Quidi Vidi Brewery

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Happy Canada Day Weekend! Now that the frost warnings are finally done [uh oh, did I just jinx us?], and we’ve seen the sun poke through a few times, it’s time to leave our home and get out to visit the local breweries and cider houses. We’ve got two new spots we’re excited to share with you today, plus a dozen new beers and events to seek out locally, no matter where you live. As always during holidays, be sure to double-check that the brewery or bar is open, as some are taking a bit of time off to enjoy the much-needed vacation, too!

About an hour outside of St. John’s, the small town of Dildo is now home to the latest brewery to open in our region. While the origin of the town name may be up for some debate, there’s no arguing that they are ready to join the wave of great beer that is now available on the Rock. Located in the same building as the Dildo Interpretive Centre on Front Road, the Dildo Brewing Company and Museum features a beautiful taproom which borrows the same aesthetics, and even some pieces, from the now-closed Centre. Launching with four beers (a Red, Blonde, IPA, and Stout, with a Blueberry Blonde set to be released shortly), visitors can enjoy beer by the pint or sample flight while enjoying a meal, with growlers available to go as well. Their hours are 11AM – 11PM, and we hope to share a Profile with the DBCaM family next week. Congratulations!

Also opening this weekend is a new Winery slash Brewery at the start of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Bent Nail Brewery is located on the grounds of the Bent Ridge Winery, at Daniels’ U Pick on Highway 14 near Martock. Opening this Sunday, they will be pouring their Cream Ale, English Ale, Pale Ale, and IPA, brewed on their 2 BBL (240 litre) system. The taproom features a wood fired pizza oven to complement the beer, and will be open 10AM – 6PM daily, starting Sunday. Congratulations to the Bent Ridge/Bent Nail crew!

Our third “new brewery” news is actually a re-launching and re-branding of a familiar New Brunswick brewery. Bore City Brewing opened in 2015, brewing on a ½ BBL (50 litre) system in the basement of one of their owners in Moncton. Shortly after launching, they realized that they were working very hard to only produce 3 kegs at a time; as a natural result, expansion was on their mind. When building issues stalled their expansion plans for a 10-15 BBL (1200-1800 litre) brewhouse and taproom in 2017, they regrouped. They hired a new brewer in Spring 2017, whose favourite styles to drink and brew lined up nicely with their own: bold IPAs and traditional and modern Belgian beers. They have recently settled into their current location with a 3 BBL (360 litre) system from Stout Tanks, and are ready to unveil their new name. Grand Monk Ales is a portmonteau paying ode to their expansion, their love of Monc(k)ton and Belgian beers. While this new spot is not open to the public, they have been able to send more of their beer further across the province, frequently available on tap at the Laundromat, Tide & Boar, Les Brumes du Coude, as well as at The Joyce in Fredericton and Cask & Kettle in Saint John.  Look out for their favourites, including Causeway IPA (Mosaic/Vic Secret hopped), Mondo IPA (dank and fruity), Vent d’âme Belgian Pale Ale, and Spacetime Odyssey Porter, as well as plenty of new releases throughout the summer. We’ll keep you up to date with all of Grand Monk’s goings ons, including their Launch Party this summer.

Big Spruce has released a new lager, and they need your help in naming it. Fear not, there’s some great prizes for the winner for your hard work! Made in collaboration with Sydney’s Governors Pub, it’s a German lager with a slight North American twist, made with 100% imported Weyermann Pilsner malt and Bohemian Lager yeast, but finishing with a slight citrus bite from the use of classic American Cascade hops. Slowly fermented for 2 weeks before entering a 7 week lagering period, it’s super crispy and perfect for summer lager drinking. Drop by Governors for a pint and check out their new Beer Garden, as it’s the only place you can find the beer outside of the brewery, and submit your idea. The winner will get bragging rights, plus a BBQ Party for Ten on the Governors beer garden patio. You have until July 7th to sip and submit, so don’t delay!

Meanwhile, Jeremy and the gang have a plethora of other beers on the go right now as well, starting with Fake News, a 5.6% ABV and 30 IBU modern American Pale Ale made with Idaho 7 hops and fermented with the Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs. Gimme Citra, originally developed as a collaboration with Stillwell, is back again, a hoppy beer with a prominent Citra hop character that weighs in at a supremely sessionable 4.8% ABV. Watches & Jet Skis, Big Spruce’s ode to questionable business practices is a new Berliner Weisse, soured in the kettle and finished with Citra. At 3.8% ABV it should be a lovely refresher on hot summer days and all the inducement you need to drink some NS craft beer. Lastly is a shandy (of all things!) comprised of a 50/50 blend of slow-lagered Kölsch with housemade lemonade. The name? Comedy of Errors.

The collaboration brews from 2 Crows just keep-a-comin’, with their latest hitting shelves today at noon… and don’t worry, like the high majority of 2 Crows beers, it’s an interesting one! Slam Jam was brewed with Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing, when head brewer Graham With was in Halifax for the Canadian Brewing Awards last month. Brewed with Pilsner, Malted Oats, Wheat malt, and Aromatic, it was hopped in the whirlpool with Huell Melon, Vic Secret, and Azacca. Fermented with two Brettanomyces strains, they dried the beer out further by adding the enzyme glucoamylase (which brought the beer down to a gravity of 0.998… just for comparison, distilled water is 1.000). Once fermentation was complete, 400 lbs of blueberry puree was added for conditioning, and finally a dry hop with more of the three hop varieties mentioned earlier… plus Galaxy! The result is a very dry, fruity, funky, highly-carbed beer with a deep blue/purple colour, with “a ton of aroma from the blueberries and the blend of dry hops”. This 6.7% ABV beauty can be found in cans and on tap at 2 Crows today; cans will likely be on the shelves at the private liquor stores in the HRM, and on tap at a few lucky licensees.

Today, North Brewing is launching the first beer in their new Breakwater series, which will feature a total of three fruited sour beers being released over the summer. Breakwater Coconut-Lime was first soured with Escarpment’s Lactobacillus blend, and then fermented with their Vermont Ale strain. Both lime zest and lime juice were added to the beer after fermentation, along with chunks of coconut, to give the 5.5% ABV brew its two name-worthy flavours. Sounds perfect for summer, no? Drop by either of the North bottle shops to pick up some cans for the weekend; it’ll also be pouring on tap at Battery Park.

Just outside of Fredericton in Hanwell, NB, Niche has another new beer, a sour IPA they’re calling Wayfarer. Leveraging a pure lab culture of Lactobacillus plantarum (a bacteria found in all manner of fermented foods and even human saliva) for souring, and with lactose powder added in the boil, the beer was finished with hefty amounts of Centennial and El Dorado hops from post-boil whirlpool onwards to prevent any untoward bitterness that might clash with the sour profile. The result is a 6% ABV and 14 IBU beer that is bright, refreshing and citrussy. You’ll find it at tap accounts in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John. And look for the return of another Niche beer, Ethos, their house culture-fermented saison. It’s got more Brett character this time around, with light fruit and peppery spice notes highlighted against a slightly acidic body and a dry finish. This one weighs in at 6.3% ABV. Expect to see more Niche re-releases in coming weeks, giving you a chance to enjoy those beers again or try ones you might have missed for the first time.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is feeling rhubarb-y lately, so much so that they are planning at least three beers to be featured in a special Rhubarb series from the brewery. This weekend, we’ll see the first beer in the series, Rhubarb Gose. Slightly tart, salty, with some coriander notes like a traditional Gose, a “light addition” of rhubarb was thrown in during fermentation to add “a hint” of rhubarb character. If you’d like to grab a growler or two for the long weekend, be sure to stop by the brewery soon, as there’s only 180 L available (growlers are only available at the 19 Kirk St. location for now). As mentioned, expect to see at least two more rhubarb beers from Heritage over the coming weeks, one of which is the return of their Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat Ale from last year (which sold out in just 90 minutes!). They’ve also just opened up the taproom section of their ongoing expansion at 250 Main Street, so sit and enjoy a pint while you’re there! Finally, they’re expecting their new brewhouse to arrive next week, which means more Heritage beer for the thirsty public in the near future.

Tanner & Co. Brewing, in Chester, NS, have already expanded to a larger brewhouse, and have one of their first bigger-batch beers ready for you to try. Nelson Saison is as you might expect from the name: a Saison hopped with the always-amazing-and-not-so-easy-to-find Nelson Sauvin variety, from New Zealand. This wasn’t just a measly, light hop addition, however; the Nelson was added at several stages throughout the boil, and also in the dry-hop, for “aromas and flavours of gooseberry, pineapple, and lemon”. It weighs in at 6.8% ABV and 30 IBUs, and is available now at the brewery.

This year marks the 20 year Anniversary of the formation of the Mudmen, a rugby team in Charlottetown, PEI, and the PEI Brewing Co. has brewed up a beer in their honour. Sin Bin is a Kölsch brewed in the traditional sense, meaning that it was fermented with a Kölsch yeast strain at temperatures somewhere between those typical for a Lager and Ale, and then lagered for a brief period to allow the flavours to meld together. The final product is “bright and crisp, with some German noble hop character”, with some fruity esters from the yeast. It’s easy-drinking at just 4.4% ABV, with a light bitterness in the finish. You can grab cans of this one at the PEIBC taproom tomorrow from 12-2 pm during their launch party. And drop by the taproom today from 4PM for the last in their Growlers of Summer release, Sangria Pale Ale. Bold, yet easy drinking, it features bright hop flavours with an addition of Blood Orange juice.

In Lawrencetown, NS, Lunn’s Mill has more or less completed their taproom expansion, with only a few tweaks here and there expected as they grow into their new space. Both the new space and their patio are now open with beer pouring and food being served. They’ve also got a new beer they’re hoping to release this week that was brewed in collaboration with their bartender, Chris Williams. In a Pinch started with a base of 100% Horton Ridge malt, including their apple malt, hopped with local Galena and Fuggle hops and then dosed heavily with apple blossoms in the post-boil whirlpool. The yeast chosen for fermentation was the Nova Scotia Sauvage strain from Big Spruce, resulting in a very NS-centric beer. Coming in at a crushable 4% ABV and 16 IBU, it’s described as light, floral and refreshing.

Looks like our friends at Tidehouse have another bottle release for us all! Yesterday saw the release of Houndstooth, a bottle-conditioned 8% ABV “India Saison” (read: hoppy Saison). Brewed with Vienna, Wheat, and Acid malts, they bittered the beer with Warrior, and added Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic for flavour and aroma after the boil was complete. Fermented with a blend of Saison yeasts, more Hallertau Blanc was added for the dry-hop, ultimately resulting in a beer with a dominance of white wine-like flavours, “backed by some tropical fruit and berry notes”. The Saison strains dried this one out right some good, and also contribute some “peppery spice and a hint of banana” to the brew. Drop by the brewery today 2 – 9PM (they’re closed this weekend to enjoy the celebrations) to pick up some 750 mL bottles… they suggest trying one now, and letting another one (or more!) age for six months. And while you’re there, why not try Wharf Speed, a light and easy-drinking 4% ABV summer beer hopped with Cascade, Mandarina Bavaria, and Ahtanum? Available on tap as we speak.

Over at Garrison, they’re releasing their latest kettle-sour, Sour Castro. A new take on the La Menta, a beer they brewed with mint last November. This time they’ve got for a bit more of a Mojito feel with the mint being joined by lime juice and the apple juice being left out. Wholly bereft of any IBUs at all, expect a refreshing beer with a cooling sensation from the mint and coming in at a very sessionable 4.8% ABV, perfect for the scorcher of a weekend that’s expected in Halifax. It could be an excellent beer to server at an event like a pig roast; and lo and behold, that’s what they’re going to do! Asado Grill will be at Garrison on Sunday for a Canada Day celebration starting at 11 AM. They’ll be cooking up a whole hog which you can get in on for $20 per person (including baked potato w/ fixins, market salad and roll).

• If you’re in a cider kinda-mood, Annapolis Cider Company has a new entry in their one-off Something Different series coming out today. Honey Blossom is a sparkling cider that started with the cidery’s cool-fermented dry apple cider, but with the addition of locally-picked elderflowers and purple lilac blossoms. A “touch” of local wildflower honey was also added at the end, along with some fresh-pressed apple juice, resulting in a 7% ABV cider that is “aromatic and full-bodied, with lush floral notes”. The usual $0.50/refill donation for this one will be going to the Terranaut Club, “a group of passionate and dedicated women in science, unified by the mission to create and provide opportunities for girls to recognize their own interests and seek their own futures in STEM fields and environmental advocacy”.

Quidi Vidi Brewery has a new beer out this weekend, and are hosting an all-day event at their taproom Sunday to celebrate. Day Boil is a 4.5% ABV Session IPA, featuring a light malt base and plenty of hops, starting with a bittering charge of Magnum before plenty of late-boil and dry-hopping of Mosaic. Cans of Day Boil will also be available Sunday in their Hop Shop, the first off of their brand new canning line. Their Day Boil Party kicks off at noon on Canada Day, with $5 pints until 5PM, with live music all day and night. No cover charge. And if you’re looking for a way to get there and avoid the parking woes around the Gut, The Link from Metrobus is running Wednesday to Sunday every week until October, connecting Quidi Vidi Village with downtown St John’s and Signal Hill, and could be the perfect way to get to/from the brewery, Mallard Cottage (and Beer Garden), or before/after the East Coast Trail to Logy Bay.

• Have you been sitting at home, wishing that someone out there would just brew an IPA with doughnuts already? Well, Roof Hound has some good news for you! They’ve teamed up with Halifax’s Vandal Doughnuts to create Vandal Hound Lemon Meringue Doughnut IPA. The grist includes Victory malt, oats, and wheat… along with a few dozen lemon meringue doughnuts from the good people at Vandal. But they didn’t stop there, and went on to add some hand-toasted sugar, along with a “large pot” of house-made lemon pie filling, and vanilla, throughout the brewing process. Looking to add more lemon character to the beer, they dry-hopped it with Lemondrop, resulting in a “sweet and sour quality, with a good dry-hop burst”. The beer is scheduled to be released on July 5th, with special events occurring at Westside and the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden, followed by an event at Roof Hound on July 6th. Be sure to follow Roof Hound’s social media pages for more info on those events.

In addition to the events above, don’t miss out on these other things on the go this weekend. You know, in addition to the fun Canada Day things on the go!

It’s a special weekend for in Fredericton as the folks at Grimross, fresh off their 4-medal performance at the Canadian Brewing Awards in May, are celebrating 5 years since they opened their doors on Canada Day in 2013. The party at the brewery will be going pretty much all weekend long, with $5 pints today, tomorrow and Sunday. If you buy one, you’ll be eligible to enter a draw for a special prize at the end of the weekend. Festivities kick off tonight with live music and continue into tomorrow’s comedy night and culminating with their Canada Day party on Sunday with a special cask beer, birthday cake, and GastroGnomes food truck on the scene.

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned the Under the Breton Sky music and beer event being put on by Breton Brewing in Sydney tomorrow. VIP tickets have sold out, but general admission tickets are still available at $55 a pop. That goes up to $65 if you purchase on the day of, so if you’re interested you might want to grab your tickets today!

• And don’t forget about Good Robot’s Hair of the Dog event at the Garrison Ground this weekend. From 11-11 Saturday and Sunday, come chill out with your mutt (or meet a new one!), drink some beer, and check out the dog- and beer-friendly vendors. We’ve got more details in last week’s post.

Just a few more things to tell you about this week, with returning favourite beers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Tatamagouche Brewing’s Guava Heist Berliner Weisse is back on the taps and shelves at the brewery this weekend, with cans destined to the Private Stores next week. The 3.6% ABV sour features Organic guava puree added after fermentation for a lovely fruit complement to the base beer’s acidity.
TrailWay’s Hop Stains (8% ABV), one of the brewery’s first DIPAs, is returning today for the first time in awhile. Using the highest amount of hop additions of any beer from TW, the hop schedule was tweaked this time around, featuring a mixture of American and Australian varieties. On tap and in growlers, with cans being available exclusively at the brewery.
Unfiltered brings back Sour Motherfucker, their kettle-sour aged on tart cherries, today at noon. At 6.4% ABV, it’s lightly tart, with plenty of tasty cherry character; available for pints and growlers starting at noon.
– And finally, not to end the post on a sad note, but we wanted to let you know that Motion Bay Brewing, planning to open in the Fisherman’s Co-op in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, will not be proceeding. Having met the people involved with the brewery several times, it was obvious their passion for beer was authentic, and bringing jobs and visitors to a small town was an important part of their brewery. We wish them the best in whatever endeavours they get up to in the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a bit more before we go…

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

In honour of this weekend’s St John’s BrewFest, we wanted to lead this week’s post with the great beery news from The Rock. While the number and reach of locally-owned breweries in Newfoundland and Labrador was lacking for many years, the past few years have seen an explosion in number and variety of offerings available to the public. For a more thorough overview of that history, as well as the present and future of beer in Newfoundland (and soon Labrador), check out the Newfoundland Beer History site, and the latest post from writer Chris Conway (himself part of the opening-late-2018 Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl). The local alt-paper The Overcast also keeps an eye on the latest Nfld Beer News, and has summarized the history in The Overcast’s Guide to Beers of Newfoundland, out this month. After reading those and getting excited for the rest of 2018, here what’s new this week:

• Port Rexton‘s retail shop on Torbay Rd is open again this weekend (Friday 4-8pm, Saturday 12-6pm), and will have 3 varieties in cans: Chasing Sun New England IPA, T-Rex Porter, and the return of Mixed Opportunity, their 5.6% ABV mixed fermentation Saison, employing multiple strains of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts to ferment, giving funky farmhouse flavours and aromas. On growler fills are Baycation Blonde and T-Rex Porter. With their brewery taproom opening May 4th, they will continue to operate the retail location in town, concentrating on growler fills and merchandise sales, as they will be winding down their canning offerings.

• Also keep an eye open this weekend for Port Rexton’s Barrel-aged Brett Porter, which was a collaboration brewed back in September with Jana of Motion Bay Brewing (coming soon to Petty Harbour), and our own acbbchris. This beer was fermented in a freshly-emptied red wine barrel with Brett D (a specific strain of Brettanomyces bruxellensis), where it sat for several months before conditioning and packaging (sorry, kegs only!). The lovely wine notes complement the funky nose and flavour from the Brett fermentation, with the dark malt providing a pleasant base. It debuted at the Melee in the Market Port Rexton x 2 Crows Tap Takeover last night, and should be available this weekend.

• YellowBelly Brewery launched a new beer earlier this week, Patridgeberry Wheat. The Wheat Ale base was enhanced by the addition of local partridgeberries, known for their tart kick and full flavour, for a true taste of the Island. At 5.0% ABV, and quite quaffable, you could certainly be forgiven for going back for a second. It is on tap at the brewery and Takeaway (down the street at 264 Water) now, and in 1 litre bottles at the Takeaway and select NLC locations this weekend.

• Renovations continue at Quidi Vidi Brewing, as they expand their retail shop and transform their event space into a full-time taproom, which will offer visitors great views of the gut, and a fine pint to pair it with. The recent additions to their beer line-up, Calm Tom’s Double IPA and Mad Mike’s Big Belgian, will be around for the summer months, and complemented by beers brewed on their 350 litre pilot brewing system. We’ll let you know when the renos are done and the beer is pouring once again.

A few NL events for you this week, too:

• Believe it or not, a few tickets for tonight’s St John’s BrewFest are still available, and if you don’t already have yours, you’re best served to grab one now. In addition to beers from Mill Street, Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Split Rock, Storm, Western Newfoundland, and YellowBelly, there is a good showing from the rest of the Atlantic Provinces, including New Brunswick’s Hammond River, Loyalist City, Maybee, TrailWay, and Yip Cider; PEI’s Gahan and Upstreet; Nova Scotia’s 2 Crows, Bad Apple, Big Spruce, Garrison, No Boats on Sunday, and Spindrift. Plus from (further) away, Blindman, Flying Monkeys, Half Hours on Earth, and Other Half. The full list is available here. And all attendees receive a code for the pre-sale for the St John’s Cider Fest, which is June 22nd and 23rd.

• For those wanting to meet up with other beer fans in the area, The Brewnettes Beer Appreciation Club are holding a bottle share next Thursday, April 26th at 7pm, at Common Ground on Harvey Rd. This is a BYOB event, where you can share your latest homebrew or a cool bottle you picked up while traveling or your current fave from around town, and talk with friendly folks who love beer as much as you!

• If this weekend’s BrewFest isn’t enough, the NLC’s Beer Expo is happening May 11 and 12th at the Delta Hotel. As it is an NLC event, most of the beer will be those currently available at the stores and/or available after the event, though Quidi Vidi will be debuting several small batch beers at the event. The full list is available here, to plan your attack. The ticket includes pub grub, and a $10 Taxi Voucher to get home safe. There is also a separate Saturday afternoon Tasting Panel from 5:30-7pm, with speakers tasting and discussing 9 products in a more relaxed setting. Tickets are available online, or at the Mile One Box Office.

Let’s jump into the rest of our region now. Not surprisingly, with the weather warming up, we’re seeing a steady increase in the beer release frequency, the patios of the region are being set up and enjoying a beer outside seems like a fine plan, and not the crazy idea my neighbour yelled at me for last week.

• Starting a ferry ride from Newfoundland in Nyanza on Cape Breton Island, we mentioned last week that Big Spruce had some big releases coming up and we weren’t kidding. They’ve clearly been busy preparing to make a splash for NS Craft Beer Week. As we mentioned (late) in our Friday Wrap-up last week, The Gose of Christmas Past is already pouring at the Sprucetique and tap accounts around the Province. This is a 3.8% ABV beer in the Gose style, of course, brewed with Indian Coriander and French Sea Salt back in December with Merit Brewing of Hamilton before being racked into Tequila barrels for 2 months of aging. Also released this week, to strong reactions of every stripe, is The Real McNeil a Red IPA that was brewed with our Province’s Premier, Stephen McNeil. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 48 IBUs, however bitter the beer actually tastes, it’s almost certainly not nearly as bitter as some of the public response to it. Seemingly forgotten is the open letter to the province owner Jeremy White penned last year, detailing many of the frustrating laws in place holding back the flourishing of small business, and is still actively pushing for changes in those. While some progress has been made on these issues, further improvements aren’t likely to come without education and engagement, which is the stated point of this exercise. And if it also yielded tasty beer? Well, that’s surely a bonus. If you can stomach it, you’ll find it in red cans featuring a typically masterful caricature of the Premier by Bruce MacKinnon at the private stores in Halifax and coming on April 30th to 35 select NSLC stores around the province. Probably only in Liberal ridings, wha? Meanwhile, those who’ve pledged never to buy Big Spruce beer again surely won’t care that the first batch of their incredibly popular Silver Tart Raspberry Kettle Sour is ready and will be available at the Sprucetique this coming Wednesday, April 24, before hitting the private stores in Halifax next Saturday.

• Speaking of next Saturday, fans of Big Spruce’s Ra Ra Rasputin Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout are probably feeling the itch, knowing that it’s traditionally released around this time each year. But this year Jeremy White and the gang have upped the ante considerably. Yes, you’ll be able to buy the Ra Ra you know and love, aged in Whiskey Barrels from Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton. But you’ll also see a version aged in French Cognac barrels. And another in California Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. And another in good ol’ American Bourbon Barrels. And finally one that spent time in Nicaraguan Rum barrels. Yes, that’s five, count ’em FIVE different variations of Ra Ra Rasputin available for your dilection. Whether you’re an existing fan of Ra Ra Rasputin, a fan of big beers in general, or just BA-curious, we can vouch for all five of the variations. Have you ever done a bottle share? It’s a great way to try several beers without a serious financial commitment. Consider getting some friends together to split a set of 2018 Ra Ras and figure out which are your favorites before going back for more. Tasting the same beer with 5 different treatments can also be an excellent beer education experience that shows just how much influence a single variable (barrel type in this case) can influence otherwise identical base beer. These will be available a week from tomorrow, Saturday, April 28th, at the brewery and in private stores in Halifax! Some bottles of the 2017 vintage are still around if you want to do a comparison and some tap accounts may see the 2017 version on tap to open craft beer week!

• And lastly in Big Spruce news is the release of another annual spring tradition, Cerberus Double IPA. Brewed this year with Tatamagouche Brewing and Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing, this is an organic beer whose recipe has been rejigged for 2018. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV, it’s described as “abundantly bitter and deeply aromatic,” with late-addition hops in “lip-smacking” quantities that produce a complex, yet balanced beer. Also new for this year is availability in cans. You’ll find them as of today at the private stores in Halifax and, we believe, at each of the participating breweries.

• Continuing with Tatamagouche Brewing, after more than a year’s hiatus, they’ve brought back Square One, their 6.2% ABV dry-hopped Saison. With a fairly simple grist made up mostly of Pilsner malt, with some Oats, Spelt, and Rye in there as well, it was bittered with Chinook to 32 IBUs, and dry-hopped with a blend of Citra, Hallertau Blanc and Amarillo, giving tons of fruity, citrusy goodness. Fermented with the New World Saison blend – which includes both Sacch and Brett – from Escarpment Labs, this year’s bottles have been bottle-conditioned to let the Brett funk develop further with time… so, buy some now to enjoy the hops, and cellar some to compare over the coming months! Don’t want to wait? Stillwell has a keg of this year’s batch AND one from the last batch, both of which will be tapped alongside one another today. For bottles, pick up yours at Tatabrew now, and at the private stores in the HRM next week.

• Halifax’s Garrison Brewing was among several breweries in the region to brew a beer with Angus Ross from Canadian Yeast producer Escarpment Labs and theirs is, we believe, the first to come ready. Country Road Farmhouse Ale was brewed with Honey from Wolfville’s Cosman & Whidden Honey and dry-hopped with modern German variety Huell Melon hops. Slightly funky from the use of the Brettanomyces-esque Saccharomyces strain known as Sacch Trois provided by Escarpment, and deliciously hoppy from the healthy dry hop, this is a refreshing beer at 6% ABV. In other Garrison news, their traditional spring seasonal maple beer has undergone a metamorphosis this year as Sugar Moon Maple Ale is now Sugar Moon Maple Porter! Featuring a base grist of Maritime Pale Ale, with Crystal,Chocolate and Amber Malts for color and character, it was hopped to 28 IBUs with Polaris. But the key ingredient, as always, is Maple Syrup from Sugar Moon Maple Farm in Earltown, NS. With dark and sweet flavors and an ABV of 6.3%, this is one to sip under a cold sugar moon as you anticipate the turn of Spring that will almost certainly happen any month now…

• Earlier this week, 2 Crows released another of their one-off, taproom-only beers, created by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop on the brewery’s pilot system. Great Plains is a 6.2% ABV, 22 IBUs American Wheat Ale brewed with a high percentage of Wheat malt to help boost the mouthfeel, as well as provide a dough-like character to the beer. Hopped with Falconer’s Flight and Mandarina Bavaria to give a burst of citrus, it was fermented with wine yeast and Brett C, lending “subtle grape and pineapple notes, as well as a small amount of funk”. If there’s any left, it’ll be available for by-the-glass only at 2 Crows; stop in today to give it a try before it’s gone!

• Not too far away, at Good Robot, you can expect the return of Awesome Beer, Great Job!, an “Autumn Saison” originally released by the brewery back in 2016, next Thursday. At 6.4% ABV and in the low-20s for IBUs, it has notes of plum, banana, and burnt sugar. For next week’s Beta Brew, Frank Robb from the Lion’s Head helped design Clifford the Big Red Brew, an American Amber Ale. Aiming to have lots of malt character and low bitterness, they went with Pale malt, Red X, Vienna, Crystal 60 L, and a “secret malt” in the grist, and threw in a little Green Bullet to get to about 18 IBUs. It should come in at about 4.5% ABV, and will be available on tap next Tuesday.

• It’s another second Friday (arguably, isn’t it always?), which means it’s time for another entry in Upstreet‘s Neon Friday, a series of hoppy beers. This week gives us West Coast Session IPA, a 5.5% ABV, 65 IBUs golden-coloured brew that was hopped solely with Falconer’s Flight. Some Melanoidin was included in the mash to provide a “nice, round malt finish”, complemented by the citrus character from the FF. You can find this one today at Upstreet and the Craft Beer Corner, and a couple of kegs may even be heading to Halifax. Upstreet is also releasing a limited number of bottles of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy with Spruce Tips, the next beer in their barrel-aged series, Million Acres. Head brewer Hogie made a concentrated spruce tip tea, which he blended with the 9.5% ABV beer at bottling, to help balance that massive malt character from the base beer. Bottles are available at both Upstreet and the CBC (the beer CBC, not the other one), and a small amount will also turn up in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

• If you live near/in, or are passing through Chester, Nova Scotia, drop by Tanner & Co. Brewing to give their new Saison a try. The grist was made up of Pilsner, Vienna, Munich and Wheat malt, with the wort being hopped in several stages with East Kent Goldings (a dry-hop addition was made with the same hop as well). Fermented with the lovely French Saison yeast, giving aromatics of pepper and lemon, the EKG additions also lend some earthy, spicy notes to the beer. The brewery describes the entire experience as having “flavours of lemon, honey, cereal, and roasted pear, with a dry finish”, which is definitely more eloquent than we would may have come up with! It’s available right now, and weighs in at 6.8% ABV and 34 IBUs.

• A blast from the not-so-distant past is back at Spindrift Brewing in Dartmouth’s Burnside Industrial Park. After brewing stints at Gahan Harbourside in Halifax and consulting to help get The Good Word Brewing up and running in Atlanta, Georgia, Kyle Jeppesen is back where he spent time as Quality Manager and Assistant Brewer earlier in his career. With a new brewer in the fold there are bound to be some changes and we’ve been advised that though Spindrift will remain a primarily lager brewery, some ales are definitely going to creep into full production. If you’re in attendance at the NS Craft Beer Week Full House event you’ll have a chance at a first taste of two new brews, the core Hurricane IPA and the seasonal Wheel House Radler. Look for more info on those in coming weeks. We’ll keep an ear to the ground for any other new brews or tweaks to existing brews as time goes on.

• Meanwhile, Steve Crane, Spindrift’s Assistant Brewer and Admiral of the Seventh Wave Pilot Batch Fleet has a new brew available today that he’s calling Fill Yer Boots. Born of a deal with Mother Nature to hasten the arrival of Spring (we think you might’ve been played there, Steve), it’s a lovely and light 4.0% ABV wheat-based beer bittered to a barely-there-but-you’d-miss-it-if-it-wasn’t 6.6 IBU and backed with a serious Blood Orange kick. As with all entries in the Seventh Wave series, this one is available for fills only at the brewery.

• The PEI Brewing Co. has brought us their latest IPA and After Hours entry, Snowbird Juicy IPA (just in time for most of Canada’s “snowbirds” to arrive back to give it a taste). This 6% ABV, light-coloured beer was brewed with the type of grist – Pale malt, Wheat, and Oats – that you just know will allow the hops to be the star of the show. The hops chosen for this one were El Dorado and Ella, giving big aromas of tropical fruit and floral/spice, with low bitterness in the finish. It’s available on tap at all the Gahan House locations (including Gahan House – Riverside, which just opened in downtown Fredericton earlier this week), and in cans in PEI and New Brunswick.

• And speaking of Gahan, we managed to track down the very busy Spencer Gallant, who has been splitting his time brewing at the Gahan locations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to find our what’s on next on tap at each location. Let’s start in Fredericton at the Riverside, with the first two beers brewed on their 5 BBL (600 litre) DME system debuting next week. The first is a 5.2% hoppy lager, with a malt bill of Belgian Pilsner malt and Oats, and features loads of Mosaic, Citra, and Columbus for hopping to about 30 IBUs, and plenty of flavour and character. The second beer is a 6.0% ABV mixed-grain IPA, with barley, oats, rye, and rice, featuring Azacca and Simcoe for a 45 IBU bitterness and flavour. Down Highway 7, you’ll find Gahan Port City, where Gallant brewed up a New England-style IPA, featuring Pale Ale and Wheat malts, and oats for a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and iconic haziness. Using Vermont Ale from Escarpment, and generously hopped with Amarillo, Vic Secret and Palisade. This 6.8% ABV beer will be debuting next week as well.

• Looks like Loyalist City is giving us their first new beer in some time, after weeks of brewing and packaging several of their core brands. Refraction is a Session IPA, a style that head brewer Mark McGraw has been working on tirelessly to pack in plenty of flavour and aroma, while keeping the mouthfeel from becoming too thin, always an issue with low-ABV beers. Well, low-ABV this beer is (4%), and with Perle and Citra used in the boil, and two dry-hop additions of Vic Secret, expect “an intense aroma of tropical fruit, with some awesome pineapple and passion fruit notes that are accompanied by moderate citrus aromas of grapefruit and tangerine”. Yellow and hazy, with a medium-light body, you can find it on tap only, at your favourite Loyalist City account.

• We’ve got the details on the latest release in the Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Company, which is coming out today. Mixed Berry & Pear is a 7% ABV sparkling cider that features a blend of strawberry, black currant, and Bosc pear juices with their signature dry cider. The black currants help darken the colour of the cider, as well as add tannins, resulting in a medium-bodied cider with a rose colour, and “vibrant notes of ripe strawberries and subtle hints of aromatic pear”. Drop by to get your fill, where $0.50 from each will help support The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay is taking a breather from the hoppy beers – for a moment, at least – with the release of Beans, their latest Coffee Stout. Returning to their earlier days by brewing what they describe as basically the same recipe as their Whitney Coffee Stout from 2014, Whitney Coffee is still featured in the brew, with a “slightly-adjusted technique of adding the coffee” to create a stronger coffee aroma. It comes in at 6.3% ABV and is available as of today, at the brewery, on tap and in cans. And look for their hugely popular Hu Jon Hops in the fridges of the four private stores in HRM in the next few days.

• Back to Nova Scotia, Annapolis Brewing Company has been brewing up a storm on their new 5 BBL (600 litre) system, preparing themselves for the warmer months, and the opening of their taproom next month. A 1500 square foot location, it will have seating for 60 people, and feature 20 taps (including 4 for nitro beers!), for a showcase of their own lineup, plus guest beers. They will be offering growler fills, 355mL stubby bottles (their first packaged product), and kegs to go, as well as merchandise. They are currently looking for craft beer and hospitality fans to join their taproom team on both a full- and part-time basis, so email them today! And look to their social media (Tw, FB, IG) Sunday for the fun as they join with the crew from Horton Ridge for a collaborative brew day, with all Maritime-grown malt and hops, to be released in time for the Craft Beer Farmers Market in Annapolis Royal, which opens for the season May 13th. We’ll have lots more details on the Market, and the beer, next month.

• As yet another school year starts to wind to an end, it’s the perfect time for some news from Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewing. First, Schoolhouse is the latest brewery to bring in mobile canning company Craft Coast Canning to fill 5 pallets worth of cans with their Principal Ale. You’ll see these in NSLC locations across the province by the end of the month with a pre-release event scheduled at the brewery for this coming Tuesday, April 24th. Brewer Leigh Davison has also been working on some tweaks to a couple of beers, with both Skratch Plaskett and Vice Principal IPA getting recipe re-works. The Skratch Plaskett now features organic Horton Ridge Wheat and Pilsner malts and is heavily hopped with Galena and New Zealand Summer hops; you’ll be able to try the new formulation of this “slightly hazy, subtly fruity, refreshing and easy drinking ‘Festival Ale'” in early May. And already on the market, and quickly becoming the brewery’s best seller, the latest batch of Vice Principal IPA has twice the hops of previous batches, with a heavy dose of Simcoe leading the way and Amarillo also in the mix yielding a piney and juicy hop character with “just the right amount” of bitterness. At 5.6% ABV it comes in a bit higher than previous batches, no longer fitting the Session IPA label. Regardless of classification, if it sounds like the kind of IPA you like to drink we recommend looking for it at the brewery.

• Last year, British Columbia’s Central City Brewing celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday by releasing Across the Nation, a variety of collaboration beers brewed with all ten provinces and two territories, each represented by one of their local breweries. Released as a 12-pack, it was extremely popular and the beers sold out quickly, and as a result, they’ve – luckily for us! – decided to do it all again for 2018! With this year’s 12-pack (which will be in 355 mL cans this time around) scheduled to be released in May, let’s get into what our regional breweries who were selected to participate have brewed up!

• New Brunswick (TrailWay) – Keeping true to form, the TrailWay folks brewed up something pale and hoppy with Central City, an American IPA named Three Beasts. The name refers to three of TW’s favourite hops to brew with, Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy, all of which were used in copious amounts. As with most of their beers, expect one with low bitterness, yet plenty of tropical fruit in the aroma and taste. And don’t worry if you’re anxious to try this one and don’t get to purchase a 12-pack… TW has assured us they will be brewing the same beer on their own system in the future, to be released sometime in June.

• Newfoundland (YellowBelly) – Brewmaster Liam McKenna of YellowBelly made the long trip West to Central City, and brewed up Me Ol’ Trout, a Cream Ale. Partially based on a previous collaboration McKenna had brewed with Australia’s Top Shed Brewery, this version is a new take on the style, with plenty of Mosaic hops used to keep you excited. At 4.8% ABV, 18 IBU, the Newfoundland-brewed release is currently available at the brewery and Takeaway shop, and in 1 litre bottles at select NLCs.

• Nova Scotia (2 Crows) – Jeremy Taylor travelled to Central City to brew Coast 2 Coast, an “Ancient Grain Rustic Saison”. Borrowing off an idea from one of his earliest small batch beers at 2 Crows, Sunny Days – a Brett Saison brewed with sunflower seeds – Jeremy concocted the recipe, taking a grist that included Flaked Rye and Spelt, and added a pretty-healthy percentage of malted sunflower seeds. It wasn’t long before everyone involved regretted that decision, however, as we can now confirm that sunflower seeds are a b**** to brew with. Let’s just leave it at that, emotions are still too high to get into details. Regardless, the resulting wort was fermented with Wallonian Farmhouse II (from The Yeast Bay), with Sacch Trois being pitched at roughly 60% attenuation as well. The goal is a 6.6% ABV beer with an “earthy, restrained ester profile, and a touch of rustic fruitiness”.

• PEI (Upstreet) – Moving from hops to Belgian to Lager, Upstreet certainly didn’t go with what most people think of when they hear the “L” word, with their collaboration, Singing Sands, being entirely different. Described as a “Salted Caramel Lager”, a high amount of Medium Crystal malt was used in the mash, with brown sugar and lactose added to the beer to up the sweetness even further. But they didn’t stop there! Salt, vanilla, and Cholaca (a pure liquid cacao) were also added, post-fermentation, giving you an idea of the flavours and aromas you can expect to experience with this beer. Upstreet plans on brewing their own batch of Singing Sands for a mid-May, draft-only release in Charlottetown.

If you’re wondering when and where all the Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week events will be, look for a separate post on those this coming week. Until then, here’s what’s happening in the next few days:

• This Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, and Picaroons is celebrating with the release of likely their most popular seasonal, Dooryard. Rather than just making this 4.5% ABV American Wheat Ale available to the masses, however, they’re holding a special Launch Party that involves more than just drinking beer. Starting at 11 am, you’ll be taking part in Clean Up Fredericton, where you’re encouraged to pick up trash around the city, before returning to the Picaroons Roundhouse for lunch. Then, at 2 pm, there’ll be plenty of live music thanks to the Flourish Festival, which will continue until the Roundhouse closes up shop for the day at 6 pm. Of course, beer will be available throughout the day, and Monks & Jonesie Gastro Truck will be on hand if you get hungry again. Your entry fee is by donation.