Lion & Bright

All posts tagged Lion & Bright

With the weather forecast looking pretty dang fine for most of our region, and now that we seem to have finally reached the magical, “hot days, cool nights” portion of the summer, all we need is for our local beer producers to step up and keep things interesting. And wouldn’t you know it, it appears they have! Read on for the latest beer news from around Atlantic Canada, including plenty of new and re-appearing beers, a new venue in Halifax, and not one, but TWO homebrew competitions.

Halifax fans of local beer got some great news this week, as Boxing Rock unveiled their plans in the big city. The Shelburne brewery has opened up Test Kitchen, a pilot brewery in the Local Source Market space at 2530 Agricola Street. Brewing on a 120 litre (1BBL) system (with a pair of fermenters), this smaller brewhouse will allow them the opportunity to test out some brand new and innovative recipes, before possibly scaling them up to a full-sized batch of several thousand litres. They anticipate brewing a couple of times per month, with Tuesday’s inaugural brew being a collaboration with two-time Black Box Challenge winner Brian Harvey. Brewing onsite also gives Local Source the ability to sell Boxing Rock beer, as an extension of BR’s Retail license. With a dozen different full-time, seasonal, and test batch beers available in bottles, growler fills using their futuristic-looking Pegas CrafTap system, and a couple on tap at adjoining Lion & Bright, Agricola just got a little more South Shore. To accomodate all of us thirsty visitors, they’ve extended the hours of the shop a little later in the evening: M-W 9-7, Th 9-8, F 9-9, Sat 10-9, Sun 10-6. The beers are available at their retail location now, and they are holding a Grand Opening next Saturday, September 1 to celebrate. From 10AM, the first 250 folks to visit the location will receive a free limited-edition Boxing Rock growler (just pay for the fill). This is your key to savings, as it give the owner $2 off each 1.89 litre fill in both Halifax and Shelburne, for the life of the growler. You can also tour the brewery space out back to see what’s bubbling away, and maybe get a hint of what’s coming next. For those unable to attend next Saturday’s event, they are holding an online contest for their followers, you can learn more here. Congratulations to the Boxing Rock Crew!

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is back with a brand new beer this week, the latest object of their love and appreciation of traditional styles and modern ingredients. New World is a Saison fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Saison Blend, which features two clean-fermenting Saison yeasts, and marks the first time they’ve used this blend. The simple malt bill consists of Pilsner and Wheat, with the yeast offering some spiciness and light minerality. The hops took a decidedly updated turn, with Citra and Ekuanot used lightly in the boil (sub-20 IBUs), with a larger dry-hopping of the same for citrus and tropical flavours and aromatics to complement the yeast. Kegs of this 5.1% ABV have been delivered around Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton, so keep an eye out for it as you hit the patios and barstools in the province this weekend.

Looks like the third entry in Breton Brewing’s Sour Sessions popped up on tap earlier this week; the latest in their rotating-fruit kettle sours brew features the addition of kiwi and passion fruit puree. The low IBUs (4) and sessionable ABV (4.2%) allow you to be able to drink this one in quantity, so you can enjoy the “crushable tartness and fruity finish” in what’s left of our beautiful summer weather. Drop by the brewery for a pint or growler, or look for it at a few select accounts in Halifax (including the Stubborn Goat and Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar).

Fresh off the opening of their expanded location and taproom earlier this month, Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery has a brand new beer to follow up with. The Little Lift is described by the brewery as a Session IPA, based at least in part on their The Big Lift IPA. Brewed with 2-Row, Munich malt, and a touch of Wheat, it was hopped late in the boil with Citra, Northern Brewer, and Palisade. Fermented with the East Coast yeast strain, it was then dry-hopped with more Palisade. Expect “lots of citrus aromas and flavours, with a crisp, full body” in this 5.6% ABV brew; drop by the new taproom to give it a try or fill up a growler.

In Dieppe, New Brunswick, Flying Boats has decided to experiment a little, by launching a Test Pilot Series. The first beer in said series is Test Pilot No. 1 – APA, a “hop-forward” American Pale Ale that features large whirlpool and dry hop additions of Azacca and Citra, two very expressive American varieties. The 5.6% ABV beer is a deep golden colour, and has “intense, tropical and citrusy flavours and aromas, with a lingering, soft, citrusy finish”, according to the brewery. It’s been on tap for the last few weeks, and is now also available in cans at the brewery, select ANBL stores, and Picaroons retail locations.

Looks like Good Robot has even more beer news than usual this week, to tag along with their Beta and Alpha releases. Let’s start with the “usual” – next Tuesday’s Beta will be Ringside Imperial, an Imperial Red Ale brewed with Pat King. Weighing in at 7.3% ABV and 42 IBUs, we don’t really have anything in terms of recipe details for you, but can confirm from GR that it’s a golden-amber coloured beer that leaves a “mild alcohol heat at the back of the palate”. As for next week’s Alpha brew, it’s the return of Leave Me Blue, the brewery’s award-winning 4.5% ABV Cream Ale. You’ll also see cans of El Espinazo del Diablo, their 5.7% ABV Mexican-style Lager with lime and jalapeno flavours, available as of today.

As for the other Good Robot snippets, they’re releasing two other Beta releases on Sunday for Flavabot, their “All-Day Island Party” that will feature plenty of food, games, music, and, naturally, beer. Back to that, the first beer is Stag A Lee (6% ABV, 20 IBUs), brewed with toasted coconut flakes. They then took some more toasted coconut flakes and soaked them in coconut rum, before adding to the beer after fermentation was complete. They’re describing it as a “rich, dark, tropical Porter”. Next is Calypso Gator (5.8% ABV, 81 IBUs), a White IPA with “hints of pineapple, grapefruit, and mangoes, with a nice, hoppy balance”. Be sure to drop by the event on Sunday to give these new beers a taste, and take part in the fun!

Do you remember the tasty, tasty release of Glou from Stillwell Brewing back in April? We sure do! It was a 6.2% ABV foedre-aged sour beer that had been aged on New York muscat pomace. In the forum of great news, bottles of Blend 2 of Glou will be released this Saturday at the brewery from 12-4 pm. The base beer for this blend is a sour that had been aging for almost a year in a foedre, atop the very same pomace used for Blend 1. Described as “floral and peppery on the nose, and deep and round in the middle, with a dry and snappy finish”, it sounds like they probably have another winner!

Lazy Bear in Smiths Cove debuted a new beer during their Growler Night at the brewery Thursday. My Old Friend is the barrel-aged version of their Hello Darkness Dark Saison. Sitting for 6 months in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, the beer picked up some vinous notes, as well as a touch of oak from the barrel itself, which complement the dark malt characteristics in the base beer. The resultant brew is 6.3% ABV, and will be available at the brewery and Annapolis Royal Farmers Market tomorrow, with a lone keg being tapped soon at Dartmouth’s Battery Park.

TrailWay is bringing back an old favourite today, with a twist that they’ve brought to some of their other more-popular beers. DDH Dunder is a double-dry hopped version of their “Australian Pale Ale”, Dunder, a 4.8% ABV brew featuring Australian hop varieties. The extra dose of dry hops has increased the “overripe fruit, dank, extremely tropical” qualities in the beer, according to the brewery. You can find cans exclusively at the taproom as of today; it’s also on tap there, and will likely be at a few tap accounts around New Brunswick.

In the heart of downtown Halifax, and brewing on a system barely larger than most homebrewers (😉), Tidehouse Brewing is releasing a pair of brand new beers today. The first is ESB Rights & Peace. Featuring traditional English hops East Kent Goldings and Fuggles, this 6.5% ABV brew is described by the brewery as “Simple and Crushable”. And the second beer joining it is Brew Swayne, a 5.0% ABV light and supremely easy drinking “Lawnmowing beer”, featuring Athanum, Belma, and Cascade hops, though added more for aroma and flavour than bitterness. You’ll be able to judge for yourself beginning at 2PM, when you drop by for a sample, glass, or growler fill at the brewery at 5187 Salter St. Just be sure to park legally while you pop in…

We have two homebrew competitions to tell you about this week, so all of you amateur brewers, pay particular attention!

The first is from Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing, whose competition is named “May the Best (Wo)Man-Darina Win!”. This competition is wide open to any style of beer, but offers a neat twist on traditional competitions: Spindrift wants to supply you with the hops! Wanting to shaowcase three new German hops, your $20 entry fee will include all of the Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon, or Mandarina Bavaria you may need for your recipe. We checked, and they say there’s no limit to the amount of hops they’ll send your way! Other hops can absolutely be used in the recipe, but the new-world Germans should make up more than 60% of the total hop mass. The deadline to register is September 14th, and you will need to include your recipe plan with your application form, so they can prepare your hops in advance. The beers are due Friday October 3rd, with the judging by Spindrift employees and BJCP judges happening before the Gala and bottle share on October 13th. The top 3 beers will receive prizes, with the top brewer having the opportunity to recreate their recipe on the Spindrift pilot system for later release, and plenty more hops and SD swag. Grab the Poster, Info Sheet, and Recipe sheet now.

The second homebrew competition is being held this fall by Quidi Vidi Brewery, in collaboration with the Newfermenters Homebrew Club. QV is looking to celebrate the great, and growing, homebrew community by releasing a 4-pack of amateur-brewed beers across the province. There are no restrictions on the style you can brew, and entrants will be welcomed to the brewery to present your recipe, beer, and passion for the craft. Submissions are due October 20th, with the presentations and Awards happening at a later date. The winners’ pack will be available in the NLC in early 2019. You can learn more here, and by emailing your intent to enter (and ask questions) to newfermenters@gmail.com.

Speaking of Quidi Vidi, they are looking for an experienced Operations Manager to join their team, to oversee all of their production. Managing the brewing, packaging, storing, and distribution of their beer is a monumental task, so they are looking for an exceptional candidate to take this on. Supply-chain management experience is an asset, as well as previous brewery and management experience. Check out the full posting here, and fire an email to jobs@quidividibrewery.ca by September 6th to apply.

Just one event to tell you about this weekend, but don’t be shy: get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts!

Fredericton’s The Joyce Pub is holding their second annual sour beer event, Tarte Diem II – 2 Sour 2 Acidulous, tomorrow, August 25th. At least 25 of the bar’s taps will be pouring sour beers from breweries in NB, NS, and PEI; for a sneak peek, check out this photo. There’s no charge to attend the event, just plan your attack and order by the pint or flight! It starts at 3 pm when the pub opens, and goes all day. As always, they’ll be serving their full menu to accompany your beers.

Just a couple more bits to tell you about before we let you go:

After a brief hiatus, Unfiltered has brought back their immensely popular DOA Double Orange Ale, their 2-Row and Citra SMaSH. HOWEVER, Nash has adjusted the grain bill slightly, and while you may not be able to tell right away, there is a second malt in there, so they’re calling it a DMaSH. Either way, the 7.5% ABV Double IPA, 100+ IBU beer is back on tap for pints and growler fills. No cans this time around, we thirsty patrons keep drinking it too quickly to give them a chance to restock! (Original version of the post did not include the DMaSH info, as it was not available at the time of posting)

In Clarenville, Newfoundland, the Newfoundland Cider Company has released their widest variety of blends so far. As part of their Forager series, they are now carrying a limited supply of Elderflower & Rhubarb, Wild Cherry & Rose, Lavender & Black Currant, Lilac, and Spruce Tip blends. In addition, growler fills of their Farm house and Cloudy Scrumpy, as well as 375 ml of Wild & Dry and Cloudy Scrumpy are also available. Drop by their spot at 24 Balbo Drive today and tomorrow, open Friday 1 – 6PM and Saturday 1 – 5PM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow, look what happened over the last couple of days… spring/summer actually arrived! Better late than never, right? We’re sure the sunny rays have helped those of you who were lucky enough to indulge in Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week recover, so it’s now time to dive right in to the usual geyser of beer news that’s been going on over the past week…

• The YellowBelly Brewpub has a new beer on tap, released late last week in conjunction with the NLC’s Beer Expo which took place over the weekend. Ryan’s Fancy IPA was brewed with 2-row, Munich and Carastan malts, and hopped with generous amounts of “an assortment of varietals”, both in the kettle and dry-hop additions. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and 60 IBUs, it has a firm supporting malt backbone, and is described as “resinously bitter” by the brewery. It’s on tap now at the brewpub.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewery has one heck of a big beer out, brewed to recognize the traditions of Maritime sailors. Fog Bank is a rich, chocolatey stout that was aged for five months in rum barrels. The result is an 11% ABV monster of a beer, with vanilla and dark fruit notes, and a deceptively “smooth, mellow finish”… that should become even smoother with some age. It’s available at the brewery for 13 oz pours, and also in bottles, giving you the opportunity to pick up a few; try one now, and throw a couple more in your cellar to try again in several months… or even longer!

• Apparently not tired out by NSCBW one bit, Good Robot is releasing a brand new beer, and a new iteration of another. Let’s start with the new one, the first in their new SMaSH series (single-malt and single-hop), SMaSH No. 1: Dr. Rudi. Brewed with 2-row and the Dr. Rudi hop variety (yes, that’s a thing), it was fermented with White Labs East Coast Ale yeast. With aromas of “cantaloupe, citrus, honey, and pine”, and fruity and herbal flavours, it weighs in at 6% ABV and 47 IBUs. Gluten-reduced like all GR beers, it will be available Monday-ish at GR’s taproom, and will be popping up at fine tap accounts in the HRM.

• Moving along, today Good Robot is releasing version 3.0 of their well-loved-but-difficult-to-type Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale.  This take features Kenya Nyeri Mahiga coffee beans from Java Blend, cold-brewed by Low Point Coffee Co., giving the beer “notes of cocoa, citrus and stone fruit”, according to the brewery. Aside from the coffee used, the rest of the brew is similar to previous releases; 5.5% ABV, 32 IBUs, also available at the brewery and at select tap accounts.

• The third and final beer in Roof Hound‘s Dive Bar Classic Cocktail Series is now available. Harvey Wallbanger is an American Wheat Ale brewed with both Pilsner and Wheat malt, with orange and vanilla beans added during the brew process (juice at the end of the boil, and zest and vanilla bean in secondary) to give you the aromas and flavours normally associated with the classic mixed drink (traditionally made with vodka, orange juice, and Galliano liqueur). Easy drinking at just 4.4% ABV and 16 IBUs, it’s on tap now at the brewery; drop by tomorrow, and you can try it in a mini-flight of all three in the Cocktail Series – joining previous releases Mojito Sour and Fuzzy Navel IPA – for just $5.

TrailWay hasn’t been slowing down with their “small-batch” (read: 10 bbl) releases, as they’ve brought back Ellipse, a crowd-favourite 6.3% ABV American IPA that was originally released early this year. Inspired by the “intense orange-citrus character” from large additions of the very popular Amarillo hop variety, some Columbus was also thrown in to provide some “dankness and spiciness” to complement. Luckily, this batch is also available in cans, which can be picked up only at the brewery taproom (along with growlers) for the time-being. Drop by today for your hazy-and-juicy fix!

• In other Fredericton news, Picaroons is launching a new beer series today, showcasing a brew with a static grain bill but ever-changing hop profile. Pivot is an Imperial IPA that will feature a simple grist of Canadian 2-row and a touch of Toasted Wheat (to 8% ABV) that will allow the changing variety of hops to be front and center. Two batches have already been brewed: Pivot #1 will be released today on tap only, at all four Picaroons locations in NB, and was hopped with Warrior, Azacca, and Hallertau Blanc, giving notes of “melon, pineapple, bubblegum, and white grapes”, according to the brewery; Pivot #2 will be released next week in bottles only, throughout the province. The #2 features Warrior and Azacca only, with a larger dry-hop addition this time around. For bottle purchases, look for the batch number on the side of the label; you can head to this site to check out which hops were used in each batch.

• After an initial release at last weekend’s Full House event for NSCBW, Lunn’s Mill is officially launching their latest American IPA, Purple Grain. A gold-coloured brew featuring a “balanced malt body with notes of honey”, it was hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Citra for “tangy and slightly spicy” flavors.  This 5.5% ABV, Prince-themed beer is available for growler fills at the brewery, but only a small amount is left, so drop by during their opening hours (or request a growler delivery)!

• We’d love to tell you about the Jade Moon APA from Tidehouse, but there’d be no point in that because it’s gone already, thanks to its presence at both last weekend’s Craft Beer Full House and the Timeraiser event at the Halifax Central Library this past Monday. While we wait to see whether that one makes a reappearance, however, the gang has two even newer beers for us this week. First we’ve got another in the APA style, ‘Insert Clever Name Here’ Pale Ale, a 5.5% ABV beer with 56 or so IBU, 97% of which came from post-boil additions of pungent Simcoe and Citra hops. The grist sees 2-Row supplemented with Maris Otter and Munich, which should give it a solid malt base against which passionfruit, lemon zest and light pineapple notes will contrast. This one will be available for fills at the brewery this weekend and is also slated to be on tap at Halifax’s new noodle sensation, Water & Bone, posthaste.

• Also debuting this weekend is the first in a new series of beers brewed by Shannon Higgins (née Rockwell), partner of Tidehouse principal Shean Higgins. Rockwell Series vol. I is a truly big DIPA that comes in at 9%. It’s been heavily hopped (“to high heaven”) with modern American hop varieties Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra giving notes of orange, mango and peaches. Shannon also tells us it has a creamy body and thirst-quenching dry finish and it’s the beer she “wants to drink”. We suspect she won’t be alone on that one. Look for it at the brewery today and Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market tomorrow for fills for sure, and possibly on tap elsewhere, if we don’t drink it all first.

Garrison has hopped aboard the canning train after 20 years of their beers being available exclusively in bottle form (outside of kegs, of course!). One of their first beers, Tall Ship, is available now in 473 mL cans, with several more brands – including Seaport Blonde  available this weekend, and Juicy! DIPA following in the near future. Featuring new label designs, the NSLC and Halifax private stores will be the first to receive all three beers (outside of the brewery), but they will also be selling in NB and Newfoundland (and at least one brand in PEI, and parts West as well) by this summer. We asked Garrison man-about-town Jeff Green about the addition of cans to the Garrison brand, here’s what he had to share: “The people have spoken. Cans, specifically the 473ml (16 oz.) cans continue to grow in popularity and we are pumped to finally be bringing something to the party. Cans allow us to offer some favourites like Tall Ship in a second format, move certain seasonals like Seaport Blonde into a better pack for and serve up some new beauties like Juicy! in a more portable, chillable, crushable (see what I did there) package. We also get to design some cool new labels and have fun with the huge array of textures and design highlights available from the great folks at FastTrack Packaging. After 20 years exclusively in bottle format, we are SUPER excited to see what the future holds with cans!”

• Garrison is also proud to release the first of two special releases to celebrate 20 years of brewing craft beer in Halifax. Launched yesterday at the brewery, 20th Anniversary Triple IPA is a hybrid beer, lying somewhere between an extra-strong Imperial IPA and an American Barleywine. It features a simple grain bill of 100% Maritime Pale Ale Malt, with Glacier, Amarillo, Citra, El Dorado, and Crystal hops in the boil and Crystal and Centennial for dry-hop. Cold conditioned for two full seasons, it weighs in at a hefty 9% and 100 IBU. Despite the very strong malt presence, it still manages to be hop-forward, with earthy, floral, fruity hop flavors, fruity yeast esters, and sweet malt notes, including caramel flavours developed during an extended boil. This beer is available now at the brewery in bottles and you’ll also be able to find it by next week at the private stores in Halifax and, eventually, in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Nine Locks will soon be releasing Ginger Rye, a full-bodied, red-colored ale. Brewed with an unspecified amount of Rye and Wheat malt, it features “subtle caramel malts, and a restrained ginger presence on the palate”, according to the brewery. Finishing with some “assertive spiciness” thanks to the addition of real ginger in the brewing process, it clocks in at 5.6% ABV and 15 IBUs, and will be available soon at the brewery only, on tap. And keep your eyes on this space for upcoming details on their first SMaSH beer, brewed earlier this week.

• Rothesay’s Foghorn has re-released The Yellow Dart, a beer we haven’t seen since the brewery originally launched last fall. This India Session Ale (aka Session IPA) has been tweaked slightly in the hop department, now including Vic Secret, Columbus, and Huell Melon, providing lots of tropical character in the aroma. Out just in time for the hot days we’ve finally been experiencing, it’s the perfect summer slammer you’ve been waiting for. At 4.5% ABV and 35 IBUs, it’s available now at the brewery taproom for pints and growlers; keep your eyes open on your favourite Foghorn tap accounts, as it may pop up there as well.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock has two new releases out now, and a special launch this weekend for one of them. Dark as Keji is the Black IPA we told you about last month, and is now in wide release. The 6.5% ABV beer is available in sixpacks at the NSLC and private stores, and of course at the brewery in Shelburne. But what better way to enjoy it than under a dark sky in Keji itself? Tomorrow evening at the Sky Circle at Kejimkujik National Park, there will be samples of the beer available from 8PM, followed by a Dark Sky look at the stars at 9:30PM presented by Parks Canada, Friends of Keji, and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. And for every sixpack of Dark as Keji sold, Boxing Rock is donating 50 cents to FoK.

• Boxing Rock’s second release this week is the winner of their Second Annual Black Box Challenge. Homebrewer Brian Harvey, who brews under the moniker 1029 Brewing, had used the ingredients provided to put together Grafted, an Orange Peel Sour, which garnered solid marks from the judges, and took the top prize aided by his unique presentation. He visited the brewery in Shelburne last month to brew the full-sized batch, and it is now available to the rest of us. A sour mash was performed to get the beer started on the right foot, with orange peel used in both the mash and the boil for an extra citrus kick. The 5.5% ABV beer has been bottled, and is available now at the private stores in HRM, with growlers available at the Market and brewery. Grab one today to see what all the fuss is about!

Unfiltered‘s popular SMaSH DIPA, Double Orange Ale (7.5% ABV), featuring everyone’s favourite hop, Citra, is back again starting today; drop by Charm School for a pint and/or growler fill.

• Released last night at the brewery in Rose Valley, BarNone has a brand new beer out, using all Island-grown barley. Grown by the Craig family in Tryon, it was malted by Horton Ridge in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, and sent back across the bridge for use. Hopped as a Pale Ale, the malt is the key in this 5.0% beer, with the subtle earthy character of the base malt shining through nicely, even giving a slight spice character. Grab Try On next Growler Night at the brewery (Thursdays from 6), and look for it at BN’s regular taps on the Island shortly.

• The St. John’s Beer Tours website went live on the weekend, and tickets are selling fast! The first tours of the season will be held Friday, June 2nd, and typically run in the afternoons of Thursday-Sunday each week throughout the summer. There are deep discounts for the first tours of the season, so be sure to snag one today. Depending on the tour type chosen (anything from Axes & Ales, Scuff & Scoff, Ultimate Townie Brew Tour, or Hoppy Highlights), participants visit different spots in St. John’s and nearby Quidi Vidi. They are also holding a contest on Facebook, to win a day in the brewery with Mill Street St John’s Head Brewer Dan Boldrini.

The PEI Brewing Co. will be opening up a new location for pint purchases and growlers-to-go at the PEI Factory Shops at Cows Creamery. The Beer Station will basically act as an extended, miniature version of the brewery’s taproom on Kensington Rd., with six taps available (featuring five PEIBC core beers, and one rotating seasonal), and a small retail section with various clothing products available for purchase. Customers can enjoy a pint on-site, as well as several food items from a limited menu, and can pick up a variety of cans and bottles (as well as growler fills) to take home. Look for the Beer Station to open by the end of this month.

• Earlier this year, Central City Brewing in Surrey, BC, brewed up a collaboration beer with a brewery from each province. Each of the 12 beers has been brewed at Central City’s Surrey brewery specially for this collaboration and embodies the region they represent. A brewer/representative from each collaborating brewery joined the Central City brewers to brew the recipe that they helped design. These have been trickling out to the stores in each province, either at the provincial stores, or private shops. Highlighting the beers produced with our local breweries, with the full list available here:  Picaroons collaborated on Restored Hop(e) ESB, inspired by the province’s motto Spem reduxit, meaning “Hope is restored”. Garrison came in with “New” Scottish Ale, a lightly peated Scottish Ale. PEI Brewing Company brought together local ingredients for Bière d’ici Honey Ale, using PEI honey and Maritimes-grown hops, a lighter take on the Bière de Garde style. Quidi Vidi Brewing Company went German for Hop To The East Hefeweizen, with new tropical-aromatic hops, for a unique twist on this classic style. To celebrate the releases, they will be holding tasting events at each of the participating breweries during the second week of June: Monday June 12th at Quidi Vidi, Thursday June 15th at PEI Brewing Company, Friday June 16th at Picaroons, and Saturday June 17th at Garrison. Look for more details on these events in the coming weeks. And look for the 12-pack of beer at your local ANBL now, and coming some to the PEILCC and NLC. In Nova Scotia, while the NSLC will not be carrying it, Bishop’s Cellar will have it for sale in June.

Remember to check ahead if your local beer store or brewery is open for this long weekend. We suggest stocking up early and often, just to be sure…

• There are no solid details available as of publishing time, but we have it on pretty good authority that Stillwell‘s Beergarden will be opening this weekend. Before you start beating down their door, however, peep an eye to their Social Media page, as well as the Beergarden page on their site, the banner will proclaim the good news. As it is an outdoor spot, it is very weather-dependent.

• Saint John’s Grannan’s Seafood is holding a special tasting with Picaroons on Wednesday, May 24th. Featuring six courses paired with six Picaroons beers – hosted by Chef Johnny High and Picaroons’ Ian Covey – the opening reception starts at 6:30 pm, with dinner starting at 7:00. Tickets are $50 (+ tax and tip), and can be reserved by calling 506-634-1555.

Lion & Bright is holding a Cider Tap Takeover next Thursday, May 25th, from 6-10 pm. Six cider-makers (Annapolis Valley, Bulwark, Chainyard, Meander River, Planters Ridge, and Red Rover) will be pouring a total of  at least 12 different ciders; “fresh bar bites” will be available, with a live DJ providing your tunes. Early bird tickets are $15 each, and include eight 3 oz samples (additional drink tickets will be available at four for $8); during the first hour, and also allow you entry at 6 pm for a one hour meet and greet with representatives from each cider producer. If you don’t pre-purchase tickets, no worries! You can still drop by after 7 pm to buy drink tickets as you go.

• On Thursday, May 25th, the 85th Annual Apple Valley Blossom Festival will be holding Blossom Brew Night at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market from 5-9 pm. Your $25 ticket (buy now online; $35 if purchased at the door) includes a souvenir glass and your first six beer tickets, with more available for purchase at the event. A variety of local breweries, cideries, and distilleries will be pouring. Food will also be available for sale on-site.

• There are still tickets available for next weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, at the Moncton Coliseum. Friday, May 26th 7:30-10PM, and Saturday 2:30-5PM and 7:30-10PM. Your $55 ticket (only $45 for the Sat afternoon session) gets you unlimited sampling of 150 beer from 70 breweries across the Maritimes and beyond. Grab yours today.

Mill Street St. John’s is hosting their Spring Brewmaster’s Dinner May 31st at 6PM. They have invited Mill Street Ottawa’s Brewmaster Tim Hulley to join in the fun, and he will be bringing two new beers with him from the nation’s capital. Tickets are $69.99, and can be reserved by calling 709-383-7070.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar got their hands on a bottle of this year’s Samuel Adams Utopias (the white whale 27% ABV beer), and they are holding a tasting of said beer on Saturday, June 10th at the brewpub. At 10:45 am, before the pub opens, they will be passing out 18 tickets (one ticket per person, first come, first served), which will entitle you to purchase a 1 oz pour of Utopias for $11. When the bottle is empty (which will be shortly after 11 am, when the T&B opens), all tickets will be entered in a draw; the winner will receive the bottle as a souvenir.

• Ticket’s for this year’s Halifax Seaport Beer Festival have gone on sale this morning, being held August 11 & 12. Featuring sessions Friday and Saturday 7-9:30PM and Saturday 2-4:30PM (with VIP tickets available for an extra hour before the event opens), there will be more than 300 products from around Atlantic Canada, and the rest of the world. Brewery details are a bit thin at the moment, but last year’s list should give you an idea on what to expect. The VIP sessions always sell out, so if you’re so inclined, grab those today! Add too a bonus $5 off the entry price if purchased before the end of May.

Looks like that’s “it”… have a great long weekend!