Sea Level Brewing

All posts tagged Sea Level Brewing

Another beautiful week on the East Coast, with the cooler temperatures inspiring the brewers to release more harvest-themed beers, and leading into the dark and warming beers of winter. But first, we have a bit of information on a pair of new breweries now serving beer in New Brunswick:

• After several months operating as a pub (under the name Buddha Bear Cafe) serving craft beer in Alma, New Brunswick, Holy Whale Brewery is finally serving their own beer! Think of this as a soft-opening, giving them an opportunity to test out various styles and batches, including an American Pale Ale, Session IPA, and Irish Red, all of which should be pouring at the cafe by this weekend. Stay tuned for a Q&A we’ll be posting next week to give you a full update on the brewery, with a grand opening hopefully happening by mid-December. In the meantime, if you’re in the area, drop by the cafe (located at 8576 Main St.) this weekend to try out their beers!

CAVOK Brewing, located in Dieppe, NB, has their first few beers now available in the Moncton and Fredericton region. Brewing on a pilot system while they secure a location for their full-sized brewery, their Petitcodiac Rye IPA and S&S Altbier are available now at the Tide & Boar in Moncton and James Joyce in Fredericton, respectively. We’ll have a full profile with the folks behind CAVOK next week to get you up to speed on their current operations, and future plans!

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce has two brand new beers out in the wild right now! First up is their annual wet-hop beer, brewed with 100% organic hops from the brewery’s own hopyard. Fortune Frazer’s the Bold (6.2% ABV) is an American IPA hopped with Cascade, Mt. Hood, Nugget, and a little bit of Chinook. You may remember past year’s iterations going under the names Craig Goes Yard, and Hoppily Married. This year’s brew was named after Frazer MacGregor, a neighbour of Big Spruce who was the primary architect of the reconstruction of the brewery’s hop trellis system earlier this year. As a debt of gratitude, the beer was named after him. Next is S’il Vous Plait, a Saison brewed with 100% organic Pilsner malt from Germany, and fermented with the Old World Farmhouse Blend (which contains two Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs. A Brettanomyces strain also played a role in primary, with the 6% ABV, ~20 IBUs brew being further conditioned in stainless for 4 weeks after fermentation was complete. Find both of these beers on tap at the brewery, and at a few lucky Big Spruce tap accounts in Nova Scotia (you probably already know where to look).

• And keep your eyes peeled for the return of Big Spruce’s One Hundred, a beer produced with 100% local ingredients, from hops grown on their own farm, barley and grain grown and then malted at Horton Ridge Malt, and fermented with a yeast isolated from the fruit of a pin cherry tree. For the first time, however, the batch will be available in both draft and cans, allowing drinkers a chance to take a little piece of Nova Scotia with them wherever they go.

• And Cape Breton’s other craft brewery, Breton Brewing in Sydney, is putting more things in cans these days, with three of their seasonal brews getting the full package treatment. Already available are their summer swigger Island Time Lager, a Munich Helles that weighs in at 4.3% ABV and 14 IBU and their Storm Chaser, an oatmeal stout with added vanilla that tips the scales at 5.5% ABV and 35 IBU. And next week should see the release of Seven Years, a very hop forward pale ale reminiscent of New England IPAs, but coming in at a much more approachable 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU. Obviously the new cans will be available at the brewery, but they’ll also be making their way to the private stores in Halifax, some of whom, like Bishop’s Cellar, will ship anywhere in NS (just sayin’…). While these beers will all maintain their “seasonal” tag for now, who knows what might happen if they prove to be big sellers in this run?

• Halifax’s Tidehouse emailed us (last night, even) to let us know that they’ve got a new brew on tap now at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room. Impeccably named, Bruno Puntz Jones is a brown ale built from a base of Canadian 2-Row, with kiln coffee and Munich malts providing character and an auburn hue. Traditional English hop varieties East Kent Goldings and Fuggles complete the overall picture like a perfect white linen suit and matching Panama hat. At 4.4% ABV this should be a very quaffable brew, with light roast flavors underlying nutty and mocha notes, and a fruity and herbal hop character. And we have it on good authority that at some point Tidehouse will give us a Francesca Fioré beer, which is only proper – when you see Bruno Puntz Jones you know that it’s only a matter of time before Francesca Fioré shows up.

• Hold on to your hop hats, Rothesay, as Foghorn is releasing their first Imperial IPA today at the brewery! Model 21 Double IPA is kind of a souped-up version of their Constable Winchester IPA, in that it’s the same light-copper colour, with some medium Crystal malt in the grist… but the similarities end there. Model 21 was bittered with Centennial to 75-80 IBUs, with plenty of Azacca added after the boil. Naturally, a very large dry-hop addition was incorporated, featuring crowd- and brewer-favourites Amarillo, Citra, and Galaxy. Coming in at a hefty 9% ABV, it’s not for the faint of heart… but we know you hop heads out there will love it! You’ll be able to find it on tap at Foghorn today, and it will most likely appear on tap at your other favourite Foghorn accounts.

• Speaking of big, hoppy beers, today at noon TrailWay is releasing their first Triple IPA, Trippa. Coming in at a massive 10% ABV (no word back on the IBUs), the brewery was – naturally – pushed to the limit in terms of malt, hops, and equipment! The hop bill was made up of copious amounts of Ella, Idaho 7, and Vic Secret, giving this big beer plenty of juicy, tropical qualities, to go with its “super silky mouthfeel and pillowy body”. Limited supplies are available, with cans only at the brewery; growlers and pints will also be pouring there, as well as at a few select licensees in New Brunswick.

• If you listened in to the latest podcast from the 902BrewCast crew, where they interviewed Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery, you would have been privy to some expansion news. Oh well, you’ll just have to get it from us, some equally-handsome devils! That’s right, Brightwood has announced their expansion to a 10 bbl (~1150 L) system, with a pair each of both 10 and 20 bbl fermentors, as well as a canning line. They’ll be opening their location (and taproom) on Portland St., sharing a space with a new cidery that will be launching. We’ll keep you updated on their progress, but in the meantime, here’s a new beer from Brightwood to hold you off: Dartmouth Commons is a “late season lawnmower beer” brewed with 2-row, Vienna, and Rye malt, and hopped with Citra and Galaxy. Basically a light, crisp lager with “lots of citrus and tropical fruit” character, it comes in easy-drinking (as it should) at 5% ABV. Look for it at the Alderney Farmers Market this weekend, with a keg possibly popping up at Schoolhouse over the next day or two as well.

North Brewing has a new release coming out today, and it sounds like a winner! Ensō is a Sour Brown Ale that was aged in four separate oak barrels, for 4 months. The beer was then bottle-conditioned (in 650 mL bottles), with the corresponding barrel number indicated on the label. With a slightly lower carbonation level than other North beers, expect a “sherry-like vibe” in the finished product, with characteristics of “stone fruit, tart pear, raisin, vanilla, and light molasses” in the flavour. Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, you can find bottles at both North retail shops. Also, cans of their New England IPA, Malternate Reality, are available now!

• Over to Good Robot, where next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday will be Mordor’s Porter. Aside from a nice little reference to a fantastic trilogy, the beer was brewed with a variety of malt types (Pale, Amber, Brown and Black, along with a bit of Smoked malt) to give complex flavours of “bourbon, plums, apricots, and caramel”. Featuring some Willamette hops for 39 IBUs to balance the malt, this burnt orange-coloured, 4% ABV beer was brewed by Colin MacDonald and Kelly C. Also, you may have noticed through social media that some canning was going on at GR earlier this week; we’ll have more info for you in the next week or two (ok, it was Extra Big Ass Lager), as well as some bottling news!

• After a summer hiatus, Lunn’s Mill has brought back their Eclipse (7% ABV, 60 IBUs), a Black IPA. Dark-coloured and hop-forward, it’s still balanced by plenty of malt character, and a hint of roastiness from the addition of dark malt. And also pouring from Lunn’s Mill is a new beer launched a couple of weeks ago, Lager Driver. This one is a Vienna Lager weighing in at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBUs; initially released at their Oktoberfest event, it is luckily still available. Malty and dry, with a mild bitterness in the finish, the body exhibits a deep-amber colour.

• Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing will have a pair of new beers available this weekend, just as the temperatures are falling and the leaves are turning colour. New IPA 1.0 is, you guessed it, a brand new IPA that the HB crew has whipped up. Using a blend of three hops that lean toward the citrus and tropical end of the spectrum, this beer weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBU. The second new brew to you is their Robust Porter, featuring plenty of Chocolate and Black malts for a solid roast flavour and aroma, but with a balancing hop charge for enough bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Grab the new beers, as well as their core lineup, at their Kirk Street location this weekend. And if you want to enjoy a pint of Heritage on tap outside of brewery hours, visit the following local spots: Sip CafeRC’s Restaurant & PubThe Hatfield House Culinary Experiences, and the Red Cap Restaurant & Motel.

• The crew at Half Cocked Brewing, located in North Grant (just outside of Antigonish), have added a new beer to their repertoire this week. A 7.3% American Stout, the pitch black beer features roast and coffee aromatics on top of a rich creamy mouthfeel with hints of chocolate, finishing of in a nice bitter kick, thanks to the 60 IBU. They have decided to name this beer The Darkest One, and if you are a fan of the Tragically Hip or the Trailer Park Boys, you know why.

• The Rock’s Port Rexton Brewing has a new release with a connection back to Nova Scotia’s Big SpruceEcho Chamber is brewed in the American-Belgo style, juxtaposing yeast and grain with old world Belgian vibes against tons of new world hops. Hopped with the AzaccaHuell Melon and Amarillo varieties in whirlpool additions described as “massive”, it was then dry-hopped with even more Azacca and Huell Melon for an explosion of orange and melon aroma. The bitterness is pronounced, yet well-balanced and the finish is slightly dry. The yeast strain used was the Pin Cherry developed by Escarpment Labs for Big Spruce, which lays a base of spice notes that provide the foundation for the rest of the beer. Look for this well-balanced ale on tap at the brewery now.

• We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Horton Ridge would be holding their Oktoberfest in Hortonville tomorrow, October 21st, and we now have details on the collaboration brewed up with Sea Level for the event. An Oktoberfest (natch) named Maltoberfest, it was brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malt, and hopped with local Hallertau in the mash, with more Hallertau and some Mandarina Bavaria in the boil. Fermented with Nottingham yeast and finishing at 4.8% ABV, it will be released at the event tomorrow. Meanwhile, Horton Ridge has released a new beer called Queen’s Smash, a SMaSH beer (obviously) that features a PEI barley variety called Queens after the county where it was developed. Hopped with Calypso to give it a bit of a North/South Island flair, this is a one-off, so you’ll have to head down to the brewery and malt house for a taste!

A few events to tell you about…

• The New Glasgow Farmers’ Market is hosting an All Hallows Ball, at their location next Saturday, October 28th. Featuring beer from Sober Island Brewing and Uncle Leo’s, it will also serve as the coming out party for Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing, with their first beers pouring at the event. Food from Smokinstein Food Truck will keep you happy, plus live music all evening. Costumes are mandatory, so be sure to get planning now, and there are still tickets available here.

• In other spooky event news, Maybee Brewing is bringing back their Halloween Bash on Saturday, October 28th, starting at 7 pm. Tickets aren’t quite on sale yet, but they’ll only be 5$, which gets you in to the event. There’ll be live music all evening, lots of beer for sale (including a special-release cask ale), “haunted brewery tours”, and a costume contest. And when you get hungry, Milda’s Pizzas & More will be on-site, making up some special Halloween-inspired pizzas. There’ll even be a free shuttle heading downtown at the end of the night, to make sure you get home safely… or to your next drinking spot! It’s up to you.

Rounding out the news today…

– Fredericton’s Grimross will soon be releasing another brew in their Scratch series, Scratch #6: Schwartzbier. Featuring roast character with a “light and clean finish”, look for it on tap at the brewery by next week.
PEI Brewing Co. has brought back Hell Street, their 8.1% ABV barrel-aged Doppelbock; you can pick up some bottles at the brewery, Gahan House in Charlottetown, and the Beer Station.
– We may still be having some warm days, but that hasn’t stopped Petit-Sault from bringing back their award-winning Winter Warmer, Buckdjeuve (7.3% ABV)! It’s available now at the brewery taproom on tap and in bottles.
– If you like your Citra SMaSH beers, we have some good news – Unfiltered‘s highly-popular Double Orange Ale (DOA) (7.5% ABV) is back as of today at noon; growlers and pints at Charm School, and on tap around the HRM.
– A. Keith’s Historic Brewery on Lower Water Street in Halifax got some happy news this week, as their Lunenburg Coffee & Cacao Stout was awarded a Four-star Beer designation at The Beer Awards in England. Congrats to brewer Stefan Gagliardi and his team.

Good morning, and welcome to what feels like the first official Friday of fall! We’re a little late getting your weekly dose of beer news to you, but sometimes life outside of beer gets in the way of beer, so we’re quite sure you’ll understand. So, with that being said, let’s get right to it!

Annapolis Brewing Company, located in historic Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, is now open and selling growlers to the public. Brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litres) system in a historic building at 438 George Street, they currently have four beers available for purchase: McCormick’s BlondeAcadian Honey BrownKing George Porter, and Ceasefire IPA. We’ll have a full profile of with the ABC crew next week, and in the meantime watch their FB and Twitter pages for updates. Welcome to the local beer scene, Annapolis Brewing!

• And in the “Coming Soon” category for breweries, Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House will be opening in Lower Sackville, NS, in the coming weeks. Owner and brewer Keith Forbes has been involved in the homebrewing community for almost a decade, an avid member of the Brewnosers club. Forbes is currently brewing on a 120 litre home-built system in his basement, and eyeing expansion next year. Kegs at local bars and restaurants will be the primary way to try the OBB beer for this year, with growlers thereafter. We’ll have a full Profile with Forbes closer to launch date, with all of the details on his history, beers he’ll have available, and his journey to opening. Cheers!

• Up by the Isthmus of Chignecto, Amherst’s Trider’s Craft Beer has joined the ranks of the pumpkin pushers with their Pumpkin Ale-ixer an ostensibly amber ale with a seasonal twist. Make no mistake about its provenance, however, this is a true-blue pumpkin beer featuring freshly harvested pumpkin that were hand-roasted with just the right amount of brown sugar before being added to the boil. Hopped entirely, but lightly, with UK variety Fuggles for an earthy, herby hop character, and then dosed with a secret tincture of fresh organic spices, this beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV and 10 IBU. It’s available now from the brewery in 500 mL bottles and there are twenty or so kegs that will make their way to tap accounts around the region. Cheers to Samhain!

• Returning for the season is Roof Hound Brewery‘s KelticDevil Pumpkin-Spiced Latte Strong Porter (say that 3 times fast!). Featuring pumpkin, vanilla beans, 2 kg of coffee from local roaster Sissiboo Coffee, and lactose (milk sugar) for that full PSL appeal, the tongue in cheek name is an ode to local beer-tographer and -fan Phil “KelticDevil” Church, and his dis-love of all things pumpkin. Roof Hound will be celebrating the release tonight with a showing of the cult classic “Friday the 13th” from 1980. The beer launches today, with the movie starting at 9PM. And speaking of KelticDevil and his co-horts Kyle and Tony, their 902 BrewCast October Tasting episode was released this morning. This month’s episode features a chat on all things glassware with visiting Certified Cicerone® Crystal Luxmore. Grab it here, or check your favourite podcasting app.

• After opening their brewery back in August, the folks behind Half Cocked Brewing are introducing their first new brew. Appropriately named First Harvest, it’s a DIPA that was first-wort-hopped (a process where hops are added as the wort runs off from the mash, before the boil has begun) with Columbus and Warrior, with “massive” late and whirlpool additions of freshly-picked Cascade, along with some Centennial, Chinook, and Galena. Double-dry-hopped with more Columbus, the resulting 8.3% ABV beer is dank and grassy, and should be on tap at the brewery for growler fills any time now (if it’s not already!).

Big Spruce released two new beers last Friday, literally minutes after our post went out… but that doesn’t mean we can’t update you on them now! First up is Guava Get Me Some IPA, an American IPA featuring lots of late hop additions (we tried to find out which ones, but they ain’t tellin’!), as well as organic guava, expect plenty of tropical aromas and flavours in this one. Secondly is Wild Wild Wit, a Farmhouse Ale fermented with Big Spruce’s proprietary wild yeast. After the yeast completed their job, the beer was racked into Francis Ford Coppola Chardonnay barrels for 2 months. “Smooth, floral, and easy-drinking” at just 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, drop by the brewery for a taste of this one (and the other!), or search around Halifax, where some lucky spots have them on tap.

• Attesting to the growing popularity of the style, there’s more and more New England IPAs being brewed across the Maritimes, and Big Axe has just released their take, Roll in the Hay IPA. Brewed with Pale malt and Flaked Oats, it was hopped-heavily with Lemondrop, a new-ish variety that boasts the character that you’re probably expecting from the name! Along with the lemon aroma, the brewery says a big blast of papaya, creating the classic juicy characteristics of an NEIPA. Weighing in low for the style at 5.2% ABV, drop by the brewery in Nackawic for a taste or growler (and check out their expansion progress!), and seek it out at your favourite Big Axe account.

• And speaking of Lemondrop, let’s move over to Yarmouth, NS, where Heritage Brewing is releasing a test batch of a Lemondrop single-hopped beer, Lemondrop Pale Ale. With a simple malt profile, the Lemondrop hops come through perfectly with a “subtle, lemony-citrusy-floral aroma”. Quite drinkable at 5% ABV and only 18 IBUs, it is available at the brewery now for samples and growler fills. It joins their other recent release, Zero Kilometre Cream Ale, a 5.4% ABV quaffer. A light and refreshing complement to their Blonde, it features a mild hop character and light malt profile. Also available now at the brewery, it was also pouring at friendly-brewery-friend Hell Bay in Liverpool earlier this week. Speaking of which …

• Hell Bay has announced that for their Oktoberfest, happening next Saturday, Oct 21, they will be launching a special one-off beer. A dark Witbier, it is brewed in the style of a traditional Belgian Wit (think half Wheat malt, orange peel and coriander added), but with an addition of Chocolate malt for a darker colour and light chocolate and roast flavours. The best way to guarantee a taste of the Fest-bier is to head to the brewery from noon to midnight on Saturday, though there may be some left for those of you unable to attend. There will be plenty of beers pouring, as well as special food available all day, with music throughout the day. The event is indoors and out, with a big tent to keep everyone dry in case of inclement weather.

• We hinted at a new fruit beer coming from TrailWay last Friday, and that beer has now been released. It’s the latest iteration of their 3.8% ABV fruited kettle-sour, El Generico, with this batch featuring the addition of almost 200 lbs of blackberries and rhubarb. It just dropped yesterday in cans, growlers, and pints at the brewery, and as always with this brand, it’s a limited release, so drop by soon to make your purchase. A few kegs will also likely pop up at licensees around Fredericton.

Picaroons has brought back their seasonal pumpkin-spiced brew, Gourd Browny, featuring a “new and improved recipe”. A medium-bodied, 5.6% ABV Brown Ale, it was spiced with “modest” amounts of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Released late last week just in time to pair with Thanksgiving meals, it should still be on tap at both Picaroons locations in Fredericton, as well as bars and restaurants in the city.

• If you’re in St. John’s, keep your eyes open for an upcoming new beer from YellowBelly. An IPA brewed to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Crow’s Nest, a formerly-private club in the city that has been transformed into a military museum, it was brewed with Maris Otter and Carastan, and hopped with East Kent Golding and Bramling Cross. With one dry-hop down, and presumably another to go, look for this one – currently unnamed – to pop up on tap at the brewpub within a couple of weeks.

• Halifax’s 2 Crows has a couple things on the go this week, in both large and small batch formats. First, on the small side, brewery assistant Nick Ogden devised a cunning beer called Oceanspray, a saison that features a couple of locally-foraged ingredients. Starting a fairly standard (for 2 Crows, anyway) malt bill of Pilsner, wheat, rye and, of course, oats, the beer was fermented with their house saison culture, before conditioning on pineapple weed and juniper berries. Keg conditioning took place with champagne yeast for extra effervescence. Now, you probably know what juniper berries are, but we’re guessing you might be wondering what pineapple weed is. Google image search it, folks, and consider how many times you’ve stomped on it growing between the cracks on a sidewalk. It certainly earns its name as you’ll discover if you try this beer. Pineapple-y, slightly earthy, and featuring some pine and resinous notes, this is a tasty little beer at 5.4% ABV and 21 IBU. Only two 50 L kegs were produced and it’s only available by the glass at 2 Crows.

• And on the large side, tomorrow marks the release of Bonanza, a massive beer in the wheatwine style that’s been aged 3 months in one of the locally-famous 2 Crows Calvados foedres. At 11.4% and 64 IBU, this is not a beer for the faint of heart. The grist was largely composed of (a lot of) wheat malt, with Pilsner, Vienna and oat malt (of course) providing interest. It was hopped during the boil with modern European Hallertau Blanc and classic American Centennial and initially fermented with an English yeast before being fed both a wild yeast and a wine yeast to finish. Dry-hopping included more Hallertauer Bland along with Simcoe and a touch of Citra. It features a sweet and round nose, with fruity esters, a mouth-filling and velvety body, and barrel character that presents on both the nose and the palate. Warmth and patience bring out the hops. It will be available in cans tomorrow at the brewery; we suggest grabbing at least two: one for now and one to put away for a little while to see how it mellows; we suspect the answer will be, “quite nicely.”

• Time for your weekly update on next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday from Good Robot: Don’t Call Me Wit was brewed by Matt Chapple and Kelly C., with a grist of 2-row, Wheat, Black Patent, and Midnight Wheat. Bittered with Galaxy, Summit, and Vic Secret to 35 IBUs, it was dry-hopped with more Summit and Vic Secret. Obviously not your typical Witbier (the two dark malts alone should give that away!), expect a “piney, fruit flavour and aroma, with a clean Wit body”.

• Are you ready to rumble? Upstreet is releasing their third collaboration with Boxing Rock just in time for the weekend, as Rumble in the Alley III is hitting tap accounts in PEI and Halifax. For this iteration, they’ve brewed up a SMaSH Belgian IPA, with Pilsner malt and Azacca hops being the stars of the show, along with “a newly available Belgian yeast” that is new to breweries in our region, according to Upstreet. With a ripe stone fruit hop profile, some fruity esters from the yeast, and a very dry finish, this 6% ABV, 30 IBUs brew is the perfect way to celebrate two local breweries working together. Look for it at the breweries and growler stations in both the HRM and PEI.

• With this year’s Nocture: Art at Night set to kick off tomorrow, Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is once again releasing a beer to celebrate. Taking a slight detour from the Dark Lager of old, this year’s batch is a Black IPA. Nocturne Black IPA is a 6.7% ABV, 78 IBU, featuring a rich chocolate and coffee flavour, with the generous dry-hopping of Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight for plenty of tropical fruit and pine aromatics. The beer is available on tap for pints and samples at their Gottingen location, with growlers and 650 ml bottles available in both Halifax and Dartmouth. 100% of the profits from Nocturne Black IPA are donated directly to the festival. From Propeller, “So buy more beer and help bring art to the masses”. Looking to plan your tour of Nocturne, check out their interactive map (good on both desktop and mobile).

• This evening’s Cask Night at Gottingen Street will be tapped at 5PM, and is their Pumpkin Ale, aged on cedar wood. The fun kicks off at 5PM, and the folks from Humble Pie Kitchen will be onsite to keep you well fed while you enjoy a pint of two. HPK will be partnering with Propeller for future Cask Nights as well.

• And finally in Propeller news this week, they will be releasing their latest Gottingen Small Batch beer tomorrow, to coincide with Nocturne. It will be the first release of their Propeller Hop Collection, “an experimental series designed to showcase unique hop varieties from around the world.” The initial beer is Citra IPA, a Brown IPA (colour thanks to Blackprinz and Munich Malts), generous dosing of Citra gives citrus and tropical aromatics, which complement the pine and earth notes from Simcoe, also found in the brew. Launching Saturday, this small batch will only be available on tap for growlers, pints and samples at Gottingen, and for growler fills at Windmill next week.

Sober Island Brewing and ShipBuilders Cider are releasing a special hybrid experiment at Battery Park tomorrow. Featuring a 50/50 blend of SI’s Oyster Stout and ShipBuilders’ Cider, this bevvy will be available at both retail locations, Farmers’ Markets, and bottles at Petite Riviere and Sheet Harbour. The two producers are celebrating the Halifax Pop Explosion, running October 18-21, and will have discounted HPX tickets available for purchase at tomorrow’s launch, as well as ticket give-aways starting at 2PM. Drop by for your first taste and to take part in the fun!

• And grab your taste’s of Sober Island’s first release in the Foraged Series, their Chanterelle Mild Ale this weekend as well. The Forest Festival at Memory Lane Heritage Village will be hosting the Sober Island beer trailer and many more visitors, including axe throwing hosted by Timber Lounge Halifaxe.

• For those of you professional brewers out there that are currently packaging your beer in kegs and growlers only, we have some great news – Craft Coast Canning is about ready to open! Located in Fredericton, the company offers the rental of their mobile canning unit to breweries throughout the Maritimes. When hired, they bring the canning unit to your brewery, along with the pre-labelled cans (you can work with them beforehand to get your design on the shrink sleeve; they even offer graphic design services if needed), and two technicians. With a single-phase, 5-head filler, they can churn out 35 cans/minute (both 12 and 16 oz cans are available), and are able to can up to 6000 L/day. All operations are completed by the technicians; your only job at the brewery is to receive the cans at the end of the line, and package them as you see fit. The business will officially open this Monday, so if you’d like to have your beer canned, now is the time to reach out to them!

• This past Wednesday it was announced on social media that Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing, in partnership with the Biology Department at Acadia University, has been awarded a research and innovation grant by Nova Scotia Business Inc (NSBI) towards the “creation of specialized yeast strains to make unique Nova Scotia craft beers.” In the release Saltbox also pledged their intent to share this research with other NS breweries through the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. Given the success achieved locally by Big Spruce with the yeasts they’ve isolated and developed in Cape Breton as well as the work being done by small yeast labs throughout North America, this is a welcome development that will hopefully help Saltbox and other Nova Scotia breweries further develop one of the essential components of a terroir for beer in our province.

A few things on the go this weekend and next week:

• As they did last year, Muwin Estate, the folks behind the popular Bulwark brand of ciders, is hosting their The People’s Cider event tomorrow. From 10 AM to 4 PM. Drop by their New Ross location at 7155 Highway 12 with your own home-grown apples to be pressed and made into a cider to be released later this year. If you’ve got apples on your property that you haven’t known what to do with, now you know! More detail and updates on the project can be found on the Facebook Event Page.

• The New Brunswick-produced beer documentary, Beerocracy, is having another screening on Thursday, October 19th at Big Tide Brewing in Saint John, at 6 pm. Entry is by donation, and Big Tide will have beer and food specials on as well. Look for more screening dates and locations to be announced soon.

One last thing(s):

North Brewing‘s Malternate Reality New England-style IPA is now available in cans at both of their retail locations (and may be headed to the private stores as well).
Schoolhouse Brewery‘s Cask this Friday is actually a cider, dreamed up by brewer Leigh. Valley Apple Cider is made from all local apples, and like all of these releases, will not last long!
Sea Level has brought back their New Scotland Heather Ale, and it is currently available in cans and growlers at the brewery, and on tap from the Valley to Halifax. This 5.0% ABV beer features local heather and hops.
– After their launch last week, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing will once again have growler fills available at the brewery. Drop by from 11AM-4PM for fills of their Chai Stout and Roggenbier, as well as the new Pale Ale (5.6% ABV, 20 IBU) and Hefeweizenish (5.5%, 12 IBU). Learn more about them in last week’s Profile.
– And all great things must come to an end… We’ve heard that the Stillwell Beergarden will be closing for the season at the end of service Saturday. So get out and see some art, grab a pint and sausage, see some art, drink, art, repeat.

 

Horton Ridge Logo

The Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Company opened in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in 2016, the first commercial malt house in Atlantic Canada. Owner Alan Stewart has been farming and running Stewart’s Organics for more than 30 years. Malting Organically-grown grains from their own fields, as well as other farms, their variety of malts and adjuncts have found buyers across the Maritimes. On Thursday, June 1, they are opening a small brewery and taproom at the Malt House, to showcase their malts in beers brewed onsite, as well as by their customers. Six taps have been installed, three of which will feature Horton Ridge brews. For the other three, Organic stalwarts Tatamagouche Brewing and Big Spruce Brewing will have dedicated taps, and the final spout will rotate through beers from other breweries that use Horton Ridge malts. We caught up with Alan to ask him some questions about how they decided to start brewing, their initial offerings and plans for the future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am sixth generation farmer in Hortonville, with the oldest certified organic farm in the Province. I ran away from the farm after high school to get several engineering degrees, but beat it back to Hortonville upon graduation.

How did you get into the world of beer?
We came into the beer business by way of its most important ingredient, malt. We opened Atlantic Canada’s first craft malt house a year ago.

What made you decide to take the step into opening a brewery?
Malting always made sense to me, it is a farming maneuver; we are harnessing the natural processes that occur during the germination of the seed. I did not know much about brewing, but what I did find out after a while that our malt was significantly different from macro malt that the craft brewing industry depends on. Recipe substitution was not the answer, replacing industrialized macro malt with floor malt is like replacing industrialized enriched white flour with stone ground whole wheat flour. We wanted to be part of the process whereby recipes were developed around our malts. It also did not hurt that we have a highly visible location next to Highway 101 in Nova Scotia’s bread basket with a quickly developing culinary scene.

What is the culture of the brewery?
Our brewery tag line is “From Grain to Glass”, we will be making beers from malts made on-site. We consider ourselves a malt house first, and a brewery second. Our goal is to highlight the role of agriculture in brewing by showcasing the growing and malting of grains. Another important aspect of what we do is to increase the economic footprint of brewing by allowing brewers to replace imported malts by those made here. In the fullness of time, the economics will get even better as we develop our malting grains growing capabilities. We have been able to access regionally grown grains (mostly from PEI) more quickly than we had anticipated, very happy for that. Since we have been farming organically for so long, we did not hesitate to have the organic philosophy extend to our malting and brewing operations. In our opinion we are providing the opportunity for brewers to extend their “craft” value chain. There is a cultural discontinuity of a “craft” brewing industry that relies on industrialized macro malt.

Can you tell us about the beers you plan on offering initially? Any seasonals or one-offs in the works?
We have two beers nailed down. The first is Malt House Ale, it is made of equal parts of our Two Row, Vienna & Munich malts. It is hopped with Summit. It is intentionally malty with a pronounced bready finish. The second is Rye’s Up Local, made from 50% PEI barley, 25% PEI wheat & 25% of rye that we grew ourselves. We would like to round out the pan Atlantic aspect of this beer by accessing a suitable hop from New Brunswick. We have recently started malting oats from PEI, so we are working on an Oatmeal beer. We have a good working relationship with our neighbour Just Us! Coffee, so you can look for beers finished on coffee, tea and chocolate.

Where will people be able to enjoy your beer?
We will be selling our beers out of our taproom only. We will sell them in flights, pints & growlers & bottles.

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We have absolutely no plans to sell our beers outside of our taproom, with the possible exception of winter growler sales at the Wolfville Farmers Market (where I was a vendor for 23 years). We purposely undersized our brewery to leave room to bring in beers that our brewery customers make with our malts. At least half of our taps will be those beers. All of the beers served out of our taproom will be based on our malts.

Have you had any assistance from breweries in Atlantic Canada?
We did not want to get drawn into the “beer style” thingy right off the bat, we wanted to let the beers end up where our malts took them. To that end we employed the DIY approach. We certainly appreciate the support from our largest malt customers, Big Spruce and Tatamagouche Brewing.

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2-3 years?
At the moment we have no plans to scale up, we want to continue to highlight malt forward beers to our taproom patrons and malt customers, and to provide an outlet for the beers made by our customers.

Switching gears to the brewing system, what type of system will you be brewing on, and what is your expected output?
We have a 120 litre system from Stout Tanks & Kettles, brewing 3-4 times per week during the summer.

Can you tell us about who will be running the brewhouse?
Our brewer Stephen Mastrioanni has been brewing for 2 years, and has been brewing with our malts from day one. He has a good handle on the malt.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
I do happen to like malty beers, have gotten over hops. My “go to” brewery is Sea Level, it is close by, and I appreciate Randy’s support along the way. I also look forward to the offerings of Tata & Big Spruce that we bring back after making deliveries there.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Of course, for us, it’s all about the malt.

Thanks to Alan for answering our questions and sharing the details on the new brewery and taproom! Current plans are to have the taproom open 7 days a week from 11am to 8pm. Bar snacks will be available, including pickled eggs “powered by” free range hens who are fed a malt-based chicken feed sourced from Horton Ridge. They’ll also be offering 1 liter growler fills (Horton Ridge beers only) – they’re happy to sell you one or you can bring your own (clean!) one to be filled. So if you’re in the area or planning a trip that way, be sure to drop by 2504 Ridge Rd in Wolfville (the Malt House is visible from Exit 10 on the 101), and keep your eyes peeled to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for the latest news and events.

Welcome to the last Friday Wrap-Up of January. Plenty of new beers to tell you about, and a slew of events coming up too. Let’s get right to it!

• The judging the first annual TrailWay Homebrew Competition took place last weekend; close to 30 entries in the American IPA category were evaluated by six judges (including our very own acbbshawn). The winner and runner-up will be announced on Sunday, but in the meantime, TW’s newest DIPA, Hop Stains, will be released at the brewery today at 4 pm. Hopped heavily with Azacca, Citra, and El Dorado (with the emphasis, of course, on whirlpool and dry hop additions), expect a smooth IPA with a creamy mouthfeel, with lots of fruit throughout, and a bit of bubblegum. Not too bitter at ~60 IBUs, it clocks in at 8% ABV. A limited number of cans (40 cases) will be available, with the rest going into kegs for lucky tap accounts.

• There’s a brand new beer available now from Port Williams’ Sea Level BrewingCallahan’s Crosstime Irish Ale. The brewery is calling it a “malt-forward, smooth Irish Ale”, but it takes a different direction than the norm, thanks to the addition of Galaxy hops (to 30 IBUs), giving a “sublime, tropical fruit aroma”. Horton Ridge Pale Malt is included in the grist, with the beer coming in higher than your typical Irish Ale, at 7.3% ABV. Available in cans, 1-L growlers, and on tap at select accounts across the province.

• After a tease last Saturday at Ducky’s, Tatamagouche Brewing has released the latest addition to their Giant Beer series. Barrel Aged Barley Wine features a recipe variation from last year’s Giantess Barley Wine, as it now uses Horton Ridge malt as the majority of the grist. According to Brewmaster Matt Kenny, “This change adds some spice and a little more body, which we felt worked well with the spirit and barrel character”. Speaking of which, the beer was aged in freshly-emptied Single Malt barrels from Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery, picking up plenty of complexity during the process. The 10.5% ABV beer is well-balanced and ready to drink now, or will age gracefully for a new experience. Available exclusively in bottles at their Main Street Tatamagouche location, drop by today to grab a couple (one to enjoy now, and another to enjoy in a few months or a year, if you can keep it that long!). And while you’re there, you’ll be able to spy the expansion underway, as Kenny and Co look to double their fermentation and conditioning capacity to keep up with demand, and have a more permanent solution for their canning line. The building, and resultant improvements, will be online to help with the upcoming summer rush.

• Those in attendance at Stillwell for the debut of Tidehouse Brewing back in December know very well that the India Saison made specifically for that event was a banger and have been eagerly awaiting any hint that it might come back into production. Those people have not been waiting in vain, as that beer has returned with a shiny new name: Enigmatic (“it’s kinda weird).  Dryer than the original version, leading to a significant bump in ABV up to 6.8%, there’s  a whole lot of hops in there, specifically the Ahtanum, Azacca and Amarillo varieties. You’re encouraged to consider an IPA crossed with a Belgian/French yeast profile. If that sounds like something you’d like, or even just something you might like to try, you’re further encouraged to get yourself down to Tidehouse and get some while it’s still around (hint: it won’t be for long!). Shean and Peter also remind us that they’ll fill any size of (clean!) growler you care to bring them. And be sure to grab their interview with the 902 BrewCast guys that dropped earlier this week. Learn about some crazy beer experiments and punny beer names that maybe coming your way soon…

• Gahan Harbourfront in Halifax saw two beers hit the taps this week. Monday was the release of a new beer, the English Golden Ale that features ingredients sourced entirely from the UK. Technically a SMaSH (but not simply for the sake of being a SMaSH), the eminently British Maris Otter is the lone malt, providing a doughy character with honey overtones, while the hops are all Fuggles, a classic for British styles, bringing herbal and floral notes. At only 16 IBU and a fairly light 4.5% this should be an extremely easy-drinking ale with a fairly full flavour profile that belies its weight.

• And on Wednesday, the latest variation of the Crosscurrent American Pale Ale debuted, this time venturing afield of the all-American hop varieties featured to this point. Using Magnum (largely for bittering, we presume) and “a lot of” Dr. Rudi, a New World variety from New Zealand known for bringing a refreshing combination of pine, dry lime and lemon aromas and flavours. Still clocking in at 5.5% ABV and still featuring a malt bill of primarily pale malt with some flaked oats and flaked wheat, the IBUs are a tad lighter on this batch at 32, but we suspect the hops are much more evident in flavor than in bitterness. Both the English Golden Ale and the new Crosscurrent are available for pints and growler fills. And be sure to sign up for their Home Brewer’s Challenge before the Feb 17 deadline by email; they are looking for your best Trappist Single. Check our previous post for more details.

• Sticking with Gahan (and Homebrewing), but skipping across the Northumberland Strait, Charlottetown’s Gahan Pub has released the winner of the PEI installment of the Home Brewer’s Challenge, Green Willy Solstice, a 7.9% ABV Winter Warmer. The winning team of Jonathan Green, Clayton Harding, Will Panting, and Jaime Venturini joined Brewmaster Trent Haynes for the day, using molasses and a blend of spices for a warming profile to the beer. Grab a pint on tap at Sydney Street now.

• Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing is releasing a special beer next week, featuring a unique local ingredient. Bunchberry Orange Kolsch is a 4.5% ABV German hybrid beer (hybrid of ale and lager yeast, more temperature-tolerant), with oranges grown in Nova Scotia. Bunchberry Nurseries were the folks who grew the Poncirus trifoliata, also known as Japanese or Chinese Bitter Orange, a cold-tolerant citrus tree. To celebrate this first for the province, Lazy Bear are holding a public tasting of the beer at Bunchberry in Upper Clements, February 3, 7:00-9:00 pm. To honour the unexpected combination, there will be a beach theme to the evening, and it will feature local food. The beer is in very short supply, so be sure to drop by that evening to avoid disappointment. If there does happen to be any left, it will be available at the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market the next morning.

 • Ontario’s Beau’s Brewing is brewing a series of collaboration beers in 2017, to celebrate the 150th birthday of our country. Their first in this series was conceived with the Fogo Island Inn, located on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island. Described by the brewery as a “Myrrh-Smoked Gose”, this one is definitely different! Along with Pilsner, Acid, and Carafoam malt in the grist, Wheat malt that was smoked with myrrh collected from the Island’s pine, spruce, and fir trees was added. The saltiness typical to the Gose style was obtained by the addition of island-foraged sea salt, and Newfoundland partridgeberries were added for tartness (as opposed to the usual practice of introducing Lactobacillus bacteria). This is a higher-ABV than usual for a Gose, at 6.7% ABV; it was hopped with Strisselspalt and Simcoe to 35 IBUs, also high for the style. Beau’s describes the beer as hazy orange, with earthy and woody aromas mingled with mild fruitiness, and smoky and tart flavours. Named 49° 54°, it’s going to be available only at the Inn, with $1500 in sales being donated to the Shorefast Foundation. For more info on this beer, check out Beau’s full description. And be sure to follow along with Beau’s future collaborations, as some more Atlantic Canadian terroir beers are sure to pop up!

In terms of events, we’ve also got plenty to tell you about this week, as brewers and restaurants start to get ahead of the snow and ice…

• In case you missed yesterday’s post, Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing will be opening their doors at 1932 Brunswick Street tomorrow, from noon. Check out the full details in the Profile, but be sure to drop by for the special tap room-only Bakeapple Sour, Aztec Milk Stout, and Mango & Brett IPA, as they will be sure to sell out quickly (and are not available elsewhere).

• After (or before) a stop for that pint and growler fill tomorrow, drop down to Bishop’s Cellar for a co-tap takeover of their growler filling station with Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery and Sheet Harbour’s Sober Island Brewing. The crews from both spots will be on hand from 1:00-3:00pm to chat and pour samples, before you dive in for a growler filling.

• And while you’re in the downtown core tomorrow, be sure to drop by Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington for pours of three special beers from Toronto brewery Bellwoods. The Plum variant of their Jelly King, a dry-hopped Lacto sour; Jutsu, a Vermont-inspired 5.6% ABV Pale Ale; and Farmhouse Saison, fermented with Brettanomyces Lambicus. These will be on from noon, when you can also take advantage of their “Bottle of the Day”, where they are offering up a bottle from their cellar for pours from the glass, rather than having to spring for the whole shebang.

Tide & Boar Brewing is holding another of their Beer to Go days tomorrow, January 28th, from 10 am-6 pm. Two beers will be available for growler fills: Killington IPA, a 7.6% ABV Northeast IPA featuring plenty of Citra and Mosaic hops, and a new take on their Sour Otis Grapefruit, which has been rebuilt from the ground up, according to brewer Chad Steeves. Twenty-four grapefruits per barrel were added to the beer, making it more acidic than ever. Only a limited supply of these beers (2 kegs each) will be available, so get over early!

New Brunswick Beer Tours is holding their FROSTival Brewery Tour next Saturday, February 4th, and there’s still a few tickets left! They’ll be following their usual itinerary of four brewery stops (this time around, Graystone, Maybee, Mama’s, and TrailWay), before a final stop at the King Street Ale House for a pint with Off Grid Ales‘ Randy Rowe; each brewery stop includes four sample pours. Tickets are $68.50 each, and include – of course – transportation between all stops.

• Sick of winter yet? If you’re in the Fredericton area, Maybee Brewing is offering a cure – of sorts – with their Beat the Winter Blues, scheduled for next Saturday, February 4th. A night of live music and beer (from 7 pm-1 am), your $12 advance ticket ($20 at the door) gets you admission to two live bands, The Tortoise The Hare & The Millionaire, and Keith Hallett. Of course, there will be plenty of Maybee beer on tap, as well as a guest brewery or two, for purchase. A food truck will be on site, and a free shuttle to downtown will be available between 12-1:30 am.

• After a wildly successful debut at TrailWay, the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection have got their next event scheduled at Maybee Brewing February 8th at 6:30pm. $14 will get you a flight of beer, tour of the brewery, and insightful chat with fellow beer lovers (and those looking to learn more). Check out the FB Event page, and be sure to RSVP in advance.

• This year’s Péché Day – a celebration of one of Canada’s highest-rated beers, Dieu du Ciel!‘s Péché Mortel – is scheduled for Saturday, March 11th. Luckily for all of us, this year three Maritime bars have been selected to participate! What does this mean? It means that these three locations – the King Street Ale House, Stillwell, and Tide & Boar – will have six different variants of the coffee-infused Imperial Stout on tap for you to enjoy (check out the event poster for a list of all expected). It’ll simply be pay-as-you-go, but be warned, this is a big beer!

• Speaking of March 11th, the 5th Annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is fast approaching! While the evening session did sell out quickly, there are still afternoon tickets available, which offers the option of a slightly-more-relaxed experience… and the option of continuing afterwards with Péché Day at the KSAH! If you’re an alumni (have attended the last four festivals) and haven’t yet picked up your tickets, be sure to do so with the special alumni code emailed to you by FCBF organizers – aside from all the great local craft beer, you also get a T-shirt, custom glassware, and more!

A couple more things before we let you go this week:

– The crew from Bishop’s Cellar drove up to Nyanza this week to brew up a collaboration at Big Spruce Brewing. Coming next month will be Anaphylactic Choc, a peanut butter and chocolate porter, featuring organic peanut butter added right to the boil, for a blast of nutty goodness. We’ll share more details when the beer is released on February 25th, at a Takeover of Bishop’s growler filling taps.
Breton Brewing has brought back Crazy Angus Double IPA, the amped up brother to their Black Angus IPA. At 7.4% ABV and 85 IBU, it’s sure to cure that hop itch many of us have! Grab it on tap at their taproom, and accounts around the province.
Gahan Halifax will be hosting their first Brewmaster’s Dinner on February 21st, featuring four courses from the chef specifically paired with beers from Kyle Jeppesen’s brewhouse. More details are in the offing and we’ll bring them to you as they become available.
Garrison Brewing is holding a contest on Instagram, celebrating their Dirty Ol’ Town Black IPA. Take a picture of why you love the town, and tag @garrisonbrewing and use the #LoveThisDirtyOlTown hashtag. They will regram all entries, and the one with the most likes by February 9th will win a brewery tour for 10 people.

Good day, and welcome to another beautiful Friday! Before diving headfirst into your long weekend, there is a ton of beer news to get through, so sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy!

• With expansion soon underway at Hammond River, brewing – luckily for fans of their beer – hasn’t slowed down a bit! Two favourites were rebrewed earlier this week: White Walker White Stout (a pale-coloured Stout brewed with Java Moose Foghorn coffee, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cacoa nibs) was brewed on Tuesday, and Imperial Breakfast Stout (featuring more local coffee and cacao nibs, along with Applewood home-smoked bacon) yesterday. Owner/brewer Shane Steeves also has two new beers in the pipeline, to be brewed very soon. First up will be a new Imperial IPA that will be hopped continuously with Simcoe during the 90-minute boil (with a large dry-hop addition as well, of course). With a grist composed of Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Vienna malt, along with some Carapils, expect this 9.2% ABV, 101 IBUs DIPA to be very hop-forward, as expected. Shortly after, Steeves will be brewing a new take on his The Vegas SMaSH, with this iteration featuring the extremely-popular Citra hop variety. We’ll keep you updated as to the release of all four of these beers in the future.

• The beer keeps flowing at Mama’s Brew Pub, as yet another couple of new brews became available on tap earlier this week. Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout features a grist of 2-row and Medium Crystal, with some Carafa III and Chocolate malt to darken the colour and add some roasted notes to the beer. Hopped lightly with Goldings to 20 IBUs, dehydrated chocolate peanut butter powder was added to both the boil and secondary to add the eponymous flavours; it weighs in at 7.1% ABV. Next up is Pumpkin Patch IPA, an interesting take on the love-it-or-hate-it Pumpkin Ale. This 6.7% ABV beer uses 2-row as the only malt, but gains colour from the addition of pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar, and molasses. “Generously spiced with brown baking spices”, and hopping with Cascade, Amarillo and Summit to 37 IBUs, it’s available just in time for the holiday weekend, as it will be released today. Finally, good news for those of you unable to make frequent trips to the Northside brewpub – Mama’s is currently installing three new 3 BBL (350 L) fermentors, and a crowler machine. This means more beer of course, but more importantly, some of this beer will be available for off-site sales at local beer bars/restaurants in Fredericton.

Celtic Knot has released Murky Depths, a new take on their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout. Featuring the addition of the meat and water from local wild oysters, it’s a great beer to pair with a variety of salty cheeses. Still quite drinkable at 5% ABV, it’s been pouring at a few select locations throughout Moncton; look for it to hit the taps at Tide & Boar very soon (if it’s not on already). If you missed out, fear not – owner/brewer Bruce Barton has confirmed that a new batch has just been brewed, and will be available on tap, soon. And in other Celtic Knot beer news, their 7.5% ABV Toque and Mitts Barleywine should be released this coming December. Perfect for sipping on cold winter nights, this will mark the third year for the annual release of this full-bodied ale.

Graystone Brewing hasn’t had any trouble breaking in their new brewing equipment – they’ve got several beers in the pipeline, one of which – the first “new” beer brewed on their in-house system – is being released today. Base Camp Idaho is their newest India Session Ale (aka Session IPA), brewed entirely with Idaho 7 (to 60 IBUs), a new experimental hop variety. Described as displaying characters of tropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus and pine, this could very likely be the first time this variety has been used by a brewery in Atlantic Canada. Supremely sessionable at 4.1% ABV, look for it at the brewery for pints and growler fills.

• The bigwigs at Good Robot are a sentimental bunch, and with the departure of Liam, a beloved employee who has returned home to Australia, they’re releasing Chazzwazzers, an “Oceanian Ale” today. Yellow-coloured thanks to a fairly-simple grist of Maritime, Vienna, and Golden Promise malt, plenty of New Zealand and Australian hop varieties were added: Ella and Rakau as whirlpool additions, and Dr. Rudi, Kohatu, and Wakatu in the dry-hop. Expect big aromas and flavours of tropical and stone fruit. Fermented with an American Ale strain to keep the hops front and center, the beer comes in at 7.2% ABV and 46 IBUs. Look for it on tap at Good Robot, and at better beer establishments across the HRM.

• There’s a head-to-head Gose competition underway on PEI, featuring brewers from the PEI Brewing Co. and the Gahan House brewpub, who split up and developed two brand new Gose recipes for draught release only. Let’s start with the PEIBC version, Spiced Gose – brewed with Pilsner malt and a blend of malted and torrefied wheat, it was kettle-soured before being boiled with toasted coriander and a portion of PEI seawater. Hopped-to-style – that is, extremely lightly, to 7 IBUs – with the German Saphir variety, the resulting 3.5% ABV beer is described as “malt-forward, with a balanced salinity and acidity; very drinkable”. A very limited supply will be pouring at the PEIBC taproom and a few regional beer bars, with the rest heading to New Brunswick, where it will be available this weekend at all five ANBL growler stations. Unfortunately, we do not have much information on Gahan’s entry to this friendly competition, but will be sure to share it next week!

Railcar Brewing brewed a special seasonal batch on October 5th that will be hitting the taps in a couple of weeks: Smoked Apple Ale features 25 pounds of locally picked apples added to the mash, a little smoked malt, and a touch of brown sugar at the end of the boil. Look for more details as its release approaches!

• Don’t be surprised if you see a lineup Friday at noon at Unfiltered Brewing, as they bring us another entry in their SMaSH series this week. Spec’d very much like its siblings DOA and Deity, and made with brewmaster Greg Nash’s unique SMaSH technique, the new RSMA is 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU, and features Mosaic hops. This variety, also known as HBC 369, was released in 2012 by the Hop Breeding Company and has become a favourite in hop-forward beers across North America. It’s known to provide a complex combination of floral, fruity, earthy, and especially tropical flavours. If you’re lucky enough to be going to Cask Days in Toronto later this month, you’ll find this one alongside Unfiltered’s Flat Black Jesus West Coast Stout and a bevy of other Maritime brews. If you’re not so fortunate, you can head on over to the brewery or Charm School Pub for a pint or a growler fill. Get on it!

Savoie’s Brewhouse, way up north in River Charlo, New Brunswick, has two items of interest for us this week. The first is the impending release of their new Fall Fair Harvest Ale, containing selected malts from their four main brews into one. This year it uses Chinook, Magnum, Palisade and Cascade (all of which are also featured in their regular line), but going forward it will feature locally grown hops. It is amber in colour and has a slight bitterness. The second piece of news is a move of the brewhouse just down the road to the Heron’s Nest Cottages, home of the Heron’s Nest Pub, where Savoie’s brews are exclusively on tap (where you’ll also find a wide selection of craft and imported beers). This move has also given them the opportunity to follow a welcome trend in the region by expanding their brewhouse capacity from 80 gallons to 160.

Sea Level Brewing is extremely excited to announce the arrival of a true farm-to-glass Nova Scotian beer this weekend. Brewmaster Randy Lawrence has been dreaming of a beer made solely of locally-sourced ingredients since he began growing his own hops in 1983, and the new Indigenous Pale Ale sees his dream become reality. The barley was grown in Port Williams at TapRoot Farms and malted at Horton Ridge Malting Company. The bulk of the hops are of the Cascade variety and were harvested from Sea Level’s own hop farm, while the small remainder comes from other Nova Scotia growers. The beer is 5% ABV, with a smooth malt flavour that allows the floral and citrus notes from the wet-hopped Cascade to shine. A pre-release took place on Thursday at the Port Pub in Port Williams, with cans and 1L growlers available at the brewery today. If you’re in HRM you’ll be able to find this truly Nova Scotian Ale this weekend at Bishop’s Cellar and at select tap accounts around the city. 

• Launched during their epic takeover of Battery Park’s taps last night, there’s a brand new Tatamagouche brew now flowing this week. Batattery Pale Ale has all the hop character of a West Coast IPA, but in a smaller ABV-delivery system, at 60 IBUs and 5.6% ABV. Battery Park’s head bartender Marc Wilson, a native of the West Coast, and BP/North Brewing’s Peter Burbridge made a trip to Tatamagouche to brew up a special collaboration in September. Featuring Malagash-grown Cascade hops added during the mash, with loads more hops added during the boil (namely Cascade, Chinook, and Simcoe), and through even more of the local Cascade in a hopback, then with extra dosing of Cascade and Chinook dry hops. Though an ode to hops, the use of Horton Ridge Pale Malt helps to complete the local twist on a West Coast-inspired beer. The beer is available now at Tatamagouche for samples, growler fills, and cans, and will be available at licensees within the next week.

• Attendees to the Tata Takeover were also treated to a sneak peek of their next Berliner Weisse release, Philomenaroma. This 4.0% ABV kettle sour features dark cherries, for a brilliant colour and bright fresh cherry aroma. Look for the full release of this beer next week, on tap and in growlers only. Also launching this coming week is Tata’s collaboration with the crew from Bishop’s CellarCellar Slammer Session IPA; at 4.4% ABV, it features the same light malt recipe from the first release, but is further enhanced, aromatically, with a pass through the hopback with some of their own home-grown whole leaf Cascade. Grab the beer at the brewery in growlers and cans, rotating through the growler station at Bishop’s, and on tap at favourite bars in HRM.

• And speaking of North Brewing, they are releasing a brand new beer today, Headline Milk Stout. It features big chocolate flavour from three different chocolate malts (including debittered chocolate malt), complemented with toasted nut and coffee notes. The addition of lactose lends a creamy and lightly sweet finish to the beer, for a full 360° experience. This 5.5% ABV beer is lightly bittered to just under 30 IBUs for balance. It is available now at their Ochterloney and Agricola locations in 650 mL bottles and 750 mL swing tops, growler fills, and sure to be available at your local watering hole shortly.

• A cross-harbour collaboration was released late last week, between Halifax’s Gahan House and Dartmouth’s Spindrift BrewingYser is a 20 IBU, 5.9% ABV Saison, featuring light amounts of both flaked rye and flaked wheat in the grist for a light spiciness and haze, and persistent head retention. Lemondrop and Meridian hops lend a bright lemon citrus aroma, which is offset with an addition of pink peppercorns late in the boil. With the yeast drying the beer out (taking the final gravity quite low), the wheat and rye help to maintain a pleasant full body mouthfeel. This is one complex beer, perfect for pairing with oysters (the beer was released in celebration of last weekend’s Oysterfest), or your favourite cheese. Grab it on tap at Gahan and Spindrift for growler fills, and there are a few kegs in the wild around the HRM, too.

• There are a pair of other new beers flowing on the Halifax side of the harbour at Gahan as well. Dead Drift Double IPA is definitely American in inspiration and execution, featuring Chinook, Palisade, and Simcoe hops for pine, citrus, and stonefruit flavours and aromatics, but with a restrained 45 IBUs. At 8.2% ABV, the grist is made up solely of 2-Row malt. A light heat does come through, but only serves to deliver more of the hop aromatics directly to the nose.

• The third new beer is Tommy’s Chocolate Orange, a 4.0% ABV Hefeweizen brewed in collaboration with Gahan’s Chef, Thomas Hulford. The aim was to achieve a blonde-coloured beer reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, featuring notes of chocolate, citrus, and maybe some banana. The German weizen yeast helps to bring in the banana, while aging on fresh orange zest and cacao nibs bring in the other flavour and aromatic notes. From head brewer Kyle Jesspsen: “While the aromatics are big, the flavour is still very light, quenching and approachable.” Grab all three new beers, as well as core beers Maritime Brine Gose and Night Vision American Porter on tap and in growler fills now, and keep an eye open for a new version of Crosscurrent Pale Ale (this time with Centennial and Comet) releasing Monday.

Mill Street Brewery St. John’s has released a new batch of their Capelin Hound, their 4.0% ABV Session IPA. Plenty of hops are used in this small package, to the tune of 50 IBUs, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story of the big grapefruit and melon aromatics, thanks to a boatload of dry-hopping. While originally brewed to enjoy in great volume while awaiting the Capelin to roll, this beer can definitely be enjoyed into fall. They are also releasing Leder-Helles next week, their Oktoberfest-inspired Munich Helles beer. At 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs, this golden lager is medium-bodied and malt-forward with a sweet, grainy, and nutty aroma. Light hopping from Hersbruker and Saaz hops give a light spiciness, pairing with the dry finish. Grab these two beers, as well as Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale, on growlers to go, upon release.

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is releasing a special collaboration brew this Saturday, brewed with the help of local beertographer and beer fan @kelticdevil (aka Phil Church). Kelticdevil Pumpkin Spiced Latte Strong Porter is an 8.0% Porter, featuring light pumpkin spicing, Sissiboo Coffee Roaster Honduran Coffee, and lactose. The result is more than the sum of its parts, with the cream and coffee coming together with the light spicing for a special seasonal release. To celebrate the release, there will be live music tomorrow night from 10pm, featuring Marc Durkee. Learn more at RHB’s Facebook page.  And there are still a few tickets available for their October 20 Supper Club, more details and the menu are here. And keep an eye out in HRM for their Rooftop Rye-It beer, as kegs were delivered yesterday to Battery Park, Good Robot, Stillwell and Bishop’s Cellar for growler fills.

• Attention homebrewers, the style for this year’s Garrison Home Brew-Off has been announced! Wee Heavy (Category 17C of the 2015 BJCP Guidelines) is a Scottish style of beer, 6.5 – 10.0% ABV, malt-forward and low bitterness, with a full mouthfeel from the crystal and caramel malts. The judging will take place in February with the Gala shortly thereafter. More details will be available soon, and Garrison’s Brew-Off page will updated soon after. Get those test batches on the go now!

• Saint John’s First City has been busy lately, with one recent new beer release and two others on the way. Out now at a handful of beer bars is their American Pale Ale, brewed with “four West Coast ‘C’ variety hops”; it comes in at 5.5% ABV and 42 IBUs. In the next few days, look for Spiced Pumpkin Ale (6% ABV, 25 IBUs) to join the flurry of pumpkin beers currently hitting bars. Finally, their Red IPA (7% ABV, 60 IBUs) will be returning within the next week or so as well.

• In celebration of this year’s Celtic Colours Festival (Oct 7-15), Breton Brewing has just released their Celtic Colours Maple Lager. Featuring more than 20 litres of local maple syrup in the batch, this 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs Helles is pouring at the brewery and at local bars now. And releasing later today is their Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale, at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBUs, featuring more than 100 kg of roasted pumpkin added to the beer. Today, and into the weekend, they are featuring musicians in their taproom, in celebration of the Festival. Check out the listings here.

Propeller Brewing has brought back their ode to next weekend’s “Art at Night” festival, Nocturne. The 4.8% ABV Nocturne Dark Lager is now available in 500ml bottles and growler fills, and is only available at the Prop Shops on Gottingen and Windmill. And during Nocturne, drop by their Gottingen location from 6 to midnight, when they will be hosting a local artist. A percentage of proceeds of the sale of this beer go to the Nocturne Festival.

Sober Island Brewing has taken to Kickstarter to help fund the next steps in their expansion on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. With rewards ranging from stickers, cooler backpacks for that perfect picnic, to designing and brewing your own custom brew, there are benefits to everyone who takes part. Be sure to check out their campaign and be a part of their exciting future!

• Drop by the Brookside Mall location of ANBL this evening from 5 to 8pm for a taste of some seasonal releases from Sunset Heights Meadery. In addition to Queen’s NectarPunky Pie and several other expressions and still meads will be available. Tomorrow, drop by the Train Station for their “Saturday Sips” from 11 am until 3 pm. They will be serving Queen’s Nectar, Punky Pie, Latifah, BluePrintz, and a new cocktail they’ve temporarily named “Morphine Dance” in honour of author Shelia McPhee’s book The Naked Wine & Morphine Dance, with whom they are sharing the space. It features Queen’s Nectar, Fils du Roy Absinthe, Egg White and Lemonade.

• In case you missed our post earlier this week, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub is now brewing their own beer onsite. After only a week of availability, they have gone through at least six different flavours, the latest of which, at time of publishing, are: Forum Pale Ale, a 5.8% ABV cloudy hoppy ale with flavors and aromas of melon, lychee and peach; and Amarillo, Citra and Summit Pale Ale, a 5.9% ABV ale featuring loads of the eponymous hops for notes of citrus and apricot.

• Good news for New Brunswickers who are fans of PEI’s Upstreet Brewing – the brewery has confirmed that kegs of several of their beers have been sent to the province for the first time. Look for these to pop up at select bars and restaurants this weekend. If your favourite local watering hole is missing out, be sure to put your request in!

How about some upcoming events to get you inspired?

• The I Love Local Halifax City Harvest is being held October 22nd. This celebration of local businesses is a great excuse to get out and visit the many breweries in our city. Among them, Garrison will be setting up an outdoor bar, sampling some special one-off beers, and will be welcoming Halifax Press to sell grilled cheese sandwiches. Other participants in the event include Bishop’s Cellar and Stubborn Goat.

• November and December are going to be busy for beer and cider fans at Stillwell’s Barrington Street location. On November 5th, they will be hosting their first-ever cider Tap Takeover, featuring West Avenue Cider from Hamilton. Look for a dozen-plus blends to go on tap from opening Saturday. On November 20th, Stillwell will be celebrating their 3rd anniversary with some great blasts from the past, as well as the celebration and release of their latest beer, brewed at North. We now know that the Bissell Brothers / Orono Brewing Co tap takeover will be happening Saturday December 10th, and will be sure to be a Maine-iac of a weekend! And while no date has yet been set, they have announced that Danish gypsy brewery Mikkeller will be sending a full 24 beers to invade their taps during an epic weekend some time in December. Keep your eyes peeled here for the details on this event. And be sure to drop by the Beergarden this weekend, before the outdoor space closes for the year. The crew from Rinaldo’s are serving up some Italian inspired sandwiches and dishes today from 4pm.

Wow, do things seem busier today, or is it just us? Be sure to check ahead on breweries’ and bars’ status over this long weekend, as some may be closed (in addition to the provincial stores). A few more parting shots:

– Bad Apple Brewhouse has released their collaboration with the Delta Force homebrewing collective. Operation Green Ring is a 5.0% Cucumber Mint Wheat beer. Also keep an eye out for their BAB’s Russian Imperial Stout, as the latest batch of this 9.0% ABV roasty beast is hitting local taps shortly. These, as well as a handful of others, are available at their Somerset location now.
Petit Sault‘s Oktoberfest, La Padrix, is back on tap for a limited time; with a “rich malty taste, and light biscuit notes”, it comes in at 5.6% ABV.
– Speaking of Oktoberfest beer, the Pump House Oktoberfest is back out in six packs. At 5.5% ABV and 12 IBUs, this amber-coloured lager can be found at ANBL stores, and likely on tap at the brewpub in Moncton as well.
– Yellowbelly Brewpub have released a brand new beer, Flatrock Freshie. This 5.6% ABV Saison features loads of locally-grown Blackcurrants, and is available on tap and in bottles to go, at both the brewery and NLC stores shortly.

Good morning, and welcome to another long weekend! Some big news for a couple of breweries in our region, and the usual plethora of new beers, beer events… let’s get started!

• Well, it’s official – Hammond River Brewing is finally expanding! Owner/brewmaster Shane Steeves confirmed in a Facebook post yesterday that the brewery will be moving to a newly-constructed building that will house the DME-constructed 15 BBL (1750 L) system… that’s 15 times the size of Hammond River’s current brewery, making it the largest microbrewery in the Saint John area. The brewery will also be attached to the Barrel’s Head Gastropub & Wine Bar, and will have a tasting room where customers can order pints, have their growlers filled, and purchase bottles of HR beer. A barrel-aging program is currently in the plans as well. Look for the new brewery to open in early 2017, if all goes according to plan, and don’t worry – it will be business as usual for the current brewery until the new location opens, meaning your favourite HR beers will continue to be brewed. Congratulations, Shane!

• Hammond River also has a new brew in the making, a Berliner Weisse named Paisley Park. This is the first foray into sour beer territory for HR; brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malt and lightly hopped to only 4 IBUs (as is typical for the style), it was kettle-soured to give it the characteristic tartness of a Berliner Weisse. In addition, 34 lbs of fresh local raspberries from Balemans U-Pick were added in secondary. Keep your eyes open for this 3.2% ABV refreshing sour beer in the near future.

• And speaking of brewery expansions, more details on the currently-underway Big Spruce embiggening are now available! Construction on the brand-new, 5400 sq-ft building has begun on the Big Spruce property, which will eventually house a 3-vessel, 20 BBL (2300 L) brew house – that’s about three times larger than the current brewery. With 40 BBL fermentors and an automated, 30 can-per-minute canning line, we can all expect to see a heck of a lot more Big Spruce beer in the near future! Look for everything to be completed sometime in March, 2017.

• Let’s stick with Big Spruce for a while longer, as they have some new and returning beers on the horizon. In new beers are two collaboration kettle-soured ales, similar to their popular Silver Tart. Both Certified Organic Berliner Weisse/American Sours, soured with the BS in-house Lactobacillus culture, they’re made up of a grist of 50% Pilsner and 50% Wheat malt. One was brewed with Tatamagouche Brewing and will be conditioned on organic ground cherries from Taproot Farms, while the other beer, brewed with Boxing Rock, will feature organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm (the blueberry Berliner Weisse is based on a beer brewed by our own acbbshawn). We’ll have more details on the release dates of these beers as they near completion, and if either of them will be packaged outside of kegs.

• And in even more Big Spruce news, they have released I’m Wit Chris Lemon Ginger Wit this week. This local twist on a Belgian Wit features 6.5 kilograms of locally-grown ginger from Jody Nelson’s LocalMotive Farm and Tim & Estelle Levangie’s Thyme for Ewe Farm. The brew is further spruced up with the zest of 80 lemons, completing the beer with a great citrus aroma, and both a bite and pleasant aroma from the ginger. First available in 2015 as Cold Remedy, accbchris wrote about his experience assisting with the scale-up of his recipe previously. Grab it on tap at the brewery, and around HRM this weekend. And remember to drop by the brewery this weekend for The Big Pig Roast!

• Moncton’s Bore City is releasing a hoppy Wheat Ale, I’d Radler Not. With a grist comprised of ~40% Wheat malt, the beer was hopped with Equinox, Hallertau Blanc, and Vic Secret, giving a big blast of tropical fruit in the aroma and flavours. Described by the brewery as “juicy, light, and refreshing, yet well-balanced”, it comes in at 5.2% ABV and 44 IBUs. Don’t be fooled by the name, there’s no juice or soda in this one! Kegs have been sent to both Marky’s Laundromat and the Tide & Boar in the city.

• Halifax (and Dartmouth’s) North Brewing is releasing a very special beer today at noon. They have taken a funky path with their Glenora Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian: they pitched Brettanomyces from Escarpment Labs into one of their Glenora barrels, and allowed their SDB to re-ferment and age in the barrel for seven months over the winter. After a further two month conditioning, the beer is now ready for the public. Both the Brett and barrel aging add their own notes of leather, vanilla, cherry and oak to the already complex 10.5% ABV dark Belgian brew. With the higher ABV and bottle conditioning component, this beer will continue to develop over the months and years to come, so it is certainly advisable to pick up a few bottles. Due to the limited numbers, only one barrel (less than 20 cases), there is a 12-bottle limit per person.

• Two new beers hit the taps at Rockbottom Brewpub this week with a bit of a yin and yang feel that celebrates both the end of the summer and the approaching fall. The first, dubbed Fuzzy Pucker, is an American sour fermented on the last of the summer fruits, peaches. The aroma features stewed peach and pie crust with a touch of floral esters. At only 4 IBUs and carrying 5% ABV, it’s tart on the palate with a drying acidic finish; definitely a late summer sipper. On the other side of the coin, reminding us that cooler weather is just around the corner, the Baltic Porter is a rich, multilayered, lagered beer in the tradition of the Baltic states of Europe. Strong, dark and roasty, with featured flavors of sweet malt, liquorice, and dried fruit, this complex 8% ABV brew comes in at 30 IBU and is a sipper of a different sort. Both beers are available at the pub, either to sit and drink or in growlers to take home.

• Last Friday, Big Tide released Barrelled Life, their first Barleywine. After being brewed on the Big Tide system, the beer was barrel-aged for 6 months by Dunhams Run winery, out of Kingston, NB. According to the brewery, the beer was aged in a Frontenac Reserve barrel, and blended with Black Mamba, a mead made by Dunhams Run. The resulting product is a “silky smooth”, 10.5% ABV monster of a beverage. Available at the brewpub for 12 oz pours only, once it’s gone, it’s gone, so hurry down for a pour!

Wayfarers’ Ale Society has a new beer on tap, One-Eyed River Hog IPA. Featuring a larger malt bill than their EPA, it likely falls in the English IPA category, described by the brewery as having “some wonderful hoppy overtones, with a big body and a little bit of sweetness in the finish”. Brewed as a special-release small batch, this 6.2% ABV beer won’t be brewed again until sometime in November.

Bad Apple Brewhouse has a brand new beer out this week. Primal Wit is a 5.7% Witbier, featuring kaffir lime leaves, Lemongrass, Star Anise, and Ginger, for an Asian-inspired twist on this Belgian style. Bright citrus, light licorice, and ginger lend a savoury theme to this brew. Brewed exclusively for Halifax’s Primal Kitchen, it’s on tap there now, as well as at the brewery in Somerset. Also look out for BA’s Mosaic DIPA, the 8.0% ABV Double IPA featuring loads of Mosaic hops, available at better bars in Halifax now. They recently brewed their APA (American Pale Ale) with a high portion of the grist with Horton Ridge Malt, and the upcoming brew of their Russian Imperial Stout will also feature a healthy dose of the locally-malted grain in the malt bill. And Operation Green Ring, the collaboration with Delta Force Brewery will be brewed on the weekend, featuring loads of cucumbers and fresh mint on top of an American Wheat base.

Schoolhouse Brewery allowed visitors a sneak peek at their new brewery and retail location yesterday, as part of their new monthly Growler Night. Open the first Thursday of the month at their new 40 Water St location in Windsor, customers can purchase growlers of their beer, as well as merchandise, and track their progress as they work towards the opening of their location in December. For now, these nights will replace their delivery schedule, as they work tirelessly towards that opening. Keep an eye on their Instagram feed for the latest developments! And there is still a bit of their collaboration with Good RobotSkratch Plaskett, a 5.8% ABV Pale Ale, brewed for the Evolve Festival.

Annapolis Cider has released the latest entry in their Something Different series of ciders, Citrus and Plum. This unfiltered cider features fresh-pressed juice from Golden Plums that were grown just down the road from the cidery. In addition, a small batch of dry cider was added, that had been infused with the zest of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit, giving the final product a “mouth-puckering zing, and a cleansing finish”. Note that this 6.1% ABV cider contains the first apples from the 2016 harvest, including fresh-pressed juice from three different varieties: Vista Bella, Close, and Jersey Mac. Available only at the cidery in Wolfville, don’t expect this one to last long (especially with the return of Acadia students!). And as with all of their Something Different blends, a portion will be going to a local group. This batch’s beneficiary is The Flower Cart, empowering local adults with intellectual disabilities through vocational training and job placement assistance.

• This week saw Good Robot bringing out another stylistic mashup that reminds us once again where they stand on the East Coast/West Coast beef. Ol’ Scurvy Bastard, a Marga-RZA and/or Dirt McGirtarita Ale sees an ultimately Belgian style, Witbier, that was brewed with coriander and fermented with the St-Remy Abbey strain from Escarpment Labs, then a-salted Leipzig-style like a Gose, peppered with Japanese Sorachi Ace hops to the tune of 14 IBUs, and finally smacked down with lime zest. Pale gold in colour and hazy with a white head, you’ll find aromas of lemon and lime, vanilla, honey and agave with floral and briny hints. On the palate you’ll be tasting those same citrus and sweet notes along with the salt. Both mildly tart and a touch boozy, it’s 6.2% ABV and carbed right up for a crispness that accentuates the acidity. Protect ya neck!

Mill Street St John’s has released their latest brew, Jigger’s Delight California Common. This 5.7% ABV, 18 IBU hybrid beer uses lager yeast fermented a little bit warmer, allowing some of the aromatics of ale yeast to shine through, while maintaining a smooth finish. Notes of grain and a light honey sweetness sit upon a medium body with toast and caramel flavours. The beer is available on tap now, and will rotate into their growler bar when possible. Mill Street is currently recruiting a Head Brewer for this location, as current Head Brewer Alexis Wagner is heading to the UK to complete her Masters. Click the St. John’s tab here for more information.

• It’s that time of year again – Hop Harvest! Several breweries in our region have wasted no time, and have brewed (or will very shortly) Wet (aka Fresh Hop) beers with locally-grown hops. While hops are usually dried, and possibly pelletized before use to help extend their storage, wet hops can be used immediately after picking, for an extra aromatic blast fresh from the plant.

Big Spruce rounds up plenty of community hop pickers for assistance in harvesting the aromatic varietals grown on their property. Last year they released their wet-hopped Craig Goes Yard; no word on what exactly they have planned for this year’s harvest, but we can definitely expect the style to be another IPA.

Meander River will be brewing several batches of their Home Grown Ale, thanks to the bountiful harvest of eight different hop varietals grown right at the brewery, as well as some grown in a test hopyard in Aylesford.

Schoolhouse Brewery grabbed some 70kg of hops from a local family farm, some of which will be used in a soon-to-be-brewed beer; the rest will be dried for later brews.

Sea Level has been brewing a wet-hopped beer for years; this year, they’ve brewed up a new one, Indigenous Pale Ale (5% ABV). Featuring freshly-harvested Cascade grown on-site, and organically-grown malt from Horton Ridge, it should be available in kegs and cans by mid-September.

Uncle Leo’s brewed their 2nd Annual Harvest Ale with hops from Bramble Hill Farm and malt from Horton Ridge Malt and Grain. Look for it in a couple of weeks; it went fast last year, so watch for updates!

And the fun isn’t only in Nova Scotia – New Brunswick brewery Picaroons will be continuing their Harvest Ale series; we’ll have more details on that series of beer, soon.

• The NSLC released their First Quarter Results this week, and the sales of NS Craft Beer continue to show great growth, rising by almost 50% over last year’s Q1, while overall beer sales grew by only 9.6%. Any concern that the number of small local producers has reached saturation is far from true, as they still only account for less than 4% of the entire beer sales in the province. Massive growth in NS-produced cider continues as well, clocking in at over 80%, still accounting only a small percentage of the overall “Ready-to-Drink” market. The full report can be read here.

There’s a few events coming up that we’d like to mention before signing off:

• The 2016 PEI Beer Festival is being held this weekend at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown. There are three sessions: Friday and Saturday, 6:30-9:30, and Saturday 2-4:30. Featuring a wide variety of the PEILCC‘s regular offerings, there will also be some special casks from PEI Brewing Company, as well as new beers from visiting breweries Boxing Rock, Collective Arts, and Propeller. Check out the beer and brewery list here, and grab your tickets online or at the door ($50 for tonight’s session, $40 for tomorrow afternoon’s, Saturday evening session is sold out).

• The Falmouth TrALE Run is scheduled for October 1st. Featuring a challenging 5km route through the woods at Castle Frederick Farms, water stations along the way are amped up with beer from nearby Schoolhouse Brewing. The event will not be timed, so enjoy the view and the beer while you make your way along the route. Your $40 ticket includes beer samples and a souvenir glass. All proceeds from the event are going to support West Hants Ground Search and Rescue, and you can pledge more through the online registration.

• Port Hawkesbury will once again be hosting the Celtic Oktoberfest on October 22nd. An all-inclusive event with live music, food, wine and beer, this is the third year for this great event. Featuring products by Authentic Seacoast, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton, Eileanan Breagha Vineyards, Garrison, Hell Bay, Spindrift, Tatamagouche, and Uncle Leo’s. Check the website for the full food and music run-down, too!

Have a fantastic long weekend! Looks like some mighty decent weather to unofficially end the summer; be sure to enjoy it with your favourite craft beer(s)! And as usual, a few parting notes…

Petit-Sault‘s 8.5% ABV Pumpkin Ale, Bonhomme Sept-heures, has been brewed and packaged for release this weekend. This year, however, a portion has been bottled; bottles will be available for purchase at the brewery only, along with growlers. It sold out quickly last year, so don’t wait! A few kegs may make it to licensees.
– Due to great response from customers, Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewery will be taking this weekend off, but will be open again next Saturday 10-2 for growler fills and merchandise sales, before their full launch mid-September.
York County Cider has announced that their bottle distribution has increased, as several of their brands are now available in bottles at the ANBL on Mountain Road in Moncton.

Good morning! Before we dive into your weekly helping of beer releases, events, and more, we need to address a pressing issue that has developed in New Brunswick over the last week…

Last Friday evening, the CBC reported the story that the ANBL had implemented new policies for craft breweries in New Brunswick. While these policies, in fact, have not been implemented yet, they will be in the near future. Grimross founder and New Brunswick Craft Alcohol Producers Association (NBCAPA) president Stephen Dixon was interviewed by the CBC in the story, and mentioned that while some of the changes in policy benefited small craft breweries, most of them did not, and were in fact detrimental to their business. Brewers are unhappy with the tiered system that increases the amount of mark-up paid to ANBL per litre of beer, based on increasing production, for beer sold out of brewery agency stores (BAS), i.e. brewery taprooms/storefronts. In addition, the mark-up charged per litre of beer sold to licensees (bars/restaurants) has increased from $0.73/L to $1.05/L, with cideries paying $1.60/L, increased from $1.29/L.  At the same time, the mark-up for bottled/canned products sold through ANBL has decreased; however, 15 breweries in the province currently do not package their beer outside of kegs, and therefore would not see this benefit.

Another change in policy will limit the number of BAS outlets a brewery can open, based on their annual production. Many breweries see this as another step in limiting their ability to grow; for example, if you increase production, but can not open a new store in another city to sell more beer, your only option would be to sell more beer through licensees, where the mark-up has increased significantly.

There is a lot more to this developing story, with NBCAPA and ANBL still negotiating. Hopefully an agreement can be reached soon that would see NB craft breweries in a position where growth in the industry is truly encouraged. We plan on having more details sometime next week.

Now, on to our regular beer news…

Hammond River has a brand new beer that we’ll call an early-release summer seasonal! Blood Orange Hefeweizen features a grist made up mainly of Pilsner and Wheat malt, with a low percentage of Munich for good measure. Hopped lightly with Goldings to 12 IBUs, the beer had 21 lbs of pure Blood Orange puree added in secondary, expect plenty of citrus aroma and flavours to back up the classic fruity esters and spicy phenols from the Hefeweizen yeast strain. Easy-drinking and refreshing at 5.1% ABV, it should be hitting HR tap accounts as early as today. Plus, keep your eyes open for another new HR beer in the future; owner/brewer Shane Steeves is planning a Belgian Dubbel that will feature plenty of fresh raisins, aged rum, and Chapmans ice cream… we’ll keep you posted!

• The latest One Hit Wonder from Propeller is in the wild! Oat in a Boat is a 5.5% ABV “Oat Pale Ale”, featuring a high percentage of oats in the grain bill, impacting the mouthfeel and fullness in body. As with all OHW releases, the beer is not being packaged, available in only growlers at both the Gottingen and Windmill Prop Shops, and on tap around HRM. Despite that, a special label has been created by local artist Jeremy Hansen. And a reminder when grabbing a OHW growler fill, be sure to fill out a ballot: the winner will receive a free fill once the current OHW runs dry. And who knows, your idea for the next OHW may be brewed! And keep your eyes open for the return of Prop’s Hefeweizen later in the month, which will be available on draft, and in bottles for the first time.

• The Meander River crew have brought back a favourite this week, Shack Whacky Cider. The cider is a made with a blend of apples from Davison Farm, located down the road in Falmouth. It is 5.5% ABV, and is available at the brewery for growler fills this weekend, as well as on tap at Battery Park in Dartmouth, Flying Apron Cookery in Summerville, Library Pub in Wolville, and Spitfire Arms in Windsor. And, for the first time, they will be attending the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, tomorrow 8am-1pm.

• Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing released their spring seasonal late last week, Düssel-port Altbier. It is a “New World Alt”, using a recipe given to Brewmaster Randy Lawrence by a brewer friend from Brauerei im Füchschen, in Dusseldorf, home of the Alt style. This medium-bodied ale weighs in at 4.8% ABV. It is now available at the brewery in cans, growlers, and kegs, and on tap at the Port Pub and elsewhere.

PEI Brewing Company will be releasing Setting Day Saison in the coming weeks. As a preview of the wider release (in cans!), they have had several different casks of the 5.9% Saison at their Tasting Room, and on draft around the Maritimes (including Halifax’s Stillwell). Look for cans to hit the shelves of the PEIBC, and further afield, before the end of the month.

• This week’s release in the Spindrift Seventh Wave series is Keller Pils, an “unadulterated”, cellar-conditioned Pilsner. Acting as a prelude to the upcoming release of their Knotty Buoy Pilsner, this beer will only be available at the brewery in Burnside for growler fills today.

• Just a quick note that Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth has expanded their draft offerings recently, expanding to 16 taps. While keeping Irish favourites Guiness and Harp Lager on tap, they’ve expanded their local beer and cider offerings to over a dozen, rotating in locals from Bulwark, Hell Bay, North, Propeller, Tatamagouche, and more, as well as a pair of special blends from Garrison (under the Jamieson’s name).

As usual, there’s plenty of beer/cider-related events to mention that are coming up over approaching weeks:

• The launch party for the epic conspiracy Barrel-Aged Triskaidekaphobia Imperial American Brown, brewed by Big Spruce and Boxing Rock, is happening tomorrow. After brewing the beer on Friday, November 13th, it was aged on cherries and vanilla beans for the better part of a month, with the release of the 9% beer in bottles taking place in December. Some of the beer was held back, and then spent 3 months in barrels, and is now ready for release! Drop by Stillwell starting at noon to get a taste of this special brew, as well as tasty food to pair, including breakfast sausage corndogs with maple dip. Though the event is open to anyone to stop in off the street, there are tickets available to guarantee yourself a pour of the beer, and a special commemorative glass to keep. Part of the ticket price will be going to support local radio station CKDU, which will be spinning tunes until 5pm.

• It’s getting close to the annual release of Picaroons Melonhead, which means that they’re looking for a new cat to adorn this year’s bottle label! If you think your kitty has what it takes, send in a hi-res picture via email; the deadline for entry is Friday, April 22nd.

• Propeller’s next Cask Night has been announced, and will feature the city’s Krave Burgers. Held at the brewery’s location on Gottingen St. on Friday, April 29th from 6-9 pm, your $30 ticket (available here) entitles you to appetizers from Krave paired with several samples of Propeller beers, including their special cask ale that will be tapped at approximately 6:30 pm. As usual, there are a limited number of tickets available, so don’t wait!

• Tickets for the 11th Annual Atlantic Beer Festival are now on sale; they can be purchased online, by phone (1-888-720-5600), or in person at the Moncton Coliseum Box Office. The two-day event will be held at the Coliseum, and will once again feature an evening session on Friday, May 27th, from 7:30-10 pm, and two sessions on Saturday, May 28th, from 2:30-5 pm and 7:30-10 pm.

• As temperatures start to warm up, planning for a new beer run in New Brunswick is well underway! Saturday, May 28th will showcase the very first Florenceville-Bristol Beer Run, from those who bring you the annual Fredericton Beer Run. Due to the location, the featured brewery will be, of course, Florenceville-Bristol’s own Railcar Brewing. The 6 km run begins at 10 am sharp, with registration occurring from 8 – 9:45 am. After the run, you’ll be supplied with a custom-designed beer glass and fourteen 4 oz-pour beer tickets; there will be many beers pouring from Railcar and several other NB breweries, with all sampling occurring at the Railcar tasting room. Tickets are $55 and are on sale now; drop by Railcar and bring in your ticket receipt, and you’ll receive a $20 gift certificate to be used at the tasting room!

• If you can’t make it to Florenceville for a run, be sure to drop by the Wolfville Farmers Market for Blossom Brew Night, also being held May 28th. Part of the Apple Blossom Festival, it will feature beers from Bad Apple BrewhousePaddy’s Irish Brewpub, and Schoolhouse Brewery, plus ciders from Bulwark, Noggins, Shipbuilders, and Stutz. Running 4-8pm, tickets are just $32, which include your first 4 drink tickets and a souvenir tasting glass. Local BJCP Certified Judge Andrew Newton will be leading a tasting tutorial at 4:45, and Alex MacLean of East Coast Lifestyle will be spinning tunes from 6-8pm. Tickets are available at the Acadia Box Office, and online here.

Be sure to enjoy the weekend with some great craft beer! In closing…

Uncle Leo’s has released their Winterschlaf Kolsch this week. Look for it in bottles at the brewery and private beer stores, and on tap at your local better beer bar.
– Big Axe has brought back their seasonal Maple Wheat Amber Ale, a 5% ABV red-coloured beer brewed with real, local maple sap. It should be available at the brewery and tap accounts this weekend.
– Speaking of maple, Pump House has back their seasonal Maple Ale, which is now on tap for a limited time at the brewpub in Moncton.
– Last Saturday’s fourth Fredericton Poutine Festival was a big hit as usual; the sold-out event had over 600 attending, with Mac’s / King’s Arrow Arena Canteen awarded “Best of the Fest”. Don’t forget that tickets are now on sale for the Moncton Poutine Festival; for more info, check out last week’s post.
– Several weeks after the 2016 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, the results are in for the Brewer’s Choice Best of the Fest, with Boxing Rock taking home the award. Congratulations!
– Sticking with the New Brunswick theme, the trailer for the upcoming film Beerocracy has been released. Focusing on the growth of breweries and interest in beer in the province, which often comes up against regulations from the ANBL, it will be released in the summer.