North Brewing

All posts tagged North Brewing

 

It’s another big weekend for beer in our region, with a beer release that’s very pertinent to our interests here at the ACBB, a sudden (and welcome!) rush of canned products we totally didn’t see coming, and some killer events going on in the downtown core of Halifax. So we’ll skip the traditional commentary on the weather this week and get right into it…

• There’s a cool new beer being released tomorrow from 2 Crows, a collaboration brewed with some pretty awesome guys… us! Named Amateur Hour (well, I guess that put us back in our place), the beer features a light-coloured primarily Pilsner grist with healthy amounts of Wheat malt, Malted Oats and Spelt, and heavy whirlpool-hopped with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. Thanks to two dry-hop additions of those same varieties (during active fermentation, and again during conditioning), you can expect notes of orchard fruit and melon, further accentuated by a light funk resulting from fermentation with the Yeast Bay’s glorious Brett Amalgamation, a combination of six Brettanomyces strains. Coming in at just 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, we’re thinking of this as a Brett Session IPA, or even a Brett Session Ale. Available on tap and in cans (check out that label by Midnight Oil Print & Design House!) at the brewery tomorrow, expect to see it around Halifax at the private stores shortly after. And a big thanks to Jeremy, Miles and the rest of the gang at 2 Crows for inviting us to participate in brewing a beer!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing is sporting a rockin’ new logo this week and they’ve also got a new beer available today, one that goes to eleven. Nunmoar is a Black IPA, big and bitter, that’s been heavily hopped with Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe. Tipping the scales at 6.5% ABV and a hefty 75 IBU, expect it to marry a distinct roastiness to a prominent hop presence. How much more black could it be? NUNMOAR BLACK. Meanwhile, AJ and the gang have settled on opening hours for the brewery – for the foreseeable you’ll be able to visit for growler fills and merchandise Wednesdays from 2-6 PM, Thursdays 12-6 PM, Fridays 12-8 PM and on Saturdays from 11-5 PM. Even better, they’re now able to accept debit and credit transactions and the dreaded “cash only” sign has been taken down. Expect those hours to shift and hopefully expand a little once they’ve got all the permits in place for their taproom. And, speaking of growler fills, also available right now are the 5.1% ABV Pale Ale known as Daydreamer and two, count ‘em two, versions of the Headliner IPA. The first batch, where efficiency was better than expected, clocks in at 7.3% ABV and the second, matching the original specs for the beer, is 5.9% ABV. Maybe sample them both and let AJ know which version should top the marquee.

• After launching their new Takeaway shop last week, YellowBelly also released a pair of brand new bevvies. We already told you about their Blueberry Hill Milkshake IPA last week, and now we can share more details on their latest cider on tap. Bakeapple Cider is a 7.0% ABV blend, featuring a base of apple cider with the elusive bakeapple (aka cloudberry, aka if you want some, you’d better know someone!) added for a lovely crisp and tart fruit blend. Back-sweetened ever-so-slightly with some of the original cider to reduce a bit of the dryness, the cider is on tap now, and should see limited release in bottles too. And speaking of their Takeaway location a few doors down Water St from their home base, in addition to bottles and 1.89 L growler fills (new for YB), you can stay a while to enjoy samples and pints, as well as pizza from their kitchen.

North Brewing is releasing the Fall 2017 edition of their Canadian Brewing Awards Gold Medal-winning Midnight today. They took a batch of their Strong Dark Belgian and let it sit in barrels from Glenora Distillery straight from the source (i.e., still wet and with plenty of single malt whiskey flavour and aroma to go around) for the past several months, before packaging recently. Look for a melding of Belgian Abbey flavours (fruity esters with a light toasted bread character) with the barrel and whiskey character (vanilla, caramel, wood), resulting in a 10.5% ABV fireside sipper. Midnight marks the first in a series of several special Barrel-Aged bottles releases coming from North, which will featuring some beers in the coming weeks with funkier beginnings and unique aspects.

• Up in Amherst, NS, Trider’s Craft Beer has released their newest offering, Chaga-Lug Brown Ale. Focusing on local ingredients, this earthy and crisp beer in the Northern English Brown Ale style boasts additions of honey, Chaga and hops that were all sourced locally. Fifteen pounds of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) were harvested by Shawee, a real life lumberjack; this provided the beer with its distinctive deep brown color. Wildflower honey (over 100lbs) from nearby Nappan, NS, was added during the whirlpool for a slight tartness. And the hops came from Jeff Smith, a member of the Brewnosers homebrew club from the area, who provided roughly four pounds of backyard-grown Cascade, Galena, CTZ and Centennial to this 5.1% ABV brew. Bitterness was kept low to allow the character of the other special ingredients to shine through. It’s available for growler fills now with 500 mL bottles in the works.

• A few weeks ago, TrailWay hinted that they would soon be releasing their first Milkshake IPA, and the day is today, with the launch of Velvet Fog. Brewed with plenty of oats in the mash, to enhance the haziness of the beer (although, really, when have they ever had a problem with that?), as well as the mouthfeel, the addition of a “healthy dose” of lactose powder boosts the body even more, and adds just a touch of residual sweetness. Hopped entirely with El Dorado, the brewery also threw in some peach and apricot purees, as well as some vanilla, to bring everything together with aromas and flavours of “tropical fruit, peaches, bubble gum, and vanilla”. Cans, pours and pints at the brewery starting at noon, and this one will also be pouring at their Tap Takeover at Stillwell today.

Firkinstein has a new beer, one that features the addition of fresh ginger. Added to a Pale Ale base for a unique twist, Root Pale Ale has just a subtle hint of ginger, with a light malt backbone and a minimal hop presence. At 6% ABV, you can find it now wherever Firkinstein beers are sold. The brewery is also now applying for a beverage room licence, so expect to see them able to sell pints of their own beer (as well as guest taps for other breweries) in the not-too-distant future.

• In our weekly “heads up for the Tuesday’s Beta Brew” Good Robot blurb, we’ve got an Irish Extra Stout dropping on the 21st. Extra Sass is a 5.8% ABV brew featuring 2-Row and Vienna with Caramel 30 for sweetness and Caramel 120, Roasted Barley and Black Prinz for colouring. The balancing bitterness, to the tune of 53 IBU, is thanks to East Kent Goldings and Summit hops. Notes of coffee and dark chocolate are punctuated by a light addition of Sarsparilla root. As always, the Beta Brews are only available at the taproom for enjoyment onsite, so drop for a taste. And if you’ve got a killer idea for a beer, be sure to let them know, they’d love to have you in the brewery! No brewing experience required.

• And in other Good Robot news, after several weeks of conditioning, their first canned offering is hitting the shelves today. We’ve mentioned Craft Coast Canning, a mobile canning business based in Fredericton previously, and it’s this new business that has made this new format possible. Extra BIG-ASS Beer is the first GR beer to get the treatment, their 5.2% ABV amber Marzen/Oktoberfest style beer (and recent ACBA medal winner). Featuring Vienna, Coffee, Flaked oats and a touch of memoirs malt on a 2-Row base, the hopping is from traditional German Perle and Willamette varietals. This won’t be the last canned offering from Robie and the Robots, as they’ve hinted that more of their lower-ABV/approachable/crushable beers will soon be available this way, including their Goseface Killah Gose and Leave Me Blue Kentucky Common. Cans are available at noon at the brewery (single and four-packs), and at private stores around HRM.

• It’s also a big weekend for Bad Apple Brewhouse, as they too release their first canned products. And why not shoot for the stars, as their first two beers to get the silver bullet treatment are the Mosaic, their award-winning, and charity-benefiting, Double IPA, and their also award-winning Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout. Showcasing its namesake Mosaic hops, the Mosaic is an 8% bitter and aromatic brew that has been an off-and-on favourite for years, whenever owner Jeff Saunders can get his hands on those hops. All sales from Mosaic go towards Down Syndrome Nova Scotia, who make possible the Maritime Down Syndrome Family Camp at Brigadoon Village. These organizations are close to Saunders’ heart, as his son Hunter lives with Mosaic Down Syndrome. On the deep and dark side, Bad Apple’s Black & Tackle, which has won awards as both a “regular” Russian Imperial Stout and in a barrel-aged variation, is also now much more portable, so you can it lots of places and enjoy its big roast presence and 9+% ABV as winter approaches. Cans of these beers are available this weekend at the brewery in Berwick Somerset, and are also headed for the private stores in the HRM. Follow along on their social media for the exact availability details. We’ve also seen hints on Bad Apple’s social media accounts that canning these two beers is just a start and other tasty things are on the way in that format in the coming weeks.

• And lastly, but perhaps most uncanny of all (not even sorry), Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing made a splash on social media yesterday when it was revealed that they’ve gone ahead and put four of their beers into cans now available at the brewery and very soon (as in very possibly this afternoon) at Bishop’s Cellar. The flagship IPA Exile on North Street and DIPA 12 Years to Zion are joined by fall/winter seasonal Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and everybody’s favorite Citra bomb Double Orange Apocalypse Ale in a hoppy quadfecta. Interest was immediate from folks far and wide as the prospect of shippable Unfiltered became a sudden and unexpected reality. We suspect few will breach the borders of the province or even HRM, at least at first, as having these beers unbound from growlers will be a novelty that takes some time to wear off.

• Last week we told you about the Garrison and Boxing Rock collaboration Courage brewed in honor of Gord Downie. The response to that bear was pretty impressive, with both brewery locations and the private stores all selling out within 24 hours or so! To date, just shy of $11,000 has been raised for two charitable causes: Brain Tumour Research and Indigenous People’s Reconciliation. And hopefully that number is only going to grow, as the beer will be available in 11 NSLC stores by next week (want to know which ones? Go here and click “Check Store Availability”). It will also be hitting PEI LLC this week, and ANBL and NLL stores soon after that. And in other Garrison beer news, their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA has been canned and will be available at the NSLC and private stores shortly and their fall/winter seasonal Winter Warmer will be at the NSLC in bottles very soon as well.

• Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has a new beer of their own on the go this week, called Northumbeerland. Brewed partially as a trial for a new local malt, this beer is in the saison style, and the grist is a single pale base malt. In the kettle, Warrior hops were used for bittering while Saaz were added at the end of the boil and later, post-fermentation, for a dry-hop. The saison yeast strain used was selected for its ability to dry the beer out, and it has, while also yielding subtle hints of hay and berries along with a slight tartness. This is a very sessionable beer at 4.1% ABV and you’ll find it for growler fills at tiny tasters at the brewery’s operation on Salter Street.

A few events to tell you about this weekend and beyond, with a clear concentration of activity in downtown Halifax:

• A little bar named Stillwell opened on Barrington Street in November, 2013, and has been helping to grow the enthusiasm (and number) of breweries and drinkers alike in Halifax. They’re celebrating their Fourth Anniversary with a weekend full of events. Today from noon, the beers (and people) from Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing will be taking over, with a full dozen beers available on tap. Old favourites and new releases (including the Velvet Fog Milkshake IPA mentioned above) will be pouring; there will be free glassware for the first 100 to show up, and the full taplist can be found here. Saturday will see the annual Stillwell Birthday event, featuring an absolutely ridiculous tap, bottle and cask selection that celebrates the best of local offerings, highlights from other parts of Canada and the U.S. and very special treats from Europe. The full list can be found here (try not to drool) and it also includes the first public pourings of Stillwell Four, the first bottle release from Stillwell Brewing Co. which, as a matter of fact, will also be available the very next day for sale at the brewery’s warehouse around back at 2015 Gottingen Street. We’ve been advised that the Four is in somewhat short supply, so there will be a signup sheet at the bar during Saturday’s festivities so you can ensure you don’t miss out. We’ll should also warn you, especially those from out of town, if you’re planning to hit the birthday celebration on Saturday, that the 22nd Annual Parade of Lights is going on downtown that evening. It has been called a “traffic apocalypse” and “the worst traffic of the year”; things start getting nutty at about 4:30 PM and really don’t start to clear up until close to 9 PM or later. So maybe plan to take a bus or cab downtown, get good and settled in, and really explore what’s on offer.

• We mentioned that Montague, PEI’s newest-and-first brewery, Copper Bottom Brewing, would be holding their official grand opening soon, and looks like “soon” is even sooner than we thought! The Grand Opening is happening tomorrow from noon-close, there’ll be live music going on all day, a TBA food truck will be onsite, and lots of other fun stuff throughout the day, including kick-the-keg prizes, brewery tours, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 pm. And if you’d like to get out to the party without having to commit to driving, the brewery has teamed up with a local company to bring you the Copper Bottom Brew Bus, which leaves from the Peakes Wharf in Charlottetown at 5:15 pm, and departs Copper Bottom at 10 pm; contact Sonya or Loralei at 902-213-5177 if you’d like a ticket, which is just $15 round-trip.

• Yes, it’s months away, but we really need to let you know that tickets for the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival officially go on sale next Friday, November 24th, at 11 am. This event, which is being held on Saturday, March 10th, 2018, continues to grow in breweries represented, beers poured, and overall excellence every year, so we can’t even imagine how awesome it’s going to be next March! And did we mention that Maine’s Orono Brewing will be pouring? Have this ticket link all ready to go next Friday at 11 sharp, especially if you want to get your hands on VIP tickets (which sold out in something like 2 minutes last year… no, we’re not joking). We’ll have lots more information on the event as the date approaches!

And a couple of last mentions before we let you get started on your weekend:

– A reminder that the launch party for 100 from Big Spruce, their beer made with 100% Nova Scotia-produced ingredients, is taking place at Horton Ridge Malt House tomorrow at 2 PM. Big Spruce beers will also will be taking over the guest growler taps during this kitchen party-styled event. The 100 is now available now in cans at Westside in Halifax, where a Big Spruce 5-tap mini-takeover of their growler station (including fills of the 100) started last night and is likely to continue into the weekend.
– Halifax brewpub Rockbottom has a new beer on the menu this week, an American Pale Ale dubbed Mostly Maris for the use of the venerable British malt called Maris Otter. It lends a biscuity note and a sweetness that should pair nicely with the very American hop schedule that includes Cascade, and Columbus. This beer is balanced to the hoppy side of the spectrum and comes in at 5.5% ABV and 55 IBU.

Fans of great beer in Halifax are no stranger to the name Stillwell. Since 2013 the bar has been pouring the best in local beer, bringing in tasty treats from other parts of the country and beyond, pioneering the modern beer garden concept in HRM, and putting on events that have spoiled our little city for world-class beer. Throughout that time they’ve teamed with local breweries for collaborations and contract brews under the Stillwell brand, including several mixed fermentation beers that have showcased the tastes and interests of Christopher Reynolds, one of the three primary owners of the bar. Back in spring of this year word got out that Chris had decided to take another leap of faith and start Stillwell Brewing in the spirit of some of his own personal favorite breweries. Although we’ve already seen the release of Stilly Pils, a hoppy, rugged and eminently drinkable brew that was a highlight of the late summer season at the Stillwell Beer Garden, we are quickly approaching the first bottle releases from the brewery, the culmination of many months of fermenting, aging and blending, bottling, and aging some more. We caught up with Chris to find out more about who and what his inspirations are, why he (finally!) decided to start the brewery, and what we’re likely to see from Stillwell Brewing in the coming weeks, months and years.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is the team involved in your brewery?
The brewery is mainly a project of mine (Chris), borne out of a desire to create the sorts of beers that I a) really love to drink and b) aren’t available locally. Namely, mixed-fermented, bone-dry beers. De La Senne, Oxbow, Jester King, etc. I am the main brewer, recipe maker, yeast steward and squeegee operator.

I made the first 10 batches with brewer Kyle Jeppesen, but unfortunately he’s had to take a job abroad, kind of an offer he couldn’t refuse. He was very bummed leave SBC, but given the experimental nature of the brewery, it was not (and may never be) in a position to pay anyone a salary, myself included.

Nikki Lockington, my lady, is also a daily contributor to the brewery. She helps me to plan beers and label designs, and takes care of a lot of logistics in terms of materials, and (eventually) sales.

I would say that the staff at Stillwell are officially and unofficially involved, too. Sam Fraser made our logo (from her tap wall handwriting, a ubiquitous feature of the bar), and Graeme, our chef, made a joke suggestion for a beer, which will be one of our first releases (“Sport”). Everyone kind of weighs in and offers support and feedback.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Being lucky enough to drink great stuff around people passionate about great stuff. Bar Volo was a real influence, as were a lot of the great beer books out there (Beaumont, Pashley, etc.), and finally and most importantly, traveling. We opened Stillwell in 2013 and beer has been my full time life ever since.

What made you decide to take the step of opening a brewery?
I’ve always enjoyed making beer. Homebrewing, as you would probably agree, is a wonderfully meditative process, and is something that makes me use a different part of my brain (and body – it is a workout). Personally, I find I’m happiest when I’m making or creating something, and unfortunately making bars and restaurants all the time, though I’ve certainly tried, is incredibly difficult and risky. Brewing a beer, as risky and big a process as it is at the commercial level, allows me a creative outlet. For several years, brewing my beers in other people’s breweries fully scratched the itch, but eventually I found that the beers suffered a little by not being fully in my control (and, mostly, on my timeline). I always said I would never open a brewery, but listening to an episode of The Sour Hour featuring Troy Casey of Colorado’s Casey Brewing and Blending, I realized that his set-up is actually attainable and manageable by me. Basically, a lot of oak, bottles and time, and some years of experience with yeasts and recipes, and it finally clicked that I could – and should – take the leap. In business and in life, if something is a foregone conclusion, like I just know it will work, I have to listen to that and take the leap.

What is the ethos of the brewery?
I’m looking for the brewery to be just like the bar, i.e., a “workshop” that will hopefully sustain us long enough to realize some goals in beer. I want to produce beers of character that are super drinkable, but immediately special. I’m very inspired by the family-sized breweries of Belgium, places like Cantillon and De Dolle. I love that they’re run by a small handful of family and friends, they make what they like, sell what they can, and aren’t bound by a group of stakeholders, production schedules and crazy equipment loans looming over their heads. When I hear someone is opening a brewery, I want to know that they have something to say with their beer, and I believe that I and we do, in this case.

Do you have an approximate opening date?
I would say that we’re technically “open” as of April, i.e., we’ve been brewing in our own space since then. We released Stilly Pils in August, which went great, but I was only able to get around to brewing a new batch in mid-September, which, of course, won’t be ready for months. On November 18 and 19 we will finally have a bottle release at the bar and brewery, and once we have bottles out, with the promise of more to follow, I think it’ll feel a little more real.

Can you tell us about the beers you’ll be offering initially?
Stilly Pils is something we want to make over the long haul, with tweaks along the way. A house beer for our bar and beergarden, we’ll try to have it on as much as possible. It’s my quest to make the ultimate pilsner, which, of course, can never end.

Most of the rest of our beers are and will be blends of barrel aged and/or barrel fermented farmhouse ales. We have bitter things, sours things, funky things, pale things, darker things, complex things, clean things, etc., in various stages of fermentation, and from those we’re blending and bottling.

The very first bottle release will be Stillwell Four, this year’s beer to celebrate the birthday of the bar. It’s a tart and effervescent farmhouse ale aged in a single sauvignon blanc barrel. We’ll be pouring it at our 4th Birthday Party before selling bottles the next day from our warehouse location.

Another of the earlier releases is called Sport, a tart barrel fermented farmhouse ale with sea salt and lime zest added. It’s margarita, gatorade and sour beer all in one, with notes of coconut and vanilla, and is bright as all get-out, with a big, rocky, long lasting head. It’s awesome and almost ready.

Possibly released on the same day will be Gosh, a tart red wine barrel aged farmhouse ale heavily dry-hopped with Mosaic. There’s a lovely fruit-meets-dankness of the hops on the nose, with tons of fruit character also showing through from the fermentation. The beer is very sparkly and, near the finish, the grapey, red wine character starts to show itself, and really comes out in the tannic, grippy finish. You immediately want another sip.

In mid-September I brewed a beer which, other than Stilly Pils, might be our first beer that won’t see oak. It’s my quest for Taras Boulba, or even young Stillwell 3. Hops and restrained fermentation character. It may see kegs, but I’m not sure yet.

Everything is a one-off until it’s not!

What are your plans for distribution (aka, how can people try your beer)?
A lot of this will be decided by the reception. If the beers are good and people buy them, then we’ll have a better idea of how this could look. I’ll say we’re making pretty niche beers and we’re not planning to get into the licensee keg game at all. We will likely have to export to sell all of our bottles, and we’ve been speaking to some agents in provinces abroad. We’re predominantly packaging bottles and most kegs will be just for Stillwell and the Beergarden, locally. We will never do growlers. Bottles will be available via our bottle release days (i.e., out of the brewery on certain afternoons), and very possibly available to-go from Stillwell (working on that licensing). We might look at figuring out a separate-from-Stillwell tasting room in a year or three, if that ever makes sense. I have some ideas!

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We don’t, but there are some restaurants in the city who I think may carry our beers, mostly pals. We won’t really be on tap anywhere.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries or people along the way?
100%. I owe a debt to North Brewing for hosting a whole slew of contract and collab brews, to Boxing Rock, Big Spruce & Bar Volo for making collabs with me in the early days, and to Propeller for renting me the space on Gottingen to work. Greg Nash from Unfiltered lent me some stuff yesterday. It’s true that we have a very collaborative and friendly industry. In terms of knowledge, there have been many brewers, especially in the U.S. and Belgium who’ve been willing to have a chat and throw me an opinion or two.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I’d love to see us have a solid reputation for great farmhouse-style beer. We kind of have that already, so I guess I just hope we don’t frig that up! I’d like to create a job or two. I’d like to attend some cool festivals. I’d like to be happy drinking our beer!

What type of system are you brewing on, and what is your expected output?
We’re brewing on a very old, very manual 15bbl, two-vessel steam-powered brewhouse. The same kit Propeller brews their one-offs on. We have no expectation of yearly or monthly output.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
Sure – I first started with kits in Toronto in 2010ish, then moved to Halifax and started really playing with mixed fermentations. I won something in a Brewnosers home brew competition, which was a real honour. I pretty quickly moved from homebrewing to collab brewing commercially — having a bar to buy the beer is pretty helpful when convincing a brewery to do a collab, and luckily they were all great. Definitely learned lots doing this — anytime one co-brews either at home or in a brewery one learns something, of course.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery whose beers you particularly enjoy drinking?
I like dry beers for the most part. I like hoppy beers and bitter beers. I like drinkability in beer most. Give me De La Senne Taras Boulba, Birrificio Italiano Tipopils and Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet and I’m a very happy man. Granite Ringwood. A good cask bitter or mild. A vintage barleywine. A geuze – any will do. Saisons from the classics to Quebec.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Yeast first, then hops. I like Noble hops primarily, or their hybrid descendants. Saison & Pils.

How can folks keep up to date with the latest news and brews?
@stillwellbrewing on Instagram

A big thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer our many questions and hopefully give the uninitiated a good idea of what he’s got planned for Stillwell Brewing. If you like the sounds of what you read here, you should probably mark your calendar for later this month when the first bottled beer, Stillwell Four, becomes available, first for pours during the Stillwell (bar, not brewery) fourth birthday party on the 18th, and then the next day for retail sales at their warehouse location on Gottingen Street (entrance at the rear parking lot of Propeller Brewing). We’re looking forward to sampling not only this release, but the releases of the others Chris mentioned above, as well as those he hasn’t brewed or even dreamt up yet.

Crikey! It looks like the celebrations and shenanigans associated with this past weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards Gala and Reception (check the list of winners here) might have finally taken the edge off the local beer scene for a week, allowing your faithful beer bloggers to catch our collective breath. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything exciting going on, just that there’s a little less to talk about this week. Enjoy the relatively short read (only 2000 words!); we don’t figure it’ll stay this way for long!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing reached a milestone this week, finally opening to the public and selling beer! Wednesday and Thursday of this week saw AJ Leadbetter with two of his own beers, Daydreamer Pale Ale and Headliner IPA, available for grunter (900 mL) and Growler (1.89 L) fills. They’ll be open again today from 2 – 6 PM for the same, but do note that until their point-of-sale system arrives it’s cash-only. Grunters are $7 for a fill and Growlers are $12. If you don’t have any to fill, grunters and growlers are both available for purchase, as are a selection of swanky Backstage branded fauncy paunts beer glasses, including the Rastal, the Belgian tulip, the Spiegelau IPA, and the Teku 2.0. Congrats to AJ and Beth and everyone who’s worked so hard to make the brewery a reality! Peep our Profile with AJ for a reminder of their beer and learn more about going Backstage…

2 Crows released one of their coveted small batch brews yesterday, Mountain Sounds, a Hopfenweisse brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop. With a malt grist of Pilsner malt, Wheat malt, and raw Wheat, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain to give the banana and clove notes we all expect in the style. Being a Hopfenweisse, however, demands hops, so Miles dry-hopped the beer “judiciously” with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. The end result features “huge notes of fruit salad, tinned peaches, banana, and pear”, accompanied by a full mouthfeel. Pours only for this one at the tasting room, so get down there quick! And as a bit of a heads up, they will be sporting a new release next Saturday (November 4th), I Love You, a Brett– fermented Saison, infused with lemon verbena, care of Phil Holmans of World Tea House. We’ll have all of the nerdy details next Friday.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has an au courant brew ready for All Hallows’ Eve and, perhaps, reminiscing about classic Halifax haunts from the 80s. GothStout is an American Stout, featuring citrusy Centennial hops added at both the beginning of the boil, for bitterness, and towards the end, for a flavourful hop presence and aroma. The body is dark and roasty from the use of roasted barley, kiln coffee and pale chocolate malts. Said to pair well with Bauhaus or The Cure, we’ll wager it also wouldn’t go amiss with a little Sisters of Mercy or Siouxsie and the Banshees either. Head on down to the Tiny Tasting Room and see whether GothStout is really as black as your soul. And while this beer will have come and gone by the time it opens, the TH family have announced that they will be filling the three beer taps at aFrite Restaurant on Lower Water, when it opens in late November.

• Continuing on the popular release of their DDH Luster in late summer, TrailWay is releasing DDH Hu Jon Hops today at the brewery. Their flagship 6.5% ABV American IPA, HJH is typically packed full of hop flavour and aroma, and TW promises an experience at the next level with this double-dry-hopped version. A second dry hop with Citra and Mosaic was added, giving a flavour of “saturated hop juice”, coming across as “very fruity with some dankness”, according to the brewery. Available today at noon at the brewery on tap and in cans, and likely a few kegs will pop up around Fredericton, as is usual for these limited releases.

• Erica and Kelly C. continue their exploits on the Good Robot pilot system with another new BetaBrewsday release next Tuesday. Falling on Halloween, they were reminded of Dia de Muertos, or “Day of the Dead”, a multi-day, annual holiday in Mexico; Erica was lucky enough to attend the celebrations in Oaxaca a few years ago, and was introduced to a wide variety of molé sauces, with her favourite being molé negra. With chocolate and spices working so well in certain beer styles, she created (with help from Kelly C. and Maria Josey) Holy Molé, a 5.3% ABV Brown Ale brewed with 2-row, Crystal 120 L, Wheat malt, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Wheat malt. Hopped lightly with East Kent Goldings to just 11 IBUs, of course the ingredients didn’t rest here – a small amount of thyme, cumin, cinnamon, clove, and sesame were added in the boil, with fire-roasted peppers and avocado leaves being thrown into the fermenter.

• Be on the lookout for Sober Island Brewing‘s small (relatively speaking) cans to be hitting the shelves next week. 473 ml cans of their Blonde Ale (renamed Marigold) and Oyster Stout (now known as Beth’s Blackout) will both be found at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar beginning November 2nd. They will be running a tasting that afternoon from 4-6pm, where you can grab a taste before grabbing a can (or two). They are still using the crowler format for on-demand fills, but the smaller format will allow them to have packaged beer more readily available in the HRM area.

• As part of this weekend’s Devour! The Food and Film Fest, the 2017 Taste of Nova Scotia Awards were announced yesterday, with all of the winners sharing close ties to the cider and beer world. Congratulations to Product of the Year Something Different from Annapolis CiderRestaurant of the Year The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, Server of the Year Nicole Raufeisen of Little OakCulinary Ambassador of the Year Chris and Melissa Velden of The Flying Apron Inn & Cookery , and Producer of the Year Benjamin Bridge.

• And a big congratulations to Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills of Port Rexton Brewing, who were recognized with the Trailblazer Award by Newfoundland And Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Opening a brewery in a small town more than 3 hours from the closest city takes a special passion that these two entrepreneurs are demonstrating. Building both their local community in Port Rexton, and the community of breweries opening in other small towns in the province, their win is much-deserved. Celebrate with the entire PR crew this weekend at the brewery, as they celebrate the end of the season. The bar is open 2-10PM today, 1-10PM Saturday, and 11AM-6PM Sunday, for you to enjoy samples, pints, music (Saturday night), and then grab a few growlers to enjoy at home during the week. Costumes are highly encouraged!

We have two exciting developments in “coming soon/not-so-soon” beers in our region:

• In planning for months, a collaboration between artist and breweries will come to fruition next month. Artist Erin McGuire is the man behind “By The Numbers“, a piece of art he created inspired by The Tragically Hip. Being a beer fan from the South Shore, McGuire reached out to Boxing Rock (who in turn wanted to collaborate with Garrison) to turn his art into a beer label, with a portion of proceeds of the beer going to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The collaborative beer, Courage (for Gord Downie), will be a 6.0% Amber Wheat Ale, with a limited run of just 2000 bottles, coming in late November. For those Hip and beer fans looking to pay tribute, and help fund brain tumour research before then, prints of “By The Numbers” are available through McGuire now.

• In the not-so-soon department, the crew from North Brewing took the first steps of a multi-month (multi-year?) journey last weekend. After preparing a low-ABV-potential, high-wheat wort using the turbid mash method (put on your beer goggles, take a deep dive and prepare to lose a few hours while researching!) at their Agricola Street location, they trucked the wort to the vineyard at Benjamin Bridge Winery. At that point, the still-hot wort was pumped into a shallow metal container named a coolship. The vessel’s large surface area and shallow depth allow for a quick cooling (normally requiring lots of water and a heat exchanger). At this point, yeast would normally be added by the brewers, but in taking advantage of the wild yeast and flora growing on the grapes and leaves in the vineyard, the wort was allowed to spontaneously ferment (or innoculate). An overnight process to ensure enough yeast found their way through the cheesecloth (to keep any insects or other nasties out!), the beer was then pumped into Benjamin Bridge barrels, and brought back to HRM. The beer will now ferment and condition over the course of many months, and could potentially lead to a multi-year blend of future brews (think Gueuze, from Brussels). We’ll be keeping you up-to-date with this beer as it develops

In addition to your own Halloween-themed parties this weekend, here a few others to keep in mind in the coming weeks!

Horton Ridge will be hosting a special event for Halloween this year, featuring one of the Gold Medal-winning beers from this year’s ACBAs. Hortonville’s Pumpkin Ale, which we told you about a few weeks ago, was brewed by Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery brewer Stefan Gagliardi using hefty amounts of Horton Ridge organic Vienna and Munich malts as well as home-smoked pumpkin and plenty of spices. The beer will be available for pints and as part of flights on Tuesday Oct 31 from 1 – 9 PM while supplies last. Of course there will be other Horton Ridge-brewed and guest beers on tap for this event.

Lion & Bright will be hosting Charlottetown’s Upstreet for an 8-tap takeover next Thursday, November 2nd. Featuring some of their core beers, plus plenty of special and one-offs, there will be food and drink deals from 5PM. Come and meet the Upstreet crew, jam on some tunes, and have a fun night out!

• Not quite getting your fill of New Brunswick beer? The James Joyce in Fredericton has been a strong supporter of breweries in the province over the past couple of years, but on Friday, November 10th, they’re pushing the envelope – and adding taps! – to try and have beer available from every brewery in New Brunswick. The event is currently unnamed, but they’re doing all they can to ensure every brewery is able to participate, including adding lines, jockey boxes, and kegerators! The last time they attempted this it was a bit easier, with only 18 breweries open in the province; now, it’s over 30. There’s no charge to attend, just show up when they open at 11:30 am, and pay by the pint or flight!

Just a couple more things before we send you off:

Grimross has released Scratch #7: Skinny Pale Ale at their brewery in Fredericton; they’re describing it as a 5.8% ABV mix of a “Belgian meeting a California Pale Ale”. Scratch is available now, and/or drop by on Saturday for a taste, when they’ll also have their Schwarzbier on cask, featuring additions of orange peel and Citra hops.
– We teased a few weeks ago that Rothesay’s Long Bay would be bottling soon, and that day has come! One of their flagship beers, Bantam APA, is the first to be available in bottles, which you can find for sale at the brewery, as well as KV and Saint John ANBL stores (check inventory). Look for their first Belgian beer, Chalice, to follow suit over the next couple of days.
– While Uncle Leo’s mixed 4-pack of German Ales is still available at select NSLC stores in the region, it looks like the next local variety pack will be a 6-pack featuring two bottles each of three different ciders from Bulwark, going on sale as of November 20th.

Another beautiful week on the East Coast, with the cooler temperatures inspiring the brewers to release more harvest-themed beers, and leading into the dark and warming beers of winter. But first, we have a bit of information on a pair of new breweries now serving beer in New Brunswick:

• After several months operating as a pub (under the name Buddha Bear Cafe) serving craft beer in Alma, New Brunswick, Holy Whale Brewery is finally serving their own beer! Think of this as a soft-opening, giving them an opportunity to test out various styles and batches, including an American Pale Ale, Session IPA, and Irish Red, all of which should be pouring at the cafe by this weekend. Stay tuned for a Q&A we’ll be posting next week to give you a full update on the brewery, with a grand opening hopefully happening by mid-December. In the meantime, if you’re in the area, drop by the cafe (located at 8576 Main St.) this weekend to try out their beers!

CAVOK Brewing, located in Dieppe, NB, has their first few beers now available in the Moncton and Fredericton region. Brewing on a pilot system while they secure a location for their full-sized brewery, their Petitcodiac Rye IPA and S&S Altbier are available now at the Tide & Boar in Moncton and James Joyce in Fredericton, respectively. We’ll have a full profile with the folks behind CAVOK next week to get you up to speed on their current operations, and future plans!

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce has two brand new beers out in the wild right now! First up is their annual wet-hop beer, brewed with 100% organic hops from the brewery’s own hopyard. Fortune Frazer’s the Bold (6.2% ABV) is an American IPA hopped with Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget, and a little bit of Chinook. You may remember past year’s iterations going under the names Craig Goes Yard, and Hoppily Married. This year’s brew was named after Frazer MacGregor, a neighbour of Big Spruce who was the primary architect of the reconstruction of the brewery’s hop trellis system earlier this year. As a debt of gratitude, the beer was named after him. Next is S’il Vous Plait, a Saison brewed with 100% organic Pilsner malt from Germany, and fermented with the Old World Farmhouse Blend (which contains two Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs. A Brettanomyces strain also played a role in primary, with the 6% ABV, ~20 IBUs brew being further conditioned in stainless for 4 weeks after fermentation was complete. Find both of these beers on tap at the brewery, and at a few lucky Big Spruce tap accounts in Nova Scotia (you probably already know where to look).

• And keep your eyes peeled for the return of Big Spruce’s One Hundred, a beer produced with 100% local ingredients, from hops grown on their own farm, barley and grain grown and then malted at Horton Ridge Malt, and fermented with a yeast isolated from the fruit of a pin cherry tree. For the first time, however, the batch will be available in both draft and cans, allowing drinkers a chance to take a little piece of Nova Scotia with them wherever they go.

• And Cape Breton’s other craft brewery, Breton Brewing in Sydney, is putting more things in cans these days, with three of their seasonal brews getting the full package treatment. Already available are their summer swigger Island Time Lager, a Munich Helles that weighs in at 4.3% ABV and 14 IBU and their Storm Chaser, an oatmeal stout with added vanilla that tips the scales at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU. And next week should see the release of Seven Years, a very hop forward pale ale reminiscent of New England IPAs, but coming in at a much more approachable 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU. Obviously the new cans will be available at the brewery, but they’ll also be making their way to the private stores in Halifax, some of whom, like Bishop’s Cellar, will ship anywhere in NS (just sayin’…). While these beers will all maintain their “seasonal” tag for now, who knows what might happen if they prove to be big sellers in this run?

• Halifax’s Tidehouse emailed us (last night, even) to let us know that they’ve got a new brew on tap now at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room. Impeccably named, Bruno Puntz Jones is a brown ale built from a base of Canadian 2-Row, with kiln coffee and Munich malts providing character and an auburn hue. Traditional English hop varieties East Kent Goldings and Fuggles complete the overall picture like a perfect white linen suit and matching Panama hat. At 4.4% ABV this should be a very quaffable brew, with light roast flavors underlying nutty and mocha notes, and a fruity and herbal hop character. And we have it on good authority that at some point Tidehouse will give us a Francesca Fioré beer, which is only proper – when you see Bruno Puntz Jones you know that it’s only a matter of time before Francesca Fioré shows up.

• Hold on to your hop hats, Rothesay, as Foghorn is releasing their first Imperial IPA today at the brewery! Model 21 Double IPA is kind of a souped-up version of their Constable Winchester IPA, in that it’s the same light-copper colour, with some medium Crystal malt in the grist… but the similarities end there. Model 21 was bittered with Centennial to 75-80 IBUs, with plenty of Azacca added after the boil. Naturally, a very large dry-hop addition was incorporated, featuring crowd- and brewer-favourites Amarillo, Citra, and Galaxy. Coming in at a hefty 9% ABV, it’s not for the faint of heart… but we know you hop heads out there will love it! You’ll be able to find it on tap at Foghorn today, and it will most likely appear on tap at your other favourite Foghorn accounts.

• Speaking of big, hoppy beers, today at noon TrailWay is releasing their first Triple IPA, Trippa. Coming in at a massive 10% ABV (no word back on the IBUs), the brewery was – naturally – pushed to the limit in terms of malt, hops, and equipment! The hop bill was made up of copious amounts of Ella, Idaho 7, and Vic Secret, giving this big beer plenty of juicy, tropical qualities, to go with its “super silky mouthfeel and pillowy body”. Limited supplies are available, with cans only at the brewery; growlers and pints will also be pouring there, as well as at a few select licensees in New Brunswick.

• If you listened in to the latest podcast from the 902BrewCast crew, where they interviewed Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery, you would have been privy to some expansion news. Oh well, you’ll just have to get it from us, some equally-handsome devils! That’s right, Brightwood has announced their expansion to a 10 bbl (~1150 L) system, with a pair each of both 10 and 20 bbl fermentors, as well as a canning line. They’ll be opening their location (and taproom) on Portland St., sharing a space with a new cidery that will be launching. We’ll keep you updated on their progress, but in the meantime, here’s a new beer from Brightwood to hold you off: Dartmouth Commons is a “late season lawnmower beer” brewed with 2-row, Vienna, and Rye malt, and hopped with Citra and Galaxy. Basically a light, crisp lager with “lots of citrus and tropical fruit” character, it comes in easy-drinking (as it should) at 5% ABV. Look for it at the Alderney Farmers Market this weekend, with a keg possibly popping up at Schoolhouse over the next day or two as well.

North Brewing has a new release coming out today, and it sounds like a winner! Ensō is a Sour Brown Ale that was aged in four separate oak barrels, for 4 months. The beer was then bottle-conditioned (in 650 mL bottles), with the corresponding barrel number indicated on the label. With a slightly lower carbonation level than other North beers, expect a “sherry-like vibe” in the finished product, with characteristics of “stone fruit, tart pear, raisin, vanilla, and light molasses” in the flavour. Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, you can find bottles at both North retail shops. Also, cans of their New England IPA, Malternate Reality, are available now!

• Over to Good Robot, where next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday will be Mordor’s Porter. Aside from a nice little reference to a fantastic trilogy, the beer was brewed with a variety of malt types (Pale, Amber, Brown and Black, along with a bit of Smoked malt) to give complex flavours of “bourbon, plums, apricots, and caramel”. Featuring some Willamette hops for 39 IBUs to balance the malt, this burnt orange-coloured, 4% ABV beer was brewed by Colin MacDonald and Kelly C. Also, you may have noticed through social media that some canning was going on at GR earlier this week; we’ll have more info for you in the next week or two (ok, it was Extra Big Ass Lager), as well as some bottling news!

• After a summer hiatus, Lunn’s Mill has brought back their Eclipse (7% ABV, 60 IBUs), a Black IPA. Dark-coloured and hop-forward, it’s still balanced by plenty of malt character, and a hint of roastiness from the addition of dark malt. And also pouring from Lunn’s Mill is a new beer launched a couple of weeks ago, Lager Driver. This one is a Vienna Lager weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBUs; initially released at their Oktoberfest event, it is luckily still available. Malty and dry, with a mild bitterness in the finish, the body exhibits a deep-amber colour.

• Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing will have a pair of new beers available this weekend, just as the temperatures are falling and the leaves are turning colour. New IPA 1.0 is, you guessed it, a brand new IPA that the HB crew has whipped up. Using a blend of three hops that lean toward the citrus and tropical end of the spectrum, this beer weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU. The second new brew to you is their Robust Porter, featuring plenty of Chocolate and Black malts for a solid roast flavour and aroma, but with a balancing hop charge for enough bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Grab the new beers, as well as their core lineup, at their Kirk Street location this weekend. And if you want to enjoy a pint of Heritage on tap outside of brewery hours, visit the following local spots: Sip CafeRC’s Restaurant & PubThe Hatfield House Culinary Experiences, and the Red Cap Restaurant & Motel.

• The crew at Half Cocked Brewing, located in North Grant (just outside of Antigonish), have added a new beer to their repertoire this week. A 7.3% American Stout, the pitch black beer features roast and coffee aromatics on top of a rich creamy mouthfeel with hints of chocolate, finishing of in a nice bitter kick, thanks to the 60 IBU. They have decided to name this beer The Darkest One, and if you are a fan of the Tragically Hip or the Trailer Park Boys, you know why.

• The Rock’s Port Rexton Brewing has a new release with a connection back to Nova Scotia’s Big SpruceEcho Chamber is brewed in the American-Belgo style, juxtaposing yeast and grain with old world Belgian vibes against tons of new world hops. Hopped with the AzaccaHuell Melon and Amarillo varieties in whirlpool additions described as “massive”, it was then dry-hopped with even more Azacca and Huell Melon for an explosion of orange and melon aroma. The bitterness is pronounced, yet well-balanced and the finish is slightly dry. The yeast strain used was the Pin Cherry developed by Escarpment Labs for Big Spruce, which lays a base of spice notes that provide the foundation for the rest of the beer. Look for this well-balanced ale on tap at the brewery now.

• We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Horton Ridge would be holding their Oktoberfest in Hortonville tomorrow, October 21st, and we now have details on the collaboration brewed up with Sea Level for the event. An Oktoberfest (natch) named Maltoberfest, it was brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malt, and hopped with local Hallertau in the mash, with more Hallertau and some Mandarina Bavaria in the boil. Fermented with Nottingham yeast and finishing at 4.8% ABV, it will be released at the event tomorrow. Meanwhile, Horton Ridge has released a new beer called Queen’s Smash, a SMaSH beer (obviously) that features a PEI barley variety called Queens after the county where it was developed. Hopped with Calypso to give it a bit of a North/South Island flair, this is a one-off, so you’ll have to head down to the brewery and malt house for a taste!

A few events to tell you about…

• The New Glasgow Farmers’ Market is hosting an All Hallows Ball, at their location next Saturday, October 28th. Featuring beer from Sober Island Brewing and Uncle Leo’s, it will also serve as the coming out party for Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing, with their first beers pouring at the event. Food from Smokinstein Food Truck will keep you happy, plus live music all evening. Costumes are mandatory, so be sure to get planning now, and there are still tickets available here.

• In other spooky event news, Maybee Brewing is bringing back their Halloween Bash on Saturday, October 28th, starting at 7 pm. Tickets aren’t quite on sale yet, but they’ll only be 5$, which gets you in to the event. There’ll be live music all evening, lots of beer for sale (including a special-release cask ale), “haunted brewery tours”, and a costume contest. And when you get hungry, Milda’s Pizzas & More will be on-site, making up some special Halloween-inspired pizzas. There’ll even be a free shuttle heading downtown at the end of the night, to make sure you get home safely… or to your next drinking spot! It’s up to you.

Rounding out the news today…

– Fredericton’s Grimross will soon be releasing another brew in their Scratch series, Scratch #6: Schwartzbier. Featuring roast character with a “light and clean finish”, look for it on tap at the brewery by next week.
PEI Brewing Co. has brought back Hell Street, their 8.1% ABV barrel-aged Doppelbock; you can pick up some bottles at the brewery, Gahan House in Charlottetown, and the Beer Station.
– We may still be having some warm days, but that hasn’t stopped Petit-Sault from bringing back their award-winning Winter Warmer, Buckdjeuve (7.3% ABV)! It’s available now at the brewery taproom on tap and in bottles.
– If you like your Citra SMaSH beers, we have some good news – Unfiltered‘s highly-popular Double Orange Ale (DOA) (7.5% ABV) is back as of today at noon; growlers and pints at Charm School, and on tap around the HRM.
– A. Keith’s Historic Brewery on Lower Water Street in Halifax got some happy news this week, as their Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout was awarded a Four-star Beer designation at The Beer Awards in England. Congrats to brewer Stefan Gagliardi and his team.

Good morning, and welcome to what feels like the first official Friday of fall! We’re a little late getting your weekly dose of beer news to you, but sometimes life outside of beer gets in the way of beer, so we’re quite sure you’ll understand. So, with that being said, let’s get right to it!

Annapolis Brewing Company, located in historic Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, is now open and selling growlers to the public. Brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litres) system in a historic building at 438 George Street, they currently have four beers available for purchase: McCormick’s BlondeAcadian Honey BrownKing George Porter, and Ceasefire IPA. We’ll have a full profile of with the ABC crew next week, and in the meantime watch their FB and Twitter pages for updates. Welcome to the local beer scene, Annapolis Brewing!

• And in the “Coming Soon” category for breweries, Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House will be opening in Lower Sackville, NS, in the coming weeks. Owner and brewer Keith Forbes has been involved in the homebrewing community for almost a decade, an avid member of the Brewnosers club. Forbes is currently brewing on a 120 litre home-built system in his basement, and eyeing expansion next year. Kegs at local bars and restaurants will be the primary way to try the OBB beer for this year, with growlers thereafter. We’ll have a full Profile with Forbes closer to launch date, with all of the details on his history, beers he’ll have available, and his journey to opening. Cheers!

• Up by the Isthmus of Chignecto, Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has joined the ranks of the pumpkin pushers with their Pumpkin Ale-ixer an ostensibly amber ale with a seasonal twist. Make no mistake about its provenance, however, this is a true-blue pumpkin beer featuring freshly harvested pumpkin that were hand-roasted with just the right amount of brown sugar before being added to the boil. Hopped entirely, but lightly, with UK variety Fuggles for an earthy, herby hop character, and then dosed with a secret tincture of fresh organic spices, this beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 10 IBU. It’s available now from the brewery in 500 mL bottles and there are twenty or so kegs that will make their way to tap accounts around the region. Cheers to Samhain!

• Returning for the season is Roof Hound Brewery‘s KelticDevil Pumpkin-Spiced Latte Strong Porter (say that 3 times fast!). Featuring pumpkin, vanilla beans, 2 kg of coffee from local roaster Sissiboo Coffee, and lactose (milk sugar) for that full PSL appeal, the tongue in cheek name is an ode to local beer-tographer and -fan Phil “KelticDevil” Church, and his dis-love of all things pumpkin. Roof Hound will be celebrating the release tonight with a showing of the cult classic “Friday the 13th” from 1980. The beer launches today, with the movie starting at 9PM. And speaking of KelticDevil and his co-horts Kyle and Tony, their 902 BrewCast October Tasting episode was released this morning. This month’s episode features a chat on all things glassware with visiting Certified Cicerone® Crystal Luxmore. Grab it here, or check your favourite podcasting app.

• After opening their brewery back in August, the folks behind Half Cocked Brewing are introducing their first new brew. Appropriately named First Harvest, it’s a DIPA that was first-wort-hopped (a process where hops are added as the wort runs off from the mash, before the boil has begun) with Columbus and Warrior, with “massive” late and whirlpool additions of freshly-picked Cascade, along with some Centennial, Chinook, and Galena. Double-dry-hopped with more Columbus, the resulting 8.3% ABV beer is dank and grassy, and should be on tap at the brewery for growler fills any time now (if it’s not already!).

Big Spruce released two new beers last Friday, literally minutes after our post went out… but that doesn’t mean we can’t update you on them now! First up is Guava Get Me Some IPA, an American IPA featuring lots of late hop additions (we tried to find out which ones, but they ain’t tellin’!), as well as organic guava, expect plenty of tropical aromas and flavours in this one. Secondly is Wild Wild Wit, a Farmhouse Ale fermented with Big Spruce’s proprietary wild yeast. After the yeast completed their job, the beer was racked into Francis Ford Coppola Chardonnay barrels for 2 months. “Smooth, floral, and easy-drinking” at just 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, drop by the brewery for a taste of this one (and the other!), or search around Halifax, where some lucky spots have them on tap.

• Attesting to the growing popularity of the style, there’s more and more New England IPAs being brewed across the Maritimes, and Big Axe has just released their take, Roll in the Hay IPA. Brewed with Pale malt and Flaked Oats, it was hopped-heavily with Lemondrop, a new-ish variety that boasts the character that you’re probably expecting from the name! Along with the lemon aroma, the brewery says a big blast of papaya, creating the classic juicy characteristics of an NEIPA. Weighing in low for the style at 5.2% ABV, drop by the brewery in Nackawic for a taste or growler (and check out their expansion progress!), and seek it out at your favourite Big Axe account.

• And speaking of Lemondrop, let’s move over to Yarmouth, NS, where Heritage Brewing is releasing a test batch of a Lemondrop single-hopped beer, Lemondrop Pale Ale. With a simple malt profile, the Lemondrop hops come through perfectly with a “subtle, lemony-citrusy-floral aroma”. Quite drinkable at 5% ABV and only 18 IBUs, it is available at the brewery now for samples and growler fills. It joins their other recent release, Zero Kilometre Cream Ale, a 5.4% ABV quaffer. A light and refreshing complement to their Blonde, it features a mild hop character and light malt profile. Also available now at the brewery, it was also pouring at friendly-brewery-friend Hell Bay in Liverpool earlier this week. Speaking of which …

• Hell Bay has announced that for their Oktoberfest, happening next Saturday, Oct 21, they will be launching a special one-off beer. A dark Witbier, it is brewed in the style of a traditional Belgian Wit (think half Wheat malt, orange peel and coriander added), but with an addition of Chocolate malt for a darker colour and light chocolate and roast flavours. The best way to guarantee a taste of the Fest-bier is to head to the brewery from noon to midnight on Saturday, though there may be some left for those of you unable to attend. There will be plenty of beers pouring, as well as special food available all day, with music throughout the day. The event is indoors and out, with a big tent to keep everyone dry in case of inclement weather.

• We hinted at a new fruit beer coming from TrailWay last Friday, and that beer has now been released. It’s the latest iteration of their 3.8% ABV fruited kettle-sour, El Generico, with this batch featuring the addition of almost 200 lbs of blackberries and rhubarb. It just dropped yesterday in cans, growlers, and pints at the brewery, and as always with this brand, it’s a limited release, so drop by soon to make your purchase. A few kegs will also likely pop up at licensees around Fredericton.

Picaroons has brought back their seasonal pumpkin-spiced brew, Gourd Browny, featuring a “new and improved recipe”. A medium-bodied, 5.6% ABV Brown Ale, it was spiced with “modest” amounts of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Released late last week just in time to pair with Thanksgiving meals, it should still be on tap at both Picaroons locations in Fredericton, as well as bars and restaurants in the city.

• If you’re in St. John’s, keep your eyes open for an upcoming new beer from YellowBelly. An IPA brewed to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Crow’s Nest, a formerly-private club in the city that has been transformed into a military museum, it was brewed with Maris Otter and Carastan, and hopped with East Kent Golding and Bramling Cross. With one dry-hop down, and presumably another to go, look for this one – currently unnamed – to pop up on tap at the brewpub within a couple of weeks.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows has a couple things on the go this week, in both large and small batch formats. First, on the small side, brewery assistant Nick Ogden devised a cunning beer called Oceanspray, a saison that features a couple of locally-foraged ingredients. Starting a fairly standard (for 2 Crows, anyway) malt bill of Pilsner, wheat, rye and, of course, oats, the beer was fermented with their house saison culture, before conditioning on pineapple weed and juniper berries. Keg conditioning took place with champagne yeast for extra effervescence. Now, you probably know what juniper berries are, but we’re guessing you might be wondering what pineapple weed is. Google image search it, folks, and consider how many times you’ve stomped on it growing between the cracks on a sidewalk. It certainly earns its name as you’ll discover if you try this beer. Pineapple-y, slightly earthy, and featuring some pine and resinous notes, this is a tasty little beer at 5.4% ABV and 21 IBU. Only two 50 L kegs were produced and it’s only available by the glass at 2 Crows.

• And on the large side, tomorrow marks the release of Bonanza, a massive beer in the wheatwine style that’s been aged 3 months in one of the locally-famous 2 Crows Calvados foedres. At 11.4% and 64 IBU, this is not a beer for the faint of heart. The grist was largely composed of (a lot of) wheat malt, with Pilsner, Vienna and oat malt (of course) providing interest. It was hopped during the boil with modern European Hallertau Blanc and classic American Centennial and initially fermented with an English yeast before being fed both a wild yeast and a wine yeast to finish. Dry-hopping included more Hallertauer Bland along with Simcoe and a touch of Citra. It features a sweet and round nose, with fruity esters, a mouth-filling and velvety body, and barrel character that presents on both the nose and the palate. Warmth and patience bring out the hops. It will be available in cans tomorrow at the brewery; we suggest grabbing at least two: one for now and one to put away for a little while to see how it mellows; we suspect the answer will be, “quite nicely.”

• Time for your weekly update on next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday from Good Robot: Don’t Call Me Wit was brewed by Matt Chapple and Kelly C., with a grist of 2-row, Wheat, Black Patent, and Midnight Wheat. Bittered with Galaxy, Summit, and Vic Secret to 35 IBUs, it was dry-hopped with more Summit and Vic Secret. Obviously not your typical Witbier (the two dark malts alone should give that away!), expect a “piney, fruit flavour and aroma, with a clean Wit body”.

• Are you ready to rumble? Upstreet is releasing their third collaboration with Boxing Rock just in time for the weekend, as Rumble in the Alley III is hitting tap accounts in PEI and Halifax. For this iteration, they’ve brewed up a SMaSH Belgian IPA, with Pilsner malt and Azacca hops being the stars of the show, along with “a newly available Belgian yeast” that is new to breweries in our region, according to Upstreet. With a ripe stone fruit hop profile, some fruity esters from the yeast, and a very dry finish, this 6% ABV, 30 IBUs brew is the perfect way to celebrate two local breweries working together. Look for it at the breweries and growler stations in both the HRM and PEI.

• With this year’s Nocture: Art at Night set to kick off tomorrow, Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is once again releasing a beer to celebrate. Taking a slight detour from the Dark Lager of old, this year’s batch is a Black IPA. Nocturne Black IPA is a 6.7% ABV, 78 IBU, featuring a rich chocolate and coffee flavour, with the generous dry-hopping of Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight for plenty of tropical fruit and pine aromatics. The beer is available on tap for pints and samples at their Gottingen location, with growlers and 650 ml bottles available in both Halifax and Dartmouth. 100% of the profits from Nocturne Black IPA are donated directly to the festival. From Propeller, “So buy more beer and help bring art to the masses”. Looking to plan your tour of Nocturne, check out their interactive map (good on both desktop and mobile).

• This evening’s Cask Night at Gottingen Street will be tapped at 5PM, and is their Pumpkin Ale, aged on cedar wood. The fun kicks off at 5PM, and the folks from Humble Pie Kitchen will be onsite to keep you well fed while you enjoy a pint of two. HPK will be partnering with Propeller for future Cask Nights as well.

• And finally in Propeller news this week, they will be releasing their latest Gottingen Small Batch beer tomorrow, to coincide with Nocturne. It will be the first release of their Propeller Hop Collection, “an experimental series designed to showcase unique hop varieties from around the world.” The initial beer is Citra IPA, a Brown IPA (colour thanks to Blackprinz and Munich Malts), generous dosing of Citra gives citrus and tropical aromatics, which complement the pine and earth notes from Simcoe, also found in the brew. Launching Saturday, this small batch will only be available on tap for growlers, pints and samples at Gottingen, and for growler fills at Windmill next week.

Sober Island Brewing and ShipBuilders Cider are releasing a special hybrid experiment at Battery Park tomorrow. Featuring a 50/50 blend of SI’s Oyster Stout and ShipBuilders’ Cider, this bevvy will be available at both retail locations, Farmers’ Markets, and bottles at Petite Riviere and Sheet Harbour. The two producers are celebrating the Halifax Pop Explosion, running October 18-21, and will have discounted HPX tickets available for purchase at tomorrow’s launch, as well as ticket give-aways starting at 2PM. Drop by for your first taste and to take part in the fun!

• And grab your taste’s of Sober Island’s first release in the Foraged Series, their Chanterelle Mild Ale this weekend as well. The Forest Festival at Memory Lane Heritage Village will be hosting the Sober Island beer trailer and many more visitors, including axe throwing hosted by Timber Lounge Halifaxe.

• For those of you professional brewers out there that are currently packaging your beer in kegs and growlers only, we have some great news – Craft Coast Canning is about ready to open! Located in Fredericton, the company offers the rental of their mobile canning unit to breweries throughout the Maritimes. When hired, they bring the canning unit to your brewery, along with the pre-labelled cans (you can work with them beforehand to get your design on the shrink sleeve; they even offer graphic design services if needed), and two technicians. With a single-phase, 5-head filler, they can churn out 35 cans/minute (both 12 and 16 oz cans are available), and are able to can up to 6000 L/day. All operations are completed by the technicians; your only job at the brewery is to receive the cans at the end of the line, and package them as you see fit. The business will officially open this Monday, so if you’d like to have your beer canned, now is the time to reach out to them!

• This past Wednesday it was announced on social media that Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing, in partnership with the Biology Department at Acadia University, has been awarded a research and innovation grant by Nova Scotia Business Inc (NSBI) towards the “creation of specialized yeast strains to make unique Nova Scotia craft beers.” In the release Saltbox also pledged their intent to share this research with other NS breweries through the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. Given the success achieved locally by Big Spruce with the yeasts they’ve isolated and developed in Cape Breton as well as the work being done by small yeast labs throughout North America, this is a welcome development that will hopefully help Saltbox and other Nova Scotia breweries further develop one of the essential components of a terroir for beer in our province.

A few things on the go this weekend and next week:

• As they did last year, Muwin Estate, the folks behind the popular Bulwark brand of ciders, is hosting their The People’s Cider event tomorrow. From 10 AM to 4 PM. Drop by their New Ross location at 7155 Highway 12 with your own home-grown apples to be pressed and made into a cider to be released later this year. If you’ve got apples on your property that you haven’t known what to do with, now you know! More detail and updates on the project can be found on the Facebook Event Page.

• The New Brunswick-produced beer documentary, Beerocracy, is having another screening on Thursday, October 19th at Big Tide Brewing in Saint John, at 6 pm. Entry is by donation, and Big Tide will have beer and food specials on as well. Look for more screening dates and locations to be announced soon.

One last thing(s):

North Brewing‘s Malternate Reality New England-style IPA is now available in cans at both of their retail locations (and may be headed to the private stores as well).
Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cask this Friday is actually a cider, dreamed up by brewer Leigh. Valley Apple Cider is made from all local apples, and like all of these releases, will not last long!
Sea Level has brought back their New Scotland Heather Ale, and it is currently available in cans and growlers at the brewery, and on tap from the Valley to Halifax. This 5.0% ABV beer features local heather and hops.
– After their launch last week, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing will once again have growler fills available at the brewery. Drop by from 11AM-4PM for fills of their Chai Stout and Roggenbier, as well as the new Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 20 IBU) and Hefeweizenish (5.5%, 12 IBU). Learn more about them in last week’s Profile.
– And all great things must come to an end… We’ve heard that the Stillwell Beergarden will be closing for the season at the end of service Saturday. So get out and see some art, grab a pint and sausage, see some art, drink, art, repeat.

As we enter the first day of fall, and head into the end of September, the breweries in Atlantic Canada haven’t slowed down a bit! After one heck of a crazy week last week (as you may have noticed from our 4500+ word Wrap-Up last Friday), we have almost as much news to share with you today. So enough with the chit chat; let’s get to the beer!

• For those of you who were fans of the fourth in the Scratch series of beers from Fredericton’s Grimross, we have some good news… Vienna Lager is back as of today. Brewed with a grist that consists of 80% Vienna malt, and hopped with German noble varieties, it’s a copper-coloured beer with “floral and spicy notes from the hops to complement the yeast and malt bill”, coming in at a drinkable 5.1% ABV. Available on tap now at Grimross, as well as local accounts, look for this one to quite possibly be re-brewed periodically.

• If you’ve noticed a new beer popping up on tap around Saint John last week from Loyalist City, you’re not crazy! Rustic Ryed is the latest release from the brewery; a reddish-amber-hued Rye IPA brewed with Maris Otter and Rye malt, it was hopped with “copious amounts” of Cascade, Equinox and Simcoe. Expect an “intense aroma of citrus and pine, complemented by a hint of peppery malt”. More Cascade and Equinox were used in a whirlpool addition, to up the citrus flavour even more. With high carbonation and a moderate bitterness in the finish, you can find this 6% ABV, 55 IBUs brew on tap at your favourite LC account. And if they don’t have it… ask for it!

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing just released their latest beer, a special one created to recognize the traditions of Maritime sailors of the past. They took their Old Foundry Stout, a 6.3% ABV, chocolatey beer, and aged it in rum casks from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery, for five months. The result was Fog Bank, a big (9% ABV), rich beer boasting notes of vanilla and dark fruit, all thanks to the rum casks. While high in alcohol, the aging helps bring a “smooth, mellow finish” to the beer, to give you a pleasant sipping experience. It’s available now (as of 10 AM) on tap at the brewery only, as well as in 750 mL bottles for you to take away (wouldn’t hurt to age one or two for later, right?).

Tatamagouche Brewing has been busy lately (ok, they’re always busy!), as they have two returning favourites hitting shelves and taprooms this week. First up is their Pale Euro Lager, Lagerhosen, a 4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs brew that’s perfect for the Tatamagouche Oktoberfest, happening this weekend. Just the type of beer you want to drink in quantity (hey, it IS Oktoberfest), the grain bill and yeast are the same as the batches for the last couple of years, but the hops have changed, with Hallertau Mittlefruh and Hersbrucker being used this time around. Look for it on tap at select licensees this weekend; it’s also available for growler fills and in cans at the brewery now. Next is their New England IPA, Fog Lights, a 6.4% ABV, 50 IBUs hop bomb featuring large additions of Azacca, Huell Melon, and Mosaic. With a mix of Pale and Pilsner malt as the base of the grist, along with some Spelt and Oats to make up the difference, it’s enough to keep the colour light, yet the mouthfeel slightly fuller and soft, for the perfect NEIPA experience! Releasing today at the brewery (growlers and cans), a couple of kegs should be in Halifax this weekend, with the rest shipping next week. Finally, their Ace of Lace Witbier was re-released last week; not your typical Wit, it features the addition of Queen Anne’s lace (aka wild carrot), Indian plum berries, and orange peel in the hop back, followed by a big dry-hop of Sorachi Ace; also available on tap and in cans.

2 Crows continues to make good use of their foedres, with the release of yet another beer in the “series” tomorrow at noon. Chaos Ghost is a Calvados Foedre-aged Belgian Tripel brewed with Belgian Pilsner malt and Belgian candi sugar. Hopped with Goldings, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling to 31 IBUs, it was fermented with an Abbey yeast strain to give some of the spicy/peppery phenolics and fruity esters expected in the style. The foedre adds, of course, some of its own character, including “a hint of oaky tannins, and an apple brandy sweetness”. Drop by the brewery tomorrow for cans or pours of this 9.3% ABV beauty, and keep your eyes peeled for it on tap at other establishments in the HRM.

• And while you’re at 2 Crows checking out that barrel-aged goodness, and assuming it’s not all gone, you can also grab a taste of another big beer, this one a Russian Imperial Stout released earlier this week. Brewed with a variety of crystal and roasted malts, Black Magik is big, at 10.4%, but not at all cloying and pushing a potent 80 IBU. A touch of peated malt brings a smoky flavor to the palate as it warms, while the nose features a prominent anise note that also manifests in the flavor. Roasted malt flavors round out the overall impression. Only three kegs of this one were made, with two staying in the brewery for pints only (no fills) and one going to the 2 Crows/Tata takeover at Jamieson’s Irish Pub this weekend.

TrailWay has released yet another new hop-bomb one-off, Off-Topic. Featuring both an American hop variety (Idaho 7) and an Australian one (Vic Secret), the blend of these two gives the beer a flavour profile of “banana, pineapple, orange/citrus, and bubblegum”, according to the brewery. The hops may be the star, as usual for a TW beer, but “some experimental techniques” were used in brewing it, so if you notice a change, it may not be entirely due to the two hops that were used! Available in a limited supply on tap and in cans, at the brewery only,  it weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs. And to get off-topic a little bit (ha! I kill me), TW’s summer seasonal Dunder, their APA heavily hopped with South Pacific varieties, is now a regular-release beer, so you can pick up cans and growlers all year round!

Good Robot has been working on a new beer, and it definitely follows along the “weird” vein that the brewery started long ago! Golden Goomba is a mixed fermentation sour beer; originally brewed as an attempt to recreate their “Sake beer”, Koji Kondo, that was originally released in May, the Sake yeast used for fermentation stalled out before completing its important job. After a second brew to give it another shot, the yeast stalled again, so they decided to add some Lactobacillus bacteria; after souring, a Lager yeast was pitched and the temperature brought down, to dry the beer our further. Think they stopped there? Nope! Yuzu juice was finally added, to “boost the extra Japanese citrus flair”. Hopped with Sorachi Ace for a little more lemon and citrus character, it’s also tart thanks to the lower pH, and features some “floral and yogurt notes”. No word yet on the exact release date (it was to be today), but we’ll keep you in the loop when we hear.

• And while we have you in a Good Robot state of mind (our favourite Billy Joel song), we also have the details for next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday: Uncle Schmengie Bohemian Pilsner was brewed by Brent Braaten, Kenneth Persson, and Kelly C.; described as “very pale and very light”, it’s only 4.3% ABV, and was hopped with Czech Saaz to 29 IBUs. And for an insight into what your fellow Robots are thinking and drinking, check out their latest blog post with anonymous survey results.

• You may recall that in the early days of Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing they had something called the 7th Wave series. Named for the myth that waves travel in sets of seven and the seventh one is the big’un, these were small batch beers made on the pilot system that let the brewing team expand their horizons a little bit. Although the series has not “officially” returned, last week we saw the first brew in a long time come off that pilot system (American Pale Lager) and this week we’re seeing two more. First we have Wizard of Aus, an Australian Pale Ale featuring Ella and Vic Secret hops, considered younger siblings of the mighty Galaxy variety that has become so popular in the last year or so. Look for citrus fruit, pine, and floral notes, with lemon curd and mango coming through in particular. The grist is light to highlight the late kettle additions and dry hop. At 4.9% ABV and 30 IBU, this is a sessionable and surely hoppy taste of the summer just past. Second is Dancing Shoes, also on the lighter side at 4.8% ABV (they’re calling it a Session Pale Ale), but boasting quite a bit more bitterness at 40 IBU. It also features a more complex grist: to a base of Pilsner, some rye, wheat and light Munich were added to provide character. And the hops in this one are distinctly North American, traversing a continuum from the dank Simcoe through piney and fruity Mosaic and into the stone fruit and tropical El Dorado. Both of these beers are available in severely limited quantities at the brewery only for tasters and growler fills. Get there or miss out.

• Around this time every year Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewery has been known to collect locally grown hops (and other ingredients) and do a collaboration beer with their friends from North Brewing in HRM. This year is no different, as they’ve reached their fifth iteration and they’re calling it Many Hands MK-5. Taking inspiration from Gruit, a blend of herbs and other plants used to bitter a flavour beer before hops were adopted for the purpose, this beer contains sweet fern leaves, bayberry leaves and berries, and sweet gale (bog myrtle) berries. They did, however, continue the tradition of using fresh Nova Scotia grown hops in their brew, including Crystal, Cascade, Willamette and Mount Hood. The grist was largely also largely comprised of Nova Scotia products, with organic 2-row and Munich malts from Horton Ridge along with a small amount of German Vienna malt. You can read more about the brew day and see some pictures of both the ingredients and the participants on Boxing Rock’s blog. We’ll be sure to let you know when the beer is finished, packaged and ready for release to the wild.

• In the wake of last weekend’s Oktoberfest celebrations you’d think Halifax’s Garrison might slow it down just a touch. But no, there’s plenty of doings going on in there this week, with three new beers on the go. First we have Lemondrop, part of the kettle sour series brewmaster Daniel Girard has been whipping up at the old plant. It features aromas and flavours reminiscent of lemons and lemon meringue pie, with a peppery finish. Part of that lemon aroma no doubt comes from a dry hop with the Lemondrop variety. It’s 5.0% ABV and 0 IBU and is a draft-only release, currently available for tasters (with growler fills hopefully to come) at Garrison’s Seaport location and on the way to licensees across the province.

• Next up is a collaboration brew done with Sawdust City Brewing Co. from Gravenhurst, ON, a big ol’ beer in the rarely seen Imperial Brown category. Leroy is big and bad, weighing in at 10% ABV and carrying a solid 41 IBU. Brewed to celebrate the naming of Halifax as the host city for the 2018 Canadian Beer Awards, it boasts aromas of molasses bread and milk chocolate, with a palate that features coffee and molasses before yielding to a finish that’s full of dark chocolate. A great beer for the impending fall weather, it will pair as well with sweet as with savoury dishes, especially if they’re brown! Think beef stew or roasted lamb, chocolate cake or molasses bread. This one is currently available through ANBL’s growler program and is expected to be bottled in the coming weeks for a very limited release in Nova Scotia.

• And lastly, Garrison is once again bringing a brew sanctioned by the Federation of Beer to this weekend’s Hal-Con (where they’ll also be serving up their non-alcoholic Sweet Nelson Raspberry Ginger Ale). Borg Ale is “the most advanced black ale in the entire Delta Quadrant,” with a grist of Munich, Dark Munich, Pale Ale and Black Malts and hopped solely with German Hallertauer Tradition hops. It’s 5.6% ABV and 25 IBU, and is available for samples at the con before being bottled next week for regular release at the brewery and in the private liquor stores in Halifax.

• But wait, there’s more! Though we’ve reached the end of their beer releases for the week, Garrison has one more piece of news to share: they’ve implemented the Kegshoe system to track their kegs and you can now visit a handy interactive map to find out who has which Garrison brews on tap throughout Atlantic Canada. So if you’ve got a hankering for a Juicy or just want to know the closest spot to grab something from Garrison, they’ve got you covered.

• The new beers continue to trickle in for tomorrow’s BEE-r Garden in Fredericton, with Picaroons weighing in with their Little Honey. A one-off, 3000 L batch, the brewery is describing it as a brown-coloured, full-bodied ale brewed with a “generous amount” of Rye malt, and a bit of honey from local Sunset U-Pick. Featuring a “lingering sweetness” backed up by toasted, graham cracker-like notes, it’s quite sessionable at just 4.5% ABV. Aside from pouring at the BEE-r Garden tomorrow, you can find this one on tap at all Picaroons locations in New Brunswick. And speaking of tomorrow’s event, there are still tickets available online, as well as at the door when it kicks off at 10 am.

Coastliner Craft Cider will be on tap at ANBL stores participating in the growler program this weekend, with a brand new cider, Castaway. Infused with tropical fruit and hibiscus, this 5.4% ABV creation will be pouring through to next Wednesday (depending on availability), and will be following in bottles across New Brunswick later in the year.

• We warned you a few weeks ago that, like winter to Westeros, wet-hopped and pumpkin beers were coming. And the flow is steady now, with two more of each being released this week. At the “far” end of the Annapolis Valley (from a city-dwelling perspective, anyway), both Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill and Lazy Bear in Smith’s Cove’s had wet-hopped beers come to the taps this week. Lazy Bear’s is a version of their Once-Over, normally an IPA at 5.8% ABV dry hopped with Cascade, Chinook and Wild Turkey, but this time featuring all the Cascade, Centennial, Galena, Magnum and Nugget grown in their yard. Lunn’s Mill, on the other hand, went the SMaSH route, with a malt side of the classic British barley variety Maris Otter paired with Chinook hops grown down the road at Four Horses Farm. This is a 5.5% ABV offering, with a piney, tropical feel and a mild bitter finish. And at the eleventh hour (literally, the timestamp on the email is 11:14 AM; c’mon guys…) we’ve heard tell of a third harvest ale to complete the trifecta, this one in Halifax at Tidehouse. With a grain bill of 100% Horton Ridge Munich malt, this is a malty ale, bittered with woody and herbal Northern Brewer and then hit hard with fresh picked Cascade hops from the backyard of one of Halifax’s original beer nerds, Jeff Pinhey. Although only 4.7% ABV, expect this to have a hearty body and a rugged hop flavour. And on the gourdian side, Propeller is re-releasing their pumpkin beer for the start of the fall season. A familiar site in the region for the past several years, it’s a gentle 5% ABV and 15 IBU beer featuring Howard Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins and a special blend of spices.

Lots going on this weekend and next, keep an eye on our Calendar, as we update it as often as we hear about new things coming down the pipeline. You can even add it to your phone’s or PC’s calendar app to be constantly reminded of everything on the go in our region. As always, hit us up here or social media if you have the scoop on something cool.

• There are still a few tickets available for this evening and tomorrow‘s Craft Beer Attraction at the St John’s Curling Club. 7-10PM both evenings with a chance to try over a hundred different beers, most of which are not otherwise available at the NLC. Check out the full details here, if you’re still on the fence.

• A reminder that tomorrow, September 23rd will feature the First Town Craft Beer Festival, Woodstock, NB’s first beer fest. There are still some tickets left for both tasting sessions (1:30-4:00 pm, and 7:00-9:30 pm), and it’s looking like the weather will be just about perfect for an indoor/outdoor beer fest. You can read our complete write-up from late July here; in the meantime, grab your $55 tickets at this link (or in person at the Best Western Plus Hotel in Woodstock).

• Remember last year’s Tatamagouche Brewing Tap Takeover at Battery Park? Ah… memories. Well, luckily for us, it’s looking like it’s going to be an annual event, as the 2nd Tata Tap Takeover is scheduled for next Thursday, September 28th. We don’t know the full line-up yet, but there’ll be a whopping 19 taps of Tata beers flowing, including at least two new ones, with one of them a collaboration brew with the folks at Battery Park. It all starts when they open at 11:30 am, and you’ll be sure to seem some of the fine people from the brewery on hand anxious to talk beer!

• The spirit of collaboration continues with a pair of “Home and Home” tap takeovers in Halifax and Sydney over the next two weeks. On Friday, September 29th, Breton Brewing and Garrison will be taking over the taps at the Stubborn Goat. From 6PM, the crew from both breweries will be on hand to talk shop, pour a few pints, enjoy live music, and maybe even release a new beer or two. And then both breweries will do it all over again in Sydney on Thursday October 5th, at Governor’s Pub on Esplanade. Learn a bit more here!

• The second running of the Falmouth TrALE Run is happening next Saturday (September 30) at Castle Frederick Farms in Windsor, with both a 5km and 10km option. With beer (rather than/in addition to water) stops along the way, you can enjoy Schoolhouse and Roof Hound beers, as well as cider from Sid’s, Noggins, and Davison Farms. Advance registration is strongly suggested.

• The 2nd Annual Cask Beer Throwdown is happening at the Olympic Centre in Halifax on September 30th. With cask-conditioned and -served beer, breweries will often stray from the norm, willing to be a bit more adventurous with processes and ingredients, and us drinkers will be the beneficiaries of these cool experiments. Learn more about cask beer in a feature in Local Connections. With a dozen breweries and cider houses pouring their wares, plus plenty of food vendors onsite, it is sure to be a great time. Grab your tickets here.

September 30th also marks this year’s Atlantic Canadian Craft Beer Oktoberfest, being held at the Moncton Lions Club. Doors are open 7:30-10PM (or 6PM with your VVIP ticket), and you’ll be able to enjoy beers from all over the Maritimes, with more than 30 breweries, cideries, and mead houses on hand, topping 100 different products. There will be food onsite as well to keep you going all evening. Tickets are still available, grab yours today!

• As they did last year, Muwin Estate, the folks behind the popular Bulwark brand of ciders, is encouraging anyone who has apples on their property that they don’t know and/or don’t use to contribute them to a special collaborative effort known as The People’s Cider. Since September 8th, they’ve been accepting apples at Muwin Estate’s New Ross location at 7155 Highway 12 and they’ll continue to do so until their open house on October 14th, which runs from 10 AM to 4 PM. And if you’ve got a variety that ripens later, arrangements can also be made for later drop-off. If you’ve got too many to transport yourself, they’ll even make arrangements to come pick them up. Many of the apples sought after for cider are varieties that don’t work well for eating. These are often heritage varieties from England and Germany whose names have been lost to time, but whose juice could still make an important contribution to a truly local product. So if you’ve got apples on your property that you haven’t known what to do with, now you know! More detail and updates on the project can be found on the Facebook Event Page.

• The NSLC is putting on a series of events designed to showcase local craft beer and cider. Dubbed the Discover Series, there will be four sessions held at The Port by NSLC on Clyde Street in downtown Halifax. Every Wednesday through the month of October you’ll have a chance to hear from local craft beer brewers and cider makers talking about a specific aspect of their craft. In Week 1, on October 4th, wine and cider maker Alex Boivin will talk about the cider-making process at Bulwark Ciders where freshly-pressed juice from Annapolis Valley apples are used at their cidery in New Ross. He’ll also be mixing up some cider cocktails and present some fall food pairings. A week later, on October 11th, Peter Burbridge of North Brewing and Mark Huizink of 2 Crows will present on the topic of barrel-aging beer and how the unique character of wood can be imparted to beer. Session 3, on October 18th will see the founders of Boxing Rock, Emily Tipton and Henry Pedro talking about the seasonal beers of autumn and encourage participants to think outside the box when it comes to beer styles. Finally, on October 25th, Jeremy White of Big Spruce brewing in Nyanza, Cape Breton, will talk about making beer using locally grown hops and mineral-rich water at his certified organic brewery. Each session runs from 7 PM to 10 PM. Tickets are a package deal for all four sessions and run $60 each. They’re available in person at The Port, or online through Eventbrite.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep you busy this week…

– Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider has released a new blend this week. Orange is the New Wild is a new blend, featuring a portion of wild-fermented Baldwin apples and orange blossom, which was then dry-hopped during the conditioning process. Drop by their Agricola Street location for a taste and growler fill today.
Picaroons in New Brunswick has a new entry in their Pivot series of Imperial IPAs. This time the feature hop is Equinox (now known by the trade name Equanot), but the dry-hop also featured the Azacca, Lemondrop, Calypso, Ella, and Experimental 7270 varieties.
– In Windsor, Schoolhouse continues their Cask Friday tradition this week with a dry-hopped version of their Scotian Export ale. The cask will be tapped at 4 PM this afternoon and is not likely to last the night.
– Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back their Riddle of Steel IPA, one of their best-selling brews. It’s 7% ABV and 80 IBU and is the perfect way to toast your devotion to Crom.

Stellarton’s A.J. Leadbetter is no stranger to small business. His father owned and operated a painting business in Stellarton for 60-some-odd years, after which AJ ran the family shop himself until a fire severely damaged the storefront in 2015. Meanwhile, he also expressed a love for music, playing guitar in bands around Pictou County for the better part of the last decade. After discovering craft beer and developing a home brewing hobby, AJ spent some time working at Uncle Leo’s in Lyon’s Brook, where he gained an appreciation for the processes and work involved in a production brewery. Now, he’s blending his entrepreneurial spirit and musical bent along with his love of beer and an intensely DIY approach to bring a second brewery to the PC, this one “in town” on Bridge Avenue in Stellarton in the building that formerly housed his family’s paint shop. Backstage Brewing Co. is built around the idea of bringing folks backstage, to see the show behind the show. AJ has been busily building his brewery over the last several months, and is poised to start selling beer in September. We reached out to ask him our usual gamut of questions and get the story behind Backstage Brewing.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into the world of beer?
I started home brewing a few years ago after my friend Seth got me into it. Started out brewing a few kit beers before getting bored and wanting to get in deep. I’m a bit of a foodie so that desire to create food led to wanting to create beers.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Prior to getting into brewing beer we used to do chicken wing parties. Then we introduced my beer to these parties and the reception to them was great. It was that support that sparked the fire to get going on a microbrewery.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially?
We have 4-5 that will be in our core line-up. Daydreamer is a pale ale that comes in at 4.8% and 21 IBU. Hangover Helper is an American Pale, 5.3% and 40 IBU; light-bodied and packed with flavor. Headliner is big juicy IPA. It’s 6.3% and 60 IBU. Gemini is a DIPA. 8% and 100+ IBU. It’s big! It’s bitter! And surprisingly easy to drink! Nunmoar Black IPA is 6.6% and 75 IBU. Roasted, Hoppy, and Black. How much more black can it be? None.

What are your plans for distribution? Plans for tap accounts, bottles, growlers, etc.? Will you be licensed for on-site sales or consumption at the brewery?
Right now, our plan is to sell the majority of the beer out of the brewery: we’ll be offering growler fills of our beers, and operating a taproom, located in the same building as the brewery. Once all our permits are in place, we will have 12 taps of Nova Scotia craft beer, with 4-5 taps reserved for Backstage Brews.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We don’t have any local tap accounts lined up but have had interest in Halifax.

Do you have an approximate launch date?
Our tanks are installed and we’ve been working on filling them. That will hopefully have us selling our products for early September, when we’re hoping to do a soft launch.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Yes, I’ve been working for Uncle Leo’s since November 2016. What started as hanging out at the brewery turned into a full time job. Karl and Rebecca have been very good to me. The experience/knowledge I’ve gathered while working in a commercial brewery is kind of priceless. We purchased our brew house from Peter at North Brewing. Peter and Josh have been great. The craft beer community in Nova Scotia is very helpful.

In terms of putting the brewery and business together, my wife Beth’s parents, Wayne and Lynn, have been instrumental. Wayne is our head of construction and Lynn is our bookkeeper.

What type of system are you be brewing on?
It’s a 2.5bbl Psychobrew system. We are hoping to produce 250-300bbl this year.

Care to share some info on your homebrewing history?
It’s the classic “homebrewer turned pro brewer” story. I homebrewed and people enjoyed the finished beers. Beth has been my biggest supporter and really pushed me to make this happen.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Honestly, I love big hoppy beers. West coast-style IPAs being my favorite. I never seem to grow tired of them.

Do you have a website, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter page?
We have no website at this point, we have a Facebook page here, that just went live in the last couple weeks. We also have an instagram account, @backstagebrewingco

We’ve been totally focused on making the brewery happen. The social media presence will come. Beer first.

Anything else you’d like to share? We’d love pass it along.
We look forward to getting our beers out there for people to enjoy. Thanks for the support so far!

Thanks to AJ for taking the time to answer our questions about Backstage Brewing and letting us know what he’s got in the works. We’ll be keeping our collective ear to the ground for an official opening announcement and we’ll share it with you as soon as we know. Meanwhile, the best way to follow AJ’s progress is on Instagram where you can see the hard work, creativity and skill that’s going into his brewery and taproom. You’ll also have a chance to hear a more extensive interview with AJ by the gang from 902 BrewCast, currently scheduled to drop on September 19th.