Saltbox Brewing

All posts tagged Saltbox Brewing

Well, we’re officially knee-deep into September now, and we have the perfect way to ring in the almost-last day of summer – the announcement of umpteen different returning Pumpkin Ales! Whether that brings you vast excitement or the urge to scream “Nooooooooooooooo……!” at the top of your lungs, there’s no avoiding it. But hey, there’s plenty of other new beers out there, too (including Octoberfests, natch), so let’s stop wasting time being smart about Pumpkin beers and just get into it, shall we?

Might as well dive in with one of those Oktoberfest releases, as the actual Oktoberfest in Germany starts tomorrow, and will run for a little over two weeks. That means Bannerman Brewing is releasing their Oktoberfest/Marzen, Safe Bet, just in time. This 5.5% ABV lager was brewed with a blend of Vienna, Pilsner, and Caramel malts, giving a copper-coloured beer that is “full-bodied, with a pleasant malt sweetness and nutty finish”. You can drop by the brewery in St. John’s to get your fix, where it’s available for pints and growler fills. 

Not to be outdone over in Nova Scotia, Boxing Rock has brewed up Equinox, a “classic Bavarian Lager”. With a grist made up of Pilsner malt, the wort was hopped in the boil with German hop varieties, keeping the beer as close to traditional as possible. After a lagering period at near-freezing temperatures, the final beer is now ready for purchase. Sporting “toasted bread flavours, and a soft spiciness”, as well as herbal notes thanks to the hops used, it finishes clean and dry and is mighty drinkable at 5% ABV. Available on tap and in bottles at the brewery in Shelburne, with bottles following at your local NSLC later in the fall. Also, the brewery’s Kolsch, Puck Off, is back, with their latest batch being released in six packs, each of which comes with a Boxing Rock hockey puck.

If you tend to lean towards the darker side when it comes to beer styles, and maybe you’re just a little over-hopped by all those IPAs and such that continue to be popular at the bars, you’ll be happy to hear that Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken a break from hoppy ales to release their first Stout in some time. Not your everyday stout, Snak-Pak was brewed with banana, chocolate, and vanilla! To be more specific in the details, once fermentation was complete, banana puree, Cholaca (a form of pure liquid cacao) and pure vanilla extract were all added, at different stages. This 5.5% ABV dark beer is “well balanced, but all three flavours can be picked up individually”. Curious? Drop by the brewery today when they open, and grab a pint/growler/cans to render your verdict. 

Elliston, Newfoundland’s fall festival, Roots, Rants and Roars, is happening today and tomorrow, and two of the province’s breweries have teamed up to brew a collaboration beer to celebrate! This “co-fermented” Kveik Ale, named Cellar Season,  was designed with festival organizers and Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi, and features a blend of PRB’s house Kveik (Ebbegarden) and QV’s house Kveik (Voss), both of which are from Escarpment Labs. This light-bodied Kveik beer came out with plenty of yeast character, including “banana, melon and clove on the nose, with spice, berry, melon, and orange on the palate”. Sounds pretty delicious to us! It weighs in at a moderate 5.4% ABV, and will be available at the festival this weekend. You’ll also be able to grab it on tap at the PRB taproom as of today, if you can’t make it to the festival (but you should!). 

Clarenville and Shoal Harbour are located just off of the Trans-Canada Highway where the Avalon, Burin, and Bonavista Peninsulas meet, and for those heading to the Roots, Rants, and Roar festival from St. John’s, a perfect stopping point. As such, the Newfoundland Cider Company located in the community has teamed up with the RRR festival to release the Roots, Rants and Roars Beet Cider. With Elliston being the root cellar capital of the world, it only makes to play on that and choose a veggie that is found in cellars across the province, and nation. The apple cider base underwent a wild fermentation, and was aged in oak barrels for 3 months. The matured cider was then infused with locally-grown (and -stored) beets before packaging. The result is a lovely rosé coloured cider with a semi sweet and balanced flavour. It is available at the Clarenville bottle shop as well as at the Festival. Be sure your Road to RRR includes a stop by NCC’s bottles shop or tasting room this weekend!

Upstreet has thrown down the gauntlet by announcing that today’s Neon Friday release will be the last new beer in their hoppy series of the year, so they’re under pressure to make it a good one! It IS their biggest Neon Friday to date, as Neon Friday 2.07: Hazy Double IPA is, well… a hazy DIPA. Guess the name kinda stole the blog thunder. But still, it IS a big beer at 8% ABV, and was mega-hopped with Cryo Simcoe, Ekuanot, and Amarillo, giving a very juicy brew with aromas of “fresh-cut pineapple, honeydew melon, and soft mint, as well as flavours of orange, lime, and banana”. Available right now at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner in all forms, and pints only in Nova Scotia. 

In Dieppe, NB, Flying Boats has just launched the latest in their Test Pilot one-off series, Test Pilot No. 6: New England IPA. The grist included a percentage of flaked wheat and oats, which help to add haziness, as well as boost the mouthfeel of the final beer. All hop additions were added in the whirlpool and dry-hop stages, and included large amounts of Vic Secret, Citra, and Mosaic. With 43 calculated IBUs, the beer has lots of tropical fruit flavours and aromas, and comes in at 6% ABV. Available at the brewery taproom in pints, growlers, and cans. 

While we’re in New Brunswick, let’s check in with another brewery that is releasing their take on the seasonal Oktoberfest style. Fredericton’s Grimross is today debuting their Oktoberfest Märzen-bier, a beer they’ve been lagering over the summer to have ready just in time for your home Oktoberfest celebrations (hey, drinking good beer at home is reason enough to celebrate, amirite?)! Brewed with a base of Munich malt, and fermented with the brewery’s house Lager strain, it was packaged after a 2 month lagering period. It’s showing off some “rich, toasted malty notes, with old world herbal hop flavour”, while remaining highly drinkable. Available at the brewery on tap and in cans, it comes in at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs. 

Speaking of Grimross, they are currently hiring for the position of Head Brewer. You can check out the full job posting here; of course, brewing experience at a senior level is a requirement. 

Before Hurricane Dorian made landfall in our region a couple of weeks ago, it caused major destruction and loss of life in the Carribean, with the Bahamas being particularly hard hit. With many Bahamians living, working, and going to school here in the Maritimes, there are many stories of tragedy of family and friends back home. This is very true for Gio Johnson, a brewer at Good Robot. In support of him and all those affected by the storm, Good Robot is dedicating their next release to raise awareness, and funds, for recovery efforts. Hope Nation Saison is a light-bodied Saison hitting the taps next week, featuring a bright lemony spritziness, a bit of spicy zing, and light fruit character. For those looking to contribute over and above the portion going from drinking a pint or filling a growler, the Rotary Club of East Nassau and Red Cross are two groups working tirelessly to rebuild the islands after the destruction.

From one of Halifax’s littlest breweries (motto: “we used to be smaller!”) comes a really big bastard of a beer this week, with Tidehouse releasing Mars. Featuring plenty of 2-row and Pilsner malts as a base, “massive” portions of chocolate, pale chocolate, standard and dehusked roasted barley, roasted wheat and flaked barley rounded out the malt side. While there’s a ton of dark specialty malts there you would expect to impart roasty and especially chocolatey flavors, we figure at least some chocolate flavor would also have come from the 198 Mars bars that were added at the end of the boil! But that’s not even all! Non-fermentable lactose was added to bump up the sweetness and the beer was finished with blackberries added at the end of fermentation. The result is an 11.5% ABV beer that’s darker than dark, with a slightly dry, tart and fruity finish to balance the sweetness. You’ll find it available on tap at the brewery starting today (but likely only for a little while), or take it to go in the traditional 650 mL bombers or much more reasonable “single serving” sized 340 mL bottles (yay!)

Every year, tens of thousands of folks descend on Southeastern PEI to check out the 70 Mile Yard Sale. This year’s event takes place this weekend, and what better excuse do you need to release a new beer? Montague’s Copper Bottom has created the way to toast the day’s great finds with 70 Mile Yard Ale, a 5.0% ABV American Wheat Ale. Brewed with 2-row, wheat, and acidulated malt, it was lightly hopped to 15 IBUs with Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo, and Centennial. Light-bodied, refreshing af, and thanks to the addition of orange peel, bright citrus notes shine through as well, to complement the aromas of bread dough. The beer will be launching tomorrow at the 70 Mile HQ at Wood Islands Village, as well as at the taproom with a kick-off event beginning at 3 PM. Mellow Dough will be on hand slinging donuts, PEI Pop Stand will have their gourmet popsicles, and DJ Logan Roche will be spinning some tunes to soothe while you count your new treasures. Download the booklet to plan your attack of the yard sales in the region! After the release, it will be available on draught and in cans at the brewery, as well as at bars around Charlottetown.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s favourite brewery has brought back a local favourite that is sure to sell out before you know it. Niche Brewing has been playing in the New England style with plenty of hazy and hoppy offerings, and they’ve got a fresh batch of Intergalactic back on tap in the Capital region, and beyond, this week. At 4.9% ABV, the alcohol may not be high, but the flavour is, thanks to massive additions of Citra and Mosaic added late in boil, and then dry-hopped with more Mosaic as well as Galaxy. Tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and citrus shine through, with the hazy-friendly yeast blend keeping the smooth mouthfeel and restrained bitterness in check. We’ve seen that it’s now pouring at The Joyce in Fredericton and soon at Pepper’s Pub in Saint John, with more kegs hitting the taps in the near future.

As we mentioned above, this is the time of year when we start to see one of the most polarizing phenomena in the brewing industry: pumpkin (spice) beer. Whether you’re a fan of it or not, you can’t deny the simple fact that if these beers didn’t sell nobody would make them. This week we had word of at least 4 (tasty treats/abominations) hitting the taps and/or shelves, all of them return engagements. We thought we’d put them all in one place so it’s easy to (get the news you really want/skip the section). We know the 902BrewCast guys will appreciate that; in fact, let’s call this The 902BrewCast Pumpkin Beer Roundup!! And be sure to check out their September Tasting Episode coming this Tuesday when they feature a totally non-polarizing style, Pilsner! So without further ado, here’s the first batch from the pumpkin patch:

  • A long time favourite for fans of the gourd is Propeller Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale. Using real pumpkins (from Howard Dill’s world famous variety from the Valley), the blend of seasonal spices accent the brew to be a true pumpkin pie in a glass. The 5.0% ABV beer is available at both Prop Shops and the private stores this week, and at the NSLC in the next little while.
  • Nine Locks have been making their Harvest Pumpkin Ale for quite a few years now, and this dark, full-bodied amber ale is a favorite with their customers. Both pumpkin and pumpkin spice are paired with a malty backbone and a crisp finish that’s perfect for Autumn. Available at the brewery for sure, we also see an NSLC listing, although we’re not sure if that’s from last year or for this year, so be sure to check ahead before making any plans to procure it from there!
  • Brasseurs Petit Sault way up in Edmundston has their Bonhomme Sept-heures back on tap this week. A big’un at 8.5% ABV and featuring a suitably seasonal spooky label, this coppery-colored amber ale has hints of caramel and a bit of biscuit sweetness to go along with the familiar pumpkin spices. Get a pint at the brewery or take a bottle (or more!) to go, it will also see distribution in select ANBL stores over the coming weeks.
  • Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewing has their Pumpkin Paddler back as well. Named for the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta, which sees participants paddling giant hollowed-out gourds from the Dill Family Farm across Lake Pisiquid. Unfortunately, due to a terrible growing season and Hurricane Dorion, there weren’t enough 6 – 800 lb pumpkins to hold the regatta this year, but there was enough of a crop to make the beer! Featuring both real pumpkin and the brewmaster’s secret pumpkin spice blend, you’ll be able to wax poetic about Pumpkin Paddles past while enjoying one. Find it on tap and in bottles at the brewery and at select private stores in the city.

The Brewnosers homebrew and beer appreciation club has been around since 1986, advocating for better beer and respect for beer, before some of us were even born. What started with four guys in a kitchen sharing beers has evolved into a group of hundreds who are still sharing beers and homebrew recipes, and advancing the state of good beer in the region. Saturday, September 21st, marks the group’s Hoptoberfest event, where members get to show off their latest brews in a relaxed and fun environment. And it is open to the public! In addition to the beer (so much beer!!), there will be hop- and beer-infused sausages from Cavvicchi’s meats, as well as veggie and vegan snacks (and you are encouraged to bring your own). It is taking place at a private residence on the Halifax peninsula (please check out the forum link for further details). There is no cost to attend, a donation for the meal is requested. If you are looking to chat beer, try some great homebrew, and have a fun evening (pop by any time after 4 PM), we can think of no better place to be! And for those who do make it out for a visit, Hammerhead Hops, a local hop supplier, will be graciously donating a pack of 2019 Canadian Cascade hops for your next brewday!

Old school gamers rejoice: this weekend the Propeller Arcade Levels Up! As we mentioned last week, for one weekend only they’ve expanded the arcade out onto the brew floor, bringing in lots of extra cabinets and games not otherwise on site. Open from 4 PM today and tomorrow, and for the first time, noon Sunday for a Family Day, with food from Hopyard Halifax. We’ll see you there! And don’t forget that Propeller holds a Cask Night every Friday, where they tap a small-batch experiment that the brewers have tried. This week’s new one is their Tropical Sour truly cask-conditioned, allowing a milder carbonation to finish the beer. 

Good news, Woodstock (NB) beer drinkers: the 3rd annual First Town Craft Beer Festival is happening tomorrow, September 21st. This year’s event is one evening session only (6:30-9:30pm), and will be held at a new location, at 205 Tamarack St. They expect to have around 25 vendors on site to pour their products, which include beer, cider, mead, wine, spirits, and coolers. Your ticket will get you unlimited pours for the evening, and there will also be food trucks on site, as well as plenty of games to take part in while you’re imbibing. This year’s festival will also include the debut of Carleton County’s own Cross Creek Brewing, who will be launching with five beers, all of which should be available at the event; be sure to drop by their booth to be one of the first to try their brews! Tickets to the event are still available; the VIP ticket gets you in an hour earlier, and also gives you free admission to the After Party with Wisecracker, which includes a cash bar and continues until 1 am (pace yourselves!).

The annual PEI Beer Festival is happening next weekend, September 27th & 28th, in Charlottetown at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel. With 35 vendors attending, there will be a wide variety of beer and cider to suit your “needs”. There are three sessions: Friday evening 6:30-9:30pm, and two on Saturday (2-4:30pm and 6:30-9:30pm); check out this link to go over your ticket options and prices (note that there are designated driver tickets available as well). While you can buy tickets at the door, there is a strong possibility that some or all sessions will sell out in advance, and tickets are slightly cheaper if you purchase them beforehand. There will also be food available for purchase at the event (including oysters), to keep your tummies full to absorb some of that sweet, sweet alcohol.

Not to be outdone by their peers along Highway 101 who have now done two Highway 101 Tap Takeover events, the brewers and breweries of Highway 103 have announced their own event, the Highway 103 Tap Takeover and Tailgate, happening next Saturday, September 28th, from 4 PM to 8 PM at Boxing Rock’s new taproom on Water Street in Shelburne. Featuring the fine folks and beers from the hosts along with Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing Co, Chester’s Tanner & Co Brewing, Mahone Bay’s Salt Box Brewing Co, Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing Co, and Tusket Falls Brewing Co out of Tusket, the party will be tailgate style in the parking lot. Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 if you wait and pay at the door) from the Boxing Rock web store and entitle you to 8 four ounce samples and a commemorative tasting glass. There will also be food available for purchase, games, live music, and more!

Now that Newfoundland is approaching a critical mass of craft breweries, it seems only fitting that we’re starting to see more beer-related events popping up there. Next weekend will see a whole weekend’s worth of events going on at the 1st Annual Oktoberfest.NL event presented by the City of Mount Pearl along with YellowBelly Brewery and taking place at the Reid Community Centre. Starting with the Craft’ernoon Experience on Saturday, September 28th, from 2 PM to 5 PM you’ll find beers from Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co, Dildo Brewing, Landwash Brewery, Ninepenny Brewing, Port Rexton Brewing, Quidi Vidi Brewing, and, of course, YellowBelly as well. Tickets are $29.75 (plus taxes and fees) per person and entitle the bearer to four 5 oz samples and a soft pretzel. Later Saturday evening and into the night is Rocktoberfest, starting at 7 PM, where YellowBelly brews will be pouring along with wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages while Miss Conduct and 709 take the stage to provide live music. Prizes will also be awarded for the best Oktoberfest costume. Tickets for this event are $24.75 (plus taxes and fees) and include one 16 oz YellowBelly brew. And Sunday morning, if you’re not too done in from the afternoon and evening before, starting at 11 AM and going to 2 PM is a family-friendly brunch prepared by YellowBelly and with entertainment from The Swinging Belles. Brunch is included in ticket prices ($19.75 for adults, $9.75 for children, plus taxes and fees) and bar service is available. All tickets, including some combos (Craft’ernoon + Rocktoberfest, Craft’ernoon + Brunch, Rockoberfest + Brunch) are available online.

We have been spouting the community and economic benefits of breweries and cideries revitalizing smaller communities for years, with too many shining examples to mention here. In all four provinces of the region, there are stories of brewery owners moving to (or moving back to) a small town with other businesses, and residents, growing around them, supporting and growing each other. This is seeing amazing effects in Newfoundland especially, with breweries on both sides of the island, and soon Labrador, spawning new businesses, jobs, and vitality. As part of the Sustainable Communities Conference, put on by Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and North Atlantic Forum, there will be a public panel event with members of the brewing and distilling community, as well as those researching and assisting with funding, discussing the impact of these businesses in small towns. Held at The Stone Jug at 232 Water Street in Carbonear, the “Craft Breweries & Distilleries as Drivers of Rural Development” panel takes place 1:00 – 2:45 PM on Thursday, October 3rd. The event is free to attend, though the organizers do request registering in advance. It will be a casual environment, with local beer available for purchase, and a lively discussion and Q&A. And giving those in the region a good excuse to get out of town for some sight seeing around the Bay (and the many breweries in the region!).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The weather has certainly taken a turn for the better this week, with patios and beer gardens open more than closed this week! The final couple days of PEI Craft Beer Week are upon us, with events at all 8 Island breweries (no, not 5, PEILCC!), so let’s kick off the week with the latest news from the Fair Isle.

PEI’s Upstreet has been in operation now for close to four years; Gahan, originating and still operating on the Island, for much longer. It’s taken awhile, but the two have finally come together to brew their first collaboration beer, and they’re hoping you will find it worth the wait! Appropriately named, About Time was brewed with Pilsner, raw wheat, and rye in the grist. Hopped (and dry-hopped) with Czech Saaz and Kazbeck, as well as Cascade, it was fermented with a Brettanomyces blend, as well as a Kveik strain. The hazy, yellow beer finished at 5% ABV and 19 IBUs, and has aromas of “fresh hops, lemon zest, fresh mown grass, and undertones of wet hay”, with lots of herbal spice and citrus in the flavour. This one will be available only on tap; you can find it at Upstreet and the Craft Beer Corner, as well as Gahan locations…

In even more Gahan/PEI Brewing Co. news, it looks like they’re releasing another in the series of their bottled Brett beers; you may remember Patience, a dry-hopped Saison with Brett, which was originally released a couple of years ago. Their latest beer, Persistence, follows the same line – it’s also a dry-hopped Saison with Brett – although it definitely has its differences! Persistence was fermented entirely with Brettanomyces (Patience had Brett added for a secondary fermentation) and features a dry hop with a very large amount of Citra. Look for notes of tropical fruit and light funky character in this 6.0% ABV high carb, dry beer. Bottles are available now at the PEIBC and Gahan shops, and at several PEILCC locations across the province. And this week is the kick-off of their Growlers of Summer series of beers, special brews only available at the PEI Brewing Company and Beer Station at the North River Causeway for growler fills, natch. This week’s release is Margarita Gose, a 5.2% ABV beer that was originally released about a year ago. Tart and salty, this take on a Gose has an addition of tequila-soaked lime and orange zest. Crisp and refreshing, grab your growler(s) at the PEIBC taproom starting today at 4pm, or at the North River Causeway.

Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing has a brand new kettle sour hitting taps and shelves starting today, just in time for a sunny weekend (kinda). Blueberry Sour was brewed with a simple grist of 2-row (from PEI’s own Island Malt House) and a healthy percentage of wheat malt. Soured with Lactobacillus, and hopped very lightly with Centennial, an addition of over 100 kg of wild blueberry puree (from local Terry’s Berries) is what gives this aptly-named beer its bright purple colour. Lots of blueberry in the flavour, the tartness helps the 5% ABV brew from being too sweet. Grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery today; it should follow at a few PEILCC stores later on in the summer.

Turning to the latest Island Brewery, Bogside Brewing has been welcoming visitors for the past week, serving up some authentic low and slow BBQ thanks to Chef Dave Mottershall (including Pork2BeerFest from 4:00 PM today!). While they’ve been waiting for their beer to be ready, they’ve had a variety of Island ciders and beers on tap. Well, your patience will soon be rewarded, as the final pieces of their serving equipment is almost onsite, which means you’ll soon be able to enjoy Brewer Mark Patriquin’s brews. Keep an eye on their social media (Fb/IG/Tw) for the release details, but you’ll be able to their Session IPA, Hefeweizen, and Brown Ale within the next week, and we’ll have a full Profile with them early next week.

Big Spruce has never been a brewery accused of lack of experimentation, and they’re keeping that up with the latest entry in their experimental hop series of IPAs. This 7.9% ABV brew is named Makes ¢¢¢¢ (considering the first beer in the series was simply named $$$$, you shouldn’t be too surprised!), and features the experimental hop HBC-644 (don’t worry, if the variety catches on it’ll eventually have a much sexier name). The final product is showing plenty of apricot and nectarine in the aroma, with “notes of ripe mango and summer strawberry”, and some pink grapefruit zest on the palate, all with a piney finish. Considering the enthusiasm from beer drinkers for $$$$, this one has a lot to live up to, and it sounds like it may have accomplished that feat! Judge for yourselves… swing by Big Spruce for a taste/growler, or check out one of their many licensees if you’re not in the Cape Breton area.

Couple new beers coming your way this week and next from Good Robot, the first being their collaboration with the Anchor City Rollers, Thick Thighs Save Lives. This American Pale Ale comes in at 5.3% ABV and 39 IBUs, and is described by the brewery as “superbly crushable, with a great bracing bitterness”. Next week’s release is another collaboration, this one with a brewery, and a brewery that pretty much all of us will recognize – Quebec’s Trou du Diable. Beelzebot! Is another APA, but brewed with an addition of spruce tips straight outta Shawinigan (TdD’s home town), and fermented with a Kveik yeast strain. The beer is tasting fruity, with a good amount of spruce popping through in the aroma. It comes in at 6.66% ABV and 47 IBUs; you’ll have to pop by the source (read: Good Robot) to give it a try.

Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing is bringing back their very popular La Saison du Nord Saison, but have made some changes to the yeast and hops to switch up the beer. Released to celebrate the lobster fishers in Northern NB, this version of the Saison still weighs in at 7.0% ABV, but features the New World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs, which contains both Sacc and Brett. After fermentation was completed, the beer was dry-hopped with European Saaz and New Zealand Motueka. The resultant beer is a true blend of the contribution from the yeast, malt, and hops, with fruity, funky, spicy, and earthy notes, on a dry beer with plenty of refreshing zip. Grab it on tap at Euston Park Social Beer Garden and CAVOK Brewing.

Shelburne’s Boxing Rock is back in action in their Halifax Test Kitchen with a couple of new beers to tell you about, one on tap now and one in the works. Already pouring at Local Source is Shoreline SMaSH, a 5% Pale Ale. By now most dedicated blog readers already know that a “SMaSH” is a “single malt and single hop” beer that shows off the best of both. In this case the grist is composed entirely of malt from PEI’s Shoreline Malting Company; the hop is the grandaddy of American hop varieties, Cascade, known for its citrus, floral, and spicy character (sourced from Ontario’s Clear Valley Hops). You’ll find this one a pleasant and easy-drinking brew with low bitterness and a full mouthfeel, perfect for outdoor drinking on a warm day in late spring. The beer yet to come was inspired and co-brewed by Halifax beer writer Kim Hart Macneill. A Belgian Blonde Ale with peaches, it sounds perfect for patio drinking if summer ever comes. We expect to have more details about this one closer to its release, but for now the folks at Boxing Rock are appealing for name suggestions for this one. Slide into their social media DMs to give them your best ideas that aren’t “Peachy Keen.”

Another week with a new Shipwright beer release (that’s at least a few in a row, no?), a West Coast IPA named after one of many British ships carrying the first IPAs to England, HMS Hop Bombay. Hopped heavily with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe, expect obvious notes of grapefruit and pine throughout, with a firm bitterness to finish it all off. Grab pints and growlers (and crowlers!) of this 6.6% ABV, 60 IBUs IPA at the brewery this weekend; you can also likely find it on tap at the local The Grand Banker.

Twillingate is known around Newfoundland as one of the best places in Iceberg Alley to spot bergs. While there, you will most definitely need to stay hydrated, which means a visit to Split Rock Brewing is certainly in order. They are kicking off their summer sour series this week with their Sour Patch B’ys: Mosaic. This 3.4% ABV kettle sour has a medium acidity, with plenty of tropical fruit (think pineapple and mango) from the generous dry-hopping of Mosaic. They also have a pair of new IPA on tap these days, both worth checking out while in the taproom. Skipper D’s is a 6.8% ABV IPA, featuring Cascade and Amarillo hops, used heavily both late in the boil and in dry-hopping, concentrating on flavour and aroma notes, rather than bitterness. And celebrating the impromptu Sunday jam session that often fills the taproom, Sunday Session IPA is a 4.3% ABV light IPA with plenty of late Chinook, Citra, and Mosaic hops for pine, mango, and citrus character. Grab your guitar, mandolin, or squeeze box, and pop by for a session!

Let’s get you up to speed with what’s on the go this weekend…

The Inaugural PEI Craft Beer Week is entering its final weekend, which saw all of the breweries in the province taking part in the celebration of beer releases and events. Today, Bogside is celebrating Pork2BeerFest from opening at 4:00 PM, Copper Bottom is celebrating their Sour Blueberry release, Evermoore is hosting live music and continues their Island Tap Takeover, Gahan is holding PEI Tap Takeovers with guest taps gracing their draught all day, PEIBC is hosting a Cask & Comedy event starting at 7:00 PM, and Upstreet is celebrating with an Island Tap Takeover, as well as debuting this year’s release of Go Devil IPA. Saturday sees multiple live music events at the taprooms around the province, giving you yet another excuse to get out and visit. Check the details on the PEICBW site! And celebrating the end of the week, Moth Lane Brewing is releasing a new Pale Ale named Last Kick at the Can on Sunday. Look for more details from their Facebook page.

If you’re in the environs of Pleasantville on Saturday, June 8th, and you like a bit of cidery goodness, you could do worse than grabbing a ticket for the Newfoundland Ciderfest. Brought to you by the same folks behind the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival and taking place at the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 56, Pleasantville. Doors open at 7:00 PM and inside you’ll find 45 ciders from 14 producers, both big and small, old and new, from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, BC, and Denmark. Tickets are $65 plus taxes and fees, and include all your tasting samples, an event passport, live entertainment, and a tasting glass to take home. Food will also be available for purchase. Grab a ticket online and get your cider on.

Halifax’s The Carleton has another entry in their Craft Draught Showdown series of friendly beer pairing competitions coming up on Thursday, June 13th, at 7:00pm. As always, you’ll get 5 courses from The Carleton’s Chef Michael Dolente, each paired with two 4 oz pours, one from each of two breweries. Diners will vote on which beers they enjoyed the most and at the end of the night a winner will be announced. This edition of the event will feature two breweries from Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Mahone Bay’s Saltbox and Liverpool’s Hell Bay. Tickets for the event are $60 + tax ($69 all-in) and include gratuity; they’re available online from the event page on The Carleton’s website, which also includes information about the dishes that will be served.

Those who were excited to read about the NL Ciderfest above but were lamenting being in Halifax instead of St. John’s need not fret too much, as there’s a similar event coming up more locally. The Curated Guide is presenting their 3rd annual East Coast Ciderfest next weekend, Saturday, June 15th, at the Halifax Forum Multi-purpose Centre. Two sessions are scheduled, afternoon and evening, but if you haven’t got your tickets already you’ll want to act quickly, as the evening session (6 – 9 PM)  is officially sold out and the afternoon session (1 – 4 PM) is already at 90%! Tickets (available online through the link above) are $35 plus taxes and fees (another $6.25) and include 12 sample tickets and a tasting glass to take home, with additional tickets and food available for purchase on-site. There will be ciders pouring from 19 different Nova Scotia producers as well as a couple from New Brunswick as well. Designated Driver tickets are $10 and are available at the door.

Have you been keeping tabs on the new brewery and tap room build by North Brewing on Portland Street in Dartmouth? We know we have. But somehow it slipped by us (and maybe you too) that, in the grand tradition of Dartmouth, they’ve built themselves a Cold Beer Store!! Scheduled to open next weekend, official hours will be Wednesdays to Sundays, 12 – 7 PM. To celebrate this fabulous development they’ve got a big celebration going on next Saturday, June 15th. Starting at noon will be a BBQ fundraiser for Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum featuring hot dogs and veggie dogs from North friend and partner Side Hustle Snackbar (which will be opening onsite later in the summer). Since it’s Father’s Day that weekend, they’ll be bringing in a bouncy castle from 12 – 3 PM that will be free of charge so you can let the kids run out some energy while you grab a hot dog and your beer-to-go. North would love to have their new neighbours in the area stop by and see what they’re all about, as well as friends and fans from around HRM and beyond. But wait, there’s MORE!! What better way to celebrate the opening of a cold beer store than by releasing a new beer for folks to buy? We do Helium, Lighter Than Air is an ultralight ale weighing in at only 3.5% ABV, with Pilsner malt and flaked corn in the grist and a bright element from lemon and lime zest. This will be a full release, with cans available on Saturday at both the new spot as well as their retail counter at Battery Park on Ochterloney, as well as draught around the city. Congrats to the North Brewing team on this latest development and we look forward to even more good times when the Tap Room is finished!

Just a few more new and returning beers this weekend.

Grimross has brought back their Bishop Belgian IPA, which will be available at the brewery in cans and on tap starting today. This 6% ABV, 50 IBUs brew is hopped and dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc, Mandarina Bavaria, and Amarillo; expect spicy phenolics in addition to pineapple, orange, resin, and bubblegum.

Niche has a new batch of their Day Tripper back in circulation, a Belgian Tripel at 8.4% ABV that’s hopped with the classic noble hop Saaz. Look for spicy phenolics, fruity esters, and a dry finish to go along with a little bit of alcohol warmth. This one is being sent out to tap accounts in New Brunswick only at this point.

Tatamagouche Brewing knows how to time a beer release, as they’re re-releasing Cellar Slammer (4.4% ABV), arguably one of the finest Session IPAs brewed in our region. Hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic, giving lots of juicy citrus flavours, it’s refreshing and delicious, and extremely drinkable. Did we mention delicious?

Tuskets Falls Brewing is currently pouring an “Experimental IPA” at the brewery; we’re light on the details, but we can tell you it’s a 6.4% ABV NEIPA with lemon and lime rind added. If you’re nearby the brewery, you can stop in to give it a try this weekend!