Off Track Brewing

All posts tagged Off Track Brewing

Another summer week is in the books and it appears that most of the region is staring down a lovely weekend weather-wise. And what better companion for a beautiful weekend in the shank of the summer than beer? We may be biased, but we can’t think of one. So read on for all the latest beer news in Atlantic Canada and hopefully you’ll find something to wet your whistle on Sunday afternoon.

For those of you who think that Gose is one of the finest warm weather beer styles out there (raises hand), Lunn’s Mill is probably on your side. Well, maybe we’re assuming too much here, but they DO have their own take on the style, How She Gose B’y, currently available on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills. A classic take on the style, this kettle sour was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat, along with a bit of Acid malt. Hopped very lightly with Hallertauer, they added the usual coriander and sea salt (from local Salt & Light Sea Salt Co.), resulting in a beer with “restrained tartness and mild saltiness”, along with some bright notes of lime from the coriander. Light and refreshing at 4.7% ABV, it’s a great beer to crush and sob into as you contemplate the end of yet another summer. 

Moving to one of the finest Belgian styles, where Big Spruce is pouring their latest Saison at the Sprucetique in Nyanza. L’Été Phone Home (“l’ete” is french for summer, and Saisons have traditionally been brewed for different seasons, with certain techniques and ingredients often used for varying seasons) is a 6.1% ABV Saison hopped entirely with organic Aramis (a variety from the Alsace region in France), and fermented with the Old World Saison strain from Escarpment Labs. The result is a complex beer that is lightly sweet, with stone fruit, white peppercorn, clove, and floral aromas. Golden-coloured and hazy, you’ll find some clove, coriander, sage and marjoram on the palate, according to the brewery. This one is available on tap only; apart from directly at the source, you’ll likely find some showing up – briefly! – at your favourite Big Spruce tap accounts. 

TrailWay Brewing has been extra busy lately as the summer winds down to an end, and as a result they’ve got two brand new hoppy brews out this week, as well as a returning fave. Let’s start with Ooz, their latest DIPA that they hopped with two of their favourite Australian varieties (Ella and Galaxy), no doubt in significantly high quantities. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV, you can expect “overripe tropical fruit, cantaloupe, and mango” throughout, with a very juicy and pungent character, along with an earthiness quality. On tap and in cans at the brewery, with some cans being sent to various ANBL stores across the province. Next up is Half Past, an American IPA that is freshly available as of today at 11 am. Brewed with Lotus, a very new American variety that was previously known as Experimental Hop 06297 (odd that they decided that Lotus was a catchier name, no?). Also hopped with a “supporting variety” that TW felt would complement, the final beer has “massive stone fruit, bordering on a fuzzy peach candy, with a solid amount of straight tropical fruit”. Available on tap, this 6% IPA has also been canned, but these will be available at the brewery only, for the time-being. Finally, the brewery’s New Zealand Pilsner, Emerald – hopped with Southern Cross and Wakatu, it also has an addition of key lime juice and lime zest – is back, also on tap and in cans. 

PEI Brewing Company has released the latest in their After Hours series, where they let the brewers play, experiment, and take their time with beer. Midnight Oil is a beer that certainly fits that description, as this beer began life as a Stout aged in wine barrels full of funky bacteria, before being further aged in Bourbon barrels on dark cherries and raspberries. The 6.0% ABV beer was then packaged and allowed to naturally carbonate in the bottle before release. Bottles can be bought now at the brewery taproom, and will be appearing on shelves at PEI Liquor next week.

The Newfoundland Cider Company is continuing their effort of showcasing local ingredients beyond apples in their products, and have two new expressions coming this weekend. The first is Sparkling Strawberry, a wild-fermented cider made with all local strawberries from Lester’s Farm in St. John’s. At 5.1% ABV, there is plenty of aroma and flavour from the strawberries, in addition to a lovely rose hue. The second new cider is actually a cyser, thanks to the addition of local honey. Honey Cyser weighs in at 5.3% ABV, and uses honey harvested from hives located close to the NCC apple orchards (not too far from their taproom in George’s Brook-Milton), and was also wild fermented. A touch of sweetness, but light and summery, perfect for this time of year. Pop by the taproom for a taste, and then the bottle shop in Shoal Harbour later this weekend to take some home.

Tatamagouche Brewing has another fun collaboration in their Weird Beer line of offerings, this time with Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing. Haven Blended Saison, 5.9% ABV. Primary fermentation occurred in barrels thanks to a mixed bag of yeast, and aged for over a year before a referment on NS Haskap berries and Nfld Partridge berries. Packaged still and bottle conditioned, there are tons of fruit, funk, and lovely parts to pick out of the beer. Bottles are available to take away at the brewery (as well as one keg hitting the taps at some point this weekend), and can also be ordered for delivery Canada-wide at their online bottle shop.

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Charlottetown’s Upstreet release a beer in their Million Acres series of long-term barrel-aged beers, but if you were waiting with bated breath for the next one, you can finally exhale. Mango & Pink Guava Sour was brewed in fall of 2018 when it was barreled and left to develop lots of character. Shortly before bottling it was transferred to steel where it met up and mingled with lots of fruit for 30 days. Bottled in 500 mL bottles on July 5th, and, we presume, bottle-conditioned, it’s now available for purchase at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner. Mug Club members got a preview of this one yesterday at the Upstreet Taproom, where a single keg was pouring, but the rest of us plebs can have at it now. Expect a fruit-forward beer, juicy, yet with some tannic barrel character and lots of fruity aromas. Weighing in at 7% ABV and a slight 20 IBU, it’s got some weight to it, so be careful!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a pair of new beers on tap this week, from two different ends of the spectrum. First up is Midnight Snack, a 4.2% ABV English Porter, featuring lovely chocolate and caramel notes, on top of a medium-bodied roasty snack of a beer. Also newly on tap is Charlie Work, a 6.5% ABV Belgian Saison, featuring a load of fresh lemons added to the beer, enhancing the fruity yeast esters, and making this ever-so refreshing and crushable. 

Lots of news from Good Robot in Halifax this week beginning with some packaging and availability news: GR’s Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs has been pretty popular over the last while, none moreso, we think, than the original version, Creature Feature I. In recognition of that popularity (hey, give the people what they want!), that beer has been brewed big and packaged in cans that are on their way to the NSLC. Now more folks will have more chances to try this 6.4% ABV and 68 IBU juicy and jazy IPA (and look for GR Brew Queen Kelly Costello and her dog on the can!). If you’re in the city, though, you can also head on down to the GR taproom where they’ve got a new beer on tap. Easy Bruiser is a novel style, a California Common-ish beer taken to the Nth degree. Fermented at a warm temperature with a tolerant lager yeast, it was also loaded up with Mosaic, Ekuanot and Cascade. But lest you think this is just an uncharacteristically-hopped steam beer, check the specs: 8% ABV and 73 IBU. To quote Ted (Theodore) Logan, “Woah.” Be careful with this one, folks, we’re told it’s smooth, fruity, and dangerously drinkable. 

And lastly, but definitely not leastly, GR is giving the femme brewers of the region some extra time this year to get their entries together for the 2020 edition of the Good Robot FemmeBrew Competition by announcing the competition now even though judging will not take place until March. The primary reason for the early opening is this year’s stipulation that entries contain some local or foraged ingredients and, as Kelly succinctly put it, “as it turns out nothing grows in January/February in NS.” We also think that this will give neophyte brewers an opportunity to get a few extra brews under their belts to tweak out process and recipes. Remember, just because you forage an ingredient now doesn’t mean you can’t use it a few months down the line (depending on what it is, of course). Know someone with some hops growing in their yard? That’s local. Dry ‘em, vacpac ‘em, and pop ‘em in the freezer until brewday. There are plenty of flowers, herbs, veggies and fruit about this time of year that will keep in one form or another if you treat them right. As always, the competition is open to women and woman-identifying folks throughout the region who are able to get their entries to GR or their local Noble Grape before March 3rd, 2020. First-time brewer? No problem. Seasoned (pickled?) homebrew veteran? Also no problem. Entering also gives you access to the Three Cheers for the Lady Beers party where the winning beers will be announced. For more information, go to the GR website and click “On Tap” at the top (or click this handy dandy link right here), then scroll down until you see “Femmebrew Competition 2020” where you’ll find a link to the entry form.

Congratulations are in order, as Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 218 Water Street in the Loyalist Plaza. With ten taps, there is a wide variety of Boxing Rock pouring at any one time, plus there is always room for a guest beer and cider or two, to keep everyone happy. Their retail fridge from their production brewery has also moved over, making it easy to grab bottles to go, and are set up to sell/exchange growlers (filling on demand is coming). Their friends at Finest Kind Food have also moved into the new space, and are celebrating with their first Finest Kind Friday there, with live music this afternoon 5 – 7 PM, and food specials to accompany your pints. And their barrel-aging program has made the move as well, so you can check into what’s bubbling and coming soon from Boxing Rock.

Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing is hiring someone to play double-duty in the brewery, in a full-time position working both the production side, as well as delivery on the Island. Working with their brewing team, they will be responsible for canning operation and assist in troubleshooting. And then working with delivery of those cans, plus kegs, to the different licensees and retailers in the province, to ensure the freshest and best beer possible gets in your hand. Learn more in their job posting.

A couple of beery things going on this week and next:

Fredericton’s The Joyce is continuing to promote sour beers, as their 3rd Annual sour event is happening tomorrow, August 24th. Tarte Diem III: Bigger, Sour & Untappd is an all-day event (starting at noon when the pub opens) that will feature 20+ taps of some of the finest sour beers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. As always, there’s no charge to attend, and you can buy individual beers by the pints or 12 oz pours, as well as flights. And now that their deck is open, you can finally enjoy some of these beers outside!

Tickets for August 31st’s Gros Morne Beer Festival are still available, but are definitely moving quickly. Put on by the fine folks at the Nfld Craft Beer Festival (who ran the events in April in St. John’s and Corner Brook), this will see beer from across the province, Atlantic provinces, and elsewhere in the country, pouring at the Town Hall in Norris Point. There are some pretty special extra options available to enhance your Gros Morne experience, which include taking a Zodiac, Kayak, or SUP tour of the area before the festival, with a beer and food pairing. Peep their Instagram feed for hints as to what you’ll be able to enjoy next weekend, and then grab a ticket here!

And a few last mentions before you get back to your Friday afternoon:

The boys at Off Track Brewing in Bedford found themselves in a bit of hot water this week, as their Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout caught the eye of an international peanut butter maker, and they kindly (ya right!) asked them to cease and desist use of their trademark. Rather than let that be a problem, they interrogated their automated-beer-naming-machine and it spat out another moniker fit for the brew. The new name is Illuminutty Peanut Butter Stout, and bottles will be featuring a new label next week. But if you skip to the brewery this weekend, you may be able to find some of the forbidden bottles, and grab them as a keepsake.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing a new beer today, 16 Tons. a 6.0% ABV Black IPA, it features plenty of roast malt character enhanced by piney bitterness from Cascadeand Amarillo hops. Find it on draught for pints and growlers at the brewery, and may hit the taps at local restaurants and pubs soon!

Tusket Falls Brewing is tapping their latest experimental beer this afternoon. Details are pretty light, but we wanted to let you know about the Blackberry Sour, as these small batch brews rarely last more than a few days. Keep your eyes on their social media to see when the beer is pouring!

Once again it seems that our local beer producers know when we’ve got a writer on vacation and have gone out of their way to make our lives difficult. Or maybe there’s  just a summer long weekend coming and it’s totally normal for Chris to abandon us to the wolves. Sigh. But Happy Canada Day anyway!! It seems that breweries are maybe not quite into their traditional July/August panicked production mode as there are a TON of new releases coming this weekend. And whether or not we have info below on a specific Canada Day event at your favorite local, you can likely rest assured that they’ll have something going on. But our usual warning for long weekends applies: be sure to check social media for events we missed, modified hours, or slackers (we kid!) who are taking the holiday off!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a new small Saison available this week, Danger Zone Light. At 4.3% ABV, this is definitely in the Table Saison category, but with a New World twist. Yeast-driven notes of orchard fruit and banana, and loaded with Sterling hops added after fermentation for bright and grassy notes. Step inside the Danger Zone and grab a pint today!

Plus it’s the return of their ESB, the 4.6% ABV Drunken Muppet. A malt-forward pale ale, featuring notes of toffee, caramel, toast, and biscuit, balanced with light hop bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Pop in this weekend Fri, Sat, and Mon for flights, pints, and growler fills, and keep your Canada Day party going Tuesday night with live music Youngtree & The Blooms from St John’s, taking the stage at 9 PM. 

All sorts of goodies coming out of 2 Crows Brewing this weekend, which we always like to see! Let’s start with two new beers they’ve got for us, shall we? The first release is a style that some brewers – and beer drinkers, of course! – are really digging lately, the super-low-ABV hoppy beer. Matinee was brewed with Pilsner, Golden Promise, raw wheat, and flaked oats (for those of you who don’t brew, the latter two ingredients help increase mouthfeel, a must for low-ABV beers that run the risk of coming across as watery/thin). Hopped in the hopback with a large amount of Simcoe, the wort was fermented with Foggy London (a NEIPA yeast strain) from Escarpment Labs, and then dry-hopped twice with “obscene” amounts of Galaxy, Citra, and Idaho 7. The result is “big papaya, pineapple, and tangerine notes, finishing dry with a touch of dankness and pine”, all in a supremely sessionable 3.1% ABV. What else could you ask for in a hoppy beer? More alcohol, you say? Bah, says we! This little beauty is going to be available at the brewery today, on tap and in cans (355 mL cans, at that!).

The next beer is their latest addition to their ever-growing line of barrel-aged, bottled beers (and we’re not complaining, keep them coming!). Fans of the brewery’s first bottle release, Dandy, will definitely feel their gin barrel-Spidey senses tingling with the details on Spritz, a beer brewed last November with a grist of Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt, oats, and Special Aromatic malt. Soured with two strains of Lactobacillus, it was fermented in a third-fill gin barrel with many 2C house cultures, and aged in the same for over four months. The juice and zest of three cases of grapefruit and two cases of limes were then added, before bottling the 6% ABV beer with Champagne yeast, where it was allowed to condition for another two and a half months. It’s finally available as of today, and it’s tasting “bright, citrusy, and zippy, with soft gin aromatics and a firm minerality”. Might as well stop by the brewery to grab bottles and cans of both beers, and hey, they’ll also be tapping four guest kegs from B.C.’s Dageraad Brewing tomorrow at noon if you need a re-up, so they’ve got that going for them, too.

Those Sour Lads at Sourwood Cider have a pair of new ciders out over the past couple of weeks. After opening their taproom just two weeks ago (congrats guys!), they’ve been keeping the new releases coming. Dirty Rosé is a 6.5% ABV release, starting from a blend of apples aged on Pinot Noir skins, aged in red wine barrels. Available on tap at their tasting room for a very limited time, cans very soon, and kegs are also circulating to their licensees in town. And new in bottles is Haskap, which features the locally-grown berry adding during aging also in a red wine barrel. 750 mL bottles are available for purchase at their taproom/retail spot at 5576 Cornwallis, and on tap too. And just on tap yesterday was Honey Babe, a 7.0% ABV barrel-aged sour with raw honey, with cans coming post haste. 

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing continues their campaign of shock and awe with releases we never would have seen coming from them a few short years ago. This week they’ve got two, both in rather limited releases. The first comes out of their Gottingen Small Batch Series, a big bugger they’re calling Imperial Haze Lord IPA. Plenty of dank hops bring a piney and herbal aroma with a backdrop of passionfruit and citrus, but, as is de rigueur for an Imperial IPA, there’s also plenty of expressive malt character. Very hoppy, full-bodied, and with a pillowy mouthfeel, this 7.0% ABV and 70 IBU beast will not be packaged, so grab growler fills on Windmill Rd or at the Propeller Tasting Room in Halifax for pints and fills, from 5 PM. And hot on the heels of last weeks’ release of Brett IPA comes another special big bottle just in time for Canada Day. Celebration Pils isn’t a new beer per se, it’s Propeller’s highly-regarded Pilsner. “What makes it special, then?” you might ask. Firstly, it’s the unfiltered version, which the gang at Bar Stillwell showed us is an extra delight when they specially requested that beer for their 4th birthday bash in 2017 (and a couple of times since). Next, it’s been bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for an extra effervescence and a mouthfeel you only get from tiny tiny bubbles. Only 200 of these beauties were filled and they’ll go on sale today from opening at both Prop locations, along with t-shirts with the beer’s logo. Once your Celebration is over, you can also return the bottle for a $2 refund. This one is a surefire hit for your Canada Day party if you can get to the brewery in time before they’re all gone!

Tatamagouche Brewing has brought back their Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter, a collaborative effort with neighbouring coffee roaster Meeting Waters, award-winning homebrewer Brian Harvey, and your friendly neighbourhood blogger Chris McDonald. Starting from a big Porter base featuring Munich and Horton Ridge Pale malt, with Chocolate Wheat and Chocolate Rye malts for colour and flavour, lactose was added for some residual sweetness and to cut any harsh roast character. Green coffee beans of Ethiopian origin were aged in a Bulleit Bourbon barrel, before receiving a light roast at Meeting Waters, and the subsequent cold brew was blended with the Porter to bring it to a reasonable 8.4% ABV. Available on draft only currently (we’re told bottles coming next month!), the best place to grab it is at the brewery, or at better licensees in HRM. 

Lawrencetown’s own Lunn’s Mill is releasing their latest Berliner Weisse tomorrow, Mon Cherri. With a recipe designed by Jana Dellapinna, winner of the brewery’s Summer Patio Beer Homebrew Competition, this kettle sour was lightly hopped with Bravo (to 8 IBUs) and fermented with Cali Ale from Escarpment Labs. This 4.4% ABV beer was aged on dark, sweet cherries before packaging, resulting in a brew that’s “fruity, slightly sour, with a lingering, wheaty finish”, while staying refreshing and easy-drinking. Grab it at the brewery for pints and growlers; it’ll also be pouring at tomorrow’s Curated East Coast Craft Beer Festival in Halifax (we’ll see you there, it’s going to be a blast!). 

Bedford’s Off Track Brewing has big plans for your Canada Day weekend starting tomorrow with the release of 4, count’em FOUR beers (some people clearly don’t have any use for sleep) during a special fundraising event! Up first is Good Intentions Pale Ale, a light and easy drinking brew at 4.2% ABV that’s been primarily hopped with Mandarina Bavaria for hints of tangerine and citrus. A healthy dry hop ensures that the hops are present on the aroma as well as the palate, while a paltry 14 IBUs ensure that this one remains smooth, clean, and crisp. Then we have the Pinky Swear, another summer-beckoning beer in the form of a fruited wheat beer. With Haskap and Cherry puree providing the fruit, and Mandarina Bavaria and Citra giving a balancing citrus presence, it finishes tart and light at 4.7% ABV. For those looking for something a little on the deeper and darker side, Bounty Hunter will also be on the go, it’s a Chocolate Coconut Stout weighing in at 5% ABV but with plenty of flavor thanks to cacao nibs and lightly toasted coconut. The overall impression might remind you (in a good way!) of haystack macaroons. And lastly is Boatload of Nerve, a double IPA boasting a massive 95 IBU and carrying 7.1% ABV. Using a blend of El Dorado along with Mosaic (a favorite hop of Off Track staff), there’s plenty of pear, mango, and pine punch in both the aroma and the flavor. We would say you’ve been told! Add to that the return of Loco-Coco, their toasted coconut Kölsch and a regular tap lineup (they’ll likely be pulling out jockey boxes to handle all the beers they’ll be serving), and you’ve got the makings of a beer bonanza. Lest you think, however, that this is just for Canada Day weekend, you should know that tomorrow’s event, which will also feature fare from the Jamaica Lee Style Cuisine food truck and all kinds of live music, and more, will be for the benefit of Bedford Challenger Baseball, part of the Nova Scotia Challenger Baseball initiative, which is focused on, “an adaptive program that provides an opportunity for children and youth with cognitive and/or physical disabilities to enjoy the full benefits of participating in organized baseball at a level structured to their abilities.” One dollar from every pint sold will go directly to supporting this organization. The event runs all day, from opening at 12 PM to close at 11 PM, so head down to the brewery, check it out, and support a great organization in one of the best possible ways, by having a beer! 

Upstreet is turning four this month, which means another release of their annual Anniversary Saison, De Novo, a beer whose recipe is slightly altered each year. De Novo IV was brewed with 2-row from Shoreline Malting, as well as some Red Crystal Rye and regular Rye malt, resulting in a beer that is slightly darker in colour compared to previous iterations, and exhibits more haziness and a little more spiciness in the flavour. This year’s iteration (6.5% ABV) was also dry-hopped with Belma, giving the beer some “strawberry, earthy, and lightly herbal/dank notes.” You can grab your bottles at the brewery today, and give them a crisp, happy-birthday high five while you’re at it. You might as well pick up some of their latest Neon Friday release as well, Neon Friday 2.06: IPA with Slovenian Wolf, Calypso, Idaho 7, Hallertau Blanc (good luck ordering that one in a bar!). You can probably figure out which hop varieties they used with this batch, the combination of which contribute “aromas of orange peel, spicy mango, pear and vanilla, with a balanced, soft bitterness, and a clean fruitiness”.

Stillwell Brewing… they love Saisons, and we do, too! Therefore, we love them, in part because they keep brewing Saisons. Makes sense, no? One such Saison, Campaign, is being newly released at the bar tomorrow at noon, both on tap and in bottles. Billed as Easy’s big sister (a beer we’re quite fond of), by “big” they mean higher ABV (5.8%) and more bitterness. They’ve experimented with bitterness, actually, with this beer, crossing a threshold for their house cultures. Stillwell’s house culture features a wide range of microorganisms, including strains of Brettanomyces (fruit, funk, and a little sour) and Lactobacillus (lactic acid-forming; quite sour). But Lactobacillus are quite inhibited by hops, so by increasing hop additions in the kettle (resulting in more bitterness), the Lacto portion of the culture was inhibited enough for the resulting beer (which spent three months in one of the brewery’s oak foedres) to be less acidic than many of their other releases, and therefore more likely to meet your definition of a “classic” clean Saison. If that’s a bit confusing, best to drop by Stillwell tomorrow and taste it yourself (and take home a bottle or two)! They’ll also have some Campaign T-shirts for sale, promoting the glory that is Saison, and encouraging others to ask questions, and become informed. 

Summer releases continue to abound, with Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing joining in with their latest release, Summer Slam. A light-bodied American Pale Ale brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and Honey malt, along with some malted wheat, it was hopped with El Dorado, along with a “splash” of modern German hops – Hallertau Blanc and Mandarina Bavaria – for an aroma addition. Fermented with a neutral American yeast strain, it weighs in at 5% ABV and 42 IBUs, and is exhibiting aromas of “tropical fruit, red berries, pine/resin, bread, honey, and toast”, more of the same following through on the palate, and a fairly dry finish with a lingering bitterness. It’s officially on tap and in cans at the brewery as of yesterday (with a launch party happening there today), and will be available at tap accounts (including ANBL growler stations) in the very near future. 

Good news, Saint Johners (is that a thing?)! After lots of hard work, and plenty of waiting for the proper paperwork to go through, be triple-stamped, etc., Loyalist City Brewing is finally launching their retail store at the brewery (60 Water St.) today, with a soft launch from 1 – 9 PM. Excited? You should be! For starters, you can expect to see eight taps pouring for growler fills: four Loyalist City beers, and four Hampton Brewing beers (which are still currently being contract brewed right at LC), as well as LC cans for take-away. No on-site consumption of beers yet, sorry. One of the brews you can expect is the latest version of Point Blanc IPA, which has been dry-hopped with higher-than-usual amounts of Citra, Mosaic, and Mandarina Bavaria. In the near future, they’ll be offering merch for sale, and should be carrying beers from other breweries on tap, as well as can/bottle purchases. Starting next week, their regular hours will be 12 – 9 PM, Wednesday to Friday. Congrats, Loyalist City!

If you’re moseying by the Port Rexton taproom today, you’re in for a treat, as they’ll have several barrel-aged beers pouring on tap. The first is 2019 Brett Chops; the second year this beer has been released, it’s their Horse Chops IPA that has aged in a bourbon barrel for 15 months with Brett Q yeast from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 6.3% ABV, it features oak character and vanilla notes, as well as “brilliant bourbon and Brett funk in the aroma and on the palate, with notes of cinnamon and red apple”. They’ll also have another iteration of a previous beer, 2019 Oatmeal Stout. Aged for 12 months in a red wine barrel; think a merging of dark chocolate and red wine with this 6.3% ABV, rich, full-bodied beer. Two other previously-released barrel-aged beers – Ten Eighty Series: 2019 Barrel-Aged Imperial Saison and Nor-easter – will accompany the two newbies. Enjoy!

Fredericton’s Grimross has a new beer this week, a scaled-up version of an earlier small batch that hearkens back to a simpler time of Saaz hops and Bohemian Pilsner malt standing tall on their own in the Bavarian style. Although a touch of acid malt was added to adjust the pH, this beer is a straight-up representation of a classic style. Praha Bohemian Lager is very light, only 3.8% ABV and 29 IBUs, with a classic clean malt character paired with a traditional noble hop and an overall softness thanks, in part, to the natural carbonation provided by spunding before fermentation completed – no CO2 was added to this beer, it was all provided by the yeast. More tiny tiny bubbles! It’s available from the brewery in cans, for pints, and for growler fills, you can hopefully expect to see this one at Grimross tap accounts as well.

Although they may have been slightly out-crazied by Off Track’s four beer weekend, Tusket Falls Brewing way down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore are game to prove themselves no slouches either with 3 small batch releases hitting the taps for this weekend. First is Ramped Up (*working title), a porter that will see a full 20 BBL batch released later this month. Light, as the style goes, at 5.5% ABV, it boasts plenty of roasty and dark chocolate character along with a slightly savory note in both aroma and flavor. Leveraging brown, chocolate and black specialty malts against a base grist of slightly sweet Golden Promise, hop presence is provided by Willamette. And continuing Tusket’s exploration of the NE IPA style is A Bit of Citra, another beer on the lighter end of its respective style, coming in at 5.2% ABV. Lime, lychee and grapefruit rind on the nose and palate come courtesy of Citra and Galaxy hops. Pilsner malt provides the base, with plenty of oats to give the characteristic haze and creamy mouthfeel one would expect, though the beer finishes clean and crisp with a slightly bitter aftertaste. And last, but not least, comes a summery brew, a raspberry sour they’re calling Raspberry Dreams. Smoothed out with additions of lactose and vanilla beans, but still tart and refreshing, this 4.5% ABV beer will make sure you’re tasting summer this weekend even if the weather isn’t cooperating. Look for all three of these beers on tap at the Tusket taproom this weekend.

Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing has a new and interesting beer on tap this weekend, one that reflects the history of the local area and gives you a chance to taste something that very few folks have in quite a long time. Mystery Hop Pale is aptly named, given that it uses an essentially unknown hop. Most likely a German variety planted way back in the 19th century, relatives of the farm family have said that the hops were likely added to the wort to introduce wild yeast and kick off fermentation. Family lore also suggests one member was a teetotaller and attempted to eliminate the hops, but they were rescued and replanted in the woods elsewhere on the property where they’ve been growing ever since. How’s that for terroir? The beer itself is a SMaSH featuring only the mystery hop and Maris Otter malt and comes in at 5.3% ABV. Only two kegs have been made as a test to see what the hop is like, and if you can get down that way this weekend you can be one of the first to find out! Also on release this weekend is a big batch of a lesser-known style, Kottbusser, from the city of Cottbus in the northeast part of the country. Although Tanner’s research indicates a wide range of interpretations of what a Kottbusser is, the main characteristics they’ve chosen to work with are the use of wheat in the grist (the style predates the Reinheitsgebot) and additions of molasses and honey (both locally sourced) to provide some additional fermentables and complexity. Fermented with a German ale yeast, the result is a fairly light beer at 5.6% ABV and 20 IBU. You’ll find this one at the brewery in bottles, with some kegs hopefully hitting Halifax in the next week or two.

In addition to the Canada Day goings-on noted above, you can pretty much be sure that most of the breweries in the region will be celebrating the long weekend somehow. Here’s a couple more we have details on this weekend and an exciting takeover coming next weekend: 

If you haven’t been down to The Auction House in a while you might be pleasantly surprised by their renewed dedication to local taps. They’ve also been putting on some excellent beery events, including our own ACBB Trivia Night during NS Craft Beer Week back in May. This weekend they’re continuing that trend, bringing a whole other bunch of fun by teaming up with Propeller for a Pop-up Arcade. Two pinball machines, some arcade classics, and a whole bunch of consoles will be available to play, with plenty of Propeller (and, no doubt, other local beer) on tap. This event will be going all weekend, giving you a chance to come down at your leisure and check out the games and beers on offer. Meanwhile, things will still be going strong at the Propeller Arcade HQ on Gottingen, including a rare Monday opening starting at 2 PM (normally Mondays are reserved for league play).

Quidi Vidi Brewing is among the breweries throwing a bash for Canada Day with a brand new beer on tap to help celebrate. RDL (Rain Drizzle Lager) will make its debut at this event, which starts Monday at noon. There will be live music and other entertainment all day, plenty of beers on tap, and Quidi Vidi Fish & Chips will have you covered for laying down a solid base.

Stillwell is continuing their trend of tap takeovers by out-of-province breweries with another one coming up on Saturday, July 6th. As is well known amongst those who’ve been lucky enough to get to Left Field Brewery in Toronto, or lucky enough to have friends bringing back their brews from trips to the Big Smoke, Left Field has been making some very fine beers and rocking a delightful baseball motif in the Leslieville neighborhood since 2013. Starting, as usual, at 12 PM, the tap list for the takeover looks mighty fine:

  • Glorioso – Italian-style Pilsner
  • Sun Delay – Grisette
  • Bang Bang – Sour Ale
  • Squeeze Play – Black Currant Sour Ale
  • Lo Visite – Mojito Sour Ale
  • Greenwood – New England IPA
  • Whip – Piña Colada Smoothie IPA
  • Laser Show – Double IPA
  • Eephus – Brown Ale

That’s no Mudville 9, that’s a bona fide All-Star team! And if that weren’t enough, there will also be plenty of relief coming out of the bullpen in the form of additional beers in cans. Ballcaps optional (but when in Rome…)

And the hits just keep on coming; a few final mentions to inform your beer buying and beer drinking over the next three (or maybe more!) days:

Nyanza’s Big Spruce is finally answering the prayers of many of their fans by putting their long-running Regatta Red in cans. Although we know that Irish Red Ale doesn’t exactly meet a lot of people’s definition of “exciting” (side-eye shoutout to the 902BrewCast gang, who dropped a new tasting episode this week; go listen!) it’s pretty obvious from the social media response that there are plenty of people who are excited about this one. The jaunty red can is also timely for your Canada Day celebration. Available at the Sprucetique now and out of the fridge at the Halifax Seaport Market this weekend. Also of note, if you’ve been missing the Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout at your local NSLC, you might want to have a good look around as it’s now being sold in 4-packs instead of singles.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock continue to carry the standard for brown bottles in the age-old beer industry battle between aluminum and glass. And to (gently) push that agenda a little further, they’re undertaking a bit of a repackaging and rebranding exercise, with a fond goodbye to their iconic white boxes. The first two beers to get this treatment are the hoppy Temptation Red, now in a bright red 6-pack box and matching label, and the debut of their Double IPA Vicar’s Cross,in 6-packs (for the very first time) with a very orange look. No more eying that big bomber on a weeknight and wondering if you should! We’ve also heard that there’s some bigger news in the works for the brewery in terms of physical space; we hope to have all the details for you in the coming weeks.

Garrison is continuing to put out beers in their new-this-summer Hop Trip series and though we don’t have details on all of them, we know that the Brut IPA has been seen in the wild. Extra dry and bubbly, with an ABV of 6.2% and 24 IBU, it features Mandarina Bavaria, Simcoe, Ekuanot and Mosaic hops. Available in 4-packs of 355 mL cans from the brewery and possibly other places in the city. We hope to catch up with the rest of the Hop Trip offerings, as well as a collaboration they’ve got on the way, in the next few weeks.

Good Robot isn’t bringing a new beer this weekend, but they are bringing a big batch of a previously Beta-sized brew. Brewer Gio’s ode to the national bird of his native Bahamas, Pink Flamingo, is a pale pinky-orangey radler at a light and refreshing 4.5% ABV and a barely-there 15 IBUs, featuring watermelon and kiwi. Perfect for a sunny day on the Gastroturf.

Niche Brewing in (for all intents and purposes) Fredericton, NB, has their Pineapple Persuasion back this weekend. A kettle sour with a touch of lactose and plenty of pineapple puree, it’s 4.2% ABV. Kegs of this one are going to tap accounts in NB (including the ANBL growler stations in Moncton North and Saint John Wellington) and we have it on fairly good authority that Stillwell has spoken for a few, mayhaps destined for the BG on SG.

Cape Breton’s Route 19 Brewing will be putting their new Dog Daze on tap this weekend. At 5% ABV and plenty tart, this kettle sour features passionfruit and a bit of mango, just the kind of beer your summer needs.

We’re not sure how long it was gone, but if you were already missing DOA at Unfiltered in Halifax, fear not, it’s back today at noon, with cans, fills and pints all available. And if you happen to be reading this from Europe, specifically Germany, and worrying that you’re missing out, you should hop on over to The Muted Horn in Berlin for their Canada Day bash where you’ll find Unfiltered beers (and a number of others from Canadian craft breweries, including Stillwell Brewing) pouring!

Here we are in the shank of February and I think it’s safe to say lots of us are already looking forward to Spring (*shakes fist at groundhog*). Plenty to tell you about in these parts this week, with some new openings, plenty of new beers, and even some brewery jobs opening up. Let’s get right to it!

In case you missed the big news, Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South is opening their doors tomorrow! Saturday from 2 – 10 PM, they will be pouring three of their beers for onsite consumption and to take away in growlers. Pop by to try their Porter (4.9% ABV), Pale Ale (4.7% ABV) and White IPA (5.7% ABV), which may also be complemented by some other great Newfoundland Craft Beer. They’ll be open Sunday at 2 PM as well, if you need a refill on that growler! To learn more about Ninepenny, check our yesterday’s Profile with them, and keep an eye on their social media (Fb/IG/Tw) for the latest and greatest news from CBS!

Southern New Brunswick also has a new brewery to call their own, as Hampton Brewing Company has recently launched their first two beers. While they wait for their forever home in the town of Hampton to come together, they are brewing in Saint John, thanks to their buds at Loyalist City. HBC’s first two beers to hit the taps are their take on hoppy brews, an ode to their love of the styles. Victory! is a 5.5% ABV American Pale Ale, with Citra and Vic Secret hops to the tune of 50 IBU, for a citrus, tropical, and piney aroma and flavour profile on top of a smooth base. Crush is a 4.6% ABV Session IPA, featuring loads of late addition Centennial and Mosaic hops (also about 50 IBU), for a citrus and stone fruit character with a floral touch. This smooth mouthfeel and medium-light body make this a beer one can truly enjoy for a full “session”. Find the first two Hampton Brewing beers at the Cask and Kettle and Peppers Pub in Saint John and at The Joyce in Fredericton, and other local-beer-friendly establishments in between very soon. We’ll have a full Profile with HBC early next week!

There was a new beer release from 2 Crows last week, and the jerks didn’t even remember to let us know! As a result, there’s still some left at the brewery for you to grab, so we might as well tell you all about it now. Jamboree is their latest sour beer, brewed with Pilsner, wheat malt, raw wheat, and oats. After being soured with Lactobacillus, the wort was fermented nice and warm with Ebbengarden Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, they conditioned the beer on a whack o’ fruit… specifically, 190 kg of strawberry purée and 130 kg guava purée. Woo! They also dry-hopped the beer with Huell Melon to add more fruit flavour (and to hold back that Lactobacillus, as the wort was not boiled after souring). They’re using the words “crazy tropical, lush, fuzzy, and smooth” to describe this one, and we’ll take their word for it! Available at the brewery on tap and in cans.

Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. continues to play with new beers with the release of Cherry Bomb!, a “Sour Red Ale”. This kettle sour features a portion of Rye malt in the grist to add a touch of spice in the aroma, which also has notes of dark fruit, thanks to the addition of cherries (you probably gathered that from the name, we’d guess). Pretty sessionable at 4.5% ABV, there’s “just enough sweetness to balance the tart”. Drop by the Bootleg tap room in Corner Brook for a taste/growler.

The Neon Friday series from Upstreet returns today, with the release of Neon Friday Session IPA. This actually isn’t the first Session IPA in the series, but we’re pretty sure it’s the first one with a shortish name! This one was hopped with Amarillo, Cashmere and Motueka. Bittered in the medium-low region (on paper) of 25 IBUs, this 4.5% ABV brew has “lime and melon aromas, with hints of tropical stone fruit and tangerine”, and a soft mouthfeel. They’ll be celebrating its release today at the Craft Beer Corner from 5-7 pm with a Daytime Disco, featuring DJ Bradford Rooney. As for the beer, you can find it on tap and in cans at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown, and on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, with cans following at the private stores in Halifax in the near future.

We’ve got a pair of releasesMore bottle releases at Tidehouse, with this week’s featuring the brewery’s first stab at the strong Wheatwine style. King Friday was brewed with over half of the grist made up of Wheat malt (as is common for the style), and hopped entirely with Ahtanum. It is indeed strong, at 9.5% ABV, making it similar to a Barleywine, but lighter in colour. TH is describing the beer as sweet and malty, definitely meant for sipping (as we hope any beer with this ABV would be!). Bottles of this one (in both 341 mL and the “one-person-all-night-party” 750 mL) will be available at the brewery today at 2 pm. Also available today is a new beer from frequent guest brewer Ian Wheatly, with his Lil’ Witty. Wheatly’s take on a Belgian Witbier is true to style with lots of wheat in the grist, and coriander and orange peel to enhance the citrus and spice from the yeast. Lightly bittered with Magnum to balance, this 5.1% ABV beer is available on tap for samples and pints, and to go in growler fills.

St. John’s brewery and brewpub YellowBelly continue their series of winter ciders this week with another apple and fruit blend. Strawberry Passion Fruit Apple Cider is a 6.5% ABV cider, featuring, you guessed it, Passion Fruit and Strawberry. Tropical notes of citrus, mango, pineapple, capped by strawberry bring memories of summers past, and a hope for the months to come. It is available now on tap at the brewpub, their airport location, and the YellowBelly Takeaway, where it can also be grabbed in growler format.

In the Annapolis Valley area and itching for something smokey? Annapolis Brewing has you covered with their 1921 Smoked Lager. Released earlier this week at their taproom, the beer had beechwood smoked malt in the grist to provide plenty of smokiness in the flavour. Hopped with Hallertau, it was fermented with a German Lager yeast strain, and then lagered (natch) to bring the flavours together even more. The brewery’s first Lager comes in at 5.3% ABV and 24 IBUs, and you can drop by right now (do it!) to give it a try.

Continuing with Annapolis Valley news, by popular demand, Annapolis Cider is re-releasing a favorite from their Something Different series, Hopped Pear. A sparkling perry and apple blend coming in at 6.3% ABV, the perry was created with two separate fermentations, one of Flemish Beauty pears fermented dry and then dry-hopped, and one of Bosc pears, also fermented dry before being finished with a touch of fresh-pressed apple juice. Put together, the two create a crisp and refreshing perry with a distinct hop character that is balanced by more mellow notes of ripe pear and fresh apple. A slight bitterness completes the picture and highlights the dryness of the overall product. As always, this one is available at the cidery on Main Street in Wolfville with $0.50 from each refill being donated to Refresh Annapolis Valley.

The mad scientists at Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, have yet another new beer for you this week, one they’re calling Vibrant. A mixed-fermentation saison with raspberry and hibiscus, it weighs in at 5.9% ABV. Based on a grist of mostly Pilsner malt with a healthy portion of wheat added, it was fermented with Niche’s house culture. Raspberry puree was added to the mix after fermentation had slowed down and the hibiscus was introduced during conditioning. Slightly floral and herbal, with a slight tannic quality and a light funkiness, the raspberry is predominant, but the hibiscus certainly makes itself known. This deep red brew will be released to tap accounts in New Brunswick next week, but the first two kegs are actually going to Nova Scotia, where Stillwell has spoken for two kegs (along with one each of Single Origin, Niche’s coffee sweet stout, and Counting Stars, their latest NEIPA).

O’Creek Brewing, a nanobrewery in Dieppe, has debuted a brand new beer this week. Coffee Island is an 8.8% ABV Imperial Stout, which features the addition of cold brewed coffee during conditioning. The grist consists of Chocolate, Roast, Coffee and Carapils malts (on top of the 2-Row base). Chocolate malt notes blend with the intense coffee, all on a lovely balanced beer. Grab a pint of it on the guest taps at CAVOK Brewing or Marky’s Laundromat, and at this weekend’s beerfest at Dolma Food (more details below).

As the region gets ready for the premier bash of the year in a couple of weeks’ time, the folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have teamed up with Flying Boats Brewing to create a special beer just for the fest. Flying Sasquatch Pale Ale is described as a “medium-bodied East Coast Pale Ale” and it features Canada’s first patented and trademarked hop, Sasquatch™ from Hops Connect (who generously provided the hops for this brew). Most of the hops were added towards the end of the boil, imparting a balanced herbal and grassy character with a gentle orange and tangerine citrus flavor and aroma. Coming in at 5.6% ABV and 42 IBU, you’ll find it in select ANBL stores as of this weekend in 473 mL cans, at ANBL growler stations starting February 28th, and on tap for pints and fills (and in cans as well) at Flying Boats’ taproom at 700 Malenfant Boulevard in Dieppe!

Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is getting ready to launch one of their biggest beers yet, a Russian Imperial Stout named Star Anise Destroyer. With a big grist that includes a pretty hefty portion of Dextrin malt (to help give that full body that you may expect from the style), this 9.7% ABV brew was dry-hopped with a pound of hand-crushed star anise pods (is dry-star-anised a word? It should be!). Brewer Les Barr was looking to bring some black licorice character to this beer, similar to a Jager liqueur, and it sounds like he may have succeeded! Hopped to a high-IBU level to help balance all that roast and sweetness from the grain bill, it’s “surprisingly smooth and refreshing for such a big beer”, according to Barr. Look for bottles to be officially released on March 1st; it’ll also show up on tap at the Roof Hound tap takeover at Battery Park on March 7th… don’t worry, we’ll have more details on that event, soon!

Attention, Mount Pearl, Newfoundland hop lovers! Your local brewery, Landwash, has just released their first DIPA, Dream Island #1, and it’s sounding delicious! With a grist that includes flaked oats and malted oats to boost the beer’s mouthfeel and haziness, it was hopped heavily with Simcoe and Mosaic, giving the final product notes of “orange zest, tangerine juice, and mango flavours”. Who are you to say no to Simcoe and Mosaic? This one comes in at a hefty 8% ABV – it IS a DIPA, after all – so don’t be too eager to chug that hop goodness down. As you may have expected from the name of the beer, this is the first in an intended series of DIPAs, so look for more entries, soon. It’s currently available on tap at the brewery (along with six other brews; cans may appear in the future.

For you Good Robot regulars out there, we’re pleased to report that their weekly Beta release returns next Tuesday, after a brief hiatus this week. They’ve teamed up with Colin Smith to brew Barrel, Ontario, an attempt at brewing a beer similar to a certain flagship from a certain Toronto brewery that is owned by a certain company that maybe we’re not going to mention here… oh, the hell with it, it’s a beer similar to Tankhouse Ale. Basically expect a Red Ale hopped with a “solid” amount of Cascade (to 36 IBUs), and weighing in at 5.1% ABV. As for Alpha beers, it’s all cans next week… Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie and Espinazo del Diablo. Finally, in other Good Robot news, they’re looking to hire a part-time salesperson; if you’re interested, check out the application here.

In other hiring news, Sober Island Brewing Company in Sheet Harbour is looking to high a full-time Head Brewer. This person will be responsible for their 850 litre (7 BBL) brewhouse, supplying the Henley House, packaged product to the NSLC and private stores, and licensees across the province. As this is a head brewer position, previous experience and education are big pluses! Check out the full job posting here, and start/continue your path in a growing craft brewery!

And if brewing isn’t in the cards for you (not right now, at least), maybe you can try your hand as a Sales person, or working on a packaging line? Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is looking to hire people in both of those positions, as they continue to expand their offerings far and wide. The Sales Person will be responsible for HRM accounts (existing and new), and is a full-time position. The Packaging position is part-time (for now), and will be working on the bottling and canning lines, as well as other maintenance and tasks in the brewery. Pop them an email to apply or learn more about either position!

For those of us keeping track of the goings-on in Charlottetown, it has been announced that a purchase agreement in the sale of DME Brewing’s Charlottetown facilities has been agreed upon. CIMC Enric is a Dutch company, and manufacturer of equipment used in brewing, distilling, and other related industries. They intend to keep the interim staff who have been working for the past couple of months, and possibly hire back some of those who lost their jobs. The purchase gives them access to all records, inventory, customer base information, and everything else to continue operating. We’re keeping our ears to the ground on this front, hope to share more good news soon.

The events slate is a little light this week, but we expect we’ll see that change in the next couple of weeks!

Just one new event to tell you about this week, and it should be a fun one! Put on your favourite retro snowsuit or outfit for an outdoor rooftop beefest in Moncton. Dolma Food is hosting Winter Beerfest On The Rooftop, tomorrow from 4 – 10 PM. Acadie-Broue, CAVOK Brewing, Holy Whale Brewing, O’Creek Brewing, and Tatamagouche Brewing will all be sharing their finest beers for you, plus VALK Fermentation will be a special guest and will be collaborating with Acadie-Broue for an exclusive kombucha beer. Dolma’s BBQ will be fired up and roasting a pig, and there will be much more to enhance the afternoon and evening. Tickets are available two way: purchase a pre-sale ticket for $15 which includes entry, 2 drink tickets and your glass for the evening  and to take home (available online or in store), or pay at the door for $25. Additional beer, or pulled pork sandwich or churros, are $5. Check out the links above for more details!

Before you go, just a couple more things!

Boxing Rock recently released this year’s version of La Rive du Sud (7.5% ABV), their Bière de Garde that they’ve been brewing annually since 2014. Various malts in the grist lend the beer biscuit, caramel and toffee notes, with a “noteworthy complexity”. And keep your eyes open for 14 Carrot Gold, a collaboration beer featuring the juice from 1100 lbs of carrots. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Stay tuned for more info!

Off Track Brewing has debuted another in their line of experimental and limited releases, with Sankara Amber Ale. This 5.3% ABV beer is malt-forward, with notes of toast, caramel, and is lightly sweet, but well-balanced, with Northern Brewer hops bringing its typical woody profile to the mix. Grab one (or all 5, so the legend goes) on tap at the brewery this weekend. And keep an eye out for the return of their Let’s Dance, a 6.8% ABV Double IPA, also on tap at the brewery now.

Propeller wants you to know that their popular XPA, their 5% ABV “Extra Pale Ale”, is back again for a limited time, available at their stores only. If you’re in any NSLC stores, however, Dark Berry Sour should be popping up there next week. Finally, tonight’s cask beer is an Oatmeal Stout that is essentially a preview of a beer that should be released, outside of a cask, in the near future.