu, featuring Johnny & Mae’s Food Truck, direct from St. John’s! And if that wasn’t enough, there’ll be live entertainment from Matt Steele & The Corvette Sunset. That’s gotta be enough for you, right? It all starts when they open at noon, and continues until closing that evening.

TrailWay’s latest venture, The Drome – a bowling alley on Fredericton’s North Side that they took ownership of months ago, and recently renovated – is having it’s official Grand Opening tomorrow, November 2nd. Aside from bowling and food (if you’d like to bowl, you should likely call and reserve a lane, as they’re filling up fast), they’ll have happy hour pricing on beer all day long. And since you’ll be in the area, you might as well wander a little further down Main St. to the brewery’s taproom, where they’ve got El Generico (raspberry version) back on tap and in cans, along with last week’s new American IPA, Good As (hopped with Motueka and Citra).

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing will be taking over the taps at Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, November 7th, with a wide selection of core brands, favourites from the vault (we’ve got our fingers crossed for some Framboise, but won’t hold our breath), as well as a new collaborative brew they put together with BP’s sister North Brewing. Details are hush-hush on that right now, but we’ll have the full info next week, assuming there’s any left. Check the FB Event link to take part in a contest they’ll be launching soon. The fun goes all day, kicking off at 11:30AM, so drop by to enjoy a selection from their extensive library of offerings, as well as food to pair. 

The Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest is turning five this year and is set to go next weekend, on Saturday, November 9th at the Moncton Coliseum. Benefiting United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern NB and organized by the Moncton Beer League and Cox & Palmer, this year’s event features products pouring from more than 35 breweries, cideries, meaderies and distilleries, all from the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The regular session runs in Hall C from 7:30 to 10 PM, with tickets costing $58 (plus taxes and fees) and entitle you to unlimited samples in your event-branded glass. VIP tickets are sold out, but there’s a VVIP tier at $78 that runs from 5:45 to 10 PM, gets you a special glass, entrée to an industry panel discussion, and early entry onto the pouring floor. There’s also a designated driver ticket available for $20 that doesn’t come with a glass, but gets you into the event with access to water and non-alcoholic options. Tickets are available on the Facebook event page or via Eventbrite

The day before, on Friday, November 8th, from 8:30 to 5 PM, there will also be a Business of Brewing Conference at the Crowne Plaza Moncton Downtown geared towards industry business owners looking to transform their businesses. Featuring a full slate of speakers, plus panels and round tables, it’s an opportunity for folks to learn from others about how to grow and improve. Tickets and registration are available through Eventbrite.

This is the time of year in Nova Scotia when tourism starts to flag and harvest season is winding down, leaving our more rural areas to look forward to the next year’s flurry of activity. What better time, then, thought the folks at Sober Island and Lunn’s Mill, to start putting on an annual event? Combine that with both breweries’ love for traditional English styles served in the traditional style on cask, and you’ve got the first annual Cask in the Sticks coming up on Saturday, November 23rd from 1 – 5 PM. The event will rotate between rural breweries on a yearly basis, and the first host will be Lunn’s Mill, who will be tasked with showing off their rural location and organizing a great time. The event will be inside/outside, so dress warmly; to encourage that, they’re having a onesie competition with the prize being tickets to next year’s event. They’ll also have a s’mores station! Tickets are $25 and will get you a Cask in the Sticks branded glass (from Jym Line, of course!) you can take with you at the end of the day; there are no beer tickets at this one, just present your glass and it will be filled. Eight casks will be pouring from Lunn’s Mill, Sober Island, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Meander River Farm, Tatamagouche, Roof Hound, and Annapolis Brewing, with a special 9th cask from homebrewing friends the Roscoe Brothers. Only about 70 spots are available; you can pre-pay for your tickets from any of the participating breweries.

Oh hey, it’s Thanksgiving. Already. Given that many of you folks will probably be spending time with family and friends this weekend, don’t be surprised if the staff at your favorite breweries and/or taprooms are given some time to do the same. As always, check social media before you make any special trips to get beer lest you find yourself disappointed. Provincial liquor authorities will definitely be closed on Monday, so if your plan includes one of them, plan to stock up by Sunday afternoon. We should also mention that with two of our three authors away on vacation for the next two weeks (and the third consumed by seething resentment at the other two), chances are extremely high that we won’t be posting much, if at all, on the next two Fridays; these posts are definitely not a one person job! Breweries who have big news that they really really want to share are welcome to contact us and we’ll do our best to provide a bump via social media. Cheers!

This weekend is the 2nd Anniversary for Tanner & Co. Brewing (2 years already, when the hell did that happen?), and that pretty much means in this industry that you’ve got to release a special beer for the occasion! Enter Reserve Sauvage, a special version of their Sauvage, a “Nova Scotian Ale” that is most-closely aligned with a Saison. Brewed with local malts from Horton Ridge (Pale, Vienna, and Wheat), and fermented with NS yeast from Big Spruce in Chardonnay barrels, where it was aged for about three weeks. The beer is giving notes of “pineapple, banana, buttery Chardonnay, and a bit of spice and straw in the finish”. It’ll be available this weekend at the brewery on tap (as well as at Battery Park with some other Tanner goodies), with bottles following sometime next week. And keep an eye on their social media for big announcements coming soon regarding their town of Chester Tasting Room!

Two new beers comin’ ‘atcha from TrailWay this week, one of which is a play on their house Pilsner, Yada Yada. This new iteration, named Yoo Hoo (Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm reference? And, go!) features a dry-hop addition of European Mittelfruh, giving the 5% ABV Lager an aroma of “subtle floral, herbs, and delicate spices”, according to the brewery. Their next beer is yet another iteration, being the next entry in their rotating Kveik IPA, Oculus. This time around they decided to employ Citra, Cashmere, and Idaho 7 hops, lending lots of tropical fruit and citrus character (which is upped even more thanks to the warm fermentation with Kveik yeast). This one comes in at 6% ABV; cans/pints/growlers of both beers will be available at the brewery as of today, and look for cans of Yoo Hoo to start appearing at various ANBL locations.

If you’re in the mood for something fruity, jammy, and sour this weekend, 2 Crows has got the cure for what ails ya. Paradise is their latest foedre-aged sour, brewed with Barley, Wheat, Spelt, and a touch of Rye malt. Lightly hopped with Nelson Sauvin (to just 6 IBUs) and some aged noble hop varieties, the wort was fermented and soured in one of their foedres with a blend of their house cultures. After conditioning for several months, they added a whole whack of raspberries (560 lbs), and a lesser amount of passionfruit (210 lbs, keeping in mind that a little passionfruit can go a long way). Once the secondary fermentation (thanks to all the sugar from the fruit) was complete, they packaged the beer in 355 mL cans, where it was allowed to carbonate naturally over two months. Tasting “super jammy, lush, bright, and lovely”, it has a strong tartness, a touch of funk, and a bit of mineral character. The raspberry comes through in the extreme, with the passionfruit backing it up. Super drinkable at just 4.7% ABV, you can drop by the brewery this weekend to pick up some cans; it’s also available on tap, and will likely be popping up at a few better beer establishments in the HRM.

In Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing is releasing a new IPA this week that reaches back a little bit to a time before IPAs were hazy and juicy. Described as more of a “West Coast” IPA, North Park features a classic American hop profile, with citrusy notes of grapefruit and orange meeting a bit of dankness thanks to the liberal use of Columbus and Simcoe hops. The ABV is up a little (6% ABV) and bitterness is moderate (45 IBU), and specialty malts bring the maltier character that one would expect from a beer in this style. Find it soon, if not already, at  The Joyce Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, CAVOK Brewing Co., Tide and Boar Gastropub, Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub, Peppers Pub, and at Stillwell in Halifax.

Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Brewing is switching from a Continental-heavy first half of October (with their German-inspired Lagerhosen and Daybreak Kellerbier released over the past two weeks) to an English release this week. English Dark Mild features the use of complex malts in the brew for a wide variety of toast and biscuit character, complemented with yeast-derived esters reminiscent of jam and currants. Light residual sweetness keeps this 3.6% ABV from being too thin, and is the perfect accompaniment to a quiet evening by the fire in a cozy pub. Look for it on tap at Tata now, and around the province this weekend.

Propeller is once again getting a little funky with it, with the release today of their newest beer, Harvest Brett Saison. This 6% ABV mixed fermentation brew – featuring a blend of Saison and Brettanomyces yeast strains – is described by the brewery as having “complex spice, dried red fruit and citrus flavours, balanced by subtle earthy and funky Brett characteristics”. It finishes very dry, as any good Saison should, with a slight tartness. This is one of their Gottingen Small Batch beers, meaning you can find it at both Prop shops for growlers, pints, and flights (no bottles/cans, sorry). And P.S., tonight’s Friday cask is ESB w/ Coffee, tapped at 5 PM to kick off your weekend with a jolt!.

Two new beers from Yankee Line Road just outside of Nyanza to tell you about this week. Big Spruce has a hop farm onsite, and are releasing their ode to the hops harvest, and hops harvester, this week. Passion of the Chris is named in celebration of landscaper and hopyard guy Chris, who spends many an hour trimming, weeding, training, and overall caring for the plants during the growing season. The hops using in PotC were picked and then promptly added to the boil, with nary a minute to allow for any of that fresh hop goodness to escape. The resulting 7.9% ABV Harvest IPA features a wide blend of hop varietals used, and the aroma and flavour reflects that, with orange and lemon zest, floral notes, fresh pine, and cut grass. The beer is full bodied and light in bitterness, remaining well balanced. This beer is only available at this time of year, so be sure to grab a growler or pint wherever you run across it!

Big Spruce is also debuting a second beer this week, decidedly on the lighter side of things. Festival Club is a 4.2% ABV Session Ale, light-bodied, displaying a touch of haze, and finishing dry. Wild flowers and grass dance on the nose and palate, finishing in a crisp fashion, encouraging a second sip (or pint!). Festival Club is on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers, as well as in cans, perfect for grabbing for a hike or taking you to your next kitchen party.

And for those homebrewers interested in this year’s 7th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge that we told you all about last week, the Voss Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs that’s being used exclusively for the competition beers this year has landed at both the brewery and Everwood Ave Brewshop in Lower Sackville (registration fees must be paid in order to get yeast). If you can’t make it to one of these locations to pick it up, go ahead and contact the brewery and they’ll help you figure something out.

One of Newfoundland’s newest breweries, Bannerman Brewing on Duckworth Street in the city of St. John’s, has a new beer pouring, their first in the Porter style. Late Shift is a 6.0% dark ale featuring a blend of caramel and roasted malts for sweetness and a bit of roasty bite along with plenty of flaked and malted oats that no doubt lend a soft mouthfeel and smooth body. Described as “thick and creamy with notes of coffee and chocolate,” you should be able to find it on tap at the brewery. And stay tuned for news of another beer in the works, as Mike “Hogie” Hogan, of Upstreet Brewing fame, was spotted at the brewery this week wearing his brewing overalls (although to be honest we’re not sure he doesn’t wear those everywhere…). We’ll be sure to tell you all about that one as soon as we know more!

One of St. John’s most-regarded seafood restaurants,  The Adelaide Oyster House, is celebrating their 5th Anniversary this month, and have teamed up with Port Rexton Brewing (a brewery that the restaurant has supported since their early days) to concoct up a birthday beer, Mango Guava Sour. The beer, a 5% ABV  kettle sour, features additions of mango and pink guava puree, giving a mixture of fruit punch and “sour cocktail” notes. It’s available now, exclusively at the brewery’s taproom in Port Rexton, and at TAOH, naturally. And great news for those patiently awaiting their return: cans are now available for sale at the brewery and the St. John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road, so be sure to grab some before you head to your turkey dinner Sunday (or Monday!). And big congratulations to PRBC team members Terra and Nicole, who were awarded scholarships for the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone®︎, as awarded by the Canadian Brewing Awards. Only a handful of folks across the country were selected, clearly there’s something special in the water in Port Rexton!

Sticking within the Rock, Quidi Vidi Brewing has completed a collaboration brew of their own. They recently teamed up with Ontario’s Muskoka Brewery to brew Chocolate Orange Kveik, which… kinda tells you a lot from the name. Unfortunately, we don’t have a whole lot of details for this one, but we can tell you that it’s a hazy beer was fermented with a Kveik yeast strain, and weighs in at a pretty-hefty 8% ABV. Exhibiting “roasted notes of chocolate swirled with zesty orange”, it definitely sounds to be on the interesting side! Best way to get it is probably dropping by this weekend at QV.

And switching to NL cider from NL beer, Newfoundland Cider Company up in Clarenville, NL, is releasing four, count’em FOUR, new small batches of cider this weekend that would seem to suggest they’ve got a real appreciation for seasonal flavors and some serious foraging skills (or know someone who does). The ciders in question are: Strawberry + Chuckley Pear, Gooseberry, Pin Cherry, and Chuckley Pear. What’s a Chuckley Pear? We don’t know either, but Wikipedia says it’s a family of shrubs and small trees in the rose family that’s also known by many other names, including Saskatoon Berry. All feature the same base cider, and then the berry additions, a perfect way to see the expression those offer. If you’re in the area and like cider, this sounds like quite a lineup to try (and note that they also have their Honey Cyser, Old Tilt and Hopped Cider available to go). Also, this weekend will be your last chance to enjoy their taproom before they close for the season; they’re open Saturday from 2 – 7 PM, with five different ciders pouring. But don’t worry, their retail shop will still be open Mon-Sat, 11 – 4:30 PM, all winter, with a rotating selection of 8 on the go right now.

Though at this point it’s probably more pertinent to breweries than to the region’s beer drinkers, the registration process for this year’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards is now in full swing. Breweries are welcome to submit pretty much as many beers as they like (the official scale goes from 1 to Big Spruce), although they must limit themselves to a single beer in each official sub-category. Registrations will be accepted until October 25th at which point the door will be closed and let the best beers win! Judging will take place on November 2nd and 3rd, with the gala awards ceremony happening at HopYard Halifax mid-November. As always, we’ll do our level best to get the results to you as soon as possible after they’re announced. If you’re a brewery from Atlantic Canada and you’re interested in entering, check out that first link, or shoot an email to suzanne@withzest.ca

Some beery things happening this weekend and beyond:

Halifax’s Stillwell never ceases to disappoint with their seemingly-endless number of brewery tap takeovers, ranging from local breweries to those that are decidedly *not* local! And starting tomorrow, October 12th at noon, they’ll be featuring one of Maine’s finest craft breweries, Oxbow Brewing, from Newcastle (although it should be noted they also now have locations elsewhere in the state, in Portland and Oxford). For those of you lucky enough to be able to drop in tomorrow, you can expect six taps and ten different beers in bottles, several of which are debuting at Stillwell! While not a complete takeover, exactly, we’re fine with it! Don’t miss out, Oxbow has been brewing some delightful Farmhouse Ales since they opened years ago, and this is a great excuse to give a bunch of them a try! 

The original Hopyard – that’s the Charlottetown, PEI location, for those of you not in the know – has always done an excellent job of not only serving up the best beers on the Island, but also bringing in excellent beers from NB and NS that are otherwise not readily-available to Islanders. Next Friday, October 18th, they’re going even further in Atlantic Canada with their first ever Newfoundland Tap Takeover. Nine taps will be dedicated to Port Rexton (4 beers), Quidi Vidi (3) and Landwash (2) when they open at 11 am. In addition to these fine beers, there will be a special Newfoundland food-themed menu from Chef Jane Crawford, as well as live music in the evening. And mainlander beer fans, fear not! The Halifax location will be hosting their own Newfoundland Tap Takeover on November 2nd, with the same great variety of breweries being represented.

It’s that time of year again soon, when many of Nova Scotia’s breweries throw open their doors and let in massive crowds of adoring fans. Ok, maybe there was a little embellishment there, but next Saturday, October 19th is NS Open Brewery Day! Hosted by the Craft Brewers Association of NS, all breweries affiliated with the organization have planned or are planning events to occur throughout the day, ranging from brewery tours to free samples, special beer releases to small batch brews for you to take part in, live music to food trucks, etc etc etc. We could list everything that is going on, or you could just check out the event link above! We’re going to go with the latter, as we’re already running late here.

And just a couple little newsbites before the long weekend begins!

As we mentioned last week, Good Robot has two new beers on the go this week, the latest in their Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs, and number VII for those keeping track, subtitled, The Storm Beer (5.3% ABV, 50 IBU). Also out is their Scottish Ale brewed with some appropriately Scottish friends, Go Kart Jackass (4.8% ABV, 19 IBU). Check them out at the GR taproom.

Your intrepid beer-swilling pals at the 902BrewCast have released their October Tasting Episode this week, with lots of chat between the guys about beer-related topics like rolling cans, dregs, and their long-promised packaging torture test, as well as some not-exactly beer-related topics including politics. But don’t let that scare you away, check it out at their site or your favorite podcast provider.