Meander River Farm and Brewery

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Happy long weekend! Whether you have your Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday or Monday, early afternoon or evening, deep fry your turkey or roast it, we can’t think of a better way to lead into it than beer! We’re not saying one absolutely needs a beer or three before sitting down with multiple family members to stuff yourselves full off tryptophan-laden food… but it certainly helps (especially if the conversation veers towards politics… Canadian OR American). Our usual reminder about holiday weekends bears repeating: check your favorite brewery’s hours before planning your supply run, especially on Sunday and Monday; brewers have families too!! With that being said, read on for the latest goings-on in the Atlantic Canadian beer world… and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Nackawic, New Brunswick’s Big Axe will soon be celebrating the official opening of their brand new taproom, with a party scheduled for Saturday, October 13th. Along with live music, free tours, and food trucks, they’ll also be launching a new beer for the event, Hops and Sickle Pale Ale. Brewed with Pale and Honey malts, fermented with an American Ale strain, and hopped with a blend from Darlings Island Farm – which appears to mainly feature Dr. Rudi – the final beer has aromas of pine, citrus, stone fruit, and spice. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available at Big Axe during their celebrations (along with several other of their beers), and throughout the following days, while supplies last.

Those crazy kids at Niche Brewing in Hanwell (pronounced “Fredericton” by most people), NB, just can’t help themselves. They’ve got yet another new beer for us this week to whet our appetites for their tap takeover at Stillwell next weekend. Listed as a Brett IPA, this one is likely to be quite a bit different from the last, as it uses a Brettanomyces strain from the Yeast Bay hitherto unknown to Niche (and possible the rest of Atlantic Canada). Purported to bring a character that is “reminiscent of Sweet Tarts” candy, that’s pretty much exactly what it did, providing a slightly tart finish and a fruity palate with plenty of funk on the nose. Because this is Niche, and because it’s an IPA, there were also a lot of hops involved, including Azacca and Galaxy, which amped up the fruity character even more. Dubbed Space Oddity, it’s 5.6% ABV and hazy as hell; you can find it soon at The Joyce and the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton, and Peppers Pub, Lock Stock & Barrels, and the Saint John Alehouse in Saint John, and it might (possibly, potentially, maybe) be available at the Stillwell next weekend as well (see below).

There’s a refreshing, salty new beer pouring at the Port Rexton taproom right now… and if you guessed Gose, you’d be exactly right! Drifter is the brewery’s 4.1% ABV take on the sour, German Wheat beer, with salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company added in the boil. As is usual for the style, coriander was also added, with the final beer exhibiting the perfect balance between sour and spice; don’t let anyone tell you Gose is just a summer beer, as these low-alcohol, refreshing brews are perfect throughout the entire year! Best to drop by Port Rexton ASAP to give it a try, as there is a limited amount of kegs available – half of the batch was transferred to a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel, along with a pitch of Brett D (we’re looking forward to hearing how that turns out!).

North Brewing is hoping that you like beers that are hard to pronounce, maybe, ‘cause they’re releasing Des Pêches Rooib today. Don’t let the name intimidate you, as it sounds plenty tasty! The base beer was aged for 7 months in one of the brewery’s neutral oak barrels at Battery Park, where it was conditioned on Peach Rooibos tea from the World Tea House. After bottling, the 5.4% ABV beer was allowed to condition further for another 5 months, and now it’s finally available for sale! Peachy, effervescent, and with a light amount of oak character, there’s about 700 bottles available at both North bottle shops; maybe grab a couple for Thanksgiving dinner?

We’re used to seeing a variety of wet-hopped beers this time of year, but how often do you see a wet-hopped Belgian Pale Ale? That’s what Tatamagouche Brewing has done with Hopback Hustle (4.4% ABV), their latest beer that is currently on tap at the brewery. Featuring Cascade and Crystal hops grown at the brewery’s farm in Malagash, both varieties were added at several stages of the brew – in the mash, the kettle, and hop back (twice!). Fermented with a dry, Belgian ale yeast, the beer has a nice balance of light, spicy yeast character, combined with “bright, floral, earthy aromas” from the hop additions. A few kegs will likely be popping up in the HRM, but the majority of it will be found at Tatabrew for pints and growlers. And while we have you here, now’s a good time to mention that Blue Bales, Tata’s wheat beer conditioned on 350 lbs of organic blueberries, is back on tap and in cans, and Deadeye DIPA, their Imperial IPA hopped heavily with Hallertau Blanc (and a little bit of Nelson Sauvin in the dry hop) will return this weekend, also in cans and on tap.

We mentioned last week that Garrison is finishing up their annual Oktoberfest this weekend, with Das Big Party happening on Saturday, October 6th. We can now confirm that they’ll also be releasing a new beer for the event, a Marzen named Gettin’ Ziggy. This 6% ABV German Lager was brewed with Pilsner and Munich malt, and hopped with Hallertau to 21 IBUs. Malty and clean, you know the drill with this style of beer… it’s meant to go down easy, and go down often, preferably in large quantities, with lots of people around and live music playing. Hey, sounds like it fits the party where it’s debuting! Meanwhile, the gang at Garrison happened upon an unexpected discovery in their cellars this week: a trove of Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Autumns past. A scant 32 of the 2016 and 35 of the 2017 vintages will be available on Saturday at the brewery, so if a strong pumpkin ale with a little age on it is your thing, you’d best get there early.

Let’s move over to Dartmouth, where New Scotland Brewing has two new beverages out for our enjoyment, a beer, and a cider. We’ll start with the cider, so we don’t make ourselves look TOO biased. Blueberry Apple Cider doesn’t have an “official” name yet, but we’re ok with that, because it kinda speaks for itself right now, no? Made using apples from Stirling Fruit Farms, and blueberries and honey from Glenmore Farms, it was fermented with the naturally-occurring yeast on the apples, before the addition of commercial yeast to take it the rest of the way. Unfiltered, this dry, English-style cider has a dry, tannic, wine-like flavour, and weighs in at 6.2% ABV.

New Scotland’s beer is Heads Will Roll, a Red IPA. Brewed with a grist made up mainly of Maris Otter, and a touch of Pale Chocolate malt, it was late-hopped and dry-hopped with Centennial, Amarillo, and Mandarina Bavaria, to provide plenty of fruity and citrusy character to the beer. This fruitiness was bumped up even further by fermenting the beer with Vermont ale yeast, which brought the beer to 6.5% ABV. At just 35 IBUs, the finishing bitterness should be in the moderate range.

Halifax’s Chain Yard has us moving right back into cider territory with their habanero-infused Hot Mess. Looks like this one is actually a blend of several other Chain Yard ciders, including Foundation, Intrepid, Highway Strobbery, and Drunken Cherry. The final blend was then dry-hopped with Cascade, and steeped with habaneros. Those of you with any type of hot pepper experience will know that habaneros are right up there with some of the hottest peppers readily-available; luckily, the final product isn’t too crazy, with Chain Yard describing it as a “subtle but intensifying heat”. Sound doable? Maybe have some bread nearby, just in case! It’s 7.5% ABV and currently on tap at their taproom.

Way down near the Southern tip of Nova Scotia is Tusket Falls Brewing, and they’ve got a new beer to tell you about this week. Called District 34 after the local lobster fishing grounds (Lobster Fishing Area 34 – Southwest NS), the timing for it is just right, as the fisherman are just getting ready for this year’s season. An American Porter, the grist was composed of pale and caramel malts along with roasted barley and oats. Bittered with American hop varieties, it features toffee aromas and roasted coffee flavors while maintaining a full body and a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Dry on the finish, this 7% ABV beer is dark brown with a coffee-colored head, and though it’s available at the brewery now in cans and at select tap accounts in NS, it will also be part of the Maritime Beer Box that will be found at Harvest, Rockhead and WestSide in Halifax later this fall (and, perhaps, also as a single). And if you’re interested in learning more about Tusket Falls Brewing, be sure to check out the latest episode of the 902BrewCast wherein your intrepid podcasters embark upon a jaunt down to the brewery and discover it to be a most welcoming place.

So dedicated to keeping us informed is Kelly of Halifax’s Good Robot that she was even kind enough this week to let us know that nothing’s going on! Fear not, gentle soul, we’re sure there is plenty of the usual work-a-day mirth to be had at the taproom, but we are honor bound to advise that there will be no BetaBrewsday release this coming Tuesday, owing to GR being closed for a staff day. Later in the week will also see the return, after a brief hiatus, of Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie Pale Ale which is once again being lovingly packaged in cans. And we think we caught an Instagram photo of Kelly brewing a beer with Emily Tipton a few blocks away at Boxing Rock’s experimental small-batch brewery at Local Source. We’re sure there’s a story (and a beer!) behind that photo and we hope to have it for you in the coming weeks.

Quick! Beer nerds! Off the top of your head do you know what a bière de coupage is? We didn’t either, but it turns out it’s the result of the time-honored technique of blending some old (“mature”) beer into quite a bit more young beer. Practiced quite extensively in Europe, where Flanders Reds and lambic and even farmhouses are often produced using this technique, it was also common in the UK in times past for porters and stouts (and, depending on who you believe, a form of it is still used to produce Guinness). Why are we telling you this? Because of course a local brewery is releasing a beer that leverages this technique, and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s Stillwell Brewing. Make 1, 2 started with a batch of fermenting Easy, which comprised 3/4 of the volume, to which a barrel of very old sour beer was added. The coup de grace on this bière de coupage was a dry hop with a floral and spicy variety just prior to bottling. You’ll find the resulting concoction on sale this weekend at the usual spot on Gottingen Street behind Propeller Brewing.

If you happen to be in the Ashdale area of Nova Scotia this long weekend, why not drop by Meander River, where they’ve released a new, small batch cider, Blueberry. This dry cider was blended with local, fresh blueberries, giving it a purple colour and “fleshy, ripe blueberry flavour with a crisp apple finish”. Sounds like a good pairing with a certain annual dinner involving turkey, no? It’s available right now in 500 mL bottles, but in a very limited quantity and only direct from the source.

The email came in just in the nick of time, allowing us to give you all the info on the latest Something Different release from Annapolis Cider Co. Spiced Plum is a 6.3% ABV sparkling cider made up of a blend of cider (from Northern Spy and Paula Red apples) and perry (from Flemish Beauty pears). This blend was then cold-steeped with cinnamon sticks, green cardamom pods, sliced fresh ginger, whole nutmeg and allspice (do some of these spices make you think of your favourite pie?). Finally, fresh juice from locally-grown golden Shiro plums was added for balance, and to give a hint of tartness. Sounds like a fantastic cider for Thanksgiving! As with all Something Different releases, $0.50 of every fill will go towards a local charity; in this case, the Wolfville Farmers’ Market’s Nourishing Community Food Bucks Program.

There are a few events coming up that we think you might be interested in hearing (more) about:

We mentioned the Niche Brewing takeover at Stillwell above and we’re happy to report that we’ve now got a list of what we’re likely to see next Saturday on October 13 from 4 PM (note the later opening than usual for Stillwell on a Saturday). If you weren’t already excited about the event, this should get you over the hump, and if it doesn’t, we’re not entirely sure why you’re reading this. Here’s the twelve taps that are expected to open the afternoon:

  1. Tafelbier – Mixed-fermentation Table Beer, 3.6%
  2. Lucid Dreams – Mixed-ferm Saison w/ pineapple, pink guava, and apricot, 6.3%*
  3. Cilantro Lime Gose, 4.2%*
  4. Boysenberry Persuasion – Kettle sour w/ boysenberry puree, 4.2%
  5. Ruby Tuesday – Kettle sour w/ hibiscus, 4.4%
  6. Hold Fast – Dry-hopped Sour (El Dorado & Citra), 4.2%*
  7. Evolution – Barrel-aged Saison, 6.3%*
  8. Space Oddity – Brett IPA hopped w/ Azacca & Galaxy, 5.6%
  9. Mahalo – Pineapple Milkshake IPA, 6.4%
  10. Day Tripper – Belgian Tripel, 8.4%
  11. Receding Darkness – Dark Brett beer, 6.4%
  12. Wake-up Call – Sweet Stout w/ barrel-aged coffee and vanilla bean, 5%*

Note that the beers marked with an asterisk (*) are special editions brewed specifically for this event and the Mahalo is a brand new beer. This will also be the first (and only) appearance of Evolution before the rest of the batch is eventually bottled. But WAIT, there’s MORE!! We’ve also got a list of the beers lined up as replacements when (not if) the above kegs kick:

  1. Single Origin – Coffee Sweet Stout, 5%
  2. Constellation – Dark, sour Saison w/ black currant, 4.7%
  3. Ethos – Mixed-ferm saison, 6.3%
  4. Island in the Sun, Grisette w/ Galaxy hops, 3.6%
  5. Moderation – Passion Fruit Milkshake IPA w/ Enigma & Mosaic, 5.5%*

We suggest gameplanning for this one, folks, as we think you’re going to want to try all of these. And meanwhile, Chef Graeme Ruppel will be putting out some special treats from the kitchen with a bit of an Asian flare, including a Tandoori Chicken Wrap (mint raita, smashed cucumbers, iceberg lettuce), Tuna Crudo (blackberry-jalepeno conserva, smoky puffed rice, raddichio), General Tso’s Eggplant (Vegetarian, possibly Vegan, with kimchi fried rice and shoots), and Gulab Jamun with green and black cardamom syrups for dessert. Also, a reminder that Shawn and Rob of Niche will be on hand to answer all of your questions about their brewery and their beers and to wax poetic on the subtle minutiae of mixed fermentations. Or maybe they’ll just get loaded and tell naughty jokes. Either way, it’s bound to be entertaining!!

Windsor, NS, will be the site of the 20th annual Pumpkin Regatta a week from Sunday, on October 14. And for the 2nd year in a row, Schoolhouse Brewing will be hosting a Pumpkin Regatta Beer Garden. Take advantage of a vantage point along the waterfront where you’ll be able to relax in dry comfort with a beer in your hand as the regatta entrants navigate across Lake Pesaquid in their hollowed out gourds. Toast them in style with a pint of Schoolhouse’s gourdian Pumpkin Paddler, or one of their many other offerings. The taproom will open at 11 AM and the beer garden will be in full effect from 12 – 8 PM, with live music from 1 – 4 PM. There’s no cover and there will be food specials on the menu. Look for more info on the regatta and other events in town this weekend at the Windsor Pumpkin Festival Website.

There seems to be quite a few multi-brewery tap takeovers going on in the region these days, doesn’t there? We can’t help but think that this is an excellent way for folks to get a taste of the wares from a couple of different breweries, while still being able to try a nice variety from each and maybe see a little bit of friendly competition. Coming up October 18 – 21, Halifax’s Garrison and Dartmouth’s Nine Locks will be taking over all 16 taps at Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth for the weekend in another Double Header Tap Takeover. Starting with Thursday for wing night, leading into their usual TGIF Friday night with folks from Nine Locks in the house, Saturday afternoon Ceilidh and Saturday night Kitchen Party when personnel from Garrison will be on hand, and who knows who might show up for Sunday’s finish when the winner is revealed?

And lastly, a few quick mentions of a various and sundry nature:

– Looks like Breton Brewing has again brewed one of their popular summer beverages, Strawberry Rhubarb Sour. Look for this 4% ABV, pinkish-red kettle sour to be available in the not-too-distant future.

Lunn’s Mill wants to let you know that they’ve restocked their shelves with cans of Lager Driver and Anvil Porter; in addition to being available for purchase at their taproom, some of these cans will also be available at the private liquor stores in the HRM sometime next week.

– Two returning beers this week from our friends at Propeller Brewing: Nocturne Black IPA, a 6.7% brew dry-hopped with Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight (on tap and in cans); and Tropical IPA, a 6.2% ABV American IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy to boost the tropical fruit aromas (growlers and pints at the tasting room, only).

– In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing is releasing the third iteration of Starblast, their “American Fruited Ale”, today at the brewery. This batch was conditioned on over 300 lbs of strawberry and kiwi purée, and was lightly hopped with El Dorado. It comes in at 5% ABV, and will be available on tap and in cans.

We start off this week with the release of the latest iteration of El Generico, TrailWay Brewing’s constantly rotating fruited kettle sour. The latest version features the addition of both mango and pineapple purée, giving an aroma and flavour that is definitely heavy on the pineapple side, with the mango present in the background to complement. Slightly sweet due to an addition of lactose powder, to balance the tartness, the 3.8% ABV beer is available now at the brewery on tap and in cans. They’ve also got another new release hitting their taps/shelves today, Donnie Had Me Up At 4. Named after an employee’s cat’s annoying habit, think of this beer as a 4% ABV Session IPA, hopped with Idaho 7 and Southern Cross, with further additions of lime and orange zest. Refreshing and citrusy, it will also be available on tap and in cans.

Bootleg Brew Co., which opened in Corner Brook, Newfoundland at the beginning of this year, is releasing their first Gose, a style that will likely be the first time that residents in Corner Brook have been able to try a local version of. The Way She Gose was kettle soured with a pitch of Lactobacillus; after souring for 48 hours, the wort was boiled, and a pound of sea salt from the province’s Newfoundland Salt Company was added. The brewery purposely left out the usual addition of coriander, to let the salt come through front and center. At 4.1% ABV, it has a definite salinity, and a lemon-like tartness. It’s available now at the brewery’s taproom for pints.

Meander River Farm and Brewery in Ashdale, NS will be launching a returning Small Lot cider this weekend, featuring some extra special ingredients from their farm. Lavandula is a 5.5% ABV dry cider, with honey from hives on their property, as well as estate-grown lavender. This is the second year release for this expression, and last year’s was a top-seller, so be sure to pick up bottles and seek it out post haste. You can get your first tastes at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market and at the Brewery itself this weekend (Friday 4-6, Saturday 11-5, and Sunday 11-5). And when better than coming by Sunday morning (from 9AM) to help out with the 2018 hop harvest, while they brew their Homegrown Wet Hopped Ale. The taps and stories will be flowing as they process the hops grown on the property, and add them directly to the brew in progress. If can’t make it out to the brewery, keep an eye on the rotating taps at ChainYard in Halifax, as they have delivered a few kegs to the Urban Cidery.

In Chester Basin, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, you’ll find Tanner & Co Brewing, at 50 Angus Hiltz Rd. And when you drop by this weekend (open Thurs & Fri 2-8, Sat 12-8, Sun & Mon, 12-6), you’ll see a few new beers pouring to take away. You may be lucky to catch their Gose, Kottbusser (an ancient German style brewed with Barley, Wheat, and Oats, and finished with molasses and honey), Sticke Altbier, Dunkel, and Porter with Burgundian Red Wine yeast and finished with London Ale yeast. And look for the return of Nelson Saison, a Saison brewed with exclusively Nelson Sauvin hops in the boil and post-fermentation. But releasing this week is Lemon Lavender Saison. Starting with a malt bill of mostly Pilsner with a bit of wheat, lemon rind, ginger, and Lavender were added late in the boil. The lavender was grown by a neighbour to the brewery, and after a very successful test brew last year, was able to grow enough for a couple of larger batches. Fermentation was completed with a traditional Saison yeast strain, and the fruit and spices flow beautifully throughout the beer. The result is a 6.5% ABV, and 30 IBU beer, that is ready for enjoyment now, so drop by the brewery, or keep an eye at their local tap accounts to try it.

There’s a new entry in the one-off After Hours series from the PEI Brewing Co. that you may want to check out if you’re on the Island (or heading that way!), Cryo Hop IPA. Brewed with a fairly simple grist of 2-row, Vienna, and Red Wheat, it was mashed “intensively”, with the intention of the yeast finishing the beer off low, to keep it “dry and crisp”. Hopped with the fairly new Cryo hop pellets (cryogenically concentrated hop product to maximize flavour and aroma), the brewery went with equal amounts of both Cascade and Citra. It’s a combination of old-style IPA and new, as it finishes quite bitter (80 IBUs), but big on hop aroma/flavour. It weighs in at 7% ABV, and is available exclusively on tap, right now.

Feels like it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a hop bomb-type beer from 2 Crows… oops, it has been, I just checked Untappd. Well, don’t worry, because tomorrow they’re releasing what may just be their hoppiest beer yet! Perfect Situation is a New England IPA brewed with a simple grist of Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Hopped in the whirlpool stage with lots of Simcoe and Vic Secret, it was then fermented with the English strain, London Fog, from White Labs. Of course, that wasn’t the last of the hopping, as the beer was finally dry-hopped with a very high amount of Vic Secret and Idaho 7. The result is just what you want in this style: a soft and fuzzy mouthfeel thanks to the yeast, and aromas/flavours described by 2C as “super fruity, lush, tropical, pillowy, and juicy, with massive notes of pineapple, passion fruit, apricot, red grapefruit, and papaya”. Sounds pretty good to us! They’re releasing it at the brewery tomorrow at noon, where it will be available on tap and in cans. And if you stick around till 2 pm, Luke’s Fried Chicken will be on hand to help you find something to pair with all that delicious beer!

Moving over to Saint John’s Loyalist City, who are releasing their own new beer this weekend on tap in the city (and likely beyond). This one is called 50/50, and is a hoppy American Wheat beer brewed with equal amounts 2-row and Wheat malt. Hopped plentifully with both Centennial and Ekuanot (also equal amounts!), two well-loved American varieties, the hazy, golden yellow beer exhibits a “blend of tropical fruit, apple, floral, and citrus hop aromas, and a sweet, bready malt character”. Medium-bodied, with a residual sweetness thanks to the Wheat malt and high mash temperature, get out this weekend to your favourite Loyalist tap account to try a pint!

Elsewhere in the city, Hammond River Brewing continues to experiment with their small batch brewery (the 1 BBL system originally used when the brewery opened in 2012), as they just put Pretty Fly For A White Rye on tap earlier this week. A “White Rye IPA” hopped entirely with the Aussie Vic Secret variety, expect plenty of tropical, fruity flavours in this 6.6% ABV, 66 IBUs brew. As usual for the small batch beers, it’s available on tap at the HR taproom only, for a limited time.

Tap accounts in Fredericton and Saint John will have the latest Niche Brewing beer on tap very shortly (if not already!), Riptide. This Rye Session IPA comes in at 4.2% ABV, and as the name implies, features a healthy dose of Rye malt in the grist bill. Together with Wheat, these two malts help to boost the mouthfeel of this smaller beer, and enhance the flavour profile. Hopping of Chinook and Mosaic were performed late in the boil (plus a large addition of El Dorado for the dry-hop), extracting more oils (for flavour and aroma) than acids (bitterness), resulting in hearty citrus and fruity flavours, and a blast of tangerine on the nose.

Back in July, we wrote about Port Rexton celebrating their second birthday with a number of new beer releases; at this time, we only lightly touched on one of these beers, High Fives, a foeder-aged, Brettanomyces kettle sour. Well, there’s a few kegs left that are currently pouring at the brewery, so this is the perfect time to dive into the details! The second beer from PR’s Calvados foeder, it was fermented with the brewery’s house culture (a blend of Saison and Brett strains), and dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. The result from the combination of both is a beer with “an evolving fruity, funky, and delicious flavour profile”, and a “lemonade-y tartness and delicate white wine and gooseberry notes”. We don’t think you’re going to want to miss out on this 5.4% ABV beauty, so get down to Port Rexton now for a taste!

Stellarton, Nova Scotia’s musically-inclined Backstage Brewing has a new beer for y’all, The Edge IPA (see, we told you they were musically-inclined). Brewed in the American IPA style, and hopped heavily with Simcoe, Amarillo, and Mosaic, we think you can expect a whole lotta fruity, citrusy, piney, and dank goodness in this 6.1% ABV, 75 IBUs beer… and likely a firm bitterness to finish it off, as well. Drop by Backstage to give ‘er a go.

Brasserie Retro Brewing is opening this afternoon, after a brief hiatus to re-stock their fridges. Their retail location at Motel and Campground Colibri on Blvd des Acadiens in Bertrand is open today 4-9PM, tomorrow 1-6PM, and Sunday 1-5PM. They will have their three core beers available to take away, namely the Tapisserie Laide Pale Ale, Tricycle Rouge Amber Ale, and Arcade 2001 IPA. For a refresher on Retro, their location, and beers, check out our Profile with them from early August.

We’ve got a multi-province home brewing competition to tell you about this week, hosted by the Gahan House locations across our region. It’s the Maritime Home Brew Challenge, and is may be one of the most ambitious yet. Open to amateur brewers in PEI, NB, and NS, they are looking for entrants to put together their best beer in 3 wide categories: Lager/Pilsner, Hoppy Ale, and Saison. As the names imply, these are open to interpretation however the brewer would like. The entries will be judged on the beer itself, the name, the “level of ambition”, and will receive bonus points for using local hops and malt. Entries are due at the local Gahan locations in Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, and Halifax by October 27th. The winning beers will be announced in early November at the PEI Brewing Company, with the winning beer taking home $1000 cash, and the knowledge that their beer will be brewed and canned for release. There are plenty more details on the other prizes, and schedule of the “Brewers’ Feedback Session”, where you can chat with the Gahan brewers about your entry and ask for help, on the competition website, so don’t delay!

Good Robot has a pair of new releases coming next week, plus an invite to other breweries to take part in an innovative event, so let’s get to those details now! Next Tuesday, for their Beta Brewsday, multi-talented homebrewer Matt McNair and friend Cory Cauvier brewed up a lightly dry-hopped farmhouse ale, named The Bee’s Needs. The beer features a malt bill of Pilsner, Wheat, Rye, and Oats, and was hopped with Hallertau Mittelfrüh and Saaz. Just as the boil ended, during the whirlpool phase, dandelion petals and honey from Cauvier’s own hard working bees were added to the wort. Fermentation was performed using a house culture that McNair has been curating, with a secondary fermentation kicked off with yeast and bacteria isolated from Cauvier’s honey. The beer then spent some time on oak cubes and a little more hops were added before being packaged. For the launch event at 4PM on September 11, Matt, Cory, and friends from Hivetronics will be bringing live bees to the taproom to educate the public on these extremely important animals. Don’t worry, they’ll have them in special people- (and bee-) safe enclosures!

On Thursday, September 13th, they will be releasing the latest batch of Tom Waits For No One, their 7.9% ABV American Stout. Full of dark roast, coffee, and chocolate flavour, on a full-bodied base, the 58 IBUs from American hops help to keep it easy-drinking.

And in a heads up to Maritime breweries, as a celebration of International Women’s Day March 9, 2019, Good Robot is launching FemmeBot Beer Fest. Highlighting Women-Identified Brewers in the region, they are looking for 15 breweries to join them in Halifax for this event. Beers brewed by female brewery employees, and/or with female members of the public is the focus of this event. The Fest will be held at the Mayflower Curling Club, and have two sessions on that Saturday: 2-5PM and 6-9PM, with 200 attendees per session. More information on taking part at the FemmeBot Beer Fest can be found here. And we’ll share ticket details once available.

Here are the next big events coming up in our region:

The Third Annual Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover is happening at Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, September 13. From 11:30AM, TataBrew will be taking over the 18 taps with lots of their current releases, favourite kegs held especially for the event, and several new releases. One of which we can tell you about today, Cahoots! This is a Tart Saison that is a blend of two batches that have been aged in wine barrels: one 16 months old, and one 4 months old. Using a healthy dry-hop of Nelson Sauvin, the wine barrel character is front and centre, and works well to enhance the base beer acidity and Brett funk. In addition to its release on tap, bottles of Cahoots will be available at the brewery that same day. Tata (FB, Tw, IG) and BP (FB, Tw, IG) will be releasing the rest of the tap list over the next week, so be sure to check their social media in order to plan your beer enjoyment.

For the sixth year running (according to our extensive records), the 2018 PEI BeerFest will be taking place in Charlottetown at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel on the weekend of September 22. As always, the event is part of the annual PEI Fall Flavours Festival, celebrating the best of food and drink on the island, and this year’s lineup has 31 confirmed breweries and cideries from all over Eastern Canada and some from beyond. There will be three sessions, starting with an evening session (1830h – 2130h) on Friday, September 21, followed by two sessions, one afternoon (1400h – 1630h) and one evening, on Saturday, September 22nd. Tickets are available on-line through TicketPro and include a Designated Driver option, which gives access to a DD lounge with free (non-alcoholic, of course) refreshments. Come down and sample the over 100 beers and ciders that will be pouring at this year’s event.

Grand Monk Artisan Ales (formerly known as Bore City Brewing) is pairing up with Buddha Bear Riverview to hold their first tap takeover, a multi-day affair, from Wednesday, September 19th until Sunday the 23rd, with Grand Monk Pokes the Bear! While not a complete takeover, there will be at least several taps dedicated to the brewery, known for brewing a multitude of styles (with the focus on Belgian and hoppy). They’re not quite yet ready to share the list of beers they’re bringing, but follow along with their social media pages, as they’ll be posting more details sometime next week. And on Saturday the 22nd, from 4-8 pm, the entire Grand Monk team will be attending, and they’re always happy to chat beer, so don’t be shy! They’ll also be selling glassware, so bring some cash! If you’re hungry, Red Stone Eatery will be on site to suit your needs.

Elsewhere in New Brunswick on Saturday, September 22nd is the second annual First Town Craft Beer Festival. Held in Woodstock at the Best Western Plus Hotel and Conference Centre, this year’s indoor/outdoor event will have a single session in the evening. Tickets are still available, with regular admission ($50 + taxes and fees) from 6-9 pm, and VIP ($60 + taxes and fees) getting you in an hour earlier, at 5 pm. Ticket prices include a sampling glass to keep (with the VIP glass being larger), and unlimited samples throughout the event. Note that there are also $15 designated driver tickets available. They’ll be pouring beers from a variety of breweries/cideries/meaderies from across the Maritimes, and live music will be playing throughout the festival. Food will also be available for purchase. Proceeds from the event will help support the Children’s Wish Foundation.

Beer author and overall expert in the craft Stephen Beaumont is returning to Stillwell on Sunday, September 30th for another series of Guided Beer Tastings. Last year’s tasting was a huge success, so this year they’ve kindly added a second session! The first one will be from 12pm-2pm, and the second from 3-5pm; both will feature the chance to drink some “rare, world class beers” with Stephen, who will both entertain and educate with his knowledge and experience. There will also be copies of Stephen’s newest book, Will Travel For Beer: 101 Remarkable Journeys Every Beer Lover Should Experience, on hand for you to buy and have signed. Tickets are $46 and can be purchased here; don’t hold out on picking yours up, as the event is essentially guaranteed to sell out!

Sigh, this last Friday in August is always bittersweet: it’s a long weekend, but pretty much feels like the last weekend of the summer. Luckily, one thing exists to make everything happier, fuzzier, and just better overall. No, not family! Yeesh. Beer, of course! And there’s a whole whack of new beers and related things in Atlantic Canada this week, so take a read and see what you have to do/buy this weekend to make everything better! Oh, and keep in mind that not every beer store/taproom will be open on Labour Day, so check ahead before venturing out later in the weekend.

Let’s kick off this week with a round-up of the going ons (goings on? goings ons? … happenings) from the various Gahan locations around the Maritimes:
– At Gahan Port City in Saint John, there are a trio of new beers on tap these days. We told you previously about the Hoppy Stone Fruit Pale Ale, a 5.2% ABV New England style Pale Ale, brewed to celebrate Sculpture Saint John, which is on until September 22nd on the Saint John waterfront. Wheat and oats in the malt bill keep it light and hazy, but still dry and crisp, with plenty of fruit flavour and aroma. Also on tap is Brunswick Bitter, a North Americanized/amped up version of a traditional Extra Special Bitter. At 6.3% ABV, it still showcases a caramel malt backbone with lots of classic American hop character (to the tune of 70 IBUs). And as can be gathered from their taproom downstairs (aka the Barrel Room), there are plenty of projects in the works in those barrels, including a Chardonnay-aged Belgian Tripel likely to be released around Christmas, and a Farmhouse Saison resting in Pinot Noir barrels to be released in 2019. Look for more funky beers to hit the taps in Saint John, including a 100% Brettanomyces-fermented beer in the coming months
– At Gahan Riverside in Fredericton, they’ve managed to grab a few kegs of Port City’s Hoppy Stone Fruit, but have plenty of their own goodies to chat about this week too. A 4.5% ABV kettle sour named Blueberry Sour, featuring loads of blueberries from Terry Nabuurs of Terry’s Berries (and more recently of The Wheelhouse in Georgetown). The beer was also dry-hopped with Mosaic to enhance the tropical and berry flavours throughout. Those on the Island will soon be able to enjoy pints of their own version of this, as it was brewed at Gahan House Pub recently. Also new on tap in Fredericton is Dry Hopped Wit, a 5.5% ABV Belgian Witbier that was enhanced with an American dry hop after fermentation. And debuting on tap in a couple of weeks is a locally-brewed batch of Gahan classic Harvest Gold, releasing to celebrate the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, held in town September 11-16.
– At the original Gahan House Pub in Charlottetown, keep your eyes open for a coming-soon canned release from the Sydney Street location. Brewed in collaboration with Huck-It Disc Golf in Middleton, PEI, Bangin’ Chains is a New England Style Pale Ale, weighing in at 4.6% ABV and 29 IBU. Featuring mostly Cashmere hops, there will be a limited amount of cans, numbering just over 1200, which will be perfect for tossing into your disc, or old-fashioned, golf bag to enjoy while out for a round.
– And finally, the Gahan House Hub City location in Moncton is getting closer to a reality, as the builders are making good progress at the FiveFive building at 55 Queen Street. They are currently hiring for plenty of positions, and anticipate an opening date in mid-October.

We might as well stick with the Prince Edward Island theme, as Upstreet has released a couple new beers recently. Last week (just past our deadline, but fear not, there’s still plenty available!) saw the launch of Say Yes Mocha Porter, a collaboration of sorts, brewed with the brewery’s first “Artist in Residency”, Röra Blue. Featuring the addition of coffee (steeped directly in the fermentor) from local Receiver Coffee Co., this 6% ABV beer has a “super delicious cafe mocha flavour”, according to the brewery, and is available on tap, in growlers, and in bottles, for a limited time. Their next beer launches today, and is the next entry in their Neon Friday series. Neon Friday 010: Pale Ale with New Zealand hops was actually brewed in collaboration with Calgary’s stellar Dandy Brewing Co., a four-year-old brewery that has been making waves in Alberta with their many beer styles. As the name implies, the beer was hopped with all New Zealand varieties, including Wai-Iti, Pacifica, and Dr. Rudi. At 5.5% ABV and 40 IBUs, the brew is “light and refreshing, with a chill citrus and stone fruit hop flavour combo”. You can find it today on tap, in growlers and crowlers, and in cans, at both Upstreet locations. And keep an eye out at your local NSLC, as Upstreet’s Do Gooder American Pale has hit the shelves, available in 35 stores from Yarmouth to North Sydney. Just a limited listing at this time, also peep Upstreet’s social media for the location of some pop-up tastings over the next month, including the Portland Street location today, and Barrington Street location tomorrow, both 4-8PM. And be sure to add/follow along with the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse progress (FB, Tw, IG), as they work towards opening in late September, with the first of their Dartmouth-brewed batches (and favourites from the Island).

Moving back to the Island, and on to Summerside, where the city’s first brewery has a new beer out for thirsty locals. Batten Brown is Evermoore’s fifth beer release, and the first venturing on the darker side of things. With a grist of 2-row, 6-row, and Caramel malt, it was also hopped lightly with Amarillo, and weighs in at 5.5% ABV. They’re describing it as “on the lighter side of Browns”, with light aromas of coffee and caramel. This one is available only at the Evermoore taproom,  but should be travelling to other locations in the hopefully-near future.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is launching their latest kettle-soured beer today, Dark Berry Sour. After souring with Lactobacillus, they “packed” the beer with vine-ripened blackberries, black currants, and black raspberries. Dry-hopped with Mosaic to “heighten the dark fruit aroma”, it weighs in at an easy-drinking 5% ABV. Look for it at both Propeller locations starting today for growler fills, with 473 mL cans appearing next week (also in private stores). And hey, if you’re at the Gottingen location grabbing a growler, stick around til 5 pm, when they’ll be tapping their weekly cask; this week is Stone Fruit with lemon zest. As for those of you who aren’t into beer… why the hell are you even reading all of this? Ok, ok: Propeller is also releasing a Beer Cocktail today, Perfect Storm, made with their own Ginger Beer, rum (from Steinhart Distillery), and a hint of lime. It’s 7% ABV and packaged in cans, and can also be found at both Prop locations, and private stores. Now move on before we have to start shaking our fists in a menacing matter!

Elsewhere in Halifax, Garrison has released Hot Fuzz, a “Peach Witbier” that is only available on draft. Brewed just in the nick of time before the cool weather starts rolling in (by “cool” we mean sub-25 C), it contains both peach juice and extract, which nicely complement the fruitiness and spiciness from the Belgian yeast. Refreshing and light, and highly drinkable at 4.8% ABV, check with your local Garrison tap account to see if they have it on tap.

In Fredericton, Graystone has a new brand new beer on at their taproom, one that they’re referring to as a “mild blueberry Sour”. Fisher Fields Sour is Graystone’s first sour beer, a 5.4% ABV, 11 IBUs kettle sour brewed with a good amount of Wheat malt. Over 80 kg of whole blueberries from Oxford, NS were pureed and added to the beer after fermentation was complete, giving it a deep, ruby-red colour. Don’t be expecting too much tartness with this one, as the sour character was deliberately restrained to allow the fruit flavour to come through. And if you’re dropping by the brewery to have a pint/fill a growler, they’re eagerly waiting for your homegrown hops to be dropped off at the same time! As usual, they’ll be used in the brewing of this year’s Harvest IPA, whose sales will benefit United Way Central New Brunswick. If you’d like to learn more, send an email to info@graystonebrewing.com.

Straight outta Hanwell, NB, comes another Belgian inspired hoppy beer from Niche Brewing. Island in the Sun is a small beer at only 3.6% ABV, but there’s plenty of flavor packed in there, with a light tartness and a hint of funk playing against a saison yeast. On top of that, this beer was dry hopped entirely with Galaxy, an Australian hop that’s probably one of the most popular varieties of the last few years and one which presents with prominent tropical flavors, especially passion fruit. So fine [you] can’t control [your] brain, this Grisette has not quite yet all been spoken for, but confirmed purveyors include 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton, Tide & Boar Gastropub in Moncton, Peppers Pub, Saint John Ale House, and Eighty Three Bar Arcade in Saint John, and Ducky’s in Sackville. Check out Niche’s social medias (FB, Tw, IG) for further announcements regarding where this one will be available.

After a bit of a release-date hiccup (hey, ya gotta give breweries credit when they make the decision not to release a beer when it isn’t ready!), 2 Crows will be selling bottles of Vaquero, their tequila-barrel-aged Sour with black lime and agave, today at 4 PM. Described as “bright, tart, lightly smoky, with soft honey notes and a firm minerality”, it comes in at 5.3% ABV and will be available for purchase in 375 mL bottles.Only one barrel of this beer was produced, so as you may have guessed, quantities are extremely limited. It won’t be on tap, but bottle pours will be available for purchase in the taproom. Joe Martin from Stillwell Beergarden will be on hand from 4 pm as well, grilling up some Mexican-inspired food items to pair with the beer, so why not stay and make a couple hours of it? And great news for those of you living in Nova Scotia that aren’t exactly close to Halifax – also at 4 pm, 2C is launching their new web shop, where a bunch of their current beers (including a few bottles of Vaquero) can be purchased and delivered within the province. Head to the brewery website for more info.

The gang over at New Scotland Brewing Co in Dartmouth are settling into their new digs nicely and while the little details continue to be refined, they’re already filling the slate with musical acts and keeping the beer flowing. With the capacity for 16 taps when they’re going full bore, right now, during a crazy busy time of year (especially for a brand new brewery), they’re floating in the 8 to 10 range. Of particular note is their St. Andrews Cross Extra Pale Ale, a beer that’s destined for their ‘Signature Line’ of core brews. An easy drinking XPA, it tips the scales at 6% ABV and features an impressive floral and citrus aroma. They’re also continuing to show their affinity for mead, currently carrying two honey-based beverages on tap. The first is Mojito Mo Problems, a 5% ABV “mojito mead” that we expect carries flavors of mint and lime. Along with that is Slippery Slope, a root beer mead at 7% ABV; we feel fairly assured in expecting a bit of root beer flavor on that one. Cider is also represented, with Train Bell dry-hopped cider (6.3% ABV) and Bush Berry Cider featuring Haskap berries (6.2% ABV). Back on the beer side you’ll also find their Bonnie Kölsch (5.1% ABV), Coat of Arms 80 Shilling Amber Ale (5.1% ABV), and All the Fuss Wild Sour Gose (3.8% ABV). They’ve also got their Broun-eyed Lass Brown Ale (6.2% ABV) pouring on Nitro and look for the return of the Lowlander Stout (5% ABV) real soon now. So if your plans include Dartmouth this Labour Day weekend, maybe give a thought to checking out New Scotland; or maybe even make some plans, that works too!

Still in Halifax (sorry Gloria!), this week’s Good Robot double feature once again has Alpha and Beta aspects. On the small batch experimental beta side we’ve got one called Fuzzy Bus. Brewed with Jayson of Noble Grape and his friend Tara, it started as a straightforward, minimally-hopped pale ale that was then fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast. Towards the end of fermentation some gin-soaked wood chips were added, bringing botanicals and brightness to the mix. During its release on Beta Brewsday this coming Tuesday, look for it to have a fairly high carbonation with the littlest bubbles they could find in the CO2 tank which, combined with its other aspects, should make for a light and refreshing beer at 5.1% ABV for you to sip on the Gastroturf. Meanwhile, coming off the big ol’ alpha system to the GR taps is another take on an IPA featuring biotransformation. For those not aware, a simplified explanation is that additional hops are added while primary fermentation is still in fairly full swing, essential oils and acids from the hops get bound up with the yeast via biological and chemical magic, and the result is, ideally, a beer with a popping hop flavor, a hazy appearance, and a soft mouthfeel. This batch, dubbed Creature Feature, boasts juicy stone and tropical fruit hop flavors leading to a dry finish in a 6.4% ABV package that’s been called “dangerously yummy”. Look for it to be tapped later next week, on Thursday.

Does Big Spruce Brewing ever slow down? No, we didn’t think so either. Over the next week, they’re releasing new beers, tweaked beers, and returning beers. So let’s start with, I dunno… the tweaked beer! Refanged is a higher-ABV version of their De-fanged, a “Blood Orange Session IPA”. The new version is still brewed with Azacca hops, and features the addition of organic blood orange juice, but comes in 6.2% ABV (and 40 IBUs),  bringing it comfortably into IPA territory. It’s available now on tap for pints and growler fills. Returning today is their Hugs Bunny, a 3.8% ABV Citra dry-hopped Gose, also on tap and in growlers.

In new Big Spruce brew news, we’ve got two to talk about today. The first is an experimental saison, hopped with Sorachi Ace, which is currently pouring at the brewery in Nyanza. At 7.2% ABV and 35 IBU, this should get you motivated for the long weekend’s activities. And debuting next Tuesday is Can You C’est Brut IPA, the brewery’s first crack at this new-but-quickly-gaining-in-popularity style, a collaboration with Chronicle Brewing (ON). Finishing with a gravity decidedly below the 1.000 mark, it’s plenty dry, with bitterness in the 40 IBU range and an ABV that’s up around 7.0%. Hammered with heckloads of hop hash of the El Dorado variety, expect plenty of tropical and stone fruit presence. Oh, wait, just one more Big Spruce thing: keep an eye on their social media stuff for the annual Big Spruce hopyard harvest, which should be starting next week, currently targeting Tuesday…they always appreciate those of you who can give them a hand! We’ve heard rumours that they pay in beer. Oops, sorry, one FINAL thing (!), we should also mention that the brewery has been cellaring a LOT of beer, so expect to see lots of bottles (as in, 14,000+) of barrel-aged brews coming out soon, as well as over a thousand containing bottle-conditioned Brett Saison. Ok, done!

On Nova Scotia’s North Shore, Tatamagouche used some of their own hops grown in nearby Malagash for a wet-hopped beer on Wednesday, which will be hitting the taps in a few weeks. Using 20kg of Cascade and 10kg of Crystal, they filled every vessel possible with hops during the brew day to extract all of the aroma and flavour possible from the local harvest. The malt bill featured lots of Horton Ridge malts, and the beer will be released during an event hosted by the Maritime Hop Growers Cooperative late in September (more details closer to the event).

But on tap now is the latest batch of Tata’s Rushton’s Peach, their local-peach-and-apricot-infused Sour. Featuring more than 130kg of peaches and 40kg of apricots, this 3.5% ABV Berliner Weisse is available now on draft for pints and growlers, as well as cans. Also keep an eye out for the return of their Lagerhosen, their 4.5% ABV lager brewed in celebration of the Tatamagouche Oktoberfest. The event is celebrating its 39th Anniversary this year, with the weekend events kicking off September 28th. Draft Lagerhosen is available now, with cans available next week. And look for a special limited release of Lagerhosen coming soon, which was dry-hopped with Czech Saaz and Strisselspalt, and will be available in cans and draft next week.

Let’s hop across the water to Newfoundland to round out this week’s news…

Just outside of St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Brewery is putting out a call for anyone who has extra rhubarb to drop it off at the brewery, as they are brewing up a pilot batch of a brand new beer today. Those who do take part will be able to enjoy the fruits (arg) of their labours once a larger batch is brewed and released in the coming months. Just pop by the Hop Shop and look forward to enjoying the beer you helped bring to life! And while you’re there, step upstairs to the taproom and grab some of their latest test batch, a 6.7% ABV Apple Saison.

On the West Coast of the Rock, in Port au Port, Secret Cove Brewing is in the final stages of brewery and taproom work, and are getting excited to open up. The brewery and taproom are located in the former Viking Lounge , which they completely overhauled to bring Secret Cove to life. Their 10 BBL (1200 litre) brewhouse from DME is installed, with the finishing touches on the steam boiler and glycol chilling system happening this week, which means passivation and water brews before any grain hits the stainless. Draft lines in the taproom are being installed, so soon, all will be missing is the beer! Keep an eye on their social media (FB, Tw, IG) for the Grand Opening announcement, which is sure to come soon. And we’ll have a full profile with Jason and Sheila ahead of their opening.

Up the TransCanada Highway, then hang a left at Deer Lake, you’ll find Crooked Feeder Brewing in Cormack. They too can see their opening fast approaching, as they have taken possession of their brewhouse and are working to get it, and their fermenters, ready for some beer. A few more inspections and touches, and the brewery will be complete, and then the focus can turn to the taproom. Keep an eye out for their announcements in the coming weeks as well (FB, Tw, IG).

In Bay Roberts, Baccalieu Trail has their brewhouse installed, and are finishing up the last few steps of testing there, while they shift focus to starting to brew beer. Keep your eyes peeled for their updates, as it now seems like a race to see which of these breweries will be opening next (FB, IG).

Still well on their way, and definitely opening this year, are a pair of breweries further East. Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has taken possession of their DME brewhouse this week, and will be working hard to have the installed and working over the next month or so. Their social media is full of pictures and updates to keep you salivating (FB, Tw, IG).

And almost back East to the big city, Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl has also taken delivery of their system from DME this week. Work in their large brewery and taproom continues, and they are aiming for a Fall launch. Stay up-to-date on their social media for the latest news and views (FB, Tw, IG).

And in 2019 openings, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company has set a location for their brewery in St. Anthony. Their five-barrel (600 litre) brewery and taproom will be located at 223-227 West Street in the town, formerly the Clock Shop Building. They are awaiting final environmental approval for that location, but will know soon.

And finally, Union Electric Brewery has announced their plans to open up in the former hydroelectric plant in Port Union. Owner Nardia McGrath, who has previously worked at other breweries including St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery, will be working with Jane Tucker, who is currently brewing at Port Rexton Brewing. There’s lots to do in the building, so follow along on their journey at their FB page.

We’ve got a few events on the go this weekend, so be sure to get out and enjoy some local beers!

You may have read our profile on Oromocto, NB’s newest brewery, morALE Brewsters, published earlier this week. This is just a reminder that the brewery’s official launch is happening today at Griffin’s Pub & Eatery, at 7 pm. They’ll have their first beer, Cornflake Cream Ale, available for pints, with members of the brewery on hand to meet up and chat about their plans.

Oktoberfest des Acadiens kicked off yesterday, and continues all weekend in Bertrand, New Brunswick. With Grand Tastings both Saturday and Sunday afternoon 1-5PM, there will be plenty of local beers pouring to try out, including the debut of a brand new beer from O’Creek Brewing, River of Fire. A 6.2% ABV IPA, it is full of malt and bitterness, but still smooth. Featuring a healthy dose of Simcoe in the dry-hop, it will also be available on tap in Moncton shortly.

A friendly reminder that Boxing Rock is holding the Grand Opening of their Test Kitchen brewhouse and retail shop in Halifax tomorrow, conveniently located on-site at Local Source Market at 2530 Agricola Street. From 10AM, drop by to check out the new pilot brewhouse, try a sample, and grab some beer to go. The first 250 people through the door will receive a free limited-edition 1.89 litre growler, entitling them $2 off fills for the life of that growler. And we can confirm that the first beer brewed on their system will be available to enjoy tomorrow, a Dulse Gose, brewed in collaboration with local homebrewer Brian Harvey, two-time winner of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge. Pop-in to see what all the fuss is about!

Big Spruce is holding their annual Pig Roast this Sunday, September 2nd. This is a community, family-friendly event that is the perfect way to send off the summer, featuring plenty of great food, live music, and lots of beer. There’ll also be free lemonade and face painting for the kiddies, free archery lessons and trials (maybe not for the smaller kiddies), and a chance to meet the team from Big Spruce Racing (yep, that’s a thing!). It all starts at noon; check the event page link above to confirm what events are going on when, when your favourite band is playing, and even a full menu! Tickets are sold at the door only, and are $30 (price include food and entertainment all day).

It’s getting to be that time of year again when breweries with hopyards are looking for folks willing to work for the satisfaction of a job well done (and, very possibly, beer) and Meander River Farm is no exception. On Sunday, September 9th, they’ll be looking for beer lovers willing to come out to their place near Ashdale, NS, to pluck the hop flowers off the bines so that they can be used in this year’s batch of Homegrown Wet-hopped Ale. This is the 8th year for the community harvest, so you’ll likely have plenty of chances to meet experienced pickers and talk hops and beer; things get underway at 9 AM, and we’re told that the taps will be flowing.

A few more things to wrap up before we let you get back to your lunch and/or beer today:

– Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has a new beer hitting the local taps these days, a Rye IPA named Axe Cutter. Currently on tap at the brewery and at La Torta in Wolfville, and sure to rotate through better beer spots elsewhere in the province shortly, this 6.2% ABV beer features plenty of hops to give it a solid bitterness complementing the Rye malt character.

– Looks like Petit-Sault may be the first brewery in the Maritimes out of the gate with a Pumpkin Ale, as their Bonhomme Sept-heures (8.5% ABV) is now available on tap, with bottles appearing sometime next week. #ohthehumanity

Saltbox Brewery brewed up another batch of their popular Rhubarb Berliner Weiss (4.8% ABV); it’s currently available on tap in limited quantities this week. And make a date to drop by around noon on September 8th to help with the brewing of their wet-hopped beer Blue Nose 1850, all hands on deck needed with hop de-bining. Those who help out will be rewarded with a pint of the beer upon release in September (and probably some goodies on the 8th, too!).

TrailWay has brought back Fuzzy Bubbles (6.5% ABV), their India Pale Lager; look for it at the brewery now on tap and in cans, with cans also going to select ANBL stores in the province. They’ve also announced the launch of their barrel program, as they’ve recently acquired some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir barrels. We spotted some light-coloured liquid being transferred into them Thursday, so that’s “many months” minus one day until we can drink them!