Meander River Farm and Brewery

All posts tagged Meander River Farm and Brewery

Buckle up, folks, after giving us a bit of a break for back to school, the region’s breweries seem to have collectively put feet to gas pedals and left us swimming, or perhaps more accurately, drowning, in beer news. We’ve got a tonne of info today about beers that came out this week, beers that are coming out over the next week or so, events that you might want to attend and more! It’s a little silly how long this post is, actually, so maybe grab yourself two beers before you sit down to read it, and for the love of Pete save a tree and don’t print it out!

• Late last week, Big Spruce released Complexified, another brew in their series of bottled, barrel-aged beers. A Baltic Porter, it was aged for 6 months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Featuring plenty of Black malt and Roast Barley, expect lots of roast character, a big body, and some heat when it’s going down… at 10.9% ABV, it’s not to be taken lightly! Available right now, at the brewery only. And speaking of Big Spruce bottles, Anaphylactic Choc was released this week. Aged in a Glenora whisky barrel for 6 months, this “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” was originally a collaboration brewed with the folks at Bishop’s Cellar. Due to its small batch size, only 250 bottles of this beer have been released – 100 at Big Spruce, and 150 at Bishop’s, so don’t wait to pick one up!

• Finally, in Big Spruce draught news, there’s a new beer out and about that is another take on their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown. Jackpot Apricot was conditioned on, yes, apricot puree; at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, you can find it on tap at the Sprucetique in Nyanza for growlers and pours, and likely at many of your favourite BS tap accounts. We know that there was talk of another fruited version of the MIPA coming, but it looks like the next fruit is guava and it might go into a slightly different style of beer… stay tuned!

• Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery has been quite busy lately, and have released their ode to the West Hants Pumpkin RegattaPumpkin Paddler. Every autumn, locals and visitors alike paddle their way across Lake Pisiquid in hollowed out giant pumpkins. Schoolhouse’s Classroom (taproom) is a perfect spot to view the action, with this year’s event taking place October 15th. And with Pumpkin Paddler weighing in at 5.7% ABV, featuring the spices that are reminiscent of pumpkin pie, it is a lovely fall sipper. Bottles of PP are available now, with the draught version coming to the taps later this month.

• Cementing the fact that the seasons are changing, Schoolhouse has brought back a small batch of their summer seasonal for a last hoorah, Summer Break Witbier. As fleeting as the warm weather, you can enjoy a cask of it today at 4pm in their Classroom. BlueBEERy Witbier was fermented with fresh local wild blueberries, as is available for samples, pints, and even growler fills. And with their expanded brewing capacity, they are sending students (kegs) further afield, and the Principal Pale AleStaffroom Stout, and seasonals are now in rotation at Charlottetown’s HopYard.

• Schoolhouse will also be at this weekend (and next) Hants County Exhibition Brew Tent, featuring beer, cider, and spirits from across the province. From noon Saturday and Sunday, Sept 16, 17, 23, and 24, taste your way from Hants West to Cape Breton, Halifax to Mahone Bay, there will be more than a dozen producers on-hand pouring their wares. Find the full list here.

• There’s a new can release coming from our friends at 2 Crows in the near future: Chaos Ghost is a Belgian Tripel, and another entry in their Calvodos Foedre-aged beers. Brewed with a grist of Belgian Pilsner malt, it also features the addition of Belgian candi sugar, to lighten the body, boost the ABV, and dry the beer out even more (remember, those Belgian Tripels are meant to be very dry!). Hopped with Sterling, Goldings, and Hallertau Blanc (to 31 IBUs), it was fermented with an Abbey Ale yeast, and then conditioned for several months in a Calvados Foedre. Weighing in at approximately 9.3% ABV, expect some slight spicy/peppery notes accompanied by bright, fruity esters… and more than likely a bit of oak/vanilla character from that Foedre. Look for cans to be released next Saturday, September 23rd.

• And in other 2 Crows news, there was a new draught-only release earlier this week that is – unfortunately – on its last legs by now. House Funk was a Brett Saison brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, hopped with Chinook and Sterling, and fermented with an “experimental Brettanomyces strain”. Further keg-conditioned with a champagne yeast, the brewery describes it as “spicy, lemony, and bright”. But don’t worry! While only 15 L of this 5% ABV, 28 IBUs gem was released this week, the plans are for a new keg to pop up every 4-6 weeks, so you may get a chance to try it after all (if you plan accordingly… and why wouldn’t you?).

• Speaking of draught-only beers released earlier this week that are probably won’t last the rest of the weekend (or day!), Spindrift has/had the simply-named American Pale Lager on tap at the brewery only, back on Tuesday. Just a pilot batch (for now), it features (featured?) large dry hop additions of Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe. At 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, we think describing it as easy-drinking and clean, with lots of piney, tropical fruit is a safe bet. If it’s gone by now, well… maybe that’s good, because that would mean it was popular enough for them to brew it again, right?

• There’s some new beers AND re-releases coming out of Maybee Brewing over the next week, so let’s get right to it! We’ll start off with Batch 100, a SMaSH American Pale Ale brewed to celebrate Maybee’s 100th batch of beer; featuring Horton Ridge Pale Malt and Southan Farms Centennial, the brewery describes it as “a light, smooth, Pale Ale perfect for pretending it’s still summer”. This 5.3% ABV, 42 IBU beer is available now, in both cans and on tap around Fredericton. Next up is a “Honey Brett Saison” brewed for next Saturday’s Bee-R Garden in Fredericton (we talked about this event last week). Honey, I Funked the Saison was brewed with honey from Sunset Heights Meadery, and fermented with both a Saison yeast, and Brett D from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 6.8% ABV, this one will be a draught-only release, but will be available outside of the Bee-R Garden at local accounts. Finally, for re-releases, Maybee’s first DIPA, Look Off, is available again on tap and in cans, and look for their Sumac Witbier, featuring locally-foraged sumac berries, to make a return within a couple weeks.

Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay, NB has added a third beer to their repertoire this week. Joining their Bantham APA and Chalice Belgian Ale is a German Berliner Weisse. Brewed in the traditional style, the beer is quite pale and light-bodied, with a slight grain character. Also true-to-style is a light acidity and clean finish, thanks to the souring of the wort before fermentation. And to complete the authentic experience, be sure to request the beer mit schuss, that is “with syrup”, as one can enjoy in Berlin. Owner Sean Doyle searched high and low and was able to source both woodruff (walmeister) and raspberry (himbier) syrups to dose the beers. The Berliner is only available in growler fills at their Marr Road brewery, so drop by today to grab this limited release.

• The gang up at Meander River has a new cider available this week. Lavandula is dubbed for the latin name for lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, and as you might expect, this cider is perfumed with lavender grown at the Meander River farm. But that’s not the end of the local content: the apples used were a 5 apple blend from Falmouth’s Davison Farm (famous for their Corn Maze) and the honey is also a Meander River Farm product thanks to help from Cosman & Whidden Honey in Greenwich! The result is a light-bodied dry cider with a smooth palate, and a crisp apple finish. Coming in at 5.5% ABV it’s fairly light, and we’re told it has a “floral and almost biscuity nose.” It’s been put into 500 mL bottles and is only available in that packaging format. You’ll find it while supplies last at the MRFB table at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market Saturdays from 8 AM – 1 PM or at the brewery. And this Sunday would be a great day to plan a trip out to Meander River Farm & Brewery as they’re one of the farms in Nova Scotia participating in Open Farm Day 2017! They’ll have a river walk, brewery talk and tour, garden walk and talk, hops, lavender, herbs, cut flowers and animals. They’ll also be doing a demonstration of distilling essential oils and botanicals. And, of course, you’ll be able to purchase beer and this cider in their retail store! So come on out and meet your farmer.

• Earlier on Wednesday, TrailWay released a very limited amount of cans of one of their most popular beers, but with a slight tweak: DDH Luster features a second dry-hop addition, made up entirely of the wonderful El Dorado. For the first time that we’re aware of for TW, this entire small batch of beer was canned (absolutely no kegs), with only 40 cases available… as of two days ago. So if you haven’t grabbed any yet, best head over to the brewery ASAP, before it’s all gone!

• Up in Smith’s Cove, NS, Lazy Bear has a newish brew on the go, at least for a little while. An Altbier they brewed earlier in the summer and sold most of at the Wharf Rat Rally earlier this month, they’ve got just a little bit left. Made exclusively with Horton Ridge Munich Malt, it’s a quite sessionable 4.5% ABV and a comfortable 32 IBU. Look for what remains at this week’s Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders market. If you miss it, fear not, as they’ve got plans for some more seasonal brews over the next couple months. And if you’re in the city with no plans to go to the Valley but wishing you could sample some of Lazy Bear’s wares, word has it they’ve got kegs of their Sour Punch on at 2 Crows and Battery Park and they’re hoping to send some other beers to the HRM over fall and winter.

• Hey Hey Mama, Hammond River Brewing has a brand new beer available, with a name inspired by the lead-off tune from Led Zeppelin’s classic fourth album. Black Dog is an India Black Ale brewed with lots of dark malts including Chocolate, Roasted Barley and Carafa III to give it a bold toasty and chocolatey body. Meanwhile, it was hopped exclusively with Citra hops for a tropical and especially citrusy flavour and aroma. It’s a stout 6.9% ABV and a bracing 79 IBU. You’ll find it at the brewery for fills and pints and look for it to appear at HRB’s tap accounts throughout New Brunswick. And keep an eye on their social media today for details on the brewday they are conducting with Third Annual Home Brew Contest winners Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, as they put together the soon-to-be-released Black River Sweet Milk Stout. You can follow Belliveau and Landry’s activities on their homebrew page on Facebook, Quiet Revolution Brewing.

• Tickets are still available for next weekend’s Craft Beer Attraction in St. John’s, being held Friday and Saturday, September 22 and 23. In case you still needed convincing, the hard working crew at Port Rexton Brewing are going to seal the deal for you. Their Mixed Opportunity is a 6.5% ABV mixed fermentation (featuring both Sacchromyces and Brettanomyces strains of yeast) Saison, with light spiciness and effervescent mouthfeel. For the CBA, they are releasing a special version of the beer that was fermented and aged for three months in red wine barrels, for an extra level of complexity. Marrying the unique characteristics of the barrel with the dose of Sorachi Ace hops added at flame out, this is sure to stand out next weekend. Now that we’ve got you sufficiently thirsty, grab tickets for the main events, or the Brewmaster’s Luncheon with the crew from Trou du Diable at Merchant Tavern Friday at noon (featuring 9 beers poured by Isaac Tremblay and Stephane Thibodeau of TdD, paired with local food), RSVP by phone 709-722-5050.

• There’s a new hoppy beer coming out of Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth, NS – Hop With No Name is a Session IPA brewed with Experimental Hop #07270. A new variety described as having “spicy, resinous, and tangerine notes”, it’s fairly new to the brewing world (as expected, since it doesn’t actually have an official name yet), and Heritage was happy to grab some and experiment! With the majority added at flameout and in a dry-hop addition, the grist of the beer was kept simple, in order to let the hop characters stand out. Why not drop by the brewery during their hours today (4-8 pm) or tomorrow (11 am – 5 pm) to pick up a growler? Only 60 L were brewed, so it won’t hang around too long.

• As those who attended the opening of FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival last night no doubt noticed, Propeller has provided the official beer of that event. Wheat Kings Witbier, no doubt named as a nod to the Tragically Hip documentary film Long Time Running that opened the festival at the Rebecca Cohn. Part of Propeller’s Gottingen Small Batch series, the beer clocks in at 4.8% ABV and a mild 18 IBU, pouring a hazy light gold colour and possessing the crisp wheat character, balanced by orange citrus and coriander spice as is de rigueur for the style. It has a medium body with a dry finish and a moussy white head. Look for it at other FIN events and the Propeller tap room on Gottingen!

• As expected, more news of wet-hopped beers is hitting social media, with local breweries continuing to put the call out for hop-pickers, and some already at the brewing stage of these beers. Antigonish’s newest brewery, Half Cocked, teased earlier this week that they were brewing their wet-hopped beer and would be releasing it within a few weeks. We’ll have more details then, but their Instagram account clearly showed bags of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Galena. Next up is Saltbox Brewery whose Blue Nose 1850 is expected to be released on Saturday at opening (10 AM), while they celebrate their first anniversary. It features local Challenger, Mount Hood, Nugget and Cascade hop varieties blended into a 5% ABV “any time” sort of beer. And joining the fun next week will be Lunn’s Mill, who are currently fermenting their wet hopped offering, a Harvest SMaSH featuring Chinook hops from Four Horses Farm just down the road. They expect to have it available next week.

• And in other Lunn’s Mill news, they’ve joined the ranks of the breweries doing sours with their new kettle soured Berliner Weisse. Hitting the tap room this week, it’s a barely perceptible 4 IBU and a solid 5.2% ABV. It’s a sour, light and refreshing wheat beer with a high carbonation level to give it some bite. If you stop by you’ll be able to sample it straight up, with the traditional Sweet Woodruff syrup, or with less traditional, but surely delicious blackberry or rhubarb syrups! The folks from Long Bay might kick themselves a little when they find out that Lunn’s Mill didn’t have to bring in Woodruff syrup all the way from Germany; instead they found that Bunchberry Nurseries in Upper Clements, NS, was able to help them out! As with all Lunn’s Mill seasonals, this one is available just until it’s gone, so head down to the tap room and give it a go.

• The crew at Good Robot has brought back El Espinazo del Diablo, their corn-based beer, fermented with Mexican Lager yeast, and featuring a healthy dose of lime zest and Jalapeno peppers. Pairing this 5.5%, 14 IBU beer is a breeze, with its light body and slight heat. Look for next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday drop to be AirWolf Chocolate Milkshake IPA, brewed by Kelly C and Mike M of Everwood Ave Brew Shop. Lots of chocolate and other dark malts, along with the characteristic flaked oats and lactose (milk sugar). As with all Beta releases, this is only available at the brewery, and usually sells out that evening, so don’t delay!

• From deep inside their lair on Salter Street in the shadow of the Maritime Centre, Tidehouse Brewing Company continues to pump out new beers and they’ve got two brand new ones to share with us this week. First up is Strange Meadow Lark, a deep orange 5.5% ABV beer in the Saison style. With a grist made up of mostly Pilsner with a solid dose of Munich, it was initially bittered with Magnum before being finished with a classic British hop, East Kent Goldings, a novel hop choice for a classic Belgian style. Sessionable in nature, the malty Munich paired with the earthy, floral and spicy notes from the hops should make this a lovely beer to welcome the change of season. This one will be pouring tonight at the Garrison Hops ’n Brats event and also at the Tiny Tasting Room for 4 oz pours and growler fills. And coming this weekend or possibly into next week is It’s a Secret, a pale ale featuring the Australian variety Vic Secret, lauded for its fruity and tropical character when used in the whirlpool or for dry hop, which is what Tidehouse has done with this one. Matched with a simple grist of largely 2-row barley and a bit of melanoidin for a balancing malt character, it was fermented on a clean American yeast strain to help accentuate the hops. Expect berry, melon and tropical fruit notes to be prominent when you drop by the tasting room for a 4 oz sample before grabbing a growler fill and going on your merry way.

• Down the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Sober Island has a new beer available for the Fall season. Harvest Rye is a bigger beer, tipping the scales at 7% ABV and bringing a solid 44 IBU. A deep amber in color, it leverages an English yeast that will no doubt accentuate the malt and possibly provide some contrasting fruity esters to the spiciness of the rye malt. It also features some wheat, which should contribute to a softer mouthfeel and it’s hopped with the noble pair Saaz and Tettnang for earthy and herbal tones and some additional spiciness. Harvest Rye will be available at the brewery in crowlers and also at Sober Island’s usual market presences, and should be a great one to sip as the cooler evenings creep up.

• Attention home brewers, we have two competitions to tell you about this week, each with their own unique diversion from the traditional. Big Spruce Brewing is once again holding their Home Brew Challenge (their 5th year!), but instead of taking entries in only one or two categories, the idea is for all entrants to brew any style they wish, but to use the same yeast. This unique strain is actually a Big Spruce exclusive, isolated from a wild pincherry tree on their brewery farm in Nyanza. After extensive work by them and the fine folks at Escarpment Labs in Guelph (you can learn more about the involved process in last week’s 902 BrewCast), they now have enough of this pure yeast to share with homebrewers. The yeast gives off light spiciness and floral characteristics, so keep that in mind when selecting the base style and recipe. The yeast will be available for pickup at the brewery, and Noble Grapes in HRM, at the beginning of October, but you can learn more (including how to register) by checking out the FB Event page, or by emailing owner Jeremy White. In the meantime, get thinking about which recipe you’d like to brew!

• Also coming across our desk this week is a brand new homebrew competition from Sober Island Brewing. Embracing their love of using native and hyper-local ingredients in their beers (think oysters and chanterelle mushrooms), they are hosting a Foraged Beer Competition. Using a locally-foraged ingredient (either collected yourself or from one of the local foraging groups), and at least a quarter locally-processed malt from Horton Ridge Malt Company, design a beer highlighting the best of local ingredients. Be sure to grab a selfie of you harvesting or using the ingredients, and send that along with your entry. More details on the timeline of the competition can be found on the Event Page, and registration forms can be retrieved by emailing SIBC owner Rebecca Atkinson. The winning beer will be served at the Henley House on November 26th, along with Sober Island’s first in their Foraged Series beer release.

There’s plenty on the go this weekend and the coming weeks, take a look!

• A reminder that the 2017 Hops ‘n’ Brats event is happening today at Garrison’s Seaport Hall (their newly renovated and expanded taproom). Featuring beers from 2 Crows, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Good Robot, Nine Locks, North, Sober Island, Spindrift, Tatamagouche, Tidehouse, and of course hosts Garrison. Tickets are still available, and your $25 include your first 8 samples and a souvenir glass, with more samples available to purchase once inside. And don’t forget that tomorrow is Garrison’s Oktoberfest, with events kicking off at 11AM, and going until late! Check out more details here.

Beerocracy, the independently-created documentary on the beer scene in New Brunswick, is screening tonight at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. In addition to diving into the growing craft beer industry in NB, the film goes further to compare and contrast the benefits and challenges to the same scene in Nova Scotia and Maine. The screening will take place at the Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, at 6:45 pm. If you’d like to purchase your tickets in advance, you can right here. Both Alex Vietinghoff and Shauna Chase, the creators of the documentary, will be attending, and will be hosting a 15 minute Q&A after the show.

Tomorrow in Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary of opening. Open from 10 AM to 9:30 PM, they’ll have Backoos Korean BBQ available for purchase all day and a pig roast with all the fixin’s presented by Mateus Bistro from 4 PM – 8 PM. They’ll also have live music and, of course, plenty of fresh beer. So come on out and help celebrate their first successful year!

• If you’re in the Hortonville, NS area (or within driving distance), there’s going to be another screening of Sociable!, the documentary on the craft beer scene in NS, at the Horton Ridge taproom tomorrow, September 16th, at 7 pm. Chris and Helen, who created the film, will be on hand to chat and answer any questions you may have.

• There’s a big tap takeover in the works for next weekend in Dartmouth at Jamieson’s Irish Pub. Two craft heavyweights square off with 8 taps each for a total of 16 lines of top notch local craft beer from 2 Crows and Tatamagouche Brewing. Starting Thursday, September 21st, with “practice night” in combination with Wing Night, continuing on Friday with their TGIF and official launch, and then an afternoon Ceilidh from 2 – 4PM ($2 cover) and Kitchen Party from 7:30 – 10pm ($3 cover) on Saturday and finishing up on Sunday with Industry Night (all taps $6 for industry personnel). Saturday night will also give you an opportunity to Meet the Brewers from these two fine breweries. There is also talk of a trophy presentation, which implies perhaps a touch of (friendly, we’re sure) competition going on. Keep your eyes on Jamieson’s social media (Facebook, Twitter) as the tap list is yet to be revealed.

• The Fall Edition of Keji’s Dark Sky Weekend is happening next weekend, and Boxing Rock will be on hand with samples of their Dark as Keji Black IPA. With events happening both Friday and Saturday, Sept 22 & 23, take advantage of this special Dark Sky Preserve to see and learn more about our place in the universe. The “Gourmet Fall Night Hike to Peter Point” is Friday starting at 6:30PM. Walk to Peter Point, and enjoy a beer and food tasting along the way! Sign-up is required at the Visitor Centre or by calling 902-682-2772.

• Digby’s Roof Hound is coming to Halifax in a big way, as they’ll be pouring on all five taps at Bishop’s Cellar with their Roof Hound Tap Takeover, happening next Saturday, September 23rd. Drop by from noon-5 pm and sample some of the beers, before deciding on which one(s) you’d like to fill your growlers with. The tap list has been released, and includes Average Joe American Wheat, Big Brown, Rye-It, Wasted Days Chocolate Peanut Butter Wheat, and a brand new beer, Oat of My Mind DIPA. Brewed with oats in the grist to increase the mouthfeel, it was hopped with Azacca and weighs in at 7.1% ABV.

• If you’re looking for an Oktoberfest celebration that actually happens in October, look no further than Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown (the one in the Valley!), NS. They’re planning their big OktoBEERfest party for Saturday, October 7th, from 3 PM to 10 PM at the brewery. Tickets are $45 a pop and include a customer 20 ounce beer glass, a beer of your choice, a meal and live music. The beer menu will include two special beers, both German in style, brewed especially for the event. The first is a Hefeweizen and the second a Vienna Lager; there will also be three of the Lunn’s mill regular rotation available. The meal includes sausages (of course!), chicken schnitzel, potato salad, green salad and apple crisp. Four music, four local acts are on the ticket: Two Can Sam, Heather & Caleb, Midnight Genny and Dayliner. Dress for the occasion in your lederhosen and Tirolerhüte so you can take advantage of the photo booth. And best of all, there’s a shuttle running through the Valley to get you there and home safe! It will run from Bridgetown to Middleton from 3-5 PM to take folks to the event and again from 7 – 10 PM to bring them home! Purchase your tickets directly from the Lunn’s Mill website and keep your eye on the event page for any updates.

A few more things to round out the post today…

Petit-Sault‘s big Pumpkin Ale, Bonhomme Sept-heures (8.5% ABV), is back again for the season; currently only available on tap and in bottles at the brewery’s taproom in Edmundston, NB.
Red Rover has re-released their popular blueberry-infused cider, The Blues (7% ABV), semi-dry and “bursting with wild blueberries and a crisp apple finish”; look for it on tap and in flagons.
– Noon today North Street saw the return of Halifax’s hoppy, roasty savior as Flat Black Jesus reappeared at Unfiltered and Charm School Pub next door for fills and pints. And if you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, look for leftovers from Unfiltered’s tap takeover last night at Hopyard!

Well, it’s official…September is here. Unofficially, summer is over, the days of Pumpkin Ales are upon us, and wet-hopped beers are approaching soon! If you’re not a fan of one of these (or both), don’t worry…while this week may be a bit slower in the new beer department compared to the last few, there’s still some interesting brews newly released or coming soon that we’d love to get you caught up on…

• Charlottetown’s St. Paul’s Church will be celebrating their 250th Anniversary in 2019, and they’ve partnered up with Upstreet to have a special beer brewed as a means of fundraising for this important milestone. Head brewer Mike Hogan decided to brew a beer similar in style to one you’d see in England in the 18th century…hence, Red Stone Stock Ale was born. The grist is made up of English Pale malt, Medium Crystal, and Chocolate malt. A 60 L grain-soured starter was whipped up, and added to half of the 30 BBL (3500 L) batch, resulting in a pH drop that gave some, but not too much, sourness. After boiling the wort and hopping it with English Fuggles, this half was then blended with the other, non-soured half (brewed with the same hop schedule), and the resulting wort was fermented. Afterwards, house-toasted PEI oak cubes were added, with the final product exhibiting an “oaky and sharp finish similar to the aged beers of the time”. This brew will be released on September 17th, on tap at the brewery and a few select accounts, and in bottles, with all proceeds going to St. Paul’s.

• There’s a new beer flowing at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay, an Extra Special Bitter named after its proud brewer, Andrew Estabrooks. Esty Special Bitter is a 5.5% ABV, 38 IBUs beer hopped with three new-to-Foghorn varieties: Challenger, Target, and Olicana. Fermented with, of course, an English yeast strain, expect a dry, slightly fruity brew that goes down easy. Available now for pints and growlers, it’s also popping up at a few tap accounts in Saint John.

• More breweries in our region are working with Escarpment Labs – a company in Guelph, Ontario, that produces liquid yeast cultures for breweries – to develop their own unique cultures for fermenting wort. Tatamagouche Brewing has joined this list, with the release of a new Saison, Edel, yesterday. The grist of this new beer is comprised of 70% Pilsner malt, and 20% raw wheat and 10% raw Rye from Horton Ridge, to 5.2% ABV. Hopped with organic French Strisselspalt to 21 IBUs, the wort was fermented with a special blend of yeast that Tatabrew worked on with Escarpment, that incorporates both a traditional Saison yeast, and a North American Brettanomyces strain. The resulting beer was split into two batches; the first, being released today, was dry-hopped with more Strisselspalt, while the second has moved on into Tempranillo wine barrels and will be getting an addition of wine must this fall (look for this half to be released next spring). Edel is a keg-only beer, so look for it at the brewery for growlers and pints, as well as on tap at both Stillwell locations, and Battery Park. Next spring’s barrelled version, however, will also be released in bottles. We’ll be sure to remind you when it’s available!

Loyalist City Brewing has released a variety of hoppy beers since they opened last fall, and this week they launched their third American IPA, Point Blanc IPA. This is a “New England IPA” brewed with a blend of Maris Otter in the grist, which provides a “light toasted malt presence” to balance the hop character provided from large whirlpool additions of Citra, Centennial, and Mandarina Bavaria, along with a heavy dry hop of CentennialHallertau Blanc, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fermented with the brewery’s Vermont yeast strain, expect lots of citrus and grapefruit, and a high bitterness in the finish. Seek it out on tap at your favourite Loyalist City account!

Good Robot is bringing back version 2.0 of their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie Pale Ale today; to remind you, this is the one featuring the addition of Kenyan Nyeri Gatina coffee beans, roasted by Java Blend Coffee Roasters and brewed by Low Point Coffee Co. The resultant cold brew was added to the beer, along with hop additions of Falconer’s Flight and Cascade, giving you interesting flavours of coffee, chocolate, slight fruit, and some acidity. Look for it on tap at Good Robot, and, of course, other GR-friendly establishments in the HRM. Also, next Tuesday’s Beta Brewsday (brewed by Robyn, Heather, and Kelly C.) will be Low Hanging Fruit Milkshake IPA (6.6% ABV, 54 IBUs)- hopped with Mosaic Cryo hops, as well as pelletized Amarillo, Citra and Columbus. It was then rested on fresh Ontario peaches for a week; the fruity notes from both the hops and fruit help balance the slight sweetness from the addition of lactose powder. And finally, note that there will be no Cask in the Sun release today.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe has finally confirmed that they will be expanding their 1 BBL brewery, which has been operating since April, 2014 out of co-owners’ Peter and Tatiana Cole’s Bed and Breakfast under the same name. The Big Axe Brewery and Saloon will be housed in a “wild west-style log home”, built on the banks of the Saint John River in Nackawic. Scheduled to open in April, 2018, the 10 BBL (1150 L) brewhouse is being built by Charlottetown’s DME. With 20 BBL fermentors also being constructed, expect plenty more Big Axe beer, including bottle and can distribution. The two-level saloon will have a wrap-around deck overlooking the Saint John River; food will be served as well. We’ll be sure to update you as their progress continues. Congratulations to the Coles!

• After backing out of their original plan to open a small batch brewery in downtown Saint John early this year, Moosehead has announced that they will indeed be adding a 20 BBL (2300 L) brewhouse and taproom to the company’s original brewery at 89 Main St. West in Saint John. A 3 BBL (350 L) pilot brewery will also be constructed, with the idea behind both smaller brewhouses being experimentation, according to Moosehead. Current plans are for the new location to be up and running in May, 2018.

• And speaking of crafty (and pumpkin ales!), A. Keith’s Historic Brewery has a new batch out of their pilot system. Brewmaster Stefan Gagliardi, a self-proclaimed pumpkin head, perfected this recipe as a home brewer over many iterations and it’s one of his favorites. Ingredients include Vienna and Munich malts from Horton Ridge, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spices including fresh ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Look for malty, toasty and sweet pie crust elements to meet a full body and smooth mouthfeel highlighted by the spices. This is a small batch, with only three kegs going on the growler station at the brewery today.

• Those who have hops growing on their property are surely aware that the time is nigh for harvesting. Hop flowers, or cones, are starting to sound papery when squeezed, are going a little brown around the edges, and smell of the resinous lupulin that contains the essential oils and acids hops are known and loved for. We know that a couple of hop growing breweries in the region, including Meander River and Big Spruce, have already had their picking parties and other producers will no doubt harvest soon if they haven’t already. Most of the hops harvested in our region will no doubt be processed normally: dried with warm, moving air, before being baled or pelletized and stored cold. But some hops are destined for nearly immediate use with a special technique known as “wet hopping”, “fresh hopping” or “green hopping” – adding freshly-picked, undried hops to a batch of beer during the brewing process. For best effect, wet hops have to be as fresh as possible, ideally within hours of picking, so that they do not spoil. Cold storage and shipping, if necessary, should not exceed 48 hours before the hops hit the beer. This gives breweries with their own on-site hop farms a leg up on making wet hopped beers. Using wet hops is much more risky than processed hops; with no laboratory analysis, alpha acid and essential oil levels are completely unknown. Because of this, to keep some control over the result, some breweries will use processed hops with known alpha levels for bittering and will save the fresh hops for flavour and aroma additions. When picked, hops are ideally still roughly 80% water and aren’t nearly as potent as dried, so significantly higher hop amounts must be used in wet hopping, often as much as 5 or 10 times the dried equivalent. Meanwhile, compounds that lose their potency during the drying process are still present and can make significant, and sometimes unwelcome, flavour contributions. Wet hopped beers, at their best, present a different side of hops, earthy and somewhat grassy, with a more subtle presentation of other flavour and aroma characteristics than usual. Look for wet hopped beers, often termed harvest ales to start appearing in the region over the next month or so!

• Speaking of which, if you’ve got hops growing on your property that you’re not planning to use, and you can get them to Fredericton quickly after picking, Graystone Brewing has put out a call for hops to be used in their Harvest Ale. Proceeds from the beer with go towards the United Way of Central New Brunswick’s campaign.

A bit of a quiet week for beer events and event announcements this week:

• A reminder to those in Halifax that Stillwell is bringing one of the big (but little!) guns of American Farmhouse styles for a two-stage takeover this weekend as Maine’s Oxbow Brewing comes to town. Starting at 4 PM today some of the best Belgian-inspired beers you can imagine will be pouring at Stillwell HQ on Barrington Street. And tomorrow starting at noon the party moves on up to The Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden Road. The full tap and bottle list is now available for this evening’s festivities and chef Graeme Ruppel has put together a burger-focused menu that’ll melt your butter. If you’ve found yourself going into withdrawal after the Stillwell Belgian Takeover two weeks ago, if you’re curious how American Farmhouse compares to the original, or if you just like really great beer, you owe it to yourself to get out today or tomorrow. No tickets required at either session.

• If you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, or planning to be there in the next 24 hours, and you don’t already have your tickets for the PEI Beerfest (part of the Fall Flavours Festival) at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel, what are you waiting for?! Tickets are still available for tonight’s 6:30 – 9:30 PM session ($48 + taxes & fees) and Saturday afternoon’s 2:00 – 4:00 PM shift ($36.50 + taxes & fees), but tomorrow evening’s session is now sold out! The brewery list is as up-to-date as it’s going to get and the live entertainment is locked-in. A reminder also that Designated Driver tickets ($13.50 + taxes & fees) are available as well to help you arrange to get home safely.

• The Maritime Honey Festival will be taking place in Fredericton in a couple of weeks, and with beer’s popularity continuing to rise, of course it has to take part! On Saturday, September 23rd, the “Bee-R Garden” will be held between 10 am – 3 pm, at the Capital Exhibit Center. At least seven different local craft breweries will be taking part, each of which has been matched up with a beekeeper, and will be brewing a style of beer different from others attending, featuring, of course, honey. Ranging from a “Brett Honey Saison” from Maybee to an “Imperial Honey Porter” from Foghorn, attendees can expect a wide variety of brews! Be sure to check out the link for the list of styles from breweries who have committed to participate. And what honey-centric festival would be complete without mead? Sunset Heights Meadery will be pouring seven different varieties of mead to satisfy your sweet tooth. Drink tickets can be purchased now – $8 for four 4 oz drink tickets, or $45 for unlimited samples – or at the door, where $11 gets you four drink tickets (no unlimited samples option).

And a few last items before you get on with your weekend…

Garrison‘s Rise ‘n Stein Hefeweizen (5.5% ABV, 13 IBUs) has returned, with this year’s batch being available almost-exclusively in bottles at the brewery and HRM private stores; a limited amount may be available on tap, so keep your eyes open.
– PEI’s Moth Lane has released a new beer, The Gorbine Double Black IPA (8.8% ABV, 85 IBUs), that is available now across the Island at Moth Lane tap accounts, and at the brewery.
Nine Locks Brewing led the pack this year with the release of their Harvest Pumpkin Ale earlier this week. It’s available now in cans at the brewery and will appear at the NSLC in October.
– Bad news for fans of Picaroons Dark and Stormy Night: due to an ongoing legal dispute with “a big name in the spirits world”, the beer has been discontinued and will not be brewed again. It doesn’t appear that it will return under a different name, so if this is a brew you’ve enjoyed in the past, you may want to grab a bottle or two if you can find it.
– In Cask Friday news, the Propeller Organic Blonde on Yuzu we told you about last week is actually going on this evening at 5 PM. Schoolhouse’s cask today is called Oaked Grog Chequers obviously their Chequers Robust Porter aged on Oak, but what’s the “grog” angle? Stop by the brewery this evening and find out!

We’re entering the last week of August and, assumedly, most of us have our summer vacations behind us. That’s fine, there’s still plenty of gorgeous weather and beautiful beer to enjoy, not necessarily in that order. So grab a pint of your favourite local brew and let’s see what’s going down in the local scene this week.

Split Rock Brewing has opened their doors at 119 Main Street in Twillingate, NL. Their 500 litre (4 BBL) system has been working overtime, and they are ready to welcome thirsty visitors to the Northernmost brewery in Atlantic Canada. The brewery and Stage Head Pub are open daily 2-11pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday, Sunday hours TBA). They are fully licensed for sample flights, pints, and growler fills of their six beer: Combines Ale, 5.3%; Bluff Head Bitter, 4.6%; Gateway IPA, 6.7%; Red Sky Red Rye, 4.9%; Alli’s Big Brown Ale, 5.6%; Black Island Stout, 6.1%. Keep an eye out for our Profile of them coming next week, and check their FB, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news. Congratulations, Team Split Rock!

• Shediac’s Flying Boats Brewery has been in operation for a little over two years now, since officially launching in July of 2015. Owner/brewer Marc Melanson has confirmed that the brewery will be expanding in the future, moving from a 2 bbl (230 L) brewhouse in his garage to a much larger brewery in a commercial space in nearby Dieppe. Renovations are currently underway, with the goal being a brewery with an attached taproom for pints and growler fills; a canning line will also be purchased. Other details are being kept silent for now, but stay tuned to their social media accounts for updates. Congratulations to the Flying Boats team!

• After obviously slacking off and only releasing two new beers last week, the crew at 2 Crows is back at it with a bevy of bevvies coming your way. Released earlier this week is Invisible Touch, a 4.9% Brett Saison, a light-bodied beer fermented using a blend of several strains of Brettanomyces yeast. Dry hopped with Azacca and Simcoe, resulting in a citrusy and stonefruit notes to complement the dry body and funky notes from the wild yeast. This small batch is only available at the brewery’s tasting room, so best drop by today (and you can check out what the heck they’re doing with 200kg of peaches!!).

• Promising to hit the taps at 2 Crows today or tomorrow (once a draught line comes clear), is the final keg of Smackwater Jack, an American Farmhouse Ale, conditioned on quince fruit. Featuring a grist of Pilsner malt with Wheat (both malted and raw) and a touch of Oats, lightly hopped with Calypso and Centennial, the beer was fermented with an American Farmhouse blend of yeasts and has sat for seven months on the fruit to allow the farmhouse/barn funkiness to develop. This final keg was allowed to carbonate naturally using Champagne yeast, allowing a tighter carbonation. Keep an eye on their social media for the tapping announcement. Ed note: it was tapped Friday at 1PM, so get down there now!

• And as soon as there are two taps available (we’re guessing late this weekend/early next week, depending on how thirsty y’all are), there will be a pair of brand new pilot brews available.  Pancho and Lefty are both Pale Ales fermented with Brett, with the same malt bill (Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt and Oats), and kettle-hopped with Belma and Simcoe. The specs are also identical, at 6.2% ABV and 23 IBU, but the similarities end there. Pancho was conditioned on whole mangoes, and dry-hopped with AzaccaLefty skipped the fruit, and was heavily dry-hopped with Enigma. Both beers end up being quite dry and funky with tropical notes, with Pancho taking it to another level with the stonefruit and tangerine flavours, and Lefty picking up berry notes from the Enigma. Again, these will be for on-site enjoyment only, and announced via social media.

• And rounding out the 2 Crows news this week is a preview of their Promiseland Double IPA. Dropping next Friday, Sept 1, this seasonal beer features a Pale malt base (with Oats and Honey Malt), fermented with London Ale III, heavily hopped late in the boil, active fermentation, and then dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe. At 8.3% ABV and 64 IBU, “This beer is a juice bomb!” proclaims Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor. Citrus, stonefruit, tangerine are found throughout, with a soft mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, and smooth bitterness. As with their other seasonals (Fantacity and Midnight Mood), the beer will be available at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans, and will likely be available at the private beer stores in HRM as well.

• After the success of their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown, Big Spruce is following up with a new variation of the same beer. For Peach’s Sake! features the addition of, you guessed it, organic peach puree. Generously hopped with Cascade, Centennial and El Dorado, with an addition of lactose powder to slightly boost the mouthfeel and sweetness of the beer, it clocks in at 6.5% ABV and 52 IBUs. Available for pours and growlers at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, you should also be able to find it on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Saint John Ale House. Look for two more iterations to come in the near future, each featuring a different fruit addition.

• And speaking of Big Spruce, a couple more things to pass on this week: owner Jeremy White sat down with the gents from the 902 BrewCast (happy now, guys?) recently, and the first part of that chat dropped on Tuesday. Learn about the origins of the brewery, from buying the farmstead using a Nicaraguan Phone Call (also a possible future beer name?), their first beers, their homebrew competition, White’s open letter to Nova Scotia (what’s changed and what’s not since its publication 10 months ago), and much more! Listen to the first half now, and prepare yourself for the second half, coming September 5th.

• And as if you need another reason to visit Nyanza, drop by next Saturday, September 2nd, as there will be another screening of the Nova Scotia craft beer documentary Sociable!, at Big Spruce at 7PM. It will be taking place at their new production brewery across the road from their original brewery and beer patio. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand, and you can enjoy some beer and food while you watch the film. And stay the night nearby, so you can pop back to the brewery on Sunday the 3rd for a Pig Roast, 12-5PM.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider released a new cider blend late last week at their Agricola Street taproom. The Fuzz features their Foundation apple blend at its base, with the final 25% of the volume comprised of cryo-extracted peach wine. For the uninitiated (we count ourselves in that boat!), the cryo-extraction process entails freezing the peach juice to gently remove water, while maintaining the great aromatic and flavour profile and increasing the sugar (aka fermentable) content. And unlike many apple/fruit blends that feature blending of the secondary fruit after fermentation (diluting the cider and adding sweetness), the higher gravity peach juice was fermented first, and then blended and cold conditioned with the finished cider for two weeks. Before packaging, the cider was fizzified first using Nitrogen, and then CO2, with the aim to create a smaller bubble and lighter carbonation level. All of these extra steps result in a smooth 6.5% ABV cider with soft mouthfeel and flavour and aroma of not only peach, but also apricot and pineapple. Grab a glass today!

• Some beer drinkers at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay have been asking for “the lightest one you’ve got” since the brewery opened, and they’ve now got the perfect beer as an answer! A Kölsch, Leitest Von Veigott (if you don’t get it, say the name with your worst German accent) was brewed with Pilsner malt, and hopped to 18 IBUs with Perle and Magnum. Pale-coloured and easy-drinking as planned, at 5.5% ABV, you can find it at Foghorn for growlers and pints, and at select accounts. Also recently, the brewery introduced Lola, a “Tropical Pale Ale” featuring 90 lbs of mango puree (20% in the boil, 80% in secondary) and dry-hopped with Citra and Vic Secret for even more tropical fruit character. Kegs of this beauty sold out extremely fast, so you may be able to find it on tap if you’re lucky (hint: seen at the James Joyce in Fredericton last night).

• Bottles of Hammond River beer are officially here! Both the Hop Flash IPA and Blood Orange Hefeweizen are now available in 500 mL bottles at the taproom, as well as at the KV ANBL and some stores in Saint John. Don’t worry if you don’t live in the SJ area – a recent delivery was sent out to ANBL stores in Fredericton, Moncton and Sussex, so expect to see these pop up very soon, with this weekend being extremely likely. Look for distribution to expand with time, and other beers will be bottled very soon as well.

Grimross plans on releasing their newest Belgian IPA sometime this morning at the brewery in Fredericton. After the high popularity of their last Belgian IPA, Scratch #2, they took the recipe and tweaked it. Hopped with Amarillo, Cascade, and Columbus, it was fermented with the Belgian strain used in their Cheval D’Or Saison, resulting in spicy phenolics and fruity esters expected in many Belgian styles, and fruity, tropical notes from the use of American hops. Simply named Belgian IPA, grab some by the pour or growler fill at the brewery, or on tap at any fine establishments where Grimross beers are served. And in other Grimross news, they have started their expansion into the unit next door to othe brewery on Bishop Dr., which means more brewing equipment, a larger taproom area, and a patio space.

• Back in June, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing brought us a fruited sour wheat that broke the mold, at least locally, for what kind of weight that style could carry. Originally touted at 6.2% ABV, as of noon today, Sour MFer will be available once again at the brewery and neighbouring tied house Charm School Pub, this time sporting a lab-verified ABV of 6.4%. Still featuring a big bouquet and flavour from aging on tart cherry puree, and still with a super solid body, we expect it to be just as dangerously thirst quenching as the first batch back in early summer. And what better for the dog days of August?

• Lots of action is going on these days up the Eastern Shore of the province at Sober Island Brewery. Firstly, a keg of the 5% ABV smooth and malty Altbier they did up for the Horton Ridge event in May hit the taps at the neighbouring Henley House earlier this week. You’ll have to keep your eyes open on Twitter and Facebook to know when more one-offs like these go on tap. And with limited availability in HRM, for now, anyway, visiting the brewery for a crowler or Henley House for a pint is your best bet to get your mitts on some Sober Island brew. Your next best bet is the Beer Truck, doing the rounds at Farmers Markets, locations in the HRM and elsewhere, its current assignment is also best determined through social media. Hopefully we’ll see some wider availability in the fall, when plans are to start canning beer for distribution, including the private stores in Halifax! And lastly, look for an interesting run of beers to come out of the foraging series now under development; looks like one of the first ones might be a Chanterelle Mushroom-laced Mild. Keep your eyes peeled for these to appear as we move into fall.

• Today, TrailWay is releasing their newest Double IPA, Voyager. This hazy, light-coloured beer was hopped entirely with the Australian Galaxy, a fantastic variety that gives the beer aromas and flavours that are “juicy, pungent, and tropical”. Quite drinkable despite the 7.8% ABV, it will be available in cans exclusively at the brewery taproom as of this morning at 11 am; you can also purchase tasters, pints and growlers there, and it will be popping up at a few TW tap accounts across Fredericton.

• In Good Robot news, they’re releasing The Smashing, the fifth – and last – beer in their SMaSH Pale Ale series. The grist is made up of Golden Promise, a Pale malt from England, and the featured hop is Topaz, an Australian variety gaining in popularity thanks to its light tropical fruit characteristics, as well as resinous notes. Fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast to boost the fruitiness even more, it comes in at 7% ABV and 52 IBUs; available at the GR taproom, as always. Continuing on, next week’s Brewsday Tuesday is Virgo Saison, a slightly-stronger-than-planned “Saison/Grisette” brewed by assistant brewer Irene; hopped with Tettnanger, and finishing quite dry thanks to a strong fermentation, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 24 IBUs. Finally, today’s Cask in the Sun entry is Corn Chili Sin Carne, which is their Leave me Blue with Yucatan Recado Rojo spice from local coffee shop Cafe Aroma Latino added to the cask, as well as fresh Nova Scotia-grown tomatoes and red peppers from Den Haan Greenhouses.

• Since the release of Cryo Hops – concentrated lupulin powder that gives intense hop aroma and flavour, while at the same time minimizing the amount of beer absorption and loss from the hop additions – breweries in our area have been utilizing them in some recent brews. Tidehouse has added their name to the list with the release of Cryo Me a River. This 7.2% ABV, 35 IBUs IPA was brewed with Canadian 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe Cryo hops. The brewery describes the Cryo hop character in this beer as having “juicy tangerine, papaya, and pine notes, with a light body and soft bitterness”. It’s available now at the Tidehouse Tiny Tasty Beverage Room only, for growler fills and tasters.

Propeller in Halifax continues its Friday cask series with a double dry-hopped, cask conditioned Double IPA (whose recently tweaked recipe already features three times the dry hops!) all ready to be tapped today at 5 PM at their Gottingen Street location. Drop by for a pint, and you get to keep the glass!

• If you’re into the live music scene here in Halifax, you probably already know that next week (Aug 27 – Sep 3) is the 8th annual Halifax Urban Folk Fest (HUFF), one of the premiere musical events in this city. This year’s lineup features some absolutely huge names in Canadian songwriting: Ron Hawkins, Art Bergman, Moe Berg (totally an adult now), Skydiggers, and John K. Samson as well as many other local and not-so-local artists curated by the Carleton’s Mike Campbell. As presenting sponsor of this great week of live music, Propeller has stepped up and brewed a new beer in their Gottingen Small Batch Series. The official beer of HUFF, it’s in the Festbier style, the classic beer of Munich’s Oktoberfest. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, with a golden colour and deep, malty aroma. Fermented with Czech Pils yeast and given an extended layering, it will have a clean and crisp character for supreme drinkability. You’ll find it starting next week at all HUFF venues, including The Carleton, Timber Lounge, Seahorse Tavern, Marquee Ballroom, Tempo Food + Drink, Stubborn Goat Waterfront, Loose Cannon, The Anchor and Wooden Monkey.

Plenty to do around our region this weekend!

• If you’re planning to be in Truro (the Hub of Nova Scotia!) this evening, you picked a good night! From 4 – 9PM downtown you’ll find an event called BBQ, Beer, & Blues going on at Inglis Place and environs. Featuring eight Nova Scotia craft breweries, each paired up with a local shop, along with BBQ and live music, it’s sure to be a good night. A paltry $15 gets you 8 tickets, each good for a 4 oz sample at any of the craft beer stations. Participating breweries are Nine Locks, Saltbox, Tatamagouche, Sober Island, Meander River, Schoolhouse, Good Robot and Garrison. Even better, 100% of the proceeds will go towards three charitable organizations: the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Wayward Cats Society, and the Colchester Food Bank.

• Attention Belgian Beer Fans!! For those of us who are enjoying the recent foray local breweries have been making into the farmhouse, sour, and wild side of brewing, we would be well served to try the originators of many of these styles from Belgium. We’ve got a hot tip for you that will save you airfare to Brussels: Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has received a pair of pallets of draught and bottles straight from Belgium, and will be holding a Lambic-fest this Sunday, August 27th. From 1PM until late, the twelve taps will be pouring straight and mixed lambics, Belgian Pale Ales, Saisons, and Quadrupels, with a bottle list putting many bars in Brussels itself to shame, with Cantillon, Boon, De Cam, and even some Trappist Westvleteren XII. Check the full beer list here, and prep yourself for Belgian beer and food all day. For those who are keen to get in early and enjoy a few beers in a quiet environment, there were a handful of Earlybird tickets made available. Oh, and stay tuned to Stilly’s (and ours) social media for the details on the Oxbow Tap Takeover at both HQ and the Beer Garden, now happening Sept 8 and 9.

• Bertrand, NB, will be hosting the Oktoberfest des Acadiens next week, Aug 31-Sept 3. Featuring a Grand Tasting by Acadie-Broue’s Patrice Godin on the 31st, and the Oktoberfest itself on Friday and Saturday, it will be a great weekend of beer, drink, and food. Check out the full program here!

A few more beers and news to keep you up to date:

Bishop’s Cellar was facing an unscheduled issue with a construction crane moving in their area this weekend, but due to the short notice provided to businesses in the area the move has been rescheduled. To when? We don’t know; but we’ll be sure to give you a head’s up when it’s announced!
– Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has successfully obtained their taproom license and is no longer limited to serving you tasting glass after tasting glass in your quest to cop a buzz. Full pints are now available in their taproom, so head on down!
Maybee has a new beer in cans and on tap, Owd Bob, a kettle-soured Brown ale (5.9% ABV); we haven’t received any details, but you can grab some cans or a growler at the brewery, and it seems to be popping up on tap at select accounts across NB.
Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has brought back their crowd favourite Hefeweizen, RDF Hefe (5.7% ABV, 25 IBUs); you can find it on tap now at the brewpub on Harbour Dr.
– As we mentioned last week, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is ramping up their bottling line (read, home-made filler), and these oversized stubbie bottles are now available to the public. The Average Joe Wheat Beer, Big Stink IPA, and Sweet Little SIPA are all available at the brewery now, and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Help the RH crew celebrate the launch with some live music at the brewery tomorrow evening, with duo “Just Us” taking the stage at 9PM.
– Yarmouth’s Rudder’s Brewpub has released a new beer this week, Barefoot Sailor Session IPA. The copper-coloured beer was loosely based on the CBANS Collaboration Ale from earlier this year, but lighter in body and hopped up, coming in at 3.7% ABV, and a robust 80 IBU. You’ll have to drop by their Water Street location to find out more!
Schoolhouse is also in full swing with their Cask Friday event, this week they’ll be tapping a test batch of their forthcoming seasonal Pumpkin Ale at today at 4 PM in Windsor.

If you’re in NS, we hope you’ve been either resting your liver up or have had it in training, because it’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week is kicking off today and will be in full swing this weekend. It’s every NS beer geek’s favorite 11-day week, although for some it will no doubt feel like 14 (or more!). There’s a ton of beers to tell you about, a ton of events we’ll point you towards, as well as all the other beer-related news going on in the other three Atlantic provinces, so let’s start there…

• It may not really feel like patio season yet, but trust us, it’s coming (maybe?)! In preparation, TrailWay released a new beer – of sorts – yesterday in cans at the brewery. Beyond Reality is a “juiced up” version of their popular summer seasonal, Raspberry Wheat. Even more raspberries were added in this beer (as well as a different technique of getting that raspberry character into the beer), but that’s not all! TrailWay being TrailWay, they decided to go ahead and dry-hop the beer, with the wonderful El Dorado variety. The result? A 4% ABV brew with a “unique, crazy, juicy berry/raspberry character, while remaining dry and crisp”. The cans dropped yesterday at the brewery only; this, like all first batches at TW, is a limited release, so whether it’s sunny or pouring, drop by to pick a few up today!

• There’s a new beer hitting taps from Moncton’s Beckwith Road, that originally appeared at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival in March. Care Package is best described as a New England APA, brewed to be hazy, hoppy, and juicy! Hopped entirely with Citra, this 5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs, downright-cloudy ale has a big aroma of citrus and tropical fruit, with a dry, not-too-bitter finish. It recently made an appearance at the Tide & Boar, and you may still be able to get it at the James Joyce in Fredericton.

Tide & Boar Brewing, another member of the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective, are holding another Growler Day today, offering up three new beers: Robot Food IPA (a hazy NEIPA), a Double-Dry-Hopped version of their Forum Pale Ale featuring Nelson Sauvin, and Layback Lager. Drop by right now to get your fill of these three beers, only available at T&B.

Hammond River Brewing is still picking away at their major expansion, and with construction being completed, equipment arriving and being installed, things are looking great! In the meantime, owner/brewer Shane Steeves doesn’t want to let his loyal fans go thirsty, so there’s not one, but *two* new beers that were brewed earlier this week! First up is Naval Daze, a kettle-soured Berliner Weisse with real peaches added in secondary. Tart, light and refreshing, it comes in at a supremely-drinkable 3.2% ABV and 4 IBUs. Next is yet another iteration of the Vegas SMaSH IPA, with this one featuring the fantastic Galaxy hop, an Australian variety. With aromas of citrus and passion fruit, this 6.5% ABV, 60 IBUs brew should satisfy all of you hopheads out there. Look for both of these newbies at your local HRB account within the next couple of weeks.

• In other nearing-expansion NB news, Celtic Knot is getting closer to receiving their 3.75 bbl (~435 L) brewhouse at their new location, which will also mark the beginning of growler sales from the brewery! Not to be outdone by Hammond River, they’ve also announced the upcoming release of two new beers: Summer Daze is a 5% ABV “lightly hopped” American Pale Ale, brewed with the intention of welcoming non-craft drinkers into the fold; and Ryetious is a 6% ABV, 60 IBUs Rye IPA featuring 18% Rye malt in the grist, and hop additions of Nugget and Simcoe in the boil, as well as Amarillo in the dry-hop. Look for these two to appear at CK accounts very soon!

• As mentioned briefly last week, PEI’s Gahan House Restaurant and Brewery (a subsidiary of sorts of the PEI Brewing Co.) are adding yet another brewpub to join their locations in Charlottetown and Halifax, as well as the upcoming Moncton location. The latest location will open in Saint John on Prince William St. in September, 2017. It will house a 7 bbl (~800 L) DME brewhouse, as well as a 120-seat dining room and 30-seat seasonal outdoor patio. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on its development, but no doubt you can expect to see PEIBC/Gahan favourites on tap, as well as one-offs brewed specifically at the Saint John location.

• The New Brunswick craft beer documentary, Beerocracy, hasn’t been officially released in its entirety yet, but if you have Bell Aliant, you can watch it as a four episode series! Shauna Chase and Alex Vietinghoff have been hard at work over the last 12+ months putting the final touches on their production baby, so be sure to tune in and check it out! Here’s how to find it: “The series can be viewed on Bell Media TV1 Atlantic – Channels 1 and 401 on Fibe TV cable in the ‘Lifestyle’ folder of the VOD store”. If that confuses you as much as it did me, push your On Demand button and search for Beerocracy. There it is! A launch party and screenings of the documentary in full will be coming soon, and if you were one of the many backers on the production’s successful Indiegogo campaign, you’ll be receiving your DVD/digital copy as well.

• Last night, PEI’s Upstreet Craft Brewing held a tap takeover at Battery Park; along with a bunch of goodies, they debuted a very limited brew, Strawberry Banana Milkshake IPA. This one is their White Noize White IPA, but with additions of lactose powder and vanilla, to help give that light sweetness and extra body indicative to the Milkshake IPA “style”, along with the character from the flavours of banana and strawberry. If you’re in PEI and disappointed you missed out, fear not – there are two additional kegs in existence, both of which soon be pouring at the Upstreet taproom. And for you New Brunswick Upstreet fans, good news! Bottles of their White Noize and Do-Gooder APA are on their way to ANBL stores, and should be selling within the next couple of weeks. Look for the Commons Pilsner to appear by the end of the month.

• You may notice some new Shiretown beers popping up at select NBLC stores, with a generic, green label. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you sort this out a bit! The same label is being used for Shiretown’s latest seasonal releases; look closely, and you can see that several beers are listed on the side of the label, with the corresponding beer checked off. In addition, each seasonal has a colour-coded bottlecap. Two new ones have been released: La Vie Continue (yellow cap) is a 4.5% ABV “Summer Wheat Ale” lightly hopped to 9 IBUs, and Cartier’s Columbus (green cap) is a 6.5% ABV, 38 IBUs “hop-forward Golden Ale” hopped entirely with, you guessed it, Columbus. Look for up to four more seasonal releases from Shiretown in the near future.

• There’s a new beer from Foghorn that should be popping up any day (minute?) now at the brewery’s taproom. Raiders of the Night is a Black IPA that could be the brewery’s most heavily-hopped beer yet! Brewed as a classic Black IPA, meaning enough black malts to give some roasted, coffee aromas and flavours (but not too much!), it was hopped with Comet and Azacca in the boil, and dry-hopped with copious amounts of Citra, and even more Azacca. When you’re talking high amounts of those two varieties, you can definitely expect lots of citrus, tropical fruit, and basically lots of other fruit characteristics in the beer! It weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs; this batch will likely be available at the brewery only, for pints and growlers.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe just released their newest kettle-soured beer, Partridgeberry Sour. Thanks to the addition of plenty of local Patridgeberries (which the beer was aged on for four weeks), this 4.5% ABV beer has a beautiful pinkish-red hue, and plenty of fruit flavour, along with a refreshing tartness from the Lactobacillus souring effect. You should be able to find it on tap at the usual Big Axe accounts, as well as at the brewery during their retail hours.

• Also released right about now from Big Axe is Florganic Pale Ale, the brewery’s first 100% organic brew. Brewed with Horton Ridge malt and Centennial hops from Southan Farms, organic lavendar and several types of locally-foraged flowers were added to the beer during the brewing process, including Queen Anne’s lace. Coming in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, it should be popping up on tap in Fredericton at 540 and the James Joyce.

• A reminder the Port Rexton Brewing is opening their tap room for the season today! They are open from 2-10pm today and tomorrow, and 2-6pm Sunday. With the new season, it’s the perfect time to launch a new beer, which they’ve done, to the tune of Mixed Opportunity. The mixed fermentation saison features a special blend from Escarpment Labs in Guelph, featuring both Scchromyces and Brettanomyces yeasts. Drop by for that and plenty more beers to kick off the season, and stay a while!

OK, we’ve put it off long enough, time to hit Nova Scotia for the rest of the news this week!

• Let’s start our tour of Nova Scotia with one of the first small local breweries, opened 20 years ago, who have big news this week. Propeller Brewing has completed renovations at their Gottingen Street location, and are now set up to serve samples in their newly opened taproom. Featuring more than a dozen taps, they are looking forward to inviting folks to sit down for a drink before grabbing a sixpack or growler, in addition to holding tasting events, educational sessions, and more in the new space. Last night also saw the rollout of their new branding, their first major one in 20 years in business. That also has spilled over to their labels, which now sport the same look, with a different colour for each beer. Learn more about both (and their future plans) in this week’s 902 BrewCast, when owner John Allen, and marketing guy Aaron Emery sat down with Kyle, Phil, and Tony.

• New taproom and brand, new beer! Also debuting last night was the latest One-Hit Wonder, MoppleBock. Using Horton Ridge Malt as the base, the Propeller crew brewed up an Imperial Maibock, their take on the German style. Medium-bodied, and malt-heavy, the beer features the iconic Noble hop peppery/spicy hop flavour and aroma. At 7.5% ABV and 50 IBUs, this is well beyond what may be expected in Bavaria, but still a nod to the original brews in character.

• And leading us into the rest of Nova Scotia is the return of their tri-brewery Organic release, Cerberus Double IPA. With collaboration and assistance from Big Spruce and Tatamagouche, the 7.9% ABV Double IPA features lots of late-addition hops for a solid 60 IBUs, from AmarilloCentennial, Simcoe and Zythos hops in the boil, and a serious dose of dry-hopping of Citra. The beer debuted on tap at Propeller yesterday, will see wider release today (including kegs at all three participating breweries for growler fills), with a portion of it also rolling out in bottles at the private stores this weekend.

• After a bit of a quiet period during their expansion and the installation of their canning line, Nyanza’s Big Spruce is back with a vengeance just in time for Craft Beer Week. First, they’ve advised us that all deliveries of their 3 wide-release canned brands have been made to the NSLC and to all four private stores in the HRM (Bishop’s Cellar, Cristall Wine Merchants, Harvest Wines & Spirits, and Rockhead Wine & Beer Market); that’s the Tim’s Dirty IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and the Bitter Get’er Black IPA. You can start looking for them on the shelves as soon as today, although the scheduled date for the 35 participating NSLC stores is May 8th.

• Jeremy White and the gang also have 4 (count ‘em, four!) beers coming out this week. First we have Un Tabou, a collaboration with Harvest Wines. Fermented using The Escarpment Labs Old World Saison strain, it has copious late additions of tropical New World hop varieties El Dorado and Mosaic along with a healthy dry hop of both. We expect to see this one on tap at Harvest for sure, but as with other Big Spruce collabs, you may well see it appear elsewhere, especially with Craft Beer Week coming up.

• Next we’ve got Tiger Lilly, a session IPL (India Pale Lager) with 70% Horton Ridge malt in the grain bill and single-hopped with “massive” amounts of Mosaic both in the kettle and as a dry hop. This one will make its debut at the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover at Battery Park tomorrow, and hopefully after that at NSCBW events, with tap accounts also a possibility.

• This week marks the return of She’s Maibock, brought out this time every year, made with 100% imported German malt and noble hops it comes in at 6.1% ABV and 26 IBU. This style is a harbinger of spring in Germany and its heavier hop presence and lighter malt balance are heralded as a bit of a relief from the heavier bock styles of the lenten season. The not-so-traditional infusion of lemon zest during both the boil and the lagering process, should accentuate the refreshing nature of the style.

• Last, but not least, Silver Tart, the Raspberry Sour beer that was found on many patios and beergardens last year. Fermented on more than a hundred kilos of local raspberries, the refreshing sour finish keeps you wanting more. Well, want no more, as the 4.5% ABV beer hits the taps in HRM this week. They’ve also ordered the cans for their first canning run in the summer; we’ll keep you posted on where you might expect those to start popping up.

• Keeping the new beers flowing is a full-time job for the folks at Tatamagouche, too! Cellar Slammer, their Session IPA collaboration with Bishop’s Cellar, will be debuting tomorrow at their Tap Takeover (drop by from noon to meet the Tata crew and get first tastes and growler fills of it), with cans of the beer going on sale Sunday at BC. For those in Tata, samples, cans, and fills will be available all weekend.

• Hitting the taps and shelves next week is a brand new one from Tata, Flat Liner English IPA. Inspired by the traditional English hop East Kent Golding, this 5.6% ABV beer features a healthy base of local Horton Ridge Malt, with some Caramel 60 for colour and malt flavour. All EKG throughout the boil, to about 50 IBUs, with another dosing of them in the secondary for a redoubling of the aromatics. This release will no be canned, so be sure to seek it out at the brewery, or at their licensees across the province, starting mid-next-week.

• And also hitting the shelves next week will be the latest in their Giant Beer series, Baltic Porter. The 8.0% ABV full-bodied beer was fermented with a lager strain of yeast, and conditioned (lagered, even) for several weeks before release. Featuring Czech Saaz hops, bottles will be released on Thursday at the brewery.

• Ashdale’s Meander River Farm and Brewery released a new beer recently, Seeing Double IPA. The 8.0% ABV beer features all Citra hops throughout the boil, for a firm bitterness and plenty of citrus and refreshing aroma. Grab it at the brewery this weekend, as well as their Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market table. And for someone in the area looking for a job that will have you working both inside and out of a brewery this summer, they are filling a full-time position assisting in the brewery and retail space, as well as working on the adjacent farm doing landscaping and gardening work. Check out the full details here.

• Good Robot comes screaming into Craft Beer Week with their collective hair on fire, bringing out 3 beta brews thanks to Kelly Costello, who brought a different guest assistant brewer along for each batch. Strangely Black, brewed with Brent Braaten, is a Black IPA with cold-steeped grains that will be released at the Good Robot Taproom today. Later Gator is a White IPA brewed with Dani Alarie that was dry-hopped with Amarillo hops and that will be released on Sunday, May 7. And lastly, Klezmer Kölsch was brewed with members of 2b Theatre Company. This one will be released on Wednesday, May 10, for the company’s Ambassador Night, featuring cast members of Old Stock, A Refugee Love Story, currently running (until May 14) at The Waiting Room. And if that wasn’t enough, this weekend will also see the return of DeWolfe of Wall Street, GR’s other pale ale, this one less bitter, less malty and definitely boozier than their flagship Burban Legend. It’s very crisp, gluten-reduced and comes in at 6.4% ABV.

• In Dartmouth, Spindrift is once again playing, “anything you can do we can do lager,” with their latest release, Plimsoll. Brewmaster Kellye Robertson enlisted a helping hand from former colleague Kyle Jeppesen and the pair took the summer crusher Berliner Weisse style and gently tweaked it into a lager. Featuring a grist of local Horton Ridge Pilsner and German Pale Wheat malts, the mash was soured for three days to achieve a complex fruity, tart and citrusy palate before fermenting and then finishing with a light dry hop of the modern German hop varieties Mandarina Bavaria and Hallertau Blanc. This 3.6% ABV beer should go down extremely easily, a very light 5 IBU of bitterness mingling with tartness and hop character, leading to a crisp lager finish. Available since at the brewery, it’s available for growler fills there and is likely to turn up at licensee taps as well. Given the malt bill it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that it might also be Spindrift’s entry at the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover at Battery Park on Saturday.

• Staying on the Dark Side with another member of #teamdartmouth in this Sunday’s Stillwell Open, Brightwood Brewery is releasing a new beer this weekend. The cleverly-named Halifornia Commons is a California Common-style beer, a style that dates back to the turn of the 20th century and one of the two styles widely held to be truly American. Brightwood went with a grist of 97% Horton Ridge malt and fermented the beer with the classic San Francisco yeast, a lager strain that tolerates ale temperatures. Clean and crisp, it was late- and dry-hopped with Green Bullet hops from New Zealand to provide fruity aromas that complement those coming from yeast esters, and at 6.0% ABV and 49 IBU, it should be a solid, flavourful brew for summer. Available tomorrow at Alderney Market, you’ll also find it on tap at Battery Park if you attend the Horton Ridge Tap Takeover!

• Across the harbour, or not, as the case may be (we note they’re #teamdartmouth in the Stillwell Open…), North Brewing has a new beer that they’re releasing this week. Made with wheat malt from Horton Ridge, it’s a dry-hopped American Wheat they’re calling Reverend Horton Wheat (cue psychobilly riff). Though low in bitterness at 13 IBU, the Simcoe and Cascade used in the dry hop should give this 5.9% ABV beer a noticable hop character. It was also fermented using the same Yeast Bay Funktown Ale blend that was used in their recent Malternate Reality brew, providing a hazy appearance and accentuating the hop presence. If you guessed that this one will be part of the Horton Ridge takeover at Battery Park, go ahead and reward yourself with a beer. It will also be available for growler fills, at least on the Dartmouth side.

• Next Wednesday, on May 10, you’ll also see two bottle releases from North. First is a version of their Midnight Glenora Barrel-aged Strong Dark also aged with the Brettanomyces bruxellensis strain known as Brett Q, which is known to impart a subtle Brett character with ripe fruit notes and underlying funk. You’ll also see their Milk Stout that’s been aged in Glenora Barrels. Both beers will be available in 650ml bottles; expect to see them at the North bottle shops and more than likely at select private liquor stores in the HRM.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows is releasing a brand new pilot batch brew (we like to call it their Attempted Murder Series, can that catch on?) in their taproom tomorrow to celebrate Open Brewery DayPromiseland is a super-juicy 8.3% ABV Double IPA, featuring a next-load of late- and dry-hopping, for a nose- and mouth-full of hoppy goodness, beyond its 64 IBUs datasheet. With all of these releases, they are *only* available at the brewery, so don’t delay in dropping by tomorrow. During OBD, be sure to drop by and have a chat with the Brewery Crew and take a tour of their location. And early next week will mark the release of two of their draft-only beers in cans: Fantacity Witbier and Midnight Mood Dry-Hopped American Porter. Look for those to be on sale at the brewery Tuesday or Wednesday.

• After several test batches, Garrison has finalized the recipe for their (no longer Code Name:) Juicy! Double IPA. With a grist of 2-row pale malt and flaked oats, this hazy Northeastern-style DIPA is hop-heavy, featuring several varieties including CitraCometMosaicEkuanot and at least one “secret” hop. It’s got aromas of citrus, pineapple and tangerine, with tangerine and citrus flavors on the palate. At 8% ABV it’s firmly in DIPA territory, but with a somewhat tame (for the style) 65 IBU, the soft mouthfeel of the style and the fruit flavors it’s likely to go down pretty easily. It’s being released today on tap at the brewery for tasting and growler fills and will head to select licensees later this weekend or early next week. We’ll have more details packaging plans over the next few weeks.

Annapolis Cider Co has some exciting news to share this week: they took home no less than SIX medals from the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP), the world’s largest cider competition! With 1200 ciders entered, competition was stiff, but ACC took home hardware with every product they entered: Their Heirloom and Toasted Oak and Maple were bronze winners, Old-Fashioned Gravenstein and Sour Cherry garnered silver medals, and Muscat Infusion and Hopped Pear took home gold. Even better, both gold medal winners took Best in Class status in their respective groups! You can purchase the Heirloom at your local NSLC and at the private liquor stores in HRM, but you’ll have to visit the cidery in Wolfville to try the others. For most Nova Scotians, truly World Class cider is only a lovely drive to the Valley away!

A few more events to get you excited for the weekend…

• NS Craft Beer Week is in full swing, with tickets still available for this evening’s Cape Breton Kitchen Party at Centre 200 in Sydney. Henley House and Sober Island are hosting two events tomorrow, so make a trip to the Eastern Shore to check out their new digs, and drink some great cask beer. Drop by Stillwell Sunday for the Stillwell Open, a province-wide competition pitting more than a dozen breweries, plus a handful of homebrewers (our own Aaron and Chris brewed up beers for competing teams!) in the quest to produce some killer brand new/one-off brews.  During the week, we are hosting a Trivia Night at Timber Lounge Wednesday evening, and then you can cap it all off with the Full House Craft Beer Festival, during which there will be 32 breweries in attendance. Tickets for Saturday are sold out, but Friday night session is still available!
If all of that is too much to remember, don’t worry! We’ve put together a Calendar of the events happening over the next 9 days to keep you straight, and even mapped them all out, perfect for an epic beery roadtrip across the province. Check that out here, and if we’ve missed anything, let us know!

• With both National Homebrew Day and Nova Scotia Open Brewery Day being celebrated this weekend, one of Halifax’s sources for homebrew supplies is marking the occasion with a homebrewing demo. Maritime Wine & Beer Emporium on Lady Hammond Road will be setting up three different all-grain brewing systems on their front lawn, with three different brewers each doing a different recipe. If you’re at all interested in the hobby, this is an excellent chance to see how it’s done, get a feel for the variety of equipment and techniques that are available to the homebrewer, and to talk to some folks about their passion for the craft. The festivities will start at 9am and are expected to go until 1pm. And if you venture into the store, you’ll find all regular-priced items are 15% off for the duration of the weekend! So stop by and see how water, grain and hops become wort, the first step on the road to beer!

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve read somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 words. We suggest you mark this achievement with a beer! Crack one open or order one up and see if you can’t push your brain to the point of being totally brimful of beer stuff – we’ve got a few more quick hits to send you on your way.

– Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider has released their first product to the NSLC, Foundation. The 6.0% ABV cider is available across the province, and they are expecting to open their Agricola Street taproom/tasting bar later this month. We hope to share more information on the ciderhouse and their products soon.
First City has re-released their award-winning Fruit Beer, Raspberry Wheat (6% ABV); you can find it on tap now at Pepper’s Pub, as well as other accounts in the near future.
Grimross has added yet another crowd favourite to their available-outside-of-pints-and-growlers lineup, as one of their first beers, Cheval D’Or (5.2% ABV, 18 IBUs), a Saison, is now available in cans.
– In Liverpool, Hell Bay has a new beer available. Sour Apple was kettle soured with organic yogurt before being fermented on Pazzazz apples. At 4.5% ABV it should be a lovely quaffer for the summer patio season. It’s available at the brewery for fills and is on tap at selected licensees, but it’s not (yet) in bottles.
Loyalist City in Saint John has a new beer coming as soon as the paperwork can wend its way through the labyrinthine ANBL licensing process. Their first DIPA, it is as yet unnamed, but they’re already planning a special small batch with their friends at New England Distilling. Watch this space for more information on this release!
Wayfarers’ Ale Society has canned up a few of their offerings, and their One-Eyed River Hog IPA is currently available at the NSLC. You can also grab Hellene, their 4.2% ABV Blonde Ale at the private stores.

If you’ve been paying attention to the calendar, you know that Spring has arrived in Atlantic Canada. That said, if you’ve been paying attention to the actual weather, what with school closures twice this week in parts of the province and some bitter cold towards the end of the week, you may be considering taking a Caddyshack approach to the groundhog’s report next year. Embarrassingly stereotypical carping aside, the weather hasn’t stopped our region’s breweries from continuing to pound out tasty beers to soothe our chapped lips and frostbitten livers. We’re going to start this week’s report with news from the amateur side of brewing, where a couple of local homebrew competitions have announced their winners…

• This past Sunday afternoon, Bar Stillwell was taken over by the finale of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge 2017. Six finalists, whose beers had been previously selected by beer judges from a pool of 23 (of a possible 25) entries, showed up to make a case for why they should take home the coveted trophy this year. The presentations ranged from the straight-up and matter-of-fact to a brewday video, to a two-man sound effect-laden comedy sketch and a mandolin-soaked musical performance. In the end, and for the second year running, the trophy went to Halifax home brewer Brian Harvey (aka 1029 Brewing). His beer was a Orange peel-infused kettle-soured ale entitled Grafted. Also placing were Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart (aka Delta Force Brewing) with their Northeastern IPA, Bad Example for the Others in second place, and Steve Crane with a Bière de Garde he called Meteor that Killed the Dinosaurs in third. Rounding out the top six were Kelly Costello (of the Good Robot family), who’s been brewing a scant 21 weeks but who achieved the highest tasting score for her Belgian IPA Grand Mariner, the kilted Jason Currie and his Jeepers Peepers Springtime Stout in the rare Tropical Stout style, and Marc Perry and Dave Wamback of Shelburne, one of whom was brewing all-grain for the first time and the other who had never brewed before, with their Black IPA, Fish Cop Pop. As is traditional, the winner’s beer will be brewed at Boxing Rock’s production brewery and made available to the public; but if you were paying attention last year you know that the top three were all brewed and this year Boxing Rock President Henry Pedro suggested he was impressed enough that he may not stop at three! We’ll be sure to keep you appraised of releases of any and all Black Box Challenge 2017 brews here.

• In more homebrewing news, Garrison Brewing’s 2017 Home Brew-Off Gala was last night, and we have all of the results. This year’s style was Wee Heavy, and from more than forty entries, three rounds of judging, Fredericton homebrewer Roger Ringuette took home top honours. Second Place went to Mark Power, Third to Ashley Kinsman, and Runner-Up Steve Proulx, all scoring well in yesterday afternoon’s final round of blind judging. Roger will be brewing his recipe on Garrison’s brewhouse early next year, for release in March 2018.

• Last night also served as the launch of the 2016 Garrison Home Brew-Off winning Experimental IPAInfusion Confusion Chamomile IPA brewed by local home brewer Mark Power (yes, a finalist in this year’s competition as well!). Featuring Maritime Pale Ale malt, along with Honey, Munich, and Carapils malts to round out the grain bill, the 6.3% ABV beer uses Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra hops to achieve 50 IBUs. The mind-bending chamomile flowers were added during the brew-day, as well as conditioning (post-fermentation), to preserve the unique flavour and aromatic characteristics. It is available at the brewery retail shop in 650ml bottles today, with stock at the NSLC, and NLC,  in the near future.

• Rounding out the Garrison news are a pair of returning favourites: In Session ISA (India Session Ale) has returned to the lineup for the year. This 4.5% ABV beer is light in alcohol, but big in citrus and tropical fruit flavour with lots of late hopping from BelmaCrystal, and El Dorado, for 30 IBUs of bittering. Remember that the later hops are used in the brewing process, the less bitterness is achieved, but more aroma and flavour is kept. Grab a sixpack at the brewery today, or from your local NSLC in early April. Also returning is the Backlot Bash, Garrison’s epic all-evening concert event in the backlot of their production brewery. This year’s event is happening June 17th, and features headliners The Sheepdogs, with Port Cities, Garret Mason, and The Royal Volts, and is coinciding with Garrison’s 20th birthday. Onsite there will plenty of games, Food Trucks, and of course Garrison beer, plus local cider. The whole event is in support of the Ecology Action Centre, and Early-Bird Tickets are on sale now!

• Continuing with more from the world of homebrewing, last week we told you that HRM homebrew supply store Everwood Avenue Brewshop is moving to a new retail storefront and this week we’ve got more details to share with you. The new space is located at 731 Old Sackville Road in Lower Sackville and will be sporting regular retail hours six days a week, 10-6 on most days Tuesday to Sunday, with extended hours into the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everwood owner Dave Gillette says the space is close to twice as large as his previous digs, an expansion he expects will help him increase the demographics served by the business as well as the product lines. Expect to see more beginner equipment (especially introductory kits), commercial kegs, stainless steel conicals in the range of 7 gallons to a full 1 barrel and, later in the year, the possibility of full-on turnkey brewing systems. Dave is hoping to open the doors on Tuesday, April 4th, so if you’re a homebrewer and especially a fan of Everwood, give a thought to heading out and saying hi to Dave in his new spot! And a quick note that Dave is still looking to hire a retail associate, be sure to reach out to him via email, phone, or social media to find out more.

And now for your regularly scheduled beer release news…

• Listen up, 2 Crows fans – there’s several new beers out/coming out from Halifax’s newest brewery, so let’s start plowing through! First up is Linnea, a “Finnish Imperial Stout” (history buffs may get that) weighing in at a heavy 9.1% ABV (and 62 IBUs). Aside from having the typical jet black appearance, thick mouthfeel, and plenty of roasted flavours seen in Imperial Stouts, some liquorice root, star anise, salt, and cardamom pods were added at flameout to mimic Salmiakki, a popular Finnish candy that is essentially very salty black liquorice. Linnea was tapped early this week as a very limited supply, so it may already be gone… but if not, grab some, quickly! Rumour has it a couple more small kegs may pop up at future events…

• Next up from 2 Crows is Fantacity, a dry-hopped Witbier. Described by the brewery as “citrusy, bright, juicy, and refreshing”, it was fermented cool with the Saison strain (grown up from a bottle of De Blaugies La Moneuse) used for the brewery’s Innisfree. With coriander and orange peel added at the end of the boil, and a heavy dry-hop addition of Citra, we probably don’t have to tell you what aromas and flavours to expect with this one! Highly quaffable at 5.1% ABV and 13 IBUs, this was brewed as a larger batch, so is available for pints and growlers at the brewery. Look for it to pop up at several bars in the HRM as well, if it hasn’t already.

• This coming weekend, 2 Crows will be releasing *another* new brew, Midnight Mood. Described as an American dry-hopped Porter, this 6.6% ABV, 39 IBUs beer is “roasty, dank, piney, and smooth”. Hopped with Bramling Cross, Chinook and Columbus, and then heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe, the pine and citrus from all those hops “helps brighten the roastiness” from the dark malts. A Brett-fermented version should be following sometime next week, one that was dry-hopped with Calypso and Citra, and that has an earthy, dry, and slightly funky flavour profile, “with an almost smokey character to it”. Be sure to get down to the brewery to give these beers a try! Also, keep your eyes on the 2 Crows social media – and this blog, of course – for more updates from the brewery, as they plan on releasing new pilot batches fairly regularly for the next while, including one keg of a “Sunflower Seed Brett Saison” that features a kilo of sunflower seeds that were home-malted by brewmaster Jeremy Taylor!

Meander River released a new beer late last week, and we’ve got the details for you now. Barn Swallow Farmhouse Ale was brewed entirely with Horton Ridge malt, a 70/30 mix of Pale and Munich. Mashed “long and slow” over a wide temperature range, the beer was fermented with a dry Belgian yeast strain, and then dry-hopped with Pacific Gem, a New Zealand variety. The result is a 5.5% ABV, dry, golden-coloured ale with fruit and spice in the aroma and taste, “alongside a mild-but-present hop character”. Look for it this weekend at the brewery and Forum Farmers Market.

Hammond River owner/brewer Shane Steeves may be away in sunny Cuba this week, but luckily for us he brewed up a new American IPA before he left us in the cold! Mount Carleton Grapefruit IPA was named after the highest summit in the Maritimes, and was fittingly hopped entirely with the Summit variety, bringing “citrus aromas of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit”. The beer also features the addition of freshly-zested grapefruit peel, to boost that characteristic even more. Coming in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s available at select HR accounts now.

• Fredericton’s Graystone has a new beer on tap to join their 10+ offerings brewed in-house – Lost Pale is being described as an American Pale Ale that is “light, easy-drinking, with some spicy notes”, thanks to the addition of Czech Saaz hops. Also hopped with Fuggles (no American varieties were used in this beer), it comes in 4.9% ABV and 50 IBUs; you can grab it on tap now at the brewery, and likely find it at a few establishments in the city.

• Since we spotted a tease about trial batches on their Instagram a month or so ago, we’ve been doing our best to get Lazy Bear Brewing to tell us about their latest brew. The time has finally come to give you the goods on Folly, a wild IPA expected to be available this coming week. Using a yeast from South Carolina wild yeast purveyors SouthYeast Labs, who also provided a different yeast strain for the Carolina Saison a few weeks back, this brew comes in at 6.2% ABV and a solid 54 IBU. The yeast provides some fruity characteristics, although more muted that those in the Carolina, and features Ontario-grown Perle and Wild Turkey in a generous dry-hop along with Nelson Sauvin. It’s got a fruity aroma, with elements of peaches, mangoes and berries complementing citrus notes from the hops. It’s hazy and deliciously fruity with a clean, refreshing finish. Look for the official announcement sometime next week on the brewery’s Instagram and/or Facebook pages. We’re told some kegs of this one might make their way to the city, but the only sure way to try it is to head down to the brewery and get it from the source! Brewmaster Erin also tells us they’ve got a third brew using a SouthYeast strain on the go right now, so look for news on that one in the coming weeks.

• In cider news this week, Annapolis Cider Company released the latest offering in their Something Different series yesterday. Toasted Oak & Maple began with their signature dry and cool-fermented cider that was then aged on French Oak and balanced with freshly-pressed juice from the Golden Russet and McIntosh varieties. A touch of Annapolis Valley-sourced maple syrup provided the finish, yielding a 7.9% ABV sparkling cider with notes of toasted oak, caramel and vanilla contrasting with tart apples and a hint of sweet maple on the finish. As always with the Something Different ciders, $0.50 from each refill will support a local cause, in this case the local Acadia University Chapter of Global Brigades, a student-led mobile health and dental initiative that provides annual clinics in Honduras.

• Making their debut at this month’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest was the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective. The group of breweries and ciderhouses in southern New Brunswick is comprised of Acadie-BroueBeckwith RoadBore CityCeltic KnotFlying BoatsPump HouseScow Cider by Belliveau Orchard, and Tide & Boar Brewing. Their mission is to bring together the local craft brewing community, to support each other and elevate the support of local products. Look for them, and their members at next month’s Saint John Beerfest (April 8th) and Atlantic Beer Festival (May 27 & 28th). The Tide & Boar Gastropub will be the site of the MCBC’s Tap Takeover on April 22nd, featuring beer and cider from their members flowing all day.

• Great news for local beer fans on the South Shore of Nova Scotia! Currently located just outside of Bridgewater, FirkinStein Brewing has announced that they will be opening a satellite location on Bridgewater’s King Street. Aiming for a June opening, the second location will feature a 300 litre pilot system for more fun and experimental small batch brewing, *and* a storefront where folks can purchase bottles and growlers of their beer, and sit for a spell enjoying their selections on tap. We’ll keep you up-to-date with their progress as they aim for a late-spring opening.

• Propeller Brewing Company is hosting Brew Patriot Love, a Canada-wide toast on July 1st. They are encouraging breweries, and homebrewers, to brew up their take on a “quintessential Canadian lager”, and come together on Canada’s 150th birthday to release and share a bottle, can, pint, or glass (or all of the above). For those who want to partake, they are also holding the Great Canadian Lager Challenge, July 14-15, where a team of celebrity judges will choose the most Patriotic Beer and those beers with the best use of local and iconic ingredients. Check it out and sign up today!

• Planning and event details are trickling in for May’s Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, May 5-14, and we can share that for the first time this year, the CBANS is releasing a special beer to celebrate. Collaboration Ale is an ode to the province’s roots, with an 80/- (Eighty Shilling) Scottish Ale being chosen to represent the more than thirty brewers who are members of CBANS. Brewed at Nine Locks, but with input from many members, the beer is a deep amber colour with caramel sweetness, weighing in at 4.7% ABV and 15 IBUs, and features malt from the province’s very own Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. The beer is pre-launching next Friday, March 31st, at Good Robot Brewing from noon. Drop by to get the first tastes of the beer before its full release, learn more about the full events list for NSCBW, and talk shop with brewers from across the province. Find out more here.

We’ve got lots of events coming in the next few weeks, be sure to check them out!

• Last month we mentioned an event at the Company House in Halifax that featured the beer of Tidehouse Brewing and a night of comedy. As it turns out, the folks at the Company House have been planning this as a regular event. Currently scheduled as a monthly thing, the event is known as Brew Ha-Ha and each time it will see a local brewery paired with comedians booked by Laugh House Comedy. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and entitle you to three 8oz tasters of beer from the featured brewery, a chocolate pairing from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and the comedy show. A designated driver ticket is also available at $10. The featured beers will be available at a discount price for the rest of the night and the pop-up kitchen will be in full effect with flatbreads, specialty tacos, shared plates and more. This month’s event will take place on Thursday, March 30th, and will feature the beers of North End stalwart Unfiltered Brewing along with the comedy stylings of Steve Mackie, Travis Lindsay and Frank Russo. Check out this post on the Brew Ha-Ha page for information on how to attend this months show for $15 if you buy your tickets before Sunday, March 26th. As additional Brew Ha-Ha events are scheduled we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the breweries (and comedians) involved.

• Charlottetown’s HopYard has really been nailing it with tap takeovers lately, and they’ve got another winner coming up soon! Next Friday, March 31st, they’ll be hosting Rose Valley’s BarNone Brewing, who will be pouring 8 of their beers, alongside Unfiltered‘s latest DIPA, Fist of God. The full list includes their Outback Blonde, Pale Ale, IPA, Citra Sessions, Black Eye P.A., RedEye P.A., La Vaca Loca, and Bitter Winter ESB. There will absolutely be a delightful food menu to pair with your beers, and as always, there’s no cost to attend, just pay by the beer/plate.

• In the HRM, Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing is holding a cross-harbour launch of the 2017 version of their award-winning Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout April 1st. There will be a whole slew of versions and variations of the beer, including a keg of the 2016 release, non-barrel-aged versions of 2017, plus casks of the non-barrel-aged beer with coffee, oak, or a variety of fruit. Starting at 11:30 at Battery Park on Ochterloney, and at noon at Stillwell on Barrington, with each getting at least one unique beer. Check out the event flyer here.

A few more beers have been released, or coming soon, this week:

– Good Robot is bringing back their Extra BIG-ASS Beer, their spin on a Marzen/Oktoberfest lager, with an amber colour, and light bitterness, from Perle and Willamette hops and fermented with an Oktoberfest lager yeast. Look for the re-release of this One-Off (Two-Off, we guess!) next week.
Grimross has added another beer to their canned lineup, Maritime Cream Ale (5% ABV), which joins their Maritime Pale Ale and recently-canned Pugnacious Porter.
Loyalist City‘s flagship Lupulus Interruptus IPA is back, with a slightly-tweaked recipe with even more hops (Cascade, Citra and Simcoe) than before! Look for it at your favourite LC accounts.
– PEI’s newest brewery, Moth Lane, has brewed up a new beer, a Red IPA named Eric the Red. Stay tuned for more details, soon.
– Halifax and Dartmouth’s North Brewing has released version 2.0 of White Lightning, their kettle sour, this time dry-hopped with Belma hops. Brewed in celebration of their super-hero neighbour Renee Lavallee’s The Canteen restaurant, the beer is available in bottles and growler fills on both sides of the harbour.
Pump House has brought back their Best Friend Marzen, which is available now in sixers at ANBL stores across New Brunswick.
Spindrift Blueberry Chai Pils is now available at the brewery, and will see a wider release to the other retail stores in early April.
Unfiltered has brought back their Riddle of Steel, a juicy West Coast-style IPA fermented on Conan yeast.
– Don’t forget that Upstreet will be releasing Go Devil, their American IPA, next Thursday, with a special launch party scheduled at the brewery from 6-8 pm. For more info on the beer, check out our post from a couple weeks ago.

Good morning, and welcome to the first Friday of November! The weather is now colder, and winter is around the corner, but the local beer continues to flow…

Propeller recently released a new winter seasonal, Coffee Porter. True to its name, it was brewed with 20 lbs of whole beans and “dry-hopped” (dry-coffeed?) with coffee grounds, also 20 lbs worth. The coffee comes from local roasters Java Blend, and is their Fog City blend – with two roast levels that give a “bold flavour, with sweet, rich tones”, expect plenty of roasted, coffee goodness. At 5.9% and 35 IBUs, it’s available now in growlers and 650 mL bottles. And grab their Russian Imperial Stout, back on tap and in bottles at both Windmill and Gottingen locations.

• Continuing on with coffee beers, FirkinStein Brewing has debuted Rock Your Boat, a Coffee Oatmeal Stout. A smooth beer thanks to the addition of oatmeal, the coffee was provided by Lunenburg’s Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters; the Rock Your Boat coffee is one of their dark roasts, and is described as “a blend of dark, mi-noir, and medium roasted Mexican beans, bolstered by full bodied Sumatra”. While the Hubbard’s Farmers Market has shut down for the season, FirkinStein can be found at the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market every Thursday morning.

Big Tide has a brand new beer pouring at their brewpub in Saint John, Barbarossa’s Black IPA. Brewed with Pale Ale, Munich, “dark” CaraMunich, Chocolate Wheat, and Black malts, it was heavily hopped with Hallertau, Magnum, and Citra, to 70 IBUs. A medium-bodied, dark brew exhibiting a “toasty, biscuity malt profile, balanced well with citrusy hop flavours”, it weighs in at 6.8% ABV. Drop by for a pint and/or growler today! Their Barrelled Life Barley Wine is also currently pouring.

• The Boxing Rock/Battery Park/North collaboration, Battery Rock India Brown Ale, was launched at the epic Tap Takeover at Battery Park last night. For those who missed out, it is available on tap around the HRM now, and in growlers and 650 mL bottles at both Boxing Rock and North, and their Farmers’ Market stalls. With a “dark, complex, creamy malt base with notes of coffee, caramel and smoke”, it brings in the IPA side with notes of tropical fruit and citrus in the aroma. Highly drinkable at 5.7% ABV, look for bottles to appear in the Halifax private liquor stores as well, likely by next week.

• The new beers from Tide & Boar Brewing continue to flow at the brewpub in Moncton; this week has featured Strawberry Ale Shake, a style known simply as “Milkshake IPA” that has been quickly growing in popularity with North American breweries. Featuring the addition of lactose to increase the body and add a touch of lingering sweetness, real strawberries were also added, as well as heavy hop additions in the whirlpool, resulting in a fruity and murky brew. A true Double IPA at 8.1% ABV, only 3 kegs were brewed, so it likely won’t last long… if it’s even still on!

• Yesterday was International Stout Day, and Picaroons released a new one-off at Saint John’s General Store to celebrate. Brewed in conjunction with Brú Brewery Meath, out of County Meath, Ireland, Irish Canadian Stout features the addition of Canadian maple syrup and Irish whiskey oak chips, to combine the best of both worlds. Still exhibiting plenty of roasted characteristics you expect to see in a stout, it comes in at 6.2% ABV and is available on tap at the General Store only.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing will be launching two new beers this Saturday, November 5thRoof Hound IPA is a 6.4% hop-bomb, brewed with guidance and assistance from Bad Apple‘s Jeff Saunders, featuring a boat-load of Columbus and Mosaic hops. Big Brown Rum and Raisin Holiday Edition is a 7.5% Brown Ale with a holiday twist. Both beers will be flowing starting at 9pm, with live music from Tide and Timbre and Hannah Morgan starting at 10:00 PM. And while the 7:30pm seating for their upcoming Festive Supper Club on December 1st is sold out, there are a few spots available for the 5:00 PM seating. Email for more details and to reserve your spot.

• This weekend Garrison Brewing continues their association with Hal-Con, now in its 7th year as the premier sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention in Atlantic Canada, with two adult and one all-ages formulations. First, for the grownups, the Klingon Warnog Roggen Dunkel (Dark Rye) is available at the brewery once again. First brewed for Hal-Con 2014 under license from the Federation of Beer, it is fundamentally in the Dunkelweizen style. On a firm base of Munich and Wheat malts a significant addition of Rye provides spiciness, while dark Crystal malt gives it the characteristic colour of the style. Lightly hopped with Cascade to 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV brew uses an authentic Weizen yeast to provide clove and banana esters to pair with caramel and chocolate notes from the malt. Also for those of legal age, and making a repeat appearance after being introduced in June of this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the original television series, Star Trek Golden Anniversary Ale has been re-released  just in time for the convention. A light and refreshing, 5% ABV, slightly sweet beer featuring only pale and wheat malts along with 20 IBUs and a spiciness provided by the noble Hallertauer hop, it’s filtered sparkling clear and has a solid, long-lasting white head. It’s available in 650 mL bombers from the brewery and at private liquor stores around the HRM area. Lastly, appropriate for both kids and the kid in all of us, is Sweet Nelson Power Soda, a Raspberry Ginger Ale featuring a suitably fantastic lime-green colour. Brewed under the auspices of Garrison division Dockside Soda Co., it is returning to Hal-Con this year after a tremendously popular introduction at last year’s event.

• If your appetite for pumpkin beers doesn’t quite justify a growler fill, or you’re just curious about how the other half lives, the Nine Locks Brewing fall seasonal Pumpkin Ale is now available in cans at the brewery. Still 5.2% and 12 IBUs and still featuring a malty backbone and full mouthfeel balancing the crisp spicing, this amber ale will surely give way soon to a winter offering, so get it while it lasts. Meanwhile, not resting on their gourds, Nine Locks is also releasing another beer this week, Scotch Ale. Inspired by the Scottish ales of the 18th and 19th centuries, it’s a strong beer at 7.5%, and is dark with ruby highlights, and deeply malty. Typical of the style, it comes in at a fairly low 22 IBUs while dark grains and a crisp finish complete the picture. This one will be available in the next couple of weeks for growler fills and in cans, both at the brewery.

Upstreet has teamed up with Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. for a very worthy cause – to help build the first women-owned and operated brewery in Rwanda. Until November 17th, $2 for every pint and growler sold in the Upstreet taproom will go to help this project. For more information on the Rwanda brewery, and to donate yourself directly, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

• There’s a couple of new beers from Graystone on tap for growler fills and pints: Into the Woods Brown Ale, a 5% ABV, 26 IBUs “medium-bodied ale with caramel and chocolate flavours”, and Pitch Stout, a 4.5% ABV American Oatmeal Stout that is full-bodied, “with notes of chocolate and a moderate roast character”.

• Beer lovers in Sackville, NB (aka Bagtown), will be able to enjoy beer brewed in their town in the new year. The just-announced Bagtown Brewing Company is a student project at Mount Allison University, which sees students go through the steps of investing and opening their own business. While still in the licensing phase, they do have a location for their nano-sized brewery, which will set up in the newly-opened Sackville Commons. Follow along on their progress on Twitter and Instagram, and we’ll be sharing more details shortly.

November is a busy month, with loads of newly-announced events in the next few weeks:

Good Robot was recently voted Best Brewery and Best Brewpub by readers of The Coast, and they’re celebrating with a crazy event – a tap takeover at their own taproom, today. A total of 11 different GR beers will be available, the most they’ve ever had on at one time. Check out the event link for full beer details! This self-serving event – 😉 – will continue all weekend.

Stillwell is holding a special all-cider event tomorrow on Saturday, November 5th, featuring Ontario’s West Avenue Cider Company. A bevy of special ciders will be pouring all day (check out the full list here) starting at noon, with no tickets required to attend. In addition, a special food menu has been put together that will optimally pair with all these tasty beverages; be sure to drop by for an epic sampling!

Red Rover is once again teaming up with the James Joyce for another Guy Fawkes-themed event, Saturday, November 5th. Plenty of Red Rover cider will be pouring, including three special releases, two of which are “James Joyce specialties”, and a mystery cask. It all starts at 8:30 pm; as usual, there is no cover charge.

• There are a plethora of events at various bars, restaurants, and breweries on Tuesday, November 8th, to “celebrate” Election Day in the U.S., when we can finally say, for better, worse, or worser, that this election has finally (hopefully) come to an end. There’s too many to list, but check out Facebook and you won’t have a problem finding one near you. Beer makes bad things better!

Breton Brewing is holding a tap takeover next Thursday, November 10th, at Halifax’s Lion & Bright. There will also be live music from Dave Sampson and Colin Grant. The boys from Breton will be bringing in a full complement of eight beers to pour for you, and the kitchen at L&B will be whipping up Cape Breton-inspired snacks. Look for their core lineup, as well as seasonals Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale, Celtic Colours Maple Lager, and Tart’an Juicy Grapefruit Pale Ale. Plus, a brand new beer, MacAskill’s Revenge Black IPA, which launched last evening. At 7.0% ABV and 80 IBUs, you best stay on MacAskill’s good side!

• Local homebrewer Keith Forbes has been busy brewing up a storm at Good Robot over the past 6 weeks, and will be holding one heck of a party at the GR Tap Room November 15th. The first of their BrewBot – Homebrew Tap Takeover series will feature five beers brewed on GR’s Sabco Brew-Magic system. A very active member of the Brewnosers Homebrew Club, Forbes will be showcasing some award-winning beers, including his Gold Medal-winning Funktown American Pale Ale, and Muddy River Brown, a favourite with family and friends. The party kicks off at 5:00 pm.

• While their beer has been available in Moncton for over a month, Beckwith Road Brewing is taking a breath, and finally holding their Launch Party later this month. Being held at 400 St George St, 7:00 – 11:00 pm, November 26th. Advanced tickets are available now online, or can be purchased in person that evening (subject to availability). Your $10 ticket gets you 2 pints, while the $15 ticket also includes a take-home glass. Additional pints will be available for purchase as well. Keep an eye on the details on their Facebook Event page.

Before we sign off for the day…

– As we mentioned last week, the ANBL new growler station at Moncton North is launching this weekend; be sure to drop by for growler fills of local beers that include Bore City Mondo IPA, Flying Boats Dixie Clipper IPA, and Pump House Scotch Ale, while supplies last.
– Rothesay, New Brunswick’s Foghorn Brewing looks to be launching soon, as they’ve been teasing pictures of filled kegs (we assume!) on social media… if you’re in the area, your wait is almost over!
Hammond River has released the latest iteration of their single-malt-and-single-hop beer, The Vegas SMaSH; this ones features the always-wonderful Citra hop, so be sure to ask your local watering hole if they carry it!
Hell Bay‘s Black IPA, Black Flag IPA (6.1% ABV, 55 IBUs), is now available in 12 oz bottles at the brewery; look for it to pop up at liquor stores in NS in the near future as well.
Meander River is releasing a small run of bottles for events they’ll be attending the next couple weeks. Look out for Homegrown Wet Hop, Shack Wacky Cider, Cold Porridge Oatmeal Stout, Smokey Chipotle Porter, Ashdale Honey Brown, and Surf & Turf Scotch Ale in 500 ml bottles. Meander River will be at the Christmas at the Forum this weekend, and The Guy Show and Saltscapes shows next weekend.
– Winter Warmer season is upon us, which is a bittersweet thing. This means, of course, that Petit-Sault‘s Winter Warmer, Buckdjeuve (7.3% ABV, 29 IBUs), is back for the season. You can find it in growlers and six-packs at the brewery now, and in sixers at select ANBL locations.
– Picaroons Winter Warmer (7.3% ABV, 35 IBUs) is back as well, on tap at both the Brewtique and General Store, select bars/restaurants, and in bottles.
– This year’s edition of the Pump House Stonefire Ale is now available, in a limited number of four thousand 750 mL bottles, at the brewery and soon in ANBL stores. This marks the third year for this 6.5% ABV beer, which was brewed by heating the wort through the addition of extremely hot rocks, as per an ancient German method.
– Saltbox Scottish Ale (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs) is back on tap this week, but in a very limited quantity, so be sure to drop by and pick some up!
– Today is the last day for the Sober Island Brewing Kickstarter campaign; be sure to check out the link, and their many options for pledges and rewards!

And finally, best of luck to all entrants in this year’s Atlantic Canada Beer Awards, taking place in Halifax this weekend! We’ll be sure to give the list of winners next week, including the People’s Choice, whose online voting closes tomorrow.

Good morning, and welcome to another long weekend! Some big news for a couple of breweries in our region, and the usual plethora of new beers, beer events… let’s get started!

• Well, it’s official – Hammond River Brewing is finally expanding! Owner/brewmaster Shane Steeves confirmed in a Facebook post yesterday that the brewery will be moving to a newly-constructed building that will house the DME-constructed 15 BBL (1750 L) system… that’s 15 times the size of Hammond River’s current brewery, making it the largest microbrewery in the Saint John area. The brewery will also be attached to the Barrel’s Head Gastropub & Wine Bar, and will have a tasting room where customers can order pints, have their growlers filled, and purchase bottles of HR beer. A barrel-aging program is currently in the plans as well. Look for the new brewery to open in early 2017, if all goes according to plan, and don’t worry – it will be business as usual for the current brewery until the new location opens, meaning your favourite HR beers will continue to be brewed. Congratulations, Shane!

• Hammond River also has a new brew in the making, a Berliner Weisse named Paisley Park. This is the first foray into sour beer territory for HR; brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt and lightly hopped to only 4 IBUs (as is typical for the style), it was kettle-soured to give it the characteristic tartness of a Berliner Weisse. In addition, 34 lbs of fresh local raspberries from Balemans U-Pick were added in secondary. Keep your eyes open for this 3.2% ABV refreshing sour beer in the near future.

• And speaking of brewery expansions, more details on the currently-underway Big Spruce embiggening are now available! Construction on the brand-new, 5400 sq-ft building has begun on the Big Spruce property, which will eventually house a 3-vessel, 20 BBL (2300 L) brew house – that’s about three times larger than the current brewery. With 40 BBL fermentors and an automated, 30 can-per-minute canning line, we can all expect to see a heck of a lot more Big Spruce beer in the near future! Look for everything to be completed sometime in March, 2017.

• Let’s stick with Big Spruce for a while longer, as they have some new and returning beers on the horizon. In new beers are two collaboration kettle-soured ales, similar to their popular Silver Tart. Both Certified Organic Berliner Weisse/American Sours, soured with the BS in-house Lactobacillus culture, they’re made up of a grist of 50% Pilsner and 50% Wheat malt. One was brewed with Tatamagouche Brewing and will be conditioned on organic ground cherries from Taproot Farms, while the other beer, brewed with Boxing Rock, will feature organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm (the blueberry Berliner Weisse is based on a beer brewed by our own acbbshawn). We’ll have more details on the release dates of these beers as they near completion, and if either of them will be packaged outside of kegs.

• And in even more Big Spruce news, they have released I’m Wit Chris Lemon Ginger Wit this week. This local twist on a Belgian Wit features 6.5 kilograms of locally-grown ginger from Jody Nelson’s LocalMotive Farm and Tim & Estelle Levangie’s Thyme for Ewe Farm. The brew is further spruced up with the zest of 80 lemons, completing the beer with a great citrus aroma, and both a bite and pleasant aroma from the ginger. First available in 2015 as Cold Remedy, accbchris wrote about his experience assisting with the scale-up of his recipe previously. Grab it on tap at the brewery, and around HRM this weekend. And remember to drop by the brewery this weekend for The Big Pig Roast!

• Moncton’s Bore City is releasing a hoppy Wheat Ale, I’d Radler Not. With a grist comprised of ~40% Wheat malt, the beer was hopped with Equinox, Hallertau Blanc, and Vic Secret, giving a big blast of tropical fruit in the aroma and flavours. Described by the brewery as “juicy, light, and refreshing, yet well-balanced”, it comes in at 5.2% ABV and 44 IBUs. Don’t be fooled by the name, there’s no juice or soda in this one! Kegs have been sent to both Marky’s Laundromat and the Tide & Boar in the city.

• Halifax (and Dartmouth’s) North Brewing is releasing a very special beer today at noon. They have taken a funky path with their Glenora Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian: they pitched Brettanomyces from Escarpment Labs into one of their Glenora barrels, and allowed their SDB to re-ferment and age in the barrel for seven months over the winter. After a further two month conditioning, the beer is now ready for the public. Both the Brett and barrel aging add their own notes of leather, vanilla, cherry and oak to the already complex 10.5% ABV dark Belgian brew. With the higher ABV and bottle conditioning component, this beer will continue to develop over the months and years to come, so it is certainly advisable to pick up a few bottles. Due to the limited numbers, only one barrel (less than 20 cases), there is a 12-bottle limit per person.

• Two new beers hit the taps at Rockbottom Brewpub this week with a bit of a yin and yang feel that celebrates both the end of the summer and the approaching fall. The first, dubbed Fuzzy Pucker, is an American sour fermented on the last of the summer fruits, peaches. The aroma features stewed peach and pie crust with a touch of floral esters. At only 4 IBUs and carrying 5% ABV, it’s tart on the palate with a drying acidic finish; definitely a late summer sipper. On the other side of the coin, reminding us that cooler weather is just around the corner, the Baltic Porter is a rich, multilayered, lagered beer in the tradition of the Baltic states of Europe. Strong, dark and roasty, with featured flavors of sweet malt, liquorice, and dried fruit, this complex 8% ABV brew comes in at 30 IBU and is a sipper of a different sort. Both beers are available at the pub, either to sit and drink or in growlers to take home.

• Last Friday, Big Tide released Barrelled Life, their first Barleywine. After being brewed on the Big Tide system, the beer was barrel-aged for 6 months by Dunhams Run winery, out of Kingston, NB. According to the brewery, the beer was aged in a Frontenac Reserve barrel, and blended with Black Mamba, a mead made by Dunhams Run. The resulting product is a “silky smooth”, 10.5% ABV monster of a beverage. Available at the brewpub for 12 oz pours only, once it’s gone, it’s gone, so hurry down for a pour!

Wayfarers’ Ale Society has a new beer on tap, One-Eyed River Hog IPA. Featuring a larger malt bill than their EPA, it likely falls in the English IPA category, described by the brewery as having “some wonderful hoppy overtones, with a big body and a little bit of sweetness in the finish”. Brewed as a special-release small batch, this 6.2% ABV beer won’t be brewed again until sometime in November.

Bad Apple Brewhouse has a brand new beer out this week. Primal Wit is a 5.7% Witbier, featuring kaffir lime leaves, Lemongrass, Star Anise, and Ginger, for an Asian-inspired twist on this Belgian style. Bright citrus, light licorice, and ginger lend a savoury theme to this brew. Brewed exclusively for Halifax’s Primal Kitchen, it’s on tap there now, as well as at the brewery in Somerset. Also look out for BA’s Mosaic DIPA, the 8.0% ABV Double IPA featuring loads of Mosaic hops, available at better bars in Halifax now. They recently brewed their APA (American Pale Ale) with a high portion of the grist with Horton Ridge Malt, and the upcoming brew of their Russian Imperial Stout will also feature a healthy dose of the locally-malted grain in the malt bill. And Operation Green Ring, the collaboration with Delta Force Brewery will be brewed on the weekend, featuring loads of cucumbers and fresh mint on top of an American Wheat base.

Schoolhouse Brewery allowed visitors a sneak peek at their new brewery and retail location yesterday, as part of their new monthly Growler Night. Open the first Thursday of the month at their new 40 Water St location in Windsor, customers can purchase growlers of their beer, as well as merchandise, and track their progress as they work towards the opening of their location in December. For now, these nights will replace their delivery schedule, as they work tirelessly towards that opening. Keep an eye on their Instagram feed for the latest developments! And there is still a bit of their collaboration with Good RobotSkratch Plaskett, a 5.8% ABV Pale Ale, brewed for the Evolve Festival.

Annapolis Cider has released the latest entry in their Something Different series of ciders, Citrus and Plum. This unfiltered cider features fresh-pressed juice from Golden Plums that were grown just down the road from the cidery. In addition, a small batch of dry cider was added, that had been infused with the zest of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit, giving the final product a “mouth-puckering zing, and a cleansing finish”. Note that this 6.1% ABV cider contains the first apples from the 2016 harvest, including fresh-pressed juice from three different varieties: Vista Bella, Close, and Jersey Mac. Available only at the cidery in Wolfville, don’t expect this one to last long (especially with the return of Acadia students!). And as with all of their Something Different blends, a portion will be going to a local group. This batch’s beneficiary is The Flower Cart, empowering local adults with intellectual disabilities through vocational training and job placement assistance.

• This week saw Good Robot bringing out another stylistic mashup that reminds us once again where they stand on the East Coast/West Coast beef. Ol’ Scurvy Bastard, a Marga-RZA and/or Dirt McGirtarita Ale sees an ultimately Belgian style, Witbier, that was brewed with coriander and fermented with the St-Remy Abbey strain from Escarpment Labs, then a-salted Leipzig-style like a Gose, peppered with Japanese Sorachi Ace hops to the tune of 14 IBUs, and finally smacked down with lime zest. Pale gold in colour and hazy with a white head, you’ll find aromas of lemon and lime, vanilla, honey and agave with floral and briny hints. On the palate you’ll be tasting those same citrus and sweet notes along with the salt. Both mildly tart and a touch boozy, it’s 6.2% ABV and carbed right up for a crispness that accentuates the acidity. Protect ya neck!

Mill Street St John’s has released their latest brew, Jigger’s Delight California Common. This 5.7% ABV, 18 IBU hybrid beer uses lager yeast fermented a little bit warmer, allowing some of the aromatics of ale yeast to shine through, while maintaining a smooth finish. Notes of grain and a light honey sweetness sit upon a medium body with toast and caramel flavours. The beer is available on tap now, and will rotate into their growler bar when possible. Mill Street is currently recruiting a Head Brewer for this location, as current Head Brewer Alexis Wagner is heading to the UK to complete her Masters. Click the St. John’s tab here for more information.

• It’s that time of year again – Hop Harvest! Several breweries in our region have wasted no time, and have brewed (or will very shortly) Wet (aka Fresh Hop) beers with locally-grown hops. While hops are usually dried, and possibly pelletized before use to help extend their storage, wet hops can be used immediately after picking, for an extra aromatic blast fresh from the plant.

Big Spruce rounds up plenty of community hop pickers for assistance in harvesting the aromatic varietals grown on their property. Last year they released their wet-hopped Craig Goes Yard; no word on what exactly they have planned for this year’s harvest, but we can definitely expect the style to be another IPA.

Meander River will be brewing several batches of their Home Grown Ale, thanks to the bountiful harvest of eight different hop varietals grown right at the brewery, as well as some grown in a test hopyard in Aylesford.

Schoolhouse Brewery grabbed some 70kg of hops from a local family farm, some of which will be used in a soon-to-be-brewed beer; the rest will be dried for later brews.

Sea Level has been brewing a wet-hopped beer for years; this year, they’ve brewed up a new one, Indigenous Pale Ale (5% ABV). Featuring freshly-harvested Cascade grown on-site, and organically-grown malt from Horton Ridge, it should be available in kegs and cans by mid-September.

Uncle Leo’s brewed their 2nd Annual Harvest Ale with hops from Bramble Hill Farm and malt from Horton Ridge Malt and Grain. Look for it in a couple of weeks; it went fast last year, so watch for updates!

And the fun isn’t only in Nova Scotia – New Brunswick brewery Picaroons will be continuing their Harvest Ale series; we’ll have more details on that series of beer, soon.

• The NSLC released their First Quarter Results this week, and the sales of NS Craft Beer continue to show great growth, rising by almost 50% over last year’s Q1, while overall beer sales grew by only 9.6%. Any concern that the number of small local producers has reached saturation is far from true, as they still only account for less than 4% of the entire beer sales in the province. Massive growth in NS-produced cider continues as well, clocking in at over 80%, still accounting only a small percentage of the overall “Ready-to-Drink” market. The full report can be read here.

There’s a few events coming up that we’d like to mention before signing off:

• The 2016 PEI Beer Festival is being held this weekend at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown. There are three sessions: Friday and Saturday, 6:30-9:30, and Saturday 2-4:30. Featuring a wide variety of the PEILCC‘s regular offerings, there will also be some special casks from PEI Brewing Company, as well as new beers from visiting breweries Boxing Rock, Collective Arts, and Propeller. Check out the beer and brewery list here, and grab your tickets online or at the door ($50 for tonight’s session, $40 for tomorrow afternoon’s, Saturday evening session is sold out).

• The Falmouth TrALE Run is scheduled for October 1st. Featuring a challenging 5km route through the woods at Castle Frederick Farms, water stations along the way are amped up with beer from nearby Schoolhouse Brewing. The event will not be timed, so enjoy the view and the beer while you make your way along the route. Your $40 ticket includes beer samples and a souvenir glass. All proceeds from the event are going to support West Hants Ground Search and Rescue, and you can pledge more through the online registration.

• Port Hawkesbury will once again be hosting the Celtic Oktoberfest on October 22nd. An all-inclusive event with live music, food, wine and beer, this is the third year for this great event. Featuring products by Authentic Seacoast, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Eileanan Breagha Vineyards, Garrison, Hell Bay, Spindrift, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s. Check the website for the full food and music run-down, too!

Have a fantastic long weekend! Looks like some mighty decent weather to unofficially end the summer; be sure to enjoy it with your favourite craft beer(s)! And as usual, a few parting notes…

Petit-Sault‘s 8.5% ABV Pumpkin Ale, Bonhomme Sept-heures, has been brewed and packaged for release this weekend. This year, however, a portion has been bottled; bottles will be available for purchase at the brewery only, along with growlers. It sold out quickly last year, so don’t wait! A few kegs may make it to licensees.
– Due to great response from customers, Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewery will be taking this weekend off, but will be open again next Saturday 10-2 for growler fills and merchandise sales, before their full launch mid-September.
York County Cider has announced that their bottle distribution has increased, as several of their brands are now available in bottles at the ANBL on Mountain Road in Moncton.