Sober Island Brewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few more bites before we leave you this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Howdy folks, we know you’re probably looking for something to pass the time at work when there’s nothing to do because half your office took Friday off for an extended long weekend. Well you’ve come to the right place, this is a long one (for the sake of the trees we don’t recommend printing it out). Whether you call it May 2-4, May Long, or Victoria Day Weekend, here’s all the beer info you need to know for your long weekend and into next week.

• Let’s start things off with North Brewing, who are celebrating the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference (happening next week in Halifax) in a very big way – they’ve teamed up with breweries (and a yeast lab!) throughout the country, and are releasing five (5!) new beers. There’s no easy or quick way to get through all these, and we think they deserve the attention we’re giving them, so let’s dive right in…

Aries – A long time coming, this is the first time North and Tatamagouche Brewing have teamed up for an official beer release, and it sounds like it was worth the wait! This one features a “delicate Saison base”, which after brewing was aged in Tempranillo red wine barrels for six months, with a pitch of Belgian Sour Blend (four Brettanomyces strains, four Lactobacillus, and two Pediococcus) from Escarpment Labs. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s coming through as “lightly vinous with notes of tropical fruit, melon, berries, and a nice Brett funk”. 5.4% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles, with half going to each brewery for sales.

Hapi – This Berliner Weisse was brewed with Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing; soured with Escarpment Labs Lactobacillus Blend (L. brevis and L. plantarum), it was fermented with Brett Q (also from Escarpment), a rising-in-popularity B. bruxellensis strain isolated “from a barrel-aged sour beer from Quebec”, known for giving notes of “ripe strawberry, pear, and apple, with an underlying funk”, according to Escarpment. Conditioned in the bottle, expect it to be light, citrusy, and refreshing (like all good Berliner Weisses should be!). 3.7% ABV, available in 500 mL bottles.

Chrysomallon – With all of the yeast and bacteria they provide to North, it’s only fair that Escarpment Labs gets their own collab, no? This one is a Witbier fermented with their “Fruity Witbier” strain, and conditioned on locally-foraged and dried goldenrod from East Coast Wild Foods. “Citrusy, herbaceous, and refreshing”, easy-drinking at just 4.1% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Caltha – Heading back west, this is a Grisette brewed with Ale Architect, a brand new brewery in Edmonton. Fermented with Escarpment’s “Old World Saison” Blend (two “classic” Saison strains), the finished beer was conditioned on dried rosehips and calendula (a member of the marigold family) from World Tea House. “Tart, floral, and delicate”, super-drinkable at 3.8% ABV, and available in 473 mL cans.

Njörðr – Yep, we copied and pasted the name of this one! Brewed with the wonderful Four Winds Brewing from Delta, BC, this is a Nordic Farmhouse-style beer, fermented with Escarpment’s “Hornindal Kveik” Blend. This is a beer style that is fermented very warm (we’re talking 25 degrees and beyond) to achieve complete attenuation, and Njörðr actually underwent a secondary fermentation with locally-foraged sea buckthorn juice and berries from East Coast Wild Foods and Newell’s Jewels, and was finally conditioned on camomile. This beauty has been bottle conditioning for a spell in 500 mL bottles, and come in at 5.2% ABV.

All five of these beers will be pouring at the Coast to Coast Tap Takeover at Battery Park from 11:30AM – 6PM Thursday May 24 (and then BP will close for an Industry Night event), and in bottles and cans at both that Dartmouth location, as well as their home on Agricola Street in Halifax at opening the same day. The colourful label designs are courtesy of local artist John Newgard. Filling out the 16 taps will be another 11 Escarpment-flavoured collaborations, several of which are with local breweries, but there will also be lots from further afield, including Toronto’s Blood Brothers.

• Also pouring at Battery Park on the 24th is Tatamagouche’s Edel Saison. If that name sounds familiar, pat yourself on the back! First released in Fall 2017 as a draught-only, stainless-fermented Saison, this release received a little extra time and care to bring it to fruition. Partnering up with the Escarpment crew for the yeast blend of Saison origin and Brettanomyces, this light beer had a malt bill of mostly Pils with raw wheat and raw rye, and was hopped to 20 IBUs with Strisselspalt, which was what was available in the fall. This current release featured a portion of that original brew aged for an additional 5 months in Spanish Tempranillo barrels after blending with Muscat grape must. The resultant dry, fruity, and funky beer has been bottle conditioning since February, and will be available for purchase only at their storefront in Tatamagouche beginning Thursday (beside the very few kegs at Battery Park and elsewhere in HRM).

• Not to be outdone by North’s CBA bounty, Halifax’s 2 Crows also clearly put some serious effort into welcoming the country’s brewers with four new beers of their own, each also being a collaboration brew. Here’s the details on all four beers that are slated for release:

All In – The East Coast swing by Escarpment Labs naturally included a stop in Halifax’s home for wayward fermentation organisms. A 5.0% ABV foedre-aged Wild Saison featuring a grist of Pilsner, chit malt, raw wheat and malted wheat, it was hopped gently in the boil to 17 IBU with Sterling and Simcoe hops before being fermented in foedre with a crazy concoction of yeast and bugs – Escarpment’s Fruit Bomb Saison strain, which itself contains both a saison-appropriate Sacchromyces strain along with two varieties of Brettanomyces, a hop-tolerant strain of Lactobacillus, and “probably a few other yeast thrown in there too.” This microbe stew chewed away at the beer for some 5 months in foedre before a transfer to stainless and a light dry hop with Loral. The beer walks the line between old world and new world with a “rustic earthiness and light herbal character” but you can also expect some citrus and stone fruit.

Vic Wild – Continuing the trend of including suppliers in the brewing fun, 2 Crows produced this beer with help from representatives from hop supplier Hops Connect. Known for their focus on quality and freshness, they’re also known as the source for many sought after Australian hop varieties; this beer reflects that, as well as 2 Crows tendency towards funky fermentation. Brewed with Ireks Pilsner and Wheat malts (also sourced through Hops Connect), this beer was kettle hopped solely in the whirlpool, with a bit of Ella and a whole lot of Vic Secret. It was then fermented warm with the Yeast Bay’s Amalgamation blend of Brett strains, with two large dry hops of Vic Secret, one during active fermentation, one after. Described as a “funky hop bomb” look for passionfruit, pineapple and a hint of pine in this extremely quaffable 5.0% ABV and 11 IBU beer. Only about 1000 liters were made and 600 cans packaged, so be quick or be disappointed on this one.

Good Air – Again leveraging their big wooden barrels, this beer was a collaboration with Block Three Brewing out of St. Jacob’s, Ontario (just north of Waterloo), that was fermented in foedre. Starting with raw buckwheat, which was cereal mashed for conversion, Pilsner, flaked barley, and some rye malt were added before a multiple step mash was undertaken to produce the sweet wort. During the boil, Golding, Sterling and Hallertau Blanc hops were added to the tune of 15 IBU and, we suspect, some flavor and aroma. The yeast in this one was harvested from a bottle of Coalesce Brewing’s Foreward and a touch of hop-tolerant Lactobacillus. After four months in the foedre, the beer was transferred to stainless steel tanks for final treatment with a dry hop of Azacca and Huell Melon before packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer that is earthy and rustic with a slight tartness, big pineapple and orchard fruit notes, and complex esters formed from the combination of Brett and compounds from the buckwheat.

Cool Kid – Last but not least is a beer brewed with Rob Coombs and ACBB’s own Shawn Meek of Niche Brewing, hailing out of Fredericton, NB (fine, “Hanwell”), and it’s a wild one. Brewed with Pilsner, wheat, spelt and a touch of rye, only Hallertau Blanc was used for hopping in the kettle. Before fermentation, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus to ensure an assertive tartness, before being transferred to a foedre where it received a pitch of 2 Crows house Saison strain, the Amalgamation blend, and Brettanomyces lambicus. A month into fermentation it was hit with 400 lbs of tart cherry purée. After refermenting and another month of conditioning, it was then hit with 400 lbs of raspberry purée. After a total of 4 months in the foedre it was transferred to stainless for packaging. The result is a 5.8% ABV beer sporting 14 IBU that’s tart and bright with “massive” fruit flavors, both dry cherry and a jammy raspberry, with hints of marzipan and cinnamon. Sounds to us like something that is likely to taste pretty great right now, but which might also have some serious potential for tasting very nice after some time in the cellar!

All four of these beers will be available in cans at the brewery as of noon on Thursday, May 24th. All except the Vic Wild can be expected to appear at the private stores in Halifax as well. Kegs have also been packaged, but expect those to be largely reserved for the brewery and the CBA booths.

• Sticking with Niche Brewing for the moment, they’ve released another new beer for New Brunswickers (mainly) to enjoy, a 6.4% ABV dark beer they’re calling Receding Darkness. Although it may resemble a stout in the grist, with Pilsner, Wheat and Midnight Wheat being joined by Rye for some spicy character, that’s where the similarities stop. Lightly hopped in the boil with Amarillo, it was then fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being allowed to develop for nearly two months. We’re told that the result features milk chocolate flavors blend with light Brett aromatics and overripe fruit character. You’ll find it soon at the King Street Alehouse in Fredericton and the Laundromat in Moncton, and at other Niche tap accounts in the near future (here’s hoping we see some kegs make it to Halifax!)

• Late last week, Sober Island Brewing released a special beer brewed in collaboration with the Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum, Blueberry Express. Named after a track that the railway used to run on, the beer is, naturally, a Blueberry Ale. Brewed with 2-row, Carapils, and Honey malt, it was hopped very lightly with Magnum, Cascade, and Mt. Hood, to just 14 IBUs… basically, the base beer for the brewery’s Blonde Ale. The difference is the addition of local blueberries from Glenmore Farms, which were added after primary fermentation, to keep as much blueberry character as possible in the aroma and flavour of the beer. Unfortunately, it sold out at the brewery in just two days… but this is also a good thing, as each can sale brought in $0.50 to the museum, in honour of their 100th anniversary. On the bright side, they’re currently making more, and plan on having the beer available year-round, and there may be some still available at some private stores in HRM.

• There’s some people out there who say that craft beer has become too gimmicky; that someone is always looking to do the next shocking beer, add some weird ingredient, etc. Well, if you’re one of those people, Tidehouse Brewing would like to have a few words with you! Possibly unrelated, they’d also like for you to try their latest beer, Pepperoni Ghost (yeah, you see where this is going). Brewing a “pepperoni beer” has actually been on their minds since before the brewery even opened, and it was an idea that stuck, apparently (unlike that Nutmeg Bomb we’ve all been craving)! After purchasing some pepperoni from local deli Brothers Meats, they rendered the fat, dried the meat, and crumbled it into a coarse powder, which was added at the end of the boil in the brewing process. Ghost peppers were also added in the kettle, as well as in the fermenter, to add some heat. You can find this 5.3% ABV beer at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on tap, with a limited amount in bottles, starting today at 2 pm.

• The two Gahan locations in New Brunswick are churning out some new beers, thanks to brewer Spencer Gallant, who is currently doing all of the brewing at both locations. At Gahan House Port City (Saint John), Terpene Dreams – the latest hoppy brew to hit their taps – is a NEIPA hopped with Amarillo and Vic Secret. Weighing in at 6.8% ABV and 40 IBUs, it has notes of stone fruit, and plenty o’ dank! This location will also soon be launching a barrel program, as they expect to be receiving six barrels (three each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) in the very near future, some of which will be soon housing a Saison for some aging; in addition, some spirit barrels are also expected to join the family over the next few months. Over in Fredericton, Gahan House Riverside just tapped Hoppy Lager, which was brewed with a very simple grist of Pilsner malt and Malted Oats, and hopped with Columbus, Citra, and Mosaic, giving “super tropical and melon undertones”; it comes in at 5.4% ABV and 24 IBUs. And on deck to be released next is Multigrain IPA, the grist of which is – as you may expect from the beer’s name – a little more complex, including the addition of Malted Oats, Flaked Rye, and some rice to go along with several barley malts. Hopped mostly with Simcoe, as well as some Azacca, the beer has aromas of peach, apricot, and a bit of coconut. Hazy, and with an “approachable bitterness” at 46 IBUs, look for this 6% ABV IPA to be on tap, soon.

• New on the scene at Lazy Bear in Smith’s Cove, NS, is a cider to join their regular line of beer offerings. Exit 24, ostensibly named for where you get off Highway 101 to reach Smith’s Cove, is a dry cider made with juice from Honeycrisp, Macintosh and Cortland apples. Crisp and flavorful, is comes in at 6.4% ABV and will no doubt help you appreciate the apple blossoms starting to make their presence known throughout the Annapolis Valley and the rest of Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, the beer also continues to flow, as Bear Bones, their IPA, is making its return. Dry hopped with both Columbus and Cascade hops from Southan Farms in New Brunswick, it’s a citrusy, floral and fruity brew that weighs in at 6.5% ABV. You can check out one or both of these offerings at the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market or, if you’re in the city, kegs have reached Battery Park and Harvest Wines in Dartmouth.

• The Good Robot Beta release for next week has been pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday (maybe the holiday Monday is throwing them off… seems weird for a brewery open on Christmas Day, no?), and this time it’s a cask. Originally put together by the Femmebots for the Stillwell Open earlier this month, Say My Name is a dark Belgian ale that was “conditioned with Candi sugar”. Bittered to 27 IBUs with Perle to offset some of the residual sweetness, the 5.2% ABV dark brown beer is “spicy, fruity, and light-bodied”. And the next day, All-Inclusive IPA is returning after a brief hiatus. This 6.8% ABV, 74 IBUs American IPA features a “smooth, medium-light body, with a balanced bitterness rounded out by mango and pineapple hop aromas”, with the addition of Grains of Paradise giving some spice character to the beer as well. And keep an eye open for Tiny Tigers, their 5.8% ABV Saison which just hit the wall of their taproom yesterday. Check the full details in last week’s post.

• If you’re in the Wolfville area, look for the latest in the Annapolis Cider Company‘s Something Different series to be released today. Pazazz & Grapefruit was made with all Pazazz apples, a relatively new variety of dessert apple (descended from the Honeycrisp), which is grown locally in Nova Scotia and has a crisp texture, as well as a sweet and tart flavour. The 6.8% ABV sparkling cider was also infused with fresh ruby grapefruit zest, and finished with a bit of fresh Pazazz juice, making for a refreshing cider with “fresh apple notes, complemented by subtle hints of grapefruit”. For this release, $0.50 of every refill will be donated to Kentville’s Chrysalis House, which provides shelter and outreach services for women and children.

• You may recall the release of The Passenger, a Berliner Weisse from Lunn’s Mill, last fall. Well, that beer is making its triumphant return this week, with a change – it has been aging in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel since February, allowing this sour, light-bodied, German-style beer to pick up a bit of wine and oak character, and it’s tartness to develop further. Look for this 4.7% ABV, 4 IBUs beer to be available at the brewery’s taproom over the weekend.

Port Rexton Brewing in Newfoundland has a new beer available for the long weekend. Day Tripper is a modern, American Pale Ale with a hazy appearance. Zesty, refreshing and citrusy, it weighs in at a very drinkable 5.5% ABV, perfect for having another. You’ll find it along with their Baycation Blonde available for growler fills at their St. John’s retail store just in time for May 2-4!

• The CBA special releases continue with a collaboration between Propeller and Beau’s (Vankleek Hill, ON), Wild Gruit Ale. Gruits (a centuries-old style where spices, herbs, and other botanicals replace hop additions) are increasing in popularity, but you still don’t see them very often; luckily, Beau’s has been brewing the style fairly frequently, making them the perfect brewery to team up with in this case! Beau’s contributed some hand-harvested organic bog myrtle (native to Northern Ontario and Quebec), which was added with staghorn sumac that was locally-foraged in Halifax. The beer was non-traditionally hopped as well, with Warrior, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Fermented with Scotia Sauvage yeast from Escarpment Labs, the final product has a “sweet aroma and balanced bitterness, and some herbal and spicy notes” thanks to the bog myrtle, with the staghorn sumac contributing “a red fruit and citrus complexity”. The beer will be launched at a Collaboration Release Party at Propeller’s Gottingen St. taproom location next Wednesday, May 23rd, where it will be joined by six other Beau’s brews on tap. Lots of great beer and giveaways available, and it all starts at 6 PM!

• Today’s weekly new release from TrailWay Brewing is a collaboration with Brewers Supply Group (BSG) names Mou-ska-tere. This 6.5% ABV American IPA was hopped primarily with Moutere, a New Zealand variety that is quite new to these parts. Moutere is a high-alpha acid hop that exhibits characteristics of passion fruit and grapefruit, with notes of hay, spice, and pine, according to BSG’s description. A little bit of Galaxy and El Dorado were also used in this beer, to help boost the juicy, tropical flavours even further. You’ll be able to find cans and pours of this one at TrailWay today, with other NB licensees having it on tap as well, soon. And for those of you in Halifax, it will also be showing up at a few locations and events there next week, during the CBA celebrations.

Let’s switch from new beers to new events for the coming weeks…

Tomorrow, Big Spruce is kicking off their summer season with a big to-do at their taproom away from home, Bras D’Or Yacht Club. With six Big Spruce beers flowing from 4PM, including new beer releases and special casks, there will be live music from Asaph Deuce and Mitch MacDonald all evening, with games, door prizes, and food from Stand & Stuff Your Face made especially to pair with the beers. No word yet on which beers will be available, but a little birdie told us to keep an eye open for the return of Tag You’re It, their New England IPA brewed in support of the Ocean Tracking Network, in cans as well as in kegs.

Copper Bottom Brewing is celebrating the release of their Parkman Ave Double IPA tomorrow, with lots happening in the brewery. From 4-8PM, Sneaky Cheats will be onsite with beer-pairing-worthy food, and music from Johnny Ross, Kelley Mooney, Dion MacBeth, and Bennett Buell. At 9PM, there will be a change of pace with The Love Junkies taking the stage until close. Making life for folks from town a little easier, there will be shuttles to/from the brewery available. Find out much more at their FB event page.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider turns One on Sunday, and is holding a party all day to celebrate. From 11 AM, they’ll have drink specials, giveaways, and a seafood boil on the go from their Unchained Kitchen crew. They are also holding a contest and draw, with your chance to share your favourite of their many ciders, perrys, meads, or cysers from the past year. Fill out the form here to enter, and drop by Sunday to take part in the fun.

2 Crows and the North End Runners will be hosting a little Bluenose Marathon shindig this coming Sunday morning, May 20th. They’re calling it “Mile 26.3” (1 marathon = 26.2 miles) starting at 8 AM when they’ll have cold brew available from Low Point Coffee along with some special breakfast treats. If you’re thinking of watching the race, this would be a fine vantage point. Might not be a bad idea to stake your claim before the race is over though, as 2 Crows is likely to be viewed as an extremely convenient post-race hydration station by thirsty runners! Look for more details to be posted on 2 Crows social media as the event approaches.

There are plenty of events surrounding the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference in Halifax next week, being held Thursday to Saturday, May 24-26. While the Awards and Conference are only open to those in the beer business, there are plenty of other events happening in town. We’ve already told you about the Escarpment Tap Takeover at Battery Park Thursday, but here are a few more:

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing will be setting up a pop-up taproom at World Tea House on Argyle during the CBAC, with a rotating selection of 4 taps pouring at any time. WTH is responsible for sourcing the ginger and green tea for their Hunky Dory Pale Ale, so it will always be available, and will be joined by some recent releases as well as perennial favourites. Pop by to grab some samplers! They may be featuring BR’s brand new High Altitude, a 5.0% ABV dry-hopped lager, fermented with Escarpment’s lager strain. If not, or even if it is, you can grab bottles of it at Bishop’s Cellar now.

• Boxing Rock is also holding two Tap Takeovers at private stores RockHead Wine & Beer Market and WestSide Beer Wine Spirits. Thursday afternoon from 4PM, pop by to meet up with Emily or Henry from Boxing Rock, and grab a growler or three of their beers.

Stillwell Beer Bar, and the just-opened-for-the-season Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden (#BGonSG), have been collecting and curating some of their favourite beers to showcase during the 3 day celebration of beer, for an ongoing event they’ve dubbed Grand National. The number of beers and breweries is too long to list here, but trust us that there will be plenty of great stuff flowing through their 22 shared taps, with lots of it pouring on the yEast Coast for the first time. You can get a little excited by checking out their Facebook event page for some more details. As always, tune into their social media pages for the latest info.

• Halifax’s The Auction House is hosting a Prince Edward Island Tap Takeover on Friday, May 25, with all five PEI breweries represented: Barnone, Copper Bottom, Moth Lane, PEI Brewing, and Upstreet. Look for old favourites and new releases to be flowing on Argyle that evening from 3PM, with a few brewery staff on hand with giveaways and to chat beer.

We know your coffee break (or lunch?) was over 10 minutes ago, but there’s a few more things to tell you:

– Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing released a new beer yesterday: Creedence Coconut Revive-Ale features copious quantities of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops along with a bunch of late-addition toasted coconut. A tropical experience like summer in a glass, you’ll find it at their taproom on Bridge Avenue.
Bulwark Cider has a new entry in their Fruit Series hitting NSLC stores soon, Strawberry Lime. Juicy and fresh, it’ll no doubt be a go-to summer refresher. Yesterday they also announced the launch of Bulwark Ciders at Wishbeer Thonglor in Bangkok, Thailand!
– After releasing their Tickle Fight IPA a few weeks back, Half Cut has now put kegs of their Alter Ego Altbier back into the wild. Brewing at Petit-Sault in Edmundston, these releases are available on draught only, occasionally on growlers in the region as well.
– Making the most of a horrible situation due to flooding at their Roundhouse location, Picaroons has released was able to salvage a batch of their Irish Red by dry-hopping it with Azacca while working in less-than-ideal conditions. The 5.0% ABV Flood Red is available at the brewery and Brewtique now, as well as Picaroons’ other lcoations outside of Fredericton.
– On Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Rockbottom Brewpub has released Peaches & Cream Ale, a light, sweet and easy drinking north american style cream ale sweetened with all natural peach extract for a pleasant fruit finish.
– Tickets for this year’s Seaport Beerfest are on sale as of 11AM today. On August 10 & 11, more than 100 producers will be sharing more than 300 beers from across the Atlantic Provinces, the rest of Canada and the US, and, for the first time, there will be an Icelandic Beer pavillion, with just shy of 20 beers from the island nation. Friday evening and Saturday afternoon tickets are $45 (+fees and taxes), while Saturday evening tickets are $50++. VIP access is available for all sessions, which includes early entrance (an extra hour!) and a special tasting glass, which is yours to keep. Grab your tickets today!
– Dartmouth’s Spindrift has another pair of 7th Wave brews on tap this weekend at the brewery: Baby Whale, a hazy and fruity 6.5% ABV New England IPA and Palm Springs Guava Pale Ale a 6.1% pale that was flavoured with guava purée. Also, their new Hurricane IPA is now available at NSLC locations around the province.
Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax has cans available again as of noon today, featuring the return of Double Orange Apocalypse Ale, their 7.5% ABV Citra SMaSH DIPA. Also available will be Hoppy Fingers APA, Exile on North Street IPA, and Front Line Rocker DIPA.
– PEI’s Upstreet has announced the availability of their Commons Pilsner in sixpacks of 355 mL cans available at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner just in time for the long weekend! Look for distribution to widen to PEI Liquor locations by next weekend and hopefully beyond PEI’s shores after that.