Sober Island Brewing

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We are mid-way through April, which means the first signs of life are being spotted on our local hop farms. These ambitious little sprouts will grow to more than 6 metres in height, and produce enough cones to make any beer a little hoppier (and happier). Plenty to tell you about today, so let’s go!

• It seems like it’s been a while since Stillwell Brewing has had any of their tasty, tasty new releases, but fear not! Their latest beer, Glou, will be available for purchase this weekend. A blend of barrel-aged Saison and a sour, foedre-aged beer (both of which were originally brewed in May of 2017), Glou then had New York muscat grape skins from Blomidon Estate added, to the whopping tune of 200 g/L. The final 6.3% ABV beer is being described as “hugely aromatic, floral, woodsy and bright, with a great acidity and tannic structure”. Sounds great to us! Bottles of Glou (along with Dang, and maybe even another brand or two!) can be purchased at the rear entrance behind 2015 Gottingen St. from 12 – 3 PM both tomorrow and Sunday; if you can’t wait till then (we get it!), drop by Stillwell (the beer bar) today if you’d like, where you can try Glou on-site. And keep it locked here for more info on another new release, plus fan faves, in the coming weeks.

• Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewing has a new beer available this weekend, a collaboration with local kombucha producer Pop Culture. Starting with the malt bill of a Wheat Ale, Brightwood used the Scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) from Pop Culture to start the process of souring. After this first wave of fermentation was complete, the beer was boiled, with grapefruit and Palisade hops added during that process, and fermentation completed with a clean yeast. A further addition of Palisade during a dry-hopping step complements and increases the grapefruit character from the citrus fruit. The resulting RadBucha is available at their Alderney Farmers’ Market stall tomorrow, and will be part of the “Evolution” Tap Takeover at Battery Park Thursday (more details below).

• Fredericton’s Coastliner Cider will soon be releasing their fourth cider, Full Steam Ahead. This entry definitely takes your typical cider in a completely new direction, thanks to the addition of coffee beans roasted by local Whitney Coffee Company. Quite drinkable at 5.4% ABV, this semi-dry cider has notes of coffee in the aroma and flavour, but still retains its complementary cider character. It will be officially released this Saturday for the Saint John Beer Fest, and will follow shortly thereafter in kegs at select accounts on Monday. If you can’t make it out to try it, fear not – it will eventually be packaged in bottles, hopefully sometime in the not-too-distant future.

• The folks at Tidehouse continue to come up with new beer ideas, with their latest brew, Grisette Jungle, available on tap now. Brewed with Horton Ridge Pale and Wheat malt, the wort was bittered to ~30 IBUs with Warrior, with some Belma also being throw in at the end of the boil for a touch of fruit character. Fermented with a blend of Belgian and French Saison yeasts, it comes in at just 4.3% ABV and pours a light-straw colour with a bit of haziness. Coming across as “floral, fruity, with a nice grainy note and a little spicy zing”, you can find it at the Tidehouse taproom for growlers and small pours; look for it to pop up on tap at Stillwell in the near future.

• Over at Good Robot, you can soon expect the return of last year’s Falstaff, an American Pale Ale, next Thursday. Just-about-sessionable (always a debatable subject!) at 4.4% ABV, this one was brewed with plenty of Pilsner malt, and a bit of Red X, Rye, and Flaked Barley throwing in for good measure. It was dry-hopped with Azacca and Jarrylo to add some notes of tropical fruit, and at 30-35 IBUs, should have a moderately-bitter finish. And for this week’s Beta Brew, they bring us the winning entry in their successful FemmeBrew, an all-female homebrew competition. I Love My Dog was brewed by Drella Green-Simony, and is a “Liquorice Stout” that features a grist of Pilsner, Belgian 2-row, and Black malt. It was hopped in the boil with Willamette to the tune of ~50 IBUs, with star anise thrown in the kettle as well, giving it a mild but present liquorice character. You’ll be able to grab this 5.1% ABV Stout on tap at GR next Tuesday.

• Looks like Spindrift Brewing has a new entry in their Seventh Wave series on tap right now at the brewery. White Whale Wheat Pale Ale is a light-and-hazy brew hopped with Hallertau Blanc, a wonderful hop variety that lends “citrus overtones of grapefruit and lemongrass” in this particular beer. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the generous addition of Wheat in the grist, this is an easy-drinking, 4.5% ABV beer that blends perfectly with the slowly-but-surely-getting-better weather out there. Limited amounts only, of course, so grab a growler before it’s gone!

TrailWay Brewing in Fredericton is dropping another juicy and hazy Double IPA at their taproom today, All is Well. Featuring some super-fresh Amarillo hops, along with Idaho 7, it all comes together for a blast of tropical and orange notes, in an 8.0% ABV package. This release is only available at the brewery, enjoyed at their bar or in cans to go.

PEI Brewing Company has released a pair of new beers in their After Hours series, just in time for last evening’s launch event. Earlier in the week they released Mango Smoothie IPA, a 6.5% ABV featuring loads of vanilla fruit puree for a hazy and lovely bright orange appearance. The hops used complement the fruit character as well. And yesterday saw the release of Raspberry Sour, a 5.0% Sour Wheat Ale (using the kettle sour technique) with raspberries added. Both beers are still available at the brewery, but won’t be around forever, given the nature of the styles, and batch size.

• When you drop by Port Rexton’s Retail Shop on Torbay Road today, you’ll be greeted by a brand new beer in the fridge. Though the beer started out with the same malt bill as their Chasing Sun NEIPA, through a series of “weird and wonderful events” (we can only imagine!) on brewday, it didn’t end up that way! Enter DiscomHOPulated, still in the New England IPA style, weighing in at 6.0% ABV, generously dry-hopped with Amarillo, El Dorado, Mandarina Bavaria, and Mosaic, and still just as delicious as its original direction. The beer is available at the Shop for growler fills only, joined by Baycation Blonde for growler fills, with cans of T-Rex Porter and Blazing Sun also available to go, today 4 – 8 PM and tomorrow 12 – 6 PM.

• Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewery is releasing Amplified Kölsch in celebration of Record Store Day on April 21st. Using authentic yeast imported from a brewpub in Cologne, this 5.0% ABV beer features a malt bill of primarily Pilsner, for a bright yellow appearance. The bitterness of the beer is quite light, at less than 20 IBUs, but features a large whirlpool addition of Mandarina Bavaria after the boil was finished, in order to extract some lovely citrus aromatics. Teaming up with Backstreet Records, there will be live music by Christina Martin in store at 2PM, plus t-shirts of the beer logo available for purchase. You can also drop by the brewery to get your fix, and keep an eye out at local ANBL locations as well. Turn it up to 11!

Here’s what we’ll be trying to squeeze into our calendars in the next week or two:

• As we mentioned last week, if you’re in the environs of Lower Sackville tomorrow, give a thought to heading down to Freeman’s to celebrate Sackvegas’ own nanobrewery, Ol’ Biddy’s. Eight of Keith Forbes’ brews will be on tap, including the much loved Sackvegas Sour. Look for the rest of the taplist to be posted on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram); the event starts at 10 AM and runs until close. Come celebrate the belated grand opening of Ol’ Biddy’s and show your support for Freeman’s, who continue to show their dedication to local beer on tap!

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be hosting a “small batch brewery” takeover next Thursday, April 19, from 11:30 AM until close. Dubbed “Evolution Part II”, it follows on from last year’s event, which was the last opportunity to try Sober Island and Schoolhouse before their respective evolutions out of the small batch market space. This year the taps will be populated by Halifax’s Tidehouse, Yarmouth’s Heritage, and Dartmouth’s Brightwood, who are the brewery undergoing an expansion this year. You’ll find the Facebook event page here, which will no doubt be updated with tap info as the day approaches. Head on down and remind yourself that great beer can be brewed on any size system.

• Also taking place April 19 is the first event of the #weekendofbeer in St John’s, courtesy of the folks behind the St John’s BrewFest. Featuring local favourite Port Rexton Brewing going head to head against Come From Aways 2 Crows, the taps at the Sundance SunDeck Bar will be flowing with 14 great AtlCan beers. Kicking off at 6:30 PM, a $5 cover charge gets you in the door, and started on your way to a great evening. The full taplist is available on the FB Event page, and we can tell you that both breweries are bringing their A-game, with at least one brand new release debuting, and plenty of new-to-the-region beers available. To keep you going round after round, there will be live music and food available as well.

• Friday evening (April 20th) tickets are still available for the St John’s BrewFest at Club One. In addition to the slew of great beer being brought to the Island (updated beer list here), there will be a strong showing from Newfoundland breweries, including Port Rexton, Quidi Vidi, Split Rock, Storm, Western Newfoundland, with Scudrunner on site with their merchandise for sale. Grab your tickets today to avoid missing out!

• Good news, New Brunswick (especially those of you in the Moncton area)! If you’re still sore over missing the Mikkeller takeover at Halifax’s Stillwell last January, the people behind the Tide & Boar have the perfect “analgesic” for you. Yes, Denmark’s most famous brewery will be pouring six of their delicious creations at a Mikkeller Tap Takeover at T&B Saturday, April 28th, from open till close (or the beers run out!). If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend, expect to see the following on tap: Jackie Brown, Citra IPA, Mosaic IPA, Black, Monk’s Brew, and Green Gold. But that’s not all – several other beers will be available in bottles, including Spontanbeetroot, Spontanlingonberry, Spontanyuzu (all three of which are funky, sour offerings), and their French Oak barrel-aged Barleywine, Foret Limousine. There’s no charge to attend, just make sure you’re there bright and early when they open at 11 AM, if you want to “Maximize Your Mikkeller” (™ pending)!

And a couple more little bits before we let you get on with your Friday:

– We have it on fairly good authority that Niche Brewing’s extremely popular Orange Creamsicle Milkshake IPA will be back early next week. Look for it to appear at the James Joyce for sure and, as other craft beer pubs savvy up, there too!
– The Gose of Christmas Past that Big Spruce brewed up with Hamilton’s Merit Brewing back in December is just now being seen in the wild. A gose brewed with Indian coriander and French Sea Salt before being aged in Tequila Barrels, look for it to appear at the Sprucetique and at tap accounts around the province this week. And keep your eyes out over the next couple weeks for some other big releases from Jeremy and the gang!

Eek! We’re late this week. Why? Partially because we have these pesky day jobs. But also because our region Will. Not. Stop. with the new breweries, new beers, beer re-releases, and beer-related events. Also, somethingsomething about the weather. Enjoy!!

• After a full year of construction, brewing, aging, blending, and bottle conditioning, Valonray Farmhouse Brewing in MacDougall Settlement is ready to share the fruits of their labours with you. Celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow 10 AM – 4 PM, visitors can drop by the brewery for a tour, sample some of their initial offerings (five will be available), and grab a bottle or two to go. Available will be their flagship Saison, a Single and a Tripel, Blonde, and Pale Ale, all in the Belgian style. Learn more about Valonray in the profile we published last month, to get you excited for their opening and big plans for the future. Going forward, the brewery retail will be open every Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM, with the hours expanding in the summer. While the plan is for their beer to eventually be at local ANBL locations, it is only available at the brewery for the next while.

• After many months of planning and hard work, Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is finally just-about-ready to open their new brewery (15 bbl – 1750 L – vs. their original 1 bbl brewery) to the public. They’re holding a soft launch this weekend, starting today from 11 AM – 7 PM, and continuing tomorrow from 11 AM – 5 PM, at their new location at 700 Malenfant Blvd. They’ll have seven of their beers on tap to start, and will be filling growlers (which can be purchased there, or of course you can bring your own), pouring pints and flights, and also selling 473 mL cans of their Dixie Clipper IPA and Empress Irish Red Ale for you to take home. More beers will be popping up over the next few weeks, and they’ll be updating their taproom hours once they officially open.

York County Cider in Fredericton recently celebrated their second anniversary, and used that as an excuse to release their latest seasonal cider blend, Smoky Maple. As the name implies, the base apple cider is enhanced by additions of maple syrup for an iconic taste of spring in our region, as well as light smoke to complete the full “outdoor maple boil” of this 6.3% ABV cider. This cider was primarily available during their anniversary celebrations and now only three kegs are left until next year! That said, the YCC crew is happy to let us know that their Strawberry Ciderita is now on the shelves of the local ANBL locations. This strawberry and lime cider is 5.8% ABV, and crisp and fruity. Drop by Ed’s Garage (aka, the taproom) at 38 Main Street to grab your taste of their full line-up today.

Port Rexton Brewing brought back their annual Ten Eighty Series last week with the release of Imperial Saison. This single batch is the brewery’s take on a traditional style, taking the typically-mid-strength Farmhouse Ale and dialling it to 11… or, more accurately, 9.6. Yes, it weighs in at an impressive 9.6% ABV, coming through as crisp, effervescent, and warming. Fermented with the fruity and spicy French Saison yeast strain, the beer was dry-hopped lightly with Mandarina Bavaria. There are still a few bottles left at the retail shop at 286 Torbay Road (open today from 4 – 8 PM and tomorrow from 12 – 6 PM), be sure to pick some up if you’re in the area… as we mentioned, this is a single batch only, and they won’t last long!

• And debuting at the PRB retail location today is SeaWind Saison, made with Sorrel, a Jamaican preparation of hibiscus flowers, and orange peel. At 5.4% ABV, SeaWind offers floral aromatics, low bitterness, and a light bubblegum character from the Belgian yeast. It is available exclusively in growlers at the retail spot, where you can also pick up some PRB merch. And good news for those who’ve been waiting for an excuse to go for a visit, the brewery will be opening for the season May 4th.

• The latest in PEI Brewing Company’s After Hours series is now available at their taproom and retail shops. Perseverance is a 7.0% ABV malty Belgian ale, first fermented with saison yeast, and then transferred onto three strains of Brettanomyces for several months to develop a complex blend of aroma and flavour. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with German Tettnanger, packaged and bottle conditioned, and now ready for your enjoyment! Rather than packaging with Brett to condition in the bottle, the beer has already developed a full complement of secondary flavour and aromatics, drying out the bigger body, and is ready to drink right now. Mark your calendars for the April 12 official-re-launch of the After Hours series, where several more beers will be pouring at the brewery taproom, and a great way to taste several of them at once, more details below.

• As has become usual for them, Good Robot has news of two brews this week, an Alpha and a Beta batch. From the Alpha system a Chocolate Porter this way comes, with origins in the last chocolate porter brewed at Good Robot. Still boasting a “rich taste, exquisite mouthfeel, and tantalizing aroma” this time it’s got a brand new name: Bingo Bronson. Coming in at a very drinkable 6% ABV, it was made with classic English Maris Otter malt, flaked oats and flaked barley, chocolate and coffee malts, and some Vienna to boot. Hopped with Belma, of all things, don’t go looking for a big hop presence, but expect an impact from the carob powder, cocoa powder and chocolate extract used to provide chocolate flavor. This one should be available for growler fills at the brewery as well as pints in the tasting room. And coming out on Tuesday next for Beta Brewsday, Beta system Queen Kelly Costello teamed with Allana Dalrymple to concoct a low-ABV Scottish Ale leaning heavily on Golden Promise malt with some CaraAroma, Crystal 60 and Roasted Barley for character. High-alpha acid Warrior hops battered the brew and some Perle provide aroma. Finished on Caldera whiskey-soaked oak chips before being racked to a cask, look for this 3.9% ABV and 20ish IBU treat to top the bar this coming Tuesday!

YellowBelly Brewing in St John’s has a new take on an old favourite beer back on tap these days. First released as a home-and-home collaboration with Australia’s Top Shed Brewery (located on Australia’s East Coast), Me Ol’ Trout (formerly East Coast Cream Ale) is back at the brewpub, as well as bottes at local NLC. At 4.8% ABV, and less than 20 IBUs, the Cream Ale style can often be considered a boring (for both brewer and drinker), so Brewmaster Liam McKenna was sure to make the style his own, opting for a significant dry hop rate to raise the hop aromatics. Grab a pint or bottle today, and those across the country will be able to enjoy the beer starting in May, as Me Ol’ Trout will be available in the Central City “Across the Nation” collaboration mix pack.

• And speaking of YellowBelly, they are teaming up with Semintha Nutraceuticals to hold a birch beverage competition, with the goal of producing a tasty and healthful drink with Birch sap at its base. Interested folks are encouraged to reach out to the Newfermenters homebrew group for more details, including sharing their recipe and technique to produce a beer, mead, or cider, or even non-fermented drink, using Semintha’s sap. Check out the Facebook group for more details, and submit your plan via email before May 1st.

Off Track Brewing is getting closer to commissioning their larger brewhouse, but in the meantime, they’ve got several new beers pouring at their taproom in Bedford. Diving right in with Wheat in the Knees, an American Wheat Ale hopped lightly with Belma and Huell Melon; at just 4.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, it’s the perfect beer for what they refer to as “soon-to-be summer”, but we’re highly skeptical today! Regardless, an easy-drinking beer with a touch of citrus, meant to be enjoyed in quantity. In the same mold, Raspberry Wheat is another wheat beer, but with fruit. An experimental batch, look for others in the “series” to follow suit, with Cherry Wheat and Mango Wheat coming soon… as in later this weekend! These are all single kegs only, so be sure to drop by for your taste.

• And in non-Wheat beers, expect to see State Capitals for $500 from Off Track this weekend. An American Pale Ale hopped with Cascade, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, it’s described by the brewery as “very melony and fruity”; it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 43 IBUs. Finally, expect to see Pull the Pin IPA on tap as well, a 6% ABV, 58 IBUs IPA hopped mainly with Centennial, giving the beer aromas and flavours of light fruit, as well as some spicy and floral character.

• We have the details on the latest release from Brightwood Brewery, an interesting beer they’re referring to as a Rosé IPA. Dartmouth Blush is a Belgian IPA hopped with Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc late in the boil, and at flameout, to maximize the aroma and flavour characteristics of both varieties. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, and Hibiscus and Rose Hips were also added to give the final product a pink hue.

• In Halifax, 2 Crows has two new small batch taproom-only releases to share this week put together by staff members Graeme and Nick. First, from Graeme, is another obscure Dutch ale (he was also responsible for the Dutch Bokbier late last year), this time a Luyks Bier, whatever that is. Built on a grist of predominantly spelt, with Pilsner, wheat and some flaked oats, it was bittered with Magnum and hopped with a combination of Columbus and Goldings. Fermentation with Omega Labs Hothead yeast makes Peace Train a full-bodied 5.7% ABV and 34 IBU beer that features notes of grapefruit and clementine leading to a dry, slightly bitter finish (and Cat Stevens ringing in your ears). Next up is Nick’s Blithe, a Belgian Pale Ale featuring the middle eastern spice Sumac. At 5.9% ABV and 29 IBU, it was brewed with pale malt, spelt, malted oats, and a bit of Munich malt. Hops included the spicy/fruity British hybrid Bramling Cross and the citrus/floral/fruity American Calypso. Fermented with the 2 Crows house saison culture, the sumac (sourced from East Coast Wild Foods) entered the picture during conditioning. The beer is described as “bright, fruity, floral and dry” with some yeast-based funk and some bitter orange flavors from the sumac. You’ll find both of these brews only available by the pint on Brunswick Street at the 2 Crows tasting room.

• New Brunswick’s heaviest hoppists, Trailway Brewing in Fredericton have yet another IPA dropping this Friday. Featuring one of the industry darling hops of the last year or two, Ekuanot, alongside so-new-we-had-to-look-it-up Loral (HBC 291), Imagination is a 6.5% ABV super-refreshing brew with a hint of green pepper from the Ekuanot and a very soft and floral, yet fruity finish from the Loral. You’ll find it at the brewery and possibly over the coming weeks at ANBL locations. Watch Trailway social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram) for more on that.

• On Agricola Street in Halifax, urban cidery Chain Yard has a new batch on the go they’re calling Mallow Yallow. Leveraging malolactic fermentation where bacteria other than yeast are introduced to convert malic acid to lactic acid, and, in doing so, soften the acidity of the final product, this cider was also put into oak barrels for 4 months to condition. The result is a dry cider at 6.4% ABV, with a crisp, light carbonation, some sweetness, and featuring notes of caramel, whiskey and French oak.

Beerocracy, the independent documentary on New Brunswick craft beer (how the NB beer industry started and where it’s headed, as well as what challenges could hamper its growth), is finally viewable online for the world to see! Anyone interested in the story of beer in NB can go to Vimeo to either rent the movie for less than the cost of a fresh pint, or buy it to watch anytime, anywhere. Check it out here!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new session pale ale on tap this week. Called Night Moves, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV, 35 IBU beer that hopped with Citra and Mosaic. And a reminder that the taproom on Bridge Avenue is open for business and the guest are now in full force. The dozen beer currently pouring includes offerings from the Eastern Shore’s Sober Island, Antigonish’s Half Cocked, and others. So if you’re in the PC, AJ and his band have your craft beer fix; give a thought to heading down and checking it out!

Here are the events we’re excited about in the coming weeks:

• Back in 2013, Picaroons released their Plaid to the Bone, an English Pale Ale brewed with Heather tips. Don’t be too confused, but they’re releasing a new beer, named Plaid to the Bone – Scotch Ale, to continue the Scottish theme. A big (8.6% ABV), malty brew, this one-off has been bottled and will officially be released at a Launch Party today at the Picaroons Roundhouse in Fredericton. The fun starts at 4 PM, with lots of beer available in bottles and on tap, served alongside haggis samosas and Scotch eggs, with live fiddling music to jig to (or you can just sit and listen).

• First poured at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival last month, the Tide & Boar Gastropub is releasing their Sour Otis – Peach Barrel Edition tomorrow, April 7th at 11 AM . Spontaneously fermented and aged for 7 months in a Pinot Noir barrel, this limited edition beer will be available in short supply to enjoy at the T&B, and to take home. Only 125 bottles will be available for purchase, with the remaining 57 bottles going on sale to drink in-house at the brewpub. Look for another one of their beers to be on the growler filling station at Duo Cafe as well.

• A reminder that Revel Cider from Guelph will be taking over the taps at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow from noon, with a dozen of their fun and funky ciders available all day. Check out the tap list here to get an idea of what you’ll be tasting. Fans of mixed fermentation and spontaneous beers will enjoy their offerings, and for those who don’t… fear not, there’ll be plenty of cool bottles from Stilly’s fridges and cellar available for tasting and comparing!

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub has quickly lined up their next brewery-featured event, with one of New Brunswick’s newest breweries – Holy Whale, out of Alma – bringing their beers for all to enjoy! Call Me Ishmael – A Holy Whale Micro Tap Takeover will take place tomorrow, April 7th when the pub opens at 3 PM. Holy Whale is bringing four of their beers – Whitney IBUston (Witbier), Medusa’s Milk Stout, Pale Ale, and Keller Whale (Kellerbier), which you can order by the pint or flight. No charge to attend, just show up to give them a try!

• A few days later (Wednesday, April 11th) the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection will be holding their next Ladies n’ Beers Social, at TrailWay. Join them in the TW taproom at 8 PM for a flight of beer and some beer education; just RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot (cost is $9 to attend). As always, feel free to show up beforehand or hang around afterwards, to enjoy an extra beer or two and socialize some more!

PEI Brewing Co. is celebrating their After Hours series with a launch at the brewery April 12, 5 – 7 PM. You will be taken on a guided tour of the production area, sample some future releases straight from the tank, and hear from the brewers about the inspiration and brewing process of each beer. It will also mark the return of Patience, the dry-hopped Brett Saison first bottled and released last year. Learn more about the event here.

• They’ve been open since last fall, but Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has never had an official launch party. Luckily, they’ve found the perfect excuse to have one now, in conjunction with their upcoming tap takeover at Freeman’s Little New York, at their Sackville location. The joint event will take place next Saturday, April 14th at 552 Sackville Dr., with Ol’ Biddy’s bringing 8 beers, including the last keg of their Salty Fog, a toasted coconut Porter with pink Himalayan salt, and the latest release of their Sackvegas Sour.

• Tickets are still on sale for the Friday session of St John’s BrewFest, April 20th at Club One on New Gower Street. From 6 – 10 PM, sample your choice of more than 100 beers from across North America, with most not already available in Newfoundland. Joining the local breweries will be Brooklyn’s Other Half, as well as Canadian breweries Half Hours on Earth, Blindman Brewing, and Left Field. Plus regional favourites TrailWay and Hammond River. Secure your tickets today to avoid major FOMO that weekend!

• Early Bird Pricing is ending this Monday for the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, being held in Halifax May 24 – 26. The biggest gathering of brewers from across the country, there are sessions and presentations and plenty of fun events surrounding the weekend, which we’ll be sure to share in a handy-dandy gCal and map. The Keynote Speaker is Emily Tipton, co-owner and -brewer at Boxing Rock, and the President of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. While entry to the CBAC is restricted to brewery employees, there are volunteer positions available to keep everything running smoothly. Sign up today to help make the weekend a success!

A few News Bites today:

Gahan House on the Halifax Waterfront has tapped a new cider made with fresh apples from Windsor, Nova Scotia. Hazy, pale and dry, Harbour Valley Cider finishes with “just the right amount” of tartness and is listed at 6.4% ABV.
– We mentioned last week that The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, NS, has announced that they’re opening a craft brewery called Shipwright Brewing. This week they announced that their Brewmaster will be a local Lunenburger coming back to her roots, Kellye Robertson! We’ll have more details to share about the plans for the brewery in coming weeks.
Unfiltered in Halifax has their extremely popular Citra SMaSH, DOA, back on tap for fills in the brewery and pints at Charm School as of noon today: 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU. Rumor has it there are also still a few cans of other offerings from their last canning run available at the brewery.
Upstreet in Charlottetown has a small amount of their popular sour, Million Acres Twice-hopped Sour with Centennial and Chinook back in a limited re-release today starting at 11 AM at Craft Beer Corner. 200 bottles, limit 4 per person.

With the warm-ish weather we’ve been experiencing in the region this week we’re almost wondering if the Groundhog might have been right this year, which probably means an apocalyptic storm or four is just around the corner. To take your mind off this dreadful inevitability and the zombie apocalypse that will no doubt follow, we’ve once again collected all the beer news we could find in the region this week and put it all in one place.

• It looks like Boxing Rock has been playing around in the brewhouse lately, as they’ve just released Plum Crazy, a “plum-infused sour Porter”. Starting with a slightly-tweaked recipe of their Sunken Ledge Porter, where a portion of the mash was soured in the mashtun for 48 hours, with the remainder of the grist mashed in as normal. The resulting two worts were then combined in the kettle, and boiled as usual. After primary fermentation was complete, 120 lbs of plum puree were added for about a week, where the beer was then carbonated and packaged. The result is a 5% ABV brew that is “smooth, tart, and malty, with a bit of tannic character from the plums”. You should be able to find it in bottles now at the private liquor stores, in growlers at the brewery and farmer’s markets, and on tap at select licensees.

• Late last week, Big Axe managed to release a new beer despite receiving several new pieces of brewing equipment for their expansion. A Rye IPA, Aces & Eights was brewed with two types of rye malt: Flaked Rye and Pale Rye malt. Hopped with Amarillo and Citra, this 5.8% ABV beer is a light amber colour, with “reddish hues” (the picture we saw looked quite red!), and has a “slight peppery aroma” from the Rye additions. Look for it on tap at your favourite Big Axe account, and at the brewery taproom (which very well may BE your favourite Big Axe account, naturally!) for pints and growler fills.

• Halifax’s Propeller has a brand new beer available in cans, XPA. This “Extra Pale Ale” is their latest seasonal, hopped with Citra and Idaho 7, giving the beer “complex hop aromas of orange and apricot, finishing with a backdrop of resiny pine with hints of black tea”, according to the brewery. These 473 mL cans are available right now in both Propeller retail stores, and should be following at the NSLC sometime next week. Of course, it’s on tap at Propeller for growler fills as well, and will likely show up on tap around the HRM very soon.

• There’s another new Alpha Brew being released by our friends at Good Robot this week: All You Can Eat is being billed as a Coconut IPA. Featuring a “boatload” of toasted coconut (meticulously toasted by Kelly Costello herself), the beer has a base of Golden malt, and was hopped with both Topaz and Wai-Iti. It’s “smooth and creamy” and has an aroma matching a tropical fruit salad, with coconut! Keep your eyes open for it around Halifax, and of course you can find this 6.2% ABV, 43 IBUs newbie at the source (read: brewery taproom). But we’re not done… naturally there’s a new Beta Brew coming out next Tuesday! Creamsicale was brewed with local entrepreneur Krishna Parmar, and has a grist made up of Wheat malt, Oats, and barley, and hopped with Magnum, Mandarina Bavaria, and Zythos (to 32 IBUs). At 5.8% ABV, it tastes of “citrus and vanilla ice cream, with a very subtle hop profile”. Finally, the brewery has just finished their second canning run, so you can now pick up Tom Waits For No One American Stout in 16 oz cans at the brewery.

• Bucking tradition slightly, TrailWay released their weekly one-off a bit early this week, on Wednesday. This is their latest rendition of Binary, their rotating SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) brew. Golden Promise is the malt of choice, and this time around they went with the Australian hop variety Ella. This hop has been seeing more and more action in many brews in Atlantic Canada, and is known for the floral and spicy aromas it imparts in beer, along with a grapefruit and tropical flavour. This batch is bigger than their typical one-off, so expect to see some cans of this 6% ABV hoppy brew at select ANBL stores, in addition to at the brewery taproom.

• Today Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is bringing back a summer favourite a little early, possibly in the hopes of inspiring this unseasonably warm weather into even more unseasonable territory. You might remember Sour MFer, the kettle soured wheat beer aged on a metric fuckton of tart cherries. Well it’s back, and this time it spent some time refermenting with Brettanomyces lambicus, which is known for tending to impart a cherry-pie like character. Even better, the beer also spent several months aging on oak. Available from noon for pints and fills at the brewery and/or Charm School Pub next door. Speaking of growler fills, did you know if you bring another brewery’s growler to Unfiltered, they’ll fill it? And they’ll even slap on a high-quality vinyl Unfiltered sticker before they send you on your merry way. How incredibly controversial!!

• If you head down to Tidehouse’s tinytastybeverageroom in downtown Halifax this weekend, you’ll find a brand new beer. The Atomium is a Belgian blond that comes in at 6.4% ABV. It was brewed with Pilsner, Vienna and a touch of Aromatic malt, bittered with Perle and flavoured with noble Czech Saaz. Brewmaster Peter Lionais then chose to ferment with a pair of Belgian yeasts to create a beer with a largely fruity profile contrasted with a touch of phenolic spiciness. This beer is also expected to hit the taps at the Stubborn Goat in the coming days.

Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse continues to churn out beer, belying their nano scale. Brewer/owner Keith Forbes has a couple brews bubbling away to keep the tap accounts happy. As mentioned last week (or was it the week before?), there’s a batch of Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red coming for St. Patrick’s Day and a coffee-less version of Even Gooder Brown will be ready mid-next week, this one with a light-ish body, and chocolate, caramel and nutty flavors and an overall earthy presentation. And if you’ll be at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, look for Ol’ Biddy’s to make its debut at Newbie Night on March 9th. They’ll be bringing four beers at the event, Sackvegas Sour, Orange American Bastard, Disco Inferno Red IPA and a brand new one, brewed by Keith’s longtime homebrew buddy Michael Orr, Salty Fog Coconut Porter, a dark roasty beer with hints of chocolate, caramel and coconut, and finished with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.

Maybee Brewing is launching a new beer today, which will be the first of three over the next few weeks. Today’s newbie is Whistle Stop Belgian Pale Ale, a 6.5% ABV twist on the classic Belgian style. Amber-coloured, this brew was fermented with a Saison and Brettanomyces yeast blend, giving “upfront notes of biscuit, stone fruit, and bubblegum, with a European hop spice and citrus hop accompaniment”. Finishing crisp and dry, it will be released in kegs only for now (so look for it on tap at the brewery for growler fills, and at Maybee tap accounts in the province), but will also be available in bottles during Fredericton Craft Beer Week (starting March 5th).

• We mentioned last week (eventually…sorry guys!), that the 902BrewCast boys would be hosting a live recording of their Women in the Beer Industry Panel, an open discussion featuring Meghan Brennan (Garrison Brewing), Rebecca Atkinson (Sober Island Brewing), Laura MacDonald (Stillwell), and Kelly Costello (Good Robot Brewing). The event took place this past Monday evening and the team has already sliced ’n diced the raw tape into an episode available now. Get it direct from their website here, search it out in iTunes or your favourite alternative Podcast app, or twist the dial of your favourite podcast appliance (those exist, right?)

On top of the many events we’ve mentioned over the past couple weeks, there’s a couple new ones to throw out there today:

• Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is celebrating reopening this week with an all-NL tap takeover. Beginning last night with a ticketed event that sold right out, it will continue into Friday and Saturday. Head down to the brewery during regular hours (4 PM to Midnight) today or tomorrow and find taps pouring from Port Rexton Brewing, Split Rock Brewing Co., Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., Yellowbelly Brewery, Storm Brewing and, of course, the hosts themselves! Flights will be available at $12 per and they’ll have 16oz pints besides. So head on down and experience a taste of the burgeoning beer scene on the Rock!

Battery Park is holding another one of their all-day tap takeovers next Thursday, March 1st, but this one will feature six Nova Scotia breweries, instead of just one. Small but Mighty will bring you kegs from Half Cocked, Lazy Bear, Off Track, Ol’ Biddy’s, Tanner & Co., and The Townhouse. Beers will be pouring from 11:30 am for the whole day, until the beer is gone! As always, there’s no charge to attend, just show up and enjoy some pints from some of the province’s smallest breweries! Many of the brewers will be there to soak up the praise, so don’t be shy!

• Interested in learning more about the brewing process? Saint John’s Big Tide will be hosting a Brunch & Brew on Sunday, March 25th from 10 am-1:30 pm. Head brewer Wendy Papadopoulos will educate attendees on the magic behind brewing, and you’ll also get the opportunity to take part in an actual brew day. Luckily, a two-course brunch and flight of beer is included in the ticket price ($40 + HST and fee), to keep you going! You can book your tickets here.

That’s it for this week!

– Harvey, New Brunswick’s Think Brewing has started bottling, and the first bottles (500 mL) of their Revelation IPA can be found at the Corbett Centre ANBL in Fredericton this weekend, with more locations to follow, soon.