North Brewing

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Happy Fredericton Beer Week! We’ve been waiting for months, and the 6th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival finally happens tomorrow. There’s been a few events so far this week (with one unfortunately being cancelled due to weather), and tomorrow’s big event promises to be even bigger and better than the past five years! With plenty of breweries making their way to Fredericton, there’s naturally quite a few new beers being released… maybe even more so than normal. We’ve been busy getting ready for FCBF, but we’ve done our usual best to summarize all the beer news in our region, so let’s get right to it!

• Let’s start off with Collaboration Pale Ale, a special super-collaboration (yep, just made that word up!) involving the participation of most breweries in New Brunswick, brewed specifically for FCBF. The project was spearheaded by Foghorn‘s own Esty, who sent the recipe out to all those taking part for input, feedback, and good-natured criticism (of which there was actually surprisingly none!). The beer was brewed on Foghorn’s system, with many brewers attending to “help” (i.e. drink beer and watch). Hopped with Magnum from Darlings Island Farm, and Chinook from Moose Mountain, to 45 IBUs, Chinook hop hash from Southan Farms was added at knockout, along with some Enigma. Dry-hopped with more hop hash and Enigma, the result is a 5.5% ABV beer with citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a crisp finish. Craft Coast Canning generously donated their services, with 1000 cans being packaged for sale at various breweries, and a few ANBL locations. There will also be a couple of kegs pop up (including at FCBF, of course!), and it will be for sale (by the pint only) on tap at Foghorn. In addition, $1 of every can sale goes towards diabetes research.

• In more FCBF-special beers, Maybee Brewing is releasing Fahrenheit DIPA, a collaboration brewed with Bangor, Maine’s own Geaghan Brothers Brewing. One of Maine’s first craft breweries (they opened their doors back in 1975), this year is Geaghan’s second at the festival. The beer was brewed with a “generous” amount of locally-grown Centennial and Columbus (from Southan Farms), along with also-large amounts of Amarillo and Mosaic. The result is a “resinous – yet juicy – hop explosion with notes of peach,  mango, apricot and citrus). Weighing in at a hefty 8.7% ABV and 75 IBUs, it will be pouring at FCBF, with GBB pouring it in keg/draft form, and Maybee opting to serve it on cask. If you miss it there (or can’t wait until tomorrow), it is also available on tap and in cans at Maybee.

• Released yesterday to mark International Women’s Day 2018, Port Rexton Brewing teamed up with the Brewnettes to bring you The Riveter. Named after iconic Rosie the Riveter, the beer is a refreshing and easy-drinking Session Ale with plenty of tasty hops. At just 3.9% ABV, this beer will be one you can enjoy all afternoon on the assembly line (or maybe wait until the end-of-day whistle blows). The Brewnettes Newfoundland Beer Collective boasts more than 400 members across Newfoundland and and Labrador, offering new beer drinkers and homebrewers an encouraging environment to meet like-minded folks. The Riveter is available for growler fills at the Port Rexton Retail Shop on Torbay Rd from 4-8PM today (and 12-6PM tomorrow), with Chasing Sun New England IPA also available for growler fills, plus cans of Blazing Sun (Chasing Sun‘s bigger sister), and T-Rex Porter. And today also marks the first day of the BrewSKI weekend at White Hills Resort in Clarenville, with events all weekend (check the schedule here), culminating in tomorrow’s Beer Festival, with Port Rexton joined by: Bootleg Brew CoQuidi Vidi, Split RockStorm, and YellowBelly.

• On our region’s other Island, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new IPA called MOVE on the taps, also released to celebrate IWD2018. Brewed by the women of Upstreet, it’s a hazy New England-style IPA featuring oats and wheat in the grist for a soft mouthfeel and pillowy white head. Hopped in the kettle with super tropical Southern Hemisphere Galaxy and Northern Hemisphere Idaho 7, it was triple dry hopped for a sophisticated aroma. Look for notes of pineapple and fresh mango balanced by a slightly grassy scent. A low-lingering bitterness, coupled with a clean and smooth palate give a juicy and refreshing impression. Weighing it at 6.5% ABV, you’ll be doing good work every time you order it: $2 from every pint and growler will be donated to the Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI.

• Don’t look now, but the scourge of pastry stouts has finally arrived upon the fair shores of our region. “What’s a pastry stout?” you ask, as a naïve drinker of reasonably normal beer? Well, at some point a brewer asked themselves the question, “What other starch sources might I conceivably source for my mash?” Or maybe the question was, “How can I put something absolutely ludicrous in the mash and still make beer?” Either way, as the legend goes, lo, the brewer decided to add donuts to the mash and lo, in the otherwise usual way, beer was made. Then donuts became eclairs. And biscotti. And all kinds of other weird shit. This is the world we live in now; embrace it. Aaaaanyways, to our knowledge, HRM’s North Brewing has announced this week the first pastry stout we’re aware of in the region. Twinkle Pony Cookie Stout was brewed by North cellarperson Brad and sports a delightfully whimsical label by Nicole G. Inspired by the flavour of French macaron cookies, a base stout featuring chocolate malt was adulterated with toasted coconut, toasted almonds, vanilla and, yes, macarons from Le French Fix. It will be available in cans as of today in the North bottle shops on either side of the harbour, and on nitro tap for a limited time (1 keg’s worth) at Battery Park. By all means give it a go and, as you do, feel free to wonder what the world is coming to now that there’s cookies in your beer!

• Earlier this week, Hammond River released their latest beer, Cordelia. An American IPA with a simple grist of 2-row, Carafoam, and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops throughout (to 78 IBUs), giving the beer juicy notes of citrus, tangerine, and passion fruit. Some grapefruit puree was also added in secondary to boost the juiciness a bit more, making this 7% ABV brew just the ticket if you’re in the mood for a nice, aromatic hop bomb. You can find this one on tap at the HR taproom and local tap accounts; it’ll also be pouring at FCBF, for those of you lucky enough to have tickets!

• Just in time for FCBF, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go, their first Brett Pale Ale. Dubbed Across the Universe, it started with a grist of 50/50 2-row and Maris Otter, to which a “healthy portion” of wheat and a touch of dextrine malt were added. Hopped with plenty of Citra and Mosaic and then fermented with a Niche favourite, the Amalgamation blend from the Yeast Bay, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV and 36 IBU featuring a nose of citrus and overripe and tropical fruit. And as if that wasn’t enough, watch Niche social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) this afternoon for an announcement of yet another new beer that will debut tomorrow at the fest! (If only we had a connection at the brewery who could have given us the details in time for this post, huh @acbbshawn? Jeeesh.)

• PEI Brewing’s Gahan House Port City in Saint John is now pouring the first beers brewed onsite at their facility. YSJ’aison is a, you guessed it, Saison with a light-coloured malt bill of Pilsner, with a touch of rye and wheat for mouthfeel and to encourage a beautiful head. Lightly hopped in the kettle with Czech Saaz, it was dryhopped with Saphir to bring out some fruitiness. Yeast choice is always important to the overall characteristics of the Saison style, and here they chose a blend of multiple yeasts to encourage tropical fruit, as well as iconic clove and bubblegum notes, as well as spiciness to complement the rye malt. The multiple yeast strains also helped to dry out the beer (ending up at 5.8% ABV) and improve drinkability. The pale and hazy beer is on tap for samples, pints, and growler fills now, and keep your eyes open as future YSJ-brewed beers begin to hit the taps, which include an English Porter brewed with coffee provided by local coffee shop Rogue.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has two items of note this week. First is the return of Fist of God, a fruity, soft, round, and delicious 8% ABV DIPA that will put you on your ass with prejudice. Originally brewed for the release of the feature film Goon: Last of the Enforcers last spring, it will be available for fills and pints and cans at the brewery as of noon today. Yes, we said cans. And FoG isn’t the only beer they’ll have in convenient take-anywhere single-serve packages! The mobile canning line has visited North Street once again and as of noon today you’ll also find Barrel-aged Sour Motherfucker, Exile on North Street IPA, Flat Black Jesus Stout, and Twelve Years to Zion DIPA ready and waiting for your mobile beer needs. All the beer nerds are in Fredericton, here’s your chance to stock up!!

• Just like last year, the Tidehouse braintrust, Peter, Sean, and Shannon, are heading up to Fredericton Craft Beer Fest. And just like last year, they’re leaving their brewery and taproom in the hands of Ian Wheatley and Nick Snell, a couple of degenerate home brewers fine young gentlemen who will no doubt bring ruin and shame upon the good name of Tidehouse take excellent care of the place. Starting today you’ll find four guest beers on tap for fills and small pours at the TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter Street: Cascadian Dark Ale, Tic Lac Toe Blueberry Sour, English Pale, and Amber Ale. You may remember the Tic Lac Toe from last year’s FCBF weekend, a witbier base soured with Lil’ Wheatey’s own Lactobacillus culture (and featuring traditional orange peel and coriander along with two additions of blueberries. The Cascadian Dark Ale is an assertively-hopped dark beer with 60 IBUs worth of bitterness thanks to healthy amounts of Centennial, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. The grist side is based in 2-row and wheat, with caramel, chocolate and midnight wheat specialty malts for character and dark color. All said and done, it comes in a 5.8% ABV with a slightly dry finish. The English Pale falls somewhere in the range of an English Pale and a Golden Ale, with an exceptionally simple malt bill of British pale malt and flaked barley, and an equally uncomplicated hop schedule using only East Kent Goldings. Fermented on London Ale yeast, it’s described as “liquid gold.” And finally, the Amber Ale is a malt-forward beer that combines special roast, aromatic and chocolate malts for a robust and complex malt profile that is balanced against mild bitterness and hop flavour from Warrior, Fuggles, and East Kent Goldings. Though it finished quite dry, look for it to be a bit bigger than the ambers you might be used to. All four of these beers will be poured by Ian and Nick at the Tidehouse today and tomorrow, and will continue to be available while supplies last. You can also watch for the Tic Lac Toe and the Cascadian Dark Ale to make an appearance in limited bottle runs in the near future.

• If you’re into big beers and you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon, consider swinging on down to the Propeller taproom on Gottingen Street for the release of a collaboration brewed with the team from Lower Sackville’s Everwood Avenue Brew Shop. A Baltic Porter coming in at 6.7% ABV and 33 IBU, it boasts aromas of burnt caramel and dark roasted coffee that meld with raisin and vanilla notes in a full-bodied brew where the lager yeast balances a fairly high level of residual sugars. Starting at 6 PM, you’ll find folks from Everwood and Propeller celebrating with pints of the Baltic Porter on special and two special editions on the go as well: one oak cask and one 20L keg that was fermented with Burton on Trent Ale yeast for, we’d imagine, a totally different mouthfeel and body. Swag giveaways and pies available for purchase from Humble Pie complete the package. If you don’t get a chance to attend event but are interested in the beer, it’s already available for growler fills at the brewery and is likely to spring up at a couple other locations around the city.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken another stab at a Lager with their latest beer, Fuzzy Bubbles. This one is an India Pale Lager, a hazy, light-yellow beer that was fermented cool with a Pilsner yeast strain. Lagered for an additional two weeks at near-freezing temperatures, the beer was then dry-hopped with a “healthy” dose of Citra and Vic Secret. Drinking with “huge tropical fruit, peaches, and cantaloupe” notes, and carbonated higher than normal for TW beers, it weighs in at 6.5% ABV. It’s available both in cans and on tap at the brewery today, and should show up at a few tap accounts in the near future.

• The first annual (says Kelly!) Good Robot FemmeBot competition is in the books and the results were announced at a special event at the brewery on Wednesday. An Honorable Mention went to Kelsey Delaney for her “Maybe She’s Born Wit It”, Third Place went to Jill Bernier for her “Bear Cat”, Second was Heather Cameron for “Calm Down Dearest”, and taking first place was Drella Green-Simony with “I Love My Dog”. The winning beer will be brewed on the Sabco system and put on tap at the brewery in the coming months. A hearty congratulations to everyone who entered the competition; some 75% of the registered entrants were first time brewers and hopefully we’ll see more than a few carry on and brew more!

• And in Good Robot beer release news this week are two releases as is their wont. First, on the AlphaBrew system, is an IPA they’re calling All-Inclusive. “Inclusive of what?” you ask? “Inclusive of EVERYTHING!” Like a buffet this 6.8% ABV and 74 IBU brew has a smörgåsbord of flavors, including juicy tropical fruit from Green Bullet, Dr. Rudi, Wakatu, Ella, and Topaz hops, plenty of bitterness, and a slight pepper kick from Grains of Paradise. And on the BetaBrew system, coming out this Tuesday for BetaBrewsday, is a beer that would be very timely if it had anything whatsoever to do with St. Patrick’s day. It’s green. Why’s it green? EVIL GREEN MIST. As generations of wrestlers have taught us, spitting green mist in the eyes of an opponent will cause immediate blindness and absolutely permanent damage to sight, at least until next week’s TV. Green Mist is a super-crushable 4% ABV lager, with just enough bitterness (14 IBU) to be refreshing, and a soupçon of green venom. Or food coloring. One of the two. Enjoy, just don’t mistake it for a St. Patrick’s Day thing!!

There’s lots of Events on the go to tell you about this week!

• Unfortunately, due to an extended power outage in downtown Fredericton, last night’s Down East Tap Takeover (and our Trivia) at the King Street Ale House had to be postponed. The 30+ different beers (most are brand new to the region) are flowing now, and you can head in any time this weekend to have your ticket honoured. As a reminder, that means your first ten 5oz samples of the Nova Scotian and Maine beers are already included.

• And speaking of the FCBF, there are still tickets available for tonight’s Newbie Night, a showcase of a dozen breweries new to the scene. Most of them will not be pouring Saturday night, so if your liver can handle two days of beery fun, we encourage you to check it out! Tickets are available until mid-afternoon.

• For those in NB, be sure to tune your dial to CBC this afternoon, to hear an interview with Josh Mayich of Darlings Island Hop Farm chat with the folks on Shift. Concentrating on his experience as a hop farmer in the Southern NB area, he’ll be sharing stories and what he’s learned in this important side of the beer business.

• Every year in March, Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel brewery celebrates Journée Péché Day at bars in their home province, in the rest of Canada, in the USA, and around the world. This year 50 venues will take part and we’re pleased to report that three of them will be in Atlantic Canada. Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, Moncton’s Tide and Boar, and Fredericton’s King Street Ale House will be serving up the sin on March 24th, with 7 kegs of deep black stain for your soul including the original Péché Mortel Classic Imperial Coffee Stout, Péché Mortel Framboise (with Raspberry), Péché Houblon (with Hops), Péché Termopilas (with a lighter roast coffee), Péché Latté (with lactose, maybe?), and the 2017 and 2018 editions of Péché Mortel Bourbon, which has been aged in Bourbon barrels. With most of these beers tipping the scales at 9% ABV and higher, you can guarantee you won’t escape unmarked. Plan well, and pray for absolution.

A couple more things before we let you go…

– After a short hiatus to refill their kegs, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co is back open for your weekend beer fix. Going forward, they’ll be open Friday and Saturday evenings, 4PM-12AM. Drop by today to taste the latest batch of their beery goodies!

Four Rivers Brewing in Bathurst, NB, now has cans available, including their aptly named Nor’easter American Pale Ale, weighing in at 5.0% ABV. Currently only at the brewery, they will be available at local (and further afield) ANBL locations in the coming weeks. And look for their 5.0% Havre St-Pierre Red Ale to be available soon in cans as well.

– Speaking of cans, the Craft Coast made the trip to Lawrencetown, NS, and helped the folks at Lunn’s Mill get their product into tall boys. Lager Driver and Anvil Porter are both available for purchase at the brewery now, for $4.50 (all in). Grab a few when you knock off work today!

– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing Cyd Cerise tomorrow, a version of their Old Foundry Stout, aged on crushed cherries, and in white oak Bourbon barrels.

– Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester, NS has a new beer in their Small Lot Series, where they try out new styles on a smaller batch size. In this case, they’ve opted for Gose, a historic German style beer featuring an acidic kick, low hopping, light salt character, and spicing. For their recipe, they used coriander and sea salt to achieve these flavours, and after souring, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast. Keeping with the refreshing nature of the style, Gose is 4.7% and 5 IBUs. Drop by Tanner this weekend to grab a growler of this and their other offerings.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.