Port Rexton Brewing Co.

All posts tagged Port Rexton Brewing Co.

We received a wide variety of weather across the region this week, with unseasonal highs, lots of wind and rain, and maybe even a dusting of snow in some places. Welcome to fall in Atlantic Canada! If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes…. and it will probably get worse. Worry not, beer fans, as we have plenty of new beers to keep you going no matter what Mother Nature throws at us. Plus a new brewery in Newfoundland is opening their doors, which is a great reason to take a #Baycation. A reminder that the provincial liquor stores will be closed Sunday for Remembrance Day, and some breweries and bars will be showing their respects by closing or adjusting hours, so be sure to check before you make the trip.

We’ve got great news for beer lovers on/near The Bay, as Baccalieu Trail Brewing in Bay Roberts, NL, is opening their doors this weekend! Open 12 – 11 PM Saturday, drop by their location at 1 CBS Highway (just before the causeway to Spaniard’s Bay) to grab samples, pints, and growlers of four of their beers. Look for their Blonde, ESB, Porter, and New England IPA to be pouring, plus lots of merch to show off your Bay Brewery pride! We hope to have a full Profile on Baccalieu Trail in the very near future, but until then, we’ll have to live vicariously through your pictures, so be sure to tag them and us (@ACBeerBlog) so we can follow along! Congratulations to the entire Baccalieu Trail family!

Out in Harvey, New Brunswick, Think Brewing has a new beer for you to sample, their first in several months. Forest Reflections (named, perhaps, to encourage some contemplative time when outside of the city… or maybe just because it sounds cool!) is an American IPA brewed with 2-row, Flaked Wheat, Oats, and a bit of Munich malt. This beer is all about the late-addition and dry hops, including Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and a small amount of Galaxy. As you would likely expect when you see those names, this beer has a good amount of juicy, tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour, with a moderate bitterness in the finish. It weighs in at 6.8% ABV, and can be currently found on tap at The Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton, Cask and Kettle in Saint John, and the Tide & Boar in Moncton. And who knows, maybe if the beer goes over well (and it should!), maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see it join the other members of the Think bottle line-up!

There’s been lots of activity at a couple of the Gahan House locations in the Maritimes; let’s start off with Gahan Port City, in Saint John. They’ve got two new beers hitting taps at this location, both of which are named pretty straightforward, so you know what you’re getting! Rye IPA is a copper-coloured, dry, Rye IPA that was hopped with Azacca and Mosaic, giving some tropical fruit flavours to complement the touch of spice character from the Rye malt. The bitterness is firm at 52 IBUs, and it clocks in at 5.9% ABV. Next up is Brett Table Beer, an easy-drinking (4.1% ABV, 18 IBUs) brew fermented with “a blend of Brettanomyces strains” from Escarpment Labs. Hopped solely with Mosaic to give “tropical fruit notes of pineapple, guava, and lime”, the beer was modelled after one of the brewer’s favourite beers (we’re going to guess Allagash Little Brett, another low-ABV, Brett beer hopped entirely with Mosaic). Look for both beers to be currently pouring at Port City.

Moving over to PEI, Gahan Charlottetown has not one, not two, but THREE new beers now on tap! The first beer, Maritime Homegrown Lager, was brewed to celebrate the Maritime brewing community. Brewed with Vienna malt from Horton Ridge (NS), Santiam hops from Darlings Island Farm (NB), and water from PEI, the simple recipe yielded a “crisp, drinkable” 4.5% ABV, 23 IBUs Vienna Lager. Second-up is XXL Saison, a collaboration with Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing. As the name suggest, this is a strong Saison – at 8.3% ABV – which was brewed with 2-row and Wheat malt, with additions of Ultra hops from NB (Darlings Island, again), and honey from PEI. The beer, fermented with a dry Saison strain (BE-134, specifically), has “aromas of fruit and spice, with a mild honey aroma, and a snappy and refreshing dryness”. It finishes moderately bitter to help offset the larger grain bill. While pouring at Gahan Ch’town, it’s also available on tap at Foghorn, and on tap at a few locations in Fredericton, including Gahan Riverside and The Joyce. And last but not least is a New England IPA brewed in honour of longtime Gahan brewer Trent Hayes, who has been with Gahan Charlottetown for 20 years. Trent Hayes’y IPA (get it?) was hopped with Citra and Columbus in the kettle, and dry-hopped heavily with more Citra, and Huell Melon. Wheat and Oats were used in the grist to give a smooth mouthfeel (and up the haziness), going great with with the beer’s “notes of overripe strawberry, honey dew, and navel oranges”. It’s pretty low-ABV (5.1% ABV) for an IPA, with 44 IBUs to provide a bit of bitterness. There’ll also be a limited can run of this one; look for that in the next few weeks.

From one Island to another, let us tell you about the newest release from Sydney’s Breton Brewing. They have just released a winter seasonal beer, the Gingerbread Holiday Ale. Starting with a base of a London ESB, at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU, with notes of ginger and cinnamon to evoke feelings of winter. The beer is available at the NSLC and brewery as a holiday gift pack, with two beautifully-designed cans and a Breton glass, perfect for gifting or enjoying now with a friend. There are a select few kegs to be distributed in the wild, as well.

With their recent purchase of the Bowl-a-Drome, a long-standing (>50 years) bowling institution in Fredericton, TrailWay has created a new beer intended to be the house brew for their latest acquisition… and prepare yourselves, for it’s not a hoppy style! Candlepin Kolsch is, of course, a Kolsch, a clean, crisp, easy-drinking German style that has been brewed and enjoyed for centuries. TrailWay’s take on the style involves all-German ingredients: German Pilsner malt, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops, and a German Ale yeast strain. Since this style of beer is traditionally crystal clear, TrailWay made use of fining agents for the first time, and the result is decidedly-different from what we’re used to seeing from the haze-enamored brewery. Expect “a fantastic sweetness that is balanced by an attenuated fermentation, and a low-but-present hop character”, according to the brewery. It’s an easily-drinkable-in-quantity 4.5% ABV; while it will be available on tap at TW starting today, along with a small amount in cans, this beer will regularly be exclusive to the Drome.

More bottle goodness coming your way today from Tidehouse Brewing in the form of two different barrel-aged-coffee beers, both of which were brewed in collaboration with the fine folks at Low Point Coffee. The base beer is about the same for both brews (think: Brown Ale with Oats, Flaked Barley, Pale Chocolate, Crystal 30 L and Midnight Wheat in the grist, and a bit of lactose in the boil), but the coffee beans have a different origin. Invicta! (6.7% ABV) features Colombia Tolima coffee beans that were aged in Tawny port barrels, giving the beer “tart cherry on the nose, with dark chocolate, subtle peach, and light oak, backed up by dark fruit, tangerine and cranberry, with a hazelnut finish”. Meanwhile, Quetzalcoatl! (7.1% ABV) has Mexico Tapachula Chiapas beans, aged in tequila barrels; expect “black currant and red licorice” in the aroma, “with notes of vanilla, spice, and red apple” on the palate, all with a light-bodied, silky mouthfeel package. Both beers are available by the bottle only (limit of 6/person), starting today at 2 pm. Drink ‘em fresh, to fully experience the coffee!

After a brief hiatus, Good Robot’s Beta Brews are back, with their next entry, Tainted Love, hitting their taproom next Tuesday. Brewed with Carly B, this one is a Black Lager hopped lightly with Hersbrucker (to just 9 IBUs), and fermented with an American Lager yeast strain. In true Beta Brew fashion, the experimentation continued, this time in the form of additions of vanilla and ginger. Just 4.5% ABV, as always you’ll have to swing by the GR taproom to give it a taste. And a couple of days later, kegs of El Espinazo del Diablo will officially be out and about, at GR and local tap accounts.

Boxing Rock in Shelburne is releasing a special Double Bill gift pack this year, the continuation of their Fisticuffs Series. The first in the series was a barrel-aged Barleywine, released back in March 2018. This time around, they have two big beers that will be available at the brewery, their Local Source Market retail location, as well as select NSLC stores around the province. The first is Chardonnay Barrel Aged Barley Wine, weighing in at 11.0% ABV, which began life as an English Barleywine, before spending several months in an oak Chardonnay wine barrel, enhancing the malt character with notes of dark fruits like plum, prune, and fig, with hints of vanilla. Post-barrel-aging hopping increases the light fruit notes, which finishes with a soft carbonation. The second is Barrel Aged Tripel, also tipping the scales at 11.0% ABV. A classic Tripel (think light-coloured malt with Noble hops and a fairly clean Belgian yeast), then spent 8 months in oak, bringing out bread and biscuit flavours to play off of the lightly bitter and spicy base beer, as well as more dried stone fruit. The dual gift pack will be available very soon at the brewery, and the individual beers *may* be available as well, but we suggest buying both for a great night in by the fire.

And while we have you, be sure to drop by Dartmouth’s Battery Park next Thursday, November 15th, as Boxing Rock is taking over the taps with 12+ taps of core beers, brand new releases, special cellared kegs, and much more! The event kicks off at 11:30 AM, and the Boxing Rock crew will be on hand to chat beer, and will have merch to share.

Coming soon to Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, is Landwash, a brewery with a strong pedigree. Co-owners Chris Conway and Christina Coady were the founding brewers at Folly Brewing in Toronto. The third piece of the ownership and development puzzle is Jennifer Defreyne, a engineer with 20 years of project management experience. They’re building a 15 bbl system with PEI’s DME Brewing Solutions that is expected to produce 1,000 hL per year. While they’ve got the brewing side of the operation sorted, at least for now, they’re looking for some folks to fill taproom and retail positions. Beer knowledge and a love for beer are key, as is previous experience in serving and hospitality. As they’re hopefully opening by early December, you’ll want to get your boogie on the application process if you’re interested. Resumes should be emailed to info@landwashbrewery.com. And if you’re not looking for work but are interested in learning more about Landwash, we’re working to have a profile of the brewery in the coming weeks.

As is so often the case in our region and many others, the changing of the seasons tends to bring a change in seasonal offerings from breweries. And although the old saying that “people like dark/heavy/higher alcohol beers more in the winter than the summer” is fading in its influence – Barleywine is for life, not just for Christmas – some seasonal habits are hard to break and, frankly, if your drinking public is used to a beer coming out at a particular time of year, why not play into that expectation sometimes? So it is with Propeller’s Coffee Porter. Using specialty malts for a deep color and Java Blend Fog Burner coffee for an extra kick of flavor, it also features hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt along with a smooth finish. Look for it both in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and NSLC and for pints and growler fills in the Tasting Room on Gottingen Street in Halifax. And if you didn’t get enough of their Pumpkin this year before it disappeared from store shelves, fear not, you’ve got one more chance. A single keg was kept on reserve at the brewery and will go on tap this afternoon for pints and flights only (no growler fills). They’re saying for the weekend, but if you’re into it we wouldn’t wait until Sunday.

Bridgewater’s FirkinStein has a couple of new beers to wet your whistle, both of them variations on a the cream ale style. The first is Door Hinge Cream Ale a 6.8% ABV beer with lactose for some sweetness and (maybe) some orange flavor (say the name quickly). The other, tipping the scales at 7.6% ABV they’re calling Firk-a-Peel Lemon Lime Cream Ale and it features, of course, notes of lemon and lime. These are brewery-only specialties, but it’s an awfully pretty time of year to drive in our region, so now you’ve got two reasons to take a drive to the South Shore.

Local homebrew supplier BrewHQ has decided to make a foray into the ultra-lucrative beer podcast game with their Pitch & Prime Podcast. Don’t worry, though, they’re not competing with your 902BrewCast boyz (and really, who could compete with those be[e/a]rdos?); this one is a podcast targeted at homebrewers or folks who think they might like to become homebrewers. Their first episode, in which they talked to some local pros about their beginnings brewing at home, was released this week and timed to coincide with Learn to Homebrew Day. And speaking of 902BrewCast, you can also check out their latest episode with Grand Monk Artisan Ales (formerly known as Bore City Brewing), the first of their 5-brewery New Brunswick Road Trip of DEWM.

Here’s some beery events you might want to think about taking part in over the next couple of weeks:

We’ve already told you what to drink at Gahan Charlottetown above, but if you need another excuse to get out and try the new beers flowing, consider attending the award ceremony for the Maritime Home Brew Challenge Saturday. Brewers from across the Maritimes submitted their best beers to try and take home the title of Best Beer around, with their beer being packaged for retail distribution, and their piece of the cash and brewing prizes. Starting at 2:30 PM, the awards will be handed out at the Gahan Pub, so all homebrewers who entered, plus fans of good beer (so let’s call it an open invitation!) are welcome to celebrate the homebrewing community, as it is success there that drives many folks to turn pro. And for those homebrewers who want to start the celebration earlier, PEI Brewing is hosting a Beer & Munchies With The Brewers event tonight at 96 Kensington Road: from 6 – 8 PM, grab a beer and some snacks, tour the brewing facilities, and chat with the PEIBC Brew Crew to learn all of their secrets.

Kentville’s Maritime Express Cider is celebrating their Grand Opening next weekend, Saturday November 17th. From 8 PM, they will be celebrating with live music, small bites and appetizers, and of course cider (plus some guest beer taps). In fact, the entire Railway Hotel complex is celebrating an Open House, so you can also throw some axes next door at HaliMac and check out the Phantom Effects workshop. You don’t need to wait that long to enjoy Maritime Express’ newest release, however, as their Roundhouse Rhubarb is flowing now. Using a blend of Annapolis Valley apples, and fresh-pressed Organic rhubarb, this 4.5% ABV cider is clean and tart, with light fruit aroma and flavour. Pop in for a sample, glass, or take home a bottle today!

November 17th is an important day on PEI as well, as it marks the One Year of Beer at Copper Bottom Brewing. Head out to Montague for a full-day party, complete with live music, a food truck, tarot card reading, and of course, beer! They will be launching two brand new ones that day, which we hope to tell you about next week. Check out the link above for more details.

Back in July, The Carleton on Argyle Street in Halifax hosted their first Craft Draught Showdown featuring beers from Garrison and Upstreet paired by the brewers with special dishes out of the kitchen. That one sold out and went so well that they’ve decided to do it again! Coming on November 21st is the second of these events, this time pitting Dartmouth’s Nine Locks against the returning Upstreet. Once again Chef Michael Dolente is bringing some exclusive edibles and once again the brewmasters, Jake Saunders and Michael Hogan, have been tasked with pairing their wares. Five courses, two 4 oz pours each is $60 per person (tip included), with both the brewers and the chef on hand to provide information about the food, the beer, and the pairings. Space is limited, so check out the event page on Facebook for information on how to get a seat.

A few last quick mentions before we return you to your regularly scheduled Friday afternoon:

Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has a new beer for all the visitors who have been asking for an IPA to quench their thirst. From the brewery, “A light, malty base, lots of hop character from the Citra, Simcoe, Centennial & Nelson Sauvin used at various stages”. Drop by the brewery this weekend to grab a taste and a growler!

Port Rexton has brought back a crowd favorite this week; their Blue Steel, a Lactobacillus-soured kettle sour with orange peel will be available at the brewery and the retail shop in St. John’s this weekend. At 4.7% ABV it’s well-balanced and fairly sessionable (and ridiculously good looking), with a light lemonade tartness and a zesty orange character.

Unfiltered Brewing in Halifax has two favorites returning to the taps this weekend, both pouring today from noon. Riddle of Steel IPA (7% ABV) has a NASH-ian tonne of dank Simcoe and Mosaic hops to make your lupulin-loving tastebuds happy. And their Flat Black Jesus American Stout (7% ABV) has risen once again as well. You know what, you know where, you know how.

Well, the Atlantic Canada Beer Awards have finally been wrapped up, and now that it’s been almost a week, we’re going to assume that most of you who were in attendance have fully recovered (although, it’s kinda likely that maybe one or two of you have NOT). If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our list of all of the winners, announced at last Sunday’s gala. Now that everything is relatively back to normal, let’s start off this rainy Friday by getting caught up with everything that’s new in the wonderful world of beer in our region! So grab whatever Halloween candy you have left (might we recommend little bags of Doritos, and miniature Kit Kat bars, if they’re available?), and a big old Stout (hey, it WAS International Stout Day recently… or something), and read away!

Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new beer pouring on Bridge Ave. Little Sister is a West Coast IPA packed with plenty of hop character from large additions of Simcoe and Mosaic and featuring the bracing bitterness typical of the style at 75 IBU, while still managing to be soft and smooth. Tipping the scales at 5.9% ABV, right in the IPA sweet spot, expect dank and tropical notes from the hops with a solid malt backbone to balance. Maybe it won’t keep vampires away, but they’ll surely appreciate your taste in beer as they draw you into their world. Look for it on tap at the brewery’s taproom and at tap accounts in the big city in the days to come (and if you don’t see it, be sure to ask for it!). Also, if you’re a fan of Backstage’s all-Citra IPA, Headliner, look for it to be back on tap as well.

In Dartmouth, Spindrift has announced a brand new series of beers which they’ll be calling Out of the Hold. All beers released under this brand will be bottle-conditioned, with many being fermented and/or aged in barrels, in a variety of bottles sizes; some will be one-offs, some will be in regular rotation. While all of the beers will be available to purchase at the brewery, naturally, one can expect many of them to also pop up at the private stores in the HRM. The first two beers in this series – Cherry Brett Beer and Golden Brett Beer – hit shelves yesterday. Both were brewed with Pilsner as the base malt, and both were aged “extensively” in French red wine barrels and highly carbonated during packaging. The Cherry Brett, at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis, and conditioned for months on dark, sweet cherry puree. Conversely, the Golden Brett, also at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis Vrai. Look for more Spindrift bottles to follow in the near future, with two releases planned for two weeks from now, and another two in mid-December.

Boxing Rock’s venture into Halifax has yielded another small-batch beer from the Test Kitchen, this one brewed by Emily Tipton with Good Robot’s Queen of the Beta Batch, Kelly Costello. Zombie Mule takes cues from the time of year and also the Moscow Mule cocktail, as it features additions of lime and ginger. Exclusive to the Local Source bottle shop where you can pick up growler fills, and Lion & Bright, where you can grab a pint, like all Test Kitchen batches this 5% ABV beer is in limited supply, with only 4 kegs produced. So whether you’re a beer fan who enjoys an occasional cocktail or a cocktail fan who appreciates an occasional beer, or hey, just someone who’s looking for something new to try, you’d best act fast as this one’s not likely to be around long!

We mentioned the launch of 9zero2 Brewing last week, the foray into beer for the Steinhart Distillery in Arisaig. They’ve released another new beer this week, the amber JJs Ale. Named after Joey and Jackie Smith, who were former owners of the land upon which Steinhart and 9zero2 rest, and had a love of farming, gardening, and of course, enjoying a well-made dram or pint. Their eponymous beer is an easy drinking 5.2% ABV and 17 IBUs, with notes of tangerine, and a very smooth finish. The best place to grab a taste of this new release, as well as their other beers, is at the taproom in Arisaig, or hit them up on FB as they are offering a delivery service for those in the region.

Port Rexton Brewing has a new release this week at both the brewery taproom and their St. John’s Retail Shop. The One with Citra is a 4.9% ABV American Pale Ale, dry-hopped with a small fortune of Citra hops, punching well above its weight/ABV in terms of tropical and citrus aroma and flavour, which featuring a medium body and dry finish. Grab a growler fill at both locations, plus here’s what else to expect at 286 Torbay Road: Firehouse Amber, T-Rex Porter, Baycation Blonde are all in growlers, with limited numbers of cans of Baycation and T-Rex, as well as a trio of IPAs Chasing Sun NEIPA, Blazing Sun NEDIPA, and Horse Chops IPA available.

We know that the gang at Niche loves to name their beers with musical references, so we can only assume that this week’s new offering is a tribute to pop icon Madonna’s first US top ten hit. Borderline is Niche’s first black IPA and though colorwise it may be on the lighter side for the style, it still packs plenty of roast and chocolate notes along with a solid hop presence. Featuring dank and citrusy hops, namely Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Citra, it’s also got plenty of bitterness to complement the darker malt flavors at 45 IBU. Although the 5.8% ABV won’t make you feel like you’re going to lose your mind (unless you have too many of them), it’ll have your tastebuds dancing to it’s irresistible beat. Look for it at The Joyce, King Street Ale House, 540 Kitchen & Bar and the Tide & Boar Gastropub. And if you find yourself at one of those locations or any of Niche’s other usual tap accounts, look for the return of Ethos, their house strain-fermented Brett Saison, sometime next week.

Sticking in the Fredericton area, TrailWay has just released Bliss, the little brother to their Fuzzy Bubbles IPL. Yes, they’re billing Bliss as a “Session India Pale Lager”, as it comes in at just 4% ABV. Hopped with a “unique blend of American hops”, and fermented with a Czech Pilsner yeast strain, the beer was then lagered at 0º Celsius for 8 weeks before packaging. TW is describing the beer as “extremely clean, hugely juicy, fruity, soft and smooth, yet crisp and effervescent”. You can grab cans at the brewery right now, where it’s also available on tap for pints and growler fills.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is still putting the final touches on their big brewery on Main Street, but in the meantime, they are still busy releasing beers from their pilot system at 19 Kirk Street (open Thursday and Friday evenings for growler fills and flights). The latest is their Hopfenweizen, released in celebration of Oktoberfest. This hybrid of styles has at its base a traditional German Hefeweizen, with a wheat-and-pilsner malt base, and fermented with a yeast strain to highlight the iconic banana and clove characters iconic for the style. However, they used plenty of hops late in the boil to bring a new layer of complexity, to impart some fruit and citrus in the flavour and aroma, complementing the underlying beer. Grab a growler this evening, and/or a pint at their 250 Main Street location. While the brewery may not be quite operational (therefore no growlers just yet), their taproom currently has seven of their own beers on tap, plus another 9 guests. Be sure to catch their Wet Hop Pale Ale before it is done for the year: using local hops, there was only enough to brew one batch!
And big congratulations to the Heritage Brewing family on winning the Rising Star of the Year award from the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce! And congratulations to Dawn and Josh of WIne and Beer Tours of Nova Scotia on their recognition in the Tourism Business of the Year category.

Quidi Vidi Brewery has brought back their Open Saison series with Open Saison on Crabapple. This 6.5% ABV beer was first brewed on their pilot system last year, but this batch was brewed on their larger system, and is seeing distribution to several NLC locations. Crab apples from across the province were gathered and used to enhance the base tart saison. Look for it on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and in 6-packs in retail locations all over. Don’t wait to grab yours, however, as this release is the last of it for 2018!

The Church Brewing Company will be opening their doors within the next couple of months, so they are looking to bring on a few good folks to help keep their taproom running smoothly. They are looking for managers, bartenders, servers, bussers, prep cooks, and loads more. Fire them an email at info@churchbrewing.ca for more details!

The crazy kids of Tidehouse have brought back one of the scariest beers in the region this week just in time for Hallowe’en. Pepperoni Ghost starts with a light smoked porter base that sees the famous pepperoni from Brothers Meats (defatted and dehydrated) added to the cauldron in the last five minutes of the boil. For an extra kick, super duper spicy ghost peppers are also added towards the end of fermentation. This was a limited batch available by the bottle at the brewery since Wednesday, and there’s already not much left. Further, they’ve promised that this is the Last Batch Ever™ (although we suspect that’ll have all the finality of killing Jason or Freddie Krueger) so if meat and heat are your jam when it comes to beer, get yourself down to Salter Street in Halifax with haste! But if you have to make a stop on the way, make it a stop at Canadian Blood Services. CBS needs your blood and Tidehouse wants to encourage you to give it. While you’re donating a pint or two of your finest, grab a selfie to show at the bar and upon presentation you will be rewarded with a gift card that you can immediately exchange for either a 1 L growler fill to go or a 16 oz glass at the bar (metric vs imperial: FIGHT). Step 1: Bleed. Step 2: Get beer. It’s not rocket surgery.

This week’s winner in the, “Really, you emailed us at 11 AM on Friday? Jeez buddy!” sweepstakes is 2 Crows in Halifax. We’ll forgive them (mostly) though, as, frankly, we’re excited about the beer. Dropping tomorrow at noon, and with an extremely limited run of roughly 400 bottles, Glamour isn’t just brewer Jeremy Taylor’s favorite D&D spell (perfect for a Goblin Bard), it’s a Sauvignon Blanc barrel-fermented and bottle-aged sour. Based on a grist of Pilsner malt, wheat, spelt and oats, it was hopped lightly with Hallertau Blanc hops on brewday and then soured with Lactobacillus plantarum and fermented in a freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrel with a blend of clean and funky critters. Conditioned for six months before transfer, it was dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops in stainless steel before being bottled with Champagne yeast and allowed to condition for an additional two months. It’s 5.1% ABV, and the tasting notes specify that it’s bright, tart and lively, with notes of gooseberry, lemongrass, and light oaky tannins. With such a limited quantity available, you’d best not hesitate. Y’know, like Jeremy did with emailing us about it. Seriously, though, if you’re a fan of sour beers and/or 2 Crows, this one is likely not to be missed; these folks did win Beer of the Year last week after all…

There are some excellent events in our region this weekend where beer and cider take center stage. Check them out below and plan accordingly!

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing is taking over the taps at St. John’s Merchant Tavern this evening. Featuring six taps, this will be the first time several of these beers are available on draught outside of HRM, so be sure to drop by and meet the Spindrift crew! Look for: Abyss Black Lager, their redesigned Coastal Lager, Free Trade APA, Hurricane IPA, Killick, and Knotty Buoy.

Although the Annapolis Cider tap takeover was announced a couple weeks ago now, the tap list was a mystery up until a few days ago when it was posted to social media, and it’s safe to say fans of local cider who make their way down to Stillwell this Saturday are in for a treat. Twelve different ciders will be pouring, running the gamut from Annapolis’ core brands to some of the more outré offerings from their Something Different series. As always, you can also expect some special snacks dreamed up just for the event to be coming out of the kitchen. While you plot your strategy around the list below, maybe open up your favorite podcasting app and throw on the recent 902BrewCast episode featuring Annapolis Cider’s Sean Myles. It’s an incredibly informative session not just about the cidery and their approach, but about cider and cider making in general as well.

  1. Wine & Strawberry – dry cider, red wine, strawberry blend – 5.9%
  2. Earl Blue – dry cider and blueberry blend w. Earl Grey tea – 6.8%
  3. Sour Cherry – dry cider, sour cherry blend – 7.1%
  4. Geneva Crab Rosé – crabapple cider with Geneva Red & Golden Hyslop – 8.6%
  5. Arctic Kiwi – dry cider, arctic kiwi blend – 7%
  6. Mixed Berry & Pear – strawberry, blackcurrant, bosc pear and dry cider – 7%
  7. Pazazz & Grapefruit – single variety Pazazz w. grapefruit zest – 6.8%
  8. Rhubarb Ginger – dry cider and rhubarb blend w. fresh ginger – 6.7%
  9. Honey Blossom – dry cider w. elderflower, purple lilac blossoms and local wildflower honey – 7%
  10. Muscat Mojito – dry cider w. Muscat grape skins, mint and fresh lime – 7.1%
  11. The Classic – semi-dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 5.6%
  12. Crisp & Dry – dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 7.7%

If you happen to be in the Moncton area, the Tide & Boar is hosting a special event, the SPCA Tap Takeover, tomorrow, November 3rd, from noon to close. Several breweries from NB and NS will be participating, and pouring some of their favourite beers. The list includes Tide & Boar Brewing (Method IPA and Mosaic IPA), Grand Monk (Lion’s Cut NEIPA), Celtic Knot (Enigma Salted Caramel Porter), Big Spruce (Fake News! and Tag! You’re It!), Niche Brewing (Constellation), and 2 Crows (Wild Skies). They’ll also have a keg of Zwaaien & Zwieren, a 12.6% ABV Imperial Stout from Brouwerij de Molen (Netherlands); this is the 2015 vintage of this beer, so needless to say it’s a rare one! For every pint sold, $1 will go towards the Greater Moncton SPCA. But that’s not all! A single bottle of the much-coveted Samuel Adams Utopias will be available for 1 oz pours starting at noon, with all proceeds benefiting the GMSPCA. Your purchase of a 1 oz pour will also give you the chance to win the Utopias bottle (once it’s empty… sorry!), as well as a gift package donated by Big Spruce. Be sure to show up on Saturday, drink some delicious beers, and support a good cause all at the same time!

And a few more quick mentions before we let you get on with your Friday:

For the second time in a month or so, there will be no Beta Brewsday at Good Robot this week. Something something about Kelly actually taking time off (can she DO that?!). But all is not lost, GR favorite Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie is back to tide you over. Yes, it’s a pale ale, but yes, it’s also flavored with coffee; 5.1% ABV and 32 IBU and very easy drinking.

Also back for a seasonal appearance (a bit earlier this year) is Propeller’s Russian Imperial Stout. This burly 8.0% ABV brew is smooth and supple and packaged for the first time in 473 mL cans, but you can also grab one of a very few 650 mL bottles if you’re looking to put one down in the cellar for a while, or you can grab a glass on tap at the tasting room.

Available today at noon, Upstreet is bringing back their formal winter seasonal, Black Tie Affair. This 5.0% ABV Stout features the addition of cranberries for a lightly tart flavour, and finishes with a hint of sweet vanilla. It is available on draught, as well as growlers, crowlers, and bottles at both the Taproom, Craft Beer Corner, as well as Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, as this was a simultaneous brewday in both Charlottetown and Dartmouth.

We’ve got another full complement of beer and cider news to get you excited for the weekend. Several new producers on the radar across the region are now open, plus plenty of new and returning favourite beers from established breweries too! Let’s keep this opening paragraph short, and spend our time on the real news. No one reads these intros, do they?

Arisaig, Nova Scotia should already be on the radar for you alcohol beverage fan, as it is the home to Steinhart Distillery, an award winning spirits maker. Located 30 km Northeast of Antigonish along the 245 Highway, they have entered the brewing space under the name 9zero2 Brewing. Owner and distiller Thomas Steinhart comes by his love of beer honestly, having grown up in Germany, and is bringing some favourite styles and recipes from his birth country to life. Beers now available include a Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Cold Smoked, Arisaig Ale, Summer Party, and very soon, their first IPA. We will have a full Profile with 9zero2 shortly, but in the meantime, be sure to drop by the distillery/brewery for pints and growler fills, as it’s the only place you can taste the beer! They are open Monday to Friday, 10 – 7 PM.

In Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Two Islands Brewing Company recently opened their doors at 169 Main Street. With Rising Tide Bakery operating in the same space, the taproom and kitchen has been open for a couple of weeks, initially serving beer and cider from other producers in the province. They now have an Irish Red and Blonde of their own, and should be pouring this weekend. Growlers of their own beer will be available, along with pints and flights of all beer and cider on draught. The brewery is open 10AM-6PM (Tue, Wed, and Sun), and 10AM-10PM Thu-Sat. The bakery is open 8AM-6PM Tue-Sun. Drop by this weekend to check out the brewery!

Let’s turn our eye to cider, as Maritime Express Cider has just opened their location in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Housed in a railway hotel at 325 Main Street, Maritime Express boasts onsite cider fermentation and a beautiful taproom. Their cider is built from 100% Annapolis Valley apples, pressed locally, and fermented cool and slow. They are currently pouring a pair of their ciders in the taproom: The Flying Blusenose, a 6.0% ABV dry and crisp cider, and The Dayliner, a 5.0% ABV sweet and smooth blend. They will be adding a third blend, featuring rhubarb, in the near future. Their taps are rounded out with six Nova Scotia beers, and mix and match flights of all are available for enjoyment. Open 11 AM – 9 PM Mon-Thu, 11 AM – 11 PM Fri-Sat, and 11 AM – 5 PM.

And in the “mostly open” department is Sussex Ale Works, located at 597B Main Street. This week they have brewed up their first beer, but while they wait for it to be ready, they’ve been sharing great NB beers from other breweries with their thirsty patrons. Rick Lockhart has been working with Sussex Craft Distillery and Holy Whale Brewing in Alma for several years, and he is running the show at Sussex Ale Works, on their 1 BBL (120 L) system. We’ll have lots more details on Sussex soon, but in the meantime, drop by this weekend to check out the new digs and toss back a pint. Open 12 – 10 PM Fri-Sun, and 5 – 10 PM Mon-Thu.

The gang at Tatamagouche Brewing has plenty going on this week, starting with the launch of their online store. You can now shop for and order your favorite Tata brews and merch from the comfort of your own home! All the pertinent details are available on the site (especially the FAQ), but to answer the most obvious questions, beer must be purchased in multiples of 12 cans and/or 6 bottles, but yes, you sure can mix and match. Shipping is available to all Canadian provinces (but none of the territories) and ships via Canada Post. Even better, orders over $150 ship free! Meanwhile, earlier this month we mentioned Stillwell Brewing’s Make 1, 2 and that the correct term for such a blend of older and newer beer is a bière de coupage. As it turns out, we’d written about another one in the region only a month before when we told you about Tata’s Cahoots. Well available this week is another one from Tata that they’re calling Bliss, again a mix of beer out of two barrels, one old and one young. Coming in at 6.3% ABV and more sour than its predecessor, it’s being released this weekend as a bière de marriage (sorry; not sorry) in celebration of the nuptials of Tata’s own Matt and Christiane, two of the nicest folks in our region’s craft beer scene. A hearty “Cheers” and a big congratulations from us here at the blog! (Also, in related news, the brewery is closing early on Saturday (3 PM) and will be closed Sunday.

One of Newfoundland’s original craft breweries, Storm Brewing in Newfoundland in Mount Pearl, got its start in Carbonear on the east side of the Avalon Peninsula (and the west side of Conception Bay), in 1995. In 1998 they brewed a batch of beer for the first time that led to six months of bureaucracy before the brewery was able to package and sell it. The problem? It was full of hemp seeds. Although hemp won’t get you high, it’s certainly a member of the cannabis family and sourcing good quality seeds became difficult owing to political climate in the early 2000s, so the beer was discontinued. Right up until the other week, that is. Now that cannabis is entirely legal in this fine country of ours, it seemed to the folks at Storm that it would be a fine time to revisit that beer. Sourcing high-quality hemp seeds from Ontario, which were added to the mash, Hemp Ale, known locally as Weed Beer, is a light and refreshing 4.5% ABV brew with a balanced, earthy flavor and a nutty and herbal aftertaste. Packaged with the original labels from 20 years ago, they’re not entirely sure what the future of this beer will be, but they do know that the 650 mL bottles delivered have already have sold out, leaving 6-packs available for purchase at select NLC locations and convenience stores (the NLC site is a bit slow to update inventory, but here is the shortcut for your reference). It’s also on tap at the Ship Pub and the Quidi Vidi Brewery tap room.

Those of you who have been following the evolving nature of North Brewing are well aware that the brewery has released a fair number of different beers since they opened in 2013. Yesterday, they officially added their very first Pilsner to their lineup, with Sparrow. Crisp and refreshing, yesterday’s launch will trickle into today, when cans of the 4.8% ABV beer will be available at both bottle shops. Look for it on tap around the HRM, as well, including their partner in the beer formulation, Agricola Street’s Bar Kismet.

Niche Brewing from Hanwell is continuing their one-hop beer series, with a favourite Australian varietal taking centre stage. You Had Me At… Vic Secret continues the tradition that began with Ekuanot and transitioned to Mosaic, with a 4.4% ABV all Vic Secret Session IPA. Fermented with a blend of yeasts, but cleanly to allow the hop character to shine through. And it does, with tropical fruit and pine notes coming through, on top of a hazy, yet dry, base beer, enhancing the 30 IBU bitterness. Look for it on tap at their regular tap accounts in Fredericton, Saint John, as well as at the HopYard in Charlottetown.

The march of the Pumpkin Ales continues (like it or not!), with Newfoundland’s Bootleg Brew Co. throwing their hat in the ring with Basic Bee. This light-bodied, dry, 5% ABV beer features the addition of local pumpkin from Wright’s Family Farm (Pasadena) and 40 lbs of honey from the Newfoundland Bee Company (Little Rapids). Lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, the honey makes this one a slightly-different take on the Pumpkin Ale style; look for it on tap right now at Bootleg.

Halifax’s annual sci-fi and gaming convention, Hal-Con, is happening this weekend, and Garrison is once again launching a new beer to celebrate. Billed as a four brewery, three nation collaboration, they teamed up with Mason’s Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing from Maine, and Gæðingur Öl Brugghús from Skagafirði, Iceland to brew Hipster Viking during the Seaport Beer Festival in August. This unfiltered “Atlantic IPA” was brewed in the New England style, and was hopped with Mosaic, Ekuanot, and Idaho 7. Featuring a “dank, tropical aroma and flavour” it weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available starting today at both Garrison and Hal-Con, and at the private liquor stores next week. Note that the label artwork has been done by Ben Bishop, a well-known comic book artist.

Over in Good Robot Land™, next week’s Beta Brew is another fruited kettle sour, this one concocted by Corey Crocker (hey, that wasn’t planned!). Inspired by “the shiny satin shirts and well-bottomed pants of the ‘70s disco era”, Electric Dynomite (misspelling intentional) features the addition of strawberries and rhubarb (4.2% ABV, 6 IBUs). Drop by the brewery on Tuesday, where we (and surely, they) encourage you to wear your favourite disco outfit… and with Halloween right around the corner, you may not even get too many curious stares. And on Thursday, Leave Me Blue (4.5% ABV) is back on tap yet again. Corn!

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has a new beer in their series of more experimental offerings that they’ve dubbed Scratch. Now up to number 13 in the series, the latest entry is Lemondrop Saison, named for the use of a fairly-recently developed hop variety from the United States that features a citrusy lemon character (of course), but melded with a herbaceous, almost green tea-like presence. Dry hopped to bring out maximal aroma, this 5.8% ABV and 19 IBU beer features a complex grist that supports a round mouthfeel and subtle spicy notes. This one appears to have made it into cans, so look for it on sale at the brewery!

Port Rexton Brewing is back in full effect at their St. John’s retail location this month. Open for business every Thursday (5 – 8 PM), Friday (12 – 7 PM) and Saturday (12 – 6 PM) for the foreseeable, they’re happy to save you a three hour drive from St. John’s to get your fix. This week the supply of cans is getting a little low, so you’ll be limited to 4 cans of each style, but they’ve got Blazing Sun (Double NEIPA; see below), Horse Chops (IPA), and T-Rex Porter. But as always, they’ve also got growler fills, and the lineup there looks like Sweater Weather (Double IPA), T-Rex Porter, Firehouse Amber, and Baycation Blonde, with The One With the Citra waiting in the wings for when one of the others kicks. The Blazing Sun is a notable return, as it was the first beer that PR put into cans last year. A big sister to their Chasing Sun NEIPA, it’s super hazy and super juicy with tons of hop character, low bitterness, and a full mouthfeel from plenty of oats and wheat in the grist. It takes its name from the oldest living Newfoundland Pony Stallion, a 27 year old named Blaze who lives in Champneys West just across the beach from the brewery. Blaze is always quite happy to munch on the spent grain from Port Rexton’s brewing endeavors, but we suspect most people will prefer the beer. You can keep yourself apprised of what’s available at the retail shop by scoping its dedicated Instagram on the regular and while you’re at it, you might want to follow the brewery’s main Instagram as well.

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing has been brewing up a storm in their new space at 250 Dieppe Blvd, and as we wait for them to be released, they are extending their opening hours to include Thursdays. Their hours are now 6 – 10:30 Thu, 2 – 11:30 PM Fri and Sat, and 2 – 7 PM Sun. And to keep up with all of these hours, they are looking to add some more team members to join them. Send them an email to learn more! Just a note that they are not yet filling growlers due to permitting issues, but have five of their own beers on tap, plus five more guest taps, to keep you happy.

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a trio of new beers waiting in the wings to share with all of us this weekend. Let’s start with Saint James, a Fruitcake-inspired Stout. Brewed in Winter 2018, this 11.5% ABV stout has been aging in Glenora Whiskey barrels on BS-farm-grown cognac-soaked Organic purple plums. Assistance for the beer concept, recipe, and brewing came from Nova Scotian music Donald MacLennan, an accomplished violinist who had frequently held court in the Big Spruce taproom. Saint James, in case you are wondering, was MacLennan’s Father in Law, and a wonderful part of their family. The beer is full of iconic fruitcake notes of dark dried fruits, chocolate, and coffee, with a significant heat from the high alcohol and barrel-aging.
Something Sophisticated is a 6.4% ABV bottle-conditioned Saison, co-fermented with Brettanomyces, featuring a balance of fruit, spice, and light malt, with the Brett funk shining through.
And finally Pile-It License, which is a Sherry Barrel aged Chocolate Porter, weighing in at 7.0% ABV. Chocolate and sherry and wood come together in a smooth beer worth enjoying before, during, or after, a great meal. All three beers will be available in bottles very soon.

In between new brewery and cider-house hopping this weekend, check out the other events on the go…

The Auction House is teaming up with Garrison Brewing for a Halloween Bash tomorrow, October 27th, with 15 taps at Auction House being taken over by the brewery. Several of Garrison’s “specialty brews” will be pouring, and of course there’ll be lots of tasty food available. You can also expect live music and prize giveaways, as well as, ‘tis the season, a costume contest with prizes. There’s no cover charge, so dig out your finest white sheet with two eyeholes and truck on down to Argyle St. tomorrow night to take part in the fun.

Next Saturday will see a full dozen offerings from Annapolis Cider Company on tap at Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar, as they celebrate their diversity of offerings. Always using Annapolis Valley juice as their base, the different blends and expressions follow the seasons and will sometimes feature other fruits or adjuncts added to enhance the flavour. For those new to Annapolis, or cider in general, may we suggest checking out their appearance on the 902 BrewCast this week, with co-owner Sean Myles talking the crew through their beginnings, how they choose which apples to use, their cider philosophy, and about their Cider Club. Listen in to get ready for Saturday November 3rd!

A note regarding the FemmeBot Beer Fest we mentioned last month: due to a date conflict, it has been moved to April 27, 2019. With the aim to highlight female brewery employees, and/or members of the public creating beer, Good Robot is hosting a 15 brewery Fest at the Mayflower Curling Club. More details are available for breweries looking to be part of the fun, and we will share ticket details once available.

A few more bites before we leave you this week:

Horton Ridge has brought back their Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (6% ABV) in time for the cooler weather; roasty, chocolatey and smooth, drop by the taproom now for a taste.

Picaroons is still churning out new iterations of their PIVOT (8% ABV) Imperial IPA, with the latest (#21) featuring Sorachi Ace and Denali hops. You can find it on tap at all Picaroons locations, as well as select ANBL growler stations.

Propeller has a special cask on tonight, a sneak preview of this year’s upcoming Coffee Porter release. Chocolate was added for this very small release (20 L only), to put a bit of an extra twist on a crowd favourite.

Roof Hound is now pouring their popular Keltic Devil Pumpkin Spiced Latte Strong Porter (as fun to drink as it is to say!), a Porter which is how you might expect it to be from the name. It’s a strong one at 9% ABV, and has plenty of coffee added from Sissiboo Coffee Roaster, as well as pumpkin, vanilla bean, lactose, and pumpkin pie spices.

Sober Island Brewing on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore has launched a Kickstarter campaign to push them to the ultimate goal of building their brewery on Sober Island itself. Check out the offerings, and contribute to help further their expansion!

Tanner & Co. first released their Belgian Tripel as an entry in their Reserve Series, back in February. This 8.9% ABV, 35 IBUs brew, which was fermented with a variety of Belgian yeast strains, has just been bottled for the first time. With “lots of complex aromas and flavours”, you can pick up a bottle or two (or more!) at the brewery itself this weekend; note that kegs are also filled and awaiting to go on tap.

TrailWay dropped new cans and kegs of Beans, their 6.3% ABV Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they opened. “Sweetness balanced against roasted malts”, with lots of coffee and chocolate in the aroma, you can grab cans or pints at the brewery starting at noon; look for cans to also hit select ANBL stores sometime next week.