Sea Level Brewing

All posts tagged Sea Level Brewing

So, ok, we’re a bit late today, but hey, Christmas IS only a few days away, and when you throw in work getting busier, staff parties being inconveniently scheduled for Thursday evenings, and just the general crap-storm that is preparing for the holidays, on top of a seemingly-extra large amount of brewery news/new beers, it’s tough! Ok, that’s enough wallowing in self pity for today. A note that this is the last Friday Wrap-Up for us this year, as we’ve decided to take a little break next week. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media as we will be pushing out a Profile or two (fingers crossed!), as well as shorter blurbs as we learn of new releases to share. We’ll definitely have a full post Friday January 4th, as we begin our 8th (EIGHTH!!) year of bringing you the freshest beer news from across Atlantic Canada. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Let’s start the news rolling this week with some fantastic news from the west coast of Newfoundland. Port au Port East is located on the outskirts of Stephenville, 2 hours from the Port aux Basques ferry terminal to the mainland. Located at 92-96 Main Street in Port au Port East is Secret Cove Brewing, which opened its doors yesterday for the first time. Operating a brewery and taproom in the former Viking Lounge location, they have four beers for enjoyment onsite and to take away in growlers: James Blonde 00709 Belgian Blonde, Malt Water Joys Brown, When in Stout Stout, and Hard Case in your Face DIPA. The brewery is open today and tomorrow 4 – 11 PM, with Sunday’s, and beyond’s, hours to be determined. Drop by to welcome the newest of your Island breweries to open, and we will share a full Profile with Secret Cove very soon! Congratulations Jason and Sheila! This marks the 5th brewery to open in Newfoundland in 2018, bringing the number across the Island to 13.

In other great news for breweries opening in our region, we mentioned a few weeks ago that Sussex Ale Works had opened their taproom on Main Street in Sussex. This week, for the first time, they have been able to serve their own house-made beers on tap and to go in growlers. Their first beer is Who’s Your Daddy Red Ale, a 6.8% Red Ale featuring 20 IBUs. It is complementing their all-New Brunswick offerings, including local Matchstick Beer Factory’s Matchstick Pale Ale, Long Bay’s Full Pleasure Passonfruit Sour, and several from Hammond River, Maybee, Niche, and Graystone, as well as Yip Cider. Look for more from Sussex Ale Work’s own 1 BBL (120 litre) brewhouse in the New Year, including their Holstein Milk Stout, and Picadilly Pale Ale. Congratulations Rick and family!

Back to the Rock for the next new beer to hit the taps, we’ve got Home and Away American Pale Ale from Landwash Brewery. Located in Mount Pearl, this is Landwash’s first release since their launch earlier this month. This 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale is a tribute to the iconic style which helped fuel the North American beer renaissance. Featuring loads of American Cascade and Citra hops, the aroma and palate are full of orange and grapefruit character, with bitterness to balance the malt. Home and Away is available on tap for pints and flights now, and for growlers to take away, along with their core lineup of beers.

Off Tracking Brewing in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and are releasing a couple of new beers to celebrate, as well as a special collaboration with a brewing pal. First up is Charles in Charge, a hopped-up version of their 5.0% ABV Good Grief Charlie Brown Brown Ale, increasing the hopping rate to more than 50 IBU. They are also releasing Frank Citra-Natra, a 4.7% ABV American Pale Ale, featuring nothing but, you guessed it, Citra hops (to the tune of 40 IBU).

These two new Off Track beers are gracing the newly-expanded tap offerings, which now sits at 15, and also includes a few guest offerings. The latest collaboration-guest-hybrid beer to hit the chalkboard is the first from Sackville brewery Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse in several months, Funktown American Pale Ale. Brewed with OBB owner Keith Forbes at Off Track, this 5.1% ABV APA features loads of Centennial and Falconers Flight hops for a floral, lemon, and grapefruit character on the nose and flavour, with a light body and clean and dry finish. Grab a flight or pint, and then take a growler to go to enjoy in front of your holiday tree.

And in more Off Track news, they are keeping with the tradition of being open regular hours (Thursday through Sunday) during this holiday time, including next Monday and Tuesday (Christmas Eve and Christmas), 12 – 6 PM. If you need a break from the family, you’ll be sure to find some friends in the same boat there next Tuesday! They’ll also be open 12 – 6 PM on New Year’s Eve. And while you’re there, check out their new line of bottles, with their Crash Course IPA, Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout, Alias Pale Ale, Universal Soldier Kolsch, and Not About You ESB all available in singles or 4-packs.

The elves over at 2 Crows have been extra busy lately, as we’ve got three new beers to report this week, two of which will be hitting your mouth this weekend. The big release today at noon is Waltz, a 5.5% ABV, 22 IBUs German Pilsner. Brewed with 100% German Pilsner malt, no shortcuts were taken in brewing this one to style. Using de-aerated brewing water, a low oxygen brewing environment (don’t worry, no one passed out!), and a multi-step mash, let’s just say the brew day was a little longer than usual. Hopped with German varieties (Huell Melon, Hallertau Blanc, and Saphir), it was then fermented with the classic German Lager strain, Weihenstephan, and then allowed to lager for more than 8 weeks. Sounds like the wait/hard work was worth it, with the final product being “beautifully crisp, doughy, with some lovely lemony and herbal notes”. The good news is there’s lots of this one, as it was a full 40 bbl batch, so you can find it on tap and in cans at 2C today, and it should also be hitting the local private stores soon.

You could always wait to head to 2 Crows tomorrow, when you’ll be able to grab one of the very few bottles of Razzle Dazzle, a “Champagne Brett Lager”. Brewed nine months ago with Pilsner malt and rice, the wort was hopped with Hallertau Blanc in the boil to just 12 IBUs. It was then fermented with the Weihenstephan strain, lagered for 7 weeks… and then that’s when things got a bit weird! They added glucoamylase and Brett C, and allowed the beer to condition for another 5 months, where it was finally packaged in 750 mL cork-and-caged bottles, with Champagne yeast. It’s tasting “super dry, crisp, and funky, with notes of pineapple, hay, and pear”. It finished at 6.1% ABV, and if you’d like to try it, get there when they open… there’s only about 90 bottles or so available, and there is a 2 bottle-per-person limit.

And finally, 2 Crows has got one more humdinger dropping next Saturday, and were kind enough to give us the inside scoop early on Biere de Champagne. Follow along with this one closely, it ain’t the simplest beer. Originally brewed over a year ago, in October, 2017, it started off as two beers: 1) a lower-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, and fermented with TYB207 (a Brett brux strain), and 2) a high-ABV beer brewed with Pilsner malt and Nova Scotia honey, and fermented with Omega All The Bretts (that’s a blend of at least 10 Brett strains!), and Champagne yeast. After both beers fermented out, they were blended and bottled in Champagne bottles, and dosed with Champagne yeast and priming sugar, aiming for a carbonation of 6.8 vol CO2 (for those of you not in the know, that is a LOT of carbonation… your typical APA or IPA is likely somewhere around 2.5). Head brewer Jeremy Taylor can do a better job of explaining the next long process: “The bottles were conditioned horizontally for 2 months, then very gradually moved until they were sitting cap-down, riddling them every day or so over a period of many months. The beers were then chilled for several days, then the neck of the bottles was super chilled with dry ice; we removed the cap and shot out the yeast plug that had settled in the neck, then bottles were corked and caged.” Yikes! Sounds like it came out tasty, extremely effervescent (ya think?!) with “big honey notes, funky, cantaloupe, earthy”, 8.4% ABV. Releasing next Saturday (Dec 29) at 2C, there’s only 140 bottles available.

If you were a fan of Propeller’s recent one-off NEIPA, Galaxy (and we’re guessing those of you who tried it ARE fans of it, considering it’s currently the brewery’s highest-rated beer on Untappd), we’re sad to say that it is now sold out. On the upswing, they do have another once-a-one-off IPA returning, Skyrocket DIPA. Showcasing the experimental Skyrocket hop variety (related to Chinook) from the Gorst valley, it was originally brewed as a Gottingen small batch brew in January, and is now returning in cans. This 8% ABV beer is “intensely aromatic, with big, beautiful notes of mango, papaya, and pineapple”. Look for it at your nearest Propeller location! We should also mention that today’s cask release is Russian Imperial Stout, with smoked black tea, which gives the already-big-and-bold beer a “powerful smoky aroma and flavour”.

In Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing has two releases for you this week. The first is a beer, Storm Surge, that they’re referring to as a “Maritime Ale”. They describe it as a 5.4% ABV brew that is “a prime example of a malt-forward beer, beautifully balanced by the subtle, spicy citrus of hops”. We’re guessing something along the lines of an American Pale Ale, perhaps? Either way, you’ll have to try it yourself to decide for sure; you can stop by and grab a growler right now. They’ve also just released a cider, Backyard Cider, which is made up of 100% Heirloom Gravenstein apples (grown locally in NS). Exhibiting “a balance of sweet and tart”, just like the apple that it came from, it finishes dry and crisp with floral notes. Also available in growlers, both Backyard Cider and Storm Surge should be making an appearance in cans in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that.⠀

With the changing of the seasons, Meander River is giving us a changing of the seasonals. The latest in their Farm Cider series is First Frost, which will be taking over from Fall’s offering, Dusty Road. Made from the freshest press of the year’s apple harvest, it’s a 5.5% ABV cider that’s citrusy, tart and juicy while being very dry. Scheduled for release on the first day of Winter (hey, that’s today!), you’ll be able to grab some this weekend at the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, and it will also go on tap at Tusket Falls, Stubborn Goat, Battery Park and Chain Yard.

Summerside, PEI’s Evermoore Brewing has a new offering that started pouring earlier this week. Called Smokey Double IPA it’s exactly what the name indicates, a double IPA with a touch of smokey character thanks to some smoked flaked barley in the grist. On the hop side, it features Brewer’s Gold, Hallertau Blanc, and Amarillo in the kettle during the boil before being hit with Simcoe and Tettnanger in the whirlpool. At 8% ABV and 60 IBU it’s a bigger beer and fairly bitter. You’ll find it at Evermoore’s taproom at 192 Water Street if you fancy a taste.

You may recall that in celebration of their 20th Anniversary last year, Garrison released XXX IPA, a Double IPA, for a brief run. They’ve just released a barrel-aged version of the same beer, where it spent 12 months in Glen Breton Rare Single Malt Whiskey barrels. They’re referring to this one as an Imperial IPA/American Barleywine hybrid, as it comes in at a whopping 11% ABV. If you’d like to decide for yourself, it’s available at the brewery only, in 650 mL bottles. They’ve also brought back their Imperial IPA in bottles and on tap at their retail store; this time around they’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, and hopped it with 100% Cascade.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is keeping up with the new brews lately, as they’ve just released a DIPA, Golden Horse. Named after the Golden Horse Fountain located in the community of Milton, the beer was hopped heavily with a blend of three high alpha acid hops. Early, late, and dry hop additions contribute to high bitterness (130 calculated IBUs) and “plenty of dank, pine, and citrus flavours”. Hazy and alarmingly drinkable (even at 7.6% ABV), sneak into Heritage before the holidays for a pint/growler, and satisfy your hop urge!

Those crazy folks at Tidehouse must have found a sale on bottles, as this is the… I don’t even know how many consistent weeks of bottle releases they’ve had, and I certainly don’t have the time to check! It’s a lot. But hey, that means more take-home beer for all of us, right? And this week brings the release of Bonny Stormer, an Extra Special Bitter hopped with Progress and First Gold. Coming across as “a pinch earthy, with notes of sweet tangerine and orange”, it finishes fairly bitter (expected with this style), and comes in at 5% ABV. In addition to being available in bottles (limit 6/person) today at 2 pm, you can also find it on tap at Tidehouse.

It’s almost December 23rd, and you know that everyone in Newfoundland (well, the fun ones, anyway!) are gearing up for Tibb’s Eve on Sunday. Those characters at Port Rexton Brewing are no exception, of course, and have a couple of brand new beers to help you celebrate, just in time. First up is Tibb’s the Saison, a “Festive Saison” that was hopped with both French and Czech hop varieties, and fermented with the Fruit Bomb Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Containing both a Saison Saccharomyces strain and two Brettanomyces strains, the combination of the three ensures lots of tropical fruit character in the finished beer. This particular Saison features “gingerbread aromas and a light rye spice” and weighs in at 6.6% ABV. This was a small batch, and half of it is already resting peacefully in a grape brandy barrel; the current iteration can be found on tap at PR for their Tibb’s Eve party Sunday, and also at their St. John’s retail shop for growler fills today and tomorrow.

Next up from Port Rexton is Round Table, a nice, big, Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. Designed by head brewers Les and Chris shortly after trying some similar beers at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards in Halifax, the oak character from the barrel comes through nicely, blending with the Bourbon found on the nose and palate, as well as some “dark chocolate-covered berry and coffee flavours”. Smooth and quite drinkable even at 8.8% ABV, the carbonation was purposely kept fairly low, and is best enjoyed served at a slightly-warmer temperature. This one is available in 500 mL bottles only, and was released yesterday evening with a limit of 2/person. Seek it out at both PR locations this weekend!

TrailWay has a new iteration of Beans coming out today when they open, with this batch being dosed with cocoa nibs and 250 lbs of cherry puree, to help complement the regular addition of freshly-roasted coffee beans from Whitney Coffee Company. The coffee character is prominent as usual, along with “rich and deep chocolate in the aroma, with a subtle, fruity, tart cherry component”. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery. They’ve also got fresh kegs and cans of one of their crowd-favourite American IPAs, Green Island (6% ABV).

One of the region’s newest cideries, Maritime Express in Kentville, NS, has a brand new cider available that features an ingredient better known for its use in beer. Train Hopper is made from 100% Annapolis Valley apples across four varieties: Cortland, Macintosh, Gravenstein and Spartan. To that base was added three types of hops, all sourced locally, to provide a decidedly citrusy and hoppy aroma. On the palate, look for grapefruit, floral and lemon notes that lead to a strong tart finish. Look for it at the cidery, both pouring from the taps and in bottles.

Antigonish’s Half Cocked Brewing is excited to have their first bottle release and they’re doing it in style with a big one. Tapped & Feathered is being called a “maple sap imperial stout,” as it was brewed using sap from Haveracres Maple Farm in nearby St. Joseph’s in place of water, a handy way to extract additional sugars from the mashing process and thus not lose significant efficiency on a big beer. Once fermented, the beer was aged for several months in a Glenora whiskey barrel. Coming in at a hefty 10.3% ABV, it features aromas of candied orange rind and dark chocolate, with flavors of figs, brown sugar, dark chocolate and vanilla. Expect it to be available at the brewery very soon; to find out exactly when check out their social media (Fb, Ig, Tw), where the release will be formally announced.

CAVOK in Dieppe, NB, has been doing some experimentation with their Stout. So far they’ve released salted caramel, cold-brewed coffee and peanut butter variations. These are small batches, each about 1 BBL, aimed at testing the flavourings and getting a feel for the appropriate levels. As such, they are only available by the pint in their taproom. All three are 4.9% ABV. Meanwhile, in terms of bigger batches, they’ve also got a light American lager on the go that they’re calling Joe Blow Lager. Crisp and refreshing, it’ll be a great beer for a holiday party and guests who might be looking for something a little lighter. At 4.5% ABV and very low bitterness, we think they might be onto something!

Boxing Rock continues to push out some new beers from the Test Kitchen location in Local Source Market on Agricola Street in Halifax. Late last week, they released the Blue Collar Blonde, a collaborative 5.0% ABV Kolsch brewed with the fine folks at Halifax’s HopYard, which debuted during last weekend’s YMCA fundraiser at the bar. It was deemed so popular that it will be brewed again very soon, this time at their big system in Shelburne, for a full release in the New Year. Out this week is another collaboration, this time with the crew from Canopy Creative, who came in and brewed Canopy Cane Chocolate Milk Stout, which features lactose, chocolate, and peppermint in the boil for the full Christmas experience. As with all of these releases, they are very small, so if you see something you like, best get there ASAP to grab it! And keep your eyes peeled for the re-release of their 4% ABV Winter Session Ale, The Biggest Spruce Axe-worthy, brewed with spruce tips right in the boil.

If you manage to get away from the family in the couple of weeks, be sure to double check that your favourite brewery, bar, or watering hole is open, as many are adjusting their schedules over the course of the next two weeks. We’ve got a pair of events you’ll certainly want to check out if you’re in the area!

Moncton’s Tide and Boar Gastropub is hosting their annual Free Oyster Day today, with oyster shucking happening all day to complement your beer and food. As well, they’ve released a pair of new/returning favourites on tap, with a limited amount available to go in growlers: Herbies Coffee for Breakfast Stout, Special Blend IPA, and Melting Mountains IPA. Plus there may be a couple of bottles of their cellar-aged sour for you to take home! Details on their FB Event page.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release of their latest batch of One Hundred Wild next Saturday, December 29th, at Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Obviously an important of this 100% Nova Scotia equation with grain/malt, hops, and yeast (isolated from a fruit tree on their property in Nyanza), Horton Ridge is the perfect place to host the event, and will have the beer flowing from 1 PM, with live music 3 – 5 PM, and 7 – 9 PM. Cans can also be pre-ordered for pickup the day before. More details on their FB page. And in more Big Spruce news, they’ve just announced that they will be a permanent part of the Halifax Seaport Market, beginning tomorrow, with bottles and growlers.

Stillwell Beer Bar in Halifax is once again holding their New Years Day Levee, when they will be opening their doors at noon January 1st, and will be pouring up a dozen special beers, holding super sales on many of their cellar bottle list, and a slew of hangover-curing brunch items to help you forget the night before. Pop by to see what they’re sharing to celebrate the beginning of 2019!

Just a couple more things to finish off the year, before you head out and grab that eggnog stout or nutmeg blonde…

Lazy Bear Brewing in Smiths Cove has bottled up a few of their beers, and now have the Norwegian Kviek Ale available at YHZ Airport’s Liquid Assets. Look for those to hit the shelves elsewhere in HRM soon. And keep an eye out at their market stall for their 10.1% ABV Russian Imperial Stout, available this weekend.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has their Chromatic By Design Red IPA available again throughout New Brunswick. This 6.6% ABV beer features load of Ekunanot, Mosaic, and Citra, for a bold blast of tropical, dank, and citrus hops, with a touch of toffee and caramel flavours from the specialty malt. And hitting the taps next week is Wayfarer, their 6.0% ABV Sour IPA, featuring Centennial and El Dorado hops, for a lovely hybrid of sour and tropical.

Sea Level Brewing in Port Williams has released the latest version of their High Street Wee Heavy. This 6.3% ABV classic Scottish Ale is the first beer to feature barley and hops from their Millstone Harvest farm, the future site of their estate brewery, set to open next year. We hear that the next batch of their barley is actually being malted at Horton Ridge currently, for use in future Sea Level brews. High Street is available on tap at the Port Pub, and to go in cans and growlers today.

And finally, in a bit of humour around this Holiday time, St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery is looking for your unwanted/extra fruitcake! They’ll be brewing up a beer in the New Year, and would to use your un-loved fruitcake in the mash. With all of the sugars, and a little booze, that these divisive holiday baked goods contain, they are sure to lend plenty of character to the final beer. Check out this article for more information.

Here we are on another Friday and November is coming to an end. We’ve got a big bunch of news from Newfoundland this week, but don’t worry, the rest of the Atlantic Provinces are also well-represented. And we’re somewhat on time this week after last week’s debacle. Huzzah!

There was some big and rather unfortunate news in the regional beer scene this week as it was announced in a joint statement by PEI’s departments of Workforce & Advanced Learning and Economic Development that Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) has entered receivership by order of the Supreme Court of the Province. DME has fitted out some 1,600 breweries in 70 countries over the past number of years, including quite a few in Atlantic Canada. Though we don’t know any names for sure, it is almost certain that there were brewhouses in development whose futures are in question based on having orders in with the company, and it stands to reason that some of those would be in our region. DME has manufacturing facilities in Charlottetown as well as Abbotsford, BC, and South Carolina under the Newlands banner that in total employ over 300 people. There has been speculation that the merger with Newlands had a part to play in this reversal of fortune, however financial details of that transaction are unknown. It has been reported by the CBC that efforts are being made to complete in-progress orders, that the provincial Government is becoming involved in efforts to prevent the demise of the firm, and that the receiver, Alvarez & Marsal intends to attempt to find a buyer. We very much hope that strategy pans out and we can report in the coming weeks and months that DME is back up and running with all of its employees back at work. It is, however, a sobering reminder that even in a booming industry like craft beer, things can go wrong in a hurry.

In a decidedly happier note, brewing and selling beer in Newfoundland will soon be a little bit less expensive, thanks to some changes being implemented by the provincial government January 1, 2019. The remission paid to the NLC (akin to the RSMA charged in Nova Scotia) is currently the highest in the country, sitting at more than $1.50 per litre, three times the next closest provincial rate. The local producers are currently eligible for a 33% reduction on the first 1 million litres, down to roughly $1.10 per litre. The new levels will see an improvement to 50% discount in the remission rate for beer sold at their own facility (taproom or retail), and 40% discount at retail stores (NLC and corner stores), bringing the levels to $0.85 and $1.00 per litre, respectively, for the first 1 million litres annually (roughly 8200 BBL, or much more than the craft breweries are currently producing). The reduced levels are still the highest in Canada, but are at least closer to the rest of the country. Local distilleries, ciderhouses, and wineries will also see further reduced rates in the new year. This will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced fees annually that the breweries will be able to reinvest in their equipment, labour, and infrastructure, in order to better serve the local beer drinking community. These changes are in no small part to the hard work of the Newfoundland & Labrador Craft Brewers Association, formed earlier this year, lobbying lawmakers in the province. And for future/amateur brewers, the introduction of U-Vint/U-Brew at the local homebrew shops is now legal with relaxation of that prohibition. The province has also promised a full review of the positive economic impact the craft alcohol producers are having in the province, and have set a November 2019 timeline for that release. With a dozen independent breweries and cideries now operating in the province, and two or three more set to open before January 1st, things are certainly looking up for the Newfoundland Beer Scene! Check out the full details of the reduction in the press release above.

Speaking of Newfoundland breweries, let’s give you a tease on one of the handful that are opening very soon. Like, very, very soon! Landwash Brewery is located in Mount Pearl, and will be opening their beautiful taproom at 181 Commonwealth Drive next week. We’ve got a full Profile with them lined up for early next week, but in the meantime, you can hear co-owner Chris Conway speaking with VOCM about the positive changes to the remission rate, as well as hints of their starting lineup of beers. Their Brackish Gose, One Wave Blonde, Hazures’ Rock Breakfast Stout, and That Much Ocean NEIPA will be available to enjoy by the pint and flight onsite, to go in cans and growler fills, next Thursday from 4 PM.

On the other side of the Island, you’ll find Bootleg Brew Co in Corner Brook. They’ve released a brand new beer this week, in the relatively new “Milkshake” style. Juice Arse is a 5.0% Milkshake Pale Ale, featuring loads of Amarillo and Simcoe hops, fermented with Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs (a favourite of hazy IPAs), with small additions of lactose (milk sugar) and vanilla bean, to complete the Milkshake experience. As with all of their beers, the best place to grab a sample, pint, or growler is at their 92 Main Street location, but keep an eye on their social media (FB/IG/Tw)to see where their beers are being tapped across the province.

After launching last week with kegs at local restaurants and breweries, Crooked Feeder in Cormack, NL, has begun selling growlers. Located at 351 Veterans Dr, about 15 minutes North of Deer Lake, the brewery is only open a few afternoons each week, so it’s best to contact the brewery to ensure they are open (FB/IG/Tw). Visitors will be rewarded with one (or more) of the six beers brewed on their system: Bunker “C” Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (7.1% ABV, 35 IBU), Big Falls Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 37 IBU), Bonne Bay Blonde (4.9% ABV, 21 IBU), Western Brook Wheat (5.4% ABV, 44 IBU), Spillway IPA (6.4% ABV, 66 IBU), and Rideout Red (5.3% ABV, 22 IBU).

Heading back across the Island to St John’s, where YellowBelly Brewery has released their annual Mummer’s Brew. The 2018 edition is a light-coloured Winter Warmer lager, featuring two special Canadian ingredients: the malt is an Albertan heirloom Barley named Olli, and features the brand new Sasquatch hop, which started as a wild varietal North of Vancouver, and now grown in BC, ON, and QC, under license by Hops Connect. The 6.8% ABV beer features some soft berry character from the malt, with citrus, melon, floral and earthy hop character (to the tune of 30 IBU). The beer is now available at the brewery for pints and growler fills at the Take Away Shop, and in 1 litre bottles at several NLCs in the area. Grab yours today before donning your costume and braving the weather!

In other Sasquatch news, Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing their own beer featuring this Canadian variety. Sam-Squamptche (enjoy ordering that one at the bar!) is an American IPA that has been hopped entirely with Sasquatch, which we’ve already told you about just above us! TrailWay’s beer comes in at 6.5% ABV, and they’re describing the flavour profile as “uniquely citrus, with an underlying sweetness reminiscent of butterscotch or honey, resulting in an overall juicy character”… definitely sounds a bit different than your typical hop variety. This beer has a light body, to help the drinker focus on the hops. As always with TW’s Friday releases, you can grab it at the brewery immediately upon opening today (growlers, pints and cans), with a few nearby bars and restaurants tapping it likely over the weekend.

After the Antigonish Townhouse changed hands earlier in the year, the future of their on-site brews was up in the air. We are thrilled to note that those have continued, with a steady supply of Terry’s Bitter supplying their taps, but there’s always room for more! Owners Caitlin and Ryan Shimozawa have tapped her father, David Macfarlane, to take over the brewing duties. The latest new beer from their onsite 50 litre brewhouse is available on tap now. Caitlin’s IPA is a 5.0% ABV malt-forward English IPA, brewed using Fuggles and Goldings hops, with three hop additions during the boil. The carbonation level is on the lower side, and coupled with pouring from a stout faucet with Nitrogen, the beer is quite quaffable and perfect for a session in the pub. No word how long this batch of Caitlin will last, but good news that there is another batch fermenting now, and will return to the Townhouse in December.

There’s another beverage pouring over at Meander River, and it ain’t beer! It ain’t cider either, if that was what you were thinking. It’s Perry, and a “true” Perry at that… that is, it was made entirely with pears (many Perry producers blend pear juice with a certain quantity of apple juice). Featuring of blend of Annapolis Valley pears, Perry Noel is a drinkable 5% ABV, and the brewery describes it as “sparkly and delicate”. It’s available in 500 mL bottles starting today at the brewery, at this weekend’s BOTTLED Wine and Spirits Festival in Truro, and soon at Little Oak in Halifax; 750 mL bottles will also be appearing at Bishop’s Cellar in the near future, and they’ll even have kegs pouring on one of the guest taps at Chainyard! If you can get to Meander River itself, try to do so, as they’re currently running a campaign where $1 from every growler fill will go to fighting Period Poverty in Nova Scotia (by purchasing menstrual products for local food banks).

Let’s travel back to Halifax, where Tidehouse has two beers they want us to tell you about this week, one new, and one returning favourite… and both of them named in homage to songs. The new one is Oh! My Darlin’ Lemon Thyme, a Saison brewed with Pilsner, Oats, Dextrin, Wheat, Vienna, and Acid malt. Hopped minimally with Saaz, it was fermented with a Saison strain, with thyme and lemon peel added as fermentation was winding down. The thyme comes through first in the aroma, with the lemon making itself more apparent the more you sip. Very dry in the finish, and 6.4% ABV; this one is available on tap only, at the Tidehouse tasting room, by the flight, pint, or growler. And returning is their NEIPA, Cryo Me A River, hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, and Ekuanot hops (of the cryo form, naturally). Pretty much all of the hops were added late in the boil and in the dry-hop, so expect low bitterness to go with all of that “tropical fruit and papaya/berry, followed by a pinch of pine”. On tap, of course, but it’s also been bottled for the first time, so you can grab some of those to take home with you as well.

Our friends at Niche in Hanwell, NB, are back again this week with another new beer. After last week’s release of a sour, they’re returning to their other wheelhouse this week with a hoppier offering. A NE IPA featuring nothing but Australian hops, Aussie Aussie Aussie is packed with three different varieties, namely Vic Secret, and Enigma, which they’ve used liberally before, and Topaz which is a new one in the Niche brewhouse. Very juicy and boasting plenty of tropical fruit flavors, it has the requisite low bitterness and easy drinking nature fans of the style have come to expect. Coming in at a quaffable 6% ABV, you’ll find it at The Joyce Pub and King Street Ale House in Fredericton, and at Peppers Pub and Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub in Saint John, with more accounts to follow soon. Fans of Niche in Halifax will also be happy to hear there are kegs on the way to Stillwell and Hopyard as well. Oi Oi Oi!!

Back in Halifax, Boxing Rock’s Test Kitchen on Agricola Street (in the Local Source Market) has a new release hitting the taps today. Banana Hopsicle is a hybrid beer, bringing together the traditional German Hefeweizen style with the modern Session IPA. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Rob North of Great North Aleworks in Manchester, New Hampshire. North grew up in Halifax before moving south, and had another career before brewing took over his life, first as a highly lauded homebrewer, and now as owner of Great North. The beer features loads of late- and dry-hopping additions of Ekuanot and Huell Melon, fruity hops to complement the banana and clove from the Weiss yeast. And while you’re getting your fills of Banana Hopsicle, check to see if they have any of their Hell Bat, the Imperial Licorice Stout brewed with Battery Park left. It won’t be around much longer! Don’t forget your orange growler!

Maybee Brewing dropped a new beer shortly after noon yesterday, Brut IPA. As you probably guessed, this is the brewery’s take on the Brut IPA style (which continues to gain momentum, based on how many breweries in Atlantic Canada have brewed it the past few months!). It was hopped very minimally in the bittering addition (20 IBUs), with most of the American and European hop varieties being added late in the boil and in the dry-hop. Fermented with a neutral yeast strain, enzymes were added to the brew to bring out the dryness even more, with the final product showing off a long-lasting head, aromas of “bright tropical fruit, herbal/grassy notes, some spice and a hint of floral, white wine and honeydew melon”. With a thin body and high carbonation, it has lots of tropical fruit on the palate, with a very dry finish. It weighs in at 6% ABV, and will be available on tap only – you can find it at Maybee, various tap accounts in the province, and at the ANBL growler stations next Thursday, December 6th.

Down in Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing is pouring a brand new IPA to join their other 11 offerings currently pouring on tap. Norseman is a NEIPA “with a twist”, as it was fermented with a Norwegian yeast strain… specifically, the Voss Kveik strain from Escarpment Labs. These Kveik strains can be fermented at very warm (ok, downright hot compared to what you usually see with fermentation) temperatures. The grain bill for Norseman is made up simply of 2-row, Wheat malt, and Oats, and it was hopped with El Dorado, Amarillo, and Mosaic (all of which was added either in the whirlpool or dry-hop additions, keeping the bitterness low). Lots of fruity flavours and aromas with this one, so why not pop into the brewery’s taproom to give it (and the other beers!) a taste? And hey, they’re also filling growlers now, so they’ve got that going for them, too!

Since Good Robot opened several years ago, they have been consistently adding Clarex to every batch, an enzyme that reduces gluten to levels below 20 ppm (the international threshold for brewing considered “gluten free”). For next Tuesday’s Beta Brew, however, they’ve gone all the way and brewed a “completely gluten-free beer”, First Draught. By using sorghum syrup, buckwheat, and rice, they’ve produced a light beer (4.3% ABV) that still has plenty of hop presence, thanks to the additions of Citra, Cascade and Simcoe (to 37 IBUs). It should be noted, for those of you who are extremely sensitive to gluten, that this beer was brewed on the brewery’s pilot system, which has most-assuredly had glutenous products in its realm throughout its life! In Alpha news, next Thursday welcomes the return of Infinite Saturday, their Vienna Lager (5% ABV). Oh, and we should also mention that they’ve added seating in their upstairs space, meaning it may be a bit easier to actually have a seat in one of Halifax’s hottest taprooms from now on!

Last weekend the 6th annual Big Spruce HomeBrew Challenge wrapped up with the judging and announcement of winners. This year’s competition revolved around styles featuring wheat, namely German Weißbier and Belgian Witbier. The top three beers in each category were named and then an overall top three was selected from those six. This year’s big winner is a name you’ve seen in this blog on several occasions, as he’s brewed beers with Tidehouse and on Spindrift’s pilot system, and, in a “boy is that ever on the nose,” moment, he goes by the brewing moniker “Lil Wheatey.” Yes, Ian Wheatley took first place overall for his hefeweizen (1st place weißbier) and third overall for his witbier (2nd place witbier). George Arnott’s wit (1st place witbier) came in second overall. Additional category nods went to Devin Delaney in 3rd place for wit, Mark McKay in 2nd for weißbier, and David Pepper (2016’s overall winner) in 3rd place in weißbier. A big congratulations to all those who placed and a big thanks to Big Spruce for continuing to support the homebrewing community; look for Ian’s winning hefeweizen to debut at this year’s 10th Annual Eat. Drink. Local. Fest on January 10, 2019 (tickets are already on sale).

And in other Big Spruce news, just like last year, Jeremy is looking to load up the Sprucemobile and play Santa Claus, delivering beer to folks in Cape Breton and the HRM. Big Spruce Holiday Home Delivery will take place on December 15th (that’s a Saturday), but you’ll have to put an order in. Minimum order is 1 case of cans (24) or bottles (12) and, with mixing allowed, that gives you plenty of options. You can also add all manner of Big Spruce swag to that order, including their house-made edibles. Check the Facebook post for details on which beers and other items are available and be sure to get your order in soon.

After celebrating 11 years in business on the weekend, Port Williams Nova Scotia’s Sea Level Brewing has announced that they have broken ground on a brand new brewery, which will be located in Sheffield Mills (about ten minutes-drive away from their current location). Together with local farms, they are forming Millstone Harvest Brewhouse, to create Nova Scotia’s first “Estate Brewery”. Well on their way already, the new facility is slated to open in the spring. They’ll be brewing with their own farm-grown hops and malting barley, and the new location will house a tasting room and retail store. Fear not, the current location in Port Williams will still be operating as usual during this transition, and will remain open as a pilot brewery/retail location after the new brewery opens. The expansion will also allow the brewery to start selling their canned beers in the NSLC, greatly increasing their availability to other areas of the province. And for a sneak peek of the great beers to come, keep an eye out for their High Street Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, using some of the same malt and hops that will be gracing their new releases in the spring.

Details are being kept secret right now, but we did want to mention that those of you living in Miramichi, NB, who have been wondering when exactly the craft beer scene was going to improve in your area, have no need to wonder any longer! Timber Ship Brewing, a 1 bbl (120 L) brewery, should be opening in the area in the near future. They’re realistically aiming for early 2019, and will be producing a variety of beers for sale in kegs to local establishments. We’ll have more information, including a standalone post, for you very soon. In the meantime, check out their Facebook page to follow along with their progress.

This week’s shamefully late message about a new release come from Tatamagouche Brewing who are releasing a Bourbon Barrel-aged version of their Russian Imperial Stout. Built on their base RIS recipe with a little extra chocolate wheat added, the beer was then racked into barrels from two different distilleries. Bottles and pints are available already at the brewery, with kegs going out next week.

A few things to remind you about this weekend, plus a tease of what’s coming in January…

After a bit of a tease last week, those crazy folks at 2 Crows are releasing their latest barrel-aged, bottled beer, Mellarium, tomorrow at noon. No, really, we guarantee*. We’re not about to do them the huge favour of typing out all the info on the beer again (or even cutting and pasting for that matter, we don’t get paid for this, you know!), but here’s a link to last week, where you can check it out there! Buttered Bliss will also be on site from 2-7pm, serving up some delightful fried chicken sandwiches.

*Not a guarantee

Propeller Brewing is kicking off a month of “Black Casks” at their Gottingen Street tasting room, with the first hitting the bartop tomorrow at 3 PM. The first is their Russian Imperial Stout, cask-conditioned and served via gravity, rather than carbonated after the fact/on draught (though they will have this version as well, so we encourage you to get both and compare!). And they will be celebrating throughout the month of December with more interpretations of their Russian Imperial Stout and Porter, with the following offerings being tapped at the next four Fridays: Dec 7: Russian Imperial Stout with coconut, Dec 14: Porter with orange and chocolate, Dec 21: Russian Imperial Stout with smoked black tea, and a special cask on Dec 28, yet to be announced. Take note that beside tomorrow, all of the casks are tapped during their usual Cask Friday timeslot, at 5 PM. And for those of us who can’t get enough of the good stuff, they are raiding the cellar and releasing the last of their 2017 Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. First released back in February of this year, the 8.5% ABV beer hung out in Bourbon barrels for a few months, picking up both wood and spirit character, complementing the roast and dark fruit character of the underlying beer. Grab a bottle or two to enjoy yourself, or gift to a special someone. And keep your eyes peeled here for the details on another release in the same vein, coming next week…

If you were perusing Instagram stories a couple of days ago and happened upon the right account, you might have gotten a heads-up that Bar Stillwell is planning another Belgian Celebration to take place (tentatively, we expect) on January 5th, 2019!! Thanks to the ephemeral nature of Instagram stories the details of the beer list are no longer available, but amongst those of us who saw it the general reaction was something along the lines of, “Holy Shit!” and/or “Hellz yes!” We’ll have more details as they are released, but for now, maybe block off that afternoon in your calendar, mmkay?

And here we are at the end of the line for this week, but there are a couple last things to mention before we let you go.

It’s not often that their bottles are available outside of the brewery, so we figured we’d let you know that Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar has received a shipment of goodies from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewery. They are hitting the shelves at opening tomorrow morning (that’s 8 AM, so grab a coffee to stay warm in line). With two versions of their Jelly King fruited sours (Pineapple Tangerine Grapefruit [also available online at 8 AM], and Sour Cherry), as well as Skeleton Key 2018 and Barn Owl #16. For those who want to be the first in the know, subscribe to their Behind the Taps mailing list, which hits your inbox about once a month, and highlights the latest beer arrivals and tastings they are hosting. Edited: Only the Jelly King PTG will be available online, BC has altered the distribution of the other 3 due to availability.

We mentioned it a couple weeks ago, but just a last reminder that the Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 1st in Sydney. Looks like there’s still some general admission tickets remaining; you can purchase those right here.

Those who remember the saga of the Beer Garden on the Halifax Waterfront might be interested to hear that a new tender opportunity has been announced by Develop Nova Scotia. Vendors interested in running a food and beverage operation at Summit Place during the summer months (May 15 – Oct 15) for a three-year period from 2019 to 2021 have been invited to submit their proposals no later than December 19, 2018, with the award expecting to be settled by January 18, 2019. The tender document mentions creativity and innovation, although we note that there’s only 10 points available there, whereas the financial portion (i.e., “How much are you willing to pay for the privilege”) gets 25 points. Color us unsurprised. The tender document can be viewed here. It will certainly be interesting to see whether it will remain with the incumbent Stubborn Goat or whether another interest will submit a successful bid.

Welcome to the first full weekend of fall in Atlantic Canada! As is usual for this time of year, wet-hopped beers brewed after harvest a few weeks ago are starting to appear, we’re seeing continued pumpkin ale encroachment, and Oktoberfest celebrations are going on. Meanwhile, there’s also lots of new releases that have nothing to do with fall, traditionally or otherwise. We note that we’re quite a bit earlier than usual with this week’s post; we suggest you don’t expect to get used to that!

Let’s start this week in Dartmouth with Brightwood Brewery. Now well-ensconced in their new digs on Portland Street, they’ve released a new beer that we think marks them as the only brewery in the region (at least in recent memory) to have released two beers in the California Common style. Described as an homage to surfing in Cow Bay, Minutes takes the healthy body and crisp finish traditional to the style and marries it to some white wine character courtesy of a dry hop with nouveau German hop variety Hallertau Blanc. At 5.5% ABV we suspect it will be an interesting contrast to the traditional European styles like Märzens and Festbiers that are prominent at this time of year. You can find it in the taproom for tasters, pints, and fills. Meanwhile, if you’ve been missing getting your Brightwood fix at the Alderney Market since they started their expansion project, we’ve got some great news for you: they’ll be back this coming Saturday for growler fills in their swank ceramic growlers (or, y’know, your tired and boring brown glass)!

On the other side of the bridges, in the Burnside Industrial Park, Spindrift has a couple things on the go. Of course one of them is the American Pale Ale currently being revealed slowly on social media with a contest, so that one will have to wait a week. The second is a little bit of yin to that one’s yang, an American Lager with 10 IBU and 5% ABV in a light-bodied beer with an “unpronounced bitterness” and a fairly high carbonation level. Made with a moderate percentage of adjuncts, namely rice and wheat, expect it to be very easy drinking, especially when served very cold. Called Toller, it will be available exclusively at Harvest, Rockhead, and West Side, in 8- and 24-packs of 355 mL cans. And after last night’s debut at the Hopyard Halifax takeover, you can start looking for their new DIPA, Hurricane Juan, in stores tomorrow, September 29th, on the 15th anniversary of its namesake storm.

Rothesay’s Long Bay has their first new beer out in some time, and it sounds like a beauty! Full Pleasure is the result of months of experimentation with sour beers; kettle-soured with Lactobacillus to a Baby Bear level of tartness (just right!), the wort was then fermented with the brewery’s house Belgian strain, and given an addition of passion fruit puree. Once complete, they dry-hopped it with two marvelous varieties, Galaxy and Mosaic, before packaging. With lots of fruity hop flavour, complemented by the tartness from the Lacto, it comes in at 5.5% ABV. Look for bottles and growlers to be found at the brewery now, as well as bottles and kegs at select ANBL stores and licensees over the next week.

Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has a new beer out this weekend that will help you harken back to summer even though fall has definitely arrived. A Berliner Weisse featuring rhubarb and raspberry, the recipe was developed by Lunn’s Mill partner and chef Chantelle Webb. Girl, Hold My Earrings has a pinky-orange color and a sparkling effervescent character to match with a tart Berliner character and sassy fruit presence. At 4.4% ABV and a measly 4 IBU, you’ll no doubt be able to slosh back a few of these before you find yourself entangled in a good old scrap. Only available at the taproom it will make its debut at Lunn’s Mill’s second annual Oktoberfest event this evening starting at 5:00 PM. A cover charge of $10 will get you a stein to drink out of (and take home, if you can manage it) and the chance to enjoy a special food menu and the four bands that will be playing on the patio. More information is available on their Facebook Event Page.

We told you about the hop harvests around the region a few weeks ago and it looks like Shelburne’s Boxing Rock have managed to be the first to bring their 2018 wet hopped offering to market (or at least the first one we heard about). Now in its sixth iteration, Many Hands has always been a collaboration beer between Boxing Rock and North Brewing in Halifax, and this year is no different. Released this past Wednesday, this year’s model is a Pale Ale brewed with organic malt from Horton Ridge Malt House and a pile of fresh hops from Wallace Ridge Hop Farm in Malagash, NS. Look for it to be a smooth and easy drinking ale with a malty base and floral and herbal hop notes. You can find it at the retail store in Shelburne and at Local Source, Harvest Wines and Bishops Cellar in the city, along with Liquid Assets at the Stanfield International Airport.

It’s another week chock-full of new beer and re-releases from Big Spruce, who isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Beginning with the new beer, A Marzen Grace, which is released just in time for Oktoberfest celebrations across the world (have you ever known a country/city/town to refuse the chance to celebrate with beer?). Billed by Big Spruce as “100% classic and traditional”, it was brewed with all German malt, German hops, and German Lager yeast. Conditioned and lagered for a period of time, as the style calls for, it’s malty and crisp, and even at 6% ABV is meant to be consumed in healthy quantities, if you can! As for returning beers, put your drinking caps on, because there’s a few: Fake News!, a 5.6% APA hopped entirely with Idaho 7, and fermented with the Foggy London Ale strain; Tag! You’re It!, a fresh batch of the brewery’s immensely popular 6.5% ABV NEIPA, with a “hugely late” hop addition (we’re going to assume that means a huge addition, late) giving boatloads of tropical fruit character; and, in truly bittersweet fashion, the last run this season for The Silver Tart, easily one of the brewery’s biggest crowd-favourites, a 4% ABV kettle-soured beer conditioned on organic raspberries. It’ll most assuredly be back next year, but maybe stock up before it’s gone for 2018! And finally, cans of Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout are now more easily found, as NSLC stores finally have them in stock; you can even get it in New Brunswick, as select ANBL locations are also carrying the beer.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has a new entry in their Neon Friday series of hoppy beers hitting the taps today. Brut IPA with Hallertau Blanc may have a matter-of-fact name, but it’s no plain-jane beer. Manifesting the new “Champagne” or “Brut” style of low-bitterness and extremely dry (minimal residual sugars) IPAs with high carbonation, this one was hopped with Hallertau Blanc, a modern hop variety known for imparting a white wine character along and notes of grapefruit and lemongrass. It’s 7.0% ABV and a paltry 5 IBU and you can find it on tap starting this afternoon at the Upstreet Taproom and at Craft Beer Corner, both for pints and for growler and crowler fills.

Robie Street in Halifax is home to Good Robot Brewing, which means it’s home to two new beers in the coming week, as per usual. The BetaBrewsday release (as always, scheduled for Tuesday at 4 PM), is called Bittersweet Cocoaphony, an ESB with a little verve in the form of cocoa powder added after fermentation. Formulated and brewed by Andrew Seth and Beta Baroness Kelly Costello, the grist was comprised of 2-row, Cara 30, Cara 120 and CaraAroma, while the hop side was a light dusting of classic UK Fuggles and its American descendant Willamette. Easy drinking at 4.5% ABV, even though it’s not too bitter at 25 IBU, we still suspect it will be extra special.

Meanwhile, from the Alpha system comes a collaboration brew done up just in time for the Halifax Pop Explosion! Lizard Queen was brewed in concert with Garrison and Gahan using flaked wheat, oats and barley along with good ol’ 2-row for a solid ale malt presence with enhanced mouthfeel. Hopped with some very big modern varieties, Simcoe, El Dorado, and an especially large dose of Mosaic, expect it to have a heavy tropical fruit presence and be danker than the air outside the Seahorse. Look for this very sessionable 4.5% ABV and 25 IBU beer to appear next Thursday, October 4th, as the city gets ready for HPX later in the month.

New Brunswick’s Picaroons is joining the Oktoberfest fun with a new beer they’re calling Oom Pah! Pah! Oktoberfest Ale. Amber in color, it’s a crisp ale with a bready character matched with earthy and floral hop notes that were kept on the subtle side no doubt to allow the malt shine. It hit the taps on Tuesday at the Picaroons Roundhouse and the Picaroons Brewtique in Fredericton, on Wednesday it showed up at the Picaroons General Store in Saint John, and look for it starting today at the 5 Kings Restaurant in St. Stephen. You’ll also be able to grab it at all ANBL locations as of tomorrow. We’ll warn you though, although it’s widely available, only one batch was made, so when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Chain Yard Urban Cidery in Halifax has a new and special treat on the go, a plum wine that they made with shiro plums harvested in Nova Scotia. Shiro is a sweet and juicy yellow variety that can often be harvested well before other plums are ready. Plummet saw Chain Yard taking the juice from these plums and doing both wild and Brettanomyces fermentations before dry-hopping the result. A “session” wine, it’s a very light 4.3% ABV with no sulfur dioxide and it’s still fermenting a little bit, which should mean a touch of sweetness is still there to be enjoyed. A very limited run is available by the pint only at the tap room on Agricola Street.

Bootleg Brewing in Corner Brook is displaying their Newfoundland sense of humor again this week with a new beer they’ve dubbed Tits Up. Also displaying their disregard for classic beer styles, they’re calling this one an Imperial Session IPA, which, as oxymoronic as it sounds, makes some sense in context. Extremely light in the body, and without the big bitterness you might expect from an IIPA, it prominently features big tropical fruit aromas. Meanwhile, it also prominently features a leg-wobbling 7.8% ABV. So while it drinks like a session ale, it packs the punch of an imperial. It’s been available on tap since last Friday. Be careful, though, the warning label on this one says, “if you start a day boil with this one you probably will end up Tits Up in da rhubarb.”

You may recall that in fall of 2017 Sober Island Brewing on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia hosted a homebrew contest that focused on locally-foraged ingredients. The winning beer in that competition was called Raspberry Beer, Eh! and it was entered by Andrew Deveaux. Like many homebrew comps, one of the prizes for the winner is the brewing of a commercial batch of the winning beer. Well they finally did that, and the result is available! A Raspberry Wheat Ale using 95% Horton Ridge Malt and local raspberries will be on tap this weekend for crowlers at the Alderney Market and Musquodoboit Harbour Farmers Market. Congratulations again to Andrew on his winning beer!

At Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing, the hops, they’re still a-flowin’, with two hoppy brew releases today. The first is a brand new beer, Almost Nuclear, an American IPA hopped with Mosaic T-45 pellets. Differing from their more commonly seen, less-concentrated T-90 pellets, the T-45s are supposed to give even more hop aroma and flavour. Looks like TrailWay is standing by that, describing the beer as “super fruity and tropical, with a big berry-like aroma”. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, look for cans and pours of this one at the brewery at opening. The second beer is the latest re-release of Emerald, a 5% ABV New Zealand Pilsner. Fermented with a Czech Lager yeast strain, hopped with Southern Cross and Eureka, it also has an addition of fresh lime zest and lime juice, adding even more lime character to that from the hops. Cans and pints/growlers of this one at the brewery as well, starting today, with cans seeing distribution to ANBL stores next week, as well.

We thought maybe 2 Crows was taking it easy with new beers this week… ha, how foolish we were to let our guards down! Sometimes we suspect maybe they’re just doing this to make us work harder. ANYhoo, of course they have two new beers, so let’s get to it. First up is Dare to Dream, a dark Saison brewed with Vienna malt, Wheat, and a combination of crystal and roasted malts. Dark Belgian Candi sugar was added in the boil, as well as some Sterling and Bramling Cross hops (to 21 IBUs). A combination of spices – including coriander, orange peel, cardamom, lime leaf and black lime – were also added at the very end of the boil; the wort was then fermented at warm temperatures with 2C’s house Saison yeast. The end result is a beer with “dark fruit, prune, and plum notes, a smooth and full body, with moderate roast and a very subtle spice profile”, to go with the classic Saison fruit esters. It comes in at 5.4% ABV and will be available on tap and in cans at the brewery tomorrow, and at bars/restaurants in the HRM.

The other beer from 2C was brewed in collaboration with Kanata, ON’s Small Pony Barrel Works (did you get to have some of their beers at Stillwell in late May? Magnifique!). Thunderdome was brewed with Pilsner, Spelt, Oats, and Aromatic malt, and hopped in the boil with a small amount of aged East Kent Goldings. The wort was soured in stainless with Lactobacillus plantarum, and then transferred to one of 2C’s foedres (over fresh lime leaves on the way, to boot!). At this point, 2C added some of their funky house cultures, along with some house blends from Small Pony (now that’s collaboration!). After fermentation and conditioning in foedre for several months, the beer had an addition of lime leaves, before carbonation and packaging. The beer is tasting “assertively tart, bright, with a fun herbal/lime character and a touch of funk”. There will be cans of this one at 2C tomorrow as well, but the supply is limited to 25 cases, so best get in early and grab stock up on both beers!

Propeller has brought back their Pumpkin Ale (5% ABV) for the season, with this year’s release showing up in cans (473 mL), as well as in bottles (341 mL). With a slightly-tweaked recipe (the same spice blend was used, as well as pumpkin sourced from Howard Dill) to darken the brew slightly, you can still expect a pumpkin-y, spicy beer. Not stopping there, they’re also re-releasing Alpha Dog, a wet-hopped Pale Ale brewed in collaboration with Sea Level. Featuring locally-grown (from Fundy Hops) Galena, Willamette, and Cascade, this one will be draft only, so stop by one of the two Prop shops, or Sea Level if that’s closer to you, to grab a pint and/or growler.

As usual, there’s plenty of beer-related goings-on this weekend and beyond that we think you might be interested in:

If you’re in Halifax tomorrow afternoon and feel like letting your lederhosen down, consider heading down to the Stillwell Biergarten for their first (annual, hopefully) Oktoberfest event. With the turning of the season it may be one of your last chances to get a good outdoor downtown drink on in 2018. The cover charge is $7 paid in advance (available at Stillwell HQ on Barrington or at the Beergarden, weather permitting) or $10 at the door. They’ll have an Oompah band, proper steins to get sloppy with, and a German-inspired menu of snacks from Joe Martini for you to be München on (sorry, not sorry!). The tap list is all Euro-centric beers, with plenty of local entries, both brand new and well-established. Put your peepers on the menü below and plan your attack in advance:

  1. Tatamagouche – Dry-Hopped Lagerhosen (European-style Lager – 4.5% ABV – Tatamagouche, NS)
  2. Spindrift – Killick (Munich Helles – 4.7% ABV – Dartmouth, NS)
  3. Stillwell Brewing – Stilly Pils (Unfiltered Dry Hopped Pilsner – 5% ABV – Halifax, NS)
  4. Dieu Du Ciel! – Sentinelle (Kölsch – 5.2% ABV – Montréal, Quebec)
  5. Propeller – Pilsner (Unfiltered Pilsner – 4.8% ABV – Halifax, NS)
  6. Ritterguts – Urgose Märzen (Märzen-Gose w/ Hallertauer Perle, Taurus, Smoked sea salt, Swiss Stone Pine cones, and Ceylon Cinnamon – 6% ABV – Chemnitz, Germany)
  7. Boxing Rock – Märzen (Festbier – 5.4% ABV – Shelburne, NS)
  8. Big Spruce – A Märzen Grace (see above) (Festbier – 6% ABV – Nyanza, NS)
  9. Uncle Leo’s – Altbier (Altbier – 5.2% ABV – Lyon’s Brook, Nova Scotia)
  10. Revel Cider – Lime Apfelgose (Blended spontaneously fermented cider w/ Sea Salt, Coriander, & Lime – 6.5% ABV – Guelph, Ontario)

If you’re near Moncton and haven’t yet purchased tickets for the fourth annual Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest, you may want to strongly consider grabbing some of the few that are remaining! Happening tomorrow, attendees lucky enough to buy their tickets early had the option of VIP or VVIP, which gets you in earlier, and an industry panel discussion and guided beer tasting, in the case of VVIP. But as mentioned, there are still regular tickets available, with doors opening at 7:30 pm. You’ll have 2.5 hours to sample beer, cider, and mead from over 40 local breweries, with food available for purchase as well. As in the past, proceeds will go to the United Way.

A reminder that the Guided Tasting with Stephen Beaumont is happening this Sunday, September 30th at Stillwell, and there are still a few tickets available for the first session, from 12-2 pm. Tickets are $46 (you can purchase through the event link) and include samples of some rare, world-class beers, all discussed with one of the foremost beer authors around. Beaumont will also have copies of his latest book for sale, which he will happily sign at the event.  

The annual Garrison Oktoberfest is coming up on Saturday, October 6th. The all-day event starts at 11 am at 1149 Marginal Rd with plenty of food from Asado Wood Fired Grill, live Oompah music (starting at 2 pm) and, of course, beer! There will also be a free show later in the day featuring Dave Sampson. Feel free to bring the kids (and dogs!), and drop by to take part in the fun.

We hinted at it last week and this week it was confirmed. Fredericton’s Niche Brewing will be featured in a tap takeover at Stillwell on October 13th! Brewers Shawn Meek (hey, we know that guy!) and Rob Coombs will be on hand and feeling reaaaally social and ready to answer all your questions about their beers, their brewery, and their general philosophies of life. Look for the taplist to be posted as the date approaches along with news on the special menu items that will be coming out of the kitchen that afternoon. They’ve promised some favorites from their first 9 months of operation, some newer releases, and some one-offs brewed specifically for the event. We (well, the Aaron and Chris part of “we”) are pretty excited to finally be able to try some of the beers we’ve only been able to write about since Niche started producing beer. We expect we’re not alone amongst fans of great beer in the HRM in our excitement. Meanwhile, the spoiled folks of New Brunswick will continue to be spoiled by the return of Niche’s Single Origin this week. A coffee-infused milk stout, it’s got the usual lactose addition to provide sweetness, creaminess and mouthfeel to balance the bitterness and dark flavors of the coffee. Look for it to appear on tap over the next week or so at the King Street Alehouse, The Joyce, Graystone, and Isaac’s Way in Fredericton, and Pepper’s Pub in Saint John.

And, finally, a few more quick mentions before you get back to your Friday:

Breton Brewing has their non-Pumpkin (!) seasonal back for fall, Celtic Colours Maple Lager (5.5% ABV); brewed with Acadian maple syrup, it’s available now in the Breton taproom for pints and growlers.

– There’s a new draught-only beer from Garrison this week, Pineapple Express. A Witbier with the addition of pineapple, you can find it at the brewery for pints and growlers, and it should be available on tap around Halifax in the near future.

– Looks like Dooflicker (5.3% ABV), a “Coconut Brown Sour” is pouring again at Roof Hound; drop by soon for pints, growlers, and 500 mL bottles, as supplies won’t last long.

– For those with supplies running low on their supply of lovely mixed-ferm concoctions from Stillwell Brewing, we’re afraid you’re going to have to ration what you’ve got for another week. Due to the Oktoberfest celebration mentioned above, there will be NO bottle sales this weekend on Gottingen Street. To make it up to us, though, they’ve promised a brand new release for next weekend. We’re sure we’ll have the details here next Friday.

– Our friends at Tidehouse have re-brewed their Big Bruiser, a 10% ABV DIPA hopped with cryo versions of Ekuanot and Simcoe. It’s available right now for pours at their taproom, as well as in bottles.