Horton Ridge Malt & Grain

All posts tagged Horton Ridge Malt & Grain

Howdy howdy folks, and welcome to another ACBeerBlog Friday Wrap-up where we blather on at length about as many of the beer happenings in Atlantic Canada as we were able to get details about. This week we’ve got a new brewery announcement, some collabs, the usual fresh releases, and a couple of events to tell you about, so grab a beer and get ready. But before you read further, we’d like to give you a heads-up that next week we’ll be taking one of our (ultra-)rare weeks off from the blog, so you’ll have to do your own social media mining for beer news on Friday, July 19. We’ll be back on the 26th, refreshed and ready to bring you our usual high quality reportage.

While details are a bit light at the moment, we are thrilled to share news of a soon-to-open brewery coming to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Delta Force Brewing is the culmination of well over a decade of recipe development and perfection of techniques by decorated homebrewers Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart. Concentrating on “farmshed” beers (think “farmhouse”, but smaller and with a local bent), Delta Force will serve the Valley and HRM before fall. Follow along on their social mediums for progress ( Fb / Ig / Tw ), and we’ll have a full Profile with Keddy and Stewart (aka Alexander and McCoy) closer to opening, with background on their beer, brewhouse, and plans. 

Lake City Cider celebrated their Anniversary this week, marking their cidery and taproom’s first year of operation with a tap takeover at fellow downtown Dartmouth business Battery Park. One of the ciders ahem beverages debuting yesterday was Hometown Hybrid, a collaborative graf brewed with North Brewing. Graf (or graff) is the melding of beer and cider, with the starting wort and juices fermented together for the best of both styles. Hometown Hybrid is a 5.0% ABV bevvie, and is available on tap and in cans today at both host fermentories, with kegs being sent out to licensees as well. And if you’re lucky, there may still be a few ciders on tap at BP to quench your thirst today.

Speaking of downtown Dartmouth, Brightwood Brewery shares a space with Lake City at 35 Portland Street, and is releasing a new beer today, a hybrid in its own way. Pineapple Crushable is a Sour Wheat Beer, but arrived at in a unique way. Using techniques developed a couple of years ago, the Brightwood crew used a SCoBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)  from Pop Culture Kombucha to first sour the wheat-heavy wort, before halting the process by boiling (and killing all bacteria and yeast). Yeast is then used to complete fermentation, generating alcohol instead of lactic acid as in the first step. After fermentation, loads of fresh pureed pineapple and Idaho 7 and Simcoe hops were added to the fermenter to round out the beer. Pick up this tart, fruity, and refreshing 4.7% ABV beer at the brewery’s taproom today for pints and growler fills, with cans to follow next week.

Last weekend’s Beer on the Bridge festival in Fredericton saw the debut of several new beers, one of which was the latest to come out of Harvey’s Think Brewing. Train of Thought is an American IPA brewed with a grist that includes flaked oats, and malted and flaked wheat, giving the beer a smooth body and slight haziness. Hopped with Citra and Amarillo, expect juicy and tropical aromas and flavours. No need to be upset if you missed this 6.9% ABV, 43 IBUs beer last weekend – it’ll be popping up at regular Think tap accounts across the province.

Tatamagouche Brewing, conveniently located located on Main Street Tatamagouche (that was good planning!), has a new brew out this week. Holiday Honeycomb is a 5.5% ABV Blonde Ale with all malts originating from the Valley’s Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. Featuring the addition of 60 lbs of honey (20 lbs in the kettle, 40 lbs in secondary) from Holiday Inn Truro’s hives, the beer was hopped with Saaz to 25 IBUs. Grab this one on tap at the brewery, partner hotel, and at better beer spots around the province (including Horton Ridge, Battery Park, Stillwell, and HopYard Halifax).

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has spent the last few months releasing new and interesting things for you to drink and they’re continuing that trend this week with their Brut Rosé Sparkling Ale. This one has been inspired by classic light and easy summery rosé wines, perfect for this time of year. A “sparkling ale” (which we assume means more highly carbonated than your average ale), it carries the brut designation, implying a very dry body and finish, and a blush color provided by pinot noir grapes and hibiscus. Very light and refreshing at 4.4% ABV and a mere 8 IBU, limited kegs have been filled for Propeller’s own locations and, most likely, licensees around the city, but it’s also been packaged in 473 mL cans, which you can pick up at both Prop shops and hopefully the private stores in the city.

No one has ever accused Big Spruce Brewing of a lack of experimentation… or, if they have, they likely received a well-deserved smack! But with their latest beer, Slam Dunkel, they’ve even got us admitting that the “style” is one that likely hasn’t been seen before: a “Jamaican rum-barrel-aged Dunkel Wit”. This 7.3% ABV brew has a Dunkelweizen-type grist, fermented with a Witbier yeast strain. Aged for five months in dark rum barrels from Jamaica, the final beer has an aroma of chocolate-spiced rum cake, with lots of dried fruit and spice on the palate… and more rum! A touch warming in the finish, as you may expect, this dark beer is meant to be sipped on during these fine summer evenings. It’s available in kegs only, so look for it on tap at the brewery and a select few tap accounts in Nova Scotia. And in returning beer news for Big Spruce, their organic guava IPA, Guava Get Me Some (6.4% ABV), is back on tap and in cans, so grab some tropical goodness wherever you see it.

Moving westward to Amherst, where Trider’s has a brand new beer for you fans of American Wheat Ales out there. American Orange in Paris isn’t your typical wheat beer, however, as it was dry-hopped with the French variety, Triskel. While this hop is known for imparting citrus and floral character when used, the brewery decided to add a bit more punch with an addition of sweet orange peel. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, it was fermented with a neutral American ale yeast to allow the hop and orange peel additions to shine. It’s draught-only for now, at the brewery tap room and maybe one or two lucky licensees.

Up in Fredericton, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go this week, the first to be designed and brewed solo by Matt Scott, secret squirrel member of the Niche team for the past few months (but not anymore!). Westfalia is a straight-up, classic Hefeweizen built on a grist of Pilsner and lots of malted and flaked wheat and fermented on Niche’s favorite Weizen yeast strain. Look for plenty of banana and clove presence from the yeast and a classic wheat-driven body in this 4.5% ABV refresher. Kegs of this are going out to The Joyce, Ringo’s Grill, Peppers Pub, Brasseux BrouePub, and Graystone Brewing in New Brunswick, and folks in Halifax will also get a chance at this one thanks to Stillwell and The Auction House.

While it kinda feels like Port Rexton Brewing just opened yesterday, it also feels like they’ve been around forever. That’s probably just old age talking, but regardless of that, they’re turning the big 0-3 this Saturday, and you’re probably not too surprised to hear that they’ve got some celebratin’ planned! With four new beers, new glassware, and free cake – at both the taproom AND St. John’s retail shop – it’s fun times for all, guaranteed! Let’s dive into these beers and get started…

John Jacob Lichtenhainer Schmidt – Brewed with a portion of smoked malt, this is a 4.1% ABV sour beer that has “a limeade tartness” to contrast all of that delightful, smoky BBQ character

Dry-Hopped Baycation Blonde – Name gives it away, this is their regular Baycation Blonde that has been dry-hopped with Cascade and Azacca. The 5.2% ABV base beer is showing plenty of “grapefruit, peach, stone fruit and pineapple” thanks to that dry-hop addition, along with a little more bitterness than the non-dry-hopped version. 

Continuum w/ Mandarina Bavaria – The latest in the Continuum series, a whole whack of Mandarina Bavaria (along with some Simcoe) was added in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry hop additions. Hazy, bitter, and 5.6% ABV, this IPA has notes of mandarin orange and wildflower in the aroma, along with “tropical mango/pineapple, apricot and rose” on the palate. 

2019 High Fives – Some of you may recall that for their 2nd birthday bash, PRB released High Fives as a tribute to their customers (that’s you!); this year’s batch is another “thank you” to the people they love and appreciate! A mixed-fermentation Farmhouse Ale that was aged for 11 months in their Calvados foeder on their Brett-packed house culture, it’s finally ready, just in time! Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, it’s showing lots of Brett character, with “undertones of oak, apple brandy, and pear” in the aroma. Expect a dry cider-like experience in the flavour, with “Champagne-esque vibes backed up by green apple Jolly Rancher/kiwi/green grape skin”.  

All of these birthday beers will be available on tap, and will be sold as 12 oz pours only… at a discount! If you get there nice and early, however (i.e. you’re one of the first 40 people through the door), you’ll be given a special 16 oz PRB birthday mason jar, which you’ll not only be allowed to take home, but you’ll also have filled at the 12 oz price all day! When the birthday brews sell out, there’ll be other PRB flagships ready to go on, to ensure the beer/fun keeps flowing. Happy birthday, PRB!

Earlier this week, Maybee Brewing released the second beer in their barrel-aged series, Maple Bourbon Elevensies. As you may have guessed from the name, this beer is their regular Espresso Stout, Elevensies, aged in Maple Bourbon barrels (more specifically, Kentucky Bourbon barrels which previously held Vermont maple syrup). The beer was fermented in stainless, then moved into barrels where it went through a brief, secondary fermentation, and then was allowed to age in the barrels for seven months. Carbonated before packaging, this dark brew has aromas of maple syrup, Bourbon, and vanilla, with a touch of chocolate and caramel, all supported by notes of oak. Both the oak and maple carry through to the flavour, with a low level of carbonation allowing the barrel character to be more prevalent. At 6% ABV and 41 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery right now in 750 mL cork & cage bottles, and is also pouring on one of their nitro taps. Look for kegs to make their way to select tap accounts across NB over the coming weeks.

Brand new bottle release from Halifax’s Tidehouse this week, a 7.5% ABV Double IPA named It Was All A Dream. A tropical, juicy brew hopped heavily with El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Ella, it’s available exclusively at the brewery. You can purchase some 650 mL bottles to go, or stay for a visit in the taproom and sip on a glass. Growler fills are available as well, but limited to the 1 L size.

Congratulations are in order, as homebrewer Derek Woods’ winning D Rock Dunkel has been released. Gahan House in Charlottetown hosted Woods as he won the Maritime Home Brew Challenge in the fall, with his 5.7% ABV Dunkel taking top honours. Woods reports that the experience was great, and “Brewmaster Trent Hayes let me get my hands dirty on brew day and the Gahan team gave me a healthy dose of Island hospitality”. Cans of the brew are currently available at the host brewery in Charlottetown, as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom, and the three Gahan locations in New Brunswick (Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton). Fingers crossed that it will also be available at the Nova Centre location soon. And if you want the chance to brew up a full batch with Hayes in 2020, check out the details of this year’s Challenge, submitting your best IPA (any style), Mixed Fermented/Sour, or Stout by October 27th. Check out their website for more information.

And speaking of homebrewers, and those looking to transition away from amateur brewing and making it a career, The Capital Complex in Fredericton is adding a 4 BBL (500 litre) brewhouse to their portfolio. Take a look at their Assistant Brewer job posting on Indeed, package up some of your homebrews to share. They are focusing on easy-drinking Pale Ales to start, with expansion of the offerings to come later.

We don’t have a whole lot of events to report on this week, or at least we didn’t manage to find out about a whole lot, but as always, check your favorite breweries’ social media pages to see what they’ve got going on.

We’re a little late to be mentioning this one, as online ticket sales have ended, but this weekend marks the 3rd edition of the Big Axe Beer Festival in Nackawic, NB. Billed as the largest outdoor beer festival in Atlantica Canada, it’s taking place near the World’s Biggest Axe on the shores of the Saint John River. Taking place tomorrow, July 13th, from 4 PM (gates open at 2 PM), attendees are welcome to roll on up via the river, by car, or by one of the several buses they’ve got running from Fredericton, Woodstock, Saint John/Quispamsis, and Moncton. More than 35 producers, mostly of beer and cider, but with some mead as well, will be pouring, with representation from all Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the State of Maine. Tickets are still available for the Friday Night Kickoff Party featuring Denum tonight starting at 6 PM.

Thanks to the brewers in our region, we in Atlantic Canada can celebrate the IPA style all year round, but as some may know, there has been a movement, started by Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co. in 2011, to designate the first Thursday in August as International IPA Day. This year #IPADay falls on August 1 and Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has decided to celebrate it in style at The Carleton in Halifax. Chef Dolente will be on-hand introducing his five-course dinner menu paired with five unique beers in the India Pale Ale style from Propeller, with beer sommelier Pat Robichaud providing insight into the pairings. Only 20 tickets are available for this intimate dinner, so if you’re interested it’s best that you act quickly; cost is $60 per person plus tax (gratuity included) and tickets can be purchased online on The Carleton website.

And, as is our wont, we end with a few final items to inform and possibly influence your beer buying this weekend:

Good Robot is pouring Nova Scoby at their taproom this weekend, which is a blend of Pale Ale with Goodmore’s Black Sage Lavender Kombucha. At 4% ABV and 14 IBUs, it’s refreshing and easy-drinking… and maybe good for your belly!

Grimross has brought back Grimdonk (6.5% ABV, 17 IBUs), their award-winning (from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards) Belgian Blonde. “Golden, crisp and dry, with balanced fruity and spicy notes”, it’s available now on draft and in cans at the brewery, with cans heading out to ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future. 

As a follow-up to last week’s mention of Dream Time, the DIPA collaboration between Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl, Landwash is pleased to announce the release of the version of that beer that they brewed on their system, packaged in cans. Look for it at the brewery as soon as they can get the labels on to ‘em!

And on the West Coast of the Rock, Secret Cove Brewing is releasing Newfoundland Light & Sour, a 3.8% ABV Berliner Weisse with loads of local Marsh Berries. Grab a pint or fill at the brewery in Port Au Port, and you may be lucky enough to see it in Central or the Avalon too!

Once again it seems that our local beer producers know when we’ve got a writer on vacation and have gone out of their way to make our lives difficult. Or maybe there’s  just a summer long weekend coming and it’s totally normal for Chris to abandon us to the wolves. Sigh. But Happy Canada Day anyway!! It seems that breweries are maybe not quite into their traditional July/August panicked production mode as there are a TON of new releases coming this weekend. And whether or not we have info below on a specific Canada Day event at your favorite local, you can likely rest assured that they’ll have something going on. But our usual warning for long weekends applies: be sure to check social media for events we missed, modified hours, or slackers (we kid!) who are taking the holiday off!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a new small Saison available this week, Danger Zone Light. At 4.3% ABV, this is definitely in the Table Saison category, but with a New World twist. Yeast-driven notes of orchard fruit and banana, and loaded with Sterling hops added after fermentation for bright and grassy notes. Step inside the Danger Zone and grab a pint today!

Plus it’s the return of their ESB, the 4.6% ABV Drunken Muppet. A malt-forward pale ale, featuring notes of toffee, caramel, toast, and biscuit, balanced with light hop bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Pop in this weekend Fri, Sat, and Mon for flights, pints, and growler fills, and keep your Canada Day party going Tuesday night with live music Youngtree & The Blooms from St John’s, taking the stage at 9 PM. 

All sorts of goodies coming out of 2 Crows Brewing this weekend, which we always like to see! Let’s start with two new beers they’ve got for us, shall we? The first release is a style that some brewers – and beer drinkers, of course! – are really digging lately, the super-low-ABV hoppy beer. Matinee was brewed with Pilsner, Golden Promise, raw wheat, and flaked oats (for those of you who don’t brew, the latter two ingredients help increase mouthfeel, a must for low-ABV beers that run the risk of coming across as watery/thin). Hopped in the hopback with a large amount of Simcoe, the wort was fermented with Foggy London (a NEIPA yeast strain) from Escarpment Labs, and then dry-hopped twice with “obscene” amounts of Galaxy, Citra, and Idaho 7. The result is “big papaya, pineapple, and tangerine notes, finishing dry with a touch of dankness and pine”, all in a supremely sessionable 3.1% ABV. What else could you ask for in a hoppy beer? More alcohol, you say? Bah, says we! This little beauty is going to be available at the brewery today, on tap and in cans (355 mL cans, at that!).

The next beer is their latest addition to their ever-growing line of barrel-aged, bottled beers (and we’re not complaining, keep them coming!). Fans of the brewery’s first bottle release, Dandy, will definitely feel their gin barrel-Spidey senses tingling with the details on Spritz, a beer brewed last November with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Soured with two strains of Lactobacillus, it was fermented in a third-fill gin barrel with many 2C house cultures, and aged in the same for over four months. The juice and zest of three cases of grapefruit and two cases of limes were then added, before bottling the 6% ABV beer with Champagne yeast, where it was allowed to condition for another two and a half months. It’s finally available as of today, and it’s tasting “bright, citrusy, and zippy, with soft gin aromatics and a firm minerality”. Might as well stop by the brewery to grab bottles and cans of both beers, and hey, they’ll also be tapping four guest kegs from B.C.’s Dageraad Brewing tomorrow at noon if you need a re-up, so they’ve got that going for them, too.

Those Sour Lads at Sourwood Cider have a pair of new ciders out over the past couple of weeks. After opening their taproom just two weeks ago (congrats guys!), they’ve been keeping the new releases coming. Dirty Rosé is a 6.5% ABV release, starting from a blend of apples aged on Pinot Noir skins, aged in red wine barrels. Available on tap at their tasting room for a very limited time, cans very soon, and kegs are also circulating to their licensees in town. And new in bottles is Haskap, which features the locally-grown berry adding during aging also in a red wine barrel. 750 mL bottles are available for purchase at their taproom/retail spot at 5576 Cornwallis, and on tap too. And just on tap yesterday was Honey Babe, a 7.0% ABV barrel-aged sour with raw honey, with cans coming post haste. 

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing continues their campaign of shock and awe with releases we never would have seen coming from them a few short years ago. This week they’ve got two, both in rather limited releases. The first comes out of their Gottingen Small Batch Series, a big bugger they’re calling Imperial Haze Lord IPA. Plenty of dank hops bring a piney and herbal aroma with a backdrop of passionfruit and citrus, but, as is de rigueur for an Imperial IPA, there’s also plenty of expressive malt character. Very hoppy, full-bodied, and with a pillowy mouthfeel, this 7.0% ABV and 70 IBU beast will not be packaged, so grab growler fills on Windmill Rd or at the Propeller Tasting Room in Halifax for pints and fills, from 5 PM. And hot on the heels of last weeks’ release of Brett IPA comes another special big bottle just in time for Canada Day. Celebration Pils isn’t a new beer per se, it’s Propeller’s highly-regarded Pilsner. “What makes it special, then?” you might ask. Firstly, it’s the unfiltered version, which the gang at Bar Stillwell showed us is an extra delight when they specially requested that beer for their 4th birthday bash in 2017 (and a couple of times since). Next, it’s been bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for an extra effervescence and a mouthfeel you only get from tiny tiny bubbles. Only 200 of these beauties were filled and they’ll go on sale today from opening at both Prop locations, along with t-shirts with the beer’s logo. Once your Celebration is over, you can also return the bottle for a $2 refund. This one is a surefire hit for your Canada Day party if you can get to the brewery in time before they’re all gone!

Tatamagouche Brewing has brought back their Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter, a collaborative effort with neighbouring coffee roaster Meeting Waters, award-winning homebrewer Brian Harvey, and your friendly neighbourhood blogger Chris McDonald. Starting from a big Porter base featuring Munich and Horton Ridge Pale malt, with Chocolate Wheat and Chocolate Rye malts for colour and flavour, lactose was added for some residual sweetness and to cut any harsh roast character. Green coffee beans of Ethiopian origin were aged in a Bulleit Bourbon barrel, before receiving a light roast at Meeting Waters, and the subsequent cold brew was blended with the Porter to bring it to a reasonable 8.4% ABV. Available on draft only currently (we’re told bottles coming next month!), the best place to grab it is at the brewery, or at better licensees in HRM. 

Lawrencetown’s own Lunn’s Mill is releasing their latest Berliner Weisse tomorrow, Mon Cherri. With a recipe designed by Jana Dellapinna, winner of the brewery’s Summer Patio Beer Homebrew Competition, this kettle sour was lightly hopped with Bravo (to 8 IBUs) and fermented with Cali Ale from Escarpment Labs. This 4.4% ABV beer was aged on dark, sweet cherries before packaging, resulting in a brew that’s “fruity, slightly sour, with a lingering, wheaty finish”, while staying refreshing and easy-drinking. Grab it at the brewery for pints and growlers; it’ll also be pouring at tomorrow’s Curated East Coast Craft Beer Festival in Halifax (we’ll see you there, it’s going to be a blast!). 

Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has big plans for your Canada Day weekend starting tomorrow with the release of 4, count’em FOUR beers (some people clearly don’t have any use for sleep) during a special fundraising event! Up first is Good Intentions Pale Ale, a light and easy drinking brew at 4.2% ABV that’s been primarily hopped with Mandarina Bavaria for hints of tangerine and citrus. A healthy dry hop ensures that the hops are present on the aroma as well as the palate, while a paltry 14 IBUs ensure that this one remains smooth, clean, and crisp. Then we have the Pinky Swear, another summer-beckoning beer in the form of a fruited wheat beer. With Haskap and Cherry puree providing the fruit, and Mandarina Bavaria and Citra giving a balancing citrus presence, it finishes tart and light at 4.7% ABV. For those looking for something a little on the deeper and darker side, Bounty Hunter will also be on the go, it’s a Chocolate Coconut Stout weighing in at 5% ABV but with plenty of flavor thanks to cacao nibs and lightly toasted coconut. The overall impression might remind you (in a good way!) of haystack macaroons. And lastly is Boatload of Nerve, a double IPA boasting a massive 95 IBU and carrying 7.1% ABV. Using a blend of El Dorado along with Mosaic (a favorite hop of Off Track staff), there’s plenty of pear, mango, and pine punch in both the aroma and the flavor. We would say you’ve been told! Add to that the return of Loco-Coco, their toasted coconut Kölsch and a regular tap lineup (they’ll likely be pulling out jockey boxes to handle all the beers they’ll be serving), and you’ve got the makings of a beer bonanza. Lest you think, however, that this is just for Canada Day weekend, you should know that tomorrow’s event, which will also feature fare from the Jamaica Lee Style Cuisine food truck and all kinds of live music, and more, will be for the benefit of Bedford Challenger Baseball, part of the Nova Scotia Challenger Baseball initiative, which is focused on, “an adaptive program that provides an opportunity for children and youth with cognitive and/or physical disabilities to enjoy the full benefits of participating in organized baseball at a level structured to their abilities.” One dollar from every pint sold will go directly to supporting this organization. The event runs all day, from opening at 12 PM to close at 11 PM, so head down to the brewery, check it out, and support a great organization in one of the best possible ways, by having a beer! 

Upstreet is turning four this month, which means another release of their annual Anniversary Saison, De Novo, a beer whose recipe is slightly altered each year. De Novo IV was brewed with 2-row from Shoreline Malting, as well as some Red Crystal Rye and regular Rye malt, resulting in a beer that is slightly darker in colour compared to previous iterations, and exhibits more haziness and a little more spiciness in the flavour. This year’s iteration (6.5% ABV) was also dry-hopped with Belma, giving the beer some “strawberry, earthy, and lightly herbal/dank notes.” You can grab your bottles at the brewery today, and give them a crisp, happy-birthday high five while you’re at it. You might as well pick up some of their latest Neon Friday release as well, Neon Friday 2.06: IPA with Slovenian Wolf, Calypso, Idaho 7, Hallertau Blanc (good luck ordering that one in a bar!). You can probably figure out which hop varieties they used with this batch, the combination of which contribute “aromas of orange peel, spicy mango, pear and vanilla, with a balanced, soft bitterness, and a clean fruitiness”.

Stillwell Brewing… they love Saisons, and we do, too! Therefore, we love them, in part because they keep brewing Saisons. Makes sense, no? One such Saison, Campaign, is being newly released at the bar tomorrow at noon, both on tap and in bottles. Billed as Easy’s big sister (a beer we’re quite fond of), by “big” they mean higher ABV (5.8%) and more bitterness. They’ve experimented with bitterness, actually, with this beer, crossing a threshold for their house cultures. Stillwell’s house culture features a wide range of microorganisms, including strains of Brettanomyces (fruit, funk, and a little sour) and Lactobacillus (lactic acid-forming; quite sour). But Lactobacillus are quite inhibited by hops, so by increasing hop additions in the kettle (resulting in more bitterness), the Lacto portion of the culture was inhibited enough for the resulting beer (which spent three months in one of the brewery’s oak foedres) to be less acidic than many of their other releases, and therefore more likely to meet your definition of a “classic” clean Saison. If that’s a bit confusing, best to drop by Stillwell tomorrow and taste it yourself (and take home a bottle or two)! They’ll also have some Campaign T-shirts for sale, promoting the glory that is Saison, and encouraging others to ask questions, and become informed. 

Summer releases continue to abound, with Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing joining in with their latest release, Summer Slam. A light-bodied American Pale Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and Honey malt, along with some malted wheat, it was hopped with El Dorado, along with a “splash” of modern German hops – Hallertau Blanc and Mandarina Bavaria – for an aroma addition. Fermented with a neutral American yeast strain, it weighs in at 5% ABV and 42 IBUs, and is exhibiting aromas of “tropical fruit, red berries, pine/resin, bread, honey, and toast”, more of the same following through on the palate, and a fairly dry finish with a lingering bitterness. It’s officially on tap and in cans at the brewery as of yesterday (with a launch party happening there today), and will be available at tap accounts (including ANBL growler stations) in the very near future. 

Good news, Saint Johners (is that a thing?)! After lots of hard work, and plenty of waiting for the proper paperwork to go through, be triple-stamped, etc., Loyalist City Brewing is finally launching their retail store at the brewery (60 Water St.) today, with a soft launch from 1 – 9 PM. Excited? You should be! For starters, you can expect to see eight taps pouring for growler fills: four Loyalist City beers, and four Hampton Brewing beers (which are still currently being contract brewed right at LC), as well as LC cans for take-away. No on-site consumption of beers yet, sorry. One of the brews you can expect is the latest version of Point Blanc IPA, which has been dry-hopped with higher-than-usual amounts of Citra, Mosaic, and Mandarina Bavaria. In the near future, they’ll be offering merch for sale, and should be carrying beers from other breweries on tap, as well as can/bottle purchases. Starting next week, their regular hours will be 12 – 9 PM, Wednesday to Friday. Congrats, Loyalist City!

If you’re moseying by the Port Rexton taproom today, you’re in for a treat, as they’ll have several barrel-aged beers pouring on tap. The first is 2019 Brett Chops; the second year this beer has been released, it’s their Horse Chops IPA that has aged in a bourbon barrel for 15 months with Brett Q yeast from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 6.3% ABV, it features oak character and vanilla notes, as well as “brilliant bourbon and Brett funk in the aroma and on the palate, with notes of cinnamon and red apple”. They’ll also have another iteration of a previous beer, 2019 Oatmeal Stout. Aged for 12 months in a red wine barrel; think a merging of dark chocolate and red wine with this 6.3% ABV, rich, full-bodied beer. Two other previously-released barrel-aged beers – Ten Eighty Series: 2019 Barrel-Aged Imperial Saison and Nor-easter – will accompany the two newbies. Enjoy!

Fredericton’s Grimross has a new beer this week, a scaled-up version of an earlier small batch that hearkens back to a simpler time of Saaz hops and Bohemian Pilsner malt standing tall on their own in the Bavarian style. Although a touch of acid malt was added to adjust the pH, this beer is a straight-up representation of a classic style. Praha Bohemian Lager is very light, only 3.8% ABV and 29 IBUs, with a classic clean malt character paired with a traditional noble hop and an overall softness thanks, in part, to the natural carbonation provided by spunding before fermentation completed – no CO2 was added to this beer, it was all provided by the yeast. More tiny tiny bubbles! It’s available from the brewery in cans, for pints, and for growler fills, you can hopefully expect to see this one at Grimross tap accounts as well.

Although they may have been slightly out-crazied by Off Track’s four beer weekend, Tusket Falls Brewing way down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore are game to prove themselves no slouches either with 3 small batch releases hitting the taps for this weekend. First is Ramped Up (*working title), a porter that will see a full 20 BBL batch released later this month. Light, as the style goes, at 5.5% ABV, it boasts plenty of roasty and dark chocolate character along with a slightly savory note in both aroma and flavor. Leveraging brown, chocolate and black specialty malts against a base grist of slightly sweet Golden Promise, hop presence is provided by Willamette. And continuing Tusket’s exploration of the NE IPA style is A Bit of Citra, another beer on the lighter end of its respective style, coming in at 5.2% ABV. Lime, lychee and grapefruit rind on the nose and palate come courtesy of Citra and Galaxy hops. Pilsner malt provides the base, with plenty of oats to give the characteristic haze and creamy mouthfeel one would expect, though the beer finishes clean and crisp with a slightly bitter aftertaste. And last, but not least, comes a summery brew, a raspberry sour they’re calling Raspberry Dreams. Smoothed out with additions of lactose and vanilla beans, but still tart and refreshing, this 4.5% ABV beer will make sure you’re tasting summer this weekend even if the weather isn’t cooperating. Look for all three of these beers on tap at the Tusket taproom this weekend.

Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing has a new and interesting beer on tap this weekend, one that reflects the history of the local area and gives you a chance to taste something that very few folks have in quite a long time. Mystery Hop Pale is aptly named, given that it uses an essentially unknown hop. Most likely a German variety planted way back in the 19th century, relatives of the farm family have said that the hops were likely added to the wort to introduce wild yeast and kick off fermentation. Family lore also suggests one member was a teetotaller and attempted to eliminate the hops, but they were rescued and replanted in the woods elsewhere on the property where they’ve been growing ever since. How’s that for terroir? The beer itself is a SMaSH featuring only the mystery hop and Maris Otter malt and comes in at 5.3% ABV. Only two kegs have been made as a test to see what the hop is like, and if you can get down that way this weekend you can be one of the first to find out! Also on release this weekend is a big batch of a lesser-known style, Kottbusser, from the city of Cottbus in the northeast part of the country. Although Tanner’s research indicates a wide range of interpretations of what a Kottbusser is, the main characteristics they’ve chosen to work with are the use of wheat in the grist (the style predates the Reinheitsgebot) and additions of molasses and honey (both locally sourced) to provide some additional fermentables and complexity. Fermented with a German ale yeast, the result is a fairly light beer at 5.6% ABV and 20 IBU. You’ll find this one at the brewery in bottles, with some kegs hopefully hitting Halifax in the next week or two.

In addition to the Canada Day goings-on noted above, you can pretty much be sure that most of the breweries in the region will be celebrating the long weekend somehow. Here’s a couple more we have details on this weekend and an exciting takeover coming next weekend: 

If you haven’t been down to The Auction House in a while you might be pleasantly surprised by their renewed dedication to local taps. They’ve also been putting on some excellent beery events, including our own ACBB Trivia Night during NS Craft Beer Week back in May. This weekend they’re continuing that trend, bringing a whole other bunch of fun by teaming up with Propeller for a Pop-up Arcade. Two pinball machines, some arcade classics, and a whole bunch of consoles will be available to play, with plenty of Propeller (and, no doubt, other local beer) on tap. This event will be going all weekend, giving you a chance to come down at your leisure and check out the games and beers on offer. Meanwhile, things will still be going strong at the Propeller Arcade HQ on Gottingen, including a rare Monday opening starting at 2 PM (normally Mondays are reserved for league play).

Quidi Vidi Brewing is among the breweries throwing a bash for Canada Day with a brand new beer on tap to help celebrate. RDL (Rain Drizzle Lager) will make its debut at this event, which starts Monday at noon. There will be live music and other entertainment all day, plenty of beers on tap, and Quidi Vidi Fish & Chips will have you covered for laying down a solid base.

Stillwell is continuing their trend of tap takeovers by out-of-province breweries with another one coming up on Saturday, July 6th. As is well known amongst those who’ve been lucky enough to get to Left Field Brewery in Toronto, or lucky enough to have friends bringing back their brews from trips to the Big Smoke, Left Field has been making some very fine beers and rocking a delightful baseball motif in the Leslieville neighborhood since 2013. Starting, as usual, at 12 PM, the tap list for the takeover looks mighty fine:

  • Glorioso – Italian-style Pilsner
  • Sun Delay – Grisette
  • Bang Bang – Sour Ale
  • Squeeze Play – Black Currant Sour Ale
  • Lo Visite – Mojito Sour Ale
  • Greenwood – New England IPA
  • Whip – Piña Colada Smoothie IPA
  • Laser Show – Double IPA
  • Eephus – Brown Ale

That’s no Mudville 9, that’s a bona fide All-Star team! And if that weren’t enough, there will also be plenty of relief coming out of the bullpen in the form of additional beers in cans. Ballcaps optional (but when in Rome…)

And the hits just keep on coming; a few final mentions to inform your beer buying and beer drinking over the next three (or maybe more!) days:

Nyanza’s Big Spruce is finally answering the prayers of many of their fans by putting their long-running Regatta Red in cans. Although we know that Irish Red Ale doesn’t exactly meet a lot of people’s definition of “exciting” (side-eye shoutout to the 902BrewCast gang, who dropped a new tasting episode this week; go listen!) it’s pretty obvious from the social media response that there are plenty of people who are excited about this one. The jaunty red can is also timely for your Canada Day celebration. Available at the Sprucetique now and out of the fridge at the Halifax Seaport Market this weekend. Also of note, if you’ve been missing the Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout at your local NSLC, you might want to have a good look around as it’s now being sold in 4-packs instead of singles.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock continue to carry the standard for brown bottles in the age-old beer industry battle between aluminum and glass. And to (gently) push that agenda a little further, they’re undertaking a bit of a repackaging and rebranding exercise, with a fond goodbye to their iconic white boxes. The first two beers to get this treatment are the hoppy Temptation Red, now in a bright red 6-pack box and matching label, and the debut of their Double IPA Vicar’s Cross,in 6-packs (for the very first time) with a very orange look. No more eying that big bomber on a weeknight and wondering if you should! We’ve also heard that there’s some bigger news in the works for the brewery in terms of physical space; we hope to have all the details for you in the coming weeks.

Garrison is continuing to put out beers in their new-this-summer Hop Trip series and though we don’t have details on all of them, we know that the Brut IPA has been seen in the wild. Extra dry and bubbly, with an ABV of 6.2% and 24 IBU, it features Mandarina Bavaria, Simcoe, Ekuanot and Mosaic hops. Available in 4-packs of 355 mL cans from the brewery and possibly other places in the city. We hope to catch up with the rest of the Hop Trip offerings, as well as a collaboration they’ve got on the way, in the next few weeks.

Good Robot isn’t bringing a new beer this weekend, but they are bringing a big batch of a previously Beta-sized brew. Brewer Gio’s ode to the national bird of his native Bahamas, Pink Flamingo, is a pale pinky-orangey radler at a light and refreshing 4.5% ABV and a barely-there 15 IBUs, featuring watermelon and kiwi. Perfect for a sunny day on the Gastroturf.

Niche Brewing in (for all intents and purposes) Fredericton, NB, has their Pineapple Persuasion back this weekend. A kettle sour with a touch of lactose and plenty of pineapple puree, it’s 4.2% ABV. Kegs of this one are going to tap accounts in NB (including the ANBL growler stations in Moncton North and Saint John Wellington) and we have it on fairly good authority that Stillwell has spoken for a few, mayhaps destined for the BG on SG.

Cape Breton’s Route 19 Brewing will be putting their new Dog Daze on tap this weekend. At 5% ABV and plenty tart, this kettle sour features passionfruit and a bit of mango, just the kind of beer your summer needs.

We’re not sure how long it was gone, but if you were already missing DOA at Unfiltered in Halifax, fear not, it’s back today at noon, with cans, fills and pints all available. And if you happen to be reading this from Europe, specifically Germany, and worrying that you’re missing out, you should hop on over to The Muted Horn in Berlin for their Canada Day bash where you’ll find Unfiltered beers (and a number of others from Canadian craft breweries, including Stillwell Brewing) pouring!

So, ok, we’re a bit late today, but hey, Christmas IS only a few days away, and when you throw in work getting busier, staff parties being inconveniently scheduled for Thursday evenings, and just the general crap-storm that is preparing for the holidays, on top of a seemingly-extra large amount of brewery news/new beers, it’s tough! Ok, that’s enough wallowing in self pity for today. A note that this is the last Friday Wrap-Up for us this year, as we’ve decided to take a little break next week. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media as we will be pushing out a Profile or two (fingers crossed!), as well as shorter blurbs as we learn of new releases to share. We’ll definitely have a full post Friday January 4th, as we begin our 8th (EIGHTH!!) year of bringing you the freshest beer news from across Atlantic Canada. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Let’s start the news rolling this week with some fantastic news from the west coast of Newfoundland. Port au Port East is located on the outskirts of Stephenville, 2 hours from the Port aux Basques ferry terminal to the mainland. Located at 92-96 Main Street in Port au Port East is Secret Cove Brewing, which opened its doors yesterday for the first time. Operating a brewery and taproom in the former Viking Lounge location, they have four beers for enjoyment onsite and to take away in growlers: James Blonde 00709 Belgian Blonde, Malt Water Joys Brown, When in Stout Stout, and Hard Case in your Face DIPA. The brewery is open today and tomorrow 4 – 11 PM, with Sunday’s, and beyond’s, hours to be determined. Drop by to welcome the newest of your Island breweries to open, and we will share a full Profile with Secret Cove very soon! Congratulations Jason and Sheila! This marks the 5th brewery to open in Newfoundland in 2018, bringing the number across the Island to 13.

In other great news for breweries opening in our region, we mentioned a few weeks ago that Sussex Ale Works had opened their taproom on Main Street in Sussex. This week, for the first time, they have been able to serve their own house-made beers on tap and to go in growlers. Their first beer is Who’s Your Daddy Red Ale, a 6.8% Red Ale featuring 20 IBUs. It is complementing their all-New Brunswick offerings, including local Matchstick Beer Factory’s Matchstick Pale Ale, Long Bay’s Full Pleasure Passonfruit Sour, and several from Hammond River, Maybee, Niche, and Graystone, as well as Yip Cider. Look for more from Sussex Ale Work’s own 1 BBL (120 litre) brewhouse in the New Year, including their Holstein Milk Stout, and Picadilly Pale Ale. Congratulations Rick and family!

Back to the Rock for the next new beer to hit the taps, we’ve got Home and Away American Pale Ale from Landwash Brewery. Located in Mount Pearl, this is Landwash’s first release since their launch earlier this month. This 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale is a tribute to the iconic style which helped fuel the North American beer renaissance. Featuring loads of American Cascade and Citra hops, the aroma and palate are full of orange and grapefruit character, with bitterness to balance the malt. Home and Away is available on tap for pints and flights now, and for growlers to take away, along with their core lineup of beers.

Off Tracking Brewing in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and are releasing a couple of new beers to celebrate, as well as a special collaboration with a brewing pal. First up is Charles in Charge, a hopped-up version of their 5.0% ABV Good Grief Charlie Brown Brown Ale, increasing the hopping rate to more than 50 IBU. They are also releasing Frank Citra-Natra, a 4.7% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring nothing but, you guessed it, Citra hops (to the tune of 40 IBU).

These two new Off Track beers are gracing the newly-expanded tap offerings, which now sits at 15, and also includes a few guest offerings. The latest collaboration-guest-hybrid beer to hit the chalkboard is the first from Sackville brewery Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse in several months, Funktown American Pale Ale. Brewed with OBB owner Keith Forbes at Off Track, this 5.1% ABV APA features loads of Centennial and Falconers Flight hops for a floral, lemon, and grapefruit character on the nose and flavour, with a light body and clean and dry finish. Grab a flight or pint, and then take a growler to go to enjoy in front of your holiday tree.

And in more Off Track news, they are keeping with the tradition of being open regular hours (Thursday through Sunday) during this holiday time, including next Monday and Tuesday (Christmas Eve and Christmas), 12 – 6 PM. If you need a break from the family, you’ll be sure to find some friends in the same boat there next Tuesday! They’ll also be open 12 – 6 PM on New Year’s Eve. And while you’re there, check out their new line of bottles, with their Crash Course IPA, Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout, Alias Pale Ale, Universal Soldier Kolsch, and Not About You ESB all available in singles or 4-packs.

The elves over at 2 Crows have been extra busy lately, as we’ve got three new beers to report this week, two of which will be hitting your mouth this weekend. The big release today at noon is Waltz, a 5.5% ABV, 22 IBUs German Pilsner. Brewed with 100% German Pilsner malt, no shortcuts were taken in brewing this one to style. Using de-aerated brewing water, a low oxygen brewing environment (don’t worry, no one passed out!), and a multi-step mash, let’s just say the brew day was a little longer than usual. Hopped with German varieties (Huell Melon, Hallertau Blanc, and Saphir), it was then fermented with the classic German Lager strain, Weihenstephan, and then allowed to lager for more than 8 weeks. Sounds like the wait/hard work was worth it, with the final product being “beautifully crisp, doughy, with some lovely lemony and herbal notes”. The good news is there’s lots of this one, as it was a full 40 bbl batch, so you can find it on tap and in cans at 2C today, and it should also be hitting the local private stores soon.

You could always wait to head to 2 Crows tomorrow, when you’ll be able to grab one of the very few bottles of Razzle Dazzle, a “Champagne Brett Lager”. Brewed nine months ago with Pilsner malt and rice, the wort was hopped with Hallertau Blanc in the boil to just 12 IBUs. It was then fermented with the Weihenstephan strain, lagered for 7 weeks… and then that’s when things got a bit weird! They added glucoamylase and Brett C, and allowed the beer to condition for another 5 months, where it was finally packaged in 750 mL cork-and-caged bottles, with Champagne yeast. It’s tasting “super dry, crisp, and funky, with notes of pineapple, hay, and pear”. It finished at 6.1% ABV, and if you’d like to try it, get there when they open… there’s only about 90 bottles or so available, and there is a 2 bottle-per-person limit.

And finally, 2 Crows has got one more humdinger dropping next Saturday, and were kind enough to give us the inside scoop early on Biere de Champagne. Follow along with this one closely, it ain’t the simplest beer. Originally brewed over a year ago, in October, 2017, it started off as two beers: 1) a lower-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, and fermented with TYB207 (a Brett brux strain), and 2) a high-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Nova Scotia honey, and fermented with Omega All The Bretts (that’s a blend of at least 10 Brett strains!), and Champagne yeast. After both beers fermented out, they were blended and bottled in Champagne bottles, and dosed with Champagne yeast and priming sugar, aiming for a carbonation of 6.8 vol CO2 (for those of you not in the know, that is a LOT of carbonation… your typical APA or IPA is likely somewhere around 2.5). Head brewer Jeremy Taylor can do a better job of explaining the next long process: “The bottles were conditioned horizontally for 2 months, then very gradually moved until they were sitting cap-down, riddling them every day or so over a period of many months. The beers were then chilled for several days, then the neck of the bottles was super chilled with dry ice; we removed the cap and shot out the yeast plug that had settled in the neck, then bottles were corked and caged.” Yikes! Sounds like it came out tasty, extremely effervescent (ya think?!) with “big honey notes, funky, cantaloupe, earthy”, 8.4% ABV. Releasing next Saturday (Dec 29) at 2C, there’s only 140 bottles available.

If you were a fan of Propeller’s recent one-off NEIPA, Galaxy (and we’re guessing those of you who tried it ARE fans of it, considering it’s currently the brewery’s highest-rated beer on Untappd), we’re sad to say that it is now sold out. On the upswing, they do have another once-a-one-off IPA returning, Skyrocket DIPA. Showcasing the experimental Skyrocket hop variety (related to Chinook) from the Gorst valley, it was originally brewed as a Gottingen small batch brew in January, and is now returning in cans. This 8% ABV beer is “intensely aromatic, with big, beautiful notes of mango, papaya, and pineapple”. Look for it at your nearest Propeller location! We should also mention that today’s cask release is Russian Imperial Stout, with smoked black tea, which gives the already-big-and-bold beer a “powerful smoky aroma and flavour”.

In Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing has two releases for you this week. The first is a beer, Storm Surge, that they’re referring to as a “Maritime Ale”. They describe it as a 5.4% ABV brew that is “a prime example of a malt-forward beer, beautifully balanced by the subtle, spicy citrus of hops”. We’re guessing something along the lines of an American Pale Ale, perhaps? Either way, you’ll have to try it yourself to decide for sure; you can stop by and grab a growler right now. They’ve also just released a cider, Backyard Cider, which is made up of 100% Heirloom Gravenstein apples (grown locally in NS). Exhibiting “a balance of sweet and tart”, just like the apple that it came from, it finishes dry and crisp with floral notes. Also available in growlers, both Backyard Cider and Storm Surge should be making an appearance in cans in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that.⠀

With the changing of the seasons, Meander River is giving us a changing of the seasonals. The latest in their Farm Cider series is First Frost, which will be taking over from Fall’s offering, Dusty Road. Made from the freshest press of the year’s apple harvest, it’s a 5.5% ABV cider that’s citrusy, tart and juicy while being very dry. Scheduled for release on the first day of Winter (hey, that’s today!), you’ll be able to grab some this weekend at the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, and it will also go on tap at Tusket Falls, Stubborn Goat, Battery Park and Chain Yard.

Summerside, PEI’s Evermoore Brewing has a new offering that started pouring earlier this week. Called Smokey Double IPA it’s exactly what the name indicates, a double IPA with a touch of smokey character thanks to some smoked flaked barley in the grist. On the hop side, it features Brewer’s Gold, Hallertau Blanc, and Amarillo in the kettle during the boil before being hit with Simcoe and Tettnanger in the whirlpool. At 8% ABV and 60 IBU it’s a bigger beer and fairly bitter. You’ll find it at Evermoore’s taproom at 192 Water Street if you fancy a taste.

You may recall that in celebration of their 20th Anniversary last year, Garrison released XXX IPA, a Double IPA, for a brief run. They’ve just released a barrel-aged version of the same beer, where it spent 12 months in Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey barrels. They’re referring to this one as an Imperial IPA/American Barleywine hybrid, as it comes in at a whopping 11% ABV. If you’d like to decide for yourself, it’s available at the brewery only, in 650 mL bottles. They’ve also brought back their Imperial IPA in bottles and on tap at their retail store; this time around they’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, and hopped it with 100% Cascade.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is keeping up with the new brews lately, as they’ve just released a DIPA, Golden Horse. Named after the Golden Horse Fountain located in the community of Milton, the beer was hopped heavily with a blend of three high alpha acid hops. Early, late, and dry hop additions contribute to high bitterness (130 calculated IBUs) and “plenty of dank, pine, and citrus flavours”. Hazy and alarmingly drinkable (even at 7.6% ABV), sneak into Heritage before the holidays for a pint/growler, and satisfy your hop urge!

Those crazy folks at Tidehouse must have found a sale on bottles, as this is the… I don’t even know how many consistent weeks of bottle releases they’ve had, and I certainly don’t have the time to check! It’s a lot. But hey, that means more take-home beer for all of us, right? And this week brings the release of Bonny Stormer, an Extra Special Bitter hopped with Progress and First Gold. Coming across as “a pinch earthy, with notes of sweet tangerine and orange”, it finishes fairly bitter (expected with this style), and comes in at 5% ABV. In addition to being available in bottles (limit 6/person) today at 2 pm, you can also find it on tap at Tidehouse.

It’s almost December 23rd, and you know that everyone in Newfoundland (well, the fun ones, anyway!) are gearing up for Tibb’s Eve on Sunday. Those characters at Port Rexton Brewing are no exception, of course, and have a couple of brand new beers to help you celebrate, just in time. First up is Tibb’s the Saison, a “Festive Saison” that was hopped with both French and Czech hop varieties, and fermented with the Fruit Bomb Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Containing both a Saison Saccharomyces strain and two Brettanomyces strains, the combination of the three ensures lots of tropical fruit character in the finished beer. This particular Saison features “gingerbread aromas and a light rye spice” and weighs in at 6.6% ABV. This was a small batch, and half of it is already resting peacefully in a grape brandy barrel; the current iteration can be found on tap at PR for their Tibb’s Eve party Sunday, and also at their St. John’s retail shop for growler fills today and tomorrow.

Next up from Port Rexton is Round Table, a nice, big, Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Designed by head brewers Les and Chris shortly after trying some similar beers at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards in Halifax, the oak character from the barrel comes through nicely, blending with the Bourbon found on the nose and palate, as well as some “dark chocolate-covered berry and coffee flavours”. Smooth and quite drinkable even at 8.8% ABV, the carbonation was purposely kept fairly low, and is best enjoyed served at a slightly-warmer temperature. This one is available in 500 mL bottles only, and was released yesterday evening with a limit of 2/person. Seek it out at both PR locations this weekend!

TrailWay has a new iteration of Beans coming out today when they open, with this batch being dosed with cocoa nibs and 250 lbs of cherry puree, to help complement the regular addition of freshly-roasted coffee beans from Whitney Coffee Company. The coffee character is prominent as usual, along with “rich and deep chocolate in the aroma, with a subtle, fruity, tart cherry component”. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery. They’ve also got fresh kegs and cans of one of their crowd-favourite American IPAs, Green Island (6% ABV).

One of the region’s newest cideries, Maritime Express in Kentville, NS, has a brand new cider available that features an ingredient better known for its use in beer. Train Hopper is made from 100% Annapolis Valley apples across four varieties: Cortland, Macintosh, Gravenstein and Spartan. To that base was added three types of hops, all sourced locally, to provide a decidedly citrusy and hoppy aroma. On the palate, look for grapefruit, floral and lemon notes that lead to a strong tart finish. Look for it at the cidery, both pouring from the taps and in bottles.

Antigonish’s Half Cocked Brewing is excited to have their first bottle release and they’re doing it in style with a big one. Tapped & Feathered is being called a “maple sap imperial stout,” as it was brewed using sap from Haveracres Maple Farm in nearby St. Joseph’s in place of water, a handy way to extract additional sugars from the mashing process and thus not lose significant efficiency on a big beer. Once fermented, the beer was aged for several months in a Glenora whiskey barrel. Coming in at a hefty 10.3% ABV, it features aromas of candied orange rind and dark chocolate, with flavors of figs, brown sugar, dark chocolate and vanilla. Expect it to be available at the brewery very soon; to find out exactly when check out their social media (Fb, Ig, Tw), where the release will be formally announced.

CAVOK in Dieppe, NB, has been doing some experimentation with their Stout. So far they’ve released salted caramel, cold-brewed coffee and peanut butter variations. These are small batches, each about 1 BBL, aimed at testing the flavourings and getting a feel for the appropriate levels. As such, they are only available by the pint in their taproom. All three are 4.9% ABV. Meanwhile, in terms of bigger batches, they’ve also got a light American lager on the go that they’re calling Joe Blow Lager. Crisp and refreshing, it’ll be a great beer for a holiday party and guests who might be looking for something a little lighter. At 4.5% ABV and very low bitterness, we think they might be onto something!

Boxing Rock continues to push out some new beers from the Test Kitchen location in Local Source Market on Agricola Street in Halifax. Late last week, they released the Blue Collar Blonde, a collaborative 5.0% ABV Kolsch brewed with the fine folks at Halifax’s HopYard, which debuted during last weekend’s YMCA fundraiser at the bar. It was deemed so popular that it will be brewed again very soon, this time at their big system in Shelburne, for a full release in the New Year. Out this week is another collaboration, this time with the crew from Canopy Creative, who came in and brewed Canopy Cane Chocolate Milk Stout, which features lactose, chocolate, and peppermint in the boil for the full Christmas experience. As with all of these releases, they are very small, so if you see something you like, best get there ASAP to grab it! And keep your eyes peeled for the re-release of their 4% ABV Winter Session Ale, The Biggest Spruce Axe-worthy, brewed with spruce tips right in the boil.

If you manage to get away from the family in the couple of weeks, be sure to double check that your favourite brewery, bar, or watering hole is open, as many are adjusting their schedules over the course of the next two weeks. We’ve got a pair of events you’ll certainly want to check out if you’re in the area!

Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub is hosting their annual Free Oyster Day today, with oyster shucking happening all day to complement your beer and food. As well, they’ve released a pair of new/returning favourites on tap, with a limited amount available to go in growlers: Herbies Coffee for Breakfast Stout, Special Blend IPA, and Melting Mountains IPA. Plus there may be a couple of bottles of their cellar-aged sour for you to take home! Details on their FB Event page.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release of their latest batch of One Hundred Wild next Saturday, December 29th, at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Obviously an important of this 100% Nova Scotia equation with grain/malt, hops, and yeast (isolated from a fruit tree on their property in Nyanza), Horton Ridge is the perfect place to host the event, and will have the beer flowing from 1 PM, with live music 3 – 5 PM, and 7 – 9 PM. Cans can also be pre-ordered for pickup the day before. More details on their FB page. And in more Big Spruce news, they’ve just announced that they will be a permanent part of the Halifax Seaport Market, beginning tomorrow, with bottles and growlers.

Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax is once again holding their New Years Day Levee, when they will be opening their doors at noon January 1st, and will be pouring up a dozen special beers, holding super sales on many of their cellar bottle list, and a slew of hangover-curing brunch items to help you forget the night before. Pop by to see what they’re sharing to celebrate the beginning of 2019!

Just a couple more things to finish off the year, before you head out and grab that eggnog stout or nutmeg blonde…

Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove has bottled up a few of their beers, and now have the Norwegian Kviek Ale available at YHZ Airport’s Liquid Assets. Look for those to hit the shelves elsewhere in HRM soon. And keep an eye out at their market stall for their 10.1% ABV Russian Imperial Stout, available this weekend.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has their Chromatic By Design Red IPA available again throughout New Brunswick. This 6.6% ABV beer features load of Ekunanot, Mosaic, and Citra, for a bold blast of tropical, dank, and citrus hops, with a touch of toffee and caramel flavours from the specialty malt. And hitting the taps next week is Wayfarer, their 6.0% ABV Sour IPA, featuring Centennial and El Dorado hops, for a lovely hybrid of sour and tropical.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has released the latest version of their High Street Wee Heavy. This 6.3% ABV classic Scottish Ale is the first beer to feature barley and hops from their Millstone Harvest farm, the future site of their estate brewery, set to open next year. We hear that the next batch of their barley is actually being malted at Horton Ridge currently, for use in future Sea Level brews. High Street is available on tap at the Port Pub, and to go in cans and growlers today.

And finally, in a bit of humour around this Holiday time, St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery is looking for your unwanted/extra fruitcake! They’ll be brewing up a beer in the New Year, and would to use your un-loved fruitcake in the mash. With all of the sugars, and a little booze, that these divisive holiday baked goods contain, they are sure to lend plenty of character to the final beer. Check out this article for more information.