Maritime Express Cider

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The last gasps of February have brought some truly awful weather to Atlantic Canada, but as we all know, March can always be counted on to be worse, right?! Well, wetter, for sure. And if that thought leaves you crying a little bit, might we suggest you acquire for yourself a suitable beverage in which to capture your tears? You might not be surprised to learn that for this purpose (and pretty much all others), we favour beer. Fortunately, we’ve got all kinds of breweries kicking out choice liquids in our region, and plenty of them have something new to tell you about today. We’ve even got another all-new brewery and a solid slate of beer-related events! So quit your crying and start reading; but definitely do what you can to get beer involved in your weekend!

Great news for those looking for beer in downtown Truro, you now have a great brewery to visit! Truro Brewing Company, located at 53 Inglis Place, is just a stone’s throw from Victoria Park and the Prince Street main drag. Opening their doors to the public today (and every day except Monday) at 2 PM, you can pop in for pints of their Willow Street Wheat, a 4.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, Hub Town Honey Brown, 5.2% ABV, Cobequid Bay IPA, 6.3% ABV, and Exit 14 Porter, 4.6% ABV. We are also offering Trackside American Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV, and then grab growlers of any of those to take away, to keep the good beer vibes humming. To learn more about Jana and Trish, the dynamic duo behind the brewery, check out the Profile we ran on TBC yesterday. Congratulations!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a big beer out this week to help us shake off the late-February ice and snow. The name VSOP rightly conjures ideas of spirits, specifically Cognac, with special care taken to the selection and age of the liquor in the bottle. The same goes with Big Spruce’s VSOP, which is a Cognac Barrel Aged Barleywine, their first release of the kind. The deep amber beer features massive aromatics of oak and spirits thanks to the aging process in the freshly-emptied barrel, and follows through on the tongue as well, with a sweet warmth from the 11% ABV, finishing with dark fruit notes. VSOP is available on draught at the brewery, and soon in 330 ml bottles, the perfect size for tackling this big beer solo in front of a cozy fireplace. And yes, Halifax peoples, bottles will be heading your way in the near future.

Brand new big, super-hoppy beer debuting at 2 Crows tomorrow, if you’re into that sort of thing (newsflash: people are!). Bedlam Bridge Double IPA was brewed with a grist of 2-Row, Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Mash-hopped and first-wort-hopped with Columbus, a “hefty dose” of Azacca was added in the hopback as well. Of COURSE there are dry-hop additions in this beer: first, one with more Azacca during fermentation with Foggy London, a hazy IPA strain from Escarpment Labs, and then two more afterwards, with even more Azacca, along with Citra and Vic Secret. So yeah, triple-dry-hopped, so just get ready to hand over your money. You may be expecting a juicy beer, and you wouldn’t be wrong! Look for notes of “pineapple, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit”, and more. It weighs in at 8% ABV, and is on tap and in cans at opening Saturday. They’ll also be hosting a Real Fake Meats popup at 4 pm at the brewery, and live music at 8 pm. Hops = party!

We’ve got a pair of hoppy beauts to tell you about from Propeller Brewing this week. The first is the latest release from their Pilot system, which is soon to be installed at the Quinpool Road location opening this Spring. With their success in the hazy IPA genre with Galaxy and Sabro DIPA, this release is a return to the old school with West Coast IPA. Describes as “crisp, clear, and assertively bitter”, it was hopped early with Simcoe and Amarillo to a hefty 78 IBU, and these hops shine through in both flavour and bitterness, with citrus, pine, and floral notes from later additions of Citra and Centennial. As this is a small batch release, it is on draught only, and currently, the sole point of sale for this 7.2% ABV beer is in the Propeller Arcade in the basement of their Gottingen Street taproom. Old School Beer with Old School Games, sounds like a great match to us! And if you’re visiting the Gottingen Street taproom today, keep an eye open for their weekly cask release, which is Porter with Cardamom added. Brewer Denys used a delicate approach to the addition, but it is still present and shines through, sure to satisfy even the most savage beast.

And in “returning beer news” from Propeller, they polled the audience late last year to find out which beer they should bring back in February, and the winner is Sasquatch Pale Ale! Featuring the first Canadian-patented hop by the same name, Sasquatch is a medium bodied hazy and juicy pale ale featuring plenty of tropical mango and pineapple character, with just a touch of cedar and fresh grapefruit. Catch a can or fill, while you’re able, at both Prop Shops now. 

And for those Propeller fans not in HRM, we kindly direct you to visit the Antigonish Townhouse for a Propeller Tap Takeover. From 4 PM, Prop will be pouring 8 different beers on draught, including the aforementioned Galaxy and Sabro, as well as a special cask for the event, Porter aged on rum-soaked oak. Pop in and stay for a while! 

Amherst’s Trider’s has taken their first crack at brewing a lager, a “Japanese Lager” they’ve named Dry Senso. Brewed with a “healthy” amount of rice in the grist, it was hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace. Fermented slowly over a period of a couple weeks with the S23 dry Lager yeast, it was then lagered for two more weeks before packaging. Easy-drinking and fairly dry, it comes in at 5.5% ABV. This one will be available on tap only, both at the brewery (where you can also purchase growlers) and select licensees, this coming Tuesday (Mar 3), and for those attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, they’ll be pouring it next weekend as well! 

Speaking of the Capital Region, Niche Brewing has a brand new release they’re touting this week, Kashmir. A new addition to their family of mixed-fermentation beers, Kashmir started life with a base malt blend of Pilsner and 2-Row, along with CaraHell and Wheat malts for fuller body/sweetness, and mouthfeel/head retention, respectively. Lightly hopped in the boil with Hallertau Blanc, the wort underwent fermentation with their house culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains. With ferm complete, they dry-hopped with loads of Cashmere, to grab all of that melon, tropical, and citrus character. Paired with the tart and funky base beer, this is a winning combination. Kegs of Kashmir are out in the wild in New Brunswick, and loyal Niche fans in HRM will soon be rewarded for their patience, as we understand that and a couple other kegs will be on the board at Stillwell at some point late next week.

Two of New Brunswick’s breweries have come together to create a collaboration beer to showcase a new, experimental hop variety, HBC 586, that they obtained from Hops Connect. Foghorn and TrailWay developed the recipe together and brewed the same beer at each brewery. A 6.5% ABV American IPA brewed with a majority of 2-row malt and a touch of Munich, Undercover Hop was hopped exclusively with HBC 586, and fermented with an American yeats strain. The beer is exhibiting notes of “mango, mandarin-citrus, beerries, and a white wine-like fruitiness”, according to TW. There will no doubt be one or two minor differences in each brewery’s release, as technique/equipment/etc plays a role, so best that you compare the two, if possible! TW is launching theirs today on tap and in cans at the brewery; look for Foghorn’s version to hit their taps sometime early next week.

And while visiting TW, why not grab cans or fills of their latest batch of Good As? Featuring NZ darling hop Motueka, with a touch of Citra added, this 6.6% ABV beer throws off massive citrus zest and stone fruit character. On tap and in cans at the brewery now, it will also see limited distro to ANBLs in the region next week, so pop in and check/demand it!

Back to Nova Scotia, where Shipwright Brewing has an American Brown Ale on tap. City Bound was brewed with a blend of Golden Promise, raw oats, and roasted malts, to the tune of 5.2% ABV. Hopped with Simcoe and Eureka (to 32 IBUs), the final beer has “aromas of coffee, molasses, and toasted bread”, along with more coffee (and some brown sugar) on the palate, and finishes with a firm bitterness. This beer was originally launched at the Craft Beer Cottage Party in Halifax a few weeks ago, but it’s now on tap at Shipwright and the Grand Banker in Lunenburg. 

Those of you in the Fredericton area can keep your eyes peeled for a newish beer from 3Flip Brewing next weekend; we say “newish” because it did make an appearance at the brewery’s 1-year birthday party at the Joyce a couple of weeks ago, but the rest of the kegs will be popping up next week. Roggen-Roll All Night Long is the brewery’s take on a Roggenbier, a German rye beer. It’s traditional for beers of this style to be brewed with a minimum of 50% rye malt; for those of you who have brewed with rye before, you will know this is not an easy feat, as more rye typically translates to a higher chance of a stuck sparge (basically meaning that your transfer of wort from your mash tun to your boil kettle slows down… or even stops; lots of swearing usually ensues). 3Flip also incorporated 2-row, Munich and some specialty malts into their grist, and lightly hopped the wort with Willamette (to 16 IBUs). Fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain, the final beer has a little sweetness from the malt, some clove and banana, and a “spicy and almost sour-like rye character, with a slightly bitter finish”; it weighs in at 6.3% ABV. 3Flip is also releasing the second batch of their Pilsennial SMaSH IPA, an all-Pilsen malt, all-Centennial hopped, 5.3% ABV brew.

International Women’s Day is just around the corner (Sunday, March 8th), which means we’re starting to see some info trickling in from the annual brewdays to celebrate this day. Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has given us all the deets for their entry, The Bees Knees, a Honey Wheat Ale. Brewed with honey from Meander Farm, this 5.2% ABV, 25 IBUs beer has aromas of “soft, sweet melon, and doughy wheat characters”, accompanied by flavours of honey, melon, wheat, and berries. Finishing with a mixture of light bitterness and honey sweetness, it’s easy-drinking and refreshing. You’ll be able to find it on tap at both Garrison locations in the city starting next Friday, as well as in cans; some cans will also be sold at Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines & Spirits. Look for the beer’s official launch to happen on March 8th; they’ll be hosting some local women vendors at their Seaport taproom for a Makers and Vintage market. Garrison will also be donating $0.50 from the sale of every can to create a Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC. And be sure to stop and admire the artwork on your can of beer, as it was designed by local artist Rachel Brisson. 

Newfoundland’s Secret Cove Brewing has two new fruited beers for you heading into the weekend, both part of the brewery’s new Petite Pilot Program, allowing them to play a bit and exhibit some fun, small batch beers. First off is A Night at the Raspberry, which was released last night. This is a Raspberry Wheat Ale that features an addition of local wild raspberries; it clocks in at an easy-drinking 5.1% ABV. Next up is CherryOake (rhymes with “karaoke”) a beer that will be dropping at the brewery tonight at 9 pm. This is another wheat ale, however, it’s a little more complex than the first beer we mentioned. The beer was aged briefly in a French Oak barrel, along with dark tart and red sweet cherries that had been soaked in Newfoundland Distillery Company gin. This 5.2% ABV beer is tart and fruity, with a slight touch of oak. This one will be available for pints only at the taproom.

Looks like Petit-Sault is having fun playing with hoppy beers lately, as they just released their latest at the brewery, Oat Saint-Jean IPA. This beer is a collaboration with one of the brewery’s original brewers, Jason Dionne, who is currently working at Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Brewed with very high amounts of both malted and flaked oats (so you know this one is going to be hazy), a whole whack of Citra, Vic Secret, and Simcoe hops were used in the brew. The result is a beer chock-full of fruity goodness, including aromas of “citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit”. You can find it on tap at the brewery today, with bottles following sometime next week.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has a new release this week, just in time for the weekend. Session Lager aims to be what it says on the tin, an easy drinking lighter 3.9% ABV beer that’s going to be refreshing regardless of what you’re doing. Light grain character with a frothy white head, sounds like a killer sipper to us. Don’t think that means they’ve just dashed it out, though, this one has been in development at the brewery for over a year! QVBC has done something new with this release, with the addition of Clarex. This additive serves two purposes in the brewing process, by increasing the clarity of the beer by dropping out gluten-containing molecules. While Quidi Vidi has the lab work back to prove gluten is below the normal threshold for detection (less than 5 ppm), they do caution that as it was made from gluten-containing barley, it cannot be considered gluten-free. This means it’s fine for those of you watching your gluten intake, but those with celiac should take heed (we know mileage varies greatly with this disease). What it does mean, however, is more beer for more people! Look for it in QV’s Hop Shop today and NLC locations as early as tomorrow. The brewery would definitely love if those who try it would provide a little feedback on the beer, which can be done by following this link right here.

And submissions are open for their second year of the Home Chef/Home Brew dinner. They are looking for four amateur chefs to create a small plate to pair with their recently released four-pack of beers chosen in the Newfermenters homebrew competition. These chefs will pair up with the brewers to create plates that will be served at Chinched April 2nd. Submit your recipe entry via email to Chinched, and we’ll remind you of the tasting event closer to the date!

The gang’s all back together again! 902 BrewCast has released their February Tasting Episode this morning, just in time for your commute to/from work this chilly Friday. Catching up on the various ailments and maladies they’ve been feeling the last couple of months, ranting about the impending doom by the name of White Claw hitting the shelves in the region, as well as chatting up their recent foray into beer reviewing. Oh, and they drank some beer on the podcast, too! Listen in to hear what they’re digging, or not, these days, and what’s coming next from them.

Lots of things for beer lovers to do this weekend:

Good news if you’re in Kentville and a big fan of both cider and beer… Maritime Express Cider is hosting a mini-tap-takeover today, with six of their taps going towards beers from Lunn’s Mill. Don’t worry, there will still be Maritime Express cider available, so you’re getting the best of both worlds! They’ll be giving out some prizes as well, so be sure to drop by if you’re in the area.

We’re all for any excuse for a new beer from Tatamagouche Brewing, and with 2020 being a Leap Year, they’ve brewed a new Weird Beer to be released at the brewery tomorrow, February 29th. We have all the info on this newbie, but they don’t want us to give too much away, so too bad! Hmm, let’s see, what to tease… well, it’s big (ABV-wise), it’s barrel-aged, it’s beer… I guess that’s it! You’re just going to have to drop by Tata yourself tomorrow; they’ll launch it at 2 pm and have live music to help celebrate until 5 pm. The official event page is here, but it doesn’t reveal anything more about the beer, so don’t get too excited!

Bar Stillwell in Halifax has a weekend full of fun and cheer, with events both Saturday and Sunday. From noon tomorrow, they are welcoming Toronto’s Blood Brothers Brewing in the house, who will be making their debut on the taps in a big way, bring 9 draught and a handful of bottled offerings. Featuring Blood Light, Inner Eye, and Blood Brotherhood, the wall will also showcase four beers in their Paradise Lost sour series, including Guava, Apricot-Plum, Spiced Cherry, and Blueberry-Vanilla-Spice. And what’s great beer without killer food? In addition to their regularly scheduled menu, Stilly’s Joe Martin will be bringing the heat with a full Southern BBQ feast featuring Briket, Pork Ribs, Crispy Fried Chicken, Cornbread, and more! Check the FB Event for more beer and food detes.

The fun at Stilly continues Sunday, with “Wild West Brunch Bonanza”, the latest event from the Cahoots Cooks Collective. Attendees can expect 6 courses from 6 amazing local chefs who head up or support incredible kitchens in the HRM. Your ticket also includes a bourbon or beer (and then it’s order whatcha’d like from the taps or cocktail menu), plus live music from The Big Country Ramblers. This event is by reservation only, so email Sam to book your seats for the event! Doors open at 12:30, with the food starting at 1 PM.

Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is hosting their second annual Homebrewers Meet & Greet at the brewery tomorrow, Feb 29th. From 2 – 5 PM, it will be a casual drop-in event where you can come chat with other local homebrewers, pick their brains on the latest recipes and gear purchases, as well as see how things are different, and the same, when scaling batches from 20 litres to 2000 litres. Guided brewery tours will take place at 3 and 4 PM, there are door prizes, and no charge for the event.

One final reminder to our pals who live/will be in Fredericton next Thursday. We will be taking over the mics at The Joyce Pub in the Crowne Plaza for everyone’s favourite event, Beer Trivia! Thanks to our amazing brewery friends, we will once again be overflowing with prizes for the brainiest of the bunch of you, and if you’ve been reading the blog for a bit, you’re sure to do well (hint, hint!). If you are still on the fence, here’s what will definitely get you in the door: Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing is in town, and bringing a dozen beers to pour from the taps that evening, a mix of their core beers, beers from the cellar, as well as at least one brand new release even WE don’t know about yet (shocking)! Peep the FB Event to learn more. And we’ll see you all on Thursday, March 5th! And for those breweries looking to donate swag to this fun event, please hit us up on social media or via email!

And a few last brief (or maybe not so brief) things to mention this week before we leave you to it (whatever “it” may be…):

Though they’ve been hinting at it for a couple of weeks, Boxing Rock made it official this week that they’re getting into the cider game. You’ll find their as-yet-unnamed cider on tap and as growlers to-go at Local Source in the city as well as at the tap room in Shelburne. And about that “as-yet-unnamed” bit, they’d love to have some help giving it a moniker; hit them up on social media with your best ideas! They also released The Publican Bitter to Local Source neighbours, the Stillwell Freehouse, earlier this week. Described as, “a 5% balancing act,” with a hint of sweetness and a lingering bitterness, if you’re lucky it’s still pouring there.

Landwash, in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has reached their hundredth mash! Which is different from their hundredth batch in ways that only a brewer would appreciate… Anyways, their Green Nap, a hazy IPA that sees a rotating variety of hops came back just in time for you to toast this milestone along with them. Plenty of orange, mango skin, and apricot notes bloom from a combo of Simcoe and Amarillo hops. We suggest if you’re a hophead and can get your hands on this one you do so with a quickness. And even if you’re not a hophead, you should check out the current offerings, as their Sour and Salty Brackish is also back, and you can also pick up Smiling Land (Kolsch-style Ale), Home and Away (APA), That Much Ocean (NEIPA), Hazures Rock (Breakfast Stout), and Rock and Willow (Rustic Saison) all at the brewery on tap for growler fills and pints and in cans.

With all of the good news of new breweries and new releases, it’s important to keep grounded: the brewery business in the Atlantic Provinces is healthy, but that does not mean there will not be closures. Whether related solely to the business side of things or not, we understand now that Valonray Brewing in MacDougall Settlement has closed. The brewery was an ambitious project that opened in Spring 2018, with the goal of brewing beer in the Belgian tradition with ingredients grown on their farm. We had recently reported on their foray into the Flanders Red style, but with their social media, website, and email no longer functioning, we are not able to update on its availability, nor track the age of these previously released bottles at the ANBL, and whether they are still good. Learn more about their plans in our profile of them from March 2018. We wish the Fontaines all of the best with whatever they choose to do next!

We are officially in holiday season, which means the breweries in our region are working overtime to keep you well stocked for however you celebrate, or don’t, the season. Check out what should be in your mug or glass below, in between pints of eggnog.

Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester has a pair of new beers on our radar, available for purchase at both their taproom at 59 Duke Street right in town, as well as their Chester Basin brewery on Angus Hiltz Rd. The first is Field Blend, the second of their Harvest Release lime featuring Nova Scotia grape skins (the first being Millot, which is still available in limited quantities). Field Blend is a Belgian Saison fermented on a blend of 50 kg of Riesling & Viognier grapes skins from Planters Ridge in Port Williams. Spicy notes from the yeast meld with notes of pear and apple, in a nice and dry finishing 6.8% ABV beer. And released last week is Cherry Almond Milk Stout. No, it doesn’t contain Almond Milk, but cherries, almond, and lactose (aka, milk sugar). After initial fermentation with London Ale yeast, this beer spent time in rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery. This 8.0% ABV beauty is available in bottles and on tap at the brewery and taproom.

Fredericton’s Picaroons Brewing Company dropped a bomb on the Capital City last week with the release of five different barrel-aged beers. All of them are available in limited quantities in bottles, with a pair of them also available on draft. Here’s the lowdown:
#1: Their Plaid to the Bone Scotch Ale aged for 12 months in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels. Plenty of bourbon character, and will be available in kegs for draught at select licensees as well as in bottles.
#2: Their Plaid to the Bone Scotch Ale aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrels for several months, but showing the spirit less-so than #1. Also available on draught and in bottles.
#3: This is the Plaid to the Bone from a single Jim Beam barrel, showing a bold and unique character from the blend found in #2, and so they wanted to highlight it on its own. One keg was packaged, complementing the bottles.
#4: This is a departure from the PttB, as they’ve taken their Winter Warmer and aged it in a Jim Beam Rye barrel. Something different also happened during the aging process, as this beer has turned lightly acidic, with a tart quality on the nose palate. Just one barrel, so this is limited to bottles.
#5: The only blend of the releases is two-thirds Winter Warmer aged in barrels, blended with one-third 2019 Winter Warmer. Plenty of the dried fruit and spice notes from the base beer, with lighter oak and vanilla notes than the other releases.
All bottles are available at their retail locations in Fredericton, Saint John, and St Stephen, with select kegs of a few of these at their own taprooms and a couple of licensees around the province.
Also keep an eye out for a pair of Holiday themed releases out now, their Blitzen Coffee Stout, made with Java Moose Coffee’s Hazelnut and French Vanilla beans, and Xmas Tree IPA, a take on their Pivot brewed with spruce tips.

Sticking not-too-far-from-Fredericton, the town of Harvey is home to Off Grid Ales, who has done their first canning run, and promptly sent the brand new release to ANBL shops. Morning Light is a 4.2% ABV English Amber Ale, featuring a base of Maris Otter malt and hopping from traditional Noble hops to the tune of 25 IBUs. Light and nutty malt is complemented by spice and woody notes from the hopping. In addition to being their first canned offering, it’s actually a can exclusive, with the majority of the beer sent to local ANBLs in six-packs of 355s. Find it close to you by checking this link, with it now available in Fredericton, Oromocto, and Saint Andrews, with ANBLs in Saint John and Moncton coming soon. Plus Black’s Grocery & Cafe in Harvey Station.

Yesterday was a special day for the Battery Park and North Brewing families, as they celebrated the 4th Anniversary of BP’s opening with a full North Tap Takeover. If you’re lucky, a few gems will still be pouring by the time you read this. No tap takeover is complete without a few special releases, and this was no different, as it marked the latest in the series of collaborations between North and Benjamin Bridge winery in Gaspereau Valley. Saison de Petite Pearl began life as a clean saison, and then got the BB treatment: for the first time, the crew at North received whole grapes (rather than must or pomace) of the Petite Pearl variety, which they crushed by hand (by foot) at the brewery before adding the entire ~220 litres of must and skins to the beer for a second fermentation. After completion, the 7.4% ABV hybrid was bottle conditioned and is now available for purchase at both North retail spots (at Battery Park and their new location at 899 Portland Street). Also available now is the barrel-aged version of last year’s collab release, Saison de Chardonnay. Just a single French oak barrel was filled with last year’s SdC, and sat for 10 months, before packaging and release. This release is in very limited quantities, with just 20 cases available (there’s only so much room in a barrel!), and is also 7.4% ABV and available now at both spots.

This week Propeller in Halifax is releasing a collab between the brewery and the Propeller Arcade called Polybius, named after a mysterious game of that name around which an urban legend involving the FBI and/or CIA developed in the early 1980s. Did US government agencies really create a mind-control experiment in the form of an arcade game in the early 80s? Nobody knows for sure, or if they do, they ain’t talkin’. Regardless, over the past year or so the Propeller Arcade has become an urban legend of its own in a positive way, bridging beer and a love of retro (and not so retro) gaming. Polybius is a hazy and juicy pale ale that’s sure to pair well with blips, bleeps, dings, and dongs. It’s available at the brewery in cans and for fills and pints, as well as in the Arcade itself, of course. This weekend also marks another all-ages afternoon at the Arcade, with kids welcome on Sunday from 12 – 8 PM (ed: we were originally told 12 – 4), as well as the appearance starting tonight of a special surprise game and a corresponding high-score competition that will see the winner go home with a Sega Genesis. And if you’re planning on heading down after work this afternoon, today’s cask will be their Porter with smoked black tea. Lastly, if you know anyone who’s a financial whiz and looking to get into (or stay in) the beer industry, Propeller is advertising for a Controller, responsible for all financial aspects of the business. If that sounds like you (or maybe someone you know), you can check out the full job ad on Career Beacon.

Up in Nyanza, Big Spruce is releasing a beer with a name that’s an ode to one of the colorful expressions of Cape Breton dialect. Conniption Fit is a Golden Ale at a gentle 4.0% ABV, so you can have a couple and not blow your chances at winning Meat Darts. Crisp and refreshing, and only 10 IBU, it’s designed to be an easy-drinking option for the holidays. So really a beer that’s all about kicking back, relaxing, and strictly NOT having a conniption fit. Also in Big Spruce news, they’re once again running their Holiday Home Delivery service this season. December 20th will be the Cape Breton run and 21st will be the HRM. You can order any combination of cases of 24 cans or boxes of 12 bottles (mixing allowed for both!) as well as any swag they’ve got going on from the Sprucetique. Full details on what’s available can be found on the Fb event page and you can place and pay for your order by calling 902.295.ALES (2537). Then all you need to do is wait for the magic yellow van to reach your driveway on the appointed day with all your goodies tucked inside.

Niche Brewing in Haaaanwell, NB, have a new beer on the go this week, a bit of a departure from their usual mix of hoppy and yeast-driven styles. Cocio might very well be named after a chocolate milk drink from Denmark, but what it turns out to be is a 5.5% ABV porter brewed with Chocolate Rye (a “healthy portion”, per their wont). Neutral American yeast was leveraged to ensure that the focus of this beer is solidly on the malt flavors, yielding a beer with strong notes of milk chocolate, an undertone of spicy rye, a smooth mouthfeel, and a slightly sweet, roasty finish. The first pours of this one are most likely to be found at The Joyce, Ringo’s Grill, Peddler’s Creek BBQ and CAVOK Brewing.

Today sees the release of TrailWay Brewing’s first barrel-aged beer, 3rd Room. This particular beer started off in one of the brewery’s stainless steel fermenters, and was then moved to conditioning tanks and inoculated with a blend of Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus strains. The beer was then moved again, this time to Chardonnay barrels where it was allowed to age for a little over a year before packaging in 750 mL bottles. Bottle-conditioned for a further 6 months, the 6.3% ABV beer is exhibiting “moderate acidity, buttery Chardonnay character, plenty of oak; overall quite clean but with some background fruity funk”. There’s only 200 bottles of this one available; they go on sale at the brewery starting today. If you’re grabbing a bottle this weekend, they’ll also have a new iteration of their 8% ABV fruited DIPA, Hopical Trop; this batch was hopped with Mosaic and conditioned on blueberries and oranges. It’ll be available on tap and in cans.

Sticking with beer and wood*, 2 Crows is releasing a new foedre-aged beer this Saturday, Run By Night. This beer, a Grisette, was brewed back in July with Pilsner, wheat malt and raw wheat, and was hopped lightly in the boil with Huell Melon and Azacca. After fermentation with a blend of the brewery’s house cultures in one of their oak foedres, they added 700 lbs of whole Damson plums from Noggins Corner Farm. The beer was allowed to condition on the fruit for eight weeks before packaging in cans, where it carbonated naturally. The final product comes in at a highly-sessionable 3.4% ABV (and 12 IBUs), and is tasting “bright and tangy, with a cool marshmallow and marzipan vibe from the plum pits”. *

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has a wood-aged, wild beer release of their own this week, The Vanishing. They started with their Winter Warmer, Old Forte, and aged it for approximately six months in a red wine barrel from Dunhams Run (Kingston, NB). At this point the funk was coming through strongly, and the beer was allowed to sit for another six months before it was moved into a stainless tank… where it was conditioned on 50 lbs each of blueberries and raspberries, along with a pitch of Lactobacillus bacteria for souring. It was finally packaged in 650 mL bottles, and is tasting “funky, fruity, sour and crisp”. These types of beers are understandably difficult to replicate, so best get yourself to the brewery’s taproom to grab a bottle or two, as it’s a very limited release and won’t be available again.

Montague, PEI’s, Bogside Brewing has released the first in their SMaSH series of beers, featuring different malts from the island’s own Shoreline Malting. This week’s release is a Munich Dunkel, incorporating only Munich Malt and Northern Brewer hops. Copper in colour, and a happy 4.7% ABV and 22 IBUs, while the beer is malt-driven in flavour, it finishes dry and crisp, true to the original style. It is pouring from the Bogside taps now, and may hit a couple of licensees across the island over the next week, when cans will also be available thanks to the roving merry band at Craft Coast Canning.

As the air gets colder and the snow starts to fly, the Winter Ciders start to make their appearance across Atlantic Canada. Maritime Express Cider has got you covered with Snowed In, a Winter Cider that is big (8% ABV) and spicy. With notes of “cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and nutmeg”, along with aromas of fresh apple pie, it tips toward the sweet side for a cider, and reportedly goes down just a touch too easy… so drink in moderation! You can find it on tap and in bottles at the cidery; they also recommend giving it a try warmed up (the cider, not you).

Up in Mount Pearl, southwest of St. John’s, NL, Landwash has released the second batch of a beer that they acknowledge as one of the silliest beers they’ve ever brewed (and they’re counting the 100+ brews they did at Folly Brewing in Toronto). Is it a Milkshake IPA? A Pastry-like Pale Ale? A Sour IPA? A Key Lime Pie Sour Pastry Pale Ale? We don’t know either, but it’s something alright. Brewed in collaboration with the Merb’ys (aka the Newfoundland & Labrador Beard and Moustache Club), Bellyshake is oat-heavy, uses a Vermont yeast-strain and contains lactose, so it’s bound to be hazy and very smooth on the palate, but is also hopped with Sorachi Ace, a Japanese hop known for very herbal and lemony notes. And if that weren’t enough, it was conditioned on strawberry puree, vanilla, and “lots” of key lime juice. A true plethora of flavors vying for palate space. You can grab this ones in very swankly labeled cans at the brewery along with One Wave Blonde, Burn Your Boats (Bourbon barrel-aged RIS), and, as of yesterday, their Home & Away APA. We suggest moving quickly though, and/or keeping an eye on Landwash social media, as their beers move fast and holidays are a-comin’.

Back downtown in St. John’s, Bannerman Brewing has released their first dark lager, Only Shadows. Going traditional, they have embraced the Schwarzbier style, choosing Pilsner, Vienna, and dark and roasty malts to complete the grist. As such, big flavours of coffee and chocolate shine through on a light bodied beer with a dry finish. This 4.8% ABV beer is available now by the glass and in growler fills to enjoy there or take away. Take note that they’re closed for a private event this afternoon after 5 PM, so maybe leave work a few minutes early (or heck, we give you permission to take the whole afternoon off) to avoid disappointment.

Let’s keep the Bannerman connection going, but talking about a beer available in Nova Scotia, thanks to Wolfville’s Church Brewing. There’s a strong connection to Nfld as Church’s brewer Andrew Bartle is from Grand Falls, and is friends with Bannerman’s Dave Bridger and Phil Maloney. It only makes sense, then, that they’d team up for a collaboration brew. Enter Best Kind IPA. Playing in the Hazy IPA field, this bright light coloured beer started from pale malts and was fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Voss Kveik yeast, one of the famous Norwegian farmhouse yeasts to emerge in the last couple of years. Already bursting with bright citrus notes thanks to the yeast, these Best Kind pals took it to another level with generous hopping from El Dorado, Mosaic, and Idaho 7, to the tune of 2 kilos per hectolitre. Best Kind is launching at the brewery and restaurant on Main Street Wolfville tomorrow, available on tap for flights and pints, as well as their retail shop in cans and crowler fills, with cans also available at everyone’s favourite retail spot in Halifax, Bishop’s Cellar. And for those pals reading this post in Newfoundland, we have great news: Santa will be delivering a few kegs to Bannerman, so you’ll be able to grab a pint of it there soon enough.

In Halifax, Good Robot has a new beer on the go, but you’ll only be able to get it at the brewery. The first of Kelly Costello’s Beta Brews to be put into a cask, it was brewed with a couple of local beer nerds Steve Crane and Chris McCain who it turns out, like Kelly, are originally from New Brunswick. What better name for this one, then than Drive Thru Province. Nominally an ESB, with an emphasis on the ‘B’, it was brewed with British Pale malt, Flaked Barley, and Brown Malt, hopped with Cluster and Magnum, and fermented with a yeast known variously as London ESB and the Fuller’s strain. At 5.6% ABV, it’s definitely up there for a British style ale, but it’s the 104 (calculated) IBUs that should really set this one apart. Set for tapping on the traditional Beta Brewsday this coming Tuesday, December 17th at the GR tap room on Robie Street in Halifax. And keep your eyes open for Et Tu? Brut IPA which we told you about last week, it’ll actually be tapped next week.

A couple of events happening in Fredericton you should check out this weekend…

The folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are once again hosting the Christmas Beer Garden at the Market, taking place this Sunday, December 15th. Between 10 AM – 2:30 PM, pop by Boyce Farmers’ Market for a little break from the hustle and bustle of the season. Your ticket get you a glass to take home and your first 4 beer tickets (refills after that are $5). You can grab food from any of the dozens of vendors and bring it into the beer garden, it seems like the perfect opportunity to graze your way through the market while enjoying a pint! We do not yet have the full brewery list, but do know that Cross Creek Brewing and Big Spruce beers will be pouring, plus a few more New Brunswick breweries. Grab your tickets here right now!

And there are still a limited number of tickets for Saturday’s Christmas Brewery Tour of Fredericton, with buses doing tours of both the South and Northside of the city, hitting up perennial favourite breweries and cideries. Your ticket gets you a flight of beers or ciders at each stop, enough to wet your whistle and keep you going. Grab your tickets here!

And just a few more newsbites before we dismiss you from class this week…

Digby’s (and Kingston’s, more recently) Roof Hound Brewing has a pair of new beers pouring this week, on different sides of the flavour spectrum. Philosophers Pineapple Sour is a 3.6% ABV fruity, acidic, yet dry kettle sour bumped up with plenty of pineapple, with a touch of sage on the go as well. And keeping with the season, Chicken Bone Stout, yes, those chicken bones, done with a nitro touch, which you can grab now at Kingston, and at Battery Park sometime very, very soon. In-house enjoyment only, no growlers or bottles. Ed: after posting, we were informed that Roof Hound’s Digby location is open by appointment only over winter, while Kingston is open during the season.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is releasing their Third Place Imperial IPA this weekend, available for the first time in cans. This 8.5% ABV features loads of Mosaic, Galaxy, Idaho 7, and Azacca, for a mix of tropical notes for those holding on to the last vestiges of nice weather. Grab it tomorrow at Upstreet’s spots on tap and in cans, with cans hitting the shelves of the PEILCC next week. And head into the taproom this evening at 6 PM to see the Upstreet crew light their Christmas Tree, sing some carols, and drink some hot chocolate (and/or beer!).

With the holidays fast approaching, we thought we’d let you know about the new option that breweries and cider houses in our region are exploring, online shops! While you still need to be 19+ to order and receive the goods, and it’s not yet a thing in all provinces, the progress is welcome for those of us not able to visit breweries or better beer shops across the land. We know that these breweries are currently rocking and rolling with online sales, are there any others that we’ve missed? Let us know! 2 Crows, Lunn’s Mill, Stillwell, Tatamagouche

The crew at 902BrewCast have released a new episode this morning, with two active members of the Nova Scotia beer community. Kim Hart Macneill has been writing about beer in the province for several years, with a regular beer column in Halifax Magazine, plus a person. Jesse Hitchcock is a former employee in a Maritime brewery, avid beer fan, and human. They joined Phil and Tony to drink some beer and shoot the breeze about the goings on in the beer scene and beyond. Grab the episode here!

And finally, do you remember the call for wild hops that AgCan scientists Jason McCallum and Aaron Mills made a couple of years ago? Well, they have released that research this week, in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science. Together with Spencer Gallant of Lone Oak Brewing, who was completing his Masters in their lab, they have summarized their work on the characterization of hops, and looked at novel ways to do non-invasive identification of the subspecies of the plant. Or as they put it much more elegantly, “The native lupuloides accessions examined possess only trace amounts of this compound in their leaves (<0.10 total flavonols), suggesting its potential utility as a novel, leaf-derived chemotaxonomic marker for subspecies identification purposes. A leaf-derived taxonomic marker is useful for identifying wild-growing accessions, as leaves are present throughout the entire growing season, whereas cones are only produced late in summer. Additionally, the collection of cones from 10-meter tall wild plants in overgrown riparian habitats is often difficult.” If you’re as keen as we are about learning more, download the article here! Congrats to wortly, spirko, and jaymac (I just made one of those up, you decide which one).

We certainly had some bracing weather this week in and around the region and wouldn’t you know it, more than a couple of our breweries seem to have just the beers for cold weather coming out right around now. Add to that a couple of openings (one brewery, one taproom), and a slew of events and you’ve got a recipe for a long read today (sorry; not sorry). So without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?

In case you missed our Profile of Tire Shack Brewing last Friday (ahem, click here now), we can now confirm that they are open and serving beer! Located at 190 John Street in Moncton, the onsite brewery features a large taproom. They have five beers currently on tap to enjoy in their space, which are: The Specialist Blonde Ale (5.0% ABV), Secret Society Toasted Marshmallow Stout (5.5% ABV), Realignment Juicy Pale Ale (6.0% ABV), Full Service Double IPA (7.5% ABV), and Zenith Libation Cardamom Wit Beer (5.5% ABV). While they await the completion of their Retail Space, growlers can be filled at the bar, and cans of The Specialist, Secret Society, and Realignment are available as well. Their kitchen is scheduled to be fully operational in the New Year, so grab take-out from nearby, or order something to be delivered, and check out their new spot! Tire Shack is open 7 days a week: Sun 12 – 10 PM, Mon – Tues 11 – 10 PM, Wed – Thurs 11 – 11 PM, and Fri – Sat 11 – 12AM. Congratulations once again to Alan, Jerica, and Henry!

And speaking of openings, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is officially opening The Oxford Taproom today! This new location is located at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford, in the space formerly occupied by the Oxford Theatre. The interior is an ode to the former tenant, featuring the original movie projector and plenty of movie-themed design elements. The main level features the pilot brewery with 3 BBL (330 litre) of fermentation capacity (details on future pilot experimental and community releases coming when we have them!), full retail store, and taproom with seating for 60. Upstairs features a quieter space with lounge seating and a boardroom. The taproom features 16 draught lines of Garrison goodness, with the full complement of core and seasonal offerings, including their Brewhouse Cider (a collaboration with Bulwark), and a nitro tap. While they will not have a kitchen, patrons are encouraged to grab something from one of the dozens of nearby restaurants and enjoy it in the Oxford. The taproom and retail is open from noon daily (including today!) until 10 PM, and until midnight Friday and Saturday.

It’s not only new locations for Garrison this week, as they have the return of two bigger spirits-aged beers just in time for the cooler weather. In “the description is right in the name” news, their Barrel Aged Grand Baltic Porter is a 11.0% ABV Baltic Porter aged in rum barrels from Ironworks & Glenora, enhancing the dark fruit and roast character from the base beer with lovely molasses and spirit notes from the barrel. And To Prussia With Love, which is also 11.0% ABV, and is a blend of their Baltic Porter and Barrel Aged Barley Wine, combining for a complex beer. Both beers are in 650 ml bottles, so we suggest finding a friend (or 3) to share the bottle, or else you may find yourself in the hold of a ship headed to Eastern Europe if tackling these alone! And on the lighter side, they have launched a Holiday Mingler 4-pack of tall cans, with Tall Ship, Pucker Up!, Deja Moo, and Irish Red to their retail spots as well as the NSLC, and is currently the only way to purchase cans of the latter two, if you so desire.

St John’s Bannerman Brewing has a pair of new beers on tap this week that we are excited to tell you about. Dial Up is a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring a light-malt base of Pils, Oat, and Wheat Malts, and dry-hopped heavily with Galaxy and Simcoe for big notes of stone fruit, mango, and citrus. And just released Thursday afternoon is Scenic Route, a 5.0% ABV sour dry-hopped with Mosaic hops, and conditioned with blueberry puree and fresh mint. Both beers are on tap now in the taproom, and available to go in growler fills and cans.

Upstreet is releasing a VIP 4-pack of the fan favourite Neon Friday brews from this year. Available in the brewery, and Craft Beer Corner, the four-pack features: Neon Friday 2.01: Session IPA (4.5% ABV with Cashmere, Motueka, & Amarillo), Neon Friday 2.03: Pale Ale (5.9% ABV with Waimea, Sticklebract, & Columbus), Neon Friday 2.04: IPA (7.25% ABV with Citra, Southern Cross, Amarillo, & Wakatu), and Neon Friday 2.07: Double IPA (8.0% ABV with Simcoe, Amarillo, & Ekuanot). These packs will also be available at PEILCC locations next week. Also available rotating on tap at both locations, as well as the Upstreet Pour Authority in Founders Food Hall. And you can celebrate the release at the brewery with a Neon Friday Dance Party tonight! From 9 PM, the lights will be turned down low, and the glow will be turned to eleven, so come in your brightest neon outfits and rock out with DJs Ugly James Franco and Dennison.

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing is returning to their “Belgian-inspired” roots in a big way with today’s release of the Abbey Series, a four-pack of Belgian styles, with all but one beer being completely new brews. Let’s dive in:
Abbey Singel (5.2% ABV, 25 IBUs) – Patersbier (a style often referred to as the “lawnmower beer of Trappist monks”, i.e. this is what the monks drink when they’re putting their feet up, as opposed to actually mowing) brewed with Belgian Pilsner malt and sugar, and hopped with Slovenian Celeia, it was fermented with a Trappist strain. Exhibiting notes of “honey, coriander, and lemon”, it finishes clean and dry.
Abbey Dubbel (7.2% ABV, 20 IBUs) – The one beer in the collection that they’ve brewed before, this iteration does have some differences from earlier releases. The yeast is now a “Chimay-inspired strain”; as a result, the attenuation was higher, resulting in a drier beer. You can still expect “lots of phenols, dark fruit, and toffee character”, however.
Abbey Tripel (9% ABV, 33 IBUs) – Surprised it’s taken Grimross this long to brew a Tripel, but happy to see it! Brewed with a similar – albeit, larger – grain bill as the Abbey Singel, it was also hopped with Celeia and fermented with yeast harvested from that beer. Expect clove, citrus, banana, and some dough character, and higher carb (as is typical for the style).
Abbey Quad (11%, 28 IBUs) – No, that’s not a typo… 11% ABV (and in case you’re wondering, yes, that is the “biggest” beer Grimross has ever brewed). Fermented with that Chimay strain, you’re going to find this a “complex beer full of clove, toffee, plum, fig and banana bread notes”. This full-bodied beer IS boozy, to be sure, but apparently the alcohol is not as pronounced as you’d assume from that 1-1 number. So, go easy!
The four-pack will be available at the brewery today, with select ANBL stores receiving it over the next couple of weeks. All four beers will also be on tap at the taproom for a limited time, and you may see a keg or two pop up at certain Grimross tap accounts, as well.

Over in Cape Breton, Breton Brewing has prepped their annual holiday gift packs for the Christmas season, and they’ve passed on some information on their newest beer, which will be included in those packs. Cranberry Belgian Wit is a 5% ABV, 15 IBUs Witbier brewed with the typical additions of orange peel and coriander; however, it was conditioned on cranberries after fermentation was complete, giving the beer a reddish colour and a slightly tart finish to complement the aromas and flavours of citrus and coriander. While you can find the gift packs at the brewery and NSLC stores, the Witbier can also be found on its own on tap and in single cans at Breton’s taproom.

It’s the season of brewing with grape skins, and Tanner & Co. ain’t gonna be left behind! This week they launched Millot, a Belgian Saison that they fermented on Leon Millot grape skins from Blomidon Estate Winery (in Canning, NS). With about 70 kg of the skins used in the 400 L batch (that’s about 200 grams per litre!), the beer is showing off plenty of “blackberry, blueberry, and dark cherry notes”, with a likely-expected deep red colour. It’s tasting fairly vinous, so this is a great beer for those of you who are also into wine. Coming in at 7.9% ABV and 25 IBUs, you can find it on tap at the brewery right now, and bottles should be available fairly soon as well. 

The Newfoundland Cider Company has a brand new release available in their Shop in Shoal Harbour, the latest in their Forager series. This features local wild blueberries, courtesy of Brown’s Family Farm, with the whole berries fermented with freshly-pressed apple cider. Before transfer and packaging, the blend was then allowed to age on the spent blueberry skins for a month to enhance the colour and aroma. The semi-sweet cider is 5.3% ABV, and is available in kegs as well as bottles at their Balbo Drive location, and soon at NLC locations in the area, joining several other of their offerings.

Boxing Rock Brewing in Shelburne (and Halifax) has several new releases this week, so let’s get right to the juicy details. First up is the winner of their 2019 Black Box Challenge, where amateur brewers are given the same ingredients, but are free to make whatever beer style they’d like. This year’s winning brewer was Jana Dellapina, whose Hello Darkness Schwarzbier took top honours. Dellapina made the trip to Shelburne last month to brew a full batch at Boxing Rock, and now the beer is available for everyone to enjoy! The 5.2% ABV black lager balances the chocolate and roast malt character with a soft bitterness, and a crisp refreshing lager finish. It’s available now in bottles as well as on tap (currently at the tap room in Shelburne). In “now for something completely different” news, BR has a pair of barrel-aged beers in their Fisticuffs line on the shelves currently. Barrel Aged Brett Saison is an 8.0% ABV Saison with “complex, yet approachable” notes of stone fruit and full flavour from the Chardonnay oak barrels. And in turn to the tart and sour, Barrel Aged Over the Top, their cranberry sour beer lived in a barrel for 12 months, and allowed to develop and soak in the wood and wine character. This comes in at 4.2% ABV, and along with the Brett Saison is available in bottles at the taproom as well as Local Source Market on Agricola in Halifax. There you can find the latest Test Kitchen release, Inverse, a white stout, exclusively for growler fills.

Halifax’s Propeller has a couple of new beers hitting the city this weekend, one a returning favorite of sorts and the other a brand new beer celebrating Halifax Taco Week. Russian Imperial Stout was brewed with Propeller’s award-winning Revolution recipe, but is seeing distribution in cans with their modern branding style instead of the old familiar 500 mL bottles with the Soviet-era design. Still boasting a pronounced bitterness at 60 IBU and strong like Russian Bear at 8% ABV, look for a midnight-black pour with an espresso-colored head, with notes of chocolate, dark fruit and coffee and a bit of heat on the finish. And truly new this week is Lima Blonde Lager, which is exclusive to downtown restaurant Antojo Tacos + Tequila. Designed to pair nicely with Antojo’s Taco Week offering, the Maritimer, it’s a light and crisp ale at 4.5% ABV featuring fresh additions of lemon and lime zest. You’ll have to go there to get it though, as this one isn’t being packaged. Lastly, for those who like to visit Prop on Gottingen for a Friday evening tipple, this week’s Cask Friday cask is their Galaxy IPA with an addition of raspberries.

Time to re-enter the world of cider, perhaps? Well, follow us this way to Sourwood Cider, where they’ve just released Wabamo, a “Super-Duper Hopped Cider”. Seems to us that this is a constantly-evolving experiment, but we can tell you that they’re trying different juices as the base, and tweaking the hopping rates, varieties, and temperatures when dry-hopping. For now, this 6% ABV cider is tasting very juicy, with some floral notes joining in. You can find it on tap at the cidery, but if you want to take some cans home, you’ll have to grab them at select NSLC stores soon, or to enjoy with your next meal at Bar Kismet.

Port Rexton Brewing has got a brand new canned beer for ya, The One With the Citra (you Friends fans out there may squeal with delight a little bit louder than everyone else). It’s a 4.8% ABV American Pale Ale that features lots and lots of the always-wonderful Citra hop, which means juiciness galore, or in their more eloquent words, “bright orange, floral, wildflower, and peach skin aroma and flavour”. Bitterness is on the light side, and at that ABV, you can enjoy a couple and not worry about stumbling over yourself too badly (YMMV). Perhaps you should stop by the taproom and grab some cans for the weekend, hmm?

2 Crows has a wide variety of beers that are aging in barrels at the brewery; each beer requires a degree of patience, as any barrel-aged beer isn’t going to have a quick turnaround. But some beers – e.g. those that are slowly soured via microbes such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus – need quite a bit of time, upwards of 18 months and beyond; but when they come out, they’re usually worth the wait (we think 2 Crows is pretty reliable, anyway). One of these beers is going to be officially released in mid-December, but is going to be making its debut at Stillwell’s Anniversary bash this weekend, so we thought we’d share the details on it now (read: someone here said that we would and now someone ELSE got stuck writing it up)! The beer is Tinto, and it’s a Flanders Red-inspired beer that was brewed in March, 2018. With a grist of Vienna, Munich, Wheat, Spelt, Special B, Special Aromatic, Crystal 65, and Oats, it was hopped in the boil with both aged and new East Kent Goldings, to 11 IBUs. The wort was fermented in freshly-emptied Port barrels with a blend of red wine yeast and the Roeselare blend of Sacch, Brett, and bacteria. After aging for 3 months, dried cherries were added to the barrel (21 g/L), where they sat for over a year. Then, in July, 2019 (~16 months total aging at this point), the beer was transferred to the brewery’s blending tank, where it was allowed to condition on fresh cherries (300 g/L) for 8 weeks, before it was packaged, mostly in 375 mL cork-and-cage bottles. After all this time, the 6.3% ABV beer is “assertively tart, with a touch of acetic character, with very rich and multidimensional cherry character, smooth and vinous”, according to the brewery. There will be a single 20 L keg available at Stillwell for their party Sunday if you’d like a taste before you can finally buy some bottles; it will also be poured from bottles during the Wild and Sour Beer Tasting event (hosted by the Ladies Beer League) at 2 Crows on Tuesday, November 19th

And while we’ve got you focused on 2 Crows, now is a good time to mention that Lil’ Miguel is back! This year’s version is bigger than ever (7.1% ABV), and they’ve increased the amount of peppers (ancho, pasilla, and chipotle) to give the beer even more spicy kick. With a “very smooth chocolate backbone, with just a touch of vanilla and cinnamon”, it has once again been canned on nitro (so pour aggressively!). The brewery is also pouring it on tap on nitro, and other 2C accounts will have it pouring on CO2, if you’re not into the whole stouts-on-nitrogen thing.

Back to cider this week with a late addition from Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company, with the latest of their Something Different releases. Haskap & Pear is a blend of the signature dry cider, along with juice from local Haskap berries as well as three varietals of pears, Bartlett, Bosc, and Flemish Beauty. The tart haskaps, similar to blueberries, lend some sharpness to the blend, as well as a lovely rose tint to the 7.0% ABV sparkling cider. As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 from each fill goes to a local charity, this time they are supporting Clean Foundation, whose goal is to create a more sustainable society in Atlantic Canada, through work towards clean water and a cleaner climate.

This past Saturday PEIBC announced the winners of this year’s Gahan Maritime Home Brew Challenge competition, an attempt to find the best home brewers in the Maritimes. Entries came from all over the region, with some 60 beers facing final judging. The big winner this year was Chelsea Meisner, brewing under the moniker Lady Scotia Brewing, whose Tingles Sichuan Stout took 1st place in the Stout category and then went on to take the Grand Champion title (and also “Bravest Beer”). Chelsea takes home the top prize of $1,000 and will see her beer brewed in a production batch for public release. Other category winners were Armadillo from the Green Willy Collective (Jonathan Green, William Panting, Clayton Harding, and Tyler Gallant) in the Mixed Fermentation/Sour category, and Brahair Brother Eric Gautier’s Alien Barbarian in the IPA category. You can find the full list of award-winners at the competition website here. A big congratulations to Chelsea and a promise that we’ll be sure to let you know when her beer becomes available for you to try. Meanwhile, we’d like to acknowledge how cool it is to see another win by a woman in a major regional home brew competition.Though the hobby has a reputation for being male-dominated, this is another reminder that female brewers are on the rise and are kicking ass with creative and tasty brews.

Lots on the go for you this weekend, including the Atlantic Canada Brewing Awards Gala Saturday at HopYard Halifax (tickets available and open to everyone), and Bar Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary on Sunday. Here are some more things to get you excited (and visiting your local spot)!

It’s the month of anniversaries related to beer, and Copper Bottom is in the mix, as they’re celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow, November 16th with their 2 Years of Beer event at the brewery in Montague. They’re continuing what they started last year, and launching Birthday Beer 2, a 7.5% ABV Brut IPA dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria (last year’s edition was Mosaic). First tastes will be at the party tomorrow; expect “big notes of tangerine and citrus” in a highly-carbonated and dry package. The brewery opens at 3 pm, and that’s when the party starts, with live music scheduled all day. Obviously there’ll be plenty of beer options as well, and food options will include fresh oysters from 4-8 pm, and birthday cake handpies all day/evening.

There’s another brewery birthday going on in Nova Scotia tomorrow as well, with Kentville’s Maritime Express Cider celebrating their first year in business. All day long from opening you’ll find $5 ciders from 10 taps, including Oaked Russet, Sparkling Perry, some experimental batches and, of course, their fan favorites. If you’re planning on stopping by to help them celebrate, bring an appetite, as there’s a good chance there will be some special items coming out of the kitchen as well. Check out the Fb event page for more info!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce is bringing their beer to another special night of food pairings in Halifax with an event entitled “An Organic Evening” going down at the Agricola Street Brasserie (part of their Intimate & Interactive series of events) next Thursday, November 21st at 6 PM. Only 20 seats are available for this celebration of all things organic (including the beer!), so if you’re interested you’d best act quickly. For $100 (includes taxes and gratuity) you’ll get 5 courses from the kitchen, each thoughtfully paired with a beer from Big Spruce. More information can be found on the EventBrite page, where you’ll also be able to secure your tickets.

The Algonquin Resort in Saint Andrews, NB, is holding a Craft Beer Event next Saturday night, Nov 23, featuring breweries from New Brunswick and PEI pouring their best for guests. Breweries on hand will be: Think Brewing, PEI Brewing, Long Bay Brewery, Big Axe Brewery, Picaroons, Trailway Brewing, Hammond River Brewing, Off Grid Ales, Pumphouse, Graystone Brewing, Cross Creek Beer, and Grimross Brewing. Your $45 ticket gets you your first ten 6 ounce pours, a souvenir Stein, light snacks, and live music throughout. You’ll also have access to discounted room rates to make a full weekend of it. Check out this link for tickets, rooms, and more.

It’s that time of year again, with the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival once again hosting their 12 Beers of Christmas fests. Don’t let the name confuse you, there are many, many more than twelve beers available at the fest, with breweries from across the island, and Canada taking part. The West Coast edition of the fest takes place next Saturday, November 23rd at the Corner Brook Civic Centre, while the East Coast edition is a two-day affair Friday Nov 29 and Saturday the 30th at the St John’s Farmers Market. Tickets for both are selling fast, so if you haven’t yet picked them up, delay no longer!

Just a few more things on our desk this week, and then you’re dismissed!

Big Spruce is no stranger to big beers and this week marks the availability of one of their biggest. Coade Word: Snowmageddon 2019 was aged in maple-soaked bourbon barrels (as opposed to the whiskey barrels used in 2018) and features ginger and vanilla. At 10.3% ABV, this winter warmer might be the perfect beverage to soothe your aching bones after a hard shovelling session (or, if you want to raise the difficulty of shovelling, have one before!). As always, brewed in appreciation of meteorologist Peter Coade, who boasted the longest career in the profession as confirmed by Guinness themselves (the record book, not the brewery). Look for it starting this weekend at your favorite place to buy Big Spruce beer.

In Twillingate, NL, Split Rock Brewing Co. is pleased to announce that they’ve packaged some of their beer in cans. Available now at the brewery are Red Sky Red Rye and Nar Dar APA. In coming weeks, with any luck, you’ll also start seeing these both around town and in other parts of the province.

In Pictou County, Uncle Leo’s has brewed up a special beer for the season: Odin’s Winter Ale was made in the Norwegian Farmhouse Ale tradition, with juniper and kveik yeast being key to its production. You’ll find it in the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown Box available at certain private stores in Halifax (hopefully we’ll get some more details on that for next week). But if you can’t wait for the Advent season to try this one, head on down to the brewery or attend the Christmas at the deCoste event going on in Pictou this weekend!