Island Hop Company

All posts tagged Island Hop Company

Hi again. At least the weather is getting better? Y’know, as if we were allowed to go out and really enjoy it? Welcome to week 5 (or is it 6?) of COVID-19-related isolation and social distancing. At this point we figure most people are either totally fed up with being alone or totally fed up with the people they’re living with. And everybody’s fed up with the rules. That all said, we’re pretty sure that beats the hell out of getting sick and our sympathies go out to anyone who’s directly dealing with COVID-19 in their lives, whether it be themselves or a friend or a family member. And a huge thanks to all of those front line personnel who are keeping things going in these difficult days.

On that happy note, please find below all the new news we could find for you this week. Plus, we’ve done a total update across the entire region on our delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries. We think we’ve hit every producer out there who has changed their practices since last time! So spread a little love to them, if you’re able, and we’d appreciate a quick nudge via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred) if anything is out of date.

The Delta Force is an elite and elusive group, composed of only the top members of their chosen field, who use whatever means necessary to fulfill their mission. For some, that may be military in nature, extracting key targets and keeping the world safe. In today’s world, having great beer flowing could perhaps be considered a critical need, hence the upcoming launch of Delta Force Brewing. Comprising a small yet capable team, Delta Force will soon be launching their first beers to the public, brewed at a classified location in the Annapolis Valley. To maintain that Top Secret information, they will however be able to bring their beer to you. For those in the Wolfville and Halifax regions, and along the 101, they will be doing deliveries once the beer is available, in the coming weeks. We will also be revealing what we can about the beers, the team, and their plans for world domination (currently on hold) sooner to launch, but you can keep an eye on their website and social media to see if any more can be deciphered. Dismissed!

Those of you who participated in donating some of your homegrown (whether intentionally or not!) apples to Chain Yard Urban Cidery last fall for a special cider… your waiting for the final product is over! After many generous donations from a variety of orchards and yards, The Backyard Project – a 6.4% ABV wild-fermented cider – is ready. Chock-full of “ripe orchard fruit and a crisp, dry finish, plus lingering herbaceous and earthy notes,” it’s a great expression of the many varieties of apples that Nova Scotia has to offer. And aside from being able to drink it, you’ll also be supporting Feed Nova Scotia, which will be receiving a portion of the proceeds. Check out their online store to order your 750 mL bottle(s).

The folks at North Brewing have been keeping busy in order to keep the beer flowing and our mouths/livers happy, re-brewing favourites such as Malternate Reality, Lawrencetown Surf Session, and others. While you can expect to see these canned and released again in the near future (MR hits the shelves yesterday), they DO have a brand new Double IPA available as of this week, HiFi. More of a West Coast take on the style as opposed to the super-hazy, less-bitter New England versions, HiFi was brewed with a large amount of Maris Otter base malt. Dry-hopped with El Dorado and Chinook, the total IBUs come in at around 65-70. Full of citrus and pine character, with a “balanced bitterness”, it weighs in at a hefty 8.5% ABV. Available at the brewery for ordering online now, it should also be at close to forty NSLC stores throughout next week. And a quick note that North’s sister bar and resto Battery Park is now open for curbside take-away. The details are on their site, but the Coles Notes are you submit your burger and side and beer and wine order via email before 11AM, for pickup that evening, Wed – Sat, 3 – 8 PM.

As we mentioned on social media earlier this week, Tidehouse has a couple of new beers canned and out for delivery today (yes, they’ve hopped onboard the home delivery train, to make sure you can get your TH fix even easier than before). The first beer is TV Party, a 7% ABV American IPA hopped with Idaho 7, Galaxy and Mosaic. With a firm bitterness in the finish, expect lots of orange notes, some juiciness, and a little bit o’ pine. Next is Shrug Emoji (you know, this thing ->  ¯\_ (ツ)_/¯), an American Pale Ale moderately-hopped with Czech Saaz. Meant to be a crushable beer to enjoy while you wait this all out (you may want to buy a few, then), it comes in at 5.6% ABV. This post is a little late to get you beer today, as you’re meant to call in your order on Thursday for Friday delivery (free for orders of 4+ cans), but … Great news, as there’s just enough leftover to run their curbside pickup tomorrow! Starting at noon at their spot on Salter, call (902-407-2550) and then pop your trunk to accept the beer!

Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co brewing are continuing to put out new beers and make them available despite current challenges. They also continue to leverage the oenological knowledge of head brewer Dan Tanner and take inspiration from wine styles around the world. This time up, the inspiration came from the Torrontés wines of Argentina and they’ve elected to express it in the Brut IPA style. TM Brut weighs in at 6.9% ABV and features notes of lime, pineapple, grapefruit and lychee thanks to plenty of Topaz and Motueka hops. No hops were added in the kettle until the very end of the boil, ensuring low bitterness (15 IBU) but plenty of flavour! More of the same hops were also added in not one, but two dry hop additions. This one is now available for pickup, delivery, and growler fills; check their online shop for more information on grabbing this one for consumption.

Alma, New Brunswick’s Holy Whale Brewery and Buddha Bear Cafe have been taking the opportunity to experiment in the brewery a little more these days, and have a quartet of sour beers available this week. Playing in the Cocktail realm, they took inspiration from four popular drinks, all starting from a Berliner Weisse base. Their Bellini Sour features loads of peach, thanks to the addition of white peach puree, and some Prosecco for a little extra zip. Not surprisingly, the Blue Lagoon Sour owes its colour to some Blue Curacao, and is extra citrusy thanks to orange zest added to the batch. Pina Colada Sour saw the addition of pineapple puree to this iteration, as well as coconut for the full “down South” drink, and finally Guava Sour, which showcases the puree of the eponymous fruit. All of these are 4.0% ABV, and are in short supply, so we suggest grabbing the one based on your favourite cocktail(s), or better yet, get a couple of each for a full Tiki Bar night in! Their Alma location is open for pre-order and pick up Friday to Sunday, and they are also running deliveries Thursday to the Greater Moncton Area, or pick up at their Riverview bar, via pre-order, with the details on their FB event page.

If you’re in St. John’s, you should check out Quidi Vidi’s online store to order up cans of their latest New England IPA, Unlucky #13. While we can’t provide details on where the name came from (something tells us there’s a story there), we can tell you that it was brewed with a grist of 2-row, Maris Otter, Flaked Oats, Wheat malt, Honey malt, and Acidulated malt. Hopped with a wide variety of… varieties, including Cascade, Cluster, Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe, we don’t have official tasting notes on the beer, but can assume it’s a hazy one with tropical and citrus notes, as well as some pine and dank character. It weighs in at 6% ABV and 28 IBUs, keeping the bitterness on the lower end, as is typical for the style. 

Ashdale Nova Scotia’s Meander River Brewing has a new beer out this week, and another set to launch next week, so we figured we’d give you a double dose today. First up is the return of Sour Mood, their dry-hopped sour. This 4.2% ABV golden beer was soured with Lactobacillus before completing fermentation with a traditional yeast, and then was dry-hopped with Citra hops (their previous version had used Mosaic). Thanks to both the souring and the hops, there’s plenty of great notes of tropical fruit like passion fruit, mango, and lemon, with a refreshing kick. And coming out soon, is Ploughman’s Pilsner, MR’s entree to a light and easy drinking lager, perfect for those looking for an accompaniment to a simple lunch enjoyed in the field, taking a break between working the rows of vegetables or grain. Another 4.2% ABV brew, the pale brew was hopped with New Zealand-grown Pacific Gem hop, a higher alpha acid (higher potential bitterness) relative of the classic Cluster and Fuggle hops. This one will hit the virtual shelves soon, but the Sour Mood, as well as a half-dozen more beer and cider, are available for ordering now on their online shop, and could be part of their Saturday delivery in HRM, Truro, Wolfville, and most parts in between, as well as for safe pickup.

We all suspected it was only a matter of time before Shipwright Brewing released their first Lager, being that their head brewer, Kellye Robertson, was originally with Spindrift back in their Lager-only days. Kellye was finally able to delve into that realm again when she brewed Peninsula Pilsner, a German-inspired Pils brewed with Pilsner and Chit malt from Shoreline Malting. Hopped to 32 IBUs with Magnum and Tradition from Island Hop Company, the beer was fermented with the Autobahn Lager strain from Escarpment Labs, and lagered for 7 weeks. At 5.2% ABV and 32 IBUs, the Pilsner has a “distinctive grain profile” with some floral notes from the hop additions, as well as a moderate bitterness in the finish. They’re offering this one in crowlers at the brewery to-go, or for delivery within Lunenburg (with options for Chester to Bridgewater likely coming next week). Rest assured there’ll be more Lagers from Shipwright in the future, but don’t miss out on your chance to try their first! 

Tusket Falls Brewing is continuing to release new canned beers (such as their Strawberry Milkshake IPA, which unfortunately – or not, depending on where you’re standing! – sold out in less than 24 hours), but they’ve also added a growler fill option. They’re selling pre-filled growlers from the taproom, and if you have a TF growler already, you can exchange yours for a full one for a cheaper price than buying a new one. They’ve got a brand new Session IPA – hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Motueka – available right now for you to test out; at just 4.6% ABV, and with flavours of lemon and white grape, sounds like a good way to creep into your weekend, no?

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing has taken part in a worldwide collaboration kicked off by Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing, where all breweries taking part brew the same American IPA recipe to raise funds for local hospitality professionals. Appropriately-named, All Together is a 6.5% ABV brew hopped with Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe and Cascade. Cans of this juicy, fruity beer will be available next Wednesday, with 30% of the proceeds of TW’s version going to the Fredericton Resilience Fund. The FRF will be allocating this donation specifically to those in need within the hospitality industry (of which there is no doubt many). You can do your part next week by grabbing some cans; remember that TW is doing deliveries within Fredericton at certain days of the week, so check out their website for more details.

Lots of folks are getting into the swing of trying to bring a little levity to this lonely hellscape difficult time that we’re living in and we especially like to see it when it benefits a good cause as well. Enter Elmsdale’s Jym Line Glassware, who are stepping up with both. As we’ve mentioned in the past, Jymline are one of the businesses that helps make our regional industry what it is: even if you’ve never heard of them directly, chances are you’ve drank from a glass or poured from a growler that was branded in their facility. They’ve got a new glass they’re making available with a somewhat NSFW image and the now-ubiquitous slogan, “Stay the Bl🔥zes Home!” And lest you think this is merely a cynical cash-in, they’re donating $5 from every glass sold (that’s half the proceeds) to various charities around Elmsdale. The first batch of glasses sold out in a day, which means $535 is going to Caring & Sharing/Angel Tree Foodbank. They’re doing another run, though, that they’re hoping to have ready for next Thursday. No shipping is available, just contactless pickup at the shop in Elmsdale. Glasses are $10 and you can order yours by emailing dale@jymline.com; payment is by e-transfer to that address.

Happy Friday folks, and welcome to February! The region is once again under the cold, wet, and unpredictable blanket of winter, with one of our writers struggling to find alternate travel plans south due to flight cancellations. Thankfully, we’re all more than ready for this with our fine ales and lagers that the region’s brewers have on the taps and shelves this weekend. One final reminder that the very fun Craft Beer Cottage Party at the Halifax Seaport is tomorrow, and there are still a few tickets available. We’ll be there taking it all in, and have the important job as one of the judges of the brewery booths (liquid bribes graciously accepted!). Grab your ticket and say Hi! if you spot us.

Speaking of the CBCP, one of the many new debuting beer and ciders will be a collaboration between Lake City Cider and Bishop’s Cellar. Pretty Please is a special blend of cider, wine, and spice, perfect for warming you up and reminding you of cottage weather. Starting with an apple blend base, they added in some house-fermented cherry wine, and steeped the whole thing with a bit of real vanilla bean, for good measure. It comes in at a moderate 5.5% ABV, and is showing “delicate, earthy cherry tones” along with subtle aromas of vanilla, almond, and marzipan. It’s extremely dry, which is going to leave you wanting more. 

And speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, they have dropped six new German beers in the store (online and IRL) from monastery brewery Weißenohe. With a traditional Pilsner, Helles, Dunkel, and more, all of us lager lads and lasses are definitely encouraged to check out this Reinheitsgebot-observing brewery on the shelves in Halifax.

The folks at Upstreet in Charlottetown are also scheduled to be at the CBCP again this year, and here’s hoping they bring some of their new French Saison. Using 5 varieties of malt from Island Malt House (2-row, wheat, rye, oat and amber), it’s got a bit of a New World/Old World hop thing going with Motueka from New Zealand meeting classic Continental varieties Perle and Magnum and a classic dry character from the use of French Saison yeast. Landing at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBU, you can expect a bit of orange zest and a little spicy banana and a big carb to accentuate it all. Only a little is being released to the wild right now, with some staying local at the Upstreet Taproom and Craft Beer Corner and some hopefully making it to Nova Scotia (perhaps Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse for on-site enjoyment, perhaps some other venues), but the bulk of the batch is in for some barrel love, so we’ll no doubt be talking about a different version of this beer in a few weeks or months.

But that’s not all that’s coming out of Upstreet this week. On Tuesday, February 11th, they’ll be hosting a launch party for Island Hop Company, the first commercial-scale Hop Farm ever to be established on the Island. We’ll no doubt have more to say about that in coming months, but for now, get your taste buds ready for the latest beer featuring their hops: YYG Lager. On the grist side of this traditional lager are Pilsner and Vienna malts from another Island producer, Shoreline Malting, with Magnum, Saaz, and Perle comprising the hop side. Full-bodied and substantial, though a fairly light 4.5% ABV, there’s some residual sweetness balanced by 25 IBU. It’s got a deep golden color and a frothy, persistent head, and brings notes of fresh bread and floral hops with a bit of spicy character to balance. Hopefully we’ll see it around the region as well!

Boxing Rock has released another beer that medaled in their annual homebrew competition, the Black Box Challenge. Common Sense, originally brewed by Mike and Brenden (we’re unsure of their last names, unless it’s like a Cher thing?), is a traditional California Common, meaning it was hopped with Northern Brewer (to 29 IBUs) and fermented cool with an ale/lager hybrid strain. This 5% ABV golden-amber beer features some pleasant “minty and pine resin” flavours (thanks to the NB) to go with the toasted malt and caramel notes in the background. You can find it on tap at Boxing Rock and local licensees, and it’s also available in bottles (those of you in the HRM can find these at the private liquor stores).

Up in Deer Lake, NL, Rough Waters Brewing Company is super excited for their WinterFest event tonight as it will represent the first time they’re serving their own beer in the tap room! Starting at 6 PM, there will be live music, charcuterie available, and, of course, beer! And what better way to celebrate than with a brand new brew, one they’re calling Down South. Acknowledging the snow birds who spend their winters in warmer climes, the travelers who manage a week or two’s vacation during the winter months, and the rest of us schmoes who can only dream, this is a moderately bitter IPA coming in at a rather light 5.1% ABV. No dry hops in this one, but there sure is a whole bunch of pineapple for a little taste of sunnier places. If you’re in the Deer Lake area tonight, it sounds like a great time and a fun beer to celebrate with.

Whatcha got for us this week, Big Spruce? Looks like they’ve got not one, but two new beers, both of which involve some barrel-aging, making them good sippers to have on hand for this craptacular weather we’re in the middle of. Let’s start with To Mars ‘N Back Again, a 6.8% ABV Bourbon barrel-aged Marzen.If you’re thinking you haven’t had a barrel-aged Marzen before, there’s a good chance you’re right. This amber lager aged for four months in Buffalo Trace barrels, and is exhibiting plenty of oak on the palate, with “notes of Bourbon, spice, and dried flowers on the nose”. It’s tasting fairly sweet, with hints of vanilla and butterscotch to complement. Bottles and kegs for this one, as it’ll be pouring on tap at the brewery and beyond. The next brew is even bolder: Just Peachy! is a Barleywine aged for over a year in peach brandy barrel.  “Fruity, subtle vanilla notes, and smooth as silk”, it’s big (as expected) at 11% ABV; available in bottles only, you can find it at the Sprucetique, Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, and Bishop’s Cellar.

Brand new hoppy beer debuting at TrailWay’s taproom in Fredericton today, an American IPA named Perfect Landing. This 6% ABV brew exclusively features a new-to-TW hop variety, Callista. A German hop variety that came on the market about ten years ago, it’s described as “intensely fruity”, making it a natural for IPA styles. In this beer, TW  describes it as providing “huge stone fruit, particularly peach and mango, with plenty of juicy red berries”, with extremely low bitterness. Grab your pints, growlers and cans at the brewery when they open today (weather-permitting, of course). Oh, and while we’re on the topic of ultra-hoppy IPAs, their all-Citra American IPA, Seeing Citra, has made a return and can also be picked up at the taproom; it’ll also be on shelves of select ANBL stores any day now.

If you were a fan of Port Rexton Brewing’s Salted Porter that they released last year, we’re happy to report that it’s making a comeback… albeit with a slight twist. While the base beer is still the same, providing delightful, roasty goodness in a 5.4% ABV package, the salt used is different. It’s still from the Newfoundland Salt Company, but this batch features coffee salt. Yeah, apparently coffee salt is a thing! The addition provides “a subtle minerality”, with “lingering black coffee” notes, to go with the touch of bitterness in the finish. Sounds great to us! If you’re curious too, you can find the beer on tap at the brewery for pints and growlers; you can also grab growler fills at their retail shop in St. John’s.

Barely outside Fredericton, in Douglas, 3Flip Brewing has released their newest beer, El Fuego Chipotle Porter. This dark ale was brewed with a grist of Maris Otter, Caramel malts, and a bit of Chocolate malt, and was hopped with Mt. Hood to 28 IBUs. As you might have guessed from the name of the beer, chipotle peppers were added during the brew process; specifically, the peppers were chopped up, de-seeded, and thrown in at the end of the boil. The peppers provide the roasty malt profile with “just a little heat”, and a touch of smoke in the finish. Weighing in at 5.1% ABV, stay tuned to their social media pages if you’re interested in where you can track some down… we CAN tell you that the first keg is currently pouring at Sussex Ale Works. 3Flip will also be celebrating their 1st Anniversary with an event at The Joyce next Saturday, Feb 15th; there’ll be several of their beers pouring, including El Fuego

And in other 3Flip news, co-owner Alicia (and her beer) will be attending the “Babes and Brews” event tomorrow at Miramichi’s Apero Lounge. She’ll be joining Gill and Erin from the ‘chi’s own Timber Ship Brewing, and highlighting their wares. Hosted by WOMEN of Miramichi, an entrepreneurial and networking group for women in the region. Tickets are available here for the 6 – 9 PM event, with beer and food pairings, tasting notes, learning more about beer in general, trivia, and meeting some like-minded folks. Everyone is invited.

We’re light on the Good Robot news this week, but it’s their fault, we promise! But in all seriousness, they’re prepping hard for their Heat Wave event next weekend (Sunday, February 16th), which will see the release of three one-offs, so rest assured that we’ll earn our stripes with them next week. In the meantime, we do want to remind you homebrewers out there that registration for their FemmeBrew competition will close on February 10th. There’s no set beer style for this one, but you do need to incorporate a “local or foraged ingredient” into your brew. Check out the full form here

It’s not normal for Tidehouse Brewing to release a beer in the middle of the week, but since when has anyone accused Tidehouse of being normal, amirite? Well, they DID release a new beer, Sotil, on Wednesday, and as a result it’s all gone and now I’m typing this as basically an exercise in futility to show you what you may have missed out on and no I am NOT bitter. The beer started as a simple Pilsner wort that was “very lightly soured” with a pitch of Lactobacillus, before being fermented with the lovely French Saison yeast. Once complete, freshly-pressed Marquette grape skins from Bent Ridge Winery were added, starting a secondary fermentation to dry out the beer further. The final beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, that “drinks very much like a hard seltzer”, with hints of blackberry, cherry, and black currant. Oh, did we mention they released it in cans? Well… maybe you know someone who was able to grab a few? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The fine folks at Quidi Vidi Brewing have released the winning beers from their Newfermenters Homebrew Club competition held in the fall. The four top brews are: Half Nelson Sour Lager (4.5% ABV), Mother of Mangoes Farmhouse Ale (6.0% ABV), White Out White Stout (6.0% ABV), and Wild Rover Wee Heavy (8.4% ABV). The beers are available as a mixed four-pack at their retail shop and select NLCs, as well as on draught at the QV taproom and possibly at licensees around St John’s.

Brand new episode from the 902BrewCast fellas today, just how you want to start out your weekend (maybe?)! Listen to them hang and chat with Bishop’s Cellar’s Lucas Mader and Evan Fougere from the Malty Media blog; rumour has it they also drank a buncha beers, so you can live vicariously through them… at least until you get home to your OWN beers and REALLY start your weekend off right! Available right now wherever you listen to your podcasts. 

We’ve got a pair of events to remind/inform you of this week, both happen to be in Newfoundland (assuming you’re able to dig out after today’s dump of ice/snow!).

Don’t forget about tomorrow’s Crafternoon Experience at YellowBelly, where there will be a whole whack of new and old beers pouring, from lots of Newfoundland breweries. We could wax poetic about it, but why not just check out last week’s post? It’s easier! We should also note that there will be an Australian Gose from YellowBelly’s own Nardia.

Do you like to drink beer, listen to live music, and eat tasty food, all while supporting a local ski hill? Hey, good news! The Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival, Port Rexton Brewing, and White Hills Resort are teaming up to present BrewSKI 2020 on Saturday, February 22nd. This is a small event (only 125 tickets available) that will feature unlimited sample pours of beers from multiple Newfoundland craft breweries; sampling will run from 7-9:30 pm, but there will be a cash bar open until midnight, in case you want to keep imbibing! 3 Shades of Gray will provide the live music (right until midnight), and Oh My Cheeses will be on hand to provide you with a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches for purchase. Tickets are $55 (you can grab yours here), with proceeds going to support White Hills, which is a community non-profit.  

And here’s our last few items for the week; drive safe, stay warm, drink beer!

New Scotland has a pair of Lagers out this week to tickle your fancy (or your liver, whichever works). Alderney Dry, a 5.2% ABV, 22 IBUs Zwickelbier, and a currently-unnamed, 5% ABV, 25 IBUs, dark-copper-red-coloured Marzen; both are available on tap at the brewery. 

Niche Brewing has brought back – after a fairly long hiatus – one of their more popular kettle sour releases, Boysenberry Persuasion. This Lactobacillus-soured, 4.2% ABV brew was conditioned on lots of boysenberry puree, giving the final beer a mix of tartness and sweetness. It should be on tap at several of their NB accounts now/soon, and will be making an appearance at Halifax’s Stillwell (along with Ethos and Single Origin).

Tatamagouche Brewing has (thankfully) brought back Square One, their dry-hopped, mixed-fermentation Saison. Great to drink fresh and great to age, you can find bottles right now at Tata, or in Halifax at Bishop’s Cellar. They’ve also re-released super fresh cans of Gold Lotus, an 8% ABV DIPA hopped with Lotus, Citra and Galaxy, at the brewery today; it’ll be heading out elsewhere next Thursday.

Expect 3-4 new kettle sours on tap at Moncton’s Tire Shack this weekend if you’re dropping by; details are slim, but Sour Bite Apricot, Sour Bite Pink Guava, and Sour Bite Kiwi are currently flowing, with Sour Bite Pineapple possibly popping up on tap as well. Details are less than slim, but we’re pretty confident you can guess on what to expect!

We’re well into the meat of the winter season now in Atlantic Canada, with it colder than a polar bear’s claws through most of the region and a “bomb cyclone” (sounds menacing!) descending on St. John’s. The good news is that our region’s beer and cider producers are still hard at work ensuring that you’ve got a spectrum of new and familiar potables to get you through, ranging from fireside sippers to reminders of summer. So have a read and make a plan to both stock your fridge for the coming weekend and check out some of the cool beer happenings that are coming this weekend and beyond.

If you’re still on a hazy-and-hoppy kick, Garrison Brewing is keeping up with your needs (well, your beer needs, anyway) with the recent release of No. 1 Squeeze IPA. This NEIPA was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Oat malts, and hopped heavily with Mosaic, Azacca and Comet (to the tune of 40 IBUs). The result is a beer jam-packed with aromas and flavours of apricot, tangerine and passion fruit, “with a smooth and restrained citrusy finish”. Weighing in at 6.2% ABV, this batch will only be available on tap, exclusively at both Garrison locations in Halifax. 

In ciderland, Halifax’s Chain Yard has just released something new at their taproom – Rubintette is a small batch, single apple variety cider. Featuring the Rubinette apple (apparently a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin), the batch was slow-fermented, giving it a “vinous and woody character, with summer fruit flavours”. Pretty hefty at 8% ABV, drop by sometime this weekend for a taste, as it likely won’t be around for very long. And they’ll be hosting a Nova Scotia Snakebite Competition mid-February, in a celebration of the cider-beer blend popular in the UK. Check that link for details on the participating partners.

As we’ve mentioned once or twice over the last couple years, the rural community Hanwell, NB, is the home of Niche Brewing and thus carries a pretty weighty rating if you’re measuring fine beers per-capita; and we suspect this week’s release will only improve that ratio. Speed of Life isn’t a first for Niche; it’s not their first session IPA and certainly isn’t their first beer named for a David Bowie tune. What it definitely is, though, is hazy and juicy, the former owing to hefty amounts of flaked wheat and oats along with some chit malt in the grist, and the latter thanks to plenty of Amarillo and Ekuanot in the kettle and more of the same along with Galaxy at dry hop. Medium-low in bitterness, you can expect plenty of stone fruit and citrus character in a beer that you’ll likely wish you were enjoying on a hot summer day. You’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine while you drink your pint, though, as it almost certainly won’t be around that long (this batch, anyway). Look for it to appear first at The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Cask and Kettle, Sussex Ale Works and the Laundromat. And there are still a few bottles of their Evolution available at ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, but they certainly won’t be around for much longer.

Brand new barrel-aged beer in their Weird Beer series coming at you from Tatamagouche Brewing this week! Ceres is a 4.2% ABV Berliner Weisse brewed with a 60/40 blend of Pilsner and Wheat malt. After being kettle-soured with a pitch of Lactobacillus bacteria, the wort was fermented in stainless with an American Ale yeast strain, and Brettanomyces in the form of Berliner Brett from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, the beer was moved to barrels for aging, and was then blended and refermented on yellow plums from Malagash Cidery. Aged on elderflower for a couple of days before packaging in 500 mL bottles, it’s finally ready! Pouring a hazy, goldenrod colour, it has aromas and flavours of “tart lemon meringue pie”. Accompanying on the nose is “yeast, black tea, and lychee”, as well as “underripe yellow plum, wheat cereal and white pepper” on the palate. Sounds pretty complex to us! The best way to truly experience this beer is, of course, to snag some yourself. How, you may ask? Well, you can find bottles directly at the source (read: Tatabrew), or they can ship them to you via their online store; Ceres should also pop up on the shelves of Bishop’s Cellar sometime in the near future. 

Even more news in the world of hops (does it ever end?) with Tidehouse, who is releasing a new bottled beer today that puts the “Imperial” in Imperial IPA. Big Yacht Money is a 10.5% ABV “DDH Milkshake Triple IPA”. Hopped with very heavy amounts of Azacca, Idaho 7 and El Dorado, lactose was also used in the boil to give that touch of sweetness that goes with Milkshake IPAs. This style of beer is usually fruited as well, and this particular brew was fruited to the extreme, with mango, strawberry, and orange zest, accompanied by an addition of vanilla. As you may imagine, the final result is juicy and boozy, with the fruit quite prominent and complemented with notes of vanilla. Bottles likely won’t last long, so may be a good idea to drop by the brewery today to start your weekend off right.

It’s always nice to see local breweries taking on classic beer styles that are exhibiting a sort of resurgence, and lately, Lagers are gradually coming back. Big Spruce just kegged and tapped Honza’s Boho, their take on the classic Bohemian Pilsner (aka Czech Pilsner). They apparently worked closely with a brewery from the Czech Republic to ensure that they were treating this style with the utmost respect, and brewing it as authentically as possible. With a grist made up almost-entirely of imported Pils malt from continental Europe (a bit of Carapils was thrown in, as well), and hopped with Saaz, it was fermented with the Urquell yeast (that refers to one of the classic examples of the style, not Family Matters) (or even better, this!) from Escarpment Labs. The final beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, and if you’re curious as to how it’s tasting, you can try it at the brewery, or at one of your favourite BS accounts. And check our Events listing below for more info on new beers from them debuting next week…

Not to be outdone, Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom has launched a Bohemian Pilsner of their own (after all, they’ve been expanding with the purchase of new tanks, so why not brew some new beer?). Their beer is named Flora, and was brewed with PEI-grown floor malt and Saaz hops, before lagering for five weeks. Now that it’s been packaged (cans and kegs), this crisp, 5% ABV beer is available and pouring bright and crystal-clear. You won’t be able to try it until tomorrow when the brewery officially reveals it at a launch party, UNLESS you were lucky enough to be at last night’s edition of HopYard’s Battle of the Breweries, where Copper Bottom took on Moth Lane). If not, it’s off to Montague with ya!

Apparently, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing has had many requests for a “red beer” to be available at their taproom. They’ve finally given in, but it may not be quite the style of beer that most were expecting, but it sounds plenty tasty, nonetheless! Red Beer is a “Red Table Saison” brewed mostly with Red X blended malts, along with a bit of Munich, Wheat malt, and kilned Amber malt. Fermented with a Saison strain, the beer is showing some slight malty/bready character in the aroma, along with some dried fruit. Finishing crisp and dry, this 4.7% ABV brew is meant to be enjoyed in quantity, but it’s got a lot more going on than a lot of your American Amber Ales that some may have been expecting. Currently pouring on tap in Corner Brook!

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new beer come out of Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax. But that itself is nothing new; would you believe they’ve released “only” about 30 beers since they opened in mid-2015? That’s exactly the way NASH said it would be, of course, and he’s managed to stick to it and, near as we can tell, still sell plenty of beer. So if you’re the type to get excited about a new beer release from Unfiltered, you may do so, with Edgy hitting the taps for the first time today. The sixth beer (we think, but we never claimed to be good at math) in NASH’s inimitable SMaSH DIPA series, this one features Centennial hops in great quantity for plenty of citrus and herbal character in the tried and true 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU format. Pints, fills, and cans available at noon.

In the “beer coming soon” category, and plenty soon at that, is an intra-provincial, cross-bridge collaboration between Nova Scotia’s Spindrift Brewing and PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing. A solid friendship between the two Head Brewers was formed as they both spent time brewing for Gahan Brewing, and the bon ami continues now that they are at the helms elsewhere. Silver Fox is a 5.5% ABV Export Lager, featuring uniquely PEI-sourced ingredients. Shoreline Malting near Summerside provided the Pilsner and Munich Malts, with Island Hop Company supplied the Ultra hops (a descendant of the very-Noble Hallertau and Saaz varietals). Bready malt notes, zesty and floral components from the hops (aided by a hard water profile to accentuate), along with a crisp finish thanks to the two months of lagering, which also allowed it to be unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Look for Silver Fox to debut at both Spindrift and Lone Oak next week, just ahead of LO’s Grand Opening on the 25th.

And in more collaboration news with Spindrift, they brewed with another island brewery, from a different island, Newfoundand’s Dildo Brewing Company. Coming to both the NSLC and NLC at the end of the month is Altbier, a 5.3% ABV ode to the classic German style, which saw the wort first fermented cool with a German Ale yeast, and further lagered for a month before canning. All German ingredients, from Munich, Caramel Munich and Carafa malts, and hopped generously with Hallertau Mittelfruh for a “spicy, herbal hop character”. The official release will be at both breweries on Friday, January 31st, with the beers at the provincial liquor stores in the future.

Annapolis Brewing in Annapolis Royal has a new beer on tap these days, their first foray into the farmhouse/Saison side of things. The Old Mill is 6.2% ABV Saison, and is available for pints and growlers in their taproom now, as well as at Horton Ridge Malt’s taproom for pints as well. This is their first, but by no means last, look at the style, so stay tuned for more iterations as they play in this wheelhouse. And keep an eye out for several other new styles in the coming weeks and months, including an Extra Special Bitter and a Berliner Weisse with cranberries. One or both of those may be out in time for their Cask versus Keg night on Friday, February 24th, comparing a cask of their Double Dry Hopped Rye IPA (aka Keep it on the Rails) to their W & A Railway Rye IPA on draught. Lots of fun and education on the go that evening, and all winter! Keep an eye on the latest news on their Social Media (Fb/IG/Tw).

Newfoundland Cider Company in Clarenville had a major release this week, with seven new ciders dropping yesterday. Their 2018 Pet Nat cider is a low intervention and naturally carbonated cider over a year in the making. They also released six new entries in their Forager Small Batch Series, with Barrel-Aged Applewood Smoked Crabapple, Barrel-Aged Partridgeberry Perry, Orchard and Vine, Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry, Newfoundland Honey Mead, and New England Style on Blueberry Skins. All of these, as well as their Scrumpy are available at the Cider Shop at 24 Balbo Drive in Shoal Harbour, as well as at the Howley Estates NLC in St. John’s.

Big congratulations to Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur who are celebrating their first year of operation today. And whaddya know, they got *us* a present! Loup de Mer Dry Stout is 4.2% ABV, and features a smooth body, dry finish, and plenty of dark chocolate and coffee character. Look for bottles on the shelves of your local ANBL from Bathurst to Moncton, including in MH-B’s own Acadian Peninsula. Details here!

And just making it under the wire this week (because when have we ever been able to say “no” to anyone?) is Propeller, with today’s release of their latest beer, Sweet Orange Sour. Luckily, the name gives you a pretty solid idea of exactly what to expect – it’s a kettle-soured beer that was hit with lots of lots of citrus zest, lending a mixture of sweet and tangy flavours to go with the assertive tartness. Orange and tangerine notes abound in a 4.8% ABV brew that finishes dry. On tap only, at both Prop locations. And for tonight’s cask, their delicious Galaxy IPA, with clementine zest, vanilla, and lactose.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

If you’re a craft beer fan in the Northeast New Brunswick area and don’t find yourself getting down to the Moncton region very often, you’re in luck: Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing (that’s “CAV-Oh-Kay” for those unfamiliar with aviation terms) will be in Bathurst for a tap takeover tomorrow at Au Bootlegger. Starting at 6 PM there will be at least 10 taps of CAVOK’s finest pouring; full details are available on the Fb event page, with the confirmed taps as follows:

  • Petitcoudiac Rye IPA 6.0% 60 IBU
  • Leger Corner Honey Ale 4.8% 25 IBU
  • Foxtrot 33 (Oatmeal Stout) 5.0% 33 IBU
  • Runway 11 Lager 4.3% 13 IBU
  • East Coast Pirates IPA 6.5% 70 IBU
  • YQM Pilsner 4.3% 29IBU
  • Soleil d’Été NEPA 4.5% 15 IBU
  • Echo Saison 6.0% 17 IBU
  • Apricot Belgian Stout 4.1% 23 IBU
  • Terre Rouge (Red Ale) 4.8% 24 IBU

You can check out this post for more details on each of those beers, and be forewarned that there’s been rumours of a “secret surprise beer” as well.

For the second weekend in a row, Stillwell is hitting us with a mini-event on a Saturday without much notice or fanfare even though they’re bringing some of Toronto’s finest beer – last week it was Burdock Brewery, this week it’s Bellwoods. Those who are already familiar will almost certainly head down, and those who do not know, but enjoy really good beer, would do well to join them. Though not a full tap takeover, some of the best of what Bellwoods has to offer across sour, saison, farmhouse and hoppy styles is on offer, to wit:

  • Jelly King (Dry Hopped Sour 5.6%)
  • Raspberry Jelly King (Fruited Sour Ale 5.6%)
  • Justu (Pale Ale 5.6%)
  • Roman Candle (American IPA 6.8%)
  • Farmageddon w/ Niagara Montmorency Cherries (Fruited Barrel Aged Wild Farmhouse Ale 6.3%)
  • White Picket Fence [Peach] (Blended Foedre Saison Conditioned on Peaches 5.7%)
  • White Picket Fence OG (Blended Foedre Saison 6.1%)

As always on Saturdays, doors open at noon tomorrow and the taps will commence pouring (these are all kegged beers), with the usual lovely food coming out of the kitchen as well. So head on down and get another taste of the Big Smoke without having to actually besmirch yourself by going there.

Everwood Ave Brewshop is bringing back their EverBrews Home Brewers Club this month, with their meeting next Tuesday, January 21st. Starting at 6:30PM at their store at 731 Old Sackville Road, the evening will feature social and guided tastings, club business, presentations, and a general Q&A on what form the club will take. Everyone interested in the homebrewing hobby is welcome to attend, whether you currently partake or not. 

Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be host to a Norweigian Invasion next Thursday, January 23rd, as three Nova Scotian breweries will be showing off their favourite Kviek beers for the day. Big Spruce, North Brewing, and Tatamagouche will each bring three (or more) brews fermented with the hottest thing to escape Norway since Darkthrone and Cadaver. Look for hazy pale ales/IPAs, the winner of Big Spruce’s Homebrew Challenge Winter Warmer, Nordic Tea Saison, a co-fermented Lager, and at least one barrel-aged behemoth. The pour party kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day, so be sure to drop by to taste the latest releases from these beauties!

Halifax’s Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House is hosting a Battle of the Brews Thursday evening, pitting Garrison and Spindrift against each other to pick the perfect beer to complement a six course tasting menu. Tickets are best reserved via phone or email for the event that kicks off at 6 PM on January 23rd. Grab them here: 902-428-7852 or harbourstone@marriott.com

Details are still very loose right now, but we see that there will be a Certified Cicerone exam being held in Halifax in April May Spring. The exact date has not been finalized, but if this is something you’re interested in, be sure to sign up on the Cicerone website, sign up that you are interested, and pass the Certified Beer Server Exam.

And here be your last few mentions before we leave you to your weekend:

Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer pouring this week, Paint it Black, Jack, a 6.3% ABV Porter featuring loads of additions of chocolate and orange, natch, for a full on sweet, chocolate, and coffee brew. Grab it on tap this weekend!

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has their Full Service Double IPA back on tap for pints and growler fills. After selling out *very* quickly upon first release, they have been able to brew up another batch and quell the demands of the masses. Juicy, hazy, and a solid 7.5% ABV, it certainly packs a hoppy punch. Look for more from Tire Shack in next week’s post, as they promise a trio of new beers out before the end of the month.

And finally, a note that the YellowBelly Brewery Takeaway location on Water St will be closing tomorrow while they search for a new location. Upgrades needed in the kitchen area have them out of commission for a while, which means growler fills and their Skip the Dishes will be paused for the time being. They promise to let us know once they are back in action!