HopYard

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It’s been another busy week for news in the region, with no fewer than a dozen new and returning beers and ciders on the shelves, draft lines or coolers across the region. And to kick off this week’s edition, let’s dive right in with another new small-batch brewery opening.

• Bathurst, New Brunswick has now joined the ranks of brewing communities, with the opening of AKA Beer late last week. Brewing small scale 55 litre batches on location at the local craft beer bar Au Bootlegger, their Prohibition Ale is now available for purchase. Strictly available on tap at the bar, this 5.0% ABV Amber Ale is a complement to the other NB beers already available. Look for more information and an interview with the crew behind AKA shortly!

• There’s a new beer available from Bagtown Brewing in Sackville, NB these days, their second brew featuring tea. TEAse the Senses is a 5.0% ABV orange-hued beer, with loose Blackcurrant tea leaves added during the mash for a distinctive rich and smooth taste. A healthy dose of Mosaic hops offer plenty of citrus and fruit aromatics, as well as a solid 46 IBU bitterness. TEAse, as well as their flagship Wobbly Duck English Pale Ale, Crown Vic Belgian Pale Ale, and Suble Tea Session IPA (their first beer to feature tea) are available for growler fills at the brewery, open Thursday, Friday (both days 3-7PM), and Saturday (9AM-1PM), located at the Sackville Commons.

• One of the more anticipated collaborative releases is hitting the shelves across Nova Scotia today. In October, inspired by the By The Numbers piece by local artist Erin McGuire, Boxing Rock and Garrison teamed up to brew a beer in honour of Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip. Courage (For Gord Downie) is that beer, a 6.0% ABV Amber Wheat Ale. Available today from noon at Boxing Rock’s Shelburne location, there is also a release party later today, starting at 5PM, with local musicians paying their respects to Downie. In Halifax, Garrison released their share of bottles at opening (10AM), and there will be a Live 105 event at the brewery, for those able to win their way in through social media/call-ins, and will feature raffles and tshirt sales, with all funds going to charity. Speaking of which, $1.00 of the bottle price is going to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and Downie/Wenjack Fund for Indigenous Peoples Reconciliation. If you are unable to make it to either brewery, the private stores in HRM will also be receiving deliveries, and should have the beer on shelves today. And reaching across the Atlantic Provinces (and beyond), through the NSLC, ANBL, PEILCC, NLC and MBLL before the end of the month.

• Riverview’s Celtic Knot Brewing will soon be offering their beers in bottles, for a more portable way to enjoy their beers. Beers like their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout, Ryetious Rye IPA, Dubh Loki Black IPA, and new Choc Wort Orange, a Chocolate Orange Stout, will be packaged in 500 mL bottles. Initially for sale only at the brewery, keep an eye here, or on their Facebook page, for exact release details (should be within the next 1-2 weeks). And don’t forget to drop by Marky’s Laundromat tonight to meet with Celtic Knot and other members of the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective during their weekend-long Tap Takeover.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing another SMaSH beer today at noon, Binary American IPA. Brewed with Golden Promise malt and hopped generously (as usual) with El Dorado, one of the new favourite varieties at the brewery, they’re describing it as “super complex” despite the seemingly-simple recipe. SMaSH beers are always fun to experience, as it’s a great way to see what exactly single ingredients can offer. “Incredibly bright and juicy, with a definite candied fruit/mango element”, this 6% ABV beer will be available at the brewery’s taproom for pints, growlers, and cans.

Port Rexton Brewing is releasing their first canned beer, and first packaged beer since bottles of last winter’s Belgian Tripel. Blazing Sun is an amped-up version of their popular Chasing Sun NEIPA, featuring plenty of the same juicy hop aroma and flavours, with the added piney notes of a Double IPA. Cans of the 7.0% ABV, 45 IBU beer, are available exclusively at the brewery this long weekend: Sunday Nov 12 from 11-10PM, and Monday Nov 13, 11-2PM. If there are any left, we’ll be sure to let you know where you can grab a couple. And keep in mind that the brewery taproom is now into off-season hours, which means keeping an eye on their website for exact details.

• We’ve got a couple of news items from Halifax’s Propeller this week, starting off with the latest (and second) release of their Gottingen Small Batch “Hop Series”, Idaho-7 XPA. Focusing on Idaho 7, an American hop variety that’s been making its way into a few beers in our region over the last year or so, this “Extra Pale Ale” has “complex fruit and citrus aromas of apricot and orange, and finishes with a subtle backdrop of resiny pine and the slightest things of black tea”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, it’s available now at both Propeller locations for growler fills. Moving on to tonight’s Cask Night, they’ll be tapping a cask-conditioned Honey Wheat Ale, aged with black raspberries; if you’d like a taste, be sure to show up at the Gottingen Tasting Room at 5 pm sharp, when the cask is tapped.

• There’s a brand new cider in the popular Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Company, Juniperry. Made from local, hand-picked Flemish Beauty pears, the juice had an arrested fermentation, before the addition of crushed juniper berries which were foraged from Peggy’s Cove and Prospect Bay. The resulting unfiltered, sparkling Perry has a light, pale colour, with a “delicate, woodsy aroma and a complex palate of sweet pear and balmy pine, with a hint of citrus”. Drop by the cidery for your fill of this 6.5% ABV beauty; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to the Town of Wolfville Volunteer Fire Department.

• The Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has been paying attention to the demands from their demographic in Pasadena (and beyond), who have been requesting a beer on the lighter side, somewhere between an American Pale Ale and a light Lager. Well, the brewery has responded with… Beer! Yes, that’s the name! As expected, it’s minimally hopped at 16 IBU, with a simple grist of Pale and Pilsner malt (achieving 5.0% ABV), making it easy-drinking, while “retaining the full body” that the brewery proudly notes is in all of their beers. Drop by the brewery for a taste, and don’t worry about trying to remember the name of what you wanted to order!

• Coming off their big ACBA wins, Chain Yard Cider has a new product pouring at the cidery, Petal to the Metal. A blend of a wild-fermented Baldwin base cider with rose water, it was matured with a ferment of Spy and Jonagold apples. A touch of Ironworks gin was added to bring out more floral aromatics, and a tiny amount of cherry wine gives the final cider its pink-rose colour. Described as “crisp and smooth”, it’s quite dry (like most ciders from Chain Yard), as very little sugar is left in the final product. Packing a nice punch at 8% ABV, drop down to Chain Yard to give this beautiful cider a taste!

• We mentioned that YellowBelly had brewed up a “Blueberry Milkshake IPA” last week, and had a few details to tide you over… well, looks like that beer is now on tap at the brewpub, and we have more information to share! They’ve finally settled on the name Blueberry Hill, fitting for a beer that features the addition of over 100 kg of blueberries (some in primary, some in secondary). Fermented with the excellent Funktown yeast blend, and dry-hopped heavily with Citra, expect lots of mango, pineapple, citrus, and passionfruit, along with a smooth, silky body (thanks in part to the typical-for-a-Milkshake-IPA addition of lactose powder). Blue-hued, 6% ABV, and high-20s IBUs, it’s available on tap at the brewpub as we speak, and will also be in growlers at the new YellowBelly Takeaway (just down a few doors at 264 Water St) that starts today from 1-7 pm… just buy a YB growler or bring your own branded, CLEAN 64 oz one.

• Next week’s Good Robot BetaBrewsday is just about ready to go, brewed by Travis Lindsay, Dan Hendricken and Kelly C. Named Funk You Saison (tsk), it’s golden-coloured, with a dry finish, and hints of “raspberry, clove, honey sweetness and bready funk”. Releasing at the brewery on tap on Tuesday, it weighs in at 5.7% ABV and 23 IBUs. And I’d just like to note this may be the shortest Good Robot post we’ve had since… when did they open again?

Grimross isn’t taking much of a breather with their one-off Scratch Series lately, as after releasing a couple of news ones over the past few weeks, they already have another in store! Scratch #8 is a hoppy Saison which is dry-hopped with a healthy dose of Simcoe and Sorachi Ace. This one won’t be released until the beginning of the week of November 20th, so ABV, IBUs and tasting notes aren’t available yet, but based on the hops used, we’re thinking a blend of citrus, pine, and lemongrass, with some spicy phenolics and fruity esters from the yeast, followed by a dry finish.

Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has been beavering away on several things in the past few weeks and it looks like this is the week for you, gentle beer drinker, to benefit from many of them in a very short timespan. First is the debut of two bottled beers at The Guy Show this weekend at the Halifax Exhibition Centre. First is the Winter Warmer, a 6.3% ABV beer geared towards the season with spruce tips, cinnamon, bitter orange peel and blackstrap molasses. Citra hops provide an additional citrus kick. Also at the show will be Night Shift on the Palisade, and IPA featuring Topaz and (surprise!) Palisadehops. So if you find yourself at the Guy Show (even if it’s because you got roped into going to the Christmas Craft Village next door, do check out these two new brews!

• Meanwhile, at Tidehouse’s Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street, another new beer is hitting the taps called Do Make Say Drink, another IPA, this one built on a malt base of 2-Row barley to which Vienna and Melanoidin were added for a balancing malt character and body. Hops were largely Citra and the beer was fermented with clean and neutral American ale yeast. And already on tap from earlier this week is the Cosmic Blonde, a mash-up of the Belgian Blonde style with very new world hop varieties including Amarillo, Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic. Multiple Belgian yeast strains were used in this one to develop fruity, spice and peppery notes to complement the tropical and citrus hop presence. Lastly, it was announced this week that Tidehouse will be hosting a tap takeover event to celebrate their first birthday at Tom’s Little Havana. on December 9th. We’ll have more information on that, hopefully including a tap list, in the coming weeks.

• Although the release date is not yet set in stone, Sober Island Brewing on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore is expecting to bring out a new beer very soon. Juniper IPA is an IPA in the West Coast style that’s been loaded with dry hop additions from Wicked Hops near Stewiacke, including Magnum, Chinook, Centennial and Cascade varieties. Also added in the last 10 minutes of the boil were three pounds of macerated juniper berries. The beer looks to be coming in at 6.3% ABV and some 58 IBU, and it may yet see a little bit of tweaking, as two more pounds of juniper berries are still available for additional dry hopping. Look for this one to be available as early as next weekend.

• And if you’ll recall, Sober Island also has a homebrew competition for beers featuring foraged ingredients, with the entries due on Wednesday, November 15th at Bramoso Pizza on Quinpool Road in Halifax, or Thursday, November 16th, at Cavicchi’s Meats on St. Margaret’s Bay Road in Tantallon during their Bangers & Beer event. We’ve also heard some rumours that drop-off may be possible at Noble Grape locations, but you’ll probably want to verify that before you go trying to drop your beer off as described in this Facebook post right here. Keep your eye on Sober Island’s social media (Facebook, Twitter) and the Facebook event page for any last minute details, and we’re looking forward to hearing the results announced on Sunday, November 26th, at the competition finale at Henley House in Sheet Harbour.

Plenty on the go this weekend, but do keep in mind that the provincial beer stores will be closed tomorrow in observance of Remembrance Day, and private stores and breweries are closing or delaying their opening:

• Don’t forget that the James Joyce Irish Pub in Fredericton is holding Deja Brew, their second New Brunswick Tap Takeover, today from noon till close. They’ve installed new draft lines and made the use of jockey boxes to have over 30 beers on tap, with just about every brewery in the province representing. It’s pay as you go, with flights available as usual. Coincidentally, the NBCBA (New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association, the local homebrew club in the region) is holding a Meet and Greet at the JJ from 6-10 pm, so flag one of the members down if you have any questions about brewing beer at home!

• Members of Foghorn‘s new KV Beer Club have the opportunity to participate in KV Beer School, a one-hour learning experience on the subject of beer, on Tuesday, November 14th from 7-8 pm. Brewer/co-owner Andrew Estabrooks will be discussing a brief history of beer, beer styles, and basically answering any beer-related questions you have on your mind. Club members can RSVP by emailing steve@drinkfoghorn.ca; it’s first-come, first-serve, to RSVP today!

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park continues their run of dedicating tap lines to a local brewery with their Boxing Rock Tap Takeover on Thursday, November 16th from open till close. Featuring Shelburne, Nova Scotia’s favourite brewery, Boxing Rock will be bringing 15 different beers to pour until they’re gone! There’s a good chance a brewery member or two will be on hand to answer any BR-related questions you may have. Keep an eye on the event link above for a taplist to be revealed in the near future.

• The original Gahan House in Charlottetown, PEI, is releasing a beer next Thursday that celebrates the coming winter, or at least the shorter days on the way to winter. Shortest Day is a spiced milk stout, black, opaque, and topped with a dark, lingering head. It features a prominent vanilla aroma with toasty undertones and it’s been spiced with nutmeg for a festive flair. It comes in at a very drinkable 5.3% ABV and you can be among the first to try it by attending the Shortest Day Celebration at the Gahan House on November 16th. At the event you’ll find live music, sampling of the beer, and a chance to win a prize package that includes a night at the Great George Hotel and dinner for two at Sims Corner Steakhouse on the official shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release in cans of their 100% Nova Scotia-made beer, One Hundred, with a special Launch Party at Horton Ridge on Saturday, November 18th at 2 pm. For those who’ve forgotten, the beer features grain grown and malted at Horton Ridge, together with wild yeast and hops harvested at the Big Spruce farm in Nyanza. There’ll be live music at the event from 3-6 pm, and pizza from The Rustic Crust at 4 pm. More details to come, stay tuned to the event page as the date gets closer.

• If you’re in the Charlottetown area and would love to learn more about the aromas and flavours you’re experiencing in your beer, HopYard has just the answer! On Saturday, November 25th, they’re holding a Guided Tasting with PEI’s only certified-Cicerone, Bryan Carver, at 11 am. Bryan will lead you through four beers brewed in Atlantic Canada, and will help you discover aspects of beer you never knew existed! The perfect way to make you a better friend of your favourite beverage, tickets are just $25 and can be picked up in advance at HopYard.

• It’s quite a ways off, but Halifax Curated already has the date for their East Coast Cider Festival, which will happen on Saturday, June 16th, 2018. There’ll be two sessions (1-4 pm, and 6-9 pm) pouring plenty of cider, with 16 cideries from Nova Scotia already signed up, as well as a couple from New Brunswick and one from Ontario. Early-bird tickets are already on sale ($30 + tax and fees) through the link above, so if you’re a cider fan, it makes sense to buy yours today! The event will be held at the Halifax Forum Multi-Purpose Centre, and will also have food vendors on-site.

Just a few more things to get you up to speed before we let you go today:

Bulwark has re-released their Winter Cider, a 7% ABV blended cider infused with cinnamon and nutmeg; available in bottles now.
Lazy Bear has brewed up another batch of their Norwegian, a take on a traditional style from, you guessed it, Norway, brewed with juniper-infused water and a yeast that ferments at almost unheard-of temperatures. It comes in at 7% ABV and should be around at the Annapolis Royal market tomorrow morning.
– One of Picaroons most popular seasonals, Winter Warmer (7.3% ABV, 35 IBUs) is back for the colder weather; look for it in bottles and on tap wherever Picaroons beers are normally found.

With the summer heat holding on across our region earlier this week, it is now beginning to feel a little more like fall. There’s a new brewery for us to announce, plus the usual tidal wave of new beers and events for you to check out. Grab a pint and settle in!

• There’s a new brewery coming this fall to the town of Hanwell, just outside of Fredericton. Niche Brewing will be operating a 2 BBL (230 litre) brewhouse, and concentrating on keg sales to licensees in the area. The two folks behind the brewery will be familiar to readers, as they are Rob Coombs and Shawn Meek, two long-time Fredericton-area homebrewers who are looking to share their award-winning homebrews with a larger audience. Their location has been secured, but most of the gear is still on its way, so look for their beers to be available at local bars and restaurants in a few months. We’ll have the full details on beer styles and where to find them, with a Q&A closer to launch. In the meantime, follow along with them at their Facebook page above (a website will be popping up in the future), as well as on Twitter and Instagram. Congratulations, Rob and Shawn! And for those wondering, acbbshawn will keep up his blogging duties (both here and on his own Meek Brewing Co. blog) for now, until he realizes he’s way overworked and smartens up, because we frankly can’t afford to lose him with all of the news in our region. 😐

• On Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Sober Island has a few new things on the go. The first is the Harvest Rye we told you about a couple weeks ago, a 7.4% ABV and 40 IBU amber-colored brew featuring spicy rye and an assertive hop presence. It will make its first appearance at Cavicchi’s Meats for the Fall edition of their Bangers & Beer event from 4 – 8 PM this evening that features live music, sausages, beer and a campfire. After that it will be found at the brewery in growlers and at the usual Sober Island Farmers Market locations. Next up is a small batch beer only available at neighbouring Henley House: Belgian Single was brewed with a couple of malts (Maris Otter and Vienna) from a new provider in the region. These malts, paired with classic Czech Saaz hops and the Belle Saison yeast, produced a 4.7% ABV beer with 25 IBU. Look for a noble character from the hops, a fair amount of maltiness from the malt selections and a definite yeast presence. Only 40 L was produced and it’s all at Henley House, so go there if you want to try this beer. Lastly we have another beer designed to test out that same Maris Otter malt, British Golden. Similar in specs to the Belgian Single, the hops in this one are the classic English East Kent Goldings and the yeast used was the very British S-04. Look for a spicy and citrus hop character with floral undertones as well as some fruity yeast esters. There will also no doubt be a detectable malt presence, although this is a lighter beer at 4.5% ABV with a solid bitterness of 30 IBU. We’re not sure how much of this one there is, but we do know it’s on tap at the Henley House right now!

• If you’re able to pop down to the 2 Crows tasting room today (and why wouldn’t you? Who are you to waste that opportunity, huh?), it’d be a good idea to follow through on that, as they’re releasing another brand new small batch beer as we speak. Rookie Move is the brainchild of brewery coordinator Mitch Gilbert, but don’t let the beer name fool you… this is no simple beer recipe, here. Brewed with Pilsner malt, with some malted and rye Wheat thrown in, it was hopped to 20 IBUs with Calypso, and then fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house Saison culture, along with an “experimental Brett strain”. After fermentation was complete, the beer was further conditioned on a “healthy dose” of yellow plums for one month, before being keg-conditioned with a Champagne yeast strain. Described by the brewery as “bright, funky and effervescent, with notes of barnyard, bright plum, and earthy tea”, it weighs in at just 5.1% ABV, making it the perfect pour for you to enjoy on a mid-work-on-a-Friday kind of day. Heck, maybe even have two! (Disclaimer: we would never condone drinking during a work day; who do you think we are, anyway?)

• Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing has a new brew out for the dog days of summer with their recently released Crush, a German-style Hefeweizen brewed with over 150 lbs of blood oranges. Built off of their base Weizen recipe, Württemberg Weissbier, blood oranges aren’t the only star, as an additional several pounds of orange zest were also thrown in. Hopped lightly with Summit to 15 IBUs, this 5% ABV brew is hazy-orange in colour, with lots of fresh orange flavour thanks to the combination of the blood oranges and zest. With a touch of clove from the fermentation with a Bavarian yeast strain, it’s sure to refresh your palate as summer continues to linger. On tap now at your local LC licensee.

• Coming off their presence at last weekend’s HalCon, Garrison made a couple of announcements this week. The first is that their pumpkin beer, the venerable Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale, is back as of today, exclusively at the rewery and private liquor stores in Halifax. Packaged in 650 mL bombers, this is one of the bigger pumpkin offerings in the region, coming it a 8.0% ABV. Complex and nutty on the malt side, the body is augmented with Cinderella pumpkins from the Dill family farm in Windsor. Pumpkin pie spices and hopping with Millennium to 30 IBU complete the picture, and it arrives just in time to pair with the crisp fall air. Homebrewers following Garrison’s Facebook page surely took note earlier this week when the style for their upcoming 2018 Home Brew-off was revealed to be Kölsch. Though the dates of the competition have not yet been decided, classically the entry date is in late February/early March. Why reveal so early? With the Kölsch style, developed in Cologne, Germany, timing is everything. Generally top-fermented at warm temperatures with an ale yeast, it is then lagered at cooler temperatures to achieve a characteristic crisp finish that balances its soft, rounded palate. Best served fresh, this style challenges the brewer to bring a fairly light, but characterful ale that displays some characteristics associated with lagers. Plus, this extra time will give keeners the chance for a test batch or two to nail down a recipe and technique. Check out the Kölsch Style Guidelines for inspiration. And finally, if you’re looking for something to do (read: warmup beers!) tomorrow afternoon in the lead-up to the Cask Beer Throwdown, head on down to Garrison’s SeaPort location and bring your Wiener Dog (if you’ve got one). In support of the Atlantic Canadian Dachshund Rescue, you’ll find the Wunderbar Wiener Dog Rally going on, with fun, games, and a BBQ. Oh! And don’t forget the home-and-home tap takeovers Garrison and Breton are doing this week. Tonight at the Stubborn Goat in Halifax expect to find a bevy of Breton brews and coming up next Thursday, look for Garrison to bring their wares to Governor’s Pub in Sydney. Both events start at 6 PM and go ’til late!

• Speaking of Pumpkin beer, Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing has released their Pumpkin Ale, brewed with plenty of home-grown ingredients. Featuring pumpkins from Fullerton Farms in Kingston, and hops from Darlings Island Farm in Darlings Island, this 6.3%, 28 IBU autumn seasonal is truly a taste of the Kennebecasis Valley!

Western Newfoundland Brewing has announced that their beers are now available in packaged format to grab and enjoy at home (or one of the amazing trails in nearby Gros Morne). While their brewery retail shop is not quite open full time, visitors can drop in Thursday and Friday from 12-7PM to grab crowlers of their beer. Currently available are the Killdevil Backcountry Pale Ale, and Stout. Drop by the back entrance at Unit 8 at 23 Stentaford Ave to check out the brewery and buy a few cans for later.

• Do you find yourself constantly hanging out at Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing, ordering pints, filling growlers, and just enjoying the atmosphere? Well, you might as well join the new KV Beer Club! For just $30 you get a t-shirt, free growler fill, a members-only mug, and $1 off all pints until 2018. Sound good? Well, there’s only 50 spots available, so you best get down to the brewery to sign up, ASAP!

Breton Brewing has brought back two of their fall seasonals, just in time for, well, fall! The first beer is a style that is always expected aplenty this time of year, their Pumpkin beer, Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs). Brewed with over 100 lbs of roasted, locally-grown pumpkins, it was also spiced with their secret blend to pump up the pumpkin presence (I did that on purpose). Joining this beer at the taproom is their other fall favourite, Celtic Colours Maple Lager (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs), brewed with local maple syrup. Both of these beers are available now at Breton for pints and growler fills, for a limited time only.

• Down at the gateway to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in Windsor, Schoolhouse continues to pump out the beer from their expanded 10 BBL system. The latest version of their Vice Principal ale is currently fermenting, this time a harvest version featuring a wet hop of 6 kg of Zeus grown on Bremner Farm, very close to the original Schoolhouse location in Falmouth. Also in the works is a new entry in the local hop series, keeping the name The Big Red Schoolhouse. It’s an imperial red ale that will have lots of locally grown Centennial, Cascade, Magnum, Brewers Gold and Zeus. We’ll have more information on that one when it hits the taproom in the late October/early November timeframe. This week’s Cask Friday beer with be the Scotian Export with a dry hop of East Kent Goldings available from 4 PM today for tasters, pints and growler fills.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has a few things on the go this week (seems to be a theme this week, actually). First, DeWolfe of Wall Street, their “alternative” APA is back in their taproom. They’ve also let us know what they’ll be pouring at tomorrow’s Cask Throwdown: they took the base beer for their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie, a mix of Pilsner, Red X, rye and flaked barley, and to it added various combinations of wild-foraged and other off-the-beaten-path ingredients, including roasted dandelion root, elderberry, ginger and freshly-picked rose petals. They’ll have 5 different variations pouring in all. Next, we’ve been advised that the wackiness we told you about last week known as Golden Goomba did eventually make the taps and is still available. It ended up with a pile of fresh ginger to go with the Yuzu juice, sour culture and two different yeasts we described last week. And this week’s offering for Beta Brewsday is called Reclaiming My Time. Brewed, as always, by Kelly C., this time with help from Evelyn White, it’s an attempt to recreate one of Evelyn’s favourite beers, Mackeson Milk Stout, a beer first brewed in Hythe, Kent, in 1907. It’s heavy on the chocolate and honey malts, with some dark crystal, all on top of a base of 2-row barley. The hopping is Willamette for early additions and Vic Secret in very limited amounts later in the boil. Cold-steeped malt was added in the fermenter to punctuate things. Coming in at 4.5% ABV, this should be a very sessionable beer, likely to be dark, sweet and roasty, with a bitterness in the 25 IBU range. It will be tapped in Beta Brewsday tradition, this coming Tuesday.

• Continuing to bring some truly interesting cider experiences to Halifax, we have more information on a blend we mentioned briefly last week. Chain Yard has another interesting offering available this week. Orange is the New Wild started with a wild fermentation of juice mixed apple blend. Noticing “pleasant floral notes…with a citrus element” developing during fermentation, the cider makers encouraged further development of these aromatics through a nutrient strategy. Close to the end of the fermentation, orange blossom water was added to highlight the aroma before a temperature drop was applied to slow the final stages. In the end, a crisp and refreshing, easy drinking, high-ABV (7.7%) cider was produced.

• Making its debut at last night’s Tap Takeover is a brand new beer collaboration between Tatamagouche Brewing and Battery Park Beer BarPfiel-Mund is a 5.3%, 23 IBU Dunkelweizen, brewed with Wheat, Munich, Horton Ridge 2 Row, and a touch of Chocolate Malt for colour. Traditional German Hallertau and Tettnang hops were used for a light bitterness, and Escarpment Lab “Weizen 2” yeast completes the authentic package. The resultant amber beer shares a distinct banana and clove aroma with its pale Hefeweizen cousin, with a bit more malt flavour and character from the darker malts. This weekend, the beer will see wider distribution, hitting tap accounts in HRM and at their own brewery on Main Street Tatamagouche.

• Coming in just under the wire (again!), Tidehouse would like us to let you know that they’ll be launching a new “Belgian-inspired Ale” at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room over the coming weekend. Franco is best-described as a Belgian Amber, and was brewed with 2-row, Munich, Wheat malt, and a touch of Chocolate malt to darken the colour Post-boil-hopped with Ahtanum, Azacca, and Citra to add some tropical and citrus notes, the 6.3% ABV brew was fermented with both a Saison and a Witbier strain, giving plenty of clove character. “Autumnal as all get-out”, according to the brewery, drop by this weekend to give it a try (and maybe firmly suggest they don’t email us at 10:34 am on Friday morning?).

• To celebrate the birthday of Alexander Keith, the Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery will be releasing a new beer, Peated Blueberry Ale. With a grist that includes a small portion of Peated malt, locally-harvested blueberries from Glenmore Farms were also added at various stages of the brew, including in the mash, kettle, and aging tanks after fermentation was complete. The result is a blend of “smoky, earthy woodsy character with the moderate-intense wild fruity blueberry notes”, with a tart finish. At 5.3% ABV and 10 IBUs, this dark purple beer will be released at the brewery’s party on October 5th.

• It was only a matter of time before this happened in our region, but it still feels like a bit of a surprise. This week saw the demise of Downeast Beer Factory in Burnside. Although their website is still operating, Halifax Retales noted yesterday on Twitter that the doors have been locked for several days and there are no signs of life inside. We were able to confirm independently later in the day that the brewery is finished. Though some other breweries in Atlantic Canada have had some hiccups and at least one is on hiatus, this is the first brewery to close permanently since Rogue’s Roost in October of 2015, and, before that, the Hart & Thistle in February of 2014. But both of those establishments had long term runs of 5 years or more, whereas Downeast had only been operating since May of last year. While it is likely that misfortune in the form of equipment failure during the initial startup had a hand to play in the closure, and while there are certainly some fairly well-publicized concerns surrounding the brewery’s ownership and operations, the fact remains that there doesn’t seem to have been much of a business model there. Attempting to put a brewery in an industrial park and make it a destination for food and drink is not a strong play in 2017. Coming to market in a city with more than a dozen established breweries (and more in the works) with a limited and somewhat uninspired product line (blonde, Irish ale and IPA) does not sound to us like a good idea even if the beers are top quality. It is unfortunate that a local business has failed and that, as a result, people are out of work. At the same time it is a reminder that our craft beer industry is maturing. In a previous era Downeast may have been able to limp along for more than a year, possibly even overcoming some of the obstacles it had set for itself. But in today’s market, with the level of competition (however friendly) rising, there is less runway and less margin for error. We wish the staff of Downeast all the best and hope to see their brewer running a mash tun and boil kettle somewhere else soon. But we certainly also feel that there are some important lessons to be learned here for prospective brewery owners. To be clear, this isn’t any kind of tipping point for craft breweries in the province and we’re not expecting any others to fall any time soon, but it’s definitely a signpost on the road to a truly mature industry: the margin for error on starting a brewery in Atlantic Canada has definitely narrowed.

Another busy weekend ahead with both the Cask Beer Throwdown and Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest on Saturday, plus a bunch more new events coming soon!

• The crew from Boxing Rock are visiting HopYard in Charlottetown this week, with a full Vinyl and Tap Takeover. Pouring 10 different BR beers yesterday and today, the visit to the island may also signify the possibility of a return in the Rumble in the Alley series of collaborations between Boxing Rock and Upstreet. Drop by Kent Street today to grab a pint and meet the BR folks!

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is taking over the taps at Lion & Bright tomorrow during MOJO – Indie Dance Night with DJ Loukas Stilldrnk. From 9:30 till late, the 8 taps at L&B will be pouring a wide variety of Roof Hounds beers, including their new Oat of My Mind Double IPA, and at least two sours. Always the overachiever, there will actually be 9 beers flowing, so don’t be afraid to grab a full pint or two of your favourites, as there are reinforcements waiting in the wings!

• A reminder that the second running of the Falmouth TrALE Run (5 and 10 km) is going down tomorrow at Castle Fredericks Farm. You’ll find beers from Schoolhouse and Roof Hound alongside Sid Cider and Davison’s (non-alcoholic) as well. And look out for the Schoolhouse team in the 19th Annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor on October 15th! They’ll have an outdoor beer garden from 1 – 8 PM in a great spot to watch the race with lots of great beer including their own Pumpkin Paddler Ale. There will also be food trucks, a corn boil and live music from 3 – 7 PM. Meanwhile a team from the brewery will be participating in the race.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has announced their next event, set for Wednesday, October 11th. This social will be held at Wilser’s Room in the Capital Complex downtown, from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a flight of beers to sample, for just $9.50. As always, you’re welcome to hang out afterwards and continue chatting – and drinking! – with your fellow beer lovers. If you’d like to secure a spot, you can RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com.

And just a couple more things before we let you get back to work…

– The Pumpkin Ales won’t be ending with the ones we’ve mentioned this week; Hammond River has just brewed up their Pumpkin ale, La Maitresse, which should be appearing on tap at the brewery, and at licensees, within the next few weeks.
– The North / Boxing Rock collaboration, Many Hands 5.0, a wet-hopped Gruit/beer hybrid that we mentioned last week, is now available; you can find it in 650 mL bottles and growlers at both North bottle shops and at Boxing Rock.

Happy Friday y’all! We are deep into August now, and the weather in our region has been gorgeous, which bodes well for a healthy hop and grain harvest next month. Let’s take a minute to toast the hard working farmers and growers who keep the brewers fully stocked with great ingredients!

Tatamagouche Brewing is on the lookout for a Head Brewer! Having expanded several times during their first three years in operation, they are looking for an experienced brewer to join their ranks, and help them keep up with the great demand for their beer across the province (and beyond). In addition to day-to-day brewing tasks, familiarity with Quality Control, recipe development, cellaring, and maintenance are also requirements. As in all breweries of this size, the ability to wear many hats, and communicate with co-workers in the brewhouse is key! If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out the full job posting here, and fire off an email to Matt Kenny.

• Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company released the latest cider in their Something Different series on the weekend, Raspberry and Rooibos. This 6.7% unfiltered sparkling cider begins with a dry cider base fermented over Red Delicious skins, blended with fresh juice from local, handpicked, raspberries. The blend was then cold-conditioned with Red Rooibos loose leaf tea from their neighbours at Just Us! Coffee. The resultant deep pink cider showcases a tannic structure, with plenty of fresh raspberry flavour and aroma, and a light earthiness from the tea. As with all of their Something Different releases, Annapolis is donating $0.50 from each sale to a local charity, with the Wolfville Children’s Centre being the current beneficiary.

• 90 minutes down Highway 101 from Wolfville is Smiths Cove, home to Lazy Bear Brewing. They have upped the ante this week with the release of Sour Punch Kettle Sour. Featuring a similar hop profile to their Punch Session IPA, this 5.0% ABV Pale first underwent a controlled souring using Lactobacillus, before finishing fermentation with an ale yeast. During conditioning, it was generously dry-hopped with El DoradoIdaho 7, and Olicana, for “a nice balance of tart and tropical fruity from those hops”, according to the brewery. The best way to grab Sour Punch, and its little sister Punch (which we understand will be back shortly), is at Lazy Bear’s Thursday evening Growler nights, and at their Annapolis Royal Farmers & Traders Market stall Saturday from 8AM.

Think Brewing, in New Brunswick’s Southwest region, has added a new beer to their roster, featuring all New Brunswick hops. Named after the area in which they are located, Tweedsider Pale Ale features 2016 harvest Centennial and Columbus hops from Southan Farms and Cascade hops from Lakeview Farm in Think’s neighbouring town of Harvey. Described as a “Classic ‘C’ hop Pale Ale”, with Columbus as bittering and plenty of late Cascade and Centennial for a bright citrus fresh aroma. The area of Tweedside got its name after the River Tweed in Scotland. Tweedsider can be found on tap at The Loch in Harvey (also adjacent to where those Cascade hops were grown), Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and Graystone in Fredericton.

• Over on the western side of PEI, Moth Lane has a new beer available, this one with a name derived from folklore. Called Sidehill Gouger, apparently after a creature said to roam the dunes next to the brewery that has evolved shorter legs on one side of its body, it’s a wheat and barley beer brewed with an American yeast. At 5% ABV and 11 IBU, it should have a clean flavour profile and a refreshing character, perfect for the tail end of summer.

• HRM’s North Brewing sees the release of the second beer in their Finite Series today, with the launch of Oh My Darlin, a Clementine Pale Ale. Coming in at 6.3% ABV, it’s been in development for quite some time. Leveraging a stainless tank from Battery Park, it underwent a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces claussenii for six months before being dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and packaged into bottles and kegs where it conditioned for another 1.5 months. Described as dry , with a “brilliant” brett funk and notes of clementine, this is an extremely limited release, with only 850 bottles (650 mL) and 3 kegs produced in total. As of noon today you’ll find it at both North bottle shops, and on tap at Battery Park and Stillwell as long as it lasts. So if you love the funk, you know what to do.

• Things are coming together for Split Rock Brewing in iconic Twillingate, NL, with their opening fast approaching. As they count down the weeks and days until launch, they are looking to expand their team, looking for bartenders and servers for their on-site taproom. If you are looking for an excuse to go back home, or want a new adventure where you can watch icebergs and whales from behind the bar, get in touch with the Split Rock family in person at 119 Main Street or via social media.

• Down Digby way in Nova Scotia, Roof Hound is ready to begin another new era for the brewery with the impending arrival of bottles to the packaging mix. Their first offerings in this format will be the Sweet Little SIPA session IPA, at 4.5% ABV, and their aptly-named (for all the right reasons), Big Stink IPA at 6.4% ABV. They’ve gone with the swankily retro 500 mL stubby format and if you check out social media you’ll see their cunningly designed counter pressure bottle filler. Speaking of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), that’s how you’ll best find out when these puppies (yes, we went there) will be available; they’re still technically waiting on NSLC approval after obtaining the nod on recyclability. Once they’ve got clearance, you’ll find the bottles available at the brewery and in the city at Bishop’s Cellar for now, with other avenues potentially developing over time.

• If you’re keeping score on the wonderful things that have already come out of the foedres at 2 Crows Brewing, you’ll have likely notched a win for the Low Point Barrel-aged Burundi Coffee. If you’ve idly wondered what that lovely stuff might taste like if someone had the presence of mind to brew some up and put it in a beer, it turns out you’re not alone. Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing got their collective grubby paws on some of that lovely coffee (no doubt at the mental, emotional, and possibly physical expense of Jeremy Taylor) and put it into an American Porter they’re calling Low Tide Foedre-aged Burundi Coffee Porter (you will be forgiven for ordering “Low Tide”). The grist for this 5.5% ABV brew was comprised of a 2-row malt base, Carafa II for color, and Pale Chocolate malt for roasty and chocolate notes, while the hop side features Magnum for a present, but only just, bitterness, and Bramling Cross for some red fruit and lemon flavour. Ideally this will provide an excellent platform for the sweet, boozy and vanilla components of the coffee. Release is expected to take place this coming Wednesday, August 23rd at 1 PM, where they’ll have a mere 350 bottles (500 mL) available, so if you’re interested, you’d best step lively – once they’re gone, they’re gone!

• And demonstrating how multiple people can have the same great idea and yet execute it quite differently, there’s another beer featuring that 2 Crows/Low Point Foedre-aged Burundi Coffee available today! Debuting at last weekend’s Seaport Beerfest, and now available to the public, is a little collab our very own Chris did with the fine folks at 2 Crows Brewing. Switch Hitter is a 4.5% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring a light, mostly-Pilsner based malt profile, hopped to 35 IBU with Hallertau Blanc, and then fermented with a blend of yeasts (both clean and wild). A bit more H. Blanc was added during active fermentation, and the beer sat on several ounces of the foedre-aged coffee for a week before packaging. The resultant beer shows a bit of yeast-derived funkiness, with some bright hop notes and coffee flavour. With two kegs poured at the Brewnosers/Ladies Beer League Tap Local table last weekend, there’s just one keg available at 2 Crows today, for on-site enjoyment only (aka, no cans or growlers). Be sure to chirp Chris on Untappd or Twitter to let him know what you think…

• With the very many new TrailWay beers that have been hitting shelves and taps this past summer, it’s actually kind of surprising that they haven’t done a true SMaSH beer… until now! Lomah was released earlier this week, and features a grist comprised of 100% Pilsner malt, and a hop schedule made up entirely of Columbus. A hop variety that every brewer is familiar with, Columbus has been around for many years, and always brings more to the table than expected. Lomah in particular is described as “dank, spicy, and surprisingly tropical and fruity”, and weighs in at 6.3%. Available now in cans, pints and growlers at the brewery, TW is calling it “crisp, clean, and completely crushable”.

• As usual we’ve got plenty to tell you about with regards to Good Robot in Halifax’s North End this week. First, the summer tradition continues with yet another new brew on the Gastroturf serving as Cask in the Sun this afternoon. This time it’s Leave Me Blue Popcorn, their Kentucky Corn Beer with house made caramel and lactose added to push it in a caramel corn direction. Next, this weekend will see the release of an almost-new Alpha Brew, previously released as a Beta Brew by Assistant Brewer Jake DeWolfe as his first solo brew at GR. El Espinazo del Diablo (the Devil’s Backbone, after a Guillermo del Toro film) is a Mexican Lager weighing in at 5.8% ABV and a light 14 IBU. With a grain bill of 2-row and Vienna malts and flaked corn, the noble hop Tettnanger for flavour, and the addition of both lime zest and jalapeño peppers for added interest, this is a light, but slightly hazy lager that should be quite refreshing. And lastly, this week’s Beta Brewsday on August 22nd is a collaboration between Beta system queen Kelly Costello and Jana Muise of Motion Bay Brewing (original name: Killick Stone), soon to be open in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. This is a hoppy one called Stella Ella Oh La La with 2-row, Vienna and Flaked oats making up the malt side, for plenty of body and a little haze. On the hop side, there was a bittering jolt of Cascade out of the gate, and then a triple dry hop of Citra at 2 days, Ella (formerly known as Stella) at 4 days, and Citra again at 6 days! At a super-sessionable 4.5% ABV, but a healthy 56 IBU this very well might qualify as a NE Session IPA. There’s only one way to find out and that’s to be at GR next Tuesday when it’s tapped!

Woody Point is located on Newfoundland’s West Coast, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park. That’s where Galliott Studios, the officially unofficial taproom for Western Newfoundland Brewing Company, is located. The cafe/gallery/pottery studio/bar is also home to the Writers at Woody Point event taking place August 15-20th. With readings by authors, live music, and celebration of written and spoken word, the event has also been the perfect time for WNLBC to release a new beer, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the House of Anansi Press. The 3.5% ABV Ginger Wheat Ale features additions of Millet and Sorghum in the mash, as a nod to the legend of Anansi, an African folktale. Complementing the ginger, are locally-foraged Wild Rose and Wild Mint, collected by local group Northern Food Craft. The beer is currently on tap at Galliott Studios, and we don’t expect it will last beyond the weekend, so drop by today for a pint and story!

What’s on the go in the next couple of weeks?

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is throwing their annual Block Party tomorrow, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. With an open-air artisan market, the Most Wanted Pawn Shop’s Retro Video Game parlour, great food, and their own sodas pouring, there is something for everybody. This free event will also feature live music all day, from noon until late night. Check out the full details here, and drop by for a right good time tomorrow!

• Next Sunday, August 27th, the crew from Charlottetown’s HopYard want to take you on an Island Wide Brewery Tour! Meeting at HopYard at noon, the bus will head up West to Moth Lane for a visit, then it’s off to BarNone for a pint, before heading back to town for a pint and bite at HopYard. The fun continues with a visit to PEI Brewing Company, before ending (or just beginning?) the night at Upstreet. Tunes and Trivia will be on the go to keep you entertained between stops. Tickets are available at HopYard now for just $50+tax.

And one last mention before we leave you to enjoy your weekend and, hopefully, some of the exciting releases that are coming this week:

• ANBL is asking its customers for feedback about Online Shopping. Until August 30th at midnight, visit the online survey to have your say. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and will, if you provide your email address, enter you in a draw to win one of three $100 gift cards from ANBL.

Happy Summer, folks! It sure felt that the warm weather was never going to come, but with temperatures reaching well above 20C in all four provinces this week, we’re finally able to dust off the patio furniture for real, and work on those farmer tans. Let’s get right to the beer(s) you should be drinking!

Lunn’s Mill Beer Company has added a new brew, Anvil, a Porter, to their list of offerings in Lawrencetown, NS. Described by the brewery as being closer to the American Porter style (as opposed to British), it’s smooth and dark, with “hints of roast, chocolate, and dark fruit”. With a moderate bitterness in the finish to balance the malt flavours, it weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. It was released late last week at the brewery, so only limited amounts are likely still available. But fear not! They’ll be brewing it again soon, and their tasting room has extended their hours (Thursdays 3:30-6:30 and Friday 12:00-6:00). And with three new 5 bbl (580 L) BIACs (Brew-in-a-Conical) arriving, there’ll be a big increase in production at the brewery any day now!

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Urban Cidery has released a brand new blend this week, Yard Berry. The base cider of Jonagold and Northern Spy apples was blended with NS High Bush blueberries that underwent an arrested fermentation (aka, stopped short of finishing too dry). The final product features notes of sour cherry, cranberry, and of course plenty of blueberry, with a heavier weight, but clean finish. Drop by their location at North & Agricola and enjoy a glass on their patio.

Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has had a busy spring, brewing up some test batches at their Pasadena location. They currently have three of these smaller batches in rotation (as well as their Killdevil Pale Ale and Wild Cove Cream Ale) at their officially-unofficial taproom, Galliott Studios in Woody Point, located inside Gros Morne National Park. On tap currently is The Hoppin’ McIlroy, a Pale Ale brewed using wild hops from Norris Point, across Bonne Bay from the Studios. Also rotating through are Oat Pale Ale, featuring oats for a creamy mouthfeel and lots of late-hopping for a pleasant citrus and fruit flavour, and the preview for an upcoming wider release, Stout River (formerly Stout #1). Take a drive into the Park, grab a pint and sit on their beautiful wharf, and watch the humpbacks and minke whales that frequent the Bay.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is releasing an all-new beer today, the aggressively named Sour M.F. This is a wheat beer, kettle-soured and weighing in at 6.2% ABV. And here we depart from the typical text of an Unfiltered beer release because there’s no IBU number to report, nor are there any hop varieties to name. This ain’t a hoppy beer, it’s a sour, and in typical NASH style, it was rather unsubtly re-fermented on a metric fuckton of tart cherries for a big cherry bouquet. It’s described as acidic, refreshing and bright with a light spicy finish. Probably a beautiful beer for your patio drinking needs on a hot day. Available from noon today for fills at the brewery and pints next door at Charm School Pub.

• Those of us who’ve were lucky enough to share in the beers of Peter Lionais over his homebrewing career have reason to be excited, as there’s a new beer coming out of Tidehouse and it finished at a specific gravity of 1.003. A beer that dry can mean only one thing: Peter’s been into the saison yeast again! Using a blend of two strains, 2 Many Birds is firmly in the saison style, with a balance of earthy and citrus characters from the yeast. A grist of largely Pilsner malt with some Vienna added for character yields a rounded mouthfeel despite the dry finish. Hops in this batch were a blend of the old school Perle, the American darling Amarillo and the Southern Hemisphere newcomer Pacific Jade, for a floral and orange-grapefruity hop presence. The lion’s share of this batch was shipped up to Stillwell‘s Beer Garden on Spring Garden, so look for it to appear there soon, with the balance likely to find a home across the water at Battery Park and for a severely limited number of fills at the retail space on Salter Street.

• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing put their thinking caps on and developed a “100% Canadian beer”, utilizing ingredients from all four of our favourite provinces. Big Cod Mountain Ridge uses PEI malt (floor malted by Horton Ridge) in the grist, Cascade hops from Moose Mountain Hops in NB, and pineapple weed (tea-infused) harvested in NL by Cod Sounds. Finally fermented by Big Spruce‘s pin cherry-harvested yeast (with some help from Escarpment Labs), the beer – probably best described as a Saison – comes in at 5% ABV and 19 IBUs and exhibits a “Belgian feel”, and finishes very dry.

North Brewing is releasing two beers today, one of which is new, the other, a returning favourite. The new brew is Little Beast, brewed for the North End Runners, a community of local runners who meet every Wednesday at 6 pm at North Brewing for a 6 km run. A 4% ABV “lagered ale”, it was hopped with Huell Melon to 10 IBUs, and features an addition of salt to the boil. North wants you to think of it as a “post-run recovery beer”… sounds right to us! Returning is White Lightning (4.8% ABV), a dry-hopped kettle sour. This time around, the beer is slightly more tart, thanks to the use of a different Lactobacillus starter, and was hopped with Azacca, Huell Melon, and Wai-Iti. Both beers will be available as of today at both North locations, for growler and swing-top fills, as well as in 650 mL bottles.

TrailWay has their brand new automatic canning line up and running, which means more cans for all of us, and less work for the TW crew! It also means new label designs, and packaging dates indicated on each can. Beyond Reality (raspberry Fruit beer) is already out with its new look, and their Rye Pale Ale, Rype, will be available as of today. Finally, the winning American IPA in the first TrailWay Homebrew Challenge is available again (probably for the last time); Hoppy McHazy was brewed by Pierre Gagnon, and features plenty of Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe, for a huge blast of tropical, fruity goodness.

• And the circle of life is complete as we heard from a little birdie this week that the canning line Trailway replaced with their new whizzbang automatic dealio is on its way to Sober Island on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. While we let you consider what that’s going to mean for Rebecca Atkinson and her crew, or, more to the point, for you, gentle beer drinker, we’ll tell you about their latest release, dubbed Kirby’s Canoe Rye Pale Ale. The grist features 11% rye, which will almost certainly provide a spicy note on the finish. We also know that it was dry hopped with both Willamette and Bramling Cross hops, with the Bramling being the focus. This should provide a bright berry character. It’s straw-yellow in colour, with a solid 5.7% ABV and 30 IBU, if you really want to figure this one out, look for it in crowlers at the brewery, on tap at The Henley House in Sheet Harbour and Battery Park in Dartmouth, and appearing at the New Glasgow and Musquodoboit Farmers Markets.

• Heading Southwest along Nova Scotia’s coast, FirkinStein in Bridgewater has their latest experiment on tap and ready for prime time. Sassamanana is a 7.0% ABV Pale Ale, featuring the addition of cranberries and banana to the beer. While the techniques they used are secret (trust us, we asked!), they promise that the light tart character from the berries, and creaminess from the banana will make for a great experience. The beer is debuting at tomorrow morning’s Bridgewater Farmers’ Market. And keep an eye out for the news of their King Street satellite brewery/taproom/retail location, which is poised to open before the end of the month.

• And back to the city, on the waterfront in Halifax, Gahan Harbourfront is now serving up a batch of Flavour of the Monk which was the winning beer in their first annual homebrew competition. Devised (and named) by Ian Wheatley, who you may remember from March’s Lil’Wheatey Tap Takeover at Tidehouse Brewing earlier this year, it’s a Belgian beer in the Trappist Single style, with a pillowy white head and moderate bitterness. The hops used are classic Czech and German noble varieities, giving a floral and spicy nose to balance against the classic peppery and fruity Belgian yeast character. It’s a fairly easy-drinking 5.4% ABV and 35 IBU. Meanwhile, Gahan has quietly become the second brewery in NS to offer crowlers. These 32oz cans let you take beer pretty much anywhere in a convenient package, or let you sock it in the fridge for up to a month. Only Gahan beers are available (no PEIBC or guest taps) and they’re available for $8 from the fridge at the restaurant entrance. Currently available in this format are their Crosscurrent APA, Impatience Sour Brown and Captain Falcon’s IPA.

Maybee Brewing is releasing Old Growth, an Extra Special Bitter, sometime today. The slightly-bigger brother to their Slanty Shanty Best Bitter that originally came out last December, the malt and hop profiles have been tweaked slightly. Horton Ridge floor-malted Organic Pale Malt makes up the majority of the grist, with New Brunswick Goldings hops bringing the IBUs to 44. Exhibiting “hints of honey and caramel”, and nicely-balanced with a firm bitterness, this 5.5% ABV beer is available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and cans. Look for cans to likely appear at select ANBL stores in the future; local tap accounts will also be receiving kegs.

• St. John’s YellowBelly Brewpub celebrated the changing of the seasons this week with the release of Summer Solstice Crystal Wheat. A nod to Wexford Wheat, one of their core beers, this beer features a simplified malt bill with just 2-Row and Wheat malts. Unlike WW, it is filtered, resulting in a bright, crystal-clear straw coloured beer. The hops are also unique to this release, with Pacific Gem and Sorachi Ace used in the boil, with more Sorachi and a second hop during dry-hopping. At 5.3% ABV and 18 IBUs, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser on their patio this weekend at the corner of George Street, or to take-away when bottles make an appearance next week.

• Dropping today is YellowBelly’s latest cider, this one is a blend of dry apple cider fermented with Champagne yeast and sweetened with a touch of unfermented cider, then blended with 6% cold-pressed cranberry juice from the Island’s West Coast just prior to filtration. At 6.0% ABV, the resultant cider is juicy and tart, and thirst quenching for the warm weather (enjoy it over ice to extend the pleasure). On tap today, it should also see release in bottles at the Brewpub next week. And for a hint of what’s to come this summer, YB is currently on the look-out for an experience manager for “YellowBelly Take-Away”, to open at 264 Water Street in the coming months. Contact them via email for more details.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery has been busy crafting up some new sour beers, after the success of their kettle-soured Partridgeberry Sour and Sumac Sour. Coming up next is their next entry, Strawberry Sour. Initially fermented with a “collection of Brettanomyces and bacteria”, a neutral Ale strain (read: Saccharomyces) was used to finish things off. Real strawberries were then added during secondary fermentation, resulting in a “sourness complemented by a strawberry and citrus aroma” in this hazy, light-copper-coloured brew. Easy-drinking at 5% ABV, you’ll be able to find this one on tap at the brewery, as well as in Fredericton at 540 Kitchen & Bar and the Cider House. Next week should also see the release of Seaberry Sour, an amber-coloured kettle sour brewed with NB Sea Buckthorn berries, resulting in lots of citrus aromas, according to the brewery. This very-limited release will pop up at a few tap accounts.

• We have some great news for you New Brunswick Mead fans out there! Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery has a very large shipment of bottles heading to more than 30 different ANBL locations across the province, starting this coming Monday, June 26th. After a few releases at four locations over the past months, the high demand was apparent; the current numbers hitting stores is ten times the amounts from before. Look for plenty of bottles of Queen’s Nectar, Scuttlebutt, ChaChaChaga, and Latifah to be hitting shelves very soon, with another release scheduled for sometime in early September. You can check the ANBL location list here.

Big Tide has announced that they have a beer coming out soon, LaTour, their entry in the Acadian Nut Brown style being seen more and more in New Brunswick (check out our mention of it in last week’s post for more info). The 2 Row base malt is accented by plenty of CaraMunich and Chocolate Wheat malts for a medium-bodied, malt-forward, 6.5% ABV Nut Brown. Hopped to 27 IBUs with Fuggles for a mild bitterness and earthy aroma. A little past the June 9th official launch date, but that’s ok! It’ll be available at the brewpub for pours and growler next week. And grab a pint or growler of their 4.5% ABV Zippy Pale Ale, as it is sure to run out this weekend.

• Last week we told you a bunch of stuff about Good Robot that turned out to be a week too early (we blame contrails and the Illuminati). To save us some typing, you can catch up on that stuff right here (CTRL-F “robot” <enter>). We have it on good authority this week, that you will finally see the Cream Team cream ale appear this coming Tuesday, June 27th. This will mark the first of the Tuesday Beta Brew releases, heretofore and forever known as BetaBrewsDays. Also heading for Tuesday next, assuming kegs can be cleared in time, will be #2 in the SMaSH Pale Ale series, now officially known as Hey Now (you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play). And lastly, but not leastly, today will see the debut of the Cherry Goseface Killah, so head on down to Robie Street and get yourself some sour, salty brew with a fruit kick.

• Breton Brewing in Sydney, NS, has a brand new summer refresher out, the cleverly-named Miami Weiss, a weizen-style beer mixed with 100% organic grapefruit juice to create a Shandy. At a very light 4.0% and barely there 12 IBU it’s likely to be extremely crushable and perfect for a sunny afternoon on a patio somewhere. It’s already available at the brewery for pints and fills and you should see it make taps in the big city within the next couple of weeks. They’ve also got a third batch of the Stillwell Open-winning Seven Years Pale Ale just brewed and have put down their second lager for aging into early July. We’ll have more information on availability for the former and details on the latter in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you’re in Sydney this weekend and you love beer, why not swing by the brewery and check out Breton’s 2nd Birthday Party, which has been in full swing since kicking off last night. The festivities continue tonight with a Music on Tap event from 4 – 10 PM before tomorrow’s 10 hours of live music, food trucks and cake! Check out the Breton Brewing Birthday Bash Facebook event page and plan accordingly!

• Down in the old A. Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, a new beer is on the horizon, this one being labeled Highland Scottish Pilsner. Taking advantage of the similarities (water-chemistry wise) between the Halifax Pockwock water supply and the classic brewing liquor of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, this brew sees light and grainy Pilsner wed to the round sweet maltiness of Scottish Golden Promise. This will no doubt provide the beer with somewhat more body than a truly classic Pils, while preserving the dry and crisp finish characteristic of the style. The hopping also sees an uncommon marriage, with the classic Saaz combined with its descendant variety from New Zealand, Motueka. At 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, you’ll find it available for growler fills at the brewery.

• Despite our best efforts, we’re always finding out we’re not quite as on top of things as we like to think we are. Case in point, this week we heard about The Groundswell Inn, located on the Fleur-de-lis trail in D’Escousse on Isle Madame, NS, on the south side of Cape Breton. A bed and breakfast with an attached British-style Pub, they’ve been since last year and feature 8 craft beer taps, one of the largest selections of craft beer, if not the largest, in Cape Breton! We’ve added them to the Brewnosers Good Beer Map on this site, but certainly if you’re planning to be in the area or looking for accommodations or a place to have a pint near Isle Madame, check out their website and look for info on their coming events on Facebook and Twitter!

• Those of us patiently waiting for Big Spruce‘s Silver Tart to be available in cans in Halifax, rejoice! After a run on the cans yesterday, we’ve been assured that there are a few hundred more being delivered to Bishop’s Cellar this morning, in time for your post-work pint. Keep an eye on BC’s twitter feed, as they’ll be sure to announce their arrival. Or, why not make a run up to Nyanza, where you can also enjoy some food, live music, and relaxation courtesy of some Beer Yoga.

Looking for a few things to do in the next few weeks? We’ve got lots to keep you busy, no matter where you are!

• The tap takeovers at Charlottetown’s HopYard continue in full force today, June 23rd, with an Upstreet/North Takeover all day. All taps will be dedicated to the two breweries – check out the event link for a full list – including a new collaboration between the two, Northern Light, a 3.5% ABV, 15 IBUs Session IPA brewed with equal amounts 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Cashmere and Mosaic. Launching at this event, Northern Light will also be on tap at the Upstreet taproom in Charlottetown and Battery Park in Halifax, as well as select tap accounts in both cities.

Horton Ridge is holding the Grand Opening of their brewery and taproom tomorrow, June 24th, starting at 11 am. A selection of NS craft beer will be on tap for purchase, including – of course – several of the releases from Horton Ridge, which are only available at the brewery/malt house. Singer/songwriter Caleb Miles will be performing at 6 pm, and the Let’s Eat Beer food truck will be serving up some beer-infused items all day (all proceeds will be going to Atlantic Canadian charities). Games, tours, and door prizes will be rounding out the day, so drop by and bring the family!

• Back to Upstreet, who will be having their 2nd Birthday next week, and like last year, will be celebrating with the launch of a new beer in their annual De Novo series. De Novo II is a Belgian Saison brewed with Maritime malt, New Brunswick Goldings hops, and fermented with a Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces blend. The result is flavours of “light candy and funk”, backed lightly by a dry finish and hop bitterness. This already-dry beer will get more so over time, as the Brett continues to chew away at residual sugars, increasing the amount of funk character in the beer (and, quite possibly, carbonation… you’ve been warned!). The De Novo II Release Party is next Thursday, June 29th, at the taproom, from 6-10 pm. There’s no charge to attend, just drop by for some music, cake, and pick up some hand-bottled De Novo II while it’s available!

• All year, Propeller Brewing is celebrating their 20th Anniversary, with several initiatives and collaborations and events planned. The details of their official Anniversary Party have been announced, taking place July 8th. From 2-8PM, they are taking over the parking lot of their neighbours Seven Bay Bouldering, and inviting some great local bands to play free concerts all day, also featuring games for young and old alike, beer specials, and plenty more surprises. After the day’s fun, the party moves a few feet down the block to the Marquee, where Skratch Bastid and friends will be playing starting at 10PM. With tickets priced at $20, this is a steal of a deal, but even more so when realizing that 100% of profits will be going to the North End Community Health Centre, just down Gottingen from Propeller, and their favourite charity. Check out the FB Events page for more information, and grab your tickets for the show at the Marquee before they sell out.

So it’s spring, eh? Ya right! March came in like a lion, and while it may have taken a nap mid-way, it leaves just as powerful. Let’s hope those April showers wash away the snow and ice, and we can be done with the white stuff for a few months. The poor weather hasn’t kept the brewers down, however, as we’ve got lots of news from around the horn to share with you today. Without further ado, here we go!

• The results of the first Gahan Harbourfront Homebrew competition are in and the winner is none other than Ian Wheatley, who you may remember from his mini-takeover at Tidehouse Brewing earlier this month. According to Gahan brewmaster Kyle Jeppeson, Ian’s Trappist Single was exceptional, well-carbonated and featuring a very pleasant yeast and hop profile. Ian will be brewing a batch of his beer on the 5 bbl system at Gahan at some point to be sold alongside Kyle’s offerings. Congratulations are also in order to Justin Clarke of the Brathair Brewing collective, who placed second. Gahan is promising that the competition will be back next year and Kyle is looking for any suggestions this year’s participants might have towards improving it for next year.

• Travelling up the hill to the base of the Citadel, 2 Crows Brewing is putting yet another new beer on this week. At 6.8% ABV and 39 IBU, Shakedown Brett Porter marries the classic English style (perhaps the brownest of the brown ales) with earthiness and funk from Brettanomyces bruxellensis yeast and a decidedly New World nose. Dry-hopped with earthy and fruity Calypso and straight-up orange grove Citra, it’s described by brewmaster Jeremy Taylor as “super earthy, dry, almost mossy in flavour, with a decent layer of funk.” This one wasn’t a big batch, so it’s not likely to be around for a long time. Catch it while you can at the brewery.

• Meanwhile, if you’ve been wondering if maybe there’s been a bit of a method to the madness of all these recent releases from 2 Crows, wonder no more! Thursday, April 13, will see 2 Crows doing their first tap takeover at Battery Park in Dartmouth. Promising 10+ taps (although we’ve heard rumours that it could be as many as 14 in total), you’re sure to see your favourite 2 Crows brews alongside some of the interesting limited releases we’ve seen in the last few weeks. And if that’s not enough, knowing Jeremy, there’s sure to be a couple of brand new and interesting brews that will see their first light of day at the event. Plan to kick off your Easter Weekend 2 Crows x Battery Park style. Look for the full tap list to be revealed as the event approaches.

• A hop, skip, and a jump back into the heart of downtown will take you to Tidehouse Brewing on Salter Street at Barrington, who are also releasing a new beer today. Out Like a Lion Hoppy Wheat Ale is a 5.1% ABV Ale, brewed with a blend of Superior Pale, and Wheat malts, for a hazy, straw appearance, and lighter body. Lots of late additions of Centennial and Summit (during the post-boil chilling step, as well as dry hopping), give citrus flavours and aromas, which meld nicely with the banana notes from the yeast blend chosen. Grab a growler at the brewery today, and keep an eye on the board of a North End taproom tomorrow to grab a pint.

• The crew at Trider’s Craft Beer in Amherst have been quite busy, with a pair of new beers out, and a couple more in the pipeline for release soon. Making its debut as last month’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, Maccan Maple is now available to everyone, no plaid required! Rather than using water as the base liquid for the beer, they only used sap from Hidden Mountain Maple Farms in nearby Springhill! After mashing and boiling as usual, they added maple syrup to the wort as they pitched the yeast. The 5.0% ABV beer ends up with a strong maple flavour, and is sweeter than other beers of the same style on the market, making this a perfect dessert beer. The beer is freshly bottled, available at their brewery, as well as in growler fills. Kegs of this, and all of their beer, are also available, so keep an eye out at local watering holes for a tap.

• The second new beer from Trider’s is Brew-Deau Cream Ale, based on their very popular Christmas Cream seasonal, but tweaked the recipe to end up with a lighter appearance, thanks in part to the subbing in of corn, iconic in a Cream Ale grain bill. The 5.0% ABV beer is lightly hopped to 10 IBU, and will be a popular warm weather beer (if it ever arrives!). You can sip on a bit of summer now, however, as the beer is available in growler fills and 500ml stubbies at their Anson Ave location in the Industrial Park.

• There are a pair of other seasonals headed your way from Amherst, including White Ogre, a hybrid between Belgian Witbier and American IPA. What started as a test batch to satisfy co-owner Scott Parker’s want of a hoppier beer has proven quite popular with customers dropping by the brewery. A significant wheat base, with lots of orange peel and coriander added, but with a hoppy kick from CitraColumbus, and Willamette, resulting in a 5.5% ABV, 56 IBU White IPA. The beer is finishing now, and will be available in growler fills and bottles next week. And aiming for late April is Second Breakfast Oatmeal Stout, a 5% roasty dark stout with a creamy mouthfeel thanks to the addition of oatmeal during the brewing. We’ll have more details, including release date, later next month. Plus we’ll have more news to share on Trider’s plans at their current location.

• TrailWay has released the last batch of Good Aura Amber Ale for the season, as they transition to their summer lineup. Featuring lots of Mosaic hops for a stonefruit and tropical aroma, built upon the base of Munich, Caramel, and Ryle malts. Named after brewery rescue dog Aura, part of the proceeds are being donated to the Fredericton SPCA. Don’t forget that the brewery is dog-friendly to friendly dogs (and people!) and they have treats and water to keep them happy while their owners enjoy human treats. Look for the latest batch of their house IPA, Hu Jon Hops, which just dropped at the brewery as well, and will be making it out to the ANBL.

• Mama’s Brew Pub in Fredericton has a pair of new beers on tap these days: German Dunkel is a 4.5% ABV tart, refreshing, beer with a sour fruitiniess and dry finish. Their East Coast Pale Ale is replacing their East Coast Dry Hop American Pale Ale, with a change of recipe to provide more flavour and body to the base beer, with using loads of late- and dry-hop additions of Cascade and Citra for pine and citrus aroma and taste. At 4.8% ABV, you can certainly enjoy a session at Mama’s!

• In Rothesay, Foghorn Brewing has released Bob’s Your Uncle, a 6.5% ABV English IPA, coming in at a significant 65 IBU, with even more hops added after the fermentation, namely iconic English hops Fuggles and Goldings, as well as new kid on the block Jester. Currently only available on tap for pints and growler fills at the brewery on Clark Road, look for it to pop up around the area soon.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar is holding another Growler Day today, with three beers available to takeaway: Killington IPA is a 7.6% ABV hazy, North East IPA, featuring citrus and tropical notes from the Citra and Mosaic added throughout the brew. Method IPA is 7.0% juicy IPA as well, but in a different flavour and aroma profile than Killington. And finally Peach Shake is a Milkshake-style IPA, featuring lactose (milk sugar) and vanilla beans added to the beer for a sweeter flavour profile, enhanced by the addition of peaches during the brew session.

Good Robot will be releasing a new Beta Brew this Sunday called Brewster Juice. The name, we expect, is a nod to the millennia-long tradition of female brewers, and this beer was brewed on International Womens’ Day by Kelly Costello and two Good Robot Glee Club members, Jenn and Allana. This is a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) brew containing nothing but water, Canadian 2-row malt, Glacier hops from Fundy, yeast, and a “dry hop” of fresh raspberries. It weighs in at a nice and light 4.2% ABV and has an apricot-gold color.

• Up on the North Shore of NS, Tatamagouche Brewing has a new release for us this week from their Staff Series of beers. Tata cellarman Alex Martin developed the concept for a Brown IPA that melds the chocolate and dark fruit flavors of darker malts with big hop flavors and a solid IPA bitterness. Arriving at a husky 7.1% ABV and 80 IBU, the Tweed Wolf was hopped with the dank, piney and citrus-laden Simcoe and the fruity melon and berry subtlety of Huell Melon. The de rigeur IPA dry hop contains those same two varieties along with the very tropical El Dorado that should bolster an already heady nose. Expect this one to strike a nice balance between rich malts, firm bitterness and fruity hops. Cans will be available as of today at the brewery and should arrive at the private liquor stores next Thursday. Meanwhile, you’ll find it coming up soon at tap accounts in Halifax.

• Scuttlebutt in beer circles this week centered around a posting on commercial brewing forum ProBrewer regarding a currently operating Nova Scotia brewery being up for sale. Details are minimal and nobody involved is talking openly, which means that speculation is running rampant about who it is and why it they might be selling. With the Craft Beer industry in Nova Scotia growing as quickly as it has, especially over the last five years or so, one of the areas where we’re possibly a little behind the curve is in brewery turnover. As we look at some of the other markets where there has been a craft beer boom, however, we see that this is one of the hallmarks of a healthy industry. There are lots of reasons a brewery might go up for sale and many (some might argue most) of them don’t have anything to do with beer. While we certainly aren’t immune from kibitzing about it ourselves, as local beer lovers and fans of the scene we’re mostly interested to see who steps up to buy this business and how they approach taking it forward into its next evolution as a brewery. And no, we don’t know who it is either.

Be sure to check out our Events Calendar, as we keep it as up-to-date as we can with all of the goings on in our region. Remember that we don’t always repeat events we’ve mentioned in previous weeks, so your best bet is to check it periodically, or better yet, add it to your own iCal/gCal, and never miss out! Just click the +GoogleCalendar button on the bottom right of the calendar.

• Last week we told you about the 80/- Scottish-style Collaboration Ale created by the various members of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. Today is your chance to check out that contentious brew as it goes on tap for the first time at noon in the Good Robot taproom in North End Halifax. The first 48 patrons will receive a takeaway can of the beer, which will eventually be available in limited supply at Bishop’s Cellar, Harvest Wine & Spirits, and the NSLC. You’ll also be amongst the first to hear the first official events list for the upcoming Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, ask questions of Nova Scotia brewers, and try a custom Scottish Hot Dog from T DOGS.

• For some beer excitement in PEI, look no further than Charlottetown’s HopYard Beer Bar today. They are hosting a BarNone Tap Takeover, with eight beer from Rose Valley flowing, plus some special beers as chosen by owner and brewer Don Campbell, including Unfiltered’s Fist of God IPA. Drop by from noon to enjoy some blasts from the past, as well as new releases. It also corresponds to the first day of PEI Burger Love, the cross-province month of more than 80 establishments (including HopYard) serving up some creative burgers, from PEI-raised beef.

Today is also a big day in Alma, New Brunswick, as the Buddha Bear Cafe continues their major renovations towards opening Holy Whale Brewing Company in late spring. Located in a former church on Main Street, the Cafe has been open for several months, serving up their own roasted coffee, as well as beer from around the Maritimes. Buddha Bear/Holy Whale owners, brothers Jeff and Peter Grandy, will be closing the cafe during weekdays, and re-opening full-time in a few months. So, what’s happening today at the Cafe? The brothers need your help to Drink the Church Dry! All day today, they are looking to push as many kegs as possible through their nine lines, to help make room in the beer fridge. Every time a keg kicks, they will be lowering the price of a pint by 50 cents, so it pays to stick around and enjoy the return on your investment.

Tomorrow is the HRM celebration of Big Spruce‘s 4th Anniversary, and the launch of the 2017 edition of Ra Ra Rasputin, with several variations of the Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout pouring from 11:30am at Battery Park, and noon at Stillwell. Look for non-barrel-aged versions (in keg and on nitro), 2016 vintage, plus several unique casks with fruit, coffee, and/or wood additions right in the firkin for an extra level of flavour. You may need to hit both locations for the full experience! Check out the event flyer here.

• Sunday April 2nd, is the BC Tap Takeover at Stillwell, postponed from the original March 25th date due to shipping delays. Enjoy a dozen beauties from Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver, Dageraad of Burnaby, and Four Winds Brewing from Delta. Featuring a wide variety in styles of beer, including Brassneck’s Stockholm Syndrome Saison, Sri Lanka Dubbel from Dageraad, and Four Winds’ Nectarous Dry-hopped Sour. No tickets required for the event, and the doors open at noon (unusual for a Sunday). The full taplist is available here.

• Also coming up at Good Robot is Latin@ Night, a celebration of Latin American Culture on Thursday, April 6 that will feature the release of Cerveza Latina, a Beta Brew in the Vienna Lager style that was created in collaboration with some of GR’s patrons from various South and Central American countries. It’s got a bready nose, lemony citrus on the palate, and a clean, crisp lager finish. The night also promises to feature broken Spanish, South American-influenced dishes from Black Sheep, a playlist designed to inspire dancing and the Mexican beer cocktails known as micheladas.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is celebrating National Beer Day on April 7th. Only the 7th, how strange, we figured any/every day was a great day to drink beer! But who are we to argue? They will be showing off their expanded tap selection, including a very limited edition of Big Brown Pure Maple. Only one keg will be served at Roof Hound,  so best to not miss the event that evening. Live music from Tide & Timbre will kick off the festivities at 9pm, plus they will have guest taps from their neighbour breweries Lazy Bear in Smiths Cove, and Lunn’s Mill from Lawrencetown. Check out the FB Events Page for more details.

Before we let you go, a couple more things…

– As the grand opening of their new digs in Windsor approaches, Schoolhouse Brewing is now preparing their “First Draughts” on the new system! We’ll certainly have more information as it becomes available, but for now we can tell you that Cam and Co. are looking for a Retail Manager to help run the new storefront operation. The details are at the bottom of their webpage.
Garrison is bringing back a big ‘un today as part of their Cellar Series, the Barrel Aged Ol’ Fog Burner barleywine. Weighing in at an hefty 11.5% ABV, it spent time in oak barrels from Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey from Glenora Distillery. It’s available in 650ml bottles costing $15.95 at the brewery and quantities are severely limited.
Picaroons’ Winter Warmer is done for the year, but they have just released a batch of it that has been aged on French Oak for two months. Available only on tap at their Roundhouse and Brewtique locations in Fredericton, General Store in Uptown Saint John, and The 5 Kings Brewhouse in St. Stephen.
YellowBelly in St. John’s has brought back their East Coast Cream Ale, a 5.0% ABV, 22 IBU beer brewed in collaboration/celebration of Top Shed Brewery on Australia’s East Coast. Featuring Pacific Gem and Mosaic hops from Australia, the beer is on tap at the brewery now, and in bottles to take away.

As a last mention this week, maybe be a little wary of any wild or unexpected claims made by local bars and breweries tomorrow…check your calendar before jumping to conclusions; we wouldn’t want anyone to worry about breaking a nail.

If you’ve been paying attention to the calendar, you know that Spring has arrived in Atlantic Canada. That said, if you’ve been paying attention to the actual weather, what with school closures twice this week in parts of the province and some bitter cold towards the end of the week, you may be considering taking a Caddyshack approach to the groundhog’s report next year. Embarrassingly stereotypical carping aside, the weather hasn’t stopped our region’s breweries from continuing to pound out tasty beers to soothe our chapped lips and frostbitten livers. We’re going to start this week’s report with news from the amateur side of brewing, where a couple of local homebrew competitions have announced their winners…

• This past Sunday afternoon, Bar Stillwell was taken over by the finale of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge 2017. Six finalists, whose beers had been previously selected by beer judges from a pool of 23 (of a possible 25) entries, showed up to make a case for why they should take home the coveted trophy this year. The presentations ranged from the straight-up and matter-of-fact to a brewday video, to a two-man sound effect-laden comedy sketch and a mandolin-soaked musical performance. In the end, and for the second year running, the trophy went to Halifax home brewer Brian Harvey (aka 1029 Brewing). His beer was a Orange peel-infused kettle-soured ale entitled Grafted. Also placing were Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart (aka Delta Force Brewing) with their Northeastern IPA, Bad Example for the Others in second place, and Steve Crane with a Bière de Garde he called Meteor that Killed the Dinosaurs in third. Rounding out the top six were Kelly Costello (of the Good Robot family), who’s been brewing a scant 21 weeks but who achieved the highest tasting score for her Belgian IPA Grand Mariner, the kilted Jason Currie and his Jeepers Peepers Springtime Stout in the rare Tropical Stout style, and Marc Perry and Dave Wamback of Shelburne, one of whom was brewing all-grain for the first time and the other who had never brewed before, with their Black IPA, Fish Cop Pop. As is traditional, the winner’s beer will be brewed at Boxing Rock’s production brewery and made available to the public; but if you were paying attention last year you know that the top three were all brewed and this year Boxing Rock President Henry Pedro suggested he was impressed enough that he may not stop at three! We’ll be sure to keep you appraised of releases of any and all Black Box Challenge 2017 brews here.

• In more homebrewing news, Garrison Brewing’s 2017 Home Brew-Off Gala was last night, and we have all of the results. This year’s style was Wee Heavy, and from more than forty entries, three rounds of judging, Fredericton homebrewer Roger Ringuette took home top honours. Second Place went to Mark Power, Third to Ashley Kinsman, and Runner-Up Steve Proulx, all scoring well in yesterday afternoon’s final round of blind judging. Roger will be brewing his recipe on Garrison’s brewhouse early next year, for release in March 2018.

• Last night also served as the launch of the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off winning Experimental IPAInfusion Confusion Chamomile IPA brewed by local home brewer Mark Power (yes, a finalist in this year’s competition as well!). Featuring Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with Honey, Munich, and Carapils malts to round out the grain bill, the 6.3% ABV beer uses Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra hops to achieve 50 IBUs. The mind-bending chamomile flowers were added during the brew-day, as well as conditioning (post-fermentation), to preserve the unique flavour and aromatic characteristics. It is available at the brewery retail shop in 650ml bottles today, with stock at the NSLC, and NLC,  in the near future.

• Rounding out the Garrison news are a pair of returning favourites: In Session ISA (India Session Ale) has returned to the lineup for the year. This 4.5% ABV beer is light in alcohol, but big in citrus and tropical fruit flavour with lots of late hopping from BelmaCrystal, and El Dorado, for 30 IBUs of bittering. Remember that the later hops are used in the brewing process, the less bitterness is achieved, but more aroma and flavour is kept. Grab a sixpack at the brewery today, or from your local NSLC in early April. Also returning is the Backlot Bash, Garrison’s epic all-evening concert event in the backlot of their production brewery. This year’s event is happening June 17th, and features headliners The Sheepdogs, with Port Cities, Garret Mason, and The Royal Volts, and is coinciding with Garrison’s 20th birthday. Onsite there will plenty of games, Food Trucks, and of course Garrison beer, plus local cider. The whole event is in support of the Ecology Action Centre, and Early-Bird Tickets are on sale now!

• Continuing with more from the world of homebrewing, last week we told you that HRM homebrew supply store Everwood Avenue Brewshop is moving to a new retail storefront and this week we’ve got more details to share with you. The new space is located at 731 Old Sackville Road in Lower Sackville and will be sporting regular retail hours six days a week, 10-6 on most days Tuesday to Sunday, with extended hours into the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everwood owner Dave Gillette says the space is close to twice as large as his previous digs, an expansion he expects will help him increase the demographics served by the business as well as the product lines. Expect to see more beginner equipment (especially introductory kits), commercial kegs, stainless steel conicals in the range of 7 gallons to a full 1 barrel and, later in the year, the possibility of full-on turnkey brewing systems. Dave is hoping to open the doors on Tuesday, April 4th, so if you’re a homebrewer and especially a fan of Everwood, give a thought to heading out and saying hi to Dave in his new spot! And a quick note that Dave is still looking to hire a retail associate, be sure to reach out to him via email, phone, or social media to find out more.

And now for your regularly scheduled beer release news…

• Listen up, 2 Crows fans – there’s several new beers out/coming out from Halifax’s newest brewery, so let’s start plowing through! First up is Linnea, a “Finnish Imperial Stout” (history buffs may get that) weighing in at a heavy 9.1% ABV (and 62 IBUs). Aside from having the typical jet black appearance, thick mouthfeel, and plenty of roasted flavours seen in Imperial Stouts, some liquorice root, star anise, salt, and cardamom pods were added at flameout to mimic Salmiakki, a popular Finnish candy that is essentially very salty black liquorice. Linnea was tapped early this week as a very limited supply, so it may already be gone… but if not, grab some, quickly! Rumour has it a couple more small kegs may pop up at future events…

• Next up from 2 Crows is Fantacity, a dry-hopped Witbier. Described by the brewery as “citrusy, bright, juicy, and refreshing”, it was fermented cool with the Saison strain (grown up from a bottle of De Blaugies La Moneuse) used for the brewery’s Innisfree. With coriander and orange peel added at the end of the boil, and a heavy dry-hop addition of Citra, we probably don’t have to tell you what aromas and flavours to expect with this one! Highly quaffable at 5.1% ABV and 13 IBUs, this was brewed as a larger batch, so is available for pints and growlers at the brewery. Look for it to pop up at several bars in the HRM as well, if it hasn’t already.

• This coming weekend, 2 Crows will be releasing *another* new brew, Midnight Mood. Described as an American dry-hopped Porter, this 6.6% ABV, 39 IBUs beer is “roasty, dank, piney, and smooth”. Hopped with Bramling Cross, Chinook and Columbus, and then heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe, the pine and citrus from all those hops “helps brighten the roastiness” from the dark malts. A Brett-fermented version should be following sometime next week, one that was dry-hopped with Calypso and Citra, and that has an earthy, dry, and slightly funky flavour profile, “with an almost smokey character to it”. Be sure to get down to the brewery to give these beers a try! Also, keep your eyes on the 2 Crows social media – and this blog, of course – for more updates from the brewery, as they plan on releasing new pilot batches fairly regularly for the next while, including one keg of a “Sunflower Seed Brett Saison” that features a kilo of sunflower seeds that were home-malted by brewmaster Jeremy Taylor!

Meander River released a new beer late last week, and we’ve got the details for you now. Barn Swallow Farmhouse Ale was brewed entirely with Horton Ridge malt, a 70/30 mix of Pale and Munich. Mashed “long and slow” over a wide temperature range, the beer was fermented with a dry Belgian yeast strain, and then dry-hopped with Pacific Gem, a New Zealand variety. The result is a 5.5% ABV, dry, golden-coloured ale with fruit and spice in the aroma and taste, “alongside a mild-but-present hop character”. Look for it this weekend at the brewery and Forum Farmers Market.

Hammond River owner/brewer Shane Steeves may be away in sunny Cuba this week, but luckily for us he brewed up a new American IPA before he left us in the cold! Mount Carleton Grapefruit IPA was named after the highest summit in the Maritimes, and was fittingly hopped entirely with the Summit variety, bringing “citrus aromas of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit”. The beer also features the addition of freshly-zested grapefruit peel, to boost that characteristic even more. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available at select HR accounts now.

• Fredericton’s Graystone has a new beer on tap to join their 10+ offerings brewed in-house – Lost Pale is being described as an American Pale Ale that is “light, easy-drinking, with some spicy notes”, thanks to the addition of Czech Saaz hops. Also hopped with Fuggles (no American varieties were used in this beer), it comes in 4.9% ABV and 50 IBUs; you can grab it on tap now at the brewery, and likely find it at a few establishments in the city.

• Since we spotted a tease about trial batches on their Instagram a month or so ago, we’ve been doing our best to get Lazy Bear Brewing to tell us about their latest brew. The time has finally come to give you the goods on Folly, a wild IPA expected to be available this coming week. Using a yeast from South Carolina wild yeast purveyors SouthYeast Labs, who also provided a different yeast strain for the Carolina Saison a few weeks back, this brew comes in at 6.2% ABV and a solid 54 IBU. The yeast provides some fruity characteristics, although more muted that those in the Carolina, and features Ontario-grown Perle and Wild Turkey in a generous dry-hop along with Nelson Sauvin. It’s got a fruity aroma, with elements of peaches, mangoes and berries complementing citrus notes from the hops. It’s hazy and deliciously fruity with a clean, refreshing finish. Look for the official announcement sometime next week on the brewery’s Instagram and/or Facebook pages. We’re told some kegs of this one might make their way to the city, but the only sure way to try it is to head down to the brewery and get it from the source! Brewmaster Erin also tells us they’ve got a third brew using a SouthYeast strain on the go right now, so look for news on that one in the coming weeks.

• In cider news this week, Annapolis Cider Company released the latest offering in their Something Different series yesterday. Toasted Oak & Maple began with their signature dry and cool-fermented cider that was then aged on French Oak and balanced with freshly-pressed juice from the Golden Russet and McIntosh varieties. A touch of Annapolis Valley-sourced maple syrup provided the finish, yielding a 7.9% ABV sparkling cider with notes of toasted oak, caramel and vanilla contrasting with tart apples and a hint of sweet maple on the finish. As always with the Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill will support a local cause, in this case the local Acadia University Chapter of Global Brigades, a student-led mobile health and dental initiative that provides annual clinics in Honduras.

• Making their debut at this month’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest was the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective. The group of breweries and ciderhouses in southern New Brunswick is comprised of Acadie-BroueBeckwith RoadBore CityCeltic KnotFlying BoatsPump HouseScow Cider by Belliveau Orchard, and Tide & Boar Brewing. Their mission is to bring together the local craft brewing community, to support each other and elevate the support of local products. Look for them, and their members at next month’s Saint John Beerfest (April 8th) and Atlantic Beer Festival (May 27 & 28th). The Tide & Boar Gastropub will be the site of the MCBC’s Tap Takeover on April 22nd, featuring beer and cider from their members flowing all day.

• Great news for local beer fans on the South Shore of Nova Scotia! Currently located just outside of Bridgewater, FirkinStein Brewing has announced that they will be opening a satellite location on Bridgewater’s King Street. Aiming for a June opening, the second location will feature a 300 litre pilot system for more fun and experimental small batch brewing, *and* a storefront where folks can purchase bottles and growlers of their beer, and sit for a spell enjoying their selections on tap. We’ll keep you up-to-date with their progress as they aim for a late-spring opening.

• Propeller Brewing Company is hosting Brew Patriot Love, a Canada-wide toast on July 1st. They are encouraging breweries, and homebrewers, to brew up their take on a “quintessential Canadian lager”, and come together on Canada’s 150th birthday to release and share a bottle, can, pint, or glass (or all of the above). For those who want to partake, they are also holding the Great Canadian Lager Challenge, July 14-15, where a team of celebrity judges will choose the most Patriotic Beer and those beers with the best use of local and iconic ingredients. Check it out and sign up today!

• Planning and event details are trickling in for May’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, May 5-14, and we can share that for the first time this year, the CBANS is releasing a special beer to celebrate. Collaboration Ale is an ode to the province’s roots, with an 80/- (Eighty Shilling) Scottish Ale being chosen to represent the more than thirty brewers who are members of CBANS. Brewed at Nine Locks, but with input from many members, the beer is a deep amber colour with caramel sweetness, weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 15 IBUs, and features malt from the province’s very own Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. The beer is pre-launching next Friday, March 31st, at Good Robot Brewing from noon. Drop by to get the first tastes of the beer before its full release, learn more about the full events list for NSCBW, and talk shop with brewers from across the province. Find out more here.

We’ve got lots of events coming in the next few weeks, be sure to check them out!

• Last month we mentioned an event at the Company House in Halifax that featured the beer of Tidehouse Brewing and a night of comedy. As it turns out, the folks at the Company House have been planning this as a regular event. Currently scheduled as a monthly thing, the event is known as Brew Ha-Ha and each time it will see a local brewery paired with comedians booked by Laugh House Comedy. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and entitle you to three 8oz tasters of beer from the featured brewery, a chocolate pairing from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and the comedy show. A designated driver ticket is also available at $10. The featured beers will be available at a discount price for the rest of the night and the pop-up kitchen will be in full effect with flatbreads, specialty tacos, shared plates and more. This month’s event will take place on Thursday, March 30th, and will feature the beers of North End stalwart Unfiltered Brewing along with the comedy stylings of Steve Mackie, Travis Lindsay and Frank Russo. Check out this post on the Brew Ha-Ha page for information on how to attend this months show for $15 if you buy your tickets before Sunday, March 26th. As additional Brew Ha-Ha events are scheduled we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the breweries (and comedians) involved.

• Charlottetown’s HopYard has really been nailing it with tap takeovers lately, and they’ve got another winner coming up soon! Next Friday, March 31st, they’ll be hosting Rose Valley’s BarNone Brewing, who will be pouring 8 of their beers, alongside Unfiltered‘s latest DIPA, Fist of God. The full list includes their Outback Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Citra Sessions, Black Eye P.A., RedEye P.A., La Vaca Loca, and Bitter Winter ESB. There will absolutely be a delightful food menu to pair with your beers, and as always, there’s no cost to attend, just pay by the beer/plate.

• In the HRM, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is holding a cross-harbour launch of the 2017 version of their award-winning Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout April 1st. There will be a whole slew of versions and variations of the beer, including a keg of the 2016 release, non-barrel-aged versions of 2017, plus casks of the non-barrel-aged beer with coffee, oak, or a variety of fruit. Starting at 11:30 at Battery Park on Ochterloney, and at noon at Stillwell on Barrington, with each getting at least one unique beer. Check out the event flyer here.

A few more beers have been released, or coming soon, this week:

– Good Robot is bringing back their Extra BIG-ASS Beer, their spin on a Marzen/Oktoberfest lager, with an amber colour, and light bitterness, from Perle and Willamette hops and fermented with an Oktoberfest lager yeast. Look for the re-release of this One-Off (Two-Off, we guess!) next week.
Grimross has added another beer to their canned lineup, Maritime Cream Ale (5% ABV), which joins their Maritime Pale Ale and recently-canned Pugnacious Porter.
Loyalist City‘s flagship Lupulus Interruptus IPA is back, with a slightly-tweaked recipe with even more hops (Cascade, Citra and Simcoe) than before! Look for it at your favourite LC accounts.
– PEI’s newest brewery, Moth Lane, has brewed up a new beer, a Red IPA named Eric the Red. Stay tuned for more details, soon.
– Halifax and Dartmouth’s North Brewing has released version 2.0 of White Lightning, their kettle sour, this time dry-hopped with Belma hops. Brewed in celebration of their super-hero neighbour Renee Lavallee’s The Canteen restaurant, the beer is available in bottles and growler fills on both sides of the harbour.
Pump House has brought back their Best Friend Marzen, which is available now in sixers at ANBL stores across New Brunswick.
Spindrift Blueberry Chai Pils is now available at the brewery, and will see a wider release to the other retail stores in early April.
Unfiltered has brought back their Riddle of Steel, a juicy West Coast-style IPA fermented on Conan yeast.
– Don’t forget that Upstreet will be releasing Go Devil, their American IPA, next Thursday, with a special launch party scheduled at the brewery from 6-8 pm. For more info on the beer, check out our post from a couple weeks ago.

Happy Friday, and happy St. Patrick’s Day! If being a Friday wasn’t a good enough excuse to drink, now you have two reasons! But before you reach for that beer (stay away from food colouring!), let’s take a few minutes to get caught up with our local beer news…

• The 2017 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival – the 5th year for the fest – was a huge success, and – as we can personally verify – one hell of a good time! With two sessions on Saturday, there were 58 breweries pouring over 220 beers, ciders, and meads, 5200+ L of beer served to ~1,750 people. Thanks to organizer Lloyd Chambers and 50 loyal volunteers, everything went smoothly, proving that the festival does indeed improve with every year. Several other events were also going on through the week (and even into Sunday), with plenty of beer lovers turning out to take part. This was also the first year for the Down East Brewing Awards, which had close to 140 different beers and ciders entered by commercial breweries in Atlantic Canada. The winners were announced at the FCBF afternoon session, and Fredericton’s TrailWay took home Brewery of the Year, thanks to winning three gold medals and Best of Show (check out the link for the full list of winners). Congratulations! Thanks again to everyone who helped to make FCBF such a success, and we’ll see you next year, with a date of March 10th already set! And don’t forget to vote for Best of the Fest, rewarding your favourite breweries that attended this year’s event.

• Attention Newfoundland Beer Fans! Split Rock Brewing Company is coming soon to Twillingate, on the island’s Northeast shore. Allison and Matt Vincent are residents of the town, and were living and working away from home for several years. In the mid-2000s, while living in Halifax, they caught the craft beer bug, and began homebrewing. Starting with wine and beer kits, they graduated to brewing All Grain in 2010, and haven’t looked back since. Like many avid homebrewers, the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown was always in the back of their mind, but at that time, just a dream. An opportunity for Allison to move back home in 2014 brought them back to Twillingate, and, as Allison puts it, “with the tourism industry booming and many young people moving home, we knew it needed a microbrewery!” Local businesspeople Tim and Robin Vatcher share their vision to bring a growth industry back to the region, and are helping to bring Split Rock Brewing Co to fruition. Brewmaster Matt will be brewing on a 500 litre (4 BBL) system from Colorado Brewing Systems, capable of a full brewday in only four hours, with 3800 litres of fermentation capacity for a wide variety of beers on the go simultaneously. Speaking of which, they are fans of brewing (and drinking) English-style beer, and will be launching with a variety of those, including a Bitter, Red Ale (with Rye), Brown Ale, Stout, and IPA, as well as a Belgian Witbier and Cream Ale. Split Rock will be hitting the local taps late spring; stay tuned to their social media and here for the full scoop!

• Down in Digby, NS, Roof Hound has taken taken one of the truly formative steps in the life of a young brewery by hiring an assistant brewer. Magen Powell is a veteran of the restaurant industry where she has worked on and off since she was 19 years of age, serving, bartending and managing. Her stint with Nova Scotia draught and tap experts BeerTech helped her develop a solid technical understanding and the skills needed to install and maintain dispensing systems. This also helps her bring another perspective to brewing in terms of how beer and other carbonated liquids behave and the influence of different gases (CO2, “beer gas”, Nitro, etc.) in dispensing. Magen’s first foray in the brewhouse is the Dive Bar Classics series, beginning with the Mojito Dry-hopped Sour that was released on March 4th. This series reflects her passion for being a “bar chef” and her interest in craft cocktails featuring local ingredients. The next in the series, Fuzzy Navel IPA was brewed this week and you can expect it to debut in April. We’ll be sure to get more details about that one as the release date approaches.

• Meanwhile, Roof Hound is also putting on something special for your St. Patrick’s day celebration today – they’ve taken their Handsome Devil Coffee Milk Porter and jazzed it up with almonds, vanilla bean and Irish Whiskey. The result is 7% ABV and there’s only one keg of it down at the brewery. So if you’re in the Digby area tonight and fixing for something dark, smooth and sweet, this one sounds like a good bet!

• In other St. Paddy’s Day beer news, Fredericton’s Picaroons just released The Leprechaunundrum, a dark, bitter, 6.5% ABV ale that doesn’t appear to fit into any particular style of beer. Described by the brewery as “dry and full-bodied, yet fruity due to the generous amounts of Galaxy hops”, it’s now on tap at all Picaroons locations across New Brunswick, and may pop up at select bars/restaurants in the near future.

Bulwark Cider’s special People’s Cider Project is ready for prime-time! We first mentioned it in October, when they put out the call for folks with hobby orchards, abandoned orchards, or just some apple trees on their property to bring apples to Ross Farm Museum for Cider Days. The original hope was simply that enough cider would be made to share with all the apple-givers who were issued People’s Cider Memberships in exchange for their apples. In the end things went a whole lot better than that and the first community-driven cider project in Nova Scotia (at least in recorded memory) is a great success. The People’s Cider has arrived and was launched this week. A rustic cider coming in at 7.8% ABV, it features aromas of apple blossom, pear, and clover honey and has a crisp, dry finish. Given the many varieties of apples it contains, some of which have surely been all but forgotten, it expresses true terroir; future versions are bound to be different, but this is your chance to taste the very first. Available in 500ml bottles, you’ll be able to find it at the private liquor stores in Halifax as well as the NSLC Port of Wines store. If you’re not in Halifax, or even in Nova Scotia, and you want to get your hands on this special batch, fear not! Bulwark has now launched an online store shipping cider and branded merchandise country-wide. This is great news for both Bulwark and cider fans across the land; now if only breweries were allowed to do the same thing…

• After a brief hiatus, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their Killick Session Lager this week, but in a big way. The 4.7% ABV Munich Helles-style beer, originally released as Kinobier last fall to celebrate Devour! Film Fest, is now available in six-pack format. The Helles (“Bright” or “Pale”) style is a traditional German style of beer, known to be supremely drinkable, and the local version does not disappoint. Featuring Heidelberg Malt as the sole grain, and a light bitterness from Herkules hops (with Huell Melon for aroma and flavour), these ingredients keep the beer authentically German. Six-packs are available now at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar on the Halifax waterfront, and debuting at the NSLC Monday, April 3rd. And in an update for you Blueberry Chai Pils fans (or soon-to-be fans), packaging of this beer will be happening early next week, with release mid-next-week at the brewery, and with the standard Spindrift Tall Boy cans debuting at the NSLC April 3rd.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another Growler Day today, with a pair of beers available to go. Method IPA is a hazy and juicy, orange hoppy beer with lots of citrus and peach notes, according to the brewery. Clocking in at 7% ABV, the brewery assures us it’s “new and improved”! T&B’s latest sour beer will also be pouring – Sour Otis Tangelo Oranges features, yes, tangelo, a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of tangerine and grapefruit. The details stop there, but assuming this beer follows the trend set by the others in the Sour Otis series, it was likely kettle soured to give plenty of tartness to complement the character from the fruit addition.

• We’ve got lots of news to share about Sober Island Brewing, who are putting the final touches on their major expansion at their brewery (new building, and a 820 litre (7BBL) brewhouse, up from 50 litre). They expect to be brewing on the system before the end of the month, which means an April launch. In the meantime, however, they will be adding a brand new beer to their core lineup, a Blonde Ale very soon. Described as a “bread and butter sort of beer” by owner Rebecca Atkinson, the easy drinking brew uses a different yeast than the rest of their year-round offerings, low in hop profile, but with plenty of character. The approachable beer is meant to introduce local drinkers to the wonderful world of small batch beer. First sips and samples will be available at the Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers’ Market this Sunday.

• This week’s edition of The Coast, Halifax’s alt-weekly, is beer-centric, so be sure to grab it to learn about what local brewers are drinking, an interview with Propeller Brewing’s John Allen, and some suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day drinking from the 902BrewCast guys. Speaking of which, they have released their March Tasting Episode this morning, so be sure to grab that in your favourite podcasting method.

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is coming up fast (Saturday, April 8th), and Flying Boats will be attending with a brand new beer in tow. Brewed in collaboration with local beer writer Craig Pinhey, it’s being stylized as a “hybrid Amber Ale” brewed to feature the Special B malt. Known for imparting raisin-like, dark fruit characteristics when used in brewing, Special B is more often seen in dark, Belgian-style ales. Flying Boats’ beer also has NB-grown Cascade hops added for bittering and flavour, and will come in at around 29 IBUs and 5.5% ABV. If you can’t make it to the SJBF – there are a few tickets still on sale, by the way – fear not! This one will also be on tap at Flying Boats accounts.

• The NB maple beers continue to flow, as Foghorn just released their take on the style. Described by the brewery as a “Maple Rye”, Xylem has a subtle maple flavour thanks to the addition of 20 L of maple syrup from local producer Briggs Maples. Hopped to 35 IBUs with Southan Goldings, giving a moderate bitterness in the finish. The beer weighs in at 5.7% ABV, and is available now for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom; keep your eyes peeled, as it may pop up on tap at your favourite Foghorn licensee, soon. And keep an eye out for more Maple Beers, launched as a Tourism NB partnership between maple producers and brewers. Also on the list is Distillerie Fils du Roy‘s Monseigneur Paquet collaboration with their Pacquetville neighbours, Sucrerie Chiasson.

• In Nackawic, you’ll find Big Axe putting out their Maple Bourbon Porter, a 5.4% ABV brown porter with a light to medium body and a mild bitterness. The maple syrup for this beer came from Dumfries Maples across the river. Bourbon-soaked oak chips were added to the secondary along with a second shot of maple syrup. Continuing the maple theme, Big Axe will also be doing their annual Maple Wheat Amber as soon as the sugaring season starts, with their usual partner Stone Family Maple Products providing the syrup for that one. We’ll update you on that one as the season goes on.

• And speaking of Fils du Roy, they will be releasing a new beer next weekend, as part of an event in Bathurst. Capt. Craig Brown Ale is a 5.5% ABV, 28 IBU beer named after famous/infamous Capt Craig, a maurader in the Baie de Chaleur, and whose phantom ship is thought to sail the Baie to this day. Le Soiree Noir & Blanc is a fundraising supper happening in Bathurst Mar 25th, in support of food security and assistance for the region’s youth. After the launch, bottles of the beer will be more widely available at the region’s ANBL locations.

In addition to today’s excuse to grab a few pints at your local, we’ve got a few more reasons to celebrate local: 

• Happy One Year Anniversary to Fredericton’s York County Cider! Drop by their retail location at 418 York Street this afternoon from 4-7pm for free sampling, snacks, and prizes.

• Wolfville’s La Torta Pizzeria will be hosting a very special event tomorrow, Saturday the 18th, their first (we think!) tap takeover, as Tatamagouche Brewing comes in from the North Shore. Twelve, count ’em, 12 taps will be flowing with Tata’s signature brews starting at 2pm. There will be door prizes, swag, live music featuring Steve Lee, and no cover charge. The tap list has been slowly revealed this week via social media, with taps 1-4 showcasing the lighter side and taps 5-8 banging the hops. Taps 8-12 are yet to be revealed; check Tata’s Twitter throughout the day for the announcement. And plan to bring an appetite, as La Torta’s Neapolitan-style wood-fired oven will be in full swing.

PEI Brewing Co. will be holding a special Tap Takeover at HopYard on Saturday, March 25th, where they will be launching their dry-hopped Brett Saison. Aptly named Patience, this beer was brewed almost six months ago. With a grist of 2-row, Munich malt, and wheat, it was fermented with a Saison strain, as well as the wild yeast strain Brettanomyces, which can continue to develop funky flavours and aromas when given enough time. Once it was about ready, it was then dry-hopped with the tropical Citra and Mosaic varieties, and primed (carbonated) in the bottle for several weeks. This is the first Brett (and bottle-conditioned) beer for PEIBC, so be sure to grab a few bottles when you can! Aside from the PEIBC tap takeover, the event will feature lots of live music, as well as a limited edition menu collaboration with Chef Jane Crawford and Chef Adam Loo. Bring your appetites! It all starts at 4 pm, with no cover.

• On April 2nd (rescheduled from March 25 due to shipping issues), Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar will be hosting a BC Brewery Tap Takeover, featuring 3 heavy-hitters from the West Coast: Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver, Four Winds Brewing from Delta, and Dageraad of Burnaby. Featuring a wide variety in styles of beer, including Brassneck’s Changeling Raspberry Sour, Four Winds’ Featherweight Session IPA, and Dageraad’s Sri Lanka Dubbel. No tickets required for the event, and the doors open at noon. For the full taplist, check out the Brewnosers Forums for the salivating details.

• Now that FCBF is over, it’s time to start planning for the next beer-themed Fredericton event – Poutine Fest! Scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, like past events it will feature three different sessions, with two of them (late afternoon and evening) pouring over 12 different beers, ciders and meads. There are different ticket options which determine the number of drink tickets you receive (click out the link for details); of course, all tickets include all-you-can-eat poutine, with 12+ different varieties being available! Tickets go on sale today at 11 am; the event has sold out every time since its initial launch, so be sure to grab yours ASAP.

• And if summer doesn’t feel too far away for you, we have news on a new festival coming up! The first Big Axe Craft Beer Festival will be held in downtown Nackawic, NB on Saturday, July 15th from 4-8 pm. Organized by Peter and Tatiana Cole of Big Axe Brewery, exact details are still being ironed out, but there will be 20+ breweries from NB, NS, PEI and Maine on hand, as well as live music (including David in the Dark), and food vendors offering “an assortment of foods grown and sourced in NB”. Tickets are already on sale, and are $50 each; there is also a limited-availability $65 option, which includes a bus ride to and from the festival from Fredericton or Woodstock. Breweries confirmed so far include Grimross, Maybee, Hammond River, Picaroons, Sober Island, Foghorn, Upstreet, Petit-Sault, Red Rover, Sunset Heights Meadery, and Portland, Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Be sure to buy your tickets ASAP, before they’re gone!

And before we go this week…

Good Robot will have their Dave & Morley Coffee Brown back on tap as of today in version 2.0 form, this time featuring Rwanda Kanzu (from Java Blend, of course) as the coffee component. So pull up a stool, order one up, and maybe lift your glass to the late, great Stuart McLean, who inspired this brew. Meanwhile, the gang has installed their Buffalo Trace whiskey barrels and will shortly be pouring things into them; we’ll let you know what when the appropriate time comes.
Mill Street St John’s has brought back their Jigger’s Delight Cali Common (5% ABV, 14 IBUs), a hybrid between lager and ale that is described as “fresh and zingy, with medium body and toasty caramel notes”.
– Needing a Nine Locks Fathom fix? Good news, it’s back in cans again! This 8% ABV DIPA recently won a medal in the Down East Brewing Awards, so stock up while you can!
– Picaroons has announced that they’re looking to fill two brewing positions, one at the Saint John brewery, and one in St. Stephen. Both breweries are 2.5 hL in size, double-batching into 5 hL. For a full list of qualifications and contact info, check out this link.
– The region’s Homebrewers, especially those in the HRM, will be excited to hear that Everwood Avenue Brewshop is relocating out of owner Dave Gillette’s basement and into a retail space in Lower Sackville. This will mean regular retail hours six days a week, and only closing on Mondays. The space is roughly twice as large and will allow the shop to expand its product lines and better cater to different market segments. We’ll have more details before the expected opening on April 5th, but for now can tell you that they’re looking for a full-time employee for the new space. You can find the details of the position posted on the Brewnoser’s forum.