Niche Brewing

All posts tagged Niche Brewing

Welcome to February, beer lovers. It’s bastard cold today in much of Atlantic Canada, with a high percentage chance for continued bastard coldness through the weekend. Probably a good idea, then, to stock up on some beer to at least make yourself feel warm, and there’s plenty of new stuff coming this week from our region’s breweries to help you do that. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Niche Brewing has a brand new beer hitting the taps this week, plus their first much-anticipated bottle release. Let’s start with the new beer, Coalescence. What they describe as a Sour Grapefruit Milkshake IPA began with souring of the wort with Lactobacillus plantarum for a refreshing and clean acidity, before boiling to stop that process, and adding in lactose. Fermentation was completed with a low-flocculating (aka hazy) yeast strain often used in New England IPAs, and generously hopped with Citra, Azacca, and Vic Secret. Completing the “milkshake” theme of the beer with vanilla beans, an addition of grapefruit puree was also added, for a citrus and fruit base to complement the tropical, pineapple, and passion fruit aromatics from the hops, on top of the acidic yet lightly sweet beer. Look for it on tap in Fredericton at The Joyce and 540 Kitchen, Tide & Boar in Moncton, and Peppers Pub and Saint John Ale House in Saint John. Pop into the York Street ANBL growler station to get your fill of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout, pouring this weekend (though we’re sure it won’t last long!).

Evolution is Niche’s first bottle release, and will soon be available at ANBL stores in the Capital region and beyond. Almost a year in the making, this beer started with a malt bill of Pilsner, Rye, Wheat, and Vienna malts, lightly hopped with Huell Melon. Instead of going in their stainless fermenters, this beer went straight into a single Chardonnay barrel, where it was fermented and conditioned with their house culture of yeast strains (a mixture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces). This process was allowed to continue for 6 months, before bottling still (flat), and conditioning with Champagne yeasts since late last year. The result is an effervescent beer with notes of grape must, a touch of oak, and plenty of funky goodness. If you cannot find these 500 mL bottles at your local ANBL, ask them to place an order, as they’ll be happy to bring it in!

The Church Brewing Company will soon be opening their brewery at 329 Main Street in Wolfville, but in the meantime, their on-site restaurant is now open for food and beers. Located in the deconsecrated St. Andrew’s United Church, the stone building was built in 1914, and had been underused for years before construction of the brewery and restaurant began. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 AM until late, with a varied menu of breakfast/brunch options, ramen, sandwiches, entrees, and more. While they await their own beer to be pouring, they have a variety of Valley and Nova Scotian beers available. You can keep up on their brewery progress on their social media (FB / IG / Tw). And this is where you can make a difference. The Town of Wolfville is making some amendments to their regulations regarding craft beer and cider, and are holding the first reading of that on Monday, February 4th, at 6:30 PM during a special Town Council meeting at Town Hall (359 Main Street). There has been a slew of mis-information surrounding Church’s brewery, including brewing volume, water usage, wastewater disposal, and traffic and parking concerns. We encourage you to learn more about how breweries are helping to bring jobs and visitors back to small towns throughout the region, and maybe even drop by Monday to listen and take part in the public hearing. For those unable to attend, check out the town’s Facebook page, where they livestream all of the council meetings. We will be there lending our support to growth of the industry and of the economy of small towns in Nova Scotia. Big kudos to our buds at the 902BrewCast for raising awareness of this issue and promoting local breweries. Check out their IG page for a contest they’re holding right now, promoting #NSBeerTravel.

It’s not that often that a week of Good Robot Alpha and Beta releases actually jive with one another, but next week will be one of those weeks. It all started with their Alpha release, Tom Waits For No One, one of their flagship – and still one of their most popular – beers, a 7.9% ABV, 58 IBUs Imperial Stout. While transferring the wort for this beer to the boil kettle, it suddenly dawned on the brewers that there was likely a fair amount of sugar still left in the grain bed. This resulted in their choice to go with a parti-gyle – adding another batch of water to the same grain, using the second runnings to create a lower-ABV beer… in this case, Tiny Tom. Same grist as its bigger brother, but fermented with a Lager yeast, it comes in at a more-manageable 4.5% ABV and 14 IBUs. Only one way to find out the taste difference, so you’d better drop by the taproom on Tuesday if you’re curious.

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is marking their 3rd Anniversary this weekend, and have reached another important milestone recently, with the brewing of their 200th batch of beer. Naturally, they decided to brew up something brand new, which is being released today. M is for Mosaic is a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) kettle sour, featuring a grist of Pilsner malt, and dry-hopped entirely with the lovely Mosaic variety. Soured with Lacto plantarum and fermented with an English Ale yeast strain, the 4.7% ABV, 8 IBUs beer has aromas of “lemon, orange, tangerine and passionfruit”, along with more of the same on the palate, with “hints of dough/bread” and an acidic finish. It’s draught-only for now, and will be available at the brewery as of noon today, and at select tap accounts over the next few days. And about that Third Birthday Bash, drop into the brewery tomorrow evening for a big bash including live music, food from GastroGnomes, and tons of fun planned. Montgomery Street Band and YORKS will be jamming from 7 PM until late, $10 cover.

In downtown Fredericton, the Gahan Riverside has a pair of new one-off brews at their location this week. First up is a dark and weighty beer, Russian Imperial Stout. It’s just that, a RIS that was fermented cool (to keep the alcohol heat as low as possible for this 8% ABV beer) and given a “long, cold aging process” to allow the flavours to develop further. “Intensely malt-forward with a supporting bitterness for balance”, it has “pronounced notes of coffee and chocolate” with a touch of caramel. Weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV, and 63 IBUs, it’s the kind of beer meant for gently sipping during these horribly cold days. The second new release is of the newer Brut IPA style. Known for being extremely dry, it can be seen as a contrast to hazy/juicy IPAs, which tend to have perceived sweetness from the hops and residual sugar. Gahan’s take is 7.7% ABV, and a light 23 IBUs, with notes of melon, berries, and stone fruit. Both new beers are on tap right now at the brewpub’s location on Queen St.

There’s a new Gottingen Small Batch hitting the taps today at Propeller, Coconut Extra Strong Stout. Indeed quite strong at 8% ABV, the coconut flavours combine with “layers of complex, dark fruit, and roasted coffee” to give just a hint of the tropics. While it will be on tap for growlers and pints at the brewery’s tasting room, they’ve also sent some to New Brunswick to go on tap at some of the ANBL growler stations; look for those to appear over the weekend. And as for tonight’s Cask Night offering (tapped just after 5 PM), it’s their Common, dry-hopped with Mosaic and Citra. Why not grab a pint and check out the new Propeller Arcade while you’re at it: they opened to the general public for the first time last night and will be providing a place for you to get your classic pinball and arcade game fix Thursday to Sunday nights (Thu/Sun 4 – 10 PM, Fri/Sat 4 PM – Midnight).

And in other Propeller news, but really Granite Brewery news, word came out this week that Granite would be taking up residence as the third brewery getting cozy in Propeller’s Gottingen Street location. So in addition to Propeller’s own small batch ministrations and Stillwell Brewing’s mixed fermentation madness, Granite will be pumping out their classic beers from the same facility for a while. Why, you ask? Turns out their Stairs Street building was sold by its owner recently, and efforts to secure a new location have so far not panned out. While Granite continue their search for a permanent home, Propeller has stepped up to make sure that fans can continue to get their fix. Look for Granite beers to continue to be on tap at places like Henry House, Stillwell, Lion’s Head Tavern, Obladee, and Tom’s. If you’re not familiar with Granite (hint: you should be) they are the oldest craft brewery in the region and actually were the first brewpub in North America east of the Rockies, when they started brewing their own in 1985. They have also been a very big part of breaking down many of the barriers to opening and operating breweries in Nova Scotia (and probably beyond). Featuring predominantly characterful English-style beers fermented with Ringwood yeast, a pint of Granite’s Best Bitter, Best Bitter Special, Peculiar, Keefe’s Irish Stout, or Traditional IPA is a bit of beer education in a glass. Possibly even better is when Stillwell has a cask of the Best Bitter on the handpump. We encourage existing fans of Granite as well as those who have somehow managed to miss them to show support for the brewery by seeking out their beers at the locations listed above and those listed on their website. Granite has advised us that they’ll be trying to be more active on social media (Fb, Tw) to let folks know where to find their beers (including where it might be possible to grab a growler) and to keep everyone up to date on their hunt for a new home. And much respect to Propeller for showing that camaraderie and looking out for your peers is still very much alive and well in the Nova Scotia craft beer scene!

New Scotland Brewing has not one, but two new releases this week, both of which are officially launching today. First up is a dry-hopped cider, On the Brite. Semi-sweet and unfiltered, the juice was fermented with a Saison yeast; they then dry-hopped the cider with Centennial and Columbus. “Light-tasting and refreshing, with lots of citrus notes”, it comes in at 6.9% ABV. Next is Angus, a Brut IPA that was triple-dry-hopped with the tropical American variety, Azacca. With a bone-dry finish, yet an “unexpected amount of body”, this 7.1% ABV brew shows off “an intense blast of tropical fruit flavour”. Both beers can be found at the brewery at noon today.

Today marks the first El Generico release of 2019 for TrailWay; this iteration of their ever-changing fruited kettle sour features a mixture of plum and raspberry puree (with the emphasis on plum). Always sessionable at just 3.8% ABV, this release is showing “a big, juicy, plum front, with a raspberry background, tasting like a mouthful of sour candies”, according to the brewery. You can find it at the brewery today when they open, on draught and in cans. They’re also releasing a new cask today, a double dry-hopped version of last week’s new release, Seeing Summit (Summit single-hopped American IPA).

Sober Island teamed up with The Harbour Brewing Company to brew Scotch Squall Scotch Ale, a 7.4% ABV “malty, spicy” beer that will be served exclusively on tap at Battery Park; it launches there tonight. The color is described as “rusted penny” and the flavor profile leans heavily towards the malt side, with malt sweetness up front and a spicy finish from all English hop varieties. Very smooth for its weight, this should be a great one to help warm you up on these cold winter days.

Newfoundland’s newest brewing addition, Landwash Brewing in Mount Pearl, has a brand new beer on the go this week. Inspired by German Kölsch, an ale style that undergoes a lagering period, Shining Smiling Land was fermented with a strain from Escarpment Labs. Czech Saaz and German Saphir hops impart notes of spice and citrus to this clean and crisp-finishing refreshing beer. This one is the first batch out of their biggest lagering tank (30 BBL) so they’re hoping it lasts for a little while, but the goal is certainly for it to sell out while it’s still fresh. Look for batches of this one to be available at least into Spring, when they’ve hinted we might see them treat the island to a Northern German Lager.

Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co have a couple brand new beers on the go this week, the first being Brut IPA, a 6.1% ABV in the (surprise!) Brut IPA style. Leveraging extra enzymes to ensure the beer fermented out almost completely dry, Galaxy, Mosaic and Amarillo hops are the stars of this one, giving aromatic notes of grapefruit, lime zest and orange. The grist, interestingly, contains a mixture of Pilsner malt, corn, wheat, and a bit of Munich malt. Expect a very dry beer with hop flavors and aromas taking center stage. Brewer Dan Tanner says he’s excited about the style, so even after this one goes it’s probably safe to hope it won’t be the last Brut IPA from the brewery. And speaking of beer excitement, Tanner is also releasing the first in a series they’re calling Assemblage, reflecting Dan’s two passions, wine and beer. Starting with a beer that’s best described as a Munich Helles, Planters Ridge Winery Chardonnay and Mead were blended in, allowing the fermentation character of both to intermingle with the beer, giving character that cannot be gained from fermenting with beer yeast on grape pomace or honey. With the aspects of the wine and the mead presenting predominantly on the nose in the form of pear and apple from the wine and honey and floral character from the mead, the cereal malt character of the beer side of things blends nicely with the residual sweetness from the mead resulting in a 7% ABV beer with plenty of character. Dan Surette, Assistant Winemaker at Planters Ridge gets credit for the idea of adding mead to the mix. This one is growler fills and pints at the brewery only, as only 2 kegs are available. Look for more interesting beers in the Assemblage Series to appear as we get further into 2019.

Boxing Rock in Shelburne is releasing a brand new beer this week, hoping to up-end what they see as craft beer’s departure from “traditional” beer. Instead of a complex malt or hop bill, they are releasing an uncomplicated, but still flavourful, beer. Eschewing descriptors like dank, juicy, tropical, or hazy, they are embracing the crisp, clear, and drinkable characteristics from a lagered ale. With aromas of white bread and caramel, with light honey, cereal, red apple, and lemon on the palate, with a smooth finish. The New Normal is 4.9% ABV and is seeing a wide release in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and their Test Kitchen on Agricola Street in Halifax, as well as the private beer stores, plus growler fills and kegs to licensees. And keep an eye out later this month for the return of their Rive du Sud Biere de Garde, available shortly.

This week’s winner in the shamefully late email sweepstakes goes to Garrison, who are releasing (earlier than expected, apparently) a new beer just in time for your Superb Owl Sunday beer drinking needs. Georgia Fuzzy Peach is a refreshing pale ale packed with peach flavor, no doubt owing to the heavy use of Huell Melon and Cascade hops. Coming in at 30 IBU and a sessionable (in the modern sense, anyway) 5.0% ABV, the grist is a fairly simple blend of Pale malt, Oats and Wheat. It hasn’t been packaged, so it’s on draft only at the brewery, but you’re welcome to bring a growler or two and get a fill to go! You’re likely to also see it pop up on taps around Halifax as early as this weekend.

Some fun things coming up this weekend and in the next couple of weeks as well:

If you’re one of the few beer fans who haven’t yet tried your hand at making your own beer at home, we have just the event for you! Pop into Brightwood Brewery on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth Sunday afternoon (12 – 2 PM) for a presentation and demo of how to get started. The fine folks from Everwood Ave Brew Shop will be in there to answer all of your questions, and get you excited about crafting your own soon enough. This is Part 1 in their Learning to Brew Series, and we’ll keep you in the loop with the other events as they come up.

Speaking of home-brewing, a friendly reminder to our homebrewing brethren and sistren that registration and beers are due Monday Feb 4 for the 11th Annual Garrison Home Brew-Off. Be sure to get your Dunkles Bock to your local Noble Grape, or Garrison itself, in time for judging, and we’ll see you at the Gala on Feb 28! Details here, Registration/Recipe Form here.

Tickets are now available for Halifax’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, taking place at the Halifax Seaport Market February 16th. With more than 30 breweries and cideries from Nova Scotia and PEI, there will be a wide assortment of offerings pouring that evening. There are sure to be some new releases, and plenty of washer toss, cornhole, and other cottage activities, as breweries dress up their booths to fully embrace the theme. Live music all evening, and food will be available for purchase. Grab your tickets now!

Though we’re still a few months away, tickets for the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival are now on sale. They are doubling down this year, with events on both the West and East coasts of the island. First, on April 6th, they will be taking over the Corner Brook Civic Centre for the evening, for a full evening of beer, live music, food, and fun. Grab your tickets here. And the following weekend they are in the Royal Canadian Legion at Quidi Vidi for two nights, April 12 and 13, to bring the same fun to the East coast. Tickets are available here. All events have VIP tickets available for an hour-earlier entrance. No brewery/beer list available yet, but look for a great mix of Newfoundland, Maritimes, Canadian, and maybe even US and European beer to be flowing in the first couple of weeks of April.

And here be your final bits of beer news; have a great (beer-filled) weekend!!

Stillwell Brewing will be back selling beer at the back door of Propeller’s Gottingen Street location tomorrow from noon to 4 PM. New this week is the latest batch of Easy, their house saison, that’s been napping for quite some time in bottles after 2 months in their biggest foedre. While you’re there grabbing that one, you’ll also have the chance to get your grubby paws on Auld (old ale), Make 1,2 (bière de coupage) and Five (saison with honey fermented in a Pineau des Charentes puncheon).

If you were kicking yourself for missing Kiskadee Sour Porter with Strawberries from Tatamagouche at Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event in early January, as we mentioned in our wrap-up the next day that beer was bottled and kegged and is now generally available for your drinking pleasure. Two years in the making, it’s a big ol’ beast at 9.8% ABV with notes of chocolate, spirits and tart strawberries. Available now at the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax, and, we suspect, kegs will go out to tap accounts as well.

It’s looking like a mild-ish weekend coming in most of our region and what better time to venture out of your lair to stock up on beer? We’ve got lots of news about what’s new and notable at your local breweries this weekend along with the official launch of another New Brunswick brewery, the goings-on this weekend in Halifax at the 2 Crows 2nd Anniversary party and a few other items that might catch your eye and inform your beer drinking and/or social calendar this weekend and beyond. Let’s get to it!

We’ve got great news for those in the Capital region of New Brunswick. 3Flip Brewing, which we told you about late last year, is now officially open for business! Located in Douglas, just a few minutes West of the Northside of Fredericton, they are brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system in a residential area. 3Flip is focusing on supplying the local bars and restaurants, keeping them flush with great beer. You can be among the first to try their beer tomorrow night at The Joyce at the Crowne Plaza on Queen Street. From 7 – 9 PM, drop in for samples and pints of their Anonymous Amber Ale, Oat Cold Oatmeal Stout, and Pretty Fly for a White IPA, and of course meet the 3Flip crew. More details are available on their FB Event page. Congratulations to Nick and Alicia, and keep an eye on their social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for more beer releases around the capital region, and as they expand their tap accounts. BTW, we updated their Profile with the full details on their launch beers, maybe not a bad time to check it out again/for the first time? 🙂

2 Crows is turning two, and of course they had to go and plan a big party and release a crapload of new beers that someone gets stuck writing up and NO I’M NOT BITTER, OK? All good, it’s all good. And in all seriousness, this party – happening tomorrow – is going to be pretty kick-ass, and the beers are sounding spectacular. Let’s start off with those beers, shall we? All six of these will be released tomorrow at opening:

  • Hollywood (4.6% ABV, 4 IBUs) – Brewed with Pilsner malt and three forms of wheat, this beer was very-lightly hopped with Calypso. Soured with Lactobacillus, and then fermented in one of the brewery’s oak foedres (with both Sacch and Brett strains), it was conditioned for 4 months before they added 150 kg of blood orange puree. They also threw in some Tonka beans, which are highly-coveted, “aromatic seeds of a giant tree from deep in the Amazon rainforest”. Yikes! Along with the character from the blood orange, the beans give notes of “vanilla, marzian, cherry, and almond” to this beer.
  • 408 Months (4.9% ABV, 15 IBUs) – Collaboration with Calgary’s Annex Ale Project, the wort of Pilsner, Spelt, and flaked oats was hopped with two Southern Hemisphere varieties, Enigma and Nelson Sauvin. Fermented in stainless with a white wine yeast strain, it was then fermented again, in a foedre, with a blend of Sacch and Brett strains. Once fermentation was complete, 200 kg of grape pomace (from Benjamin Bridge and L’Acadie Vineyards) was added, giving some tannic character to this bright, funky, slightly tart beer.
  • Brettango (7.9% ABV, 66 IBUs) – This one is a Brett IPA with mango (you may have actually been able to guess that one!), with a grist of Pale malt, Oat malt, CaraVienna, and flaked barley. Heavily-hopped in the hopback with Belma, Hallertau Blanc, and Citra, it was then fermented with Amalgamation, a blend of six different Brett strains. Then came the mango puree, all 225 lbs of it, before a heavy dry hop of Vic Secret and Citra. As expected, it’s tasting very tropical and juicy, with some light funk. It’ll be on tap Saturday, and for sale in cans.
  • Showtime (4.7% ABV) – Another collaboration, this time with Newfoundland’s The Third Place Cocktail Co. The base wort was hopped lightly with Calypso and Bramling Cross, then soured in 2C’s gin barrels with Lactobacillus, and fermented with, you guessed it, a blend of Sacch and Brett strains. After four months, the barrels were blended and transferred to stainless, where TPCC tonic – featuring cinchona bark, citrus, lemongrass, lime leaves, cardamon, lavender, and green tea – was added. Bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for two months, it’s tasting “tart, lively and fun, with subtle juniper, pine, and herbal notes, a light quinine bitterness and a bright lime and citrus kick from the tonic”. Available in bottles, as well as on tap Sunday.
  • Chime (4.9% ABV) – The barrel-aged sour fun continues with Chime, who’s wort made up of a base of Pilsner malt, Spelt, and oats was not boiled. Instead, a touch of Azacca and Galaxy hops were added for a brief, warm whirlpool session, before it was all transferred to stainless for fermentation with a blend of Lactobacillus, Brett, and Sacch strains. Once complete, the beer made its way to Sauvignon Blanc barrels for five months. Fresh lemongrass and pink Himalayan sea salt was added, and then the beer made its way back to stainless again for packaging in bottles with Champagne yeast, where it was allowed to condition for two months. With a surprisingly-full mouthfeel, it’s “lively, fresh, with big Sauv Blanc notes, reinforced with a subtle lemongrass brightness”, and some minerality thanks to the sea salt. In bottles tomorrow, and on tap Sunday.
  • Silence (5.8% ABV) – This beer is a bit of a turn (even for 2 Crows), as it’s a Golden Sour… that is uncarbonated. Aged in one of their foedres, samples taken over time were tasting so good with no carbonation that they decided to package it (in 750 mL wine bottles) just like that. Fans of Belgian styles will recognize that many Lambic beers aren’t carbonated (if you’re thinking of high carbonation, you’re likely thinking of Gueuze, a blend of different years of lambics that is definitely very lively), and will likely be drawn to Silence, which is showing “an assertive tartness, complex minerality, with lemony and herbal notes”. A grand total of 204 bottles will be available tomorrow, and it’ll be on tap Sunday.

They’ll be giving away 100 special anniversary glasses to the first hundred of you that drop in. Lots on tap, three beers for can/bottle pours at the bar, and live music starting at 2 pm and continuing all day (five bands!). Of course, if you plan on hanging around for awhile and having some beers (we hope so, anyway), you’re going to need food. Luckily, Luke from Luke’s Fried Chicken and Highwayman will be on site from 1 pm, serving up four different non-liquid options for your stomach.

In fact, celebrations aren’t just happening Saturday; on Sunday they’ll have some surprise bottle sales (read: some of your favourites from previous releases, so you have a chance to grab some more), and a whopping 13 sour beer on tap. Buttered Bliss will also be around from noon, giving you another chance to grab some tasty munchies. Congrats to 2 Crows on two years of success!

In Amherst, Trider’s Craft Beer is making a habit of keeping three taps on the go featuring beers made in small batches in the 20 – 40 L range, with a new one going on every month or so. Right now they’ve got three such brews on tap and we’ve got the details on all of them. First up is Brewtaur, a Brown IPA weighing in at 5.8% ABV and 55 IBU. With an earthy, “brown” hop profile coming from Willamette and Centennial hops, the brew team focused on making sure that the malt profile of the beer is balanced with the hops, a critical factor for the style. Second, they’ve got Foreign Extra Stout, described as a close relative of Guinness Foreign Extra. At a beefy 7.7% ABV, it’s quite dry, but it’s still got plenty of body. Look for plenty of roasty character and a bit of a boozy kick. And the third small batch tap is currently populated by Saaz Hands, a nice light Czech Pils at 3.9% ABV and 35 or so IBU. As you probably suspected from the name, it’s all Saaz hops from start to finish, lending it a classic Bohemian character. That these small batch beers are available on tap at the brewery only, so if one or more of them tweak your “I gotta try that” bone, best make your way to Trider’s while they last! And keep an eye on their social media (Ig, Tw, Fb) to find out what is going on tap next and when.

Shipwright Brewing Company, Lunenburg’s shiny new little brewery tucked in all cozy cozy with the Grand Banker restaurant, is already starting to make a variety of brews available. This week has already seen a new beer in their First Sail series of very small batches that give the brewers an opportunity to tweak recipes, try new ingredients, and otherwise have some extra fun in the brewery. Lumberjack Dry-hopped Ale was made with Canadian 2-row barley and Simcoe hops before being finished with a dry hop of a new Canadian hop variety called Lumberjack from BC Hop Co. First Sail beers don’t last long and it’s tough to say if this one’s still around, so keep your eyes on SBC’s social media (Ig, Tw, Fb) so you know what they’ve got coming up next in case you fancy a pint or a crowler. And if you’d like to know more about the brewery, be sure to check out the latest episode of the 902BrewCast wherein our intrepid podcasters braved the wilds of the South Shore to get the goods on Lunenburg’s latest hidden gem. You’ll even be able to learn about the latest of their beers to hit the taps yesterday, Tight Quarters IPA, a weighing in at 6.1% ABV and 50 IBU.

Next week’s Betabrew from Good Robot is different than “normal”, at least in terms of the beer’s brew day… it was brewed solo! That’s right, GR’s Kelly Costello had the pilot system all to herself, and brewed up a “Black Ale” named (just to confuse you a little) White Whale. With a grist of 2-row, Chocolate malt, and Flaked Barley, it was hopped with Summit, Vic Secret, and Cascade, to 65 IBUs. Fermented with San Diego Super Yeast, it still comes in at a very-manageable 4.9% ABV, with hints of roast and tropical fruit. Grab some next Tuesday at the taproom. And for Alpha, they’ll be releasing a fresh batch of their Vienna Lager, Infinite Saturday (5% ABV).

Good Robot is also pleased to announce the opening of sign-ups for their third annual FemmeBrew Brewing Competition. Open to all women and woman-identifying home brewers in the region, including first time brewers, the style for this year’s competition is the full BJCP Style #25B category, Saison. That means entrants can brew up a table, standard, or super-strength beer that’s light or dark, and herbs and/or spices can be used as long as they work in harmony with the yeast and other characteristics of the beer. You can check out the full description of the style in the 2015 BJCP Guidelines here. If you’d like to enter, you need to fill out this form by February 20th. You’re then free to brew your best beer and supply a minimum of 4 labeled 341 mL bottles to the brewery by March 2nd. Winners will be announced at the FemmeBot Tap Takeover on March 8th.

TrailWay is sticking with their one-hop Seeing series this week, after just releasing Seeing Double Citra last week. Their latest iteration features Summit, an American hop variety that has been around for about 20 years. A high-alpha acid hop know for its citrus aromas, it was likely used in abundance in Seeing Summit (it is a TrailWay beer, after all), a 6.5% ABV American IPA that the brewery describes as being “full of citrus and stone fruit, but with a solid background of spicy dankness”. It’s in cans at the brewery and a few ANBL stores right now, and should be on tap at the brewery as well, later today.

Dartmouth’s Nine Locks is in a German kinda mood this week with the release of Bock, their take on the Dunkles Bock style, a dark, strong, malty German lager. A variety of malts were used in the brewing of this 6.3% ABV beer, bringing aromas of “fresh-baked bread, with slight fruit overtones”. Copper in colour, it’s medium-to-full bodied, according to the brewery, finishing clean, with enough hop bitterness (25 IBUs) to help the beer from coming across as too sweet. You can stop by the brewery for cans and/or growlers, if you’re so inclined. They’ve also got some of the latest batch of their Pale Ale (5.5% ABV), which has some recipe tweaks to make it “bright, light, and extra refreshing”, with aromas of orange zest and flavours of “grainy malt, orange pith, and a subtle tropical note”.

Plenty of beery things going on in the next couple of weeks in Atlantic Canada; here’s a few you might want to check out:

It’s FROSTival time in Fredericton, a 2 & ½ week period with a wide assortment of events that celebrate winter (wait, what?). But don’t worry, it’s not all about ice sculptures and snow forts (actually, a lot of it isn’t), there’s also a beer/bowling/burger event scheduled by TrailWay for Saturday, February 2nd. Bowling, Beer & Burgs will be held at the brewery’s Bowl-a-Drome; sign up your team of four for $100, which gets you three strings of bowling, a pint of TW beer, and one of several burger options. There are two time slots available (5:30 pm and 9 pm); reserve your spot by calling 506-472-2361.

And continuing with the winter-themed events in Fredericton (what is wrong with these people?) the folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival are putting on an event a week from tomorrow that they’re calling the 2019 Beer Winter Olympics (we suspect the focus there is more on the “beer” part than the “winter” part). From 12 to 3 PM on Saturday, February 2nd, entrants will have the chance to compete in a series of fun, yet challenging events for which Gold, Silver and Bronze placings will be awarded. Even better? Beer is involved! The minimum entrance fee is $40 per person, which includes 3 beer, but the fee is actually a donation to Type One Diabetes Research. Raise more money, get more beer. A cap has been placed on the number of entries, so if you’re interested you might want to get a move on. You can buy a “ticket” here or email frederictonbeer@gmail.com for more details.

Nova Scotia’s South Shore will spend the first two weeks of February celebrating Nova Scotia’s favorite crustacean with the second annual Lobster Crawl. While there will be plenty of events from February 1st to 18th, including Groundhog Day with Lucy the Lobster and the 2019 Best Lobster Roll Challenge, of particular interest to beer lovers will be the Lobster Crawl Craft Beer Festival (Fb) taking place in Bridgewater at the Lunenburg County Lifestyles Centre on February 9th. Three levels of tickets are available, VIP, General and Designated Driver, with VIP ticket holders getting to hit the floor an hour earlier. Organizers have lined up at least 18 breweries, including all your favorites from the South Shore and some from other parts of the province as well. You’ll also find plenty of cider, food options, and some fun and games. Tickets can be purchased online and range in price from $30 to $55. We’d also encourage you to check out the Lobster Crawl site for information about places to stay, restaurants to check out, and all the other events that will be going on over this two-week celebration of everything the South Shore has to offer.

We’re pretty sure we don’t have to tell you that time flies, but when we realized that Hammond River Brewing will be celebrating their 5th Anniversary next month, it hit home even more. To celebrate this milestone, they’re throwing a party on Friday, February 8th at the taproom. As always, there will be plenty of HR beer pouring, but they’re also combining all of their weekly beer specials into the one day, which includes plenty of savings for those of you lucky enough to attend (all beers 50 IBUs+ for $6/pint, all flights $8, etc.). The partying will go on all day and evening, and there will also be live music from 5 pm on. Congrats to the entire Hammond River crew!

It gives us no pleasure to remind you that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but… well, there it is. If you’re not into the typical ways to celebrate Love Day (read: go-karts and petting zoos, or gifts that include items such as Lord Huggington), might we recommend a beer and chocolate pairing? The Ladies Beer League is hosting just that with I Heart Beer at Garrison Brewing on Thursday, February 14th, where there will be five Garrison brews with five carefully-chosen, hand-crafted chocolates from Rousseau Chocolatier. It all starts at 7 pm; tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the event link above.

And, as is tradition, a few items of a brief nature before you get on with your Friday:

Moncton’s Grand Monk has brewed up something new and special for the FLASH festival, happening February 15-16th. In the meantime, you can catch a sneak preview of Grand Monkster Flash, a Kolsch, which will be debuting on tap tonight at the Pink Flamingos Cabaret/Lounge.

If you’re in the Oromocto, NB area and looking for more morALE Brewsters beer in your life, stop by Mingler’s Pub tonight for the brewery’s debut there on tap. Along with beer, they’ll have live music and prizes for the winning.

Niche Brewing has brought back Single Origin again, their Coffee Sweet Stout with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from local roastery Jonnie Java. At 5% ABV, it’s dark, smooth and slightly creamy, with just enough sweetness to balance the coffee. You’ll be able to find it at regular Niche tap accounts and we’ve heard that a keg is also going to be at Stillwell in Halifax in the near future (along with Zeste and Enkel).

Port Rexton has brought back Mixed Opportunity, a 5.8% ABV Saison fermented with Fruit Bomb Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. The beer is then conditioned with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, resulting plenty of “fruity, spicy, Farmhouse flavours”. Look for the beer in cans at both the brewery and St. John’s retail shop, and on tap at the taproom.

Propeller has somehow managed to find some space in their Gottingen Street location to include an old school arcade and they’re pleased to announce its grand opening next Thursday, January 31st! Featuring some sweet pinball tables and cabinets, both new and old, we’re happy to say it appears to run on quarters — no stupid tokens or ridiculous swipe cards here. It’ll be open Thursday to Sunday nights on the regular, with league nights on Mondays. You can see a sneak preview video and get more info on the Instagram page. Craft beer and pinball; you can’t go wrong.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox has a new beer out today, a Scotch Ale just in time for Rabbie Burns Day. Called Whiskey Jack, we’re not sure of the ABV, but we can tell you that it’s been sitting in a Glenora Distillery single malt whisky barrel for some time, lending it notes of vanilla, toffee and caramel, with peat smoke and oak rounding out the sensory experience. There’s a limited amount on tap, but they’ve also packaged this one for sale in 750 mL bottles, perfect for grabbing one (or more) to take home and pair with your haggis.

Up in Sussex, NB, Sussex Ale Works has a brand new NE IPA kegged this week. Hop To It was made in limited quantities and was tapped on Wednesday, so if you’re looking to get a hop fix for the weekend best make your way there in short order.

Unfiltered has Danko returning today; their Simcoe single-hopped DIPA weighs in at 7.5% ABV, and is chock-full of all of those delicious piney and dank Simcoe-derived flavours that you know and love. Available at the brewery today for pints, growler fills, and in cans.

Happy mid-January! Now that the spill-over cheers (and hangovers) from the Holidays have subsided, it’s back to business as usual for the breweries in our region. That means more new beer releases and catching up on the crush of folks buying beer as gifts for family, or drinking to avoid them. Let’s kick off this week’s round up in Newfoundland this week, which we assure you has nothing/everything to do with acbbchris taking a visit to the Rock and getting to meet up with some of the friendliest people anywhere!

Let’s kick off the Newfoundland Beer News with a visit to Port Rexton Brewing. They are debuting their second-ever lager this week, and are keeping with a simple name, Craft Lager. Crispy lager fans unite, as this one ticks all of the boxes: herbal and earthy notes from Northern Brewer in the boil and Hallertauer Mittelfrüh in the whirlpool, on a dry and refreshing base built with pale malts, fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager yeast. This is the same yeast that PRBC used in their Long Trek Helles, released last month. This 5.1% ABV crushable beer is currently on tap at the brewery taproom (reminder that it is open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the winter, 4 – 10 PM), as well as their St. John’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road this weekend. And in upcoming PRBC beer news, they are deep in plans for the latest brewing of their Next Generation 2019 beer, a collaboration with the Class of 2018 Newfoundland breweries. Look for this beer to be released late Winter/early Spring. And in future-future plans for Port Rexton, they are looking to increase their brewing operation in Port Rexton significantly, by opening a second production facility. With their current brewery maxing out their space, a second brewhouse just off of Highway 230 in Port Rexton will allow them to keep up with demand at the brewery, retail location, and now NLC, where they have 6 products across the province. Construction and opening is still months away, but a real sign of the success of local business and breweries in the province!

Good news for those of you in Mount Pearl, or nearby: Landwash Brewery on Commonwealth Drive is restocked with cans and growlers this weekend. One Wave Blonde Ale and That Much Ocean New England IPA are available in both growlers and cans, with growlers (and cans soon) of their Brackish Sour Ale also available. All three, plus their Hazure’s Rock Stout with coffee are available at their taproom for enjoyment onsite. And with the Saucy Mouth foodtruck set up in the brewery, there’s not much need to go anywhere else! And to help keep up with the great demand for beer, Landwash is hiring a full-time production assistant. Packaging assistance, cleaning, equipment maintenance, cleaning, stocking shelves, cleaning, ingredient preparation, and more cleaning are the key tasks for this position, with the possibility of moving to the production side in the future. Experience in the industry as well as a valid forklift license are assets to keep in mind. Reach out with a cover sheet and resume via email to start/continue your job in the brewing industry!

And great news for beer fans in Conception Bay South, as Ninepenny Brewing on the CBS Highway near Manuels River is chugging along, getting closer and closer to opening their brewery and taproom. As the finishing steps are being completed in the taproom, they are looking to hire staff to come aboard and help open the doors. They have job openings right now for an Assistant Brewer and Front End Staff. The Assistant Brewer will help with the beer production, packaging, maintenance and troubleshooting, as well as all of that aforementioned cleaning! Front End Staff will be responsible for working in the taproom tending bar, filling growlers, merchandise, etc. Postings for both positions are open for the next week, and should be responded to with a resume and cover sheet via email.

Let’s head back to the mainland and Saint John, New Brunswick, where Loyalist City has launched their first new beer of 2019, Trap Setter. An 8.7% ABV, 68 IBUs Winter Warmer, it was brewed with a variety of both British and Belgian malts, giving the beer a “wonderful fruity aroma of raisin and dark plum”, to go with a touch of floral hops, as well as flavours of “sweet malt, and subtle toasted notes”. Full-bodied, with a light carbonation, expect a bit of warmth from the high alcohol as it’s going down, typical for the style. Grab a pint of this mahogany-coloured brew at your favourite LC tap account; you’ll even be able to take home a growler in the near future, when kegs hit the ANBL growler program.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has another funky beer hitting the taps today, after the great success of their El Dorado Brett IPA we told you about earlier in the month. Golden Brett is a 6.5% ABV pale farmhouse beer, that started with a simple malt bill, including lots of wheat to enhance the grain/cereal flavour. A secondary fermentation with Brett Vrai yeast leads to a complex beer with plenty of barnyard, earth, and spice character, with a dry finish. Grab a sample or pint at the Propeller tasting room today! And in the basement of their Gottingen location, Propeller is opening the first “brewcade” in HRM. Propeller Arcade features more than a dozen classic pinball and arcade games in a cozy space, perfect for passing an afternoon or evening reliving the glory days of the bowling alley arcade. A full complement of Propeller beers will be pouring to keep your whistle wet. The Arcade is slated to open next weekend, with a Halifax Pinball-sponsored knock-out event kicking off the opening. Stay turned to PA’s Instagram for all of the details!

Just outside Fredericton, NB, in Hanwell, Niche Brewing has another beer to bring you, a mixed-fermentation pong to last week’s hoppy ping. Zeste was fermented with Niche’s own house culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains before aging for 2 months in stainless steel and then finishing on a blend of lemon, lime and grapefruit zest. Bright and tart, with aspects of the fruit shining through, this is a low-ABV in the saison style, coming in at 4%, perfect for a light and refreshing break from the heavier beers that tend to dominate in the winter months. So if you’re looking for a break from the barleywines, Russian imperial stouts and winter warmers, you’ll want to seek this one out. Look for it soon at The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Sussex Ale Works, Au Bootlegger, and at the Radisson in Hanwell. And Nova Scotia Niche fans take note, a keg of this one is expected to get to Stillwell along with a keg of their Patersbier, Enkel.

The folks at Off Track Brewing are happy to share the news on their first DIPA, Let’s Dance. Before we get into the nitty gritty details, a warning that this was an experimental batch, with only a few kegs packaged… meaning that it’s gone already. However, they’re brewing more of it next week, so let’s tell you about it for when it’s available again! The simple grain bill (featuring a portion of Maris Otter to give “slight bready notes”) allows the blend of Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra hops to bring forth their mighty flavours of citrus, tropical fruit, and pine. Quite bitter at 93 IBUs, they kept the ABV low, at 6.8%, meaning arguments are sure to ensue about whether it’s an IPA, or DIPA. Have at it!

Back to Fredericton, where TrailWay is releasing a souped-up version of one of their past American IPAs, Seeing Citra. As you may have expected, Seeing Double Citra is the DIPA take on the first beer, coming it at 8% ABV and with higher hop rates, according to the brewery. If you’re a fan of the Citra hop (and we assume that most of you hopheads are), this is the brew for you, as it’s a single showcase bonanza of the American variety, featuring lots of “pungent, tropical mango”. As always, available on tap and in cans at the brewery, starting today, with some local accounts pouring it over the coming days.

If all the new Winter Warmers, big Stouts, and other “winter-friendly” beers has got you overwhelmed, we’d like to point out that Chester’s Tanner & Co. Brewing has a refreshing counter-punch that they’ve got hitting taps and shelves this week. Helles is a Munich Helles, a malt-forward Lager that has more flavour than your typical American Light Lager, but with not too much more alcohol. T&C’s version is light-gold coloured, “mildly hopped” to just 18 IBUs, and weighs in at 5.4% ABV. They fermented it cool, giving the beer enough lagering time to allow it to condition properly, resulting in “a clean bread and light biscuit flavour, balanced by a touch of bitterness”. It’s on tap at the brewery, and should be available in bottles now, as well.

The number of Scratch beers from Grimross has been on the rise lately, with #17 hitting taps this week. Scratch #17: Multigrain Farmhouse Ale was brewed with a blend of Spelt, Golden Naked Oats, as well as flaked and malted Rye, Wheat, and Barley. Hopped with noble varieties, and fermented with the brewery’s house Farmhouse yeast, the final product is “warming and floral, with a balancing hop bitterness, and aromas of citrus, stonefruit, and pepper”. It comes in at a fairly-hefty 6.7% ABV (and 28 IBUs), and is on tap right now at the brewery for pints and growlers. Cans should be available for sale next week (at Grimross and select ANBL stores), and kegs should be hitting local accounts soon as well.

If you’re not a fan of hops, and live in Halifax, shame on you! Oh wait, sorry, we meant to say we have good news for you. Good Robot will be releasing No-Hop-Scotch, their take on the hopless Gruit style, for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew. Brewed with Pale malt, Cara 30, Honey malt, and Peat-smoked malt, the orange-red wort was further flavoured with meadowsweet, heather tips, and lavender (herbs are used in place of hops in Gruits). Once fermentation was complete, elderflower cordial and a touch of rose water were added. You’re probably wondering what this 4.5% ABV brew tastes like… well, you only have a few more days before you can find out for yourself, right at the source! As for next week’s Alpha, that’ll be the return of Leave Me Blue (5% ABV).

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a new IPA available this week. Batch #258 is a 6.5% American IPA with a wide spectrum of flavour and aromatics from the massive amount of hops added throughout the boil and in dry-hopping, including Citra, Ekuanot, and Chinook. Billed by the brewery as a slightly more bitter take on their flagship, Freezing Spray, the grist was kept fairly simple, with 2-row, Wheat, Cara 40 and Carapils, all the better to let those wonderful hop varieties shine through. Pop by their brewery taproom for a pint this weekend! And while there, check out the return of their Golden Horse DIPA, which was fermented with Vermont Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs this go-around.

We’ve talked on and off over the past couple of years about Sociable!, a documentary about the craft beer business in Nova Scotia. It’s been a long time coming, but the final product is now complete, and available to watch online… for free! Featuring interviews with many of your favourite local brewers, it’s definitely worth checking out. Have a watch (or three) here, and congrats to Chris and Helen on all of their hard work!

As usual, there’s beery things going on around the region this weekend and beyond that you might wish to check out:

A quick reminder that Hill Top Hops in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, is holding their Grand Opening tomorrow. Located at 7232 Hwy 14 beside the Tidal Bore Farm Market, they will be pouring the six beers brewed onsite with the hops grown at their nearby hop farm. The fun kicks off at noon and goes all day. In case you missed it, learn more about Hill Top Hops from the Profile we published yesterday.

It’s a bittersweet time for North Brewing – while they’re no doubt excited to be moving to their new production facility at 899 Portland St. in Dartmouth, they can’t help but be sad to be leaving their first “home” on Agricola St., where their brewery has been located for the last six years. As they’re now about to leave, they’re throwing a Farewell Party for all of their North End supporters, on Thursday, January 24th, at Gus’ Pub. Starting at 8 pm, there’ll be live music (featuring two bands, each of which include a North employee), food giveaways from Taco Lina’s, specials on beer, and merch freebies! No cost to attend, just show up for a good time… and keep a stiff upper lip!

We’re not ones to simply tease events without a whole lot of info (ok, maybe we do that SOMEtimes), but the 2 Crows 2nd Anniversary Party is next weekend (January 26th and 27th). We’ve done a little chatting with them… and oh boy, they’ve got some great things planned! We have to keep mum on the finer details right now, but we will be releasing them soon (as will they, of course). Rest assured there’ll be lots of beer (including six new packaged beers, and lots of fun stuff on tap), food, live music…you get the idea. Good times! In the meantime, they’ve told us you *might* want to show up at the brewery this Sunday when they open at noon. That’s all we got for ya, sorry! Whups!! While it’s always a good idea to show up at noon on Sunday at 2 Crows to get a seat, nothing particularly special is happening this coming Sunday, just the usual lineup of excellent beers. Next Sunday on the other hand, well, you might even want to get there a little early. 😘

Are you a fan of offal? If you’re not, you may not be any closer to becoming one once you find out what it means. Ok, we’ll tell you – offal is the “entrails and internal organs of an animal, used as food”. But some people think of it as quite the delicacy, and they’ll likely be psyched to hear that Good Robot has paired with RumbleFish Food Co. and the Black Sheep Restaurant to present Offal Night on Monday, January 28th. Black Sheep head chef Steph Ogilvie has put together a four-course meal that can definitely be described as “interesting”, no matter your feelings on whether offal is delicious, or….. or….. I’m not going to say “awful”, that’s too Dad-like. You get the idea; check out the event link for a detailed menu. The meal is $55 + tax, and each dish will be paired with a different Good Robot beer. There will be two seatings (early evening, later evening), and reservations can be made through John at 902-293-5282 or rumblefishfoodco@gmail.com.

And a few more quick mentions before you get on with your day:

Boxing Rock has a new release from their Test Kitchen at Local Source Market, Dr Deluxe’s Apple Pie Amber Ale. Brewed in collaboration with Matthew from Local Source Market, dried apple slices were added to the secondary, enhancing the apple pie experience. Grab a growler of it today!

Garrison Brewing has a new beer debuting today in their retail shop. We told you about the A Thief in the Night event last week, and now one of the beer that attendees were able to preview is now available to the general public. The Cherry Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wintervention is a beer years in the making, as it was brewed in 2017, and has been aging in Bourbon barrels, with cherries added, for almost two years. This 11.0% ABV beer is available at their retail store now, at $15.95 for a 650 mL bottle. Keep your eyes open for more treatments of Wintervention set to hit the shelves in their 2019 Cellar Series.

PEI Brewing Company and Gahan have a new beer on tap these days, the latest in their After Hours series. Hoppy Brett is a 5.0% ABV pale farmhouse beer, fermented with a blend of Escarpment Labs’ Brett D and Brett Q, the first time they’ve fermented exclusively with Brettanomyces. Enhancing the fruit and funky flavour and aroma is a dry-hopping addition of Mosaic. Grab it at PEIBC and all of the Gahan locations, as well as a few favourite bars in the region.

And in great news for the thirsty crowd in Miramichi, new brewery Timber Ship now has their full complement of beer pouring at The Piping Plover Gastropub in town. Drop in for some food and their Ballast Island Blonde, Broken Paddle Pale Ale, Dungarvon Hopper IPA, and/or Miramichi Irish Red. Looking for a reminder on those beers and the Timber Ship story? Check out their Profile we published last week. And keep your eyes peeled here and on their social media for their Launch Party happening at the Plover next weekend.