Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum

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It was probably too much to ask for two awesome weather weekends in a row across the Atlantic Provinces, but fear not, our region’s breweries and cideries are gearing up for a good’er anyways to help beat those Vitamin D deficiency blahs. Plenty of new beers available this weekend, some grand openings, and some birthday parties. Plus, there’s apparently some kind of sports championship thinger worth celebrating. Or something.

Sourwood Cider has been producing funky, tart, and dare we say wild, ciders in Halifax for just over a year now, focussing on spontaneous or pitched mixed yeast and bacteria, playing with barrels for primary and secondary fermentation, and incorporating local fruits, berries, and other adjuncts (Chaga, anyone?). After pop-up sales at their spot on Almon Street, they were able to supply the NSLC with Sour City, a 6.2% ABV dry and sour cider available across the province. And today at 4 PM, they will be opening the doors to their new taproom located at 5576 Cornwallis St. Featuring several of their own ciders on tap (as well as guest taps), a small kitchen will provide food perfect for pairing, and a retail sales counter will allow for cans and bottles to go. Pop by today, or throughout the weekend, to get your Sourwood fix. Congratulations to Jake and Kyle on all their hard work!

Last Saturday, Stillwell Brewing had a 3-beer release (two new, one returning) and we kinda, sorta didn’t mention it in the Friday post! Whoopsie! This stuff happens, we’re only human, yada yada yada the beers are still around so let’s just pretend this never happened, shall we? Let’s start off with Shiro, a sour Farmhouse Ale. Made up of a blend of various barrel- and foedre-aged beers brewed between April, 2017 and February, 2018 (including Batch #1, which at about 25% of the beer is the first time it has appeared in a blend), this blend was then re-fermented on 300 g/L (= a lot) of Nova Scotia-grown Shiro plums, for five months. Bottled back in early March of this year, it’s been conditioning ever since, and is finally available for your eager mouths/tummies. Lots of tannic notes in this beer thanks at least in part to those plum skins, the aroma is described as lambic-like (hooray!), “with notes of hay, funk, wet stone and bright, pithy lemon”. Available in bottles at Bar Stillwell, and on tap!

Next up is the brewery’s second stab at their beloved Pilsner style, Prince Pils. Designed to be a different sort of beer than their house Pilsner, Stilly Pils, it was brewed with extra pale premium Pilsner malt and wheat in the grist, and was hopped with Pacific Jade (a New Zealand variety that is a descendent of the oft-used Saaz). The wort was fermented by a Bavarian strain from Escarpment Labs, that has not been used by the brewery in the past. The result is an aroma that is “bigger, more peppery, and herbaceous” compared to Saaz, with a light, fluffy body and firm bitterness. Highly drinkable at just 4.4% ABV, this royal beer is available only on draught, and has been a frequent presence on tap at both Stilly HQ and their Spring Garden Road Beergarden.

Finally, newly-returned is Poptones, the second batch of the brewery’s Farmhouse Pale Ale. Fermented with a clean, Saccharomyces yeast in primary, and then Brettanomyces in secondary, it’s a bright and easy drinking hoppy Pale Ale with funky Brett shining through. All stainless, six months from brewing to the beer’s release, at 5.3% you can approach it as you prefer (you know, like Smarties). Bottles and on tap at Stillwell.

Tatamagouche Brewing has a full weekend of fun ahead of them (and us!), as they are celebrating their Fifth Anniversary all weekend. The details are available in that FB Event, but the highlights include the release of a new beer that was first previewed/teased at May’s NS Craft Beer Full House Festival. Spring is a 6.6% ABV Saison, both sour and funky from the blend of yeast and bacteria used to ferment the wort. The golden yellow beer also features plenty of tropical fruit esters, reminiscent of mandarin oranges, lychee and stone fruit. Bottles of Spring are available at the brewery as of 10 AM today, so we certainly suggest popping by to grab a few bottles and take part in the fun. They have also brought back Guava Heist, their 3.6% ABV guava-infused Berliner Weisse, available on tap and in cans. The Shree Curry Place food truck is onsite for lunch, with live music from Eric Fresia beginning at 6 PM. There are brewery tours at 10, 12, 2, and 4 tomorrow, with a fundraising BBQ lunch starting at 11 AM, and live music from 1 – 4 PM. There’s more live music and a food truck on Sunday, and if you stick around/come back on Monday, you can enjoy cake with the Tata Crew!

Two new beers from 2 Crows this week, one a draught-only release that is on right now (we hope!), and another a very special can release. Let’s start with the draught beer, shall we? Named Pony Up, it’s a Brett Pale Ale from brewer Miles Bishop. A parti-gyle brew using the leftovers (the remaining sugary wort, that is) of an Oat Wine which should be released in several months, the original grist included a whopping ~70% mixture of malted, flaked, and golden naked oats. Hopped lightly to 13 IBUs with Nelson Sauvin and Citra, the wort was fermented with a Brett strain from The Yeast Bay that showcases “strong barnyard funk and backing notes of peach and strawberry”. Coming in at 5.8% ABV, the final beer has a grainy texture, smooth body, and “a pleasant white wine and affirmative citrus aroma” to go with all that funk. There is only a single keg available, so pony up for some Pony Up (ha!) at the 2C taproom right now… assuming it isn’t all gone already.

Beer number two is an international collaboration, of sorts. The online Saison, Biere de Garde, and Farmhouse Ale Appreciation Society arranged the collab between about 40 breweries, all of who brewed a recipe for a Biėre de Garde that was determined by the society and a number of brewers. While some of the brewing techniques were also predetermined, each brewery had the freedom to determine fermentation, and the possibility of oak aging. The 2C version of L’Internationale Vol II was brewed back in December with 90% six-row malted barley and 10% raw wheat from PEI’s Shoreline Malting. They used a turbid mashing technique (spoiler: it takes a long time) and a 5-hour boil (ok, that makes the day even longer!), hopping the wort with Saaz and Strisselspalt to 17 IBUs. Fermented in one of the brewery’s oak foedres (with a variety of microflora), the beer was finally packaged in early May to condition in the can, and it’s being released at the brewery tomorrow. Rich and complex, 2C’s house cultures have added “a distinct tartness and funk, which play well with the rich malt backbone and deep honey vibes). Grab your cans on Saturday!

Propeller Brewing is releasing a brand new beer this week, a limited release that may be your next summer sipper. Azacca Session IPA is a 4.5% ABV ale, which showcases the unique Azacca hop. Used in combination with El Dorado and Citra, aromatics and flavours of mango, pineapple, and tangerine dance on top of this light and hazy easy-drinking beer. Azacca is available today on draught and in cans at the Prop Shops on both sides of the harbour, and in cans at the four private stores in HRM now/very soon. And pop by their Gottingen Street taproom for a cask of Azacca, featuring real pineapple added to the cask. It will be tapped at 5 PM (or earlier if you ask real nice), and make the perfect accompaniment to a round of pinball downstairs in the Arcade.

New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing continues their longtime trend of zagging after every zig with this week’s release. After a big bruiser of a Belgian Tripel last week in Day Tripper, this week brings a much smaller, hoppier beer that you can fearlessly have a few of without worrying about stumbling away from your barstool or patio chair. Paradox is a session IPA fermented with a hazier strain and heaped with Columbus, Simcoe, and Topaz late additions and a huge dry hop of more Simcoe as well as Enigma. Weighing in at a super (duper!) sessionable 3.0% ABV it’s plenty light, but not to the point of being watery, with enough citrusy and juicy hop aroma and flavor to satisfy your need for hops. This one is heading out to tap accounts this week, with Pepper’s Pub, The Joyce, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and Graystone at the head of the line. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this weekend and you’ll be able to enjoy a pint (or a few) of this in all its refreshing glory outside in the sun.

Hampton Brewing has delivered kegs of their latest beer, an American Pale Ale named Big Shoes. The brewery’s first new beer since April, it’s a Pale Ale brewed more towards the New England side of the style. With a grist made up of 2-row, Vienna, a touch of Crystal malt, and a “healthy” dose of wheat, it was hopped aggressively in the whirlpool and a two-stage dry hop with a combination of American ‘C’ hops and Amarillo. This hazy 5.6% ABV, 45 IBUs beer is sporting plenty of tropical fruit and citrus in the flavour and aroma, with low bitterness. You can find it on tap at Peppers, The Joyce, and the Hampton Golf Club.

Port Rexton is celebrating the local release of their Across the Nation collaboration with Red Racer this weekend, Skerwink Haze. Named after the nearby Skerwink Trail, a must-visit when visiting the brewery, Skerwink Haze is a 6.4% ABV New England IPA fermented with Kveik yeast. Using the Escarpment Labs Ebbegarden Kveik blend, this incredibly hearty and temperature-resilient yeast (in fact, it thrives at high temperatures [think 35C and higher] that many yeasts would produce some serious off-flavours) chews through most any wort that’s thrown at it. Expect a soft mouthfeel, and juicy vibes from the Belma, Galaxy, and Vic Secret hops used late in the brew to favour flavour and aroma over bitterness. To celebrate the release, their friends from Jack Axes in town are coming out for pop-up axe throwing from 2 PM today, and tomorrow will see a guided hike of the Skerwink Trail, leaving the brewery at 11 AM (free cake after!), and live music from 8 PM.

Skerwink Haze joins the PRBC taps as the second new IPA this week, after launching the latest in their Continuum series last week. Continuum w/ Zythos is a 5.5% ABV hazy IPA, which features loads of, you guessed it, Zythos in the whirlpool (post-boil in the kettle), hop back (out of the kettle and into the fermenter) and dry hop (in the fermenter). Getting a little help from its friend Azacca, tropical, citrus, and stone fruit vibes shine through with an orange-pith bitterness. If you can’t make it out to the brewery to take part in the fun this weekend, you’re in luck! Look for Continuum, and seven more Port Rexton brews taking over the taps at Jack Axes in downtown St. John’s, kicking off today at 6 PM, and running all weekend/until the kegs kick. Or find Skerwink Haze at Toslow’s One-Year Anniversary party Saturday.

Hey, Landwash fans! The brewery has announced they’ll be pouring a whopping seven of their tasty beverages at Rocket Bakery in St. John’s today from 7 PM – 12 AM. If that isn’t enough to excite you, two of these beers will be brand new releases! First up is Silvern Voices, a 5.3% ABV kettle sour that has been dry-hopped with the lovely Cashmere and Azacca varieties; there’s also a touch of lactose powder added to up the sweetness just a tad. They claim that if you’re big on “sour key candy, fruity white wine, and/or passion fruit flavours”, you’re probably gonna enjoy this one! They’ve also got a new hoppy brew that will be making its debut at the event, Green Nap. This 6.3% ABV NEIPA was brewed with plenty of oats and malted oat in the grist, to help give the beer that trademark haze/smooth body you’d expect in the style. Hopped mightily with Bru-1 and Galaxy to give flavours of apricot, pineapple, and lime, don’t be expecting too much bitterness, so it’ll go down plenty easy. Look for future iterations of Green Nap that will feature different hop varieties. We should probably mention that both of these new beers will also be available at the brewery’s taproom this weekend (which starts today at 3 PM, FYI), on tap and in cans.

Let’s stick with the Newfoundland theme we’ve got going to update you on the goings ons (going ons? goings on?) at 90 Duckworth Street in St. John’s. Since opening just over a month ago, the crew at Bannerman Brewing have been working like mad to keep up with demand and interest for their beer and food. And more recently, they have launched the cafe side of things in their taproom, with shots and pour-overs available from 7:30 AM weekdays, and 9 AM on the weekend. While the kitchen does not open until later in the afternoon (4 PM Mon, Wed, Thurs; 1 PM Fri; and 12 PM on the weekend, closed Tues), there are some baked goods onsite for a grab-and-go European breakfast. And while you’re stopping in, be sure to check out their 946 mL cans, filled on demand to take away.

Way out on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Sober Island Brewing has put together a very special beer, developed in concert with the 5th Canadian Division of the Canadian Army and intended to be their official beer. This one has been in development since December, with Commander Brigadier-General D.A. Macaulay and several members of the division involved in helping Sober Island taste test and guide the development of the recipe. The result is called The 5 and it’s a super-easy drinking blonde ale that’s low in bitterness, but not on flavour. A touch of honey malt gives it a touch of roundness, Magnum, Cascade, and Mt. Hood hops provide a hint of bitterness (only 5 IBU) and some gentle hop flavor, and an American ale yeast ensures a well-attenuated beer with a crisp finish weighing in at a perfectly fitting 5% ABV. You’ll be able to find this at Rockhead, West Side, and Harvest Wines, with in-store tasting events coming tomorrow at Rockhead from 11 – 4 PM and at Harvest on June 22nd from 2 – 4 PM. The 5th Canadian Division covers all of Atlantic Canada, and Sober Island is working to ensure that the beer eventually will too, so hopefully you’ll be hearing of this beer being available in New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland later this year. Hopefully you won’t have any trouble finding it in stores, but be aware that the super swank camouflage can (designed by Pierre Tabbiner) may be hard to spot if you take a few out into the field. You can also find it at the brewery as early as next weekend. Go Mighty Maroon Machine!

In other Sober Island news this week, their blueberry blonde ale known as The Blueberry Express, brewed in collaboration with the Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum is back for the summer, again at Rockhead/West Side Harvest, with $0.50 from every can going to the museum ($1,600 raised last year!). The blueberries for this one came from local producer Glenmore Farms Blueberries. And fans of Beth’s Black Oyster Stout should be aware that Marigold Blonde is replacing it in the seasonal rotation, but that they’ll still be able to grab it through the summer at the brewery and the same private stores as well as at events where Sober Island is pouring beer.

The weekly new releases from Shipwright Brewing continue with a “Rye Session Ale” named Rye’T Aweigh. Featuring rye malt in the grist, of course, the wort was generously hopped with three different Australian varieties: Topaz, Ella and Vic Secret. The addition of rye malt provides some sweetness on the palate, with “flavours of lime zest, honeydew melon and papaya” following suit, thanks to juicy hop additions. Quite sessionable at just 4.6% ABV (and 30 IBUs), if you’re around Lunenburg this week, best drop by the brewery to give this one a taste. It’ll also be pouring at the brewery’s regular tap account, the Grand Banker.

We’ve already told you (last week) about the East Coast Cider Fest and North Brewing’s Retail Spot and Lighter than Air launch, both happening tomorrow (Saturday). We’ve got one more big thing to tell you about this week…

Since opening their doors in late February, Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has been supplying their community with their blend of English, Belgian, and American beers. And this weekend, they are celebrating their Grand Opening, and we’re all invited! The return of their Porter means their taps are once again full, with seven beers for enjoyment onsite or to take away. Plus there is an Open Mic tonight beginning at 4 PM, live music tomorrow from 7 PM, and a Paint Night on Sunday from 6 PM. Full details in their Facebook Events page. Congratulations to the Ninepenny family on their continued success in bringing great beer to folks around the Bay!

And just a few last things to inform your beer buying (and drinking!) excursions this weekend:

Good Robot has a new take on a Mexican-style Lager with the release of El Corazón Del Ángel (5.5% ABV). Like their fan-favourite El Espinazo Del Diablo, there’s plenty of lime zest added, but this newer beer substitutes the jalapeno addition with sweet orange peel. Grab it at the GR taproom today.

It’s been a couple of years since Grimross has brewed their Maritime Amber Ale, but it’s hitting shelves and taps again this week. Hopped with Goldings from Southan Farms, it’s a malty, toasty 5.2% ABV, 32 IBUs brew with hints of caramel and a balancing bitterness. Available at Grimross in cans and on tap, with cans hitting ANBL stores next week; kegs will also be shipping to licensees soon.

Nine Locks has their latest kettle sour available on tap and in cans at the brewery, Bohemian Raspberry (4.8% ABV). A Berliner Weisse brewed with ripe raspberries, it pours a hazy pink colour and features raspberry in the aroma and flavour, to go with the tartness in the finish.

Tanner & Co. Brewing has hot weather on the mind, and what better beer to enjoy with nice weather than a Kolsch? Their take on the style, which they’ve simply named Kolsch, is 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs, and is currently available at the brewery on tap and in bottles; stop by this weekend between 12 – 6 PM.

St. John’s YellowBelly has brewed up a special beer to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the very first non-stop transatlantic flight, performed by John Alcock and Arthur Brown in June, 1919. Named after the duo, Alcock and Brown is a 5.5% ABV, 49 IBUs unfiltered Porter, sporting notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and coffee, along with hints of plum. You can grab it at the brewpub this weekend, and bottles and growlers are available at the Takeaway shop down Water Street.