Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival

All posts tagged Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival

We here at the ACBeerBlog do our best on a weekly basis to pump up the good things happening in our beer scene here in Atlantic Canada and generally try to do so in a way that is free of any bias. But sometimes things happen that bear comment and those comments cannot be made in the opinion-free vacuum that we generally try to inhabit. The recent controversy around the “Dirty Blonde” marketing from Nine Locks is one of those times. We would like to state unequivocally both as a blog and as three people who love this industry and the community that surrounds it, that we fully support all the folks who have brought this issue to light and who have stood up against misogyny and sexism. While only those involved know their own intentions with regards to the marketing campaign, we firmly believe that when folks speak up to say that they not only feel that it encourages and enables bad behavior, but have experienced it, that in turn those who are in a position to do something about it would do well to listen and, hopefully, act. We’re glad that the marketing campaign was changed. We’re disappointed that there are so many out there who feel that since they weren’t affected that nobody else was or since they didn’t care, nobody else should. We’re both flabbergasted and sad that this has led to “counter attacks” on the people and breweries who bravely took a stand on the issue. We know that our scene and the beer industry both locally and worldwide have a ways to go towards being inclusive and supportive of everyone. Nothing will get better if nobody says anything; we cannot improve if nobody listens when people speak up. A wise person once said, “It’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” People don’t get together to talk about beer, beer gets people together to talk. We’d like to think that means all people and that beer can be an enabler for social awareness and polite, but meaningful conversations, especially about difficult topics. We’re always happy to have a beer and chat with folks about how we feel about things; try us sometime.

ICYMI, Prince Edward Island is getting a little more beery today! Lone Oak Brewing is opening their taproom and retail space in Borden-Carleton at 4 PM this afternoon. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in the Gateway Village, you can make Lone Oak your first and last stop when visiting or venturing from the Island. We had a sneak peek of their space and chat with Spencer Gallant, so check out our Profile with Lone Oak Brewing now! And after tonight’s opening, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the taproom hours and where you may be able to find their beer beyond their doors. Congratulations again Lone Oak Team!

From one new Island Brewery to another, a reminder that Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Rough Waters Brewing, has opened their doors in Deer Lake. Located at 83 Wights Road (a stone’s throw from the junction of Trans Canada and Hwy 430), their beer is available at their retail spot by the bottle only, with their taproom opening in the spring. And for those with tickets to the Newfoundland Craft Beer Fest’s East Coast edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer this weekend! And great news, there are still some available! Keep up to date with Rough Waters’ retail store hours via Instagram.

Let’s stick on the Rock for another new beer, and in fact a whole new world, from Port Rexton Brewing. Ever since co-owner and head brewer Alicia MacDonald was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple of years ago, she has been searching, scheming, and doing trials with gluten-free grains and malts, to better serve other (former) beer drinkers in the same situation. After testing liquid malts of different gluten-free grains such sorgum and rice, the entire PRBC Brew Crew has lent their expertise in crafting their first gluten-free release. Aptly named Fox Island* Fog, it is a 4.3% ABV Hazy IPA made with gluten-free ingredients, including pale buckwheat and millet malts, as well as Vienna-style kilned millet, flaked oats, and flaked quinoa. With plenty of Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus added throughout, you’d never miss the gluten that has skipped this beer, with the orange and mango aroma layered on top of a piney bitterness up front. This release was brewed on their new Gluten-Free pilot system (ie, no gluten-containing malts have ever touched any of the equipment), and you can expect many more to come (we hear the next one will be decidedly darker!). Given then small batch size, Fox Island Fog is only available at the brewery (open today and tomorrow 4 PM – 10 PM) and their retail shop on Torbay Road in St. John’s from noon tomorrow.
* Fox Island is visible from Port Rexton Brewing’s taproom, features on their logo, and is not really an island! The best that folks can tell is that the name is a bastardization of Faux Island, as in False Island… The more you know! 

If you happen to be in Halifax this weekend, be sure to drop by 2 Crows, where they’ll be releasing their latest barrel-aged beer, Bellini. This one is a blend, starting with some unhopped wort that was fermented warm with Ebbengarden Kveik, and dry-hopped during active fermentation with Citra. The beer was then blended with some sour barrel-aged beer and conditioned on 200 kg of peaches (Never Again, my ass!) for nine weeks. Before packaging, it blended once again, with a foedre sour beer to increase the tartness. It weighs in at just 4.7% ABV, and is tasting “bright, lightly tart, and peachy”. You can pick up some bottles at the brewery starting tomorrow. And stay a while and enjoy the grilled cheese and sandy (and hopefully donuts!) pop-up from 2C pals Buttered Bliss.

Back to Newfoundland, where St. John’s YellowBelly celebrated a big milestone – the release of their 1500th brew – last week. Founder’s Reserve Stout, which the brewery has brewed in honour of their loyal customers – Founders, if you will – who have helped support the brewpub over the years. Brewed with a grist that contains multiple dark malts (Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Malt), there was also some lactose powder added in the boil to bring a touch of sweetness to help balance all of that roasted character. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the addition of Malted Oats, some cacao was also added to bump up the chocolate presence. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, it’s available on tap and in 1 L bottles at YB; bottles should also be popping up at NLC stores any day (minute??) now.

If you’re looking for a beer with a taste of summer, Crooked Feeder has you covered with their latest small batch, Good Vibrations. This is a 5% ABV Strawberry Rhubarb Gose brewed with real fruit from local farm Mark’s Market. The strawberry comes through prominently in the aroma, with a mild presence on the palate; the rhubarb and salt follow subtly in the finish, along with a dry tartness. If you want to try this one at the brewery’s taproom, you’ll only be able to get it in a flight, as they’re trying to ensure that everyone has a chance for a taste. 

Those of you looking for your next hoppy fix from Propeller after drinking multiple cans of Galaxy may be happy with today’s news: the brewery has their first Triple IPA on tap for this weekend. Simply named Triple India Pale Ale, it was heavily hopped with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer “intense tropical fruit flavours and aromas”. It’s hazy and packing a punch at 9.9% ABV, and finishes “aggressively bitter” (90+ IBUs). Only available on tap, at the brewery’s taproom, for pints and flights; no growlers, sorry! And hey, if you’re there later today, might as well still around for tonight’s cask, Sure Thing!, which is Cascade dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Falconer’s Flight. Finally, to celebrate Black Friday today, the brewery is offering two of their popular dark beers for a special deal – you can buy a 650 mL bottle of Russian Imperial Stout and a 330 mL bottle of Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter for $10.

Two hoppy brews hitting shelves at TrailWay today, one of which is a brand new American IPA they’ve named Slippery Mind. This 6% ABV hazy IPA was hopped with American Mosaic and Australian Topaz, giving the beer a “big, overripe fruit character with a firm spice and pine backbone”. And returning is their hoppy Amber, Good Aura. Fruity and dank, and 7% ABV, a donation is made to the SPCA every time this beer is brewed. Both of these beers are available in both cans and on tap, starting today. 

Another bottle release from Tidehouse this week, a beer that they brewed with Tony Wight (aka Tony Important… I’m sure there’s a story there!) of 902 BrewCast “fame”. Cherry Important is a Saison that was brewed with cherries (at roughly 5 kg/100 L) picked from a cherry tree in Tony’s yard. The cherries were added in two stages; the first as whole, pitted cherries about one week into fermentation, and the second as puree at the third week. Some hibiscus was added to boost the red colour and tartness, and a touch of lemon zest was thrown in as well. The result is bright and tart, with definite Saison notes coming through. Bottles (340 mL and 750 mL) of this 7% ABV brew are available starting at 2 pm today, with a limit of two per person.

There’s a new beer coming out from Nackawic’s Big Axe, their first in quite some time. Black Forest Porter was hopped with English varieties to provide some earthiness in the aroma, and “a heaping pile” of Chaga mushrooms to offer some unique flavours. With some mild roastiness and a bit of caramel character, it’s 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. You’ll likely see it on tap at some of your favourite Big Axe accounts (as well as at their brewery, of course), and it’s also available in bottles. Bonus points when you pick up a bottle if you can quickly spout your favourite Forrest Gump quote! 😉

This past Sunday at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, 32 beers made with the Voss Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs were poured, smelled, sampled, and judged in the name of finding the winner of the 7th annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge (Kveik the East!). Styles ranged from IPA to Stout and more, with a couple of entries reaching pretty far afield to styles such as Gose and Pilsner (yes, really!). With honorable mentions to David Pepper (sorry for the typo earlier!), for being bold enough to brew that lager, Chill Pils, and Jamie MacEachern and Sandy Smoliak for Sandy’s Last Call, a NEIPA with a hop aroma that damn near knocked the judges over, the top three beers were as follows: 3rd place to Andrew Beaton for his APA End of Shift, 2nd to previous winner Ian Wheatley for his NE IPA Simcoe Slaughter, and the grand champion (AGAIN?!) was Brian Harvey, whose Santa Voss/ Kviek Kringle Winter Warmer with Vanilla Bean and Orange Peel. We understand that the winning beer has already been brewed at the Spruce HQ, so you might reasonably expect to see it for sale come next month. Congratulations especially to the winners, but also to all those who entered and thanks to Jeremy and the Big Spruce team for putting on a great event as always.

Only one event to mention today, but it’s a big’un and important if you’re planning on going to FCBF this year:

It’s that time of year again… time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. While the VIP tickets are undoubtedly sold out already (they go in under a minute, usually, and tickets went on sale at 11 am this morning), there should be other tickets still available for sale. However, they also sell out quickly, so don’t wait (you can purchase yours here)! This is the first year that a full Friday session with 60 breweries will take place, so you’ve got an extra option in addition to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. There’s also going to be another conference happening for the couple days leading up to the weekend, so those of you who are in the industry or looking to get into it, keep this open as an option. And we’ll be doing our insanely-popular* ACBB Trivia Night at the Joyce on the Thursday before, so you’ve got that going for you, too!
* your opinion will likely vary

And a few last items to inform your Friday afternoon beer-buying:

Garrison has put Tesoro – an Italian Pilsner – on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations; it is also available in cans to take home.

If you’ve been missing the weekly Good Robot Beta Brews, we can confirm that they’re officially back as of next Tuesday, December 3rd with The Absolute Unit. This 8.9% ABV, 23 IBUs Belgian Tripel was brewed by Amy and Amber, and features the addition of lemon zest.

Grimross Brewing has brought back their Apres Lager for the season, but due to a “friendly” little poke from another brewery in Canada, the beer has been renamed King’s Horn Vienna Lager. Still the same beer with a “toasty malt backbone, amber colour, restrained bitterness and some background earthy hop tones”, it’s available now on tap at the brewery and licensees, with cans following sometime in early 2020. 

Hammond River has a brand new beer pouring at their Rothesay taproom, Coffee & Coconut Oatmeal Brown Ale. Brewed with locally-roasted coffee beans and coconut, it comes in at 7.4% ABV and 29 IBUs; drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

Moderation is back from Niche Brewing, a 5.9% ABV passion fruit Milkshake IPA hopped with American and Australian hops, bolstered with lactose, and conditioned on vanilla and passion fruit puree. At all ANBL growler stations as of yesterday, there will also be kegs hitting Halifax (Auction House and Stillwell) and the usual New Brunswick pubs. If you spill it on your pants at the bar your cab driver will hate you on the shameful ride home; don’t ask us how we know, just get it in your mouth instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another summer week is in the books and it appears that most of the region is staring down a lovely weekend weather-wise. And what better companion for a beautiful weekend in the shank of the summer than beer? We may be biased, but we can’t think of one. So read on for all the latest beer news in Atlantic Canada and hopefully you’ll find something to wet your whistle on Sunday afternoon.

For those of you who think that Gose is one of the finest warm weather beer styles out there (raises hand), Lunn’s Mill is probably on your side. Well, maybe we’re assuming too much here, but they DO have their own take on the style, How She Gose B’y, currently available on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills. A classic take on the style, this kettle sour was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat, along with a bit of Acid malt. Hopped very lightly with Hallertauer, they added the usual coriander and sea salt (from local Salt & Light Sea Salt Co.), resulting in a beer with “restrained tartness and mild saltiness”, along with some bright notes of lime from the coriander. Light and refreshing at 4.7% ABV, it’s a great beer to crush and sob into as you contemplate the end of yet another summer. 

Moving to one of the finest Belgian styles, where Big Spruce is pouring their latest Saison at the Sprucetique in Nyanza. L’Été Phone Home (“l’ete” is french for summer, and Saisons have traditionally been brewed for different seasons, with certain techniques and ingredients often used for varying seasons) is a 6.1% ABV Saison hopped entirely with organic Aramis (a variety from the Alsace region in France), and fermented with the Old World Saison strain from Escarpment Labs. The result is a complex beer that is lightly sweet, with stone fruit, white peppercorn, clove, and floral aromas. Golden-coloured and hazy, you’ll find some clove, coriander, sage and marjoram on the palate, according to the brewery. This one is available on tap only; apart from directly at the source, you’ll likely find some showing up – briefly! – at your favourite Big Spruce tap accounts. 

TrailWay Brewing has been extra busy lately as the summer winds down to an end, and as a result they’ve got two brand new hoppy brews out this week, as well as a returning fave. Let’s start with Ooz, their latest DIPA that they hopped with two of their favourite Australian varieties (Ella and Galaxy), no doubt in significantly high quantities. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV, you can expect “overripe tropical fruit, cantaloupe, and mango” throughout, with a very juicy and pungent character, along with an earthiness quality. On tap and in cans at the brewery, with some cans being sent to various ANBL stores across the province. Next up is Half Past, an American IPA that is freshly available as of today at 11 am. Brewed with Lotus, a very new American variety that was previously known as Experimental Hop 06297 (odd that they decided that Lotus was a catchier name, no?). Also hopped with a “supporting variety” that TW felt would complement, the final beer has “massive stone fruit, bordering on a fuzzy peach candy, with a solid amount of straight tropical fruit”. Available on tap, this 6% IPA has also been canned, but these will be available at the brewery only, for the time-being. Finally, the brewery’s New Zealand Pilsner, Emerald – hopped with Southern Cross and Wakatu, it also has an addition of key lime juice and lime zest – is back, also on tap and in cans. 

PEI Brewing Company has released the latest in their After Hours series, where they let the brewers play, experiment, and take their time with beer. Midnight Oil is a beer that certainly fits that description, as this beer began life as a Stout aged in wine barrels full of funky bacteria, before being further aged in Bourbon barrels on dark cherries and raspberries. The 6.0% ABV beer was then packaged and allowed to naturally carbonate in the bottle before release. Bottles can be bought now at the brewery taproom, and will be appearing on shelves at PEI Liquor next week.

The Newfoundland Cider Company is continuing their effort of showcasing local ingredients beyond apples in their products, and have two new expressions coming this weekend. The first is Sparkling Strawberry, a wild-fermented cider made with all local strawberries from Lester’s Farm in St. John’s. At 5.1% ABV, there is plenty of aroma and flavour from the strawberries, in addition to a lovely rose hue. The second new cider is actually a cyser, thanks to the addition of local honey. Honey Cyser weighs in at 5.3% ABV, and uses honey harvested from hives located close to the NCC apple orchards (not too far from their taproom in George’s Brook-Milton), and was also wild fermented. A touch of sweetness, but light and summery, perfect for this time of year. Pop by the taproom for a taste, and then the bottle shop in Shoal Harbour later this weekend to take some home.

Tatamagouche Brewing has another fun collaboration in their Weird Beer line of offerings, this time with Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing. Haven Blended Saison, 5.9% ABV. Primary fermentation occurred in barrels thanks to a mixed bag of yeast, and aged for over a year before a referment on NS Haskap berries and Nfld Partridge berries. Packaged still and bottle conditioned, there are tons of fruit, funk, and lovely parts to pick out of the beer. Bottles are available to take away at the brewery (as well as one keg hitting the taps at some point this weekend), and can also be ordered for delivery Canada-wide at their online bottle shop.

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Charlottetown’s Upstreet release a beer in their Million Acres series of long-term barrel-aged beers, but if you were waiting with bated breath for the next one, you can finally exhale. Mango & Pink Guava Sour was brewed in fall of 2018 when it was barreled and left to develop lots of character. Shortly before bottling it was transferred to steel where it met up and mingled with lots of fruit for 30 days. Bottled in 500 mL bottles on July 5th, and, we presume, bottle-conditioned, it’s now available for purchase at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner. Mug Club members got a preview of this one yesterday at the Upstreet Taproom, where a single keg was pouring, but the rest of us plebs can have at it now. Expect a fruit-forward beer, juicy, yet with some tannic barrel character and lots of fruity aromas. Weighing in at 7% ABV and a slight 20 IBU, it’s got some weight to it, so be careful!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a pair of new beers on tap this week, from two different ends of the spectrum. First up is Midnight Snack, a 4.2% ABV English Porter, featuring lovely chocolate and caramel notes, on top of a medium-bodied roasty snack of a beer. Also newly on tap is Charlie Work, a 6.5% ABV Belgian Saison, featuring a load of fresh lemons added to the beer, enhancing the fruity yeast esters, and making this ever-so refreshing and crushable. 

Lots of news from Good Robot in Halifax this week beginning with some packaging and availability news: GR’s Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs has been pretty popular over the last while, none moreso, we think, than the original version, Creature Feature I. In recognition of that popularity (hey, give the people what they want!), that beer has been brewed big and packaged in cans that are on their way to the NSLC. Now more folks will have more chances to try this 6.4% ABV and 68 IBU juicy and jazy IPA (and look for GR Brew Queen Kelly Costello and her dog on the can!). If you’re in the city, though, you can also head on down to the GR taproom where they’ve got a new beer on tap. Easy Bruiser is a novel style, a California Common-ish beer taken to the Nth degree. Fermented at a warm temperature with a tolerant lager yeast, it was also loaded up with Mosaic, Ekuanot and Cascade. But lest you think this is just an uncharacteristically-hopped steam beer, check the specs: 8% ABV and 73 IBU. To quote Ted (Theodore) Logan, “Woah.” Be careful with this one, folks, we’re told it’s smooth, fruity, and dangerously drinkable. 

And lastly, but definitely not leastly, GR is giving the femme brewers of the region some extra time this year to get their entries together for the 2020 edition of the Good Robot FemmeBrew Competition by announcing the competition now even though judging will not take place until March. The primary reason for the early opening is this year’s stipulation that entries contain some local or foraged ingredients and, as Kelly succinctly put it, “as it turns out nothing grows in January/February in NS.” We also think that this will give neophyte brewers an opportunity to get a few extra brews under their belts to tweak out process and recipes. Remember, just because you forage an ingredient now doesn’t mean you can’t use it a few months down the line (depending on what it is, of course). Know someone with some hops growing in their yard? That’s local. Dry ‘em, vacpac ‘em, and pop ‘em in the freezer until brewday. There are plenty of flowers, herbs, veggies and fruit about this time of year that will keep in one form or another if you treat them right. As always, the competition is open to women and woman-identifying folks throughout the region who are able to get their entries to GR or their local Noble Grape before March 3rd, 2020. First-time brewer? No problem. Seasoned (pickled?) homebrew veteran? Also no problem. Entering also gives you access to the Three Cheers for the Lady Beers party where the winning beers will be announced. For more information, go to the GR website and click “On Tap” at the top (or click this handy dandy link right here), then scroll down until you see “Femmebrew Competition 2020” where you’ll find a link to the entry form.

Congratulations are in order, as Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 218 Water Street in the Loyalist Plaza. With ten taps, there is a wide variety of Boxing Rock pouring at any one time, plus there is always room for a guest beer and cider or two, to keep everyone happy. Their retail fridge from their production brewery has also moved over, making it easy to grab bottles to go, and are set up to sell/exchange growlers (filling on demand is coming). Their friends at Finest Kind Food have also moved into the new space, and are celebrating with their first Finest Kind Friday there, with live music this afternoon 5 – 7 PM, and food specials to accompany your pints. And their barrel-aging program has made the move as well, so you can check into what’s bubbling and coming soon from Boxing Rock.

Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing is hiring someone to play double-duty in the brewery, in a full-time position working both the production side, as well as delivery on the Island. Working with their brewing team, they will be responsible for canning operation and assist in troubleshooting. And then working with delivery of those cans, plus kegs, to the different licensees and retailers in the province, to ensure the freshest and best beer possible gets in your hand. Learn more in their job posting.

A couple of beery things going on this week and next:

Fredericton’s The Joyce is continuing to promote sour beers, as their 3rd Annual sour event is happening tomorrow, August 24th. Tarte Diem III: Bigger, Sour & Untappd is an all-day event (starting at noon when the pub opens) that will feature 20+ taps of some of the finest sour beers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. As always, there’s no charge to attend, and you can buy individual beers by the pints or 12 oz pours, as well as flights. And now that their deck is open, you can finally enjoy some of these beers outside!

Tickets for August 31st’s Gros Morne Beer Festival are still available, but are definitely moving quickly. Put on by the fine folks at the Nfld Craft Beer Festival (who ran the events in April in St. John’s and Corner Brook), this will see beer from across the province, Atlantic provinces, and elsewhere in the country, pouring at the Town Hall in Norris Point. There are some pretty special extra options available to enhance your Gros Morne experience, which include taking a Zodiac, Kayak, or SUP tour of the area before the festival, with a beer and food pairing. Peep their Instagram feed for hints as to what you’ll be able to enjoy next weekend, and then grab a ticket here!

And a few last mentions before you get back to your Friday afternoon:

The boys at Off Track Brewing in Bedford found themselves in a bit of hot water this week, as their Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout caught the eye of an international peanut butter maker, and they kindly (ya right!) asked them to cease and desist use of their trademark. Rather than let that be a problem, they interrogated their automated-beer-naming-machine and it spat out another moniker fit for the brew. The new name is Illuminutty Peanut Butter Stout, and bottles will be featuring a new label next week. But if you skip to the brewery this weekend, you may be able to find some of the forbidden bottles, and grab them as a keepsake.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing a new beer today, 16 Tons. a 6.0% ABV Black IPA, it features plenty of roast malt character enhanced by piney bitterness from Cascadeand Amarillo hops. Find it on draught for pints and growlers at the brewery, and may hit the taps at local restaurants and pubs soon!

Tusket Falls Brewing is tapping their latest experimental beer this afternoon. Details are pretty light, but we wanted to let you know about the Blackberry Sour, as these small batch brews rarely last more than a few days. Keep your eyes on their social media to see when the beer is pouring!