Noble Grape

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Welcome to March, when Mother Nature is making up her mind on whether to shine, snow, or rain (or all three)… Plenty of brand new beers and events to tell you about this week, spanning all four Atlantic Provinces. Let’s get right to it!

• There’s plenty going on in the world of Good Robot over this next week… so much, in fact, that we were thinking of making it a Good Robot-only post! Especially since all of the new beers being released were designed by the FemmeBots in the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8th. Let’s start things off with a brand new Alpha Brew, We’re Not Bitter. A Black Lager, it was brewed with Pilsner, Munich Dark, and “pure feminine rage”. Despite that, it’s described as creamy and smooth, with a good amount of roasted character. This one weighs in at 5.3% ABV and 26 IBUs.

• Let’s move on to the Beta Brews, of which there are three being released on a daily basis, starting March 6th. On that day we’ll see Blood, Sweat, and Cheers, a 5.1% ABV Blood Orange Witbier brewed by the two Kellys (Costello and Lucas). Following on the 7th is One Tuff Mother, brewed by Linda and Elaine Tuff. This one is a citrusy American Pale Ale, brewed with a simple grist of 2-row and Vienna malt, and hopped “gently” with Tettnang, to 19 IBUs. After some thought, the pair decided to dry-hop the 4.6% ABV beer with Zythos, and add some Sweet Orange Peel to boost the citrus character even more. Finally, the releases culminate on the 8th with Treat Her Like A Lady, which actually made its first appearance just a couple of weeks ago. To refresh your memory, it’s a 4.7% ABV Porter featuring Honey malt and real, local honey. You’ll be able to find all three of these beers at GR from March 6th-8th, but that’s not all! In further celebration of women in the brewing industry, the taproom will be pouring beers from other brewing ladies in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick! Watch GR’s social media thingies for teasers of which beers you can expect. And on March 7th, the winner of their Femmebrew Competition will be announced, so look for that result as well.

• Actually, speaking of guest Femmebot beers, we can give you some info on one of them. Tidehouse co-owner Shannon Higgins brewed up a tasty number for the event, Hibiscus City. A kettle-soured Gose with additions of hibiscus and lime, it’s a “refreshingly tart beer with a balance of saltiness, and a major blast of lime”. Very drinkable at just 4.5% ABV, there are only two kegs in existence, so make sure to check it out on tap at Good Robot! But for those of us who just don’t like to wait, there is a limited number of bottles available today at the brewery when it opens at 2PM.

• Today, North Brewing will be releasing their latest beer, a collaboration brewed with Braden Nelson and Sean Clancey of local band Moonwake, in honour of the release of their EP, “Placement”. The beer – named, appropriately, enough, Moonwake – is a 5% ABV, 29 IBUs American Brown Ale. With tasting notes that include “hazelnut, roast, cocoa, and pine”, it’s available today both on tap and in cans. In fact, those lucky enough to be at the band’s release show last night at the Carleton were treated to a sneak peak! If you plan on picking up some cans, be sure to scan the QR code on the side, which will link you to the band’s EP and play songs for you. Ain’t technology grand?

• Speaking of collaborations, you may remember us talking about a beer being brewed by 2 Crows and the fine people at Bishop’s Cellar (no, we didn’t not use the word “fine” with 2 Crows because we don’t think they’re fine, what’s wrong with you? Sheesh!). Well, that delightful beer is being released tomorrow, so no more waiting! Passion Trip really DOES sound delightful – it’s a sour beer brewed with passion fruit, lactose, and vanilla. The grist is made up mostly of Pilsner and Wheat malt, with a bit of Flaked Oats and raw wheat thrown in to help boost that mouthfeel. After souring with Lactobacillus plantarum, it was then fermented very warm to help promote overripe mango flavours. Dry-hopped with Citra during fermentation, and then more Citra and Galaxy afterwards, it was conditioned with a “ridiculous” amount of passion fruit, and vanilla beans. If you’re not drooling now, there’s something wrong with you. Described by 2C as “tart, fuzzy, creamy, and smooth, with huge tropical fruit notes”, the beer weighs in at a cool 4.7% ABV… and 0 IBUs. You’ll be able to pick up cans at both Bishop’s and 2 Crows, and it’ll also be pouring at the Craft Beer Cottage Party tomorrow as well.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has a brand new beer hitting the taps, and it’s a unique one. While there have been plenty of dark beers featuring coffee in our region over the past couple years, including browns, porters, and stouts, there have only been a few that have paired that flavour with a light-bodied beer. Enter Mean Joe Bean, a light and crushable coffee blonde ale featuring Morning Mantra coffee from Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters in Lunenburg.. Although it’s yellow and “clear as anything”, it still boasts a massive coffee aroma and flavour. Truly lightweight at only 4.2% ABV, you can definitely feel free to have a couple and really savour the coffee flavour. It will make its first appearance at the Craft Beer Cottage Party (where Trider’s will be defending their Best Booth title from last year) and then will be available in bottles at their store and their usual market locations. And while you should be surprised if kegs make appearance at accounts around HRM, don’t sleep on it: only one batch has been made for now.

• You might remember last year’s Collaboration Ale, a product of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia, brewed last spring to celebrate the convivial atmosphere of craft brewing in Nova Scotia and released in time for Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week. Well it’s that time of year again and sure enough another beer is being brewed – #nscraftbeer social media was awash on Wednesday with photos of the brew day at Tatamagouche Brewing where a collection of brewers from across the province brewed a beer called Made Here By Us. Few details have been released to this point (we all love a little suspense) but we do know that it’s being fermented with the unique Scotia Sauvage yeast strain isolated at Big Spruce. The beer will be available at the NSLC and all profits will go towards funding NS craft beer initiatives. We’ll have more information as release approaches or whenever we can get someone who participated drunk enough to talk!!

• Up in Fredericton, or just outside in Hanwell if we’re being pedantic about it, Niche Brewing is releasing another new brew, a showcase of their love for farmhouse ales. Ethos was made in the classic Saison style, but also features the characteristics of a Brettanomyces fermentation thanks to the use of the Amalgamation 6-strain culture to a classic French Saison yeast. This 6.3% ABV pale-hued beer saw late-hopping with Huell Melon in the kettle and a “light” dry-hop of German Hallertauer for a whiff of cantaloupe alongside a balanced presentation of spicy phenolics and fruity esters, all buoyed by a light barnyard character and culminating in a dry finish. You’ll find this one at tap accounts in Fredericton and Moncton, and don’t be surprised if a keg is tapped at one of the FCBF sessions (our magic eight ball suggests the evening session would be good bet).

• Sticking with New Brunswick’s capital, and why not, seeing as how that’s where all the fun is going to be next week, Trailway has another new release today, this one a fruit-forward Double IPA they’re calling In the Mist. Over 100lbs of pink guava went into this beer alongside some fresh lime zest, and we’ve been advised that the result is extremely flavourful. Tropical El Dorado hops provide background complexity to a dangerously smooth beer that packs an 8% ABV punch. Look for it in cans and available for fills and pints at the brewery as of opening today. And speaking of Trailway, they’re on the hunt for a cellarperson; if you’re into Atlantic Canadian craft beer and are considering making your career in the industry in this region, check out the job posting here.

Maybee Brewing is following last week’s new beer release with another one, Brett de Mars. Fans of European beer styles will almost certainly recognize the name as a play on Biere de Mars, a sub-type of probably the most well-known French style of beer, Biere de Garde. While Biere de Garde was traditionally brewed in early spring and kept cellared at cool temperatures for consumption in warmer weather, Biere de Mars was brewed in March (Mars) to drink relatively fresh. Maybee took a different spin altogether with their interpretation, fermenting it with a Saccharomyces strain, as well as a Brettanomyces strain. Fairly strong at 7.2% ABV, it has “notes of banana, bubble gum, a noble hop spice, and clove, with a punch of fruity and earthy Brett funk”, and finishes quite dry. It’s available on tap at the brewery now, with bottles coming sometime next week.

Upstreet is releasing another entry in their Million Acres series today, Wild Blueberry Imperial IPA. The focus here is on, as you may have expected, blueberries. Local, wild blueberry juice was added to the beer, which was hopped entirely with the blueberry-forward Mosaic. Pouring a “golden blue” colour, expect aromas of “blueberry, grapefruit and pine”. Highly carbonated, it finishes dry and fairly bitter, with perhaps a touch of alcohol warmth thanks to the 8.5% ABV. It’s being released today at the brewery at noon, where it will be available on tap for pours, or in bottles to go.

• From one Island to Another, the Port Rexton Brewing retail spot on Torbay Road will be open once again this afternoon, distributing cans and growler fills of their Chasing SunT-Rex Porter, and Baycation Blonde, as well as a brand new collaboration release, Next Generation. Brewed with Twillingate’s Split Rock, this 5.4% Saison was brewed with lots of Strisselspalt hops in the boil, and then dry-hopped with two rounds of Citra, for a citrus, floral, and lightly spicy Belgian beer. Future releases under the Next Generation moniker will feature fellow Newfoundland breweries that have opened in the previous year, sharing stories and “promoting positive vibes all around”. Grab cans today from 4-8PM and tomorrow 12-6PM.

• The folks at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co are celebrating a collaboration brew of their own this weekend, brewed with the North Shore’s own Tatamagouche Brewing. Atlantic Pale Ale is in the American Pale Ale style, featuring 100% Atlantic-grown grains (both barley and rye), malted onsite at HR. With classic American hops Amarillo and Chinook throughout, and finishing at 5.9% ABV. Celebration for the launch of the beer will happen tomorrow at the Horton Ridge taproom, during an event called Weekend at the Shore. From noon, drop by for pints (and for the first time, cans) of APA, as well as three other Tata beers on tap (with enough stock to last the whole weekend, we’ve been advised!), plus snacks from the shore courtesy of Select Seafood (who will also have fish for sale). And from 3-5PM, the Space Bog Paddy People will be entertaining the crowd with their Irish music.

• Homebrewers in the region will be excited to hear of a brand new brewing competition being held by Horton Ridge in partnership with Noble Grape. Horton Ridge has a brand new very aromatic malt they’re calling “Newdale” and they want to give home brewers the first crack at turning it into delicious beer. The Horton Ridge Malt House Open is $25 to enter and welcomes amateur competitors to enter beers containing at least 70% Newdale malt, with no more than 50 IBU, and with no sour or wild fermentations allowed. These guidelines will ensure that the entered beers will truly showcase this new malt variety. This will be a BJCP certified competition with the winners announced at an awards ceremony on May 12th. According to the contest info, Newdale malt is available for purchase at the Burnside, Oxford Street, Bayers Lake, Kingston, Coldbrook, and Fredericton Noble Grape locations, but we highly recommend calling ahead to ensure your preferred store has some in stock before heading over. Homebrewers, start your brew kettles, and submit your beer by April 20th!

Lots on the go these next couple of weeks, here’s a few details:

• A reminder that Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill is hosting their first Showcase Night this evening, starting at 6PM. Featuring a friendly head-to-head of Myld Stallyns, a Dark English Mild brewed with local homebrewer Ian Dares, the beer will be available in kegged format as well as cask-conditioned, an ode to the traditional serving format of the style. And when you drop by, be sure to wish the Lunn’s Mill crew a happy birthday, as they opened March 2nd, 2017. And continue the LM love by downloading the latest episode of the 902BrewCast, as Mark and Sean sat down with the boys for a chat.

• As has been their wont one weekend in late winter/early spring over the past couple years, Big Spruce is doing a tap takeover at Bishop’s Cellar this weekend, and amongst the bounty they’re bringing is a brand new beer. Brewed as a collaboration with the folks from Tool Shed Brewing in Calgary, Six Borders was described to us (ironically? we couldn’t even tell) as “tropical pineapple yum sauce”. It’s a Northeastern IPA featuring the Waimea, Mosaic and Citra hop varieties, including a massive dry hop. Tipping the scales at 6.3% ABV and 40ish IBU, it’ll be vying for belle of the ball honours from 1 – 4PM both Saturday and Sunday alongside Thrice Wild Ale, Whole 9 Yards Scotch Ale, Chamba Cherry Vanilla Milkshake IPA, and Blood Donair Imperial Stout with Raspberries. They’ll also be sampling cans of Better Git’er India Black IPA, Kitchen Party Pale Ale and Tim’s Dirty IPA.

• As we wrote about a couple weeks ago, and have alluded to a couple of times here in today’s post, tomorrow is the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia‘s annual Craft Beer Cottage Party at the Seaport Market on the Halifax waterfront. As we understand it, some tickets are still available for unlimited samples from 35 breweries and cideries from NS (and a few from beyond our borders). Live music, great food and plenty of beer are on the menu, so put on your best “dreaming of summer” face on and come out to play with the plaid-clad crew.
• Only one week to go till the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, March 10th! While tickets for both the afternoon and evening sessions are sold out, there are plenty of events going on in Fredericton during the days leading up to the main event:

Tuesday, March 6thLet’s Talk Beer, held at the King Street Ale House at 7 PM, will be a general kick-off to the week. Stop in to chat beer, with Niche Brewing on tap for Happy Hour prices all evening. There will also be FCBF swag for sale, so you can pick yours up ahead of time!
Wednesday, March 7th – the James Joyce and the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection are hosting Island Invasion!, a tap takeover with all five PEI breweries participating. It starts at 6 PM, with no cost to attend… just pay by the flight or pint.
Thursday, March 8th – back to the King Street Ale House for the Down East Tap Takeover & Trivia Night. Starting at 5 PM, 32 taps at the bar will be dedicated to breweries from Nova Scotia and Maine. And starting at 7 PM, your friends at the ACBB will be hosting yet another year of trivia! We promise great prizes (in the form of brewery swag), hard-to-hear and sometimes overly-difficult questions, and just a general blend of overall goodness. It’s fun! While you don’t need tickets to attend the tap takeover or trivia, you CAN pre-purchase tickets ($27.39 each) for the tap takeover, which gets you ten 5 oz sample pours.
– Thursday, March 8th – if you’re not into trivia, you just don’t think you can handle a couple hours of Chris’ handsomeness, or you’re going but you’re not ready for your night to be over after flexing your beer knowledge, also on Thursday night there will be a tap takeover by PEI Brewing Company & Gahan at The Snooty Fox. They’ll be featuring $5 pints from 12 taps, with Keith Hallet providing live music from 9 PM to 12 AM.
Friday, March 9th – if you missed out on tickets for FCBF, or just want to spread the party out more, you can still buy tickets to Newbie Night. Held from 6-9 PM at the Fredericton Convention Centre, your $62.20 ticket will get you a glass and unlimited samples from up to 12 of the newest breweries in Atlantic Canada.

• For those of you in Newfoundland unable to attend the FCBF, the fine folks at White Hills Resort (just outside of Clarenville) are hosting BrewSKI next weekend, March 9-11. A full weekend of #NfldCraftBeer events, including an ’80s Night on Friday, Beer Yoga, Cooking with Beer, Beer 101 all on Saturday, and a Brewer’s Breakfast Sunday morning. Of course, the highlight of the weekend is Saturday night’s Beer Festival, with beers flowing from six Newfoundland Craft breweries: Bootleg Brew Co (Corner Brook), Port Rexton (Port Rexton), Quidi Vidi (St. John’s), Split Rock (Twillingate), Storm (Mt. Pearl), and YellowBelly (St. John’s). Your $59 ticket will get your first 12 samples, a souvenir pint glass, and live entertainment all night. Or you can opt for the all-in weekend pass for just $119. Either way, grab your tickets here!

A few more beers and news items before you head out:

Garrison Brewing has released the 2018 edition of their Ol’ Fog Burner Barleywine this week, and the 11.3% ABV beer is available in 650ml bottles at the brewery now.
– In addition to the tasty treats listed above, Good Robot also released another beer this week, one that’s possibly equally bad for your arteries and your liver: All You Can Eat Coconut IPA. Get those saturated fats into ya!
– Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing has a new beer pouring this week… Hoppy Wheat is a 5.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, lightly hopped with Mosaic, concentrating on tropical and fruity aromas, rather than bitterness, as the goal.
Meander River has brought back their Black IPA, known as Shiner. Look for it at the brewery in bottles and available for fills.
– Those who look forward every year to the release of PropellerIrish Red need wait no longer; the beer is now available for fills and pints at both locations. Look for bottles to appear in the next week or so and also at the FCBF next week. If you’re a lover of this beer you’d best act fast, though, only a limited quantity has been produced.
Spindrift Brewing in Burnside came with not one, but two beers in their 7th Wave series this week. Assuming they didn’t disappear yesterday afternoon, look for Show Me the Honey Ale, an amber that features a sweet malt body and smooth finish, and Lukey’s bOatmeal Stout, a smooth-bodied, bold and dark beer with a major roasted character, and a crisp, medium bitter finish.
– And finally, yesterday Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax made it known that they’re not taking the court’s decision laying down. They’ve announced their intention to appeal the decision against their case that the Retail Sales Markup Allocation is an unconstitutional tax levied by an arm’s-length agency with no mandate to tax.

Well, we knew crowing last week about how much it had slowed down would come back to haunt us… and haunt us, it has (just think how much more clever that would have sounded if Halloween was today instead of earlier in the week)! With news and events bringing us into the world of 4,000+ words again, there’s a lot for all of you to get caught up with, including news on two breweries opening their doors. Get comfortable, grab something to sip on, and let’s get to it!

• The Gahan House has officially opened their newest location, Gahan Port City, in Saint John, NB. Located at 87 Prince William St., the 7 bbl (~800 L) brewhouse came to the city from the now-closed Rogues Roost brewpub in Halifax. With three 7 bbl fermenters and three direct draw serving tanks, the aim for the brewery is to have three seasonal taps pouring, with a wide variety of brews available, to complement the standard PEIBC/Gahan brews. While the brewhouse is not yet online, we expect the SJ-brewed beers to be available in December. Experimentation will be key! Expect collaborations with local businesses and other breweries as well. We’ll keep you up to date on all of their future endeavours, including a Q&A with Head Brewer Spencer Gallant once his beer is flowing.

• In more newly-opened news, Copper Bottom Brewing, located on Main Street Montague, PEI, officially opens today at 4 pm! Their beautiful new taproom will be open for growler fills and pints, with their first two core beers pouring: Centennial Stock Blonde Ale and Broadside APA. Centennial Stock is a 4.9% ABV, entry-level beer brewed with a simple grist of equal parts 2-row and Maris Otter, and hopped with some late-addition Centennial to just 13 IBUs. Broadside is heavily-hopped after the boil is complete, and dry-hopped, to lend some “citrus, grapefruit, and pine” flavours. From Saturday on, Copper Bottom will be open daily from noon to midnight, with live music playing a central role every Saturday. Their first musical event will start tomorrow, with musician Dave Gunning performing at 7:30 pm (get your tickets here). Look for their official grand-opening party to occur later this month. More news to come, but in the meantime, you can check out our Profile of Copper Bottom!

• Those who’ve been waiting with bated breath for news of the first mixed fermentation release from Stillwell Brewing got a pleasant surprise yesterday when it was announced via Instagram that the upcoming Bar Stillwell 4th Birthday Party on November 18th would feature the first pours of Stillwell Four, a tart and effervescent 6.2% ABV farmhouse ale that was matured in a single Sauvignon Blanc barrel. Even better, the day after that party you’ll be able to head down to the brewery (located at the back of Propeller Brewing’s Gottingen location) and purchase bottles to go. And even more better than that, the following weeks will see three additional bottle releases. The Four isn’t expected to be available anywhere outside of the bar and the brewery, so you’ll maybe want to make some plans to head to Gottingen Street on November 19th. And meanwhile, if you’re looking for a feast for your craft beer curiosity, look for East Coast Crafted, a book written by Bar Stillwell and Stillwell Brewing guy Christopher Reynolds and Halifax-based editor, journalist and craft beer fanatic Whitney Moran, to make the city on or about November 28th. We’ll have more details as that official availability date approaches.

• A lot has changed for Hammond River Brewing since they opened almost four years ago, but their homebrew competition continues! The Fourth Annual Homebrew Competition is now open to all homebrewers in the Maritimes, and they’re looking for your best European beer. That’s right, any European style can be entered, ranging from Continental Pilsner to English IPA, Berliner Weisse to Altbier, and beyond! With a registration fee of just $10, you can enter up to three different beers for judging by certified BJCP judges. Prizes will be awarded to the top three beers, with the gold-winning beer being brewed on HR’s new 15 bbl (~1750 L) brewhouse (with you assisting, of course!). Full competition details can be viewed here; if you’re interested, fill out your form and have your beers sent in by February 2nd; judging will take place on February 4th. And speaking of competition winners, last year’s winning beer in the HR comp is now available on tap at the brewery. Black River Milk Stout is a 6.8% ABV Milk Stout that was originally brewed by Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, who recently helped owner/brewer Shane Steeves replicate the recipe on his system. Drop by the brewery today to give it a try!

• Let’s keep rolling with the homebrew competition theme with one with a bit of a twist: Noble Grape is once again offering up their annual cider group buy, which gives home makers a bucket of freshly-pressed apples from a local producer. This year, they are partnering with the folks at Bulwark to allow customers a chance to use a special blend designed by Bulwark’s Alexandra Beaulieu. If you follow the included ingredients and instructions, you will end up with a dry sparkling cider. However… the crew from both Noble Grape and Bulwark are encouraging folks to flex your creative muscles and get a bit crafty. For those who take part in the purchase, using some or all of the ingredients provided (and you may add your own), they can choose to be entered in a friendly (but serious) competition for the most creative and unique cider possible. Pre-orders for the cider close Thursday, November 9th, with pickup of the cider November 22-23 (don’t miss this, as this unpasteurized cider may start to ferment if not dealt with promptly). Your entries (no entry fee, by the way!) for the competition are not due until February 2018, so you do have a bit of time to plan and implement your entry. And fret not, if you want to keep all of your cider for yourself, there’s no requirement to enter!

• And finally in homebrew competition news, we have the details on Garrison’s 10th Annual Home Brew-Off Challenge we first mentioned a few weeks ago: the deadline to submit your Kolsch (2015 BJCP 5B) is February 12th, and should be accompanied by the brew sheet and your $15 entry fee (which gets you entry to the March 22nd gala, a commemorative glass, and a Growlito and its first fill). Take a look here at their page for a bit more details.

• There’s plenty going on in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia this week, with TataBrew releasing a new beer, and bringing back a couple of favourites. In the new category, they’ve finally brewed up a dry-hopped Sour to go along with all of their other tart releases over the past months. Jitney is a 4.5% ABV kettle-soured beer brewed with 2-row, Oats, Wheat, and a touch of Acid malt. After bringing the pH down with a pitch of Lactobacillus, the beer was heavily dry-hopped with a combination of El Dorado and Mosaic, as well as a smaller amount of Azacca and Citra. Fermented with Foggy London (a strain suggested for NEIPAs) from Escarpment Labs, it finished off at a quaffable 4.5% ABV, with “lots of lemon and grapefruit upfront, and a sweeter stone fruit character in the background”. Kegs and cans will be distributed out as well, with cans even making an appearance at your local NSLC!

• And over to their re-releases, Tata has brought back their Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter, a 10% ABV monster that was aged for 9 months in second-run Glenora barrels. Brewed with lots of Horton Ridge Pale malt, and some Roasted Barley and Chocolate malt, it was fermented cool with a Lager yeast strain to keep the beer as clean as possible, allowing the spirit character from the whiskey barrel to shine through. Warm – but not hot – thanks to the high ABV, expect notes of graham cracker, rich dark chocolate, and dark fruit… a perfect beer for the quickly-approaching colder weather! Available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery only (for now), it’s also on tap there for samples, and a couple of kegs may make appearances elsewhere for special events. And finally, their Blue Bales Blueberry Wheat is being re-released at the brewery this weekend. A 4.6% ABV beer, it’s the same recipe as the last go-around (featuring 250 lbs of organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm), but was fermented with a different yeast strain this time, bringing it closer to a Hefeweizen than an American Wheat. Look for cans and kegs to appear in the HRM next week.

• With quite a bit of beer news coming out of Horton Ridge lately, it’s understandably sometimes easy to forget that first and foremost, their main job is providing malt for other breweries in the Maritimes! They’ve recently begun malting some Newdale 2-row grown by Fred Dollar of Kentdale Farms (Winsloe, PEI), and decided to take some of it and make a new SMaSH brew (hey, what better way to get to know your product?). Fred’s First Ale was hopped entirely with Pacifica, a floral, citrusy varietal from New Zealand; at 6% ABV and 20 IBUs, you can find this malt-forward ale at the HR taproom in growlers and pints.

• Winning all those awards at the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards a couple of weeks ago hasn’t slowed down Big Spruce one bit, as they continue to release new brews. Their latest is Muddled Mule, a Witbier aged on organic strawberries from Wings of Dawn Farm (Masstown, NS). Coming in at a very-approachable 4.3% ABV and 12 IBUs, the beer also features the addition of locally-grown house-candied ginger. On tap at the brewery now, expect it at your usual haunts that pour Big Spruce beer.

2 Crows just called… to say… I Love You (sorry, the jokes get worse as the day goes on). Really, though, it’s a beer! A Saison brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt, Rye, and oats, it was hopped lightly with Bramling Cross and Calypso. Then it starts getting a bit complex: a portion of the wort was actually left unhopped and was inoculated with a Lactobacillus strain (most strains of Lacto are not hop-friendly); once the desired acidity was reached, this portion was blended back in with the rest of the wort. The brewery then used their house Saison strain to ferment the brew, along with an experimental Brettanomyces strain (TYB 207). Once conditioned, the resulting beer was dry-tead (no, I don’t think that’s a word) with Lemon Verbena from Halifax’s World Tea House, and then dry-hopped with Huell Melon. Phewf! Described as “funky, bright, lemony, and tart”, I Love You comes in at 4.9% ABV and 17 IBUs and will be available tomorrow in cans and kegs.

• After several weeks of no new Alpha beer releases, those lazy buggers at Good Robot have got off their collective asses and brewed up Falstaff, a 4.7% ABV, 43 IBUs American Pale Ale being released later today. With a grist of 2-row, Red X, Caramel, Rye malt, and Flaked barley, it was hoped early and late with the “Good Robot blend” hops, as well as more late additions, of Amarillo and Cascade. More hops were thrown in the dry-hop, including more Amarillo and Cascade, as well as Azacca and Jarrylo. Malt presence is low with this one, with plenty of citrus coming through thanks to all those hops, along with a bit of pine. And don’t worry, those of you who tune in weekly just for the BetaBrewsday release news! Next Tuesday will see “Quite an Enigma” Black Ale, brewed by Kim Hart Macneill and Kelly Costello. “Nutty, roasty, and light-bodied”, with some balancing hop bitterness from the Enigma and Summit additions, it weighs in at 4.5% ABV and 51 IBUs.

• In other benign automaton news, they’re also excited to release their first Barrel Aged beer today. You might remember the big old barleywine Mississippi Goddam that they released back in April. Well, there was more where that came from, and it spent the last 6 months or so soaking up the goodness of fresh Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels, which have imparted woody, vanilla, toffee and candied fruit flavours to the beer. You’ll find bottles of Barrel-aged Mississippi Goddamon for sale today starting at noon at the Good Robot store, the taproom, and possibly other private retailers in the HRM (check first!). And oh, by the way, for the second year running, Good Robot has won both the Best Brewpub and Best Craft Brewery awards in The Coast’s annual Best Of Halifax, thanks to their loyal (and vocal) fans! Congratulations are in order, we think.

• Edmundston’s Petit-Sault is helping to celebrate the first official activities of the town’s new Jean-Daigle Centre by releasing Snap Dickie, a “Sport Ale” named in honour of the local hockey legend, who played for the Edmundston Eskimos in the 1930s. Actually falling in the Cream Ale style, the beer is available on tap now at the Jean-Daigle Centre and at the brewery taproom, it comes in at an easy-drinking 4.6% ABV and 15 IBUs. Depending on the response, it could possibly be bottled in the future.

• We have news on the latest hoppy offering from TrailWay2 Jackets, to hit this week. This one is an American IPA hopped with the brewery’s “all-time favourite hops”: Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and Mosaic. As expected by anyone familiar with these hop varieties, the beer is full of “citrus, intense juiciness, and some spice”. Releasing today at noon, 2 Jackets will be available in cans at the brewery only, along with pints and growlers. Of course, a few spots in Fredericton will likely have it on tap in the near future as well.

• Alma’s Holy Whale Brewing is releasing a frightfully good beer this weekend, inspired by the changing seasons and cooler weather. Medusa’s Milk Stout is 5.7% ABV, and instead of venemous snakes added to the boil, a tincture of vanilla beans and coca was added post-fermentation. As always, the best place to grab a pour of HW beer is at the brewery taproom in Alma, at the Buddha Bear Cafe. You can try it on nitro, as well as the standard CO2 faucet. And even better, they’ve recently implemented a “Positive Pints” program, where $0.50 from each pint goes to a partnering not-for-profit organization. Check here for more details.

• Fredericton’s Coastliner Cider will be releasing a couple of new ciders in bottles, for sale at some ANBL stores this week. Castaway, a 5.4% ABV cider featuring the addition of Tropical Hibiscus, was originally on the ANBL growler program last month, and Hop on Board, a new cider (5.4% ABV) infused with New Brunswick-grown Goldings hops. As of publishing, they were not yet listed on the new ANBL site, but should be showing up shortly, and will be on the shelves over the next couple of weeks.

Propeller‘s popular Coffee Porter (5.9% ABV, 35 IBUs) – their deep-brown coloured, coffee-forward ale – has returned at both Prop Shop locations in both growlers and 650 mL bottles. Brewed with hefty amounts of specialty malts and Java Blend Fog City coffee beans, it has “subtle hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt” too complement the coffee character. You’ll be seeing it on tap over this weekend, and a cask will be pouring exclusively at Stillwell; more bottles will be available at the NSLC after Remembrance Day. And tonight’s Propeller Cask Night will feature their IPA dry-hopped with Laurel; be there at 5 pm when the cask is tapped!

• Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has a new beer that should be making rounds to Think tap accounts over the weekend. Churchill is a 6.7% ABV, 35 IBUs “British Strong Ale” (likely similar to an ESB) that has some caramel malt character with a touch of sweetness, and a little bit of chocolate in the flavour. Balanced by a moderate bitterness in the finish, it has a little alcohol warmth as it goes down.

Lazy Bear in Smiths Cove released a special beer/wine hybrid last night during their Thursday Growler Night. First Crush is a 5.9% ABV Saison-base with Pilsner and Wheat malts, fermented with saison yeast from Bootleg Biology. After fermentation was complete, L’Acadie blanc and Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (grown onsite at their own vineyard) were added to the tank. The resultant beer is light and effervescent, finishing quite dry, but with pleasant fruit flavours from both the yeast and grapes. For those who missed out on last night’s release, fear not, it will be available in growlers tomorrow at their table at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market, and a limited number of kegs available soon, and half of the batch has gone into French oak barrels (via the Napa Valley) for release at a future date.

• Back over to Newfoundland, St. John’s Mill Street Brewpub is pouring their new Seaside Sparkling Ale, an “Australian version of a Cream Ale, with traditionally higher carbonation”. Available on tap and in growlers, it has “bready malt flavours” upfront, balanced by some “herbal hop bitterness”. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, as always with these one-offs, it’s available only at the brewpub.

• And one more piece of St. John’s new beer news with YellowBelly, who announced that they will soon be releasing a “Blueberry Milkshake IPA”. A NEIPA hopped with plenty of Citra, conditioned on 45 kg of blueberries, and fermented with the wonderful Funktown yeast blend, it should hopefully be kegged by late next week. At last glance, they were still looking for some name suggestions for this beer, so hop on over to their Facebook page and give them your best shot!

It’s not just beer and brewery news that’s heavy this week, as there’s plenty of events going on this weekend, as well as the near (and distant!) future. Get caught up with a large handful of them below:

• St. John’s Quidi Vidi Brewing is bringing back their Fogtown Lager with a Release Party at the brewery tomorrow, November 4th. While the taproom opens at noon, with Fogtown on tap all day, the real party begins at 7 pm, with live music, food, merch for sale, and a Fogtown Barber & Shop pop-up. Only $5 at the door, the event will kick off the weekly Fogtown Fridays at QV, featuring happy hour from 4-7 pm with $5 Fogtown pints… the perfect way to end your work week! A reminder that this beer is brewed every fall as a fundraiser for Movember, raising funds to support men’s mental and physical health research and programs.

Roof Hound is tickled stink (see? I warned you about these bad jokes) by their ACBA Gold medal win for their American IPA, The Big Stink, so they’re hosting a Big Stink Party tomorrow, November 4th to celebrate! Drop by the taproom for some free live music, starting at 9 pm, and order a pint of the winning beer (and some of their other offerings on tap) to toast their win. Kitchen closes at 9, so if you’d like some food, best show up early.

• If you’re participating in tomorrow‘s Run the River in Nackawic, Big Axe will be waiting for you at the finish line! Well, maybe not right at the finish line, but they’ll have warm soup and plenty of beer pouring at their Beers, Soup & Music Jam, the perfect reward for all of your hard work. And if you’re musically-inclined, bring your instruments to jam with your fellow runners and beer-drinkers for the rest of the day; it all starts at 11:30 am at the brewery on Otis Dr.

• The Moncton Craft Brewer’s Collective is excited to announce that they’ll be hosting their second tap takeover next weekend, Thursday, November 9th to Sunday, November 12th. The primary venue will be the Laundromat Espresso Bar and there you’ll find a huge collection of local beers and ciders from Acadie-Broue, Bore City, Celtic Knot, Flying Boats, Pump House, Scow and Tide & Boar. In addition, they’re partnering with Notre Dame de Parkton on Thursday and Friday to have draught beer available to go with beer-friendly food like wings, nachos and more! So if you’re at the Laundromat and you’re feeling peckish, you can hop a couple doors down for a bite and keep the beer flowing. And if you’re at Notre Dame de Parkton you can order up some tasty local beverages. This is the largest selection of Moncton-local beer and cider products available anywhere! Check it out!

• Yarmouth’s Sip Cafe is hosting a Brewer’s Dinner on November 10th, featuring Yarmouth’s own Heritage Brewing. Featuring appetizers, a three course meal, and a pint of beer chosen to accompany each plate, there will also be live music, it is sure to be a fine night out. You can find out the full food and beer pairings here. Reservations are a must, and can be made via email or phone (902-307-2250).

• The Cape Breton Beer Fest is returning December 2nd, and tickets are now available. Featuring twenty breweries and food vendors, the CBBF is taking over the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion (aka The Big Fiddle) from 7-9PM (VIP tickets will get you in an hour early) that evening, for plenty of beer, food, and fun. The fest is kicking off their partnership with Children’s Wish Foundation and Families for Families Toy Drive today with an event at Breton Brewing today at 5PM. Learn more about it, and enter for a chance at free Fest tickets by dropping by. And throughout November, the CBBF will be giving away pairs of tickets to the Fest every Friday. All you need to do is tag your friend, and @capebretonbeerfest on IG and Facebook (@beerfestcb on Twitter) and use the hashtag #whodeservesabeer, and you’re entered! Check the full list of breweries here.

• After a hiatus last winter due to some truly weird weather (remember? It went something like this: snow, rain, freeze, repeat), NB HopSpiel is returning to Fredericton in 2018! The all-day event will be held on Saturday, January 27th, and you can start signing up your team now! Tickets are $60/person or $240/team, with each team participating in 2-3 curling games. Tickets also include coffee and other hot beverages, lunch, and access to the FROSTival Beer Garden (with three complimentary beers). Plenty of prizes will be awarded after the event, and it’s always a great time! Remember, it’s outdoors, so dress accordingly! Grab your tickets here.

A couple more notes today:

– For fans of Dark & Stormy Night (4.8% ABV), Picaroons‘ take on a Dunkelweizen that was discontinued a while back due to an ongoing legal feud, it has returned as Cease & Desist. Still the same recipe as before, it’s on tap now/soon at all three Picaroons locations, and other licensees in the Maritimes. And their Halloween-themed Black IPA, Best BiTer, has been renamed Walk In The Dark, to avoid confusion with their Best Bitter.
PEI Brewing Company has announced the return of a pair of barrel-aged beers. Hell Street is their 8.1% ABV Doppelbock, which is available at the PEIBC and PEI Liquor storesIce Boat is their barrel-aged Imperial Stout, which will be making its return in the coming weeks, as well as the launch of a new beer, Shortest Day, a 5.3% ABV Spiced Milk Stout, coming November 16th. We’ll have more details on those beers when available.
– In Moncton, Pump House once again sees the return of their gourd-filled beer, now named Glenn’s Pumpkin Ale and sporting 5.5% ABV.
– Gander’s Scudrunner Brewing is coming along nicely, with the delivery of their 10 BBL (1200 litre) last week. Take a peek at a few pictures of the progress here. And as they prepare for a late-2017 opening, they are expanding their crew. No brewing experience is required, they’re just looking for some motivated folks to join their team. Contact Sam via email or FB message.
Unfiltered in Halifax has brought back their paean to unfair (illegal?) taxation, the Mosaic-heavy RSMA, a classically NASHian DIPA at 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU and bursting with tropical hop flavors.
– PEI’s Upstreet Brewing‘s Black Tie Affair, the sweet and roasty stout with hints of chocolate, vanilla and tart cranberry, hits the shelves again today in advance of the PEI Symphony Orchestra’s Black Tie Evening featuring Atlantic String Machine.

Easter egg: this post is 4000 words.

Good morning beer fans! There’s lots going on in the craft beer world in Atlantic Canada this week, so let’s get started…

Celtic Knot Brewing announced that they have ordered three more 102 L fermentors to keep up with demand for their beers. Currently on tap at Marky’s Laundromat and The Tide and Boar in Moncton, as well as Ducky’s in Sackville, obviously beer drinkers are enjoying what Celtic Knot has been brewing! Their recently-brewed Session IPA, For Shore, featuring New Zealand and Australian hops, should also be appearing soon; for more info on that beer, check out our previous post.

Big Axe Brewery has added yet another new beer to their line-up… Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (named after owners Peter and Tatiana Cole’s chocolate labrador dog, Shakespeare) comes in at 6% ABV and is described as a “full and silky-bodied stout”, with an aroma “rich in caramel malts, chocolate, and hints of vanilla”. With a roasty and earthy hop character in the flavor, the beer is now available for growler fills at the brewery in Nackawic. And if you’re in the Sackville area, you can now find Big Axe beer on tap at Ducky’s; their Chanterelle Cream Ale was just tapped this week!

• It’s been out for a little while, but we wanted to share full details on Yarmouth’s Rudder’s Brew Pub’s latest seasonal beer. Brewmaster Mike Ferguson has brewed up Bunkers Island IPA, named after the peninsula in Yarmouth Harbour where an Irving Oil bunker oil tank farm was located. This Black IPA was hopped using Southern Cross exclusively, by means of five additions all added late in the boil, for a big aroma and flavour blast, and light on calculated bitterness. A generous portion of Midnight Wheat was used to generate the dark hue characteristic of this style. The beer weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 42 IBUs, and is available on tap and growlers and squealers at the pub. If you’re headed to or from Portland, Maine, on the ferry, be sure to drop by for a pint!

Bad Apple Brewhouse in Somerset, NS, has released their newest beer, The Impresser Double IPA. This massive beer weighs in at 10.2% ABV, and 300 calculated IBUs, thanks to generous hopping throughout the entire process, from using Chinook flowers in the mash, of course lots of hops (including Citra) throughout the boil, and again dry hopped in the fermentation and conditioning tanks. The powerhouse Conan yeast was used to tear through the high-test wort, and will only enhance the hop flavours and aromas with its signature characteristics. The Impresser is available now in Squealers only at the brewery, and may make it on tap at your local watering hole, but will not last long, so jump on it now!

• Coming soon from Bad Apple Brewhouse is their Mosaic Double IPA. Brewed with a generous dose of the Mosaic hop varietal, this beer was brewed to raise awareness of Mosaic Down Syndrome. Donations from the sale of the beer will be made to the Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society, as well as to Brigadoon Village, who run camps throughout the summer, including a camp over the Father’s Day weekend for families with children with Down Syndrome. This 8% ABV, 120 calculated IBU beer will be released at the beginning of June.

• We now have some more details on the new seasonal, Summer Solstice, brewed by BarNone a couple of weeks ago. Designed to respect the longest day of the year, and to celebrate the sun, it’s an unfiltered, moderately-hopped ale that is brewed with several varieties of hops, and dry-hopped with Citra (also the dominant variety in the beer). It weighs in at 4.8% ABV and slightly hoppier than the Summer Sessions. It made its debut last evening at BarNone’s weekly growler night (every Thursday from 6 – 8 pm), with positive feedback from customers, according to co-owner/brewer Don Campbell. Last night also featured some delegates from Ireland and live local music. BarNone has also announced that they’ve brewed a collaboration beer with Bicycle Craft Brewery from Ottawa; that beer was just kegged earlier this week. We’ll have more details on the beer in next week’s Wrap-Up!

Garrison Brewing has announced a special Twelve Cask Bar Top Takeover event at Stillwell Beer Bar on June 21st. Featuring a dozen one-off cask conditioned beers, and highlighting local ingredients, this will be a great event. The day is divided in two: the First Sips event starts at noon, with $10 tickets getting you a special glass and first pour, and these limited number of tickets are available directly from Stillwell. Starting at two, the doors will open again, and as the first wave of folks get their fill, general entry will be on a first-come, first-served basis (for the same $10 deal). We got an inside scoop as to the great beers that will be making an appearance on the 21st: Brewer Kellye Robertson made her first pin a Blueberry Wheat Chai Tea using Oxford Blueberries & Chai from The Tea Brewery in Mahone Bay. We’ll have more details on beer in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

• Also from Garrison, a brand new beer! Building on the feedback and popularity of their Test Batch beers, they are releasing an India Pale Ale. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV and 50 IBUs, Waimea, Citra, Columbus and Amarillo hops lend the beer a citrus and tropical fruit aroma to balance the malt backbone. It is available now in 6-pack format at the brewery, and will soon be in the NSLC and private beer stores. It is joined by a re-release of the the ever-popular NiTWiT Belgian-style Wheat Ale, which started off life as the 2010 Home Brew-off winning beer. The beer weighs in at 4.8% ABV and 12 IBUs, and true to the Witbier style, was brewed with coriander, and offers a orange and tropical fruit aroma from the special yeast.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams, NS, has released their very popular seasonal Apple Blossom Ale this week. Brewed with pilsner malt and Nelson Sauvin hops, this beer is infused with fresh Valley apples. The beer is 4.8% ABV, and lightly hopped. Brewed as a celebration of the 82nd Annual Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, being held May 28-June 2, the beer is currently on tap at the Port Pub, in growlers and cans at the brewery today, and early next week in cans in Halifax, and on tap at select spots around the province.

Last week, we mentioned that Pump House will be releasing a new IPA in six-packs at the end of this month, to coincide with the Atlantic Beer Festival on May 31st in Moncton. In related Pump House IPA news, they are looking for a catchy name for their Draft IPA, and they’re holding a contest requesting some help! If you have an idea for a great IPA name, post it to their Facebook page, and you could win a pizza party for four at the brewery, which includes two pitchers of the new beer.

• If you’re a fan of Shiretown‘s Big Brown Ale (currently at the brewery for growler fills, and on tap at select accounts in New Brunswick), good news! They’ve confirmed that it should be available in bottles at ANBL stores in the near future. No official date yet, but expect to see it sometime this year. Coming in at 5% ABV and 28 IBUs, the brewery describes it as “malty, roasty, and chocolatey, with a nice bit of bitterness and a big mouthfeel”.

• Tickets to PicaroonsBrewer’s Bash beer festival went on sale earlier this week, and a few more details on the event have trickled in. The $25 ticket price gets you a 5 oz tasting mug, and eight beer tickets; additional tickets are $1 each. Like last year, the event will be all day from 11 am – 11 pm, and you can come and go as you please. Expect several food options, live music, and a heck of a lot of beer from breweries all across Canada. Once we find out more details on that end, we’ll be sure to let you know! And keep in mind, they’re still looking for volunteers… shoot them an email if you’re interested.

The King Street Ale House in Fredericton is hosting another beer and food pairing, this time featuring Quebec brewery Unibroue. Featuring five courses from Chef Aaron Fraser, and five different Unibroue beers (including their popular anniversary beer, 17 Grande Réserve), tickets are $65 and can be purchased online. It all takes place next Wednesday, May 28th, from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. And just before that event (3-4:30pm), Beer Sommelier Sylvain Bouchard of Unibroue will be hosting a free tasting at the York Street ANBL location. There are a limited number of seats, so RSVP today.

• Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub will be hosting a special visitor from Trou du Diable next Thursday, May 29th. In the province for the Canadian Brewing Awards, Isaac Tremblay from the brewery will be on hand to pour a keg or two of their beer (including MacTavish in Memoriam Pale Ale), as well as having some special bottles for purchase. No tickets necessary, just drop by to say hello, grab a pint, and chat about beer!

Big Tide Brewpub in Saint John, NB, recently released Fogbound Hemp Pale Ale. An original recipe of theirs, this is a West Coast style Pale Ale, weighing in at 5% ABV and 50 IBUs, thanks to Cascade and Tradition hop varietals. Hemp oil was used during the brew, imparting a lovely nutty flavour to complement the big hop aroma. It is on tap and available in growlers now. Speaking of growlers, they have lifted the temporary weekly limit on growler sales, as they were were having a bit of trouble keeping the beer on tap. Great news, be sure and drop by this weekend to celebrate!

Rockbottom Brewpub has announced that the very popular Thulsa Doom Double IPA has run out, however they are rewarding their fans with a very special 20L pin of Oak-Aged Double Hoppelganger. This 10% ABV beer was first released in August 2013, but has been cellared with love and care by Brewmaster Greg Nash, and it will be interesting to see the changes in the beer over time. On tap soon will be HaliLager a Euro-style lager at 4.5% ABV brewed with Hersbrucker and Cascade hops to 17 IBU. Crispy.

• Unfortunately, the Ladies Beer League / Noble Grape Home Brew Workshops scheduled for this weekend and June have been postponed until July. Scheduling conflicts are to blame, but fear not, ticket holders will be reimbursed, and will have first dibs on tickets for the next Workshop. Stay tuned here for more details. Stay tuned, too, for details on the next LBL special event, to celebrate their first anniversary. We know it’ll be a fun one!

• The results from this year’s “Best of Halifax” food awards via The Coast are now in! Here’s a summary of the beer-related awards, with Gold, Silver and Bronze listed, respectively:

Best New Bar: Stillwell, The Stubborn Goat, Lion & Bright

Best Beer Selection: Stillwell, Maxwell’s Plum, The Stubborn Goat

Best Brewpub: Rockbottom, Rogue’s Roost, Henry House

Best Craft Brewery: Garrison, Propeller, North Brewing

Congratulations to all the winners!

Phew, that was a long one today! As the weather improves and folks are hitting the decks and patios, as well as a few new breweries opening in our region, we’re sure the good beer news will keep on flowing in! Thanks for joining us this week, and until next week, Cheers!

Late addition: We were overwhelmed with stories this week, and totally forgot to announce the random lucky winner of tickets to next weekend’s 2014 Atlantic Beer Festival. Congratulations to the crew from the Drink N Brew blog! We’ll be in touch to give you details. We’ll be starting another contest next week, so stay tuned.

Happy Friday everyone! Time for another dose of Atlantic Canadian beer news to finish off the last Friday of the month…

Bad Apple Brewhouse has released a new beer, Smokehouse Lager, a Rauchbier brewed with 100% beechwood-smoked malt. This copper-colored beer comes in at 6.7% ABV with about 27 IBUs, and is described as “smoky, slightly spicy, and malty” by BAB owner/brewer Jeff Saunders. The beer is available in growlers and squealers at the brewery, and might be on tap at your local soon.

• Staying in the Annapolis Valley, Sea Level has released their latest beer, Southern Cross IPA. Inspired by the New Zealand hop, and the Crosby, Stills and Nash song, the beer weighs in at 6.5% and 78.8 IBUs (calc). The Southern Cross hops lend a resiny spiciness and citrus and pine aromas. Available on tap now at The Port Pub, in growlers and cans at the brewery, and this weekend in cans at the private beer stores in Halifax.

• Finally in Valley news this week, both Meander River Farm and Brewery and Schoolhouse Brewery are in the final stretches before opening their doors very soon. At Meander River, they have brewed their inaugural batch of Lunchbox Pale Ale on their 3 barrel system, and are looking forward to opening in the next few weeks. At Schoolhouse, they were going through their inspection for Excise License this week, and are also looking forward to opening in the next little while. Look for profiles from both of these great breweries very soon.

• In the big city, Propeller Brewing has released their latest seasonal beer, Black IPA. Weighing in at 6.7%ABV and 83 IBUs, this unfiltered beer features a healthy amount of bittering, flavour and aroma hops, and is then dry-hopped for an even more explosive nose. The most prominent hop used in the beer is Ahtanum, which gives a great citrusy nose, with a bit of earthy note as well, which fits well with the style. To give the beer its distinctive black colour, Blackprinz and CARAFA malts were used. These choices were very specific, as both are very dark in Lovibond, so that a small percentage in the recipe goes a long way in the colour, but do not transfer any astringency or husky bitterness to the flavour. Pick up 1.89l and 1l growlers of this latest release at both the Gottingen St and Windmill Rd Propeller locations, and look for it on tap around the city (including Henry House, where it was tapped last night).

Big Tide Brewing continues to remain busy in Saint John, as they’ve added two new one-off brews to their tap selection at the brewpub. A single batch was brewed with a base of Canadian Wheat malt, a selection of special Crystal malts, and UK hops, and was then fermented with a dry ale yeast. After fermentation was complete, the beer was split into two vessels. One of these, Ale Mary, was filtered, while the other, Sunset Raspberry Wheat, was not. We think it’s safe to assume that the unfiltered beer also has had some raspberries or raspberry extract added at some point of the brewing process! Both beers are meant to bridge the gap for Big Tide’s return to brewing summer beers; they clock in at 4.5% ABV.

• New Brunswick’s newest brewery, Big Axe, may have just opened last week, but they’ve already added a seasonal beer to their line-up, which is available for growler fills at the brewery now. The beer is named Maple Wheat Amber Ale; specific details on the beer are unknown at the moment, but we’ll be sure to update when we know more.

• We mentioned recently that Ducky’s Bar in Sackville was expanding their tap selection, and would be featuring local breweries. Well, they’ve released their opening tap selection, and it’s looking great! As previously mentioned, two taps will be dedicated to Celtic Knot, starting with their Not Joe Average Pale Ale and Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout. Also pouring will be Hammond River‘s award-winning Hop Flash IPA, PEI Brewing Co. Cole’s Cream Ale and Beach Chair Lager, and Garrison Raspberry Wheat and Nut Brown, with Picaroons Dooryard joining them soon. Kegs will rotate as they empty, so look for more offerings from these breweries, as well as others in our region!

• Tickets are now on sale for the Atlantic Beer Festival, in Moncton, Saturday May 31st. There are two sessions, 2:30-5pm, and 7:30-10pm. Free buses are available to the downtown area after each session of the festival. Tickets are available online, at the Pump House brewpub and Barnyard BBQ, and are priced at $49 (taxes and fees included). We hope to have a full brewery/beer list for you soon.

The Overcast is an arts and culture newspaper based out of Newfoundland. They have an excellent interview with Liam McKenna, brewmaster at Yellowbelly Brewpub in St. John’s. For those of you who do not know Liam’s brewing history (including a time in Dublin), it is a great insight into what makes Liam tick. We hope to share a profile on Liam and the Yellowbelly soon, as we caught up with him on a visit to Newfoundland earlier in the year.

• Don’t forget to pick up bottles of Alewife’s Revenge, the collaboration between Boxing Rock Brewing and the Ladies Beer League. It is now on sale at the private beer stores in Halifax and Dartmouth, on tap around the province (including Antigonish Townhouse), and a special cask of it starting at 4pm for Cask Friday at the Stubborn Goat.

• Speaking of the Ladies Beer League, they’re teaming up with Noble Grape to present an Intro to Beer & Brewing session on Sunday, May 25th from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. This is an introductory course meant to cover the basics of home brewing for beginners and enhance the knowledge of intermediate home brewers, while allowing those interested a chance to also connect with Halifax’s home brewing community. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here; the course will be held at the Noble Grape location on 95 Akerley Blvd in Darmouth. Another session is currently scheduled for Saturday, June 14th.

Stillwell Beer Bar is following up on their first Bellwoods beer releases earlier this month with another deadly trio this weekend. They will be pouring Brettal Head All Brett Pale AleLost River Baltic Porter, and Hellwoods Russian Imperial Stout, beginning at noon Sunday. Be sure to drop by for great beer, food, and company. We might just see you there!

That’s it for now… have a great weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s what’s going on in our region these days:

• Back in October we posted about a new brewery, Hammond River Brewing, opening in Quispamsis, NB later in the fall. The official launch of the brewery was unfortunately delayed; however, owner/brewer Shane Steeves has indicated that his first beers should be available sometime in February. We’ll keep you updated when we know exactly when Hammond River’s first beers will be pouring at the official launch at the Saint John Ale House!

• Speaking of Saint John, Big Tide Brewing has a couple of new beers; brewer Wendy Papadopoulos has given us some info on both. Currently on tap is the Crasberry Cream Ale, a still-hanging-on-to-the-holidays Cream Ale brewed with cranberry juice and raspberry extract; it clocks in at 5% ABV. They should also be releasing a Winter Warmer this weekend – this currently unnamed beer is brewed with smoked malt and Caramunich, with some bourbon added for extra flavor, and comes in at 7% ABV.

• Halifax’s Bridge Brewing is releasing a new beer today, a collaboration with Java Blend Coffee Roasters. It is a Belgian Coffee Brown Ale, made with 2 kg of Guatemalan El Injerto Pandora del Carmen beans. The folks at Java Blend did a special roast of the beans, and a 24-hour cold brew, before being added to the beer. Look for it at the brewery and Alderney Market this weekend.

• Hell Bay Brewing, from Liverpool, NS, has released a new beer, the R.I.P.(A) IPA. Over the next few months, they will be releasing several IPAs, and asking for feedback on the beers. At the end of the series, they’ll be having a taste-off to determine the winning style. The first version weighs in at 7.2%, is pale and finishes dry, and is moderately hopped (for an IPA). Look for the beer at the brewery, only available in growlers. The next version will feature even more hops, so watch out for that!

• In other Hell Bay news, consumers in more locations around the province will soon be able to purchase their English Ale at the NSLC. We don’t have all of the details yet (which stores will be participating), but will be sure to pass them along when available. It should be on shelves before the end of the month.

• And finally, Hell Bay has been nominated for a Lunenburg-Queens Business Excellence Award. They are up for the 2013 Small Business Award. The winning announcement will take place February 17th. Best of luck!

• Have you purchased your tickets for the 2014 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival on March 8th? Well, they’re currently having a contest on their Facebook page; like and share the link indicated, and you’ll have a chance to win two tickets to the festival AND the 2014 Fredericton Poutine Festival… that’s a $190 value! The winner will be drawn today at approximately 4:00 pm. Just a reminder… last year’s event sold out weeks before it was held. With about 70% of this year’s tickets already gone, and the event promising to be even better than last year, don’t hesitate much longer! And there are still rooms available at the Crowne Plaza just across the street, at the special Beer Fest rate. Check them out here.

The PEI Brewing Co. sent an interesting cask to Bar Stillwell yesterday; the “Dry-Hopped, Barrel-Aged, Farmhouse Saison”! This very tart beer (the wort – what beer is before yeast does its thing – was originally destined to be Sir John A’s Honey Wheat) was initially fermented with a Saison yeast and aged in an oak red wine barrel since last summer. After it finally made its way into the cask, fresh yeast was added, and the beer was dry-hopped with Santiam, a European-type aroma hop that has spicy, herbal and floral qualities. With an ABV of ~5%, this sounds like a very interesting beer!

• Speaking of Stillwell Beer Bar, they are holding the Big Spruce X Boxing Rock Tap Takeover tomorrow. Tickets are sold out, however they will be tweeting during the event if seats become available. You might not be able to score one of the slick glasses created especially for the event, but you will be able to try some of the great beers being poured. Look for Boxing Rock’s U-889 RIS with vanilla beans and Crafty Jack Brown Ale, as well as Big Spruce’s Tim’s Dirty IPA and Cereal Killer Sideways (Oatmeal Stout infused with Bowmore).

• A reminder that the “Name The Beer!” competition, Picaroons‘ new beer to honour The Lunar Rogue Pub‘s 25th anniversary, closes today. Post up your favourite name on their Facebook page, and you might just win a tasty prize package, a Draught and Dinner party for you and five of your worthy friends.

• We’ve got a reminder, and some great news for homebrewers who are thinking of entering the Garrison Home Brew-Off competition this year. Noble Grape will be doing an all-grain brewing demo of a Weizen at Garrison Brewery tomorrow from 10-2pm. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and watch the techniques used by more advanced home brewers (and you’ll see it isn’t so tough to do after all!). The great news is that all of the beers entered into the competition will be tasted and judged by BJCP-certified judges. The judging has always been impartial and blind (the identity of the beer or brewer were never revealed to the judges), but having the BJCP judges whittle down all entries to the finale means that the notes and scoresheets back from the competition should offer some insight not otherwise available. If you were on the fence as to whether to enter or not, hopefully this steers you towards YES!

That’s it for this week… have a great weekend!

Happy Monday! We hope that everyone stayed safe and warm over the weekend. With the first real snow falling in the Atlantic Provinces, our thoughts turn to Christmas and other reasons to get together with friends and family. Why not get the beer-lover on your list something special from your local brewery? We’ve compiled a list of fun and interesting brewery- and beer-related gifts, to make any Cerevisaphile happy on December 25th (or any other day of the year!).

Gift Baskets


Several breweries in our region are doing up gift baskets, including Boxing Rock in Shelburne, NS. They have several basket examples in the $30-$80 range, but are also happy to tailor them to your exact specifications. Baskets can include 1.89L growlers, 1L growlers, trucker hats, toques, glassware, t-shirts and long sleeve shirts, books, magazines, cards, bottle trays, magnets and keychains/bottle openers. And of course, beer! Their just-released U-889 Russian Imperial Stout is a great beer to sip beside the fire on a chilly winter night. You can contact them via email or phone (902-494-9233 ext 3, ask for store manager Carmen) to order.


Propeller Brewing in Halifax also has a few gift basket options available. Their $50 Gift Baskets include a sixpack of beer, t-shirt, Two single 650ml or 500ml beer (their Revolution Russian Imperial Stout is a great choice here), 2 bottles of pop (Ginger or Root Beer), two glasses, a bottle opener and 4 pin-back buttons. They are happy to mix and match customer baskets as well, to fit any budget. Drop by their Halifax or Dartmouth locations to check out the options.



There is no shortage of breweries selling tshirts and glassware in our region, so why not choose something a bit unique to put under the tree this season? Garrison Brewing in Halifax has several items that certainly fit that bill: they sell everything from soap to tin signs to put up in your home bar. Plus their Spruce Beer is a great way to get Christmas in a bottle!


Big Spruce Brewing in Cape Breton also has some great items available: how about a forged steel double-growler holder, spent grain granola, or Picante Kitchen Party Pale Ale Pickled Carrots? Drop by their brewery in Nyanza or the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market every Saturday in Sydney River to grab these and more unique gifts.


Another brewery with a variety of gift options is PEI Brewing Company. Every day from Dec 10-21st they have been offering up a different free gift or special price on their gift ideas, including coffee mugs and free tours of the brewery. Check out their retail store for more details. And look for their 6.5 % Bock, infused with vanilla bean, bourbon, and oak chips, available soon in growlers at the brewery and Gahan House Pub.

Specialty Beers

You’ve got a basket/stocking full of  tshirts, hats and glasses, so what about the beer to go with all of that? Well, your local breweries have you covered as well!

As mentioned above, Russian Imperial Stouts are popular this time of year, as well as other darker, more robust beers, or beers using spices not normally chosen in the warmer months. Quidi Vidi brewery outside of St. Johns’s, NL, has brewed up their Winter Ale, a dark rich ale, brewed with coriander, cacao and vanilla. Look for it at the NLCPaddys Irish Brewpub have released their Frost Biter Winter Warmer, with notes of chocolate and weighing in at 6%. Pick up a growler to share! And Sea Level Brewing will have their High Street Wee Heavy available shortly in cans and growlers. Weighing in at 6.3%, it features a complex malt body and slight smokiness in the finish.


Picaroons Brewing in Fredericton is taking it to a whole other level, with their annual 12 Beers of Christmas event. From the 12th to the 23rd of December, they are releasing a new beer daily, only available in growlers at their Queen St Brewtique. Check their Twitter or Facebook pages at noon for the announcement, and be sure to show up promptly at 4pm (or earlier), as they sell out quickly! So far this year they’ve released their Dark & Stormy Night infused with orange and dark chocolate, their Yippee IPA with spruce tips, Timber Hog Stout with vanilla/hazelnut/chocolate coffee beans and their Blonde beer infused with cranberries. Also look for snazzy locally-produced wooden coasters at the Brewtique, great stocking stuffer material!

Event Tickets

If you are looking for more of an event-based gift, why not choose tickets to some of the upcoming beer events or festivals? Over the next few months, there will be several events worthy of your attention. The Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is taking place at the Fredericton Convention Centre March 8, 2014, and will feature the festival debut of new ciderhouse and breweries in the region (Red Rover and Hammond River). Less than a month later, on April 5th, the Saint John Beer Fest takes place at Harbour Station, and will help to thaw off some winter freeze. A new festival in the Maritime provinces is the Great Canadian Beer Expo, in its first year. It will be visiting Sydney, Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Charlottetown, with two nights in each city. Tickets for all of these festivals are on sale now!


Why not turn your beer-enthused friend or family member onto homebrewing? Getting started is very simple, all you need is a bucket and a kit to make good beer at home. For those looking to do a bit more, Halifax homebrew shop Everwood Ave has everything a new brewer (or seasoned veteran) would need, from grain and hops, to kegging and bottling equipment. For someone who likes to experiment with out-there styles, maybe a one-gallon all-grain kit is the way to go (in case an experiment goes wrong, very little is lost; or for brewers with very limited space)? They will ship anywhere in the region (and beyond), and if you order today it will arrive before the 24th. Home beer and wine makers are both served by Noble Grape, with several locations throughout the HRM, Annapolis Valley and Fredericton, NB, including many that offer onsite winemaking. They also carry the Festa Brew line of wort kits, which is a great way to start onto a path to brewing. The direct them to the Brewnosers forums for great resources from fellow homebrewers, always happy to help out new brewers.

We hope this brief list of gift ideas helps to spark something for you this gift-giving season. Remember to support your local brewery, keeping jobs in our region. Please leave your favourite beer-related gift ideas in the comments!