North Brewing

All posts tagged North Brewing

Here we are at the last Friday Wrap-up of 2017; time flies when you’re drinking beer and taking names. The past 52 weeks have seen our regional scene continue to develop and evolve, with a couple breweries closing up shop, many more than that opening across all 4 provinces, and tons and tons of new beers released, from easy-drinking, lightly-hopped, low-ABV session beers, to intensely complex barrel- and foedre-aged mixed fermentations occasionally featuring fruit, and everything in between. We’ve attended some incredible events at our favourite venues, stood in line for beer releases and even had the chance to read a book about beer in our little corner of the world. And it looks like 2018 is going to bring even more of the same. Halifax will host the Canadian Beer Awards in May, we know of several more breweries in the works with plans to open in the coming year, and we’ve no doubt the regions brewers will continue to up the ante in terms of quality and innovation. Thanks to everyone who continues to read our weekly scrawl (as unwieldy as it sometimes gets when there’s 4,000 words to get through) and we’ll be sure to toast you all with some of our favourite local beers on New Years Eve.

• We’ve mentioned Hanwell, NB’s, Niche Brewing previously, and we can now announce that their beer is available to the public! Their Single Origin is a Coffee Sweet Stout, and hit the taps at a few spots across the province for the first time last night. This 5.0% ABV Stout features lactose in the recipe for a light sweetness (lactose is not fermentable by most yeasts) to enhance the roast and chocolate character of the malt as well as mouthfeel, with an addition of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from Fredericton’s Jonnie Java Roasters after primary fermentation was complete, to lock in the coffee flavour and aroma. The beer is now available at Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub and Saint John’s Cask and Kettle, with Moncton’s Tide & Boar looking to tap it at any moment. Keep an eye on Niche’s social media for the latest buzz on the beer, and we’ll have a full profile with the gang behind Niche in the next day or two. Congratulations Rob and Shawn!

• A little while ago, Propeller released the latest of their Gottingen Small Batch beers, Hazelnut Oatmeal Stout. This 5.5% ABV stout was brewed with flaked oats, chocolate malt, and roasted barley, and features hazelnuts added to the recipe as well. Chocolate, roast, and nut flavours and aromas punctuate the underlying creamy semi-sweet beer. It is available in growler fills at both Propeller locations, and by the pint at the Gottingen Street taproom, and at a few spots across HRM. And keep an eye open for cans of their Double IPA and Extra Special Bitter on the shelves of an NSLC near you!

• Capping off the Second Anniversary celebration of their sibling beer spot Battery Park, North Brewing released the 2017 edition of Saison de Pinot yesterday. The 7.1% ABV beer/wine hybrid features a Saison as the beer base, with 220 litres of Benjamin Bridge‘s own Pinot Meunier grape must added in secondary. This year’s grape harvest lends a more notable tart acidity to the must, which does translate to the final product. Fermented using two different Sacc. yeasts (Cerevesiae and Boulardii), the finished beer was lightly dry hopped with Hallertau Blanc, and has been bottle conditioning for the past 8 weeks, and is a perfect candidate for further aging in a cellar, to enjoy the flavours and aromas that develop over time. We suggest buying a pair (or more) and enjoying one now, and another in several months when the hops will have faded (maybe even wait until BP’s Third Anniversary!).

• Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing has announced that they are holding their first homebrew competition in Spring 2018. GRBC is already well-known known for encouraging those sometimes passed over or left behind by the modern brewing scene with their CommuniBrews and Goodwill Bot events, and this competition is no different. Female Brewsters are credited with promoting and keeping alive the art and science of brewing, before often being barred from activities involving the production of alcohol. To celebrate the earlier times, they are presenting the The Good Robot FemmeBrew Competition. Open to all women, and female-presenting, non-professional brewers, entrants are encouraged to dig into the past with “pre-prohibition” style recipes, choosing beer styles from before the industrialization of brewing. No “can and kilo” kits, please, an original recipe is the way to go (but modern ingredients such as malt extract are OK to enhance the beer!). There is no fee to enter, and you are asked to register online by Feb 1, with your entries (four 341ml bottles preferred) due March 1 at the Good Robot Retail Shop (aka Beer Later). This is a BJCP-registered competition, and entrants will receive feedback on their entries. For those women previously interested in the hobby, this may be just the nudge needed to try their hand at recipe development and brewing! Winners will be announced at Good Robot’s FemmeBot celebration on March 7th, and there are plenty of prizes up for grabs. If you have any more questions, please contact Kelly C for more details.

• And in new beer news at GRBC, the latest iteration of their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie is on tap for growlers and pints now. Version 4.0 is a step in another direction for this Coffee Pale Ale, featuring the use of Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, prepped by the fine folks at Low Point (whoa, twice in one post??). This varietal has notes of honey and citrus, with a floral nose, helping to bring the beer closer to that eponymous “Cherry Pie” flavour, according to the brewery. To launch this latest batch, they are holding a bit of a contest, where a single cherry is hidden somewhere in the taproom every day this week: if you can spot it, you’ll win yourself a gift card for a free beer.

• Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse has released a handful of their full time and seasonal offerings in cans recently, thanks to the Craft Coast Canning mobile unit. Now available in the handy format at the brewery (open 1-6PM daily), are: Alternate Ending, a 5.0% ABV Altbier; Black and Tackle, their 9.0% ABV Russian Imperial Stout; a 6.0% ABV Hard Apple Cider, made from local apples; Honey Wagon, a 5.0% ABV American Wheat; and Mosaic, their flagship 8.0% Double IPA. Many of these will also be available in Halifax at Bishop’s Cellar very soon.

• One of the newest breweries in Nova Scotia, in one of the oldest European settlements in the country, Annapolis Brewing Company, has some big plans coming for 2018. First, they’ve already got a production expansion in the works, with four new 5 BBL (roughly 6 hL) unitanks on their way to the brewery now to meet increased demand as the year goes on. They’re also currently looking for a location to build a new building to house the brewery, which will be even shorter on space with the new tanks. The team is also working on developing a Craft Beer Farmers Market concept for the new year, the first of its kind in the Province. It will see breweries and perhaps craft distilleries set up on the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market grounds on Sundays from May 13th to October 14th from 10 AM to 2 PM and provide a one stop shop for patrons in the area to buy beer. Tables will cost $20 per week and any breweries that are interested can reach out to paul@annapolisbrewing.com. Look for more information about the market to be publicized throughout the winter as they prepare for their first Craft Beer Farmers Market in Spring!

• In new beer news, Annapolis have a brew in the works that’s passed out of the testing phase and is scheduled to enter production in 2018. Goodwill Amber is a red-hued beer that strikes a fine balance between malty and hoppy. Vienna malt is featured on the grist side for a bready and toasty character and it’s been hopped with classic American varieties Willamette and Cascade with modern Amarillo completing the picture. Look for it to land on tap at 5.3% ABV and 36 IBU in early 2018. Also in the pipeline, although the recipes haven’t been finalized quite yet, are a Vanilla Coffee Stout and a Hefeweizen.

• On the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co. Brewing has a few new beers on the go these days. Up first is a small batch of their Hefeweizen, this time a little lighter at 4.6% ABV with lots of clove presence and some banana and bready notes. Next up and available is their Milk Stout, a big one at 7.7% ABV with a full mouthfeel and creamy texture. Described as “very filling,” It features aromas of coffee, vanilla and chocolate, with prominent espresso, vanilla, and even a bit of cigar character on the palate. And still available is their Saison, at 6.8% ABV, dry, and with prominent notes of lemon and black pepper. The brewery is considering keeping it in production throughout the year.

What’s going on this weekend???

• Sunday is New Year’s Eve, so expect plenty of extra drinking going on…. just about everywhere. Meanwhile, if you’re in Mahone Bay, drop by Saltbox Brewing for live music from the Eclectic Garage Band. The brewery will also be launching two new ciders on NYE, one made with Russet apples, and the second (being released at midnight) with Burgundy apples.

Hammond River Brewing in Rothesay is also ringing in the New Year with a Beer Dinner, pairing six courses of food with with six of HR’s own creations (plus a pint of your choosing to start the evening). Brewmaster Shane Steeves and Executive Chef Colin McCarten will be on hand to chat about each course and pairing. With only 30 tickets available, it is sure to be an intimate event. The fun kicks off at 6PM, and you can grab your ticket at the Hammond River taproom, or call ahead to reserve yours today. Check Facebook for the full menu.

• With New Year’s Day comes several Levee Day events in Atlantic Canada, which always amounts to several hours, or even up to a full day of drinking, eating, and celebrating… what better way to bring in the New Year? In PEI, both the PEI Brewing Co. and Upstreet are holding their own activities on Monday, January 1st. PEIBC will be serving up beer and live music from noon-2 pm, and has their PEIBC Levee Bus picking up and dropping off at several locations (check their FB page for exact times and where to be). Over at Upstreet, they’re re-releasing Top Stamp, their crowd-favourite Amber Lager, while celebrating Levee Day with their 2018 Kick-Off, a full day of live music, brewery tours, staff-priced pints, brunch, and beer cocktails. They open at 10 am, with music starting at noon.

• Not to be outdone over in Halifax, Stillwell is holding their own Levee Day Celebration, starting at noon. With special beers pouring all day – including the second release of Stilly Pils, as well as Lambic by the glass – expect a special menu featuring new tasty treats to pair with whatever you have in your glass.

Happy New Year! Have a safe and beer-filled evening on Sunday. Before we go, a couple last things…

Ol’ Biddy’s has released their newest American IPA that we reported on two weeks ago; look for Saturday Night Fever (6% ABV) at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Mount Uniacke Pub.
– The latest iteration of TrailWay‘s ever-changing Kettle Sour, El Generico (3.8% ABV), is available as of today. This one was brewed with orange juice concentrate, lactose and vanilla, and was conditioned on fresh orange zest; slightly acidic and reminiscent of an Orange Creamsicle, it’s available in cans and on tap at the brewery.

Good afternoon, Atlantic Canada beer lovers! Now that Christmas is just about here (yes, you can officially start to panic now), we thought we should work hard to ignore our pre-Christmas responsibilities and publish another Friday Wrap-Up, to distract you from your shopping, cooking, wrapping, etc. Hey, it’s just the kind of guys we are!

Tatamagouche Brewing has a beauty of a beer available as of yesterday, an “American Brett Ale” named Feronia. Comprised of a fairly-simple grist of mainly 2-row, with some Wheat malt and Spelt, and a touch of Acid malt, it was lightly hopped to 20 IBUs with Huell Melon. Fermented with a blend of three Brettanomyces strains to “really drive the dark/red fruits, as well as some classic funk”, the beer was aged in secondary on plums before being bottle-conditioned for six months. Available now at the brewery in 750 mL cork-and-cage bottles, as well as on tap, those of you in the HRM can expect a small amount of bottles to also be available at the private stores. A few kegs will likely make their way to better beer establishments in Halifax sometime next week.

• Moncton’s Tide & Boar has announced their very first bottle release, which will be taking place today at 5 pm. Named simply Barrel Aged Sour, the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then aged for three months in a Napa Valley Pinot Noir French oak barrel. After this, it was racked on top of 30 lbs of New Brunswick-grown raspberries, fermented with Brettanomyces, and bottle-conditioned. Only 200 bottles were packaged, and 100 of these will be sold today at the Bottle Release Party from 5-7 pm, depending on how quickly they sell. We’ll keep you updated on when the remaining 100 bottles are sold… if they are at all!

• Let’s stay in Moncton, shall we? Bore City released their first hoppy beer in some time last week, and judging from some early buzz, it’s a good one! Causeway is a 6.5% ABV, ~40 IBUs American IPA that features large amounts of late addition hops – Mosaic and Vic Secret – as well as plenty of both in the dry-hop. Complemented nicely by a malt bill that includes Flaked Oats and Flaked Barley, as well as some Vienna and Honey malt, expect a huge floral, fruity, and citrusy aroma, followed by equally as much in the flavour. It’s circulating among their regular tap accounts, but it’s going fast. But don’t worry! They plan on making this a regular addition to their line-up, so more will be brewed in the near future.

• After launching their brewery last month with their first two core beers, Montague PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing has just released their first seasonal. Nostalgically named Charlie Brown Ale (nostalgic for us, anyway!), it’s a Brown Ale brewed along the English-style lines, showcasing a “rich malty aroma, and smooth chocolate and nutty qualities”. As a good English-style beer should be, it’s quite drinkable at just 4.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, and is meant to be enjoyed in quantity during these colder evenings (and afternoons). You can find it on tap at the brewery in Montague, and at CB tap accounts across the Island.

• Elsewhere on the Island, Upstreet is launching the first in yet another new series of one-off beers. The Flipside Series was created to introduce “fresh new flavours,  ingredients, and beer styles” to consumers, with all beers in this series being packed in the standard 500 mL Upstreet bottles. Their first stab in this series is Amber Saison, a Belgian-inspired beer that provides a “dry finish with a subtle vinous character”. With PEI Vienna malt in the grist, and UK Archer and French Triskel hops to just 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV Saison was fermented with a Belgian yeast to give the required phenolics and esters in the style. Grab your bottles today at the brewery or PEILCC stores.

• Today, TrailWay is releasing Malibu, their first dark-coloured beer in months. An Imperial Milk Stout, it was brewed to be “extremely chocolate-forward” before being conditioned on hefty amounts of toasted coconut and pure vanilla extract. With some lactose powder added to increase sweetness and mouthfeel, the resulting beer is “like drinking a liquid macaroon”, with lots of coconut and chocolate notes, as well as a complementary background of vanilla. Coming in at a whopping 9% ABV, you’ll want to take it easy with this one. As always with their one-offs, you can grab it in cans at the brewery only; it will also be on tap there and at select accounts in Fredericton.

• Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is helping residents stay warm with the release of their Steamship Belgian Quad this weekend. A full-bodied, 9% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale, it’s “malty and slightly sweet, with notes of raisin, cherries, plums and prunes”. The Belgian yeast strain was responsible for the fruity esters and spicy phenolics in the beer, and the high ABV provides a slight alcohol warmth on the way to your eager stomach… perfect for winter (yes, it’s not officially here yet, but who cares about the exact date). Look for this new brew at the brewery this weekend for growler fills.

Annapolis Cider Company is bringing back Muscat Infusion, one of their popular ciders in their Something Different series. Originally released last March, it’s being sold in a convenient size for crowd sharing… Magnums! A 7.1% ABV sparkling cider infused with Nova Scotia Muscat grapes (which were added during fermentation to extract colour, tannins, and aroma), it was finished with a “touch” of fresh-pressed apple juice. Rose-coloured, with “distinct tropical and floral notes”, the 1.5 L bottles are available at the cidery for a very limited time.

• Further into the valley in Lawrencetown, Lunn’s Mill has a treat for its fans around the region: they are testing out a new package to get their beer to you, cans! Available now is a very limited run of 12-packs for the holidays featuring 10 different beers, available now at the brewery. This is an awesome opportunity for one of Nova Scotia’s most local breweries to see some of their beer travelling beyond the Valley and the Province for others to enjoy. As of publishing, they are down to their last dozen cases, so don’t delay in grabbing yours today! And due to its popularity, we can guarantee that they’ll be releasing more canned product in the near future.

• The fine folks at 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street in Halifax have a couple things on the go for us to share. Earlier this week saw another batch go on tap from their brewery assistant Nick Ogden, this one an Imperial Witbier called Wite Nite. Taking a lighter style known for easy summer drinking and pumping it up to 8.7% ABV for a December release takes something. And while we’re not exactly sure what that something is, we’re positive that Nick has it. Keg conditioned, it features aromas of sweet orange and grapefruit with some hints of pineapple. The palate sees citrus and apricot with a wine-like character lending an “overall lusciousness”. This one is available only by the glass in the tasting room.

• And this coming Wednesday will see the last canned release of 2017 for 2 Crows (how many were there? LOTS) with the arrival of Never Again. Named for brewmaster Jeremy Taylor’s feelings after he boldly purchased 400 pounds of peaches at a really good price before pitting them and then jamming them into one of his Calvados foedres, this is a Brett Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV and 23 IBU. Fermented on the Amalgamation blend of Brettanomyces strains, it started with a grist of malted barley, spelt, oats (surprise!) and wheat, to which Belma and Simcoe hops were added in the boil. After it came out of the wood, it was dry-hopped with Citra, Hallertauer Blanc and Huell Melon before being keg conditioned with Champagne yeast. Rife with oaky tannins, funk, and peach character, it still manages to be delicate. Look for it at the brewery next week and then, very possibly, at finer private liquor stores in Halifax.

Good Robot has another new Alpha Brew hitting taps next Thursday, Yas Queen Chocolate Porter. Brewed with a hefty grist of Maris Otter, Flaked Oats, Flaked Barley, Coffee malt, Vienna, and Chocolate malt, the beer had several additional ingredients thrown in, including dark cocoa powder in the mash, lactose, carob powder and ground cacao nibs in the boil, and chocolate extract into the brite tank before packaging. Hopped with Belma to 25 IBUs, it weighs in at 6.1% ABV. In terms of tasting notes, we’re going to go out on a limb and say notes of…. chocolate? And next Tuesday’s Beta Brew will be Make My Day IPA, a “light, super fruity” beer bittered with Magnum, and hopped with Dr. Rudi and Zythos late in the boil, and dry-hopped with more Zythos and some Mosaic. Fermented with the East Coast Ale yeast strain, it comes in at a very reasonable 4.5% ABV and 44 IBUs.

• There’s a new beer in the fermentor at Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse, a brand new, currently unnamed American IPA. Brewed with Pale malt, Wheat malt, Crystal 30 L, Carapils, and Dextrose, it features late additions of Amarillo and Centennial hops, and will be dry-hopped with more Centennial. The expected stats on this light golden-coloured brew are 6% ABV and 43 IBUs, with floral, orange, and grapefruit flavours. We’ll keep you updated on when it’s released over the next couple of weeks.

• Also still in the fermentor, but available in kegs as of Monday, is Ol’ Biddy’s first collaboration brew, done with Todd Beal. Using a recipe that was developed before the brewery opened its doors as a guide, Keith and Todd brewed Call Your Bluff a light, dry pale ale named for Todd’s favourite hiking location, the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. This one comes in at 4.7% ABV and, although the calculated IBUs are 28, the perceived bitterness should be a little higher owing to the use of light malts and the overall dryness of the beer. Well-hopped with Amarillo for an orange, floral and pungent grapefruit hop presence, you’ll find it at Battery Park next week and potentially some other tap accounts. Keith has also advised us to be on the lookout for his Funktown Pale Ale to pop up around the city, as it is becoming the brewery’s mainstay.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing isn’t slowing down for the holidays at all, as they’ve got three beers to tell us about this week. First is the return of their seasonal Spruce Beer, an attempt at recreating North America’s oldest beer style using spruce and fir tips harvested from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s Blackstrap Molasses. It weighs in at a husky 7.5% ABV and solid 35 IBU and will be available at the brewery and Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport with some delivery to Newfoundland expected as well. If you’re a fan of this beer don’t delay, though, as they’ve made a smaller batch than in previous years.

• Next up is the return of a big ol’ beer originally released in January of this year. Wintervention is an Imperial Chocolate Stout built on a base of Maritime pale malt with chocolate and Munich for character. Hopped to 60 IBUs with Millennium, it’s been sitting in Bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace for the past 11 months and is now bottled and ready to go. Flavours of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, vanilla and coffee present themselves in this sipper, which is sure to be warming against the coming cold at 11.5% ABV. Look for this one at the brewery starting today as well, although not until 3 PM.

• And lastly is another beer seen only briefly before before being given some time to develop. Back in September Garrison brewed a special collaboration beer with Sawdust City Brewing out of Gravenhurst, ON, to commemorate the announcement of Halifax as the host city for the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards. That beer is called Leroy and it is an Imperial Brown Ale tipping the scales at 10% ABV and 41 IBU. After 3 months of conditioning it’s ready for general consumption, with its creamy head, smooth aroma, and flavours of molasses bread and milk chocolate. Like the other two you’ll find it at the brewery starting today in 650 mL bombers.

Uncle Leo’s is releasing their first ever barrel-aged beer, a Smoked Porter aged in a whiskey barrel from Cape Breton’s Glenora DistillerySmoke’n Oakum is 9.2% ABV, and named in tribute of the Phantom Ship of the Northumberland Straight. It features big notes from the dark and smoked malts in the beer, as well as the vanilla and caramel notes from the whiskey and oak. This beer is in short supply (only one barrel’s worth!), so drop by the brewery tomorrow to grab your allotment!

• Saint John’s Loyalist City has taken over the taps at the Wellington Row ANBL’s Growler Bar, with a wide variety of beers flowing: their Backslide IPA, Three Sisters American Pale Ale, their latest Hop Series: Wai-tiPink Dwarf Tart Cherry Kettle Sour, Red Tart (a raspberry kettle sour, in extremely low quantity), and the latest release of their Black 47 Stout, featuring hops from local grower Darlings Island Farm. Mark and Dave from LCBC will be on hand this evening to fill growlers and chat, while also raising money for Romero House, who provide hot meals and other food assistance, clothing bank, and guidance for those in need.

• And last, but certainly not least, are two new releases from harbour hopping North Brewing Company. Yesterday saw the release of their latest Finite Series of beers (those that take a little longer and are in finite supply). Baldrsbräu is a 5.5% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, made with hay and chamomile. The melding of the malt, light hopping, adjuncts and yeast result in a refreshing beer with notes of flower and herb. Bottles are available at both the Halifax and Dartmouth North locations. Releasing tomorrow at noon (also at both North shops) is a special Barrel-Aged version of Saison de Pinot. The original Saison de Pinot featured pinot noir must from Benjamin Bridge‘s own estate-grown grapes. Taking the wine influence to the next level, 220 litres of SdP was aged in a red wine barrel from Benjamin Bridge, and has now been bottle-conditioned for our enjoyment. Released in honour of Battery Park‘s Second Anniversary, fewer than 300 bottles are available, so don’t delay in picking up one (or two, one for enjoying now, one for aging). Or drop by Battery Park tomorrow to try bottle pours of this release alongside last year’s un-oaked batch!

Don’t sleep on the events and openings we’ve got on the go!

• As mentioned above, Dartmouth’s Battery Park is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow. From 11:30 til late, there will be a dozen-plus beers available from North on tap and by the bottle. In addition to the three mentioned above, previous Finite Series releases Ask & Embla and Oh My Darlin’ will be pouring, the North x Stillwell collab GoseBarrel-Aged Milk Stout, and many more.

• Life got in the way, so we didn’t manage to publish the promised Profile of Tusket Falls Brewing, but don’t let that keep you from visiting them during their launch weekend. Tomorrow from noon, they’ll have samples, flights, and pints of their Golden Ale, Stout, Red IPA and Smoked Ale. And going forward, the brewery and tap room will be open from 12 – 10pm daily, except 12 – 6pm Sundays.

• There’s still a few tickets left for Fredericton’s Christmas Brewery Tour 3.0, happening tomorrow from 11:30 am – 4 pm. Your ticket ($65 each) includes transportation to three local breweries (Maybee, Grimross, and TrailWay), a minimum of four 4 oz samples at each stop, and a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint of Foghorn beer (head brewer Esty will also be on hand to chat beer). The bus for this tour will be leaving Maybee Brewing at 11:30 am sharp, with everything wrapping up at KSAH. Tickets are available through the event link above.

• Due to extremely fast sales for next year’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival (Saturday, March 10th), organizers have decided to tack on Newbie Night for Friday, March 9th. This three hour event (6-9 pm) will feature 10-12 breweries that are new to the region; while the list of those participating has not been solidified quite yet, with all of the new breweries opening in Atlantic Canada, filling it up won’t be a difficult job! This event will be more low-key than the two FCBF sessions the next day, with only 200-300 tickets being sold. It will still take place at the Fredericton Convention Centre downtown, and your $62.20 ticket includes a keeper glass and unlimited samples. Whether you missed out on evening tickets for Saturday, or already have FCBF tickets and really want to fill up your weekend with beer, Newbie Night is the perfect solution! Tickets are available now through the link above.

A few more things to leave you with this week…

Picaroons has their tenth iteration of Pivot now available; this time around, the 8% ABV, 80 IBUs DIPA was hopped with Amarillo and Sorachi Ace. To celebrate the season, they’ve also thrown in some spruce tips into the boil, making it what they’re calling an “Imperial Christmas Tree IPA”. Available at all Picaroons locations, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.
– Twillingate’s Split Rock Brewing has a brand new beer pouring today. Santa’s Little Helper is a 10.8% Barleywine, focusing on a big malt backbone with some balancing bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Light warming with notes of caramel and fruit cake, this small batch is only available at the Stage Head Pub, the brewery’s taproom.
– Good news for hop fans in Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing has done another canning run. Look for Exile on North StreetFlat Black Jesus, and DOA as early as this afternoon. Available at the retail location on Fridays and Saturdays and Bishop’s Cellar all week as long as stock lasts.
– Speaking of Bishop’s Cellar, although you might know that they do a bang up job of supporting the local scene and providing shelf and tap space for an extremely wide selection of beers from our region, you might not be aware that they’re also known for bringing in special treats from other environs, many of which are pretty hard to come by. This week some highlights include extremely limited quantities of Bellwoods Barn Owl Brett IPA with Apricots (foedre-aged for a year), and Oria Guava Sour Saison and Sour Cherry from Burdock, along with selections from Quebec superstars Brasserie Dunham and Danish masterminds Evil Twin.

Happy Friday, beer lovers! November is quickly winding down, and the stores are getting busier every day; when Christmas gets closer, stress levels tend to rise, and there’s plenty of ways to help relieve that stress. We like to recommend three easy methods to remedy that stress… sit back, open a good beer, and read about beer! You can’t deny that it’s a hell of a lot better than Black Friday shopping! Unfortunately, we have to start off this week’s reading with some sad news…

• Charlo River, New Brunswick’s Shiretown has confirmed that they will be closing their doors at the end of this month, with owner Derek Leslie breaking the news in a Facebook post a few days ago. Shiretown first opened in nearby Dalhousie in 2011, becoming one of the province’s first small commercial breweries. Originally a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, Shiretown closed down in the summer of 2015, before re-opening a year later with a larger 2 bbl (240 L) brewhouse. Bottles of their beers have been in ANBL stores for some time now, and no doubt there will be some remaining for several weeks for fans of the brewery to pick up. We wish all the best to Derek and the rest of the Shiretown team in the future.

• Today, North will be releasing Reverb, the latest in their Finite Series of one-off beers. This latest brew is a 5.9% ABV, 13 IBUs wine-barrel aged American Wheat Ale; aged in the barrels for 2 months, before undergoing bottle conditioning, the beer has tasting notes of “lemon, grapefruit, peach, light funk and a refreshing effervescence”, according to the brewery. There’s a very limited number of 750 mL bottles available – just 292 – so make sure to drop by either of the North bottle shops to pick up yours, before they’re gone. And while there, note that their Darmouth Dark – a 4.5% ABV Dark Lager – has returned, and is available for growler fills and can purchases.

• If you’re in the Mahone Bay area this weekend, you might as well keep your eyes open for a returning Saltbox brew, and a new iteration on one of their other beers. For the returning brew, their seasonal Balsam Blue is back… billed as a “Specialty Lager”, it’s a celebration of Lunenburg County being labelled as the Balsam Fir Christmas Tree capital of the world (we’re going to take them on their word for that one!). That’s right, real balsam tips were added to this 6.3% ABV beer, along with pureed blueberries, giving it a purplish hue and lots of Balsam on the nose. As for the new take on a previous beer, they’ve taken their Old Foundry stout and aged it in a Bourbon barrel. The result is a higher ABV (7.9% ABV vs. 6.3%), an flavors of bourbon and oak to go along with the roasted, coffee characteristics already in the beer.

• After a hugely successful first-bottle release of Four, their fourth Anniversary beer, last Sunday, Stillwell Brewing is releasing their second beer-in-bottles this weekend… and it sounds equally as delicious! Sport is a “Tart Farmhouse Ale” brewed with sea salt and lime zest. Brewed this past spring, it was moved to oak barrels and matured for several months, before being bottled in early July. At 4.7% ABV it’s very easy-drinking, but still has complex aromas and flavors of “zippy, spicy hops, lime, and barrel notes of coconut and vanilla”. You’ll be able to buy it at Stillwell for on-site consumption starting tomorrow, and then you can hop on down to the brewery on Sunday to buy some bottles to take home. They’re open 12-4 pm, and please keep in mind a limited amount of 30 cases are available, and all of Four sold out before closing last week.

• Up on the Bay of Fundy, Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has a new beer called Tribute, a tropical session IPA. Featuring two ultra fruity hops in Northern Hemisphere orange bomb Citra and Southern Hemisphere tropical delight Galaxy it’s got a “lively bitterness” and “zingy mouthfeel” coming in at a very quaffable 5.1% ABV but a hefty 73 IBU. It’s on tap at the brewery now for pints and growler fills, and kegs have already gone to Dartmouth’s Battery Park and Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing, although only time will tell when the beer will be tapped at those locations.

• Over to TrailWay, who will be releasing another new beer today at noon, Dank Williams. Named after Travis Tritt, this is – as you may have guessed from the name, and a few of their previous releases – a hop bomb, featuring a selection of some of their favorite dank hops, as well as some that are also in the fruity and spicy zone of the wheel. Columbus, Enigma, and Summit are the focus here, with all three varieties coming together in a perfectly-hoppy 6% ABV package, an American IPA with “a ton of complexity and character”, according to the brewery. Available at the brewery in cans and growlers, alongside the return of their Red IPA, Good Aura, which is back for the season (currently in cans only).

• Down in Antigonish, Half Cocked Brewing has a new beer, this one an IPA called Bury’d Son. Sitting at 6.4% ABV and 50 IBU, it’s got a light golden color and a fruity citrus aroma. American Azacca and Australian Ella hops were used for first wort hops and early kettle additions, while Topaz, Citra and more Azacca and Ella were added late, giving the beer a sharp, even bitterness and a delicate hop aroma. The latest batch of Horton Ridge 2-row malt served as the base of the grist. This is a limited edition brew, not likely to be made again, so if it sounds like something you’d like, head down to the brewery and get yourself a fill.

• The Beta Brews just don’t stop over at Good Robot, with yet another new one being released next Tuesday (and note that Beta Brews can now be filled up in the 0.89 L growler), Chicka Cherry Kölsch. Brewed by Kelly and Georgie, it has a simple grist of Pilsner malt and a bit of Vienna, and was hopped lightly to 19 IBUs with Tettnang. Fermented with a Kölsch yeast, cherry juice was added in secondary, resulting in a clean-tasting beer with a “tart black cherry flavour”. Pretty sessionable at 4.9% ABV.

• It appears that YellowBelly has no intentions of slowing down in the one-off beer department, as there’s yet another new one newly on tap at the brewpub this week. I’se da’ Rye is a Rye Pale Ale brewed with Pale malt, Rye malt, Rye flakes, and CaraVienne. Bittered with Cluster and El Dorado 40-45 IBUs, it was then dry-hopped with more El Dorado, as well as some Citra. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, expect notes of “candy, watermelon, pear, lychee, and red berry, with a bitter finish”, according to YB. You can pick it up in growlers and pints at the brewpub, and bottles should be for sale early next week.

Holy Whale Brewing in Alma, New Brunswick got some wonderful news recently, as they were notified that were successful in their bid for a grant to open a café in a customized shipping container along the Petitcodiac River in Riverview, NB. Competing against four other plans from local businesses, they were selected on the basis of the business concept, plans for the future and business experience. The funding comes from a grant provided by the provincial government to the municipality to help commemorate Canada’s 150th Birthday. Although licensing and permitting is expected to take some time, they’re hoping to be operational as early as late January, serving a full lineup of Buddha Bear coffee, a local-based menu and Holy Whale beer from a take-out window facing the boardwalk. And for those folks who can’t wait that long for their Holy Whale fix, we can report that HW is now licensed to sell growlers and crowlers from their brewery and taproom, at the Eastern entrance to Fundy National Park, and that should mean kegs will be making their way to licensees in the province soon.

• Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer recently took a previous 10 gallon pilot brew and scaled it up to a full-sized batch. Featuring a grist of largely pale ale malt, with some crystal to give it color and 10% Canadian Rye for spiciness, Commander Rye-Ker Imperial Rye IPA was heavily hopped with Amarillo at a rate of 2 lbs or so every 15 minutes through a 75-minute boil. Three quarters of the way through fermentation even more Amarillo was added as a dry hop. Clean American ale yeast ensured a neutral yeast character to show off the malt and, especially, the hops. Although it’s pushing the 8% ABV mark and sporting a hefty estimated IBU range of 80-100, it’s a sneaky one that’s likely to creep up on you. It’s available at the brewery for fills for sure, but given that it’s a full-size batch you might reasonably expect it to show up at tap accounts and who knows, possibly other packaging formats.

• Teensy-tiny Tidehouse in downtown Hal-town has another new beer for us this week, this time a Hopfenweisse called Cloud Shadow. Coming in at a very sessionable 4.6% ABV, it’s based on a grist of half wheat male and half pale malt. Fruity and citrusy Mandarina Bavaria hops from Germany were paired with earthy, floral and also citrusy Ahtanum hops from the USA to provide notes of mandarin orange and a lemony, tart finish. You’ll find it at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street for fills and 4oz pours. And stay tuned for news of Tidehouse’s 1st Birthday Celebration coming up in December!

Garrison in Halifax is looking for everyone to pucker up this week, releasing two new draught-only sours. First is Holy Gose, a thirst-quenching brew with light fruit flavors of apple, peach and orange zest paired with a light saltiness typical of the style. Built on a base of Pilsner and wheat malts, and eschewing hops entirely, additions of orange zest and sea salt finished this brew. It weighs in at a fairly light 5.4% ABV. And joining it on the board is La Menta, a beer brewed with mint (“menta” is Spanish for “mint”) provided by local home brewer and beer judge Tim Fletcher. Similar in concept to the Saison Froide made by brewmaster Daniel Girard a few years ago, the mint provides a “cooling” character intended to be refreshing. Using the same grist as the the Holy Gose, there’s no hops in this one either, but the aforementioned mint along with apple and lime juices provide flavour notes to pair with the acidity of this 5.2% ABV sour. As mentioned, these are draught-only releases that you can find now at the brewery or by times at Garrison tap accounts. If you’re super duper keen, you can specifically seek it out using their website’s On Tap feature.

• Bridgewater’s FirkinStein Brewing has a pair of new/returning beer that you will want to check out this weekend, plus a heads up on one coming next week. Returning from a summer off, Set Sail Pale Ale is back in the rotation. At 6.0% ABV, this light-bodied beer receives a heavy dose of hops, but very little in the kettle. The resultant beer has tons of citrus aroma and hop flavour, but very low bitterness. A brand new debut is a pepper beer, Hot as Firk (which is what you’ll be exclaiming after you drink a pint of it, we imagine!). Featuring multiple peppers, including Thai Bird’s Eye, Cayenne, and the infamous Carolina Reaper, this beer is a must-try for chili-heads. No waiver needed to sign before you try it, but best to have one of their other beers nearby in case you need some relief. HaF is only available at their King Street location. And keep an eye out for their as-of-yet-unnamed Black IPA, debuting next week. Weighing in at 7.0% ABV, it features lots of hops, with CascaseChinook, and Simcoe coming through with citrus and pine notes, melding with the light roast character of the dark roasted malts. Keep an eye on their social media for the release date!

2 Crows Brewing in Halifax, who recently released a delightful little number known as Amateur Hour that you should totally drink, released another new beer from their pilot system on Tuesday of this week. The brainchild of their tasting room’s Graeme, it’s his take on the Dutch Bokbier (differentiated from a German Bock by the use of ale yeast instead of lager yeast) but with a twist. Leveraging hearty Munich as a base malt, to which was added Pilsner, Caravienne, along with small amounts of Wheat and Flaked Oats and some Chocolate malt for color, this beer was hopped with Magnum for bittering and Sterling later in the boil. But the real twist is the use of 2 Crows’ house strain of Brettanomyces for the fermentation, which is likely to balance what would otherwise be a fairly prominent maltiness. If you’re lucky enough to try it, look for notes of toffee, caramel and plum complementing a residual sweetness and finished by the Brett. It’s a hefty 8.2% ABV and 35 IBU. Proost!

• In Yarmouth, Heritage brewing has a new beer available as of last night. Freezing Spray is an IPA that packs a solid hop flavour and aroma thanks to a blend of Chinook, Citra and Equanot hops. At 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU this is right in the sweet spot for IPAs. And we’re told the batch is already half sold, so you best be moving quickly if you want a taste. Available at the brewery as well as select tap accounts in the region, including the Good Robot taproom as of last night.

• After going on hiatus for the summer, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has brought back their popular Seventh Wave Series this week. Smaller batches, brewed on their 50l pilot system, give the brew crew a chance at testing out new recipes that may make it onto the big system, try out new ingredients, or just play around with ideas they have. We’re not sure which category the latest brew falls into, but this week’s release is Altbier, an ale from Germany, traditionally known for their lagers, that tends to undergo a long conditioning (lagering) period after primary fermentation. Copper in colour, and usually well-hopped, details are light on Spindrift’s release. That means you’ll have to go and try it for yourself! With the small volume available, we expect Altbier to sell out before they close at 6pm today.

• Our favourite beer podcast buds at 902 BrewCast are celebrating their First Anniversary today, with the release of their November tasting episode. They threw caution to wind and decided to embark on a Garrison Ol’ Fogburner Barleywine vertical. Joined by our very own acbbchris, and fellow frequent shout-out receivers Damian and Duncan, the six drank all years of OFB from 2009-2016 (except for 2014, as there was no release that year). The discussion also turned to how the beer scene has changed since 2009 (and even since 902BC launched in 2016), favourite beers, trends to expect in the future, and everything in between. Tune in, and let them know if you agree if Barleywine Is Life.

Lots of events on the go this weekend, including two brewery anniversary parties!

• We’ll keep it brief since we mentioned it last week, but it bears repeating: tickets for the next Fredericton Craft Beer Festival went on sale today at 11 am. If you forgot to get VIP tickets, you’re likely already out of luck, but remember there’s two sessions (afternoon and evening), and lots of fun to be had! Grab your tickets here.

• In Port Williams, The Port Pub and Sea Level are celebrating their 10th Anniversary tomorrow, November 25th, with a party and new beer release! Kicking off at 10AM with Ice Carving Demonstrations, food and beer discounts, music all day and night, and hourly giveaways from 5PM until close, it will be one heck of a good time! And kicking it up a notch will be the release of The Devils Backbone, the first barrel-aged beer from Sea Level (from our memory). This 8.5% ABV Baltic Porter was fermented in a pair of Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels for nine months, before conditioning and packaging. Available on tap at the Port and in bottles at the brewery to take away, this limited edition beer is sure to be a special gift for the beer lover who has *almost* everything (hint hint blog wives). Congratulations Sea Level and Port Pub!

Foghorn is celebrating one year in business with their Fog the Parade 1st Anniversary Party tomorrow. The party will be held all day, and includes open mic from 3-6 pm (sing a song and they buy you a beer!); live music not-sung-by-you; beer snacks, cake, and other treats; and, of course, lots of beer! In addition, with every pint or growler purchase during the day, you can enter a contest to win 52 growler vouchers for 2018!

Sober Island is celebrating their line of Foraged Beers with a joint event this Sunday. The judging has already been done, but the winners will be announced for their Foraged Homebrew Competition. Featuring entries from across the province (and even an entry flown in from Calgary), the top beers will be celebrated (and maybe even poured), at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, from 1PM. Joining the finalists will be their Chanterelle Mild Ale (now in short supply, so if you were hoping to try it, time is running out), and the debut of their Juniper IPA. At 7.0% ABV and 58 IBU, the beer features local whole leaf hops from Wicked Hops in Stewiacke, to the tune of CascadeCentennialChinook, and Magnum. But the star of the beer may be the Juniper berries, with 1.5 kg macerated and added late in the boil, with another kilogram added during conditioning. All of the beers will be available in “Foraged Flights”, along with a small menu of foraged food items. After its debut, keep an eye out for cans and kegs of Juniper across the province.

Big Spruce will be taking over the taps at Battery Park December 7th, featuring more than 15 different beers, with plenty of food and cheer to go around. The taplist has not yet been released (but should be added to this event as it is), but we’re sure there will be a good mix of new and cellared beers, and maybe even a new release or two. And prepare yourself, as Bis Spruce is offering a delivery service for those fans unable to make it up to Nyanza to grab their wares. Scheduled to hit HRM December 16th, flats of cans can be ordered in advance, with any combination of Kitchen Party Pale Ale, Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, Bitter Get’er India Black IPA, Tag! You’re It! NEIPA, and One Hundred – Cape Breton Wild Ale. A minimum of one flat is required, and it is attractivel priced at only $98.40 (all in). Bottles of two of their barrel-aged brews are also up for grabs, Ra Ra Rasputin Whisky Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, and Complexified Bourbon Barrel Aged Baltic Porter (both $16 all in). Get your orders in before the 15th to avoid disappointment! Keep an eye out on this page for any updates.

And before you go…

Picaroons has released PIVOT #9 (8% ABV), the latest in their Imperial IPA series, with this one showcasing Zythos, as well as “some home-grown Moose Mountain hops”. Available in bottles and on tap, also note that their long-running Yippee IPA is now available in cans, for the first time.
Propeller fans will be ecstatic to hear that their big, dark, and tasty Russian Imperial Stout (8% ABV, 60 IBUs) is back; you can find it pretty much all bottle stores in Halifax, at the brewery, and on tap.
– Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery has some of their holiday meads arriving at ANBL stores, with Queen’s Nectar, Scuttlebutt, Latifah, Punky Pie, and Cinfully Yours – a chocolate cinnamon mead – making the list. Some of these are in quite-limited supply, so be sure to check with your nearby ANBL to make sure they have some in stock.

 

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.