O’Creek Brewing

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Brewing on a small scale at his house in Dieppe, New Brunswick, Patrice Daigle launched O’Creek Brewing in late May, just in time for the local Atlantic Beer Festival. Daigle was looking for a change in focus, and with the support of his family, found brewing to be the perfect fit. Daigle was kind enough to sit down with us and share the details on his brewery, his homebrewing history, and plans for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in a small fishing village called Pointe-Sapin, this is where the name O’Creek is from. I’ve been in Moncton for over 20 years, working in IT ever since. I am the father of two beautiful young girls and have been married to a supportive wife. I’m mostly involved in the brewery duties but it’s also a family thing. Before brewing, I did wedding photography, and since I stopped, I’ve been brewing non stop and last year I decided to go commercial. It’s a real passion that I would like to share with others.

How did you get into the world of beer?
I wasn’t into beer that much to be honest, I was more a wine drinker. It all started about 10 years ago with friends, buying all sorts of imported beers and that’s where you start tasting different styles. After a summer of drinking just Picaroons, I really got hooked on craft beer. Back then, the craft beer scene wasn’t much, but now we have many choices and great options to pick from.

O'Creek and Beer Glass

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
After I started homebrewing, I liked it so much and couldn’t keep up with giving some to family members and friends. I would get good feedback and would want to brew more and more. I saw, and I still see, a huge potential in our region and I want to be part of this industry and to help other breweries to make a difference.

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
– I want people to enjoy the final results as much as I enjoy making it!
– Drink and support local

Can you tell us about the beers you have launched with? How about beers in planning?
Most of my beers are American style beer, big flavors like IPA, American Pale Ale, and Stouts, but I’m also a big fan of Belgian Saison so I will have a Saison Series, one called “Saison du Nord” and the other “Saison du Sud”. These names come from back home; we have two lobster seasons which divides the North and South. In summer time I will release some Wheat beer, Belgian and German styles, and in winter time, some stronger beer like Belgian Dubbel, Imperial Stout, etc. This may also change on demand, I’m really open and can’t wait to hear some feedback. This drives me to brew more. One of my launch beers was Route 117 NEIPA, named after the highway which goes from Kouchibouguac to Chatham along the Northern NB shore, via Pointe-Sapin.

What are your plans for distribution?
No taproom, bottles or cans for now. I only do kegs and I will post on social media where it will be available, so stay tuned to O’Creek!

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
No permanent accounts for now, however I have sold some kegs to the Pump House Fill Station, The Laundromat and Tide & Boar in Moncton, and Au Bootlegger in Bathurst. Also, you will soon see us at the ANBL store in Dieppe for growler fills…

O'Creek Family and Friends

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in the region?
Not on site in the brewery, but whenever I need advice on anything, I know I can count on other local breweries, they’ve been great answering all my questions, and continue to do so, and I try to do my part as well. That’s what make this community so great: wanting to help each other out.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
I can’t say;  I don’t think about it but my goal for now is putting my name out there. I’m happy to start this process since it took almost one year to get ready.

Let’s switch gear to some nerdy details… What size/manufacturer/type of system are you be brewing on?
I have a 1BBL (120 litre) HERMS system from Spike Brewing (Milwaukee, WI) which I bought last year. I brewed my first test batches last fall, and as of now, I’m still learning the system as I ramp up batches. I have three 1BBL fermenters as well as a ½ BBL (mostly to do test batches) from SS Brewtech. I’m hoping to brew once a week for now and see how it goes.

O'Creek Panel and Vessels

Care to share some details on your brewing history?
I started homebrewing like most brewers, and before that, I was a photographer (mostly weddings), and got tired of it and that’s when I decided to get some all grain equipment. After my last gig, I went to Halifax and bought my homebrewing system from Everwood Ave Brew Shop and bought a kit to do a Witbier. For a first brew, it tasted pretty good from what I remember.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I cannot lie, I am a hophead, so IPAs are my go to, but it all depends on the season, too. Last winter I was big into stouts. I like to taste any style, but lately there are some styles I don’t care to buy anymore; even my taste in IPAs have changed, now I’d rather have a juicy NEIPA. Overall I’d say IPA, Saison and Stout are my favorite styles. Oh, and let’s not forget Brett beer!

Do you have a website, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter page?
It’s funny, I don’t have a website, because that’s what I’ve been doing for a living for the past 20 years. Not sure if I want one, I don’t really see the need since Facebook and Instagram have been great so far. That’s how you guys found me right? [Ed: It sure is!]

Thanks again to Patrice for spending time answering our questions. As of publishing, kegs of Route 117 NEIPA have been delivered to the ANBL in Dieppe, to go on their Growler Station next week. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest O’Creek news! Felicitations!

Well, now that the Canadian Brewing Awards are officially over, it looks like things have died down – slightly – in the beer world this week, as brewers and beer lovers recuperate from all of the celebrations in Halifax last weekend. But it IS June 1st, and this time of year means that things are going to be picking up sharply, very soon… so we know we’re going to enjoy this slight lull while we can! And there’s still a fair amount to talk about, so here we go…

Speaking of the CBAs, in case you missed our live tweeting of the results, breweries in the Atlantic Provinces had a great showing at the awards, earning 20 total medals in a wide variety of categories. The full results are available on the CBA website, and here are the local winners for your perusal:

Foghorn Brewing earned Bronze for Golden Grover in English-style Pale Ale and Bronze for Esty Special Bitter in English Bitters – Best Bitter or ESB.
Grimross Brewing earned Gold for their Apres Lager in the European Style Amber to Dark Lager, Bronze for their Pugnacious Porter in Porter, Bronze for Maritime Cream Ale in Cream Ale, and Silver in American-style Black Ale for their Maritime Black IPA.
Brasseurs Petit-Sault earned Gold for Col. John Baker Dubbel in Belgian-Style Dubbel.
Pump House Brewing captured Bronze for their Muddy River Stout in the Dry Stout category.

2 Crows Brewing earned a trio of medals that evening: Silver for their Dynamo Rustic Saison in the French and Belgian Style Saison category, Silver for Never Again (Foedre-Aged Brett Pale with Peaches), and Gold for Bonanza! (Foedre-Aged Wheat Wine).
Boxing Rock captured Silver for their Temptation Red in North American Style Amber/Red Ale.
North Brewing Company captured Silver for their Little Beast in the Kellerbier/Zwickelbier category, Silver in the Belgian Style Abbey Ale/Pale Ale category for their Gus’ 65m Ale, Bronze in American-style Brett Beer for Oh My Darlin’-Clementine Brett Pale Ale
Meander River grabbed Bronze for their Smoky Chipotle Porter in Experimental Beer.
Tatamagouche Brewing took Silver for their Giantess Barley Wine in Barley Wine-Style Ale – American-Style.

PEI Brewing Company earned a pair of awards: Bronze for their Hell Street in the Bock – Traditional German Style category and Bronze for their Vic Park in the Session India Pale Ale category.

Quidi Vidi Brewing earned Silver in the Dry Stout category for their Cry Havoc.

After some delays over the winter, Gander, Newfoundland finally has a brewery they can call their own. Scudrunner Brewery opened earlier this week on Roe Avenue right by the airport (fitting for a brewery owned by pilots!), with their initial offering of four beers being offered for samples and pints. Stop by to grab their Frequent Flyer Ordinary Bitter (3.8% ABV), Good Morning Shanwick Irish Amber (5% ABV), Scudrunner Red (5% ABV), and Test Flight #1 American Bitter (5% ABV). Growlers are in the works, but not *yet* available (soon, we understand!). The taproom is open from 11AM every day (except closed Mondays for the time being). Congratulations!

Tidehouse released a new beer last Friday, and we missed it! It actually can’t be blamed entirely on them (THIS time), as things got pretty hairy with all the CBA stuff going on, but better late than never, right? And there’s still some left, so we’re happy to mention it now! Keep Your Chin Up is an American IPA with a grain bill of Wheat malt, Vienna, and Kiln Coffee malt, that was hopped late in the boil (and in the dry-hop, of course) with Chinook. Fermented with a neutral American yeast strain, it weighs in pretty high at 7.7% ABV, and has lots of pine and spice flavours from the Chinook, along with a “slight” presence of coffee from the Kiln Coffee malt. You can find it on tap now for 4 oz pours and growler fills at the Tidehouse TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter St.

Sorry, you other guys (you know who you are!), but it looks like North Brewing is the first out of the gate with a Champagne IPA brewed professionally in Nova Scotia! Also known as Extra Brut IPA, it’s a new style that is going up against the popular hazy version, NEIPA. Incorporating the addition of extra enzymes to break the sugars in wort down even more, which allows the yeast to do their job better, creating a higher alcohol level and a very dry beer. The grist is usually very simple, and the beer should be light-coloured and very clear. North’s first attempt is Alloy, and it sounds like they’ve ticked all the boxes in the Champagne IPA category with this one. Featuring a grist of all-Pilsner malt, enzymes were added to allow the yeast to ferment the wort all the way down to a final gravity of 1.000. Whirlpool-hopped with Ariana (a new German variety that exhibits characteristics of grapefruit, gooseberry, citrus, and vanilla) and Citra, it was further dry-hopped with plenty more Ariana. With a minimal grist and a bone-dry beer, the hops – in theory – are allowed to shine even more, and the bitterness is perceived more (Alloy’s IBUs come in at 23). This 6% ABV beer is being released today in cans (at both bottle shops) and kegs (at Battery Park, and likely other accounts soon); make sure you grab a taste somewhere/somehow, as this is a style that is sure to evolve!

Spindrift Brewing is branching off their Seventh Wave series, those pilots beers only appearing on tap at their retail location for growler fills, with the Ride the Wave series, inviting in guest brewers to take part in the fun. The first in that series launched yesterday, and  is named Ocean Perle, a low-ABV Belgian Saison. At 4.5% ABV and 22 IBU, this extremely quaffable beer is the brainchild of homebrewer Ian Wheatley, who is familiar to our readers from his frequent work with the Tidehouse crew under the Lil’ Wheatey moniker. Named after his dog and one of his favourite hop varietals, OP is nice and dry, and highly carbonated for a refreshing and spritzy mouthfeel. As with all of the beers in this series, the only spot to grab it is at Spindrift’s Frazee Ave location, so stop by this afternoon to grab it before it sails away.

The latest Neon Friday release from Upstreet is out today, NEIPA with Simcoe. True to its name, it’s a New England IPA brewed entirely with the classic Simcoe hop, a much-loved American variety that has managed to hold onto its popularity over the years, despite the barrage of new hops being released every day (ok, maybe not that often, but you get it). At 7% ABV an 40 IBUs, it’s a pale-straw coloured, hazy brew with “notes of heavy citrus and a piney dankness”… yep, sounds like Simcoe to us! Available as of today, on tap and in cans at Upstreet and the Craft Beer Corner.

Two beers from TrailWay are hitting cans and taps this week, one new and one returning. The new brew comes out today, and is a 6.5% ABV American IPA released in honour of the Scrum Lurkers segment of the Jay and Dan show. Through the constant tweaking with the many one-off IPAs released by TrailWay, Scrumlurkers was brewed with a hop schedule that gives “intense tropical and citrus fruit, with a sweet candy and vanilla character that ‘lurks’ in the background”, according to the brewery. And returning is Emerald, TW’s 5% ABV New Zealand Pilsner that is hopped with Wakatu, and has “generous” additions of both lime juice and zest, giving a “dry tartness and complementary candied lime” character. Drop by the brewery today to pick up some of each, and maybe stick around for their anniversary celebration (more on that in the events section below).

For those of you who are fans of Hammond River’s ongoing series of Berliner Weisses, you’ll be happy to hear that they have a new entry that they released this week. Fragarian Fields uses the same kettle-soured base recipe, with this iteration being fruited with strawberry and mango. Coming in at their usual 3.2% ABV for this series, it pours slightly hazy with a light orange colour and is lightly fruity, refreshing, and definitely easy-drinking. Available now at the taproom for pints and growlers.

Good Robot has kindly passed on the info on next week’s new beers for us to tweak to perfection, to pass on to you! Tuesday’s Beta Brew is Wort the Weight, an American Stout brewed by Adam Boone and Emma Cloutier. Brewed with 2-row, Chocolate malt, Roasted Barley and Flaked Oats, it was hopped with Warrior, Saaz, and Hallertauer to 42 IBUs. A “dusting” of lactose powder was also added to the boil, to help balance out the hop bitterness slightly. It comes in a bit lower than expected for the style, at just 4.5% ABV, so that you can enjoy it in quantity. Following on Thursday is Yuk’em Ups, their latest experiment in biotransformation dry-hopping (i.e. adding dry hops when fermentation isn’t quite complete). This 6.6% ABV IPA has a grain bill containing 2-row, Red X, and a little bit o’ Wheat, and was hopped with Mosaic and Ekuanot to a mighty 91 IBUs. It exhibits some “pear and other orchard fruit on the nose”, with plenty of citrus character in the taste. Finally, their latest batch of Espinazo Del Diablo was kegged this week… try it and see if you notice more heat this go-around, as the seeds from the jalapenos were added to the beer. Just try not to get any in your teeth! 😉

Those crazy kids at Niche Brewing have yet another beer coming early next week (does their recipe file have no end?!). Ofelia is an American Pale Ale described to us as reminiscent of many people’s favorite childhood orange drink (that the astronauts took to the moon!). Fermented with a blend of Saccharomyces strains well-geared for IPAs, it’s slightly dank with tropical notes thanks to additions of Centennial, Chinook, and Simcoe hops. At 5.4% ABV and 32 IBU expect an easy drinking light orange beer with a smooth mouthfeel and a light bitterness in the finish. If you’re enjoying one in a quiet moment, see if you can guess where the name came from – we can tell you it’s inspired by the name of one of Rob and Shawn’s favourite movie heroines, but nothing to do with Shakespeare.

After closing for a couple of months for major renovations, the bar at Quidi Vidi Brewery is opening tomorrow. While previously only open during brewery tours and their Friday night Kitchen Party, it has transformed into a full-time Tap Room space, open from noon daily. The Grand Opening Party will be kicking off at 7PM Saturday, featuring food from Mallard Cottage and live music from Dave Whitty. There will be plenty of Q.V. beers flowing, including a fresh batch of Calm Tom’s Double IPA, and we suspect some other goodies from their newly installed pilot system. Learn more by checking out their social media.

Next week, Boxing Rock will be releasing the commercial version of the winning beer in their latest Black Box Challenge, which was held in March. Brewed by the ACBB’s own Aaron Spanik, Oh, Snap! was brewed with a variety of malts, including Pale, Chocolate, Aromatic, and Medium Crystal. Belgian Dark Candi syrup was also added in the boil, and the wort was hopped with Magnum for bittering, Cascade for flavour additions in the boil, and some Amarillo at flameout as well as in the dry hop. One of the ingredients in the Black Box was “ginger-infused green tea”. Aaron wanted the ginger without the tea, so painstakingly separated the two, and added the ginger to his beer (worry not, he’s still seeking medication for this disorder). On a large scale, this practice would be, of course, insane, so Boxing Rock obtained some straight ginger from World Tea House (the original provider of the ginger tea blend), which they used to make their own ginger “tea” to add at the whirlpool stage. Fermented with the American strain US-05, it comes in at 6.1% ABV, slightly higher than the homebrew version. Expect it to drink as a fairly dry and refreshing hoppy brown, with a subtle ginger undertone, especially as it warms. Scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 6th, look for this one to hit the taps at BR, private wine store shelves, farmer’s markets, and possibly some tap accounts as well.

And speaking of homebrewers, there’s a new game in town, regionally speaking, for those into the hobby. BrewHQ came online last week with beer and cider kits, brewing equipment, and brewing ingredients available for purchase and shipping anywhere in Canada. They’ve got a BrewHQ Club where purchases earn points that can be used towards discounts as well as an area of the site, the BrewHQ Academy, with tutorials, beer history and style information. For the month of June they’ve got a free shipping promotion on orders over $75 (pre-tax total) until June 30th. Even better, they’re offering our readers 15% off from today until June 14th through the use of the code ACBB15. Check out the new site and follow their social media presence as well (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for news on upcoming promotions.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has their Summer seasonal all ready to go. Stone Fruit Summer Ale features some wheat in the grist along with additions of fruit, including peach, apricot and mango, for a light and slightly hazy 5.0% ABV spritzy summer refresher. Look for a special cask with peach purée to be tapped this evening at their Gottingen Street Tasting Room. The beer is available now at Propeller locations and will be available at NSLC stores and the private stores in Halifax as well. And for those who were fans of their Spring seasonal, the pale and hoppy XPA, the last batch is now available in super shiny cans and on tap, but only through Propeller’s stores.

In Liverpool, Hell Bay has a new IPA on the taps that they’re calling Tarnation. Coming in at a healthy 6.2% ABV, it features Millennium hops, a high-alpha variety known for imparting an herbal character. Hopped to 70 IBU, this one definitely packs a bitter punch, with a resinous and almost spicy character complementing an overall dry body. It’s available at the brewery now but will be making its way to tap accounts along the South Shore and in Halifax in the coming weeks.

There’s some news to share about Antigonish’s Townhouse Pub this week: After 6 years of ownership, Rosemary and Terry are handing over the reigns to Caitlin and Ryan Shimozawa, who bring years of experience in the food and drink world to the East Coast. While the Shimozawas are sure to put their own touches into the Townhouse, we have been assured that they share the same passion for local beer as Rose and Terry, and will continue to focus their bar menu the same way. And for those of us fortunate to get to the Townhouse for a pint of Terry’s Best Bitter, fear not, he is passing along his knowledge to the new owners, so expect the house-made beers to continue flowing.

We’ve spotted a few events on the go this weekend (and beyond) that you’re not going to want to miss!

After extensive renovations over the past several weeks, the beer bar in the Crowne Plaza hotel on Queen Street in Fredericton is re-opening today. With a slight change of name to The Joyce, the number of taps with NB beer, cider, and mead has expanded to 36 plus a hand pump, to keep pace with their lofty goal of carrying something from every brewery in the province. You can be amongst the first to test out the taps if you head down today, as they’re re-opening at 12PM. Learn a little bit more from their FB Event page, and enjoy happy hour from 3PM until midnight tomorrow to keep the celebration going.

After, or before, checking out The Joyce on Queen Street today, head across the water to TrailWay Brewing’s 280 Main Street location, to help celebrate their second anniversary of being “ALL IN”. While Dan and Jake opened the brewery in December of 2014, the brewery as it is now opened in June 2016 after both left other jobs to pursue it full time. Pop in from 5-9PM for $5 pints to celebrate their success and plans for the future. Milda’s Pizza will be on hand keeping your tummy satisfied all evening.

It’s already been a year since Horton Ridge opened their brewery and taproom, and they’re celebrating next Saturday, June 9th with a Horton Ridge Turns 1! Event. It’s an all-day party, starting at noon, and will feature plenty (2500 lbs worth of plenty!) of BBQ from Asado Wood Fired Grill, beer, and a variety of live music (starting at 3 pm).

Interested in learning more about brewing science? Well, there’s always plenty to learn, and the Maritime Brewing Science Conference may be just what you’re looking for. It’s being held in Moncton on Friday, June 15th, and will feature plenty of topics and discussions throughout the day, including yeast handling and selection, brewing water, wild hops in Atlantic Canada, and Wild Beers. Your $30 ticket (available here) includes breakfast, lunch, and a wild beer tasting at the end of the day.

Just a bit more before we go…

– If you missed their debut at last weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, fear not – kegs of O’Creek Brewing’s Route 117 (a 6.5% ABV NEIPA) are now pouring at Marky’s Laundromat and Tide & Boar in Moncton.
Unfiltered is bringing back their Warning Label, a 10% ABV monster of a DIPA, today at noon. This batch was aged on Spanish cedar, so expect a slightly different profile than what you may be used to.
Big Spruce has a new one pouring called Reboot Ginger Beer, brewed as a witbier with 100% Cape Breton grown ginger in the the boil and as well as in the dry hop, which also included “huge” amounts of Mosaic.

Alright folks, this is the big one! For the first time in several years (since Fredericton in 2014, to be precise), our region is once again the epicentre of the Canadian beer scene for the weekend, as Halifax hosts the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference. Already kicking off last night, the talks and sessions continue today and tomorrow, with the Awards Gala being held tomorrow night. You have to be in the beerbiz to attend, but you can follow along with the Awards results online during the stream, and we will be sure to keep a live feed of all of the Atlantic Canadian winners. We already flooded you with the new collaborative releases from 2 Crows, North, and Propeller last week, and you’re well served to get to their respective retail locations to pick them up before they are gone. Let’s concentrate on the newest info we have regarding another onslaught of releases hitting the taps and shelves now.

• Let’s kick off the week with the first brewery opening in a few weeks, O’Creek Brewing in Dieppe. Brewing on a 1 BBL system means they end up with about 120 litres of beer per batch, so this is a truly small operation. But being small has its benefits, as owner Patrice Daigle is able to stay nimble and brew a wide variety of beers. The first beer to be available is Route 117 NEIPA. Named after the coastal highway that connects Kouchibouguac and Miramichi, this hoppy and hazy 6.5% ABV brew features loads of Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo hops throughout the brewing and fermenting process. In addition, Daigle is launching with an American Pale Ale and Saison, though details are a bit short on those for now. So, how can you try the O’Creek beers this weekend? Easy! Just drop by their booth at this weekend’s Atlantic Beer Festival, held at the Moncton Coliseum. If you don’t already have your tickets, you are in luck, as they are still available for this evening, as well as Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. Check out O’Creek on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news, and tune in to the blog early next week, as will have a full Profile with them, with more details on their brewing history and ethos, and what other beers you can expect from them in the future (and where to find them). Congratulations!

• We’ve got lots of news from Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery, so let’s get you up to date. First off, the latest in their kettle sour series is now available, Fall From Grace. This 4.3% ABV sour is the first beer to be completely designed and brewed by Roof Hound Assistant Brewer Ben, and features notes of rose water and lychee to match and offset the beer’s acidity. Look for it on tap at the brewery and in HRM now. Also available now is Roof Hound’s collaboration with Guelph’s Escarpment Yeast Labs, SafeWord Pineapple Milkshake IPA, which debuted at yesterday’s event at Battery Park (if you’re lucky, some of these will still be on tap today!). This 6.0% ABV IPA was late- and dry-hopped with a massive amount of Azacca hops for tropical notes on top of the vanilla and lactose added to complete the milkshake vibe. Escarpment’s Foggy London Ale yeast was used to keep the beer with a smooth mouthfeel and hazy as heck. In addition to BP, kegs have been delivered to Stillwell and growlers fills will be available at Harvest Wines.  And finally, owner Les Barr has announced that “The Dog House” is open for the season. This two-bedroom rental property is just a few minutes walk from Roof Hound’s brewery and taproom, and is decorated with the same touches as the brewery itself. Folks can learn more and book their stay on Airbnb. No word if Barr will tuck you in, or bring you a coffee in the morning, but knowing his hospitality, we wouldn’t be surprised! And a bonus for early birds, if you are one of the first to book your stay, there are big savings to be had.

• Let’s talk about another beer that debuted at yesterday’s Escarpment x Battery Park event, from Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing. Brett, Actually is a 7.7% ABV IPA, co-fermented with both Cali Ale yeast and Brettanomyces drei and dry-hopped with Mosaic and Citra for a big hop presence. You’ll find this one available for pints and growler fills at the brewery, as well as at tap accounts around the Province. Also out this week from Big Spruce is another mixed fermentation beer they’re calling Lucky Pucker, which was hit with both Old World Saison yeast and Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Conditioned for 6 months in Chardonnay barrels, before being bottled and conditioned in glass for another 4 months, this beer finished up at 6.3% ABV and 12 IBU, making it a strong Berliner Weisse. Tart and fruity, it’s only available in bottles, both at the brewery and at the private stores in Halifax. And that’s not all from Jeremy and Co this week, as they’ve got another one they’re calling Hugs Bunny that was brewed in collaboration with Merit Brewing out of Hamilton. It seems Merit and Big Spruce like to make Gose, this is a similar beer to the Gose of Christmas Past from last month, with Indian Coriander and sea salt and landing at 3.8% ABV. In lieu of a barrel treatment, though, hugs bunny got a big ol’ dry hop with Citra for a lemon and citrus aroma. Look for it to appear at the Sprucetique and possibly a few tap accounts as well.

• Even with all of those delightful-sounding collaboration beers released by North Brewing yesterday (which we addressed in detail in last week’s post), they still went ahead and launched another new beer for the Victoria Day long weekend. It’s close to being sold out already, but we’d like to share the info anyway, in case you’re lucky enough to find some! Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale was brewed with Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and dry-hopped with Citra and Simcoe Cryo hops. With lots of citrus throughout, the beer is quite refreshing and definitely lives up to its “sessionable” description, coming in at just 4% ABV. Hopefully there’s still a few cans left at the brewery, and it’ll likely still be available on tap at accounts in Halifax.

Tanner & Co in Chester Basin has a pair of new beers available just in time for the weekend, so start planning your visit now. The first is Sauvage Gose, their take on the sour and lightly salty style originally from Goslar, Germany. After a round of kettle souring to impart some acidity, the beer was fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast, which was originally isolated from a Pin cherry on the Big Spruce farm and propagated up by Escarpment Labs. Featuring lots of tart citrus and notes of tropical fruit, there is only one keg of this beer available, on tap at the brewery for growler fills. The second release is Dampfbier, a German Steam Beer. While this beer was one of their first at launch in the fall, this release is the first on their larger system. As per the style, this beer is brewed with all malted barley, and with a Weissbier yeast, usually used in Hefeweizens, the iconic German wheat beer. The result is a beer featuring pleasant clove and banana characters from the yeast with a nice malt finish. As with the Gose, the best place to grab a taste of Dampfbier is at the brewery, so drop by this weekend!

• In Sydney, Breton Brewing has their first kettle sour available. Sour Sessions with Guava & Passionfruit is the first in a series of sour, low ABV, summer beers that they’ll be releasing over the coming months under the Sour Sessions banner. This edition comes in at 3.2% ABV and 5 IBU and is flavored, as you probably guessed, using additions of passion fruit and guava. Tart and thirst quenching, you’ll find it at the brewery for pints and growler fills this weekend.

• Do you remember when Garrison Brewing teamed up with Ontario’s Sawdust City Brewing, to brew a special collaboration beer? We didn’t either; there’s just too much going on! [Fortunately the internets never forgets – Ed.] But good news, the beer is ready and it’s being launched this week. Leroy, an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Sawdust City, was initially released last fall to celebrate Halifax being named this year’s CBA host venue. Some of that beer was saved and aged in bourbon barrels for a year, giving us Bourbon Barrel-Aged Leroy Imperial Brown. A bit of salted caramel was added to the barrels as well, with the final product coming out as a massive (11.5% ABV), deceptively-smooth Brown Ale with aromas and flavours of “bourbon, salted caramel, molasses bread, and milk chocolate.” Available now in limited quantities at Garrison, in 650 mL bottles. And tomorrow, Jalapeno Ale is returning. Remember Jalapeno Ale? It’s back. In can form! At 5% ABV, it’s brewed with a mix of spicy jalapenos, habaneros, Scotch bonnets, and Jamaican hot peppers. Hope you like spicy!

Spindrift continues to remain busy, with another boatload of new beers hitting taps this week. Their one-off Seventh Wave series gives us two entries alone, so let’s get started there. The two beers are an experiment in compare-and-contrast, with America and England going toe-to-toe: Old Salt ESB (5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs) is a light-bodied Extra Special Bitter hopped with East Kent Golding and Experimental Hop #02720, giving the beer a “smooth, malty fruitiness and a sharp hop kick”, while Shoulder Parrot APA (5.1% ABV, 35 IBUs) represents the U.S., and was hopped with Saaz and Falconer’s Flight, for a “rich, pineapple-like fruit palate”. Try both and see which country you’d prefer to emigrate to!

• Moving out of the Seventh Wave series, Spindrift has a new regular that dropped this week, their first Radler. Named Wheelhouse, it’s a beer with a blend of citrus fruit juice, including grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine. Back-sweetened with Stevia to give “a perception of sweetness, without a big, cloying body”, there’s plenty of citrus character in the aroma and flavour; and at just 4% ABV and 8 IBUs, it goes down easy, which all Radlers should! This one is going to be available in 473 mL cans in all Atlantic provinces through the summer.

• Fredericton’s Niche Brewing continues to display the depth of their recipe file with another couple of new ones out this week in addition to the Cool Kid 2 Crows collaboration on tap in Halifax. First up is a summer crusher, called Margarita Gose, a take on a traditional German Gose, but with a Nichean twist (not to be confused with a Nietzschean twist that might lead you to question the existence of beer). Starting with a base beer of wheat and Pilsner that was kettle soured and to which traditional fresh cracked coriander and sea salt were added, a light hopping with Amarillo was also applied. Post-fermentation the beer was conditioned on lime rind ribbons yielding a tart and refreshing beer with an overall lemony-citrus character, notes of lime, and some savoriness from the coriander and sea salt. At only 3.5% ABV you can get away with having a few and still keep your washer toss/cornhole game strong.

• Also available this week is Fiscally Irresponsible, another Milkshake IPA, but this one taken in a different direction than the Orange Creamsicle IPA from earlier this year. Starting with a similar grist, with wheat malt and malted oats contributing body and mouthfeel, lactose powder was added for the sweetness the style is known for, and it was hopped with lots of Galaxy, Citra, and Vic Secret at the end of the boil. Rather than fermenting with an American or English yeast strain as is de rigueur for the style, Shawn and Rob opted to go funky and use the Amalgamation blend of six Brettanomyces strains. From there, the beer was dry hopped with more of the same hop varieties used in the kettle before it was conditioned on Madagascar vanilla beans (hence the beer name; have you seen the price of vanilla right now?!) and passion fruit purée. The result is a beer with “quite a bit going on.” Dominated by passion fruit, there are notes of mango, papaya and subtle vanilla. A low-medium bitterness balances with the slight sweetness and it goes down easy despite 6.2% ABV. It’s scheduled to be tapped at Stillwell HQ this weekend, but tap accounts in New Brunswick will also see it next week. And folks in Halifax who don’t feel they see enough Niche beer should keep their eyes open, as it is known that kegs of Innerstate, Receding Darkness, Pineapple Persuasion, and You Had Me At… Ekuanot are known to be in the queue at Stillwell properties (the Pineapple Persuasion is scheduled to go on tap at the Beer Garden this weekend if the weather holds).

• As if there isn’t enough to do this weekend in Halifax, NOW you’ve got to also set aside time to drop by Stillwell Brewing to get in on their two latest bottle releases. Sorry!* To be fair, they do sound delicious, as usual. The first one is Preach (5.5% ABV), which is a blend of a Saison fermented in a wine barrel, with a foedre-fermented, sour Farmhouse Ale that was re-fermented in oak barrels with 220 g/L of fresh, Nova Scotia peaches. Both of these base beers are currently over a year old, and were already tasting well-developed before blending. Now, however, there’s “oak and wine character, fresh peach skin aromatics, minty, herbal notes, and a wonderfully quenching acidity”, thanks to the blending and additional bottle conditioning time. Sounds great to us! Some of the 716 bottles will be available to drink on-site at both Stillwell locations, and some are going to Copper & Theory in British Columbia for Farmhouse Fest. The rest will be available for purchase by anyone in Halifax tomorrow (Saturday) at the brewery, from noon-3 pm. *notsorry

• Next up from Stillwell Brewing is Disco. Originally aged in a single red wine barrel until the tartness and balance of this tart Farmhouse Ale was in Baby Bear territory (read: just right!), a “modest” amount of equal parts dark sweet cherry and raspberry purée were added into the barrel to kick off fermentation again, and age for another couple of months. The 5.7% ABV beer was then bottled and allowed to condition several more months, resulting in a “well-integrated and balanced Farmhouse fruit beer that is neither cherry nor raspberry, but something where the sum is greater than its parts”. Some bottles going to Stillwell(s) for sale on-site, and the rest for sale tomorrow from 12-3 with Preach. And hey, they’ll also be selling some more bottles of Gosh 2.0! And if you’re a fan of Stilly Pils, they’ve just released their latest batch, and they claim it’s hoppier and meringuier (more-merignuey?) than ever! Look for that one at Stillwell and the beer garden, on tap only.

Fredericton’s Bogtrotter has their first new beer out in a while, Maroon Patch. A 5% ABV American Pale Ale, it was named after the 5th Canadian Division, recognized by the maroon patch worn on the sleeve of soldiers. The beer was hopped exclusively with Denali, a fairly new American variety that is sometimes known as Nuggetzilla (!). The description for Denali mentions characteristics of “pineapple, citrus, and pine”, with spicy notes coming through as well. Look for this one on tap around Fredericton, and in bottles at select ANBL stores.

• Breweries from three different counties in NS have teamed up for a collaboration beer, as a way to indicate their appreciation for the overall open, collaborative nature of the beer community, and to “celebrate craft brewing expertise” in the area. Trider’s, Lunn’s Mill, and Saltbox have created Tridal Bay, a 6.5% ABV Belgian IPA that was heavily hopped with Columbus for bittering, and Saaz and Triskel for the flavour and aroma. With a grist containing some Wheat and Aromatic malt, Belgian Candi sugar was also added in the boil to help dry the beer out. Fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, the beer came out extremely dry in the finish, while “retaining that Belgian fruitiness and citrus, heavy hop bitterness”. All three breweries are pouring the beer at their taprooms, and a few local bars may receive some kegs as well.

Today, Upstreet is releasing the next beer in their Flipside series, California Lager. Brewed in the style of a California Common, it was hopped with Polaris and Northern Brewer to 35 IBUs. Described by the brewery as “toasty, with hints of nuttiness, caramel, and chocolate without the sweetness”, and with “earthy, herbal aromas”, this 5% ABV medium-bodied brew will be available on tap and in bottles at Upstreet today, and will follow at Craft Beer Corner and PEILCC stores sometime next week.

If you managed to get your hands on one of the Red Racer Across the Nation 2018 Collaboration Mixed Packs put out by Surrey, BC’s Central City Brewing, you might have noticed that the the PEI representation was a brew done with Upstreet called Singing Sands, a salted caramel lager. In order to make sure folks in their home province got a decent chance to try it, Mike and Matt decided to do up a small batch at home. A “light dessert beer,” it weighs in at just 5.5% ABV and a slight 15 IBU, perfect for sipping after a meal. Rich with caramel flavors accentuated by aromas of honey and vanilla, a hint of salt provides balance. Look for this one at the brewery for sure, but possibly at tap accounts as well.

Moncton’s Bore City is shipping out kegs of their latest beer, one that they’ve been carefully watching and patiently waiting for several months. Saison LBC was brewed in late 2017 and was conditioning on fresh cranberries for some time. Brettanomyces was added, along with some lemon zest, at a later date, to kick off a second fermentation. Now that it’s finally ready, the aroma has notes of “lemon and light funk”, with flavours of citrus and tarness from the cranberries, and a light mouthfeel and dry finish. Look for this 6.3% ABV, 30 IBUs beer on tap at the Laundromat and Les Brumes du Coude very soon; it’ll also be pouring at the Atlantic Beer Festival this Saturday, during the afternoon session.

And as is usually the case, Halifax’s Good Robot has a bit of news for us this week as well. The release for Beta Brewsday this week is an as-yet unnamed beer put together by Alpha Dawg Doug Kehoe during Good Robot’s Dive Bar event with Afishionado Fish Mongers. It’s a Gose with Oyster Shells added to the boil that weighs in at 5% ABV and with negligible IBUs. You’ll find it on tap this Tuesday, May 29th as per usual for the Beta releases. Meanwhile, in big batch news, DeWolfe of Wall Street, the 6.4% ABV and 29 IBU fruity and hoppy American Pale Ale is making its return to the taps this week as well.

A few final mentions before we leave you to your weekend, and let you get out for a beer:

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has brought back their Apple Blossom Ale just in time for the Annapolis Valley’s annual Apple Blossom Festival. Brewed with Pilsner malt and infused with apples, it’s an ideal beer for the season!

– Up in St. John’s YellowBelly Brewing has a new beer on tap they’re calling Maritime Bitter. Hey, you’d be bitter too if you got snow in May! This is a single malt pale ale, it’s 5% ABV and runs to about 60 IBU with an intense berry character. Look for it on tap at the brewery now, with bottles coming next week.

– And don’t forget that Stillwell (both HQ and the Beergarden) is hosting Grand National this weekend, with beers from all across the country pouring, in celebration of the CBAs. Keep an eye on their social media for the latest taplist. If you’re not sure if the Beergarden is open due to weather, check this link for the latest info.

– And drop by The Auction House after 3PM for the PEI Tap Takeover, featuring beers from all five Island breweries. If there’s enough beer, it will last through Saturday as well!