Island Hop Company

All posts tagged Island Hop Company

Happy Friday folks! The region got a dose of great news with the announcement of the Atlantic Bubble coming next Friday, but that doesn’t mean you can forget everything we’ve been doing for the last 3 months (just look South for proof). Keep being smart about how you choose to get together with friends and strangers, and above all, spread love and not the virus. We’re taking next Friday off, so we hope this dose of beer news will keep you satisfied until then. And if not, we promise a full refund. Happy Canada Day, and remember that brewery taprooms, restaurants and bars are operating under different circumstances than usual, so check before heading out, and tip as generously as you can!

We want to start this week off with two brewing initiatives that are poised to make an impact on inclusivity and equity in the local brewing community, and beyond.

Good Robot Brewing Co’s brewer Giovanni Johnson, along with members of the Nova Scotian Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour population have come together to form the Change is Brewing Collective. Their first release will be coming mid-July, named Blackberry Freedom, a Pale Ale with blackberries. The group, and beer, is a challenge to other breweries in the province, dare we say everywhere, “to consider how they can be more inclusive for the BIPOC in their communities”. We can see this as a way of encouraging more breweries to engage members of their local BIPOC community for both staffing or patrons. We can get behind that! Look for Blackberry Freedom in July, and we’ll have a ton more with Gio and the Collective then.

And in an out-of-region initiative, but of utmost importance here, is the Black is Beautiful project. Hosted by Austin’s Weathered Souls, it is a worldwide collaboration for breweries to bring awareness and efforts to overcome injustices that many people of colour face. Over 900 breweries have signed up world-wide for the project, brewing a 10.0% ABV Imperial Stout, and directing 100% of the beer’s proceeds to groups focusing on racial justice, equality, and inclusion. So far in Atlantic Canada, we see two Nova Scotian breweries have stepped up to the plate. Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing will be donating the proceeds to GameChangers902, a group of African Nova Scotians coming together to promote and mobilize change in the province, centralizing the experience, culture, and history of Black Nova Scotians. Tatamagouche Brewing is taking part as well, as they are committed to continued education, understanding and supporting people of colour, and are directing their proceeds towards groups educating and promoting awareness in the province. We want to encourage other breweries in the region, both small and large, to take part in this collaboration, because, while conversations on and efforts to remove systemic racism may be difficult and feel overwhelming, Black Lives Matter.

We’ve got big news for the island of Cape Breton, where Island Folk Cider House opened their doors last weekend. Located at 52 Nepean St in Sydney, just a stone’s throw from the Big Fiddle, they are open for retail sales of their initial release blends. Open Thursday and Friday, 12 – 7 PM, and Saturday 11 – 4 PM, you can grab cans of their Good Company 6.5% ABV cider, and Rebel Rosé 7.0% ABV blend of cider and cranberry wine. The cans feature artwork by local illustrator and cartoonist Alison Uhma. Their third release, the smaller batch Easy Beezy featuring local honey, sold out in just a few days, sorry, but more blends are on the way! If you can’t get to their retail location, fear not, as the Good Company is available at 14 NSLC locations across the province, from Yarmouth to Sydney, and Amherst to HRM. Plus kegs of both GC and RR are at several bars and restaurants on the Island as well as the South Shore, check out their Fb page for more details. You can also keep up to date on the fun on their Ig page. We’ll have a full Profile with IFCH up in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, Congratulations to Jill and team!

After months of preparation and planning, Sackville’s Bagtown Brewing Co. finally opened up their new retail store at 45 Main St. last weekend. The new location is also the new home to the brewhouse, and while just across the street from where they were previously, allows them more space to sell more beer! In addition to Bagtown’s rotating offerings, you’ll also be able to grab cans and bottles from other New Brunswick breweries. If you’re in the area and would like to drop in to check out the new space/pick up some beer, they’re open today (Friday) from 12-6 pm, and Saturday 9am-3pm.  

Upstreet Brewing is celebrating a huge milestone this weekend: their brewery has now been operating for 5 years in Charlottetown, PEI. And while the ongoing need for social distancing means that they can’t throw a massive shindig for all their friends in the taproom, it’s not going to stop them from celebrating. The first aspect of that celebration is now traditional: DeNovo V is, appropriately, the 5th iteration of their mixed-fermentation saison birthday beer. Keeping it local, the grist features Island Malt House Pale, Wheat and Rye and the hop side has Island Hop Company Saaz along with some out-of-province Centennial and Ekuanot. Tasting-wise, it starts with an aroma of peppery lemon meringue accompanied by some mild funk, citrus and herbal notes. Lightly toasted sourdough comes through on the palate, leading to a very dry and crisp finish on this beer that weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 15 IBU. This year they’ve elected to bottle it in 500 mL bottles instead of the 750s used in previous years. If you’re on the Island you can definitely grab this one direct from Upstreet (whether that’s the brewery/taproom or Craft Beer Corner), but it looks like it may also make it to Halifax as well, where we’d imagine you’ll find it at some or all of the private stores in the city in the coming weeks.

The other aspect of Upstreet’s birthday celebration is a contest they announced today on social media: they’re offering folks a chance to win a $500 Upstreet gift card for themselves and $5,000 to a charity of their choice! Entering is easy: Post a photo with your favorite Upstreet beer (or Rewind Seltzer or East Coast Soda Co. Soda) on Fb or Ig, making sure to tag @upstreetbrewing and the charity of your choice and add the hashtag #cheersforcharitypei, then use the caption space to say how that charity is doing good in the community. Multiple entries per person are allowed, although each needs to nominate a different charity. There will be one winner of this contest announced July 10th at noon. So grab yourself an Upstreet beverage and your camera/phone, and get snapping for your favorite cause!

Speaking of 5th Birthdays, Breton Brewing is celebrating their own this Saturday! To help celebrate, they’re going to be releasing five beers as part of an Anniversary Series, with each beer being launched at a different date over the summer. A mixture of brand new beers and returning favourites, they’re starting off with one of the latter, Shipwreck DIPA. Hopped entirely with Mosaic, this 7.4% ABV hop bomb is hazy and pale amber in colour, with “aromas of mango, citrus, and peaches”, and lots more on the palate. Always a requested beer at the brewery, this is the first time Shipwreck has been available in cans. It’s available right now in the taproom, as well as for delivery in the CBRM; look for it to pop up at the private stores in Halifax next week, as well as home delivery in that area. And keep your eyes peeled for their next Anniversary release, which should be early July… we’ll keep you posted!

Now that the Good Robot taproom is officially up-and-running, they’re releasing some beers with feelings of summer – one new, and one returning. Seems natural to start off with the new one, so let’s begin with Fanny Pack, a dry-hopped Lager. Designing a brew for those of us looking for something light and refreshing for summer drinking, but with lots of bright hop character, Fanny Pack was brewed with a simple grist of Pale ale malt and flaked corn. Fermented with the brewery’s favourite Mexican Lager yeast strain, it was lagered appropriately and dry-hopped with Comet and Citra. The 4.8% ABV, straw yellow-coloured beer has citrus on the nose and palate, including notes of lemon and grapefruit, with low bitterness. Crushable as advertised, it’s available in cans at the brewery. And while picking up your cans for the weekend, you’ll notice that Viking Holiday is back, also in cans (and on tap)! This 4.2% ABV Pineapple Wheat beer was fermented with a Kveik strain, giving the brew notes of nectarine to complement the aromas and flavours from the pineapple added to the brew. 

Now that Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse is officially at full throttle (it should be noted that the taproom is still open for retail sales only), they’ve gone ahead and added some canned beers to their expanding lineup this week. Those of you who have been following the brewery since their humble, 1-bbl brewhouse days may recognize the names of two of the beers, which were originally released in 2018. The first of these is Orange American Bastard, a 4.7% ABV American Wheat beer that features late-boil additions of orange peel and coriander, as well as a touch of Cascade hops. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, a beer to pound back by your pool, or maybe share with someone ready to dip the toe into the waters of craft beer (“clever” metaphor, not insinuating that the beer is watery). The other returning brew is Call Your Bluff, a 4.9% APA originally brewed in collaboration with Todd Beal that has a “pungent grapefruit character”. 

The new beers are on the darker side of the spectrum, starting with Shady 80, a chocolate stout. Brewed with a variety of dark malts, this 6.3% ABV Sweet Stout has an addition of lactose powder to bump up the sweetness slightly, to balance the roast character in the beer. Rounding everything up is Engine 41, a 6.4% ABV Cherrywood Smoked Porter. “Big on taste, yet balanced and easy to drink”, expect some moderate smoke character, finishing with notes of chocolate and roast. All four of these beers are presently available in cans at the brewery, open regular hours this weekend, and then opening early next week on Tuesday and Wednesday (yes, July 1), 12 – 6 PM, to allow you to stock up for the Canada Day holiday.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has a new beer on the radar, a hoppy, hazy APA named Beachcomber. The latest in their small batch series, the 5.5% ABV beer was intensely dry-hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Hard to go wrong with those varieties! They’ve described it as “light-bodied, flavourful, and aromatic”. Available for delivery, and, of course, for pick-up at the brewery.

The crew at Pollen Angels have teamed up with Fils du Roy to produce Fils D’Abeille (Son of a Bee). You may be already wondering if a meadery teaming up with a distillery means mead + spirit(s), and you’d be right! Fils D’Abeille is a blend of Queen’s Nectar mead and oak-aged Gin Thuya, weighing in at a hefty 10.5% ABV. Described as a harmony of “honey, apples, Thuja occidentalis, juniper berry and coriander”, you can find this beverage at many ANBL stores across New Brunswick; be sure to continue to check the ANBL site for which stores are carrying bottles of the product.

A few more newsbites for you today before we dismiss the class…

There’s a new episode from your favourite hosted-by-three-guys, all about local beer, three digit podcast out for download and listenin’ as of earlier this morning. If you guessed 902 Brewcast, good for you! This is a tasting episode/chat about the latest news/answer social media questions episode, so all bases are covered. Download it wherever you normally download your favourite podcasts.

And in more great news, their faithful sponsor, Bishop’s Cellar Bishop’s Cellar Bishop’s Cellar, has re-opened their doors to the public, for in person shopping (Mon – Wed 10 AM – 6 PM, Thurs – Sat 10 AM – 9 PM), as well as online ordering for curbside pickup or province-wide delivery. (dm us for our address to send that cheque)

CAVOK Brewing has a very small, limited batch newly-available on tap, Dents De Lions. Brewed with local dandelions and citrus fruit, this 4.3% ABV, 6 IBUs brew can also be found online, for local delivery. As a side note, we also would like to invite CAVOK to drop by our homes later in the summer, for more dandelion harvesting. Free!

Unfiltered’s super-hoppy DIPA (well, one of them anyway), Fist of God (7.5% ABV) is back for the weekend. Described by the brewery as a “fruity, citrus, tropical, East Coast DIPA w/ West Coast roots”… well, we don’t know what else to say. On tap and in cans at the brewery now, and delivery options are also available (for orders made before 2 pm).

And with the good news happening around AtlCan, we’re seeing some spots hiring and expanding their scope. Here are two such businesses looking to bring some folks onto their team.

Way up (and we mean waaaaaaay up) in Labrador City, NL, one of the region’s newest breweries, Iron Rock, is looking to expand their team in the form of an Assistant Brewer and Cellar Person. This is potentially a combined position, however the immediate need is on the cellaring side, managing inventory and packaging while maintaining the brewery’s dedication to cleanliness and sanitation. Over time opportunities on the brewing side are expected to grow and so the applicant’s previous brewing experience is certainly a relevant factor. A full-time gig in Lab City, hours will definitely vary. If this sounds like you and you’re in town or willing to make a move, maybe check out the full details and job description and throw your hat in the ring!

Also in Newfoundland, Port au Port’s Secret Cove Brewing is looking to fill a position or two… or four, specifically! There’s a wide variety of jobs available, including working right in the brewing side of things (Brewery Operations – Canning and Distribution), into the taproom with the Taproom Manager position, as well as Bartending and Curb Shop staff, and finally, they’re looking for a cook! You need to be motivated and love everything involved with craft beer, and the cook position does require experience. For more details, check out the full info here, and if you’re interested, send a cover letter and resume to beer@secretcovebrewing.com.

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!