Meander River Farm and Brewery

All posts tagged Meander River Farm and Brewery

Crikey. Are we going to mention the weather in our intro this week? Damn skippy we are! It’s been the kind of May that makes you wonder why March hasn’t ended in our region, but that’s not stopping our regional beer scene from plowing forward towards the summer season that we’re sure will arrive for a couple of days, maybe by late August. We’ve got yet another new brewery opening, plenty of new releases and re-releases, and a bunch of lovely-sounding beer-related events to tell you about. So bundle up, strap in, grab a beer, and get reading!

After months of anticipation, Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s opened last weekend. Located at 90 Duckworth Street, the brewery and taproom are located in a former fire station, constructed after the Great Fire of 1892. Named after nearby Bannerman Park, the brewery features a 15 BBL (1750 litre) brewhouse from DME Brewing, and a bright and inviting taproom. They have launched with six beer offerings: a Lager, Saison, Fruited Sour, Pale Ale, IPA, and Double IPA, and have several more waiting in the wings. In addition to beer, their kitchen is open and keeping visitors’ bellies full as well. The concentration is on snacks and street food with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options; tacos available three ways (cod, brisket or veggie), banh mi sandwich, cauliflower steaks, and thai lettuce cups. The taproom is open daily (except Tuesday), Mon, Wed, and Thurs 4 – 11, Fri 3 – 12, Sat 12 – 12, Sun 12 – 11 (with extended hours 12 – 11 Victoria Day Monday). Pop in for a pint and a feed, and leave with a growler of your favourite(s)! Congratulations to the entire Bannerman Family.

Moving from one island to another, we’re happy to announce that Red Island Cider in Charlottetown is opening their doors today. Their fermentory and taproom at 101 Longworth Avenue opens today 2 – 8 PM. They will have three ciders available to visitors: Father Walker’s (a traditional dry cider), The Devonport (hopped cider), and the first of their revolving seasonal Ghost Ship series, a dry semi-sweet cider. With live music from 6:30 PM, and food provided in the taproom from next door’s bar.1911, this will be the place to go this afternoon. They are also open tomorrow 2 – 8 PM, and open Wed to Sat with the same hours. Congratulations!

Let’s skip back to Newfoundland for another new release taking flight in Mount Pearl. We teased it a bit last week, but now have the full details. Teaming up with the nearby Admiralty Museum and their new “Field to Flight” exhibition, the folks at Landwash Brewery have released Field to Flight Pale Ale. Using malted Wheat and Barley from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, and East Kent Golding from England, this is truly a Transatlantic beer. The 5.5% ABV beer features a herbal and spicy hop profile on top of the bread and biscuit malt, and fruity kick from their house yeast. Available at the brewery now for pints and flights and in growlers and cans to go.

If you happen to be near Port Rexton Brewing this weekend, there’s a special, draught-only beer currently pouring that we think you’ll want to try! Do you remember Nor’easter? Released in bottles in late December of 2017, this beer was a Porter that was brewed and aged in two red wine barrels, along with 30 lbs (each barrel) of fresh, local partridgeberries. The first barrel was bottled, while the second barrel spent an additional 16+ months aging… and that’s what you can taste if you get to the taproom right now! This Nor’easter is exhibiting as “beautifully-balanced red wine meets medium-dark chocolate in the aroma and on the palate”. Still showing some tartness from the partridgeberry addition, it has a medium body and weighs in at 7.4% ABV. No growler fills of this one, so bring your drinking boots!

Two South Shore Nova Scotia breweries, namely Shelburne’s Boxing Rock and Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company, have teamed up on a new collaboration IPA they’re calling Swing Thru. With aromas of lemon, apricot, peach and even a bit of coconut, and flavors of pine resin, lemon zest, and grapefruit, this 6.3% ABV beer was quadruple dry-hopped to maximize those aromas and flavors. With an amber-bronze color, it’s slightly hazy and the finish might remind you a little bit of lemon candy. Currently only available at Boxing Rock and Saltbox, fear not, social media is showing a label, so you might reasonably expect it to have been packaged and possibly making its way to other places (like the BR Bottle Shop at Local Source Market in Halifax).

Never a brewery to rest simply because they’re coming down from NSCBW, Big Spruce has two new releases for this week, as well as a returning favourite. The first newbie is Viva la Mandarina, a 7.4% ABV hazy IPA. Intensely-hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra (who doesn’t love those three hops?), the beer also had an addition of organic (natch!) Mandarin orange juice. Super tropical, as you probably expected, with “notes of sun-ripe pineapple, passion fruit, guava, and light pine”, and orange, cantaloupe and clementine on the nose. Finishing with a “long, tangerine peel bitterness”, it’s available only on tap . The second brew is on the opposite side of the spectrum; Duplicitous is a dark Saison that was hopped with Magnum and Tettnang, and then aged in three Marechal Foch barrels for 8 months, along with sun-dried Bing cherries and fresh sweet cherries. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV, there’s barrel character in the aroma, with “notes of Spanish sherry and fresh cherry pie on the palate”. Some earthiness from the hop additions to complement, this one is available in kegs only as well. Finally, Death Cookies NEIPA is back, but only a limited number of kegs will be pouring, so grab it while ya can! And if you’re looking for another excuse to head to the brewery this weekend, this week they kicked off their Food Truck being open for the season, which is open Wed-Sun, 11:30 – 7 PM.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing Company and Everwood Avenue Brewshop have teamed up on a collaboration beer in a style rarely (if ever) seen in these parts. Would you believe that there’s a German-inspired beer from Brazil? Thanks to a strong German influence dating back to colonial times, brewers took the sour, refreshing nature of Berliner Weisse and married it to the beautiful fresh fruit growing in abundance all around them. This keeps with the tradition of adding fruit syrups to Berliner Weisse, but in a more immediate way. Moderately sour, fully-attenuated, and with little to no grain or hop character, the goal of Catharina Sour is a fruity and refreshing drink for hot weather. The team stayed true to the style, using Passion Fruit and Mango, yielding a fairly light 5% ABV beer they’re calling El Fuego with a tart character and plenty of fruit aromatics and flavor. The official release date is May 22nd, when Everwood will be on hand at the New Scotland taproom for their first Customer Appreciation Night, but you’ll find it already on tap there now and soon at Battery Park.

Most (all?) Canadian breweries involved in the annual Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration 12-pack (featuring a collaboration beer from one brewery from each province/territory brewed at Central City Brewing in B.C.) end up coming home to brew the same beer on their own system (aside: and the winner of worst sentence ever goes to…). Luckily for residents of Nova Scotia, Tatamagouche Brewing – representative of NS of this year’s collaboration pack – is no exception! Ocean’s Playground is a Belgian Tripel brewed with Belgian Pilsner malt, along with a bit of wheat and dextrose. Hopped with Styrian Goldings and Saaz to 30 IBUs, and dry-hopped with a bit more Saaz, it was fermented with Escarpment Lab’s Ardennes strain. It’s kegs only for this 8.2% ABV release, and it’s already going fast! You should be able to find it on tap at Tata, and at a few select accounts (we should also mention that half of the batch is currently aging in barrels, along with some interesting cultures!). The Red Racer version – which won a Bronze medal at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards – will likely be hitting liquor stores in the Atlantic provinces soon, so you should be able to grab cans at that point. When you do, you’ll be also able to enjoy the collabs done with Grimross, Copper Bottom, and Port Rexton.

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has just released High Water Helles, a German Helles that you may remember as originally being released under the moniker Scratch #15: German Helles last November. Losing the “Scratch” in the name means that this one will be available on a larger scale, but it’s still keeping the qualities of the initial beer, with a few slight tweaks to the recipe. Originally designed in collaboration with Darlings Island Farm, this golden-coloured, medium-bodied beer was brewed with German Pilsner malt, hopped with Santium, and fermented with the brewery’s house Lager yeast. Dry-hopped with more Santium, the beer was lagered for about six weeks before packaging. The final beer is clean and refreshing, “with a moderate amount of herbal, grassy hop character, along with a touch of lemon citrus notes”. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 21 IBUs, you can grab it on tap and in cans at the Grimross taproom right now, with cans hitting ANBL stores sometime next week.

Halifax’s Good Robot has a couple of returning beers and a brand new in the offing this week. First up, for those who missed them in their brief absence, both Creature Feature I, their hoppy and juicy biotransformation IPA and El Espinazo del Diablo, their Mexican Lager with jalepeño and lime are both back in full effect. Coming up soon is a new beer made in collaboration with Aquakultre to celebrate the release of the album HOLOS with Ghettosocks (Aquakultre + Ghettosocks = Aquasocks) and to help fundraise for Aquakultre’s own debut album, Legacy, coming next year. We’ll have an album release party to tell you about in the near future where you can try the beer and check out the album, but for now we’ve been advised to let you know that Legacy Lager is a Pilsner and you’ll be tasting pineapple. Lastly, for those following the trials and tribulations of the GR Sabco system, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s back up and running and Kelly will be getting the BetaBrew program back on the road Real Soon Now™.

Good news for you Tidehouse fans, as they’re finishing up their expansion to a 5 hL system and will finally be able to start kegging more beers for bars and restaurants in the HRM. You can still drink in their tiny little taproom, of course (in fact, we/they encourage it!), but if you can’t make it there, rest assured that you’ll soon be able to find your TH favourites at other locations. Also as a result of this expansion, they plan on having regular stock of 650 mL bottles of their Hibiscus City (Gose w/ lime zest and hibiscus) available. But not just at the brewery! You can now find bottles at Bishop’s Cellar and Liquid Assets, making it even easier to take home (or travel with) a TH brew.

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery is throwing their hat in the very large NEIPA ring with their first official stab at the style, Vermont is for Lovers. Definitely dangling at the upper end of the ABV range at 8% ABV, the wort was hopped with Mosaic and Citra, and then double-dry-hopped with more of the same, giving a whole whack of citrus flavours and aromas, with a moderate bitterness in the finish (IBUs coming in somewhere south of 40). You can grab it right now at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and it will be available in cans sometime next week.

So, what’s on the go this weekend (and beyond)? Let’s get you up to date right now!

This is certainly the weekend of the Beer Gardens, as the weather has turned positive (and sometimes even breaking into double digits!) and we can’t stay cooped up drinking all year long! Opening for their first year of operation is Euston Park Social, located at 5 Euston Street in Moncton. Featuring the now-popular shipping-container-converted-to-bar setup, they are pouring a dozen beer, cider and kombucha options from across the province, and pairing with a small menu of paired food options. Open Mon – Fri 11 AM – midnight, Sat and Sun 10 AM – midnight, with a brunch menu until 4 PM on the weekend. And be sure to pop by on May 24th for the official Grand Opening celebration.

Also opening in the area is Buddha Bear’s Riverview bar, on the edge of the Petitcodiac River at 391 Coverdale Road. With a dozen beers, including a rotating selection of their own Holy Whale as well as other New Brunswick bevvies, there’s something for everyone. They are opening at 4 PM this afternoon, going until 9 PM. Saturday and Sunday they will be open 2 – 5 PM, and Monday 1 – 5 PM. As with all of the Beer Gardens we’re mentioning today, openings are weather-dependent, so check the skies before you head down.

In Halifax, this weekend also marks the opening of the Stillwell Beer Garden at 5688 Spring Garden Rd. Opening later this weekend (we’re not not exactly sure when so keep an eye on social media and the SBG link above which is updated when they are), they’ll be pouring their favourite stellar selection of beers from across the region (and beyond) on tap and in cans. The food options in the BG has changed this year, with Beverley Taco Service taking over the helm. If you’ve wondered what those cryptic flyers and call-in number were for, now ya know! Freshly-made tortillas, made with heirloom corn that they’ve milled themselves, and a rotating fun and funky list of toppings will make these hand-held-heros the perfect pairing to your sunny afternoon/evening pint.

And finally, hop across the ferry to Battery Park, who opened their backyard patio yesterday, and hopes to have it open all weekend long (rain, rain, go away, come back… in October). With long picnic tables and a mini container with a selection of beer, wine, and cider pouring, a little green respite in downtown Dartmouth is just what the doctor ordered to get over your S.A.D.

We mentioned in our post at the beginning of NSCBW that Meander River is having a big 5th Anniversary Party, but we thought it prudent to remind you that it’s tomorrow, Saturday, May 18th, starting at 11 AM, at the brewery out in Ashdale, NS. Those who visited the Meander Farm Brewery table at the Full House event last weekend got a sneak peek of two products that will be featured at the party, namely Little Big Lager, a “big brewery-style” light lager at 4.2% ABV and the return of Honey’d the small-batch cider at 5.5% ABV that folks can’t seem to get enough of. Both have been packaged in bottles, meaning you’ll also be able to take some to go!

If you live in/near Dieppe and like beer and food (who doesn’t!), there’s going to be a Flying Boats Beer Tasting & Food Pairing next Thursday, May 23rd, at the Oval Lounge in the Hotel Wingate Dieppe. Featuring four different Flying Boats beers, each paired with a different course, head brewer/owner Marc Melanson will be on hand to discuss beer styles, ingredients, etc. Tickets are $35 each; call 506-830-8330 to reserve yours.

Do you like beer? How about Square Dancing? If the answer to both (or either, really) of those is, “yes,” and you’re going to be in the general environs of Mabou, NS, next weekend, consider popping in to the Brook Village Square Dance & Beer Fest hosted by Brook Village Grocery and going down at the Brook Village Hall (in Brook Village!) on Saturday, May 25th, from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. Tickets are $30 plus taxes and are available through EventBrite. There will be lots of music, plenty of dancing, and craft beer and cider from all over Nova Scotia (and a few from PEI)!

Next week marks the beginning of the 14th Annual Atlantic Beer Festival in Moncton, with three separate sessions being held between Friday and Saturday, May 24th-25th. This year’s event will feature more than 70 breweries, with over 175 different types of beer and cider pouring. There will also be live music, as well as several options for food. Tickets are still available for all sessions – Friday 7:30 – 10 PM, Saturday 2:30 – 5 PM and 7:30 – 10 PM – for $59.50 each; check out the event link to purchase yours.

Big Spruce continues their recent trend of beer events in the city, this time partnering up with 2 Doors Down Bar + Bites for a dinner event on Thursday, May 30th at 6:30 PM. Entitled “Bitter v. Bitter” it will feature four unique dishes from Chef Melwyn Chettiar that he has designed to pair with the bitter components of each of four Big Spruce beers selected by Big Spruce head honcho Jeremy White. Chef Chettiar is no stranger to pairing beer and food, having served up at the Eat Drink Halifax event on a couple of occasions, so you can expect well considered pairings. In addition to the 4oz pours of beer accompanying the food, there will also be three cocktails served, beginning with a welcome “Kitchen Party” cocktail as you come in the door and continuing over the evening with two more of 2DD’s Craft Beer cocktails (featuring Big Spruce beer, of course). Steven Heisler, head bartender for the Chives/2DD restaurant group and a beer sommelier, will be the host, Jeremy will be in attendance to providing insight into the beers, and Chef/Proprietor Craig Flinn is also expected to make an appearance. Tickets are $75 per person (includes gratuity) and with 2DDBB being a pretty small space, you’ll want to move quickly as there’s not a lot of them. This would be a great event for a craft beer lover who’s interested in cocktail culture, a cocktail fan who’s curious about craft beer, or someone who just loves good food and drink. Call 902.448.1898 to reserve your spot.

We wouldn’t be us if we didn’t have a couple more quick things for you to read down here at the end of the post:

The hirsute hop-harping hooligans of 902BrewCast have another episode up this week, their May Tasting Episode. Tune in via your favorite podcast player to hear them wax poetic about various and sundry, including their consensus picks for handsomest ACBeerBlog writer (hint: it’s not who you think) and Most Glorious 902BrewCast beard (hint: it’s totally who you think).

Our favourite brewery in Hanwell, New Brunswick, has brought back a bright refreshing favourite for the “warmer” days we’re experiencing. Niche Brewing’s Margarita Gose is a 3.5% ABV kettle sour with lots of wheat in the grist, and no hops to distract, allowing the souring process and other ingredients take centre stage. Those other ingredients, btw, are light additions of salt and coriander to keep the beer true to the Gose style, and then kicked up with a round of conditioning on fresh lime zest (work those forearms, boys!). This zingy sipper is available around Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John, and will pop up in Halifax (including during the Battle of the Breweries Battle at HopYard Halifax next Thursday, May 23rd, when they take on Big Spruce and Roof Hound Brewing).

Another wild week in the region, with snow bringing the mainland to a full-stop/crawl, but thankfully we’ve got loads of great beer news to share this week. And in case you missed it, Timber Ship Brewing, which we featured in a Profile on the blog yesterday, did in fact have their launch last night at The Piping Plover Gastropub in Miramichi, pouring their Dungarvon Hopper IPA and Broken Paddle Pale Ale. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest news on where to grab a pint. Congratulations again! Let’s get to the other new news in the region…

Brut IPAs… love ‘em, or hate ‘em? No matter how you feel, it looks like the style is here to stay, at least for awhile. To give you some further food for thought on the subject, Lunn’s Mill is throwing their hat in the ring with their latest beer, And You. Their take on a Brut IPA was hopped with late additions of Galaxy and Mosaic, which combine to provide “an intense grapefruit character”. The bitterness lingers despite its relatively low 33 IBUs (likely due to the high dryness thanks to a low finishing gravity), and its alcohol level isn’t too high either, at 5.5% ABV. You should be able to still find this one at the Lunn’s Mill taproom for pints and growlers, and quite possibly at your favourite drinking spot in the HRM.

If you were lucky enough to attend Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event last night, you probably noticed a few new beers making their way around the room. One of them is the Brut IPA from Lunn’s Mill we just mentioned. Not to be outdone, Tatamagouche Brewing brought two new beers, one of which was a special sneak peek of their latest barrel-aged brew. The first beer is Kitty Clyde, a DIPA hopped with two of our favourite Australian varieties, Galaxy and Vic Secret. Thanks to plenty of both in the recipe, expect “Five Alive-type citrus flavours, along with the usual tropical and mandarin” in this 7.8% ABV, 40 IBUs hop bomb. Kegs are already being delivered to various Tata licensees, and they’re also canning it today, so expect some of those next week! Their other preview was a beer brewed two years ago that finally got to see the light of day (before being lost to the darkness of mouths and stomachs) – Kiskadee. This beer started off as a clean Porter, before being racked into second-use Glenora Whisky barrels, where it sat for 18 months. The Tata elves then added a hop-tolerant mixed culture from Escarpment Labs to help the beer develop some acidity; it was then racked onto organic NS strawberries for a second fermentation, for another four months. The final, much-awaited result, is a hefty 9.8% ABV, and has notes of “chocolate, spirits, and tart strawberries”. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to taste it last night; it’s been packaged in kegs and 500 mL bottles, and should be released in a couple of weeks.  

We’ve got another 2 Crows bottle release for you this weekend… or, more accurately, they do (the big glory hogs!). Those of you from Newfoundland may be particularly excited for Cloud 9, as it features the addition of the highly-coveted bakeapple. Sometimes referred to as cloudberry, bakeapple is a tart, flavourful, golden-coloured berry that is very difficult to forage, and even harder to find. In Newfoundland, some locals have places they know to find them, but keep it a closely-guarded secret since they’re so rare. Cloud 9 has been brewed on a smaller scale in the past, for release on tap at the brewery’s launch, and 1st anniversary party. As for this batch, it was brewed last March with a grain bill of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Lightly hopped with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was soured first with Lactobacillus, and then fermented in freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces cultures. After spending four months in the barrel, the bakeapple was added (about 50 lbs of it, the result of several days of foraging by Paul Smith, a friend of 2C who we think is owed a major favour!) to the barrel. The 5.2% ABV beer then conditioned for another two months, before packaging in bottles with Champagne yeast. Five months later, it’s finally ready and is described by 2C as “tart, lively, bright, with a distinct funk and bakeapple character”. Don’t worry, there’s some of that barrel goodness in there as well! They’re releasing it at the brewery tomorrow at noon; with about 900 bottles available, it’ll go pretty quickly, so don’t delay in getting down to grab yours (a few bottles will also be available on the 2C web store, for shipping in NS).

Up in Hanwell, NB, Niche Brewing continues to pump out small batches of lovely beers with two releases since last we mentioned them. Last week saw Enkel, their take on the traditional Patersbier style. Designed by Trappist monks to be light enough to drink during the workday, “enkel” is the Dutch word for “single” leading to the beer also being known as a “singel” for maximum confusion in the marketplace. Dark candy syrup provides some light sweetness and dark fruit to this one, contrasting with a spicy and fruity character from a typical Belgian yeast strain. At 5.5% ABV it’s probably a little higher on the scale than a more traditional example, but you can still expect it to be light and refreshing. And as is their wont, the boys of Niche are putting out a hoppier style this week to balance the Euro stylings of the Enkel. A Hazy Shade of Winter is a NEIPA with a lightish 5.6% ABV and a heavy hopping of tropical fruity Galaxy and dank and piney Simcoe. Look for a low bitterness and plenty of passion fruit flavor in this easy drinker along with some yeast character generated by their own blend of haze-encouraging yeast strains. Look for both of these beers to be available at tap accounts in New Brunswick.

There’s an appropriately-named new addition to the Something Different lineup at Annapolis Cider CompanyStorm Cider (sorry, but we’ve got to mention the weather at least once a week, right?)! Starting off as a dry cider made from the juice of handpicked Gravenstein apples, it was fermented at cool temperatures and then blended with local blueberry, strawberry, arctic kiwi, rhubarb, and blackcurrant juices. The final rose-coloured product has “vibrant notes of fresh berries, and a crisp finish”, and comes in at 7.3% ABV. The charity recipient for this cider is The Red Door, a youth health and support centre; they will receive $0.50 from each refill.

Sticking with cider, Chain Yard has their own new release now available, Scoby Blu. The latest entry in their Kombucha series, it started with the base of their Foundation cider, and then features the addition of Kombucha from local Sòlas Kombucha (New Ross, NS), as well as homemade blueberry wine and matured lavender from Meander River Farm. As you might expect, the resulting 6.4% ABV cider has some of that wonderful Kombucha funk, as well as floral and fruit notes. You can find it on tap right now at their retail store.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company has a new beer on tap and in cans, a 4.3% ABV Session IPA. Light in body, with plenty of hops on the nose and palate, but light on bitterness, reminiscent of tropical fruit and melon. They have packaged it in a limited release can, featuring the logo of the South Shore Lumberjacks hockey team. Purchasing the can helps support the Lumberjack players and personnel. Saltbox is also currently pouring Backyard Cider, made with local heirloom Gravenstein apples. This 6.5% ABV single varietal cider is crisp and dry, with floral notes on the nose.

Newly-opened Sussex Ale Works has released their latest brew to be poured at their taproom in Sussex, Holstein Milk Stout. Brewed for those who love stouts, and for those who maybe don’t think they like stouts, some malt and lactose sweetness comes through on the palate, along with chocolate and a touch of roasted coffee. Complemented by some floral character from a light addition of East Kent Golding hops, it finishes clean, and is quite drinkable at just 4.8% ABV. Described by the brewery as “adult chocolate milk”, make sure to drop by if you’re in the Sussex area before it’s gone.

In St. John’s, YellowBelly continues to experiment with cider, releasing a new “Winter Series” entry on tap, Raspberry Cranberry Apple Cider. This deep pink beverage features the addition of 60 kg of seedless berries in about 800 L of cider; it was then back-sweetened with more cider, to round things out. It weighs in at 6.5% ABV, and is tasting “floral, jammy, and very tart”. While you can currently grab it on tap at the brew pub, there’s a chance that it’ll pop up in bottles, soon.

If you like hanging out at Good Robot, and you like NEIPAs, they’ve got some happy news for you – next week’s Beta release is, yes, a NEIPA named Tri-Sarah-Hops. Co-brewed with Sarah Gallant, it was heavily late-hopped and dry-hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic, and Citra (see, the beer name is more clever now, right?). Not too too much bitterness (42 IBUs), and a whole lotta grapefruit and mango flavours, it comes in pretty low in the ABV department for an IPA, at just 5.2%. As for next Thursday’s Alpha, it’s a new one named Chäir Beer. Loosely-based on their Leave Me Blue, the grist contains 2-row, flaked corn, and Rye malt. Hopped to 20 IBUs with Sorachi Ace and Perle, they added some Lingonberry juice to the 4.9% ABV resulting beer. What’s a Lingonberry? Well, it’s a small, red, slightly tart berry that is also known as a partridgeberry in Newfoundland and Cape Breton. Hey, the more you know! The final product is easy-drinking and a touch tart, but you’ll have to taste it for yourself! Again, at the taproom, next Thursday.

Yarmouth’s Tusket Falls has put a couple of new beers on tap in recent days. The first is Wild Sour, a beer with a subtle tartness and a lot of lemon citrus notes. Dry-hopped with Amarillo for a hoppy presence, at 4.5% ABV, it’s an easy drinking and refreshing number that will likely make you wish that little bit more for warmer weather. The other new beer is in the Northeast/New England IPA style, this one paradoxically called The Nameless Juicy New England Pale Ale. We don’t know much more about it except that it’s 5.8% ABV, but we suspect you’re familiar enough with the style at this point to take a guess. Also, stacks of kegs were seen recently on Tusket’s Instagram story, we hope this implies that Tusket Falls beers will soon be seen more frequently outside their taproom so that the rest of the Province (and perhaps the region) can get a taste of the beery things going on near Yarmouth.

Sticking to the Southwestern parts of Nova Scotia, Roof Hound has put together a three-headed beer that may also have you thinking of warm summer days. Triple Threat Brown is being called a “Neapolitan” beer, bringing together the classic flavors of the original three-flavor ice cream. Featuring chocolate malt, vanilla, and strawberry puree, you can expect all three flavors to be well-represented. At 5.4% ABV it’s light enough for you to have a couple. Look for it on tap at Roof Hound’s taproom and other select locations, but if you’re not in the area, stay tuned as this one is scheduled to be put in bottles as well.

Over on the Island, PEI Brewing Company has a couple of new beers on the go, both seeing fairly wide release. Black Banks is a black IPA, brewed with light toasty malts, but also with a good portion of debittered black malt to provide some mild roasty notes and a deep dark color. Hopped both in the kettle and via dry hop with lots of modern tropical varieties, it weighs in at 6.2% ABV and a sturdy 60 IBU. Also on the go is a new beer in the After Hours series, a big one that should be perfect for the depths of winter. Barrel-aged Barleywine tips the scales at a massive 10.5% ABV, with a mild carbonation, a slightly sweet palate and a balanced bitterness. Herbal English hop varieties and some fruity yeast character are complemented by vanilla and wood flavors from an extended aging period in Kentucky bourbon barrels. You’ll find both of these beers at several Gahan locations, including the original Gahan House in Charlottetown, Gahan Riverside in the Fredericton area, and Gahan Port City in Saint John as well as at the PEIBC Taproom and select PEILCC locations.

And a quick hop back to Yarmouth for this week’s entry in the “shamefully late email” sweepstakes, this one from Heritage Brewing, who have a couple of interesting things on the taps of late. The first is their Angry Blonde Jalapeño Ale. Based on their light and refreshing standard blonde, they’ve added some additional interest through the addition of fresh Jalapeño and Habanero peppers. With a solid hot pepper flavor and a not-so-mild spice, you’ll only be able to get this one at the brewery. Also only at the brewery is their Vanilla Cream Ale, which is also a variant on a base beer, this time their usual cream ale, but conditioned on vanilla beans for a soft and creamy flavor profile. Next up is a re-release of their Norseman NEIPA which they’ve fermented with the Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs and tweaked the hop profile of slightly. Slightly more sessionable than previous versions, they’ve been quite generous with the late and dry hop additions for a classic NEIPA juiciness. And keep your eyes out in the near future for another re-release, this time their Blueberry Grunt Sour, a very popular brew that they’re also making some minor changes to.

A note for all amateur and professional brewers, those who work in the industry, or looking to learn more, the next Beer Judge Certification Program Tasting Exam for our region will be taking place in Halifax on May 10th. If you are interested in sitting it, learning more about the BJCP, or taking part in the tastings the examinees will be running before then, hop over to the Brewnosers Forum and say Hi.

What’s on the go in our region over the next few weeks? We’ve got the goods for you today!

A quick reminder that tomorrow will see one of Halifax’s premier imported beer events when Belgian Fest goes live at Stillwell on Barrington at noon. Featuring beers you very well may not have had the chance to try before, especially in this region, or that if you have, you’re likely eager to taste again. With rare Lambics by the glass, bottles that say Westvleteren and other hard to pronounce words, and plenty of other tasty treats on tap, this is an opportunity to expand your palate and see what all the fuss over Belgian beer is about. As always, the kitchen will be putting out some well-considered thematically consistent foods, and we’re sure there will be plenty of folks around (both employed by Stillwell and not) to help guide your exploration of some of the best that Belgium has to offer.

Dartmouth’s Battery Park is continuing their series of Tap Takeover events from local breweries on January 17th, when they are inviting Nyanza’s Big Spruce back in house. They’ll have more than a dozen beer pouring that day, including a handful of reserve kegs from the cellar, lots of new/favourite seasonals, plus the return of their BP/BS collaboration beer, Blood Donair, the Imperial Stout brewed with donair meat and aged on raspberries. The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day and night, so pop by for a pint!

Also on January 17th, which could make for a fun 1-2 punch of a beery day, Garrison Brewing is holding an event they’ve dubbed “A Thief in the Night”. This ticketed event will have Brewmaster Daniel Girard leading a tasting of several beers before they are released. They include five brand new beers drawn straight from the barrel, a taste of their upcoming Wintervention 2019 with cocoa nibs, a pre-release bottle of Cherry Bourbon Barrel Aged Wintervention, a Cellar Series Teku glass, plus more perks. Tickets ($50) can be reserved in person or over the phone (Veronika at (902) 453-5343 ext. 222). This is sure to be a fun and enlightening event!

Roof Hound Brewery is hosting the Second Annual South West Nova Craft Beer Tasting Night on Wednesday, January 23rd. From 7 – 10 PM, there will be ten different beers from a handful of the region’s breweries, namely Heritage Brewing, Lazy Bear, Lunn’s Mill, and Tusket Falls join the host Roof Hound on tap. Your $35+tax ticket includes your first 4oz sample of each beer and an appetizer, while live music by David Chamberland, and the brewers themselves will be on hand for entertainment and learning more about the beer. Grab your ticket at Roof Hound, or via email before they sell out!

Tickets are now on sale for the Pasadena Brew-Fest, being held Friday February 15th. From 7 – 10 PM, Pasadena Place will be full of great local beer, thanks to Bootleg Brew Co, Crooked Feeder, and Western Newfoundland Brewing Company. Your $50 ticket is available online through the e-Service account, or in person at Pasadena Place.

Not so fast, here are a few final beer and release notes to get you fully up to date!

Montague, PEI’s, Copper Bottom Brewing has a new Dry-Hopped Sour on tap at the brewery these days, this one featuring Ekuanot hops. Tart and refreshing, this 5.0% ABV beer features notes of tangerine, papaya, and orange peel. Grab it as part of a flight, a full pint, or a growler to take home. Plus look out for cans of Ken’s Stout and Parkman Ave DIPA at your local PEILCC this weekend!

FirkinStein Brewing in Bridgewater welcomed two hoppy beers to the taps this week: one a returning favourite, and one brand new. Set Sail Pale Ale is a 6.0% American Pale Ale, generously hopped late and after the boil, it features loads of citrus aroma and flavour, and low bitterness. And debuting yesterday was King Street, a 7.7% ABV IPA generously hopped with Cascade and Mosaic. Catch both of them at their taproom (on King Street, of course) for pints and growlers.

A note that today’s Cask Friday release at Propeller’s Gottingen Street location will be their London Porter, cask conditioned and served by a gravity tap. Food from Alteregos, including Mac and Cheese, will be available for pairing to your heart’s content. And for those of us eagerly awaiting word, the very-limited El Dorado Brett IPA that we mentioned last week is pouring today at the taproom. May as well stick around for two then, eh?

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has a new beer pouring for you this week, as they continue to explore the wide variety of ale styles available. Newkirk is a 3.4% ABV and 15 IBU English Mild, known for their lower ABV (perfect for a full afternoon session), with notes of toast/bread crust, toffee, and dark sugars. Using iconic Fuggles for the hops completes the ode to the style. Pop by for a growler fill today or tomorrow, if it lasts that long, as these small batches sell out quite quickly.

Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing is looking to hire someone to support their brewing operations. From Brewmaster Matt Vincent, “Brewing experience is an asset, but training will be provided.” Send them a message or email Matt to learn more and to apply.

Two Islands Brewing in Parrsboro, NS has lots of news for us this week. First up is a new batch of their Sailor’s Delight, their 5.0% ABV Irish Red Ale hit the taps, as well as their 5.0% ABV Blonde Ale. And it’s that Blonde Ale that needs your help: it is currently nameless, and they are holding a contest on Facebook to fix that. Check out this link and weigh in. You can also now take away their Irish Red, Blonde, APA and Porter in 240 mL bottles, as well as growler fills. And why not drop in next Thursday, January 17th, for Trivia and Wing Night. Or January 19th, when Mark Raven will be entertaining the tap room with his music.

So, ok, we’re a bit late today, but hey, Christmas IS only a few days away, and when you throw in work getting busier, staff parties being inconveniently scheduled for Thursday evenings, and just the general crap-storm that is preparing for the holidays, on top of a seemingly-extra large amount of brewery news/new beers, it’s tough! Ok, that’s enough wallowing in self pity for today. A note that this is the last Friday Wrap-Up for us this year, as we’ve decided to take a little break next week. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media as we will be pushing out a Profile or two (fingers crossed!), as well as shorter blurbs as we learn of new releases to share. We’ll definitely have a full post Friday January 4th, as we begin our 8th (EIGHTH!!) year of bringing you the freshest beer news from across Atlantic Canada. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Let’s start the news rolling this week with some fantastic news from the west coast of Newfoundland. Port au Port East is located on the outskirts of Stephenville, 2 hours from the Port aux Basques ferry terminal to the mainland. Located at 92-96 Main Street in Port au Port East is Secret Cove Brewing, which opened its doors yesterday for the first time. Operating a brewery and taproom in the former Viking Lounge location, they have four beers for enjoyment onsite and to take away in growlers: James Blonde 00709 Belgian Blonde, Malt Water Joys Brown, When in Stout Stout, and Hard Case in your Face DIPA. The brewery is open today and tomorrow 4 – 11 PM, with Sunday’s, and beyond’s, hours to be determined. Drop by to welcome the newest of your Island breweries to open, and we will share a full Profile with Secret Cove very soon! Congratulations Jason and Sheila! This marks the 5th brewery to open in Newfoundland in 2018, bringing the number across the Island to 13.

In other great news for breweries opening in our region, we mentioned a few weeks ago that Sussex Ale Works had opened their taproom on Main Street in Sussex. This week, for the first time, they have been able to serve their own house-made beers on tap and to go in growlers. Their first beer is Who’s Your Daddy Red Ale, a 6.8% Red Ale featuring 20 IBUs. It is complementing their all-New Brunswick offerings, including local Matchstick Beer Factory’s Matchstick Pale Ale, Long Bay’s Full Pleasure Passonfruit Sour, and several from Hammond River, Maybee, Niche, and Graystone, as well as Yip Cider. Look for more from Sussex Ale Work’s own 1 BBL (120 litre) brewhouse in the New Year, including their Holstein Milk Stout, and Picadilly Pale Ale. Congratulations Rick and family!

Back to the Rock for the next new beer to hit the taps, we’ve got Home and Away American Pale Ale from Landwash Brewery. Located in Mount Pearl, this is Landwash’s first release since their launch earlier this month. This 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale is a tribute to the iconic style which helped fuel the North American beer renaissance. Featuring loads of American Cascade and Citra hops, the aroma and palate are full of orange and grapefruit character, with bitterness to balance the malt. Home and Away is available on tap for pints and flights now, and for growlers to take away, along with their core lineup of beers.

Off Tracking Brewing in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and are releasing a couple of new beers to celebrate, as well as a special collaboration with a brewing pal. First up is Charles in Charge, a hopped-up version of their 5.0% ABV Good Grief Charlie Brown Brown Ale, increasing the hopping rate to more than 50 IBU. They are also releasing Frank Citra-Natra, a 4.7% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring nothing but, you guessed it, Citra hops (to the tune of 40 IBU).

These two new Off Track beers are gracing the newly-expanded tap offerings, which now sits at 15, and also includes a few guest offerings. The latest collaboration-guest-hybrid beer to hit the chalkboard is the first from Sackville brewery Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse in several months, Funktown American Pale Ale. Brewed with OBB owner Keith Forbes at Off Track, this 5.1% ABV APA features loads of Centennial and Falconers Flight hops for a floral, lemon, and grapefruit character on the nose and flavour, with a light body and clean and dry finish. Grab a flight or pint, and then take a growler to go to enjoy in front of your holiday tree.

And in more Off Track news, they are keeping with the tradition of being open regular hours (Thursday through Sunday) during this holiday time, including next Monday and Tuesday (Christmas Eve and Christmas), 12 – 6 PM. If you need a break from the family, you’ll be sure to find some friends in the same boat there next Tuesday! They’ll also be open 12 – 6 PM on New Year’s Eve. And while you’re there, check out their new line of bottles, with their Crash Course IPA, Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout, Alias Pale Ale, Universal Soldier Kolsch, and Not About You ESB all available in singles or 4-packs.

The elves over at 2 Crows have been extra busy lately, as we’ve got three new beers to report this week, two of which will be hitting your mouth this weekend. The big release today at noon is Waltz, a 5.5% ABV, 22 IBUs German Pilsner. Brewed with 100% German Pilsner malt, no shortcuts were taken in brewing this one to style. Using de-aerated brewing water, a low oxygen brewing environment (don’t worry, no one passed out!), and a multi-step mash, let’s just say the brew day was a little longer than usual. Hopped with German varieties (Huell Melon, Hallertau Blanc, and Saphir), it was then fermented with the classic German Lager strain, Weihenstephan, and then allowed to lager for more than 8 weeks. Sounds like the wait/hard work was worth it, with the final product being “beautifully crisp, doughy, with some lovely lemony and herbal notes”. The good news is there’s lots of this one, as it was a full 40 bbl batch, so you can find it on tap and in cans at 2C today, and it should also be hitting the local private stores soon.

You could always wait to head to 2 Crows tomorrow, when you’ll be able to grab one of the very few bottles of Razzle Dazzle, a “Champagne Brett Lager”. Brewed nine months ago with Pilsner malt and rice, the wort was hopped with Hallertau Blanc in the boil to just 12 IBUs. It was then fermented with the Weihenstephan strain, lagered for 7 weeks… and then that’s when things got a bit weird! They added glucoamylase and Brett C, and allowed the beer to condition for another 5 months, where it was finally packaged in 750 mL cork-and-caged bottles, with Champagne yeast. It’s tasting “super dry, crisp, and funky, with notes of pineapple, hay, and pear”. It finished at 6.1% ABV, and if you’d like to try it, get there when they open… there’s only about 90 bottles or so available, and there is a 2 bottle-per-person limit.

And finally, 2 Crows has got one more humdinger dropping next Saturday, and were kind enough to give us the inside scoop early on Biere de Champagne. Follow along with this one closely, it ain’t the simplest beer. Originally brewed over a year ago, in October, 2017, it started off as two beers: 1) a lower-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, and fermented with TYB207 (a Brett brux strain), and 2) a high-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Nova Scotia honey, and fermented with Omega All The Bretts (that’s a blend of at least 10 Brett strains!), and Champagne yeast. After both beers fermented out, they were blended and bottled in Champagne bottles, and dosed with Champagne yeast and priming sugar, aiming for a carbonation of 6.8 vol CO2 (for those of you not in the know, that is a LOT of carbonation… your typical APA or IPA is likely somewhere around 2.5). Head brewer Jeremy Taylor can do a better job of explaining the next long process: “The bottles were conditioned horizontally for 2 months, then very gradually moved until they were sitting cap-down, riddling them every day or so over a period of many months. The beers were then chilled for several days, then the neck of the bottles was super chilled with dry ice; we removed the cap and shot out the yeast plug that had settled in the neck, then bottles were corked and caged.” Yikes! Sounds like it came out tasty, extremely effervescent (ya think?!) with “big honey notes, funky, cantaloupe, earthy”, 8.4% ABV. Releasing next Saturday (Dec 29) at 2C, there’s only 140 bottles available.

If you were a fan of Propeller’s recent one-off NEIPA, Galaxy (and we’re guessing those of you who tried it ARE fans of it, considering it’s currently the brewery’s highest-rated beer on Untappd), we’re sad to say that it is now sold out. On the upswing, they do have another once-a-one-off IPA returning, Skyrocket DIPA. Showcasing the experimental Skyrocket hop variety (related to Chinook) from the Gorst valley, it was originally brewed as a Gottingen small batch brew in January, and is now returning in cans. This 8% ABV beer is “intensely aromatic, with big, beautiful notes of mango, papaya, and pineapple”. Look for it at your nearest Propeller location! We should also mention that today’s cask release is Russian Imperial Stout, with smoked black tea, which gives the already-big-and-bold beer a “powerful smoky aroma and flavour”.

In Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing has two releases for you this week. The first is a beer, Storm Surge, that they’re referring to as a “Maritime Ale”. They describe it as a 5.4% ABV brew that is “a prime example of a malt-forward beer, beautifully balanced by the subtle, spicy citrus of hops”. We’re guessing something along the lines of an American Pale Ale, perhaps? Either way, you’ll have to try it yourself to decide for sure; you can stop by and grab a growler right now. They’ve also just released a cider, Backyard Cider, which is made up of 100% Heirloom Gravenstein apples (grown locally in NS). Exhibiting “a balance of sweet and tart”, just like the apple that it came from, it finishes dry and crisp with floral notes. Also available in growlers, both Backyard Cider and Storm Surge should be making an appearance in cans in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that.⠀

With the changing of the seasons, Meander River is giving us a changing of the seasonals. The latest in their Farm Cider series is First Frost, which will be taking over from Fall’s offering, Dusty Road. Made from the freshest press of the year’s apple harvest, it’s a 5.5% ABV cider that’s citrusy, tart and juicy while being very dry. Scheduled for release on the first day of Winter (hey, that’s today!), you’ll be able to grab some this weekend at the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, and it will also go on tap at Tusket Falls, Stubborn Goat, Battery Park and Chain Yard.

Summerside, PEI’s Evermoore Brewing has a new offering that started pouring earlier this week. Called Smokey Double IPA it’s exactly what the name indicates, a double IPA with a touch of smokey character thanks to some smoked flaked barley in the grist. On the hop side, it features Brewer’s Gold, Hallertau Blanc, and Amarillo in the kettle during the boil before being hit with Simcoe and Tettnanger in the whirlpool. At 8% ABV and 60 IBU it’s a bigger beer and fairly bitter. You’ll find it at Evermoore’s taproom at 192 Water Street if you fancy a taste.

You may recall that in celebration of their 20th Anniversary last year, Garrison released XXX IPA, a Double IPA, for a brief run. They’ve just released a barrel-aged version of the same beer, where it spent 12 months in Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey barrels. They’re referring to this one as an Imperial IPA/American Barleywine hybrid, as it comes in at a whopping 11% ABV. If you’d like to decide for yourself, it’s available at the brewery only, in 650 mL bottles. They’ve also brought back their Imperial IPA in bottles and on tap at their retail store; this time around they’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, and hopped it with 100% Cascade.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is keeping up with the new brews lately, as they’ve just released a DIPA, Golden Horse. Named after the Golden Horse Fountain located in the community of Milton, the beer was hopped heavily with a blend of three high alpha acid hops. Early, late, and dry hop additions contribute to high bitterness (130 calculated IBUs) and “plenty of dank, pine, and citrus flavours”. Hazy and alarmingly drinkable (even at 7.6% ABV), sneak into Heritage before the holidays for a pint/growler, and satisfy your hop urge!

Those crazy folks at Tidehouse must have found a sale on bottles, as this is the… I don’t even know how many consistent weeks of bottle releases they’ve had, and I certainly don’t have the time to check! It’s a lot. But hey, that means more take-home beer for all of us, right? And this week brings the release of Bonny Stormer, an Extra Special Bitter hopped with Progress and First Gold. Coming across as “a pinch earthy, with notes of sweet tangerine and orange”, it finishes fairly bitter (expected with this style), and comes in at 5% ABV. In addition to being available in bottles (limit 6/person) today at 2 pm, you can also find it on tap at Tidehouse.

It’s almost December 23rd, and you know that everyone in Newfoundland (well, the fun ones, anyway!) are gearing up for Tibb’s Eve on Sunday. Those characters at Port Rexton Brewing are no exception, of course, and have a couple of brand new beers to help you celebrate, just in time. First up is Tibb’s the Saison, a “Festive Saison” that was hopped with both French and Czech hop varieties, and fermented with the Fruit Bomb Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Containing both a Saison Saccharomyces strain and two Brettanomyces strains, the combination of the three ensures lots of tropical fruit character in the finished beer. This particular Saison features “gingerbread aromas and a light rye spice” and weighs in at 6.6% ABV. This was a small batch, and half of it is already resting peacefully in a grape brandy barrel; the current iteration can be found on tap at PR for their Tibb’s Eve party Sunday, and also at their St. John’s retail shop for growler fills today and tomorrow.

Next up from Port Rexton is Round Table, a nice, big, Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Designed by head brewers Les and Chris shortly after trying some similar beers at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards in Halifax, the oak character from the barrel comes through nicely, blending with the Bourbon found on the nose and palate, as well as some “dark chocolate-covered berry and coffee flavours”. Smooth and quite drinkable even at 8.8% ABV, the carbonation was purposely kept fairly low, and is best enjoyed served at a slightly-warmer temperature. This one is available in 500 mL bottles only, and was released yesterday evening with a limit of 2/person. Seek it out at both PR locations this weekend!

TrailWay has a new iteration of Beans coming out today when they open, with this batch being dosed with cocoa nibs and 250 lbs of cherry puree, to help complement the regular addition of freshly-roasted coffee beans from Whitney Coffee Company. The coffee character is prominent as usual, along with “rich and deep chocolate in the aroma, with a subtle, fruity, tart cherry component”. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery. They’ve also got fresh kegs and cans of one of their crowd-favourite American IPAs, Green Island (6% ABV).

One of the region’s newest cideries, Maritime Express in Kentville, NS, has a brand new cider available that features an ingredient better known for its use in beer. Train Hopper is made from 100% Annapolis Valley apples across four varieties: Cortland, Macintosh, Gravenstein and Spartan. To that base was added three types of hops, all sourced locally, to provide a decidedly citrusy and hoppy aroma. On the palate, look for grapefruit, floral and lemon notes that lead to a strong tart finish. Look for it at the cidery, both pouring from the taps and in bottles.

Antigonish’s Half Cocked Brewing is excited to have their first bottle release and they’re doing it in style with a big one. Tapped & Feathered is being called a “maple sap imperial stout,” as it was brewed using sap from Haveracres Maple Farm in nearby St. Joseph’s in place of water, a handy way to extract additional sugars from the mashing process and thus not lose significant efficiency on a big beer. Once fermented, the beer was aged for several months in a Glenora whiskey barrel. Coming in at a hefty 10.3% ABV, it features aromas of candied orange rind and dark chocolate, with flavors of figs, brown sugar, dark chocolate and vanilla. Expect it to be available at the brewery very soon; to find out exactly when check out their social media (Fb, Ig, Tw), where the release will be formally announced.

CAVOK in Dieppe, NB, has been doing some experimentation with their Stout. So far they’ve released salted caramel, cold-brewed coffee and peanut butter variations. These are small batches, each about 1 BBL, aimed at testing the flavourings and getting a feel for the appropriate levels. As such, they are only available by the pint in their taproom. All three are 4.9% ABV. Meanwhile, in terms of bigger batches, they’ve also got a light American lager on the go that they’re calling Joe Blow Lager. Crisp and refreshing, it’ll be a great beer for a holiday party and guests who might be looking for something a little lighter. At 4.5% ABV and very low bitterness, we think they might be onto something!

Boxing Rock continues to push out some new beers from the Test Kitchen location in Local Source Market on Agricola Street in Halifax. Late last week, they released the Blue Collar Blonde, a collaborative 5.0% ABV Kolsch brewed with the fine folks at Halifax’s HopYard, which debuted during last weekend’s YMCA fundraiser at the bar. It was deemed so popular that it will be brewed again very soon, this time at their big system in Shelburne, for a full release in the New Year. Out this week is another collaboration, this time with the crew from Canopy Creative, who came in and brewed Canopy Cane Chocolate Milk Stout, which features lactose, chocolate, and peppermint in the boil for the full Christmas experience. As with all of these releases, they are very small, so if you see something you like, best get there ASAP to grab it! And keep your eyes peeled for the re-release of their 4% ABV Winter Session Ale, The Biggest Spruce Axe-worthy, brewed with spruce tips right in the boil.

If you manage to get away from the family in the couple of weeks, be sure to double check that your favourite brewery, bar, or watering hole is open, as many are adjusting their schedules over the course of the next two weeks. We’ve got a pair of events you’ll certainly want to check out if you’re in the area!

Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub is hosting their annual Free Oyster Day today, with oyster shucking happening all day to complement your beer and food. As well, they’ve released a pair of new/returning favourites on tap, with a limited amount available to go in growlers: Herbies Coffee for Breakfast Stout, Special Blend IPA, and Melting Mountains IPA. Plus there may be a couple of bottles of their cellar-aged sour for you to take home! Details on their FB Event page.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release of their latest batch of One Hundred Wild next Saturday, December 29th, at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Obviously an important of this 100% Nova Scotia equation with grain/malt, hops, and yeast (isolated from a fruit tree on their property in Nyanza), Horton Ridge is the perfect place to host the event, and will have the beer flowing from 1 PM, with live music 3 – 5 PM, and 7 – 9 PM. Cans can also be pre-ordered for pickup the day before. More details on their FB page. And in more Big Spruce news, they’ve just announced that they will be a permanent part of the Halifax Seaport Market, beginning tomorrow, with bottles and growlers.

Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax is once again holding their New Years Day Levee, when they will be opening their doors at noon January 1st, and will be pouring up a dozen special beers, holding super sales on many of their cellar bottle list, and a slew of hangover-curing brunch items to help you forget the night before. Pop by to see what they’re sharing to celebrate the beginning of 2019!

Just a couple more things to finish off the year, before you head out and grab that eggnog stout or nutmeg blonde…

Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove has bottled up a few of their beers, and now have the Norwegian Kviek Ale available at YHZ Airport’s Liquid Assets. Look for those to hit the shelves elsewhere in HRM soon. And keep an eye out at their market stall for their 10.1% ABV Russian Imperial Stout, available this weekend.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has their Chromatic By Design Red IPA available again throughout New Brunswick. This 6.6% ABV beer features load of Ekunanot, Mosaic, and Citra, for a bold blast of tropical, dank, and citrus hops, with a touch of toffee and caramel flavours from the specialty malt. And hitting the taps next week is Wayfarer, their 6.0% ABV Sour IPA, featuring Centennial and El Dorado hops, for a lovely hybrid of sour and tropical.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has released the latest version of their High Street Wee Heavy. This 6.3% ABV classic Scottish Ale is the first beer to feature barley and hops from their Millstone Harvest farm, the future site of their estate brewery, set to open next year. We hear that the next batch of their barley is actually being malted at Horton Ridge currently, for use in future Sea Level brews. High Street is available on tap at the Port Pub, and to go in cans and growlers today.

And finally, in a bit of humour around this Holiday time, St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery is looking for your unwanted/extra fruitcake! They’ll be brewing up a beer in the New Year, and would to use your un-loved fruitcake in the mash. With all of the sugars, and a little booze, that these divisive holiday baked goods contain, they are sure to lend plenty of character to the final beer. Check out this article for more information.