Sober Island Brewing

All posts tagged Sober Island Brewing

It’s been another busy week for news in the region, with no fewer than a dozen new and returning beers and ciders on the shelves, draft lines or coolers across the region. And to kick off this week’s edition, let’s dive right in with another new small-batch brewery opening.

• Bathurst, New Brunswick has now joined the ranks of brewing communities, with the opening of AKA Beer late last week. Brewing small scale 55 litre batches on location at the local craft beer bar Au Bootlegger, their Prohibition Ale is now available for purchase. Strictly available on tap at the bar, this 5.0% ABV Amber Ale is a complement to the other NB beers already available. Look for more information and an interview with the crew behind AKA shortly!

• There’s a new beer available from Bagtown Brewing in Sackville, NB these days, their second brew featuring tea. TEAse the Senses is a 5.0% ABV orange-hued beer, with loose Blackcurrant tea leaves added during the mash for a distinctive rich and smooth taste. A healthy dose of Mosaic hops offer plenty of citrus and fruit aromatics, as well as a solid 46 IBU bitterness. TEAse, as well as their flagship Wobbly Duck English Pale Ale, Crown Vic Belgian Pale Ale, and Suble Tea Session IPA (their first beer to feature tea) are available for growler fills at the brewery, open Thursday, Friday (both days 3-7PM), and Saturday (9AM-1PM), located at the Sackville Commons.

• One of the more anticipated collaborative releases is hitting the shelves across Nova Scotia today. In October, inspired by the By The Numbers piece by local artist Erin McGuire, Boxing Rock and Garrison teamed up to brew a beer in honour of Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip. Courage (For Gord Downie) is that beer, a 6.0% ABV Amber Wheat Ale. Available today from noon at Boxing Rock’s Shelburne location, there is also a release party later today, starting at 5PM, with local musicians paying their respects to Downie. In Halifax, Garrison released their share of bottles at opening (10AM), and there will be a Live 105 event at the brewery, for those able to win their way in through social media/call-ins, and will feature raffles and tshirt sales, with all funds going to charity. Speaking of which, $1.00 of the bottle price is going to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and Downie/Wenjack Fund for Indigenous Peoples Reconciliation. If you are unable to make it to either brewery, the private stores in HRM will also be receiving deliveries, and should have the beer on shelves today. And reaching across the Atlantic Provinces (and beyond), through the NSLC, ANBL, PEILCC, NLC and MBLL before the end of the month.

• Riverview’s Celtic Knot Brewing will soon be offering their beers in bottles, for a more portable way to enjoy their beers. Beers like their Dark Passage Oatmeal Stout, Ryetious Rye IPA, Dubh Loki Black IPA, and new Choc Wort Orange, a Chocolate Orange Stout, will be packaged in 500 mL bottles. Initially for sale only at the brewery, keep an eye here, or on their Facebook page, for exact release details (should be within the next 1-2 weeks). And don’t forget to drop by Marky’s Laundromat tonight to meet with Celtic Knot and other members of the Moncton Craft Brewers Collective during their weekend-long Tap Takeover.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay is releasing another SMaSH beer today at noon, Binary American IPA. Brewed with Golden Promise malt and hopped generously (as usual) with El Dorado, one of the new favourite varieties at the brewery, they’re describing it as “super complex” despite the seemingly-simple recipe. SMaSH beers are always fun to experience, as it’s a great way to see what exactly single ingredients can offer. “Incredibly bright and juicy, with a definite candied fruit/mango element”, this 6% ABV beer will be available at the brewery’s taproom for pints, growlers, and cans.

Port Rexton Brewing is releasing their first canned beer, and first packaged beer since bottles of last winter’s Belgian Tripel. Blazing Sun is an amped-up version of their popular Chasing Sun NEIPA, featuring plenty of the same juicy hop aroma and flavours, with the added piney notes of a Double IPA. Cans of the 7.0% ABV, 45 IBU beer, are available exclusively at the brewery this long weekend: Sunday Nov 12 from 11-10PM, and Monday Nov 13, 11-2PM. If there are any left, we’ll be sure to let you know where you can grab a couple. And keep in mind that the brewery taproom is now into off-season hours, which means keeping an eye on their website for exact details.

• We’ve got a couple of news items from Halifax’s Propeller this week, starting off with the latest (and second) release of their Gottingen Small Batch “Hop Series”, Idaho-7 XPA. Focusing on Idaho 7, an American hop variety that’s been making its way into a few beers in our region over the last year or so, this “Extra Pale Ale” has “complex fruit and citrus aromas of apricot and orange, and finishes with a subtle backdrop of resiny pine and the slightest things of black tea”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 40 IBUs, it’s available now at both Propeller locations for growler fills. Moving on to tonight’s Cask Night, they’ll be tapping a cask-conditioned Honey Wheat Ale, aged with black raspberries; if you’d like a taste, be sure to show up at the Gottingen Tasting Room at 5 pm sharp, when the cask is tapped.

• There’s a brand new cider in the popular Something Different series from Annapolis Cider Company, Juniperry. Made from local, hand-picked Flemish Beauty pears, the juice had an arrested fermentation, before the addition of crushed juniper berries which were foraged from Peggy’s Cove and Prospect Bay. The resulting unfiltered, sparkling Perry has a light, pale colour, with a “delicate, woodsy aroma and a complex palate of sweet pear and balmy pine, with a hint of citrus”. Drop by the cidery for your fill of this 6.5% ABV beauty; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to the Town of Wolfville Volunteer Fire Department.

• The Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has been paying attention to the demands from their demographic in Pasadena (and beyond), who have been requesting a beer on the lighter side, somewhere between an American Pale Ale and a light Lager. Well, the brewery has responded with… Beer! Yes, that’s the name! As expected, it’s minimally hopped at 16 IBU, with a simple grist of Pale and Pilsner malt (achieving 5.0% ABV), making it easy-drinking, while “retaining the full body” that the brewery proudly notes is in all of their beers. Drop by the brewery for a taste, and don’t worry about trying to remember the name of what you wanted to order!

• Coming off their big ACBA wins, Chain Yard Cider has a new product pouring at the cidery, Petal to the Metal. A blend of a wild-fermented Baldwin base cider with rose water, it was matured with a ferment of Spy and Jonagold apples. A touch of Ironworks gin was added to bring out more floral aromatics, and a tiny amount of cherry wine gives the final cider its pink-rose colour. Described as “crisp and smooth”, it’s quite dry (like most ciders from Chain Yard), as very little sugar is left in the final product. Packing a nice punch at 8% ABV, drop down to Chain Yard to give this beautiful cider a taste!

• We mentioned that YellowBelly had brewed up a “Blueberry Milkshake IPA” last week, and had a few details to tide you over… well, looks like that beer is now on tap at the brewpub, and we have more information to share! They’ve finally settled on the name Blueberry Hill, fitting for a beer that features the addition of over 100 kg of blueberries (some in primary, some in secondary). Fermented with the excellent Funktown yeast blend, and dry-hopped heavily with Citra, expect lots of mango, pineapple, citrus, and passionfruit, along with a smooth, silky body (thanks in part to the typical-for-a-Milkshake-IPA addition of lactose powder). Blue-hued, 6% ABV, and high-20s IBUs, it’s available on tap at the brewpub as we speak, and will also be in growlers at the new YellowBelly Takeaway (just down a few doors at 264 Water St) that starts today from 1-7 pm… just buy a YB growler or bring your own branded, CLEAN 64 oz one.

• Next week’s Good Robot BetaBrewsday is just about ready to go, brewed by Travis Lindsay, Dan Hendricken and Kelly C. Named Funk You Saison (tsk), it’s golden-coloured, with a dry finish, and hints of “raspberry, clove, honey sweetness and bready funk”. Releasing at the brewery on tap on Tuesday, it weighs in at 5.7% ABV and 23 IBUs. And I’d just like to note this may be the shortest Good Robot post we’ve had since… when did they open again?

Grimross isn’t taking much of a breather with their one-off Scratch Series lately, as after releasing a couple of news ones over the past few weeks, they already have another in store! Scratch #8 is a hoppy Saison which is dry-hopped with a healthy dose of Simcoe and Sorachi Ace. This one won’t be released until the beginning of the week of November 20th, so ABV, IBUs and tasting notes aren’t available yet, but based on the hops used, we’re thinking a blend of citrus, pine, and lemongrass, with some spicy phenolics and fruity esters from the yeast, followed by a dry finish.

Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax has been beavering away on several things in the past few weeks and it looks like this is the week for you, gentle beer drinker, to benefit from many of them in a very short timespan. First is the debut of two bottled beers at The Guy Show this weekend at the Halifax Exhibition Centre. First is the Winter Warmer, a 6.3% ABV beer geared towards the season with spruce tips, cinnamon, bitter orange peel and blackstrap molasses. Citra hops provide an additional citrus kick. Also at the show will be Night Shift on the Palisade, and IPA featuring Topaz and (surprise!) Palisadehops. So if you find yourself at the Guy Show (even if it’s because you got roped into going to the Christmas Craft Village next door, do check out these two new brews!

• Meanwhile, at Tidehouse’s Tiny Tasty Beverage Room on Salter Street, another new beer is hitting the taps called Do Make Say Drink, another IPA, this one built on a malt base of 2-Row barley to which Vienna and Melanoidin were added for a balancing malt character and body. Hops were largely Citra and the beer was fermented with clean and neutral American ale yeast. And already on tap from earlier this week is the Cosmic Blonde, a mash-up of the Belgian Blonde style with very new world hop varieties including Amarillo, Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic. Multiple Belgian yeast strains were used in this one to develop fruity, spice and peppery notes to complement the tropical and citrus hop presence. Lastly, it was announced this week that Tidehouse will be hosting a tap takeover event to celebrate their first birthday at Tom’s Little Havana. on December 9th. We’ll have more information on that, hopefully including a tap list, in the coming weeks.

• Although the release date is not yet set in stone, Sober Island Brewing on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore is expecting to bring out a new beer very soon. Juniper IPA is an IPA in the West Coast style that’s been loaded with dry hop additions from Wicked Hops near Stewiacke, including Magnum, Chinook, Centennial and Cascade varieties. Also added in the last 10 minutes of the boil were three pounds of macerated juniper berries. The beer looks to be coming in at 6.3% ABV and some 58 IBU, and it may yet see a little bit of tweaking, as two more pounds of juniper berries are still available for additional dry hopping. Look for this one to be available as early as next weekend.

• And if you’ll recall, Sober Island also has a homebrew competition for beers featuring foraged ingredients, with the entries due on Wednesday, November 15th at Bramoso Pizza on Quinpool Road in Halifax, or Thursday, November 16th, at Cavicchi’s Meats on St. Margaret’s Bay Road in Tantallon during their Bangers & Beer event. We’ve also heard some rumours that drop-off may be possible at Noble Grape locations, but you’ll probably want to verify that before you go trying to drop your beer off as described in this Facebook post right here. Keep your eye on Sober Island’s social media (Facebook, Twitter) and the Facebook event page for any last minute details, and we’re looking forward to hearing the results announced on Sunday, November 26th, at the competition finale at Henley House in Sheet Harbour.

Plenty on the go this weekend, but do keep in mind that the provincial beer stores will be closed tomorrow in observance of Remembrance Day, and private stores and breweries are closing or delaying their opening:

• Don’t forget that the James Joyce Irish Pub in Fredericton is holding Deja Brew, their second New Brunswick Tap Takeover, today from noon till close. They’ve installed new draft lines and made the use of jockey boxes to have over 30 beers on tap, with just about every brewery in the province representing. It’s pay as you go, with flights available as usual. Coincidentally, the NBCBA (New Brunswick Craft Brewers Association, the local homebrew club in the region) is holding a Meet and Greet at the JJ from 6-10 pm, so flag one of the members down if you have any questions about brewing beer at home!

• Members of Foghorn‘s new KV Beer Club have the opportunity to participate in KV Beer School, a one-hour learning experience on the subject of beer, on Tuesday, November 14th from 7-8 pm. Brewer/co-owner Andrew Estabrooks will be discussing a brief history of beer, beer styles, and basically answering any beer-related questions you have on your mind. Club members can RSVP by emailing steve@drinkfoghorn.ca; it’s first-come, first-serve, to RSVP today!

• Dartmouth’s Battery Park continues their run of dedicating tap lines to a local brewery with their Boxing Rock Tap Takeover on Thursday, November 16th from open till close. Featuring Shelburne, Nova Scotia’s favourite brewery, Boxing Rock will be bringing 15 different beers to pour until they’re gone! There’s a good chance a brewery member or two will be on hand to answer any BR-related questions you may have. Keep an eye on the event link above for a taplist to be revealed in the near future.

• The original Gahan House in Charlottetown, PEI, is releasing a beer next Thursday that celebrates the coming winter, or at least the shorter days on the way to winter. Shortest Day is a spiced milk stout, black, opaque, and topped with a dark, lingering head. It features a prominent vanilla aroma with toasty undertones and it’s been spiced with nutmeg for a festive flair. It comes in at a very drinkable 5.3% ABV and you can be among the first to try it by attending the Shortest Day Celebration at the Gahan House on November 16th. At the event you’ll find live music, sampling of the beer, and a chance to win a prize package that includes a night at the Great George Hotel and dinner for two at Sims Corner Steakhouse on the official shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

Big Spruce is celebrating the release in cans of their 100% Nova Scotia-made beer, One Hundred, with a special Launch Party at Horton Ridge on Saturday, November 18th at 2 pm. For those who’ve forgotten, the beer features grain grown and malted at Horton Ridge, together with wild yeast and hops harvested at the Big Spruce farm in Nyanza. There’ll be live music at the event from 3-6 pm, and pizza from The Rustic Crust at 4 pm. More details to come, stay tuned to the event page as the date gets closer.

• If you’re in the Charlottetown area and would love to learn more about the aromas and flavours you’re experiencing in your beer, HopYard has just the answer! On Saturday, November 25th, they’re holding a Guided Tasting with PEI’s only certified-Cicerone, Bryan Carver, at 11 am. Bryan will lead you through four beers brewed in Atlantic Canada, and will help you discover aspects of beer you never knew existed! The perfect way to make you a better friend of your favourite beverage, tickets are just $25 and can be picked up in advance at HopYard.

• It’s quite a ways off, but Halifax Curated already has the date for their East Coast Cider Festival, which will happen on Saturday, June 16th, 2018. There’ll be two sessions (1-4 pm, and 6-9 pm) pouring plenty of cider, with 16 cideries from Nova Scotia already signed up, as well as a couple from New Brunswick and one from Ontario. Early-bird tickets are already on sale ($30 + tax and fees) through the link above, so if you’re a cider fan, it makes sense to buy yours today! The event will be held at the Halifax Forum Multi-Purpose Centre, and will also have food vendors on-site.

Just a few more things to get you up to speed before we let you go today:

Bulwark has re-released their Winter Cider, a 7% ABV blended cider infused with cinnamon and nutmeg; available in bottles now.
Lazy Bear has brewed up another batch of their Norwegian, a take on a traditional style from, you guessed it, Norway, brewed with juniper-infused water and a yeast that ferments at almost unheard-of temperatures. It comes in at 7% ABV and should be around at the Annapolis Royal market tomorrow morning.
– One of Picaroons most popular seasonals, Winter Warmer (7.3% ABV, 35 IBUs) is back for the colder weather; look for it in bottles and on tap wherever Picaroons beers are normally found.

Crikey! It looks like the celebrations and shenanigans associated with this past weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards Gala and Reception (check the list of winners here) might have finally taken the edge off the local beer scene for a week, allowing your faithful beer bloggers to catch our collective breath. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything exciting going on, just that there’s a little less to talk about this week. Enjoy the relatively short read (only 2000 words!); we don’t figure it’ll stay this way for long!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing reached a milestone this week, finally opening to the public and selling beer! Wednesday and Thursday of this week saw AJ Leadbetter with two of his own beers, Daydreamer Pale Ale and Headliner IPA, available for grunter (900 mL) and Growler (1.89 L) fills. They’ll be open again today from 2 – 6 PM for the same, but do note that until their point-of-sale system arrives it’s cash-only. Grunters are $7 for a fill and Growlers are $12. If you don’t have any to fill, grunters and growlers are both available for purchase, as are a selection of swanky Backstage branded fauncy paunts beer glasses, including the Rastal, the Belgian tulip, the Spiegelau IPA, and the Teku 2.0. Congrats to AJ and Beth and everyone who’s worked so hard to make the brewery a reality! Peep our Profile with AJ for a reminder of their beer and learn more about going Backstage…

2 Crows released one of their coveted small batch brews yesterday, Mountain Sounds, a Hopfenweisse brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles Bishop. With a malt grist of Pilsner malt, Wheat malt, and raw Wheat, it was fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain to give the banana and clove notes we all expect in the style. Being a Hopfenweisse, however, demands hops, so Miles dry-hopped the beer “judiciously” with Azacca, Citra, and Huell Melon. The end result features “huge notes of fruit salad, tinned peaches, banana, and pear”, accompanied by a full mouthfeel. Pours only for this one at the tasting room, so get down there quick! And as a bit of a heads up, they will be sporting a new release next Saturday (November 4th), I Love You, a Brett– fermented Saison, infused with lemon verbena, care of Phil Holmans of World Tea House. We’ll have all of the nerdy details next Friday.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has an au courant brew ready for All Hallows’ Eve and, perhaps, reminiscing about classic Halifax haunts from the 80s. GothStout is an American Stout, featuring citrusy Centennial hops added at both the beginning of the boil, for bitterness, and towards the end, for a flavourful hop presence and aroma. The body is dark and roasty from the use of roasted barley, kiln coffee and pale chocolate malts. Said to pair well with Bauhaus or The Cure, we’ll wager it also wouldn’t go amiss with a little Sisters of Mercy or Siouxsie and the Banshees either. Head on down to the Tiny Tasting Room and see whether GothStout is really as black as your soul. And while this beer will have come and gone by the time it opens, the TH family have announced that they will be filling the three beer taps at aFrite Restaurant on Lower Water, when it opens in late November.

• Continuing on the popular release of their DDH Luster in late summer, TrailWay is releasing DDH Hu Jon Hops today at the brewery. Their flagship 6.5% ABV American IPA, HJH is typically packed full of hop flavour and aroma, and TW promises an experience at the next level with this double-dry-hopped version. A second dry hop with Citra and Mosaic was added, giving a flavour of “saturated hop juice”, coming across as “very fruity with some dankness”, according to the brewery. Available today at noon at the brewery on tap and in cans, and likely a few kegs will pop up around Fredericton, as is usual for these limited releases.

• Erica and Kelly C. continue their exploits on the Good Robot pilot system with another new BetaBrewsday release next Tuesday. Falling on Halloween, they were reminded of Dia de Muertos, or “Day of the Dead”, a multi-day, annual holiday in Mexico; Erica was lucky enough to attend the celebrations in Oaxaca a few years ago, and was introduced to a wide variety of molé sauces, with her favourite being molé negra. With chocolate and spices working so well in certain beer styles, she created (with help from Kelly C. and Maria Josey) Holy Molé, a 5.3% ABV Brown Ale brewed with 2-row, Crystal 120 L, Wheat malt, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Wheat malt. Hopped lightly with East Kent Goldings to just 11 IBUs, of course the ingredients didn’t rest here – a small amount of thyme, cumin, cinnamon, clove, and sesame were added in the boil, with fire-roasted peppers and avocado leaves being thrown into the fermenter.

• Be on the lookout for Sober Island Brewing‘s small (relatively speaking) cans to be hitting the shelves next week. 473 ml cans of their Blonde Ale (renamed Marigold) and Oyster Stout (now known as Beth’s Blackout) will both be found at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar beginning November 2nd. They will be running a tasting that afternoon from 4-6pm, where you can grab a taste before grabbing a can (or two). They are still using the crowler format for on-demand fills, but the smaller format will allow them to have packaged beer more readily available in the HRM area.

• As part of this weekend’s Devour! The Food and Film Fest, the 2017 Taste of Nova Scotia Awards were announced yesterday, with all of the winners sharing close ties to the cider and beer world. Congratulations to Product of the Year Something Different from Annapolis CiderRestaurant of the Year The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, Server of the Year Nicole Raufeisen of Little OakCulinary Ambassador of the Year Chris and Melissa Velden of The Flying Apron Inn & Cookery , and Producer of the Year Benjamin Bridge.

• And a big congratulations to Alicia MacDonald and Sonja Mills of Port Rexton Brewing, who were recognized with the Trailblazer Award by Newfoundland And Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Opening a brewery in a small town more than 3 hours from the closest city takes a special passion that these two entrepreneurs are demonstrating. Building both their local community in Port Rexton, and the community of breweries opening in other small towns in the province, their win is much-deserved. Celebrate with the entire PR crew this weekend at the brewery, as they celebrate the end of the season. The bar is open 2-10PM today, 1-10PM Saturday, and 11AM-6PM Sunday, for you to enjoy samples, pints, music (Saturday night), and then grab a few growlers to enjoy at home during the week. Costumes are highly encouraged!

We have two exciting developments in “coming soon/not-so-soon” beers in our region:

• In planning for months, a collaboration between artist and breweries will come to fruition next month. Artist Erin McGuire is the man behind “By The Numbers“, a piece of art he created inspired by The Tragically Hip. Being a beer fan from the South Shore, McGuire reached out to Boxing Rock (who in turn wanted to collaborate with Garrison) to turn his art into a beer label, with a portion of proceeds of the beer going to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The collaborative beer, Courage (for Gord Downie), will be a 6.0% Amber Wheat Ale, with a limited run of just 2000 bottles, coming in late November. For those Hip and beer fans looking to pay tribute, and help fund brain tumour research before then, prints of “By The Numbers” are available through McGuire now.

• In the not-so-soon department, the crew from North Brewing took the first steps of a multi-month (multi-year?) journey last weekend. After preparing a low-ABV-potential, high-wheat wort using the turbid mash method (put on your beer goggles, take a deep dive and prepare to lose a few hours while researching!) at their Agricola Street location, they trucked the wort to the vineyard at Benjamin Bridge Winery. At that point, the still-hot wort was pumped into a shallow metal container named a coolship. The vessel’s large surface area and shallow depth allow for a quick cooling (normally requiring lots of water and a heat exchanger). At this point, yeast would normally be added by the brewers, but in taking advantage of the wild yeast and flora growing on the grapes and leaves in the vineyard, the wort was allowed to spontaneously ferment (or innoculate). An overnight process to ensure enough yeast found their way through the cheesecloth (to keep any insects or other nasties out!), the beer was then pumped into Benjamin Bridge barrels, and brought back to HRM. The beer will now ferment and condition over the course of many months, and could potentially lead to a multi-year blend of future brews (think Gueuze, from Brussels). We’ll be keeping you up-to-date with this beer as it develops

In addition to your own Halloween-themed parties this weekend, here a few others to keep in mind in the coming weeks!

Horton Ridge will be hosting a special event for Halloween this year, featuring one of the Gold Medal-winning beers from this year’s ACBAs. Hortonville’s Pumpkin Ale, which we told you about a few weeks ago, was brewed by Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery brewer Stefan Gagliardi using hefty amounts of Horton Ridge organic Vienna and Munich malts as well as home-smoked pumpkin and plenty of spices. The beer will be available for pints and as part of flights on Tuesday Oct 31 from 1 – 9 PM while supplies last. Of course there will be other Horton Ridge-brewed and guest beers on tap for this event.

Lion & Bright will be hosting Charlottetown’s Upstreet for an 8-tap takeover next Thursday, November 2nd. Featuring some of their core beers, plus plenty of special and one-offs, there will be food and drink deals from 5PM. Come and meet the Upstreet crew, jam on some tunes, and have a fun night out!

• Not quite getting your fill of New Brunswick beer? The James Joyce in Fredericton has been a strong supporter of breweries in the province over the past couple of years, but on Friday, November 10th, they’re pushing the envelope – and adding taps! – to try and have beer available from every brewery in New Brunswick. The event is currently unnamed, but they’re doing all they can to ensure every brewery is able to participate, including adding lines, jockey boxes, and kegerators! The last time they attempted this it was a bit easier, with only 18 breweries open in the province; now, it’s over 30. There’s no charge to attend, just show up when they open at 11:30 am, and pay by the pint or flight!

Just a couple more things before we send you off:

Grimross has released Scratch #7: Skinny Pale Ale at their brewery in Fredericton; they’re describing it as a 5.8% ABV mix of a “Belgian meeting a California Pale Ale”. Scratch is available now, and/or drop by on Saturday for a taste, when they’ll also have their Schwarzbier on cask, featuring additions of orange peel and Citra hops.
– We teased a few weeks ago that Rothesay’s Long Bay would be bottling soon, and that day has come! One of their flagship beers, Bantam APA, is the first to be available in bottles, which you can find for sale at the brewery, as well as KV and Saint John ANBL stores (check inventory). Look for their first Belgian beer, Chalice, to follow suit over the next couple of days.
– While Uncle Leo’s mixed 4-pack of German Ales is still available at select NSLC stores in the region, it looks like the next local variety pack will be a 6-pack featuring two bottles each of three different ciders from Bulwark, going on sale as of November 20th.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One last thing(s):

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

With the summer heat holding on across our region earlier this week, it is now beginning to feel a little more like fall. There’s a new brewery for us to announce, plus the usual tidal wave of new beers and events for you to check out. Grab a pint and settle in!

• There’s a new brewery coming this fall to the town of Hanwell, just outside of Fredericton. Niche Brewing will be operating a 2 BBL (230 litre) brewhouse, and concentrating on keg sales to licensees in the area. The two folks behind the brewery will be familiar to readers, as they are Rob Coombs and Shawn Meek, two long-time Fredericton-area homebrewers who are looking to share their award-winning homebrews with a larger audience. Their location has been secured, but most of the gear is still on its way, so look for their beers to be available at local bars and restaurants in a few months. We’ll have the full details on beer styles and where to find them, with a Q&A closer to launch. In the meantime, follow along with them at their Facebook page above (a website will be popping up in the future), as well as on Twitter and Instagram. Congratulations, Rob and Shawn! And for those wondering, acbbshawn will keep up his blogging duties (both here and on his own Meek Brewing Co. blog) for now, until he realizes he’s way overworked and smartens up, because we frankly can’t afford to lose him with all of the news in our region. 😐

• On Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Sober Island has a few new things on the go. The first is the Harvest Rye we told you about a couple weeks ago, a 7.4% ABV and 40 IBU amber-colored brew featuring spicy rye and an assertive hop presence. It will make its first appearance at Cavicchi’s Meats for the Fall edition of their Bangers & Beer event from 4 – 8 PM this evening that features live music, sausages, beer and a campfire. After that it will be found at the brewery in growlers and at the usual Sober Island Farmers Market locations. Next up is a small batch beer only available at neighbouring Henley House: Belgian Single was brewed with a couple of malts (Maris Otter and Vienna) from a new provider in the region. These malts, paired with classic Czech Saaz hops and the Belle Saison yeast, produced a 4.7% ABV beer with 25 IBU. Look for a noble character from the hops, a fair amount of maltiness from the malt selections and a definite yeast presence. Only 40 L was produced and it’s all at Henley House, so go there if you want to try this beer. Lastly we have another beer designed to test out that same Maris Otter malt, British Golden. Similar in specs to the Belgian Single, the hops in this one are the classic English East Kent Goldings and the yeast used was the very British S-04. Look for a spicy and citrus hop character with floral undertones as well as some fruity yeast esters. There will also no doubt be a detectable malt presence, although this is a lighter beer at 4.5% ABV with a solid bitterness of 30 IBU. We’re not sure how much of this one there is, but we do know it’s on tap at the Henley House right now!

• If you’re able to pop down to the 2 Crows tasting room today (and why wouldn’t you? Who are you to waste that opportunity, huh?), it’d be a good idea to follow through on that, as they’re releasing another brand new small batch beer as we speak. Rookie Move is the brainchild of brewery coordinator Mitch Gilbert, but don’t let the beer name fool you… this is no simple beer recipe, here. Brewed with Pilsner malt, with some malted and rye Wheat thrown in, it was hopped to 20 IBUs with Calypso, and then fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house Saison culture, along with an “experimental Brett strain”. After fermentation was complete, the beer was further conditioned on a “healthy dose” of yellow plums for one month, before being keg-conditioned with a Champagne yeast strain. Described by the brewery as “bright, funky and effervescent, with notes of barnyard, bright plum, and earthy tea”, it weighs in at just 5.1% ABV, making it the perfect pour for you to enjoy on a mid-work-on-a-Friday kind of day. Heck, maybe even have two! (Disclaimer: we would never condone drinking during a work day; who do you think we are, anyway?)

• Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing has a new brew out for the dog days of summer with their recently released Crush, a German-style Hefeweizen brewed with over 150 lbs of blood oranges. Built off of their base Weizen recipe, Württemberg Weissbier, blood oranges aren’t the only star, as an additional several pounds of orange zest were also thrown in. Hopped lightly with Summit to 15 IBUs, this 5% ABV brew is hazy-orange in colour, with lots of fresh orange flavour thanks to the combination of the blood oranges and zest. With a touch of clove from the fermentation with a Bavarian yeast strain, it’s sure to refresh your palate as summer continues to linger. On tap now at your local LC licensee.

• Coming off their presence at last weekend’s HalCon, Garrison made a couple of announcements this week. The first is that their pumpkin beer, the venerable Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale, is back as of today, exclusively at the rewery and private liquor stores in Halifax. Packaged in 650 mL bombers, this is one of the bigger pumpkin offerings in the region, coming it a 8.0% ABV. Complex and nutty on the malt side, the body is augmented with Cinderella pumpkins from the Dill family farm in Windsor. Pumpkin pie spices and hopping with Millennium to 30 IBU complete the picture, and it arrives just in time to pair with the crisp fall air. Homebrewers following Garrison’s Facebook page surely took note earlier this week when the style for their upcoming 2018 Home Brew-off was revealed to be Kölsch. Though the dates of the competition have not yet been decided, classically the entry date is in late February/early March. Why reveal so early? With the Kölsch style, developed in Cologne, Germany, timing is everything. Generally top-fermented at warm temperatures with an ale yeast, it is then lagered at cooler temperatures to achieve a characteristic crisp finish that balances its soft, rounded palate. Best served fresh, this style challenges the brewer to bring a fairly light, but characterful ale that displays some characteristics associated with lagers. Plus, this extra time will give keeners the chance for a test batch or two to nail down a recipe and technique. Check out the Kölsch Style Guidelines for inspiration. And finally, if you’re looking for something to do (read: warmup beers!) tomorrow afternoon in the lead-up to the Cask Beer Throwdown, head on down to Garrison’s SeaPort location and bring your Wiener Dog (if you’ve got one). In support of the Atlantic Canadian Dachshund Rescue, you’ll find the Wunderbar Wiener Dog Rally going on, with fun, games, and a BBQ. Oh! And don’t forget the home-and-home tap takeovers Garrison and Breton are doing this week. Tonight at the Stubborn Goat in Halifax expect to find a bevy of Breton brews and coming up next Thursday, look for Garrison to bring their wares to Governor’s Pub in Sydney. Both events start at 6 PM and go ’til late!

• Speaking of Pumpkin beer, Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing has released their Pumpkin Ale, brewed with plenty of home-grown ingredients. Featuring pumpkins from Fullerton Farms in Kingston, and hops from Darlings Island Farm in Darlings Island, this 6.3%, 28 IBU autumn seasonal is truly a taste of the Kennebecasis Valley!

Western Newfoundland Brewing has announced that their beers are now available in packaged format to grab and enjoy at home (or one of the amazing trails in nearby Gros Morne). While their brewery retail shop is not quite open full time, visitors can drop in Thursday and Friday from 12-7PM to grab crowlers of their beer. Currently available are the Killdevil Backcountry Pale Ale, and Stout. Drop by the back entrance at Unit 8 at 23 Stentaford Ave to check out the brewery and buy a few cans for later.

• Do you find yourself constantly hanging out at Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing, ordering pints, filling growlers, and just enjoying the atmosphere? Well, you might as well join the new KV Beer Club! For just $30 you get a t-shirt, free growler fill, a members-only mug, and $1 off all pints until 2018. Sound good? Well, there’s only 50 spots available, so you best get down to the brewery to sign up, ASAP!

Breton Brewing has brought back two of their fall seasonals, just in time for, well, fall! The first beer is a style that is always expected aplenty this time of year, their Pumpkin beer, Jack’d Up Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs). Brewed with over 100 lbs of roasted, locally-grown pumpkins, it was also spiced with their secret blend to pump up the pumpkin presence (I did that on purpose). Joining this beer at the taproom is their other fall favourite, Celtic Colours Maple Lager (5.5% ABV, 15 IBUs), brewed with local maple syrup. Both of these beers are available now at Breton for pints and growler fills, for a limited time only.

• Down at the gateway to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in Windsor, Schoolhouse continues to pump out the beer from their expanded 10 BBL system. The latest version of their Vice Principal ale is currently fermenting, this time a harvest version featuring a wet hop of 6 kg of Zeus grown on Bremner Farm, very close to the original Schoolhouse location in Falmouth. Also in the works is a new entry in the local hop series, keeping the name The Big Red Schoolhouse. It’s an imperial red ale that will have lots of locally grown Centennial, Cascade, Magnum, Brewers Gold and Zeus. We’ll have more information on that one when it hits the taproom in the late October/early November timeframe. This week’s Cask Friday beer with be the Scotian Export with a dry hop of East Kent Goldings available from 4 PM today for tasters, pints and growler fills.

• Halifax’s Good Robot has a few things on the go this week (seems to be a theme this week, actually). First, DeWolfe of Wall Street, their “alternative” APA is back in their taproom. They’ve also let us know what they’ll be pouring at tomorrow’s Cask Throwdown: they took the base beer for their Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie, a mix of Pilsner, Red X, rye and flaked barley, and to it added various combinations of wild-foraged and other off-the-beaten-path ingredients, including roasted dandelion root, elderberry, ginger and freshly-picked rose petals. They’ll have 5 different variations pouring in all. Next, we’ve been advised that the wackiness we told you about last week known as Golden Goomba did eventually make the taps and is still available. It ended up with a pile of fresh ginger to go with the Yuzu juice, sour culture and two different yeasts we described last week. And this week’s offering for Beta Brewsday is called Reclaiming My Time. Brewed, as always, by Kelly C., this time with help from Evelyn White, it’s an attempt to recreate one of Evelyn’s favourite beers, Mackeson Milk Stout, a beer first brewed in Hythe, Kent, in 1907. It’s heavy on the chocolate and honey malts, with some dark crystal, all on top of a base of 2-row barley. The hopping is Willamette for early additions and Vic Secret in very limited amounts later in the boil. Cold-steeped malt was added in the fermenter to punctuate things. Coming in at 4.5% ABV, this should be a very sessionable beer, likely to be dark, sweet and roasty, with a bitterness in the 25 IBU range. It will be tapped in Beta Brewsday tradition, this coming Tuesday.

• Continuing to bring some truly interesting cider experiences to Halifax, we have more information on a blend we mentioned briefly last week. Chain Yard has another interesting offering available this week. Orange is the New Wild started with a wild fermentation of juice mixed apple blend. Noticing “pleasant floral notes…with a citrus element” developing during fermentation, the cider makers encouraged further development of these aromatics through a nutrient strategy. Close to the end of the fermentation, orange blossom water was added to highlight the aroma before a temperature drop was applied to slow the final stages. In the end, a crisp and refreshing, easy drinking, high-ABV (7.7%) cider was produced.

• Making its debut at last night’s Tap Takeover is a brand new beer collaboration between Tatamagouche Brewing and Battery Park Beer BarPfiel-Mund is a 5.3%, 23 IBU Dunkelweizen, brewed with Wheat, Munich, Horton Ridge 2 Row, and a touch of Chocolate Malt for colour. Traditional German Hallertau and Tettnang hops were used for a light bitterness, and Escarpment Lab “Weizen 2” yeast completes the authentic package. The resultant amber beer shares a distinct banana and clove aroma with its pale Hefeweizen cousin, with a bit more malt flavour and character from the darker malts. This weekend, the beer will see wider distribution, hitting tap accounts in HRM and at their own brewery on Main Street Tatamagouche.

• Coming in just under the wire (again!), Tidehouse would like us to let you know that they’ll be launching a new “Belgian-inspired Ale” at the Tiny Tasty Beverage Room over the coming weekend. Franco is best-described as a Belgian Amber, and was brewed with 2-row, Munich, Wheat malt, and a touch of Chocolate malt to darken the colour Post-boil-hopped with Ahtanum, Azacca, and Citra to add some tropical and citrus notes, the 6.3% ABV brew was fermented with both a Saison and a Witbier strain, giving plenty of clove character. “Autumnal as all get-out”, according to the brewery, drop by this weekend to give it a try (and maybe firmly suggest they don’t email us at 10:34 am on Friday morning?).

• To celebrate the birthday of Alexander Keith, the Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery will be releasing a new beer, Peated Blueberry Ale. With a grist that includes a small portion of Peated malt, locally-harvested blueberries from Glenmore Farms were also added at various stages of the brew, including in the mash, kettle, and aging tanks after fermentation was complete. The result is a blend of “smoky, earthy woodsy character with the moderate-intense wild fruity blueberry notes”, with a tart finish. At 5.3% ABV and 10 IBUs, this dark purple beer will be released at the brewery’s party on October 5th.

• It was only a matter of time before this happened in our region, but it still feels like a bit of a surprise. This week saw the demise of Downeast Beer Factory in Burnside. Although their website is still operating, Halifax Retales noted yesterday on Twitter that the doors have been locked for several days and there are no signs of life inside. We were able to confirm independently later in the day that the brewery is finished. Though some other breweries in Atlantic Canada have had some hiccups and at least one is on hiatus, this is the first brewery to close permanently since Rogue’s Roost in October of 2015, and, before that, the Hart & Thistle in February of 2014. But both of those establishments had long term runs of 5 years or more, whereas Downeast had only been operating since May of last year. While it is likely that misfortune in the form of equipment failure during the initial startup had a hand to play in the closure, and while there are certainly some fairly well-publicized concerns surrounding the brewery’s ownership and operations, the fact remains that there doesn’t seem to have been much of a business model there. Attempting to put a brewery in an industrial park and make it a destination for food and drink is not a strong play in 2017. Coming to market in a city with more than a dozen established breweries (and more in the works) with a limited and somewhat uninspired product line (blonde, Irish ale and IPA) does not sound to us like a good idea even if the beers are top quality. It is unfortunate that a local business has failed and that, as a result, people are out of work. At the same time it is a reminder that our craft beer industry is maturing. In a previous era Downeast may have been able to limp along for more than a year, possibly even overcoming some of the obstacles it had set for itself. But in today’s market, with the level of competition (however friendly) rising, there is less runway and less margin for error. We wish the staff of Downeast all the best and hope to see their brewer running a mash tun and boil kettle somewhere else soon. But we certainly also feel that there are some important lessons to be learned here for prospective brewery owners. To be clear, this isn’t any kind of tipping point for craft breweries in the province and we’re not expecting any others to fall any time soon, but it’s definitely a signpost on the road to a truly mature industry: the margin for error on starting a brewery in Atlantic Canada has definitely narrowed.

Another busy weekend ahead with both the Cask Beer Throwdown and Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Oktoberfest on Saturday, plus a bunch more new events coming soon!

• The crew from Boxing Rock are visiting HopYard in Charlottetown this week, with a full Vinyl and Tap Takeover. Pouring 10 different BR beers yesterday and today, the visit to the island may also signify the possibility of a return in the Rumble in the Alley series of collaborations between Boxing Rock and Upstreet. Drop by Kent Street today to grab a pint and meet the BR folks!

• Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is taking over the taps at Lion & Bright tomorrow during MOJO – Indie Dance Night with DJ Loukas Stilldrnk. From 9:30 till late, the 8 taps at L&B will be pouring a wide variety of Roof Hounds beers, including their new Oat of My Mind Double IPA, and at least two sours. Always the overachiever, there will actually be 9 beers flowing, so don’t be afraid to grab a full pint or two of your favourites, as there are reinforcements waiting in the wings!

• A reminder that the second running of the Falmouth TrALE Run (5 and 10 km) is going down tomorrow at Castle Fredericks Farm. You’ll find beers from Schoolhouse and Roof Hound alongside Sid Cider and Davison’s (non-alcoholic) as well. And look out for the Schoolhouse team in the 19th Annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor on October 15th! They’ll have an outdoor beer garden from 1 – 8 PM in a great spot to watch the race with lots of great beer including their own Pumpkin Paddler Ale. There will also be food trucks, a corn boil and live music from 3 – 7 PM. Meanwhile a team from the brewery will be participating in the race.

• The Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection has announced their next event, set for Wednesday, October 11th. This social will be held at Wilser’s Room in the Capital Complex downtown, from 6:30-8 pm, and will feature a flight of beers to sample, for just $9.50. As always, you’re welcome to hang out afterwards and continue chatting – and drinking! – with your fellow beer lovers. If you’d like to secure a spot, you can RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com.

And just a couple more things before we let you get back to work…

– The Pumpkin Ales won’t be ending with the ones we’ve mentioned this week; Hammond River has just brewed up their Pumpkin ale, La Maitresse, which should be appearing on tap at the brewery, and at licensees, within the next few weeks.
– The North / Boxing Rock collaboration, Many Hands 5.0, a wet-hopped Gruit/beer hybrid that we mentioned last week, is now available; you can find it in 650 mL bottles and growlers at both North bottle shops and at Boxing Rock.

Buckle up, folks, after giving us a bit of a break for back to school, the region’s breweries seem to have collectively put feet to gas pedals and left us swimming, or perhaps more accurately, drowning, in beer news. We’ve got a tonne of info today about beers that came out this week, beers that are coming out over the next week or so, events that you might want to attend and more! It’s a little silly how long this post is, actually, so maybe grab yourself two beers before you sit down to read it, and for the love of Pete save a tree and don’t print it out!

• Late last week, Big Spruce released Complexified, another brew in their series of bottled, barrel-aged beers. A Baltic Porter, it was aged for 6 months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Featuring plenty of Black malt and Roast Barley, expect lots of roast character, a big body, and some heat when it’s going down… at 10.9% ABV, it’s not to be taken lightly! Available right now, at the brewery only. And speaking of Big Spruce bottles, Anaphylactic Choc was released this week. Aged in a Glenora whisky barrel for 6 months, this “Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter” was originally a collaboration brewed with the folks at Bishop’s Cellar. Due to its small batch size, only 250 bottles of this beer have been released – 100 at Big Spruce, and 150 at Bishop’s, so don’t wait to pick one up!

• Finally, in Big Spruce draught news, there’s a new beer out and about that is another take on their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown. Jackpot Apricot was conditioned on, yes, apricot puree; at 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, you can find it on tap at the Sprucetique in Nyanza for growlers and pours, and likely at many of your favourite BS tap accounts. We know that there was talk of another fruited version of the MIPA coming, but it looks like the next fruit is guava and it might go into a slightly different style of beer… stay tuned!

• Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery has been quite busy lately, and have released their ode to the West Hants Pumpkin RegattaPumpkin Paddler. Every autumn, locals and visitors alike paddle their way across Lake Pisiquid in hollowed out giant pumpkins. Schoolhouse’s Classroom (taproom) is a perfect spot to view the action, with this year’s event taking place October 15th. And with Pumpkin Paddler weighing in at 5.7% ABV, featuring the spices that are reminiscent of pumpkin pie, it is a lovely fall sipper. Bottles of PP are available now, with the draught version coming to the taps later this month.

• Cementing the fact that the seasons are changing, Schoolhouse has brought back a small batch of their summer seasonal for a last hoorah, Summer Break Witbier. As fleeting as the warm weather, you can enjoy a cask of it today at 4pm in their Classroom. BlueBEERy Witbier was fermented with fresh local wild blueberries, as is available for samples, pints, and even growler fills. And with their expanded brewing capacity, they are sending students (kegs) further afield, and the Principal Pale AleStaffroom Stout, and seasonals are now in rotation at Charlottetown’s HopYard.

• Schoolhouse will also be at this weekend (and next) Hants County Exhibition Brew Tent, featuring beer, cider, and spirits from across the province. From noon Saturday and Sunday, Sept 16, 17, 23, and 24, taste your way from Hants West to Cape Breton, Halifax to Mahone Bay, there will be more than a dozen producers on-hand pouring their wares. Find the full list here.

• There’s a new can release coming from our friends at 2 Crows in the near future: Chaos Ghost is a Belgian Tripel, and another entry in their Calvodos Foedre-aged beers. Brewed with a grist of Belgian Pilsner malt, it also features the addition of Belgian candi sugar, to lighten the body, boost the ABV, and dry the beer out even more (remember, those Belgian Tripels are meant to be very dry!). Hopped with Sterling, Goldings, and Hallertau Blanc (to 31 IBUs), it was fermented with an Abbey Ale yeast, and then conditioned for several months in a Calvados Foedre. Weighing in at approximately 9.3% ABV, expect some slight spicy/peppery notes accompanied by bright, fruity esters… and more than likely a bit of oak/vanilla character from that Foedre. Look for cans to be released next Saturday, September 23rd.

• And in other 2 Crows news, there was a new draught-only release earlier this week that is – unfortunately – on its last legs by now. House Funk was a Brett Saison brewed with Pilsner and Oat malt, hopped with Chinook and Sterling, and fermented with an “experimental Brettanomyces strain”. Further keg-conditioned with a champagne yeast, the brewery describes it as “spicy, lemony, and bright”. But don’t worry! While only 15 L of this 5% ABV, 28 IBUs gem was released this week, the plans are for a new keg to pop up every 4-6 weeks, so you may get a chance to try it after all (if you plan accordingly… and why wouldn’t you?).

• Speaking of draught-only beers released earlier this week that are probably won’t last the rest of the weekend (or day!), Spindrift has/had the simply-named American Pale Lager on tap at the brewery only, back on Tuesday. Just a pilot batch (for now), it features (featured?) large dry hop additions of Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe. At 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, we think describing it as easy-drinking and clean, with lots of piney, tropical fruit is a safe bet. If it’s gone by now, well… maybe that’s good, because that would mean it was popular enough for them to brew it again, right?

• There’s some new beers AND re-releases coming out of Maybee Brewing over the next week, so let’s get right to it! We’ll start off with Batch 100, a SMaSH American Pale Ale brewed to celebrate Maybee’s 100th batch of beer; featuring Horton Ridge Pale Malt and Southan Farms Centennial, the brewery describes it as “a light, smooth, Pale Ale perfect for pretending it’s still summer”. This 5.3% ABV, 42 IBU beer is available now, in both cans and on tap around Fredericton. Next up is a “Honey Brett Saison” brewed for next Saturday’s Bee-R Garden in Fredericton (we talked about this event last week). Honey, I Funked the Saison was brewed with honey from Sunset Heights Meadery, and fermented with both a Saison yeast, and Brett D from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 6.8% ABV, this one will be a draught-only release, but will be available outside of the Bee-R Garden at local accounts. Finally, for re-releases, Maybee’s first DIPA, Look Off, is available again on tap and in cans, and look for their Sumac Witbier, featuring locally-foraged sumac berries, to make a return within a couple weeks.

Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay, NB has added a third beer to their repertoire this week. Joining their Bantham APA and Chalice Belgian Ale is a German Berliner Weisse. Brewed in the traditional style, the beer is quite pale and light-bodied, with a slight grain character. Also true-to-style is a light acidity and clean finish, thanks to the souring of the wort before fermentation. And to complete the authentic experience, be sure to request the beer mit schuss, that is “with syrup”, as one can enjoy in Berlin. Owner Sean Doyle searched high and low and was able to source both woodruff (walmeister) and raspberry (himbier) syrups to dose the beers. The Berliner is only available in growler fills at their Marr Road brewery, so drop by today to grab this limited release.

• The gang up at Meander River has a new cider available this week. Lavandula is dubbed for the latin name for lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, and as you might expect, this cider is perfumed with lavender grown at the Meander River farm. But that’s not the end of the local content: the apples used were a 5 apple blend from Falmouth’s Davison Farm (famous for their Corn Maze) and the honey is also a Meander River Farm product thanks to help from Cosman & Whidden Honey in Greenwich! The result is a light-bodied dry cider with a smooth palate, and a crisp apple finish. Coming in at 5.5% ABV it’s fairly light, and we’re told it has a “floral and almost biscuity nose.” It’s been put into 500 mL bottles and is only available in that packaging format. You’ll find it while supplies last at the MRFB table at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market Saturdays from 8 AM – 1 PM or at the brewery. And this Sunday would be a great day to plan a trip out to Meander River Farm & Brewery as they’re one of the farms in Nova Scotia participating in Open Farm Day 2017! They’ll have a river walk, brewery talk and tour, garden walk and talk, hops, lavender, herbs, cut flowers and animals. They’ll also be doing a demonstration of distilling essential oils and botanicals. And, of course, you’ll be able to purchase beer and this cider in their retail store! So come on out and meet your farmer.

• Earlier on Wednesday, TrailWay released a very limited amount of cans of one of their most popular beers, but with a slight tweak: DDH Luster features a second dry-hop addition, made up entirely of the wonderful El Dorado. For the first time that we’re aware of for TW, this entire small batch of beer was canned (absolutely no kegs), with only 40 cases available… as of two days ago. So if you haven’t grabbed any yet, best head over to the brewery ASAP, before it’s all gone!

• Up in Smith’s Cove, NS, Lazy Bear has a newish brew on the go, at least for a little while. An Altbier they brewed earlier in the summer and sold most of at the Wharf Rat Rally earlier this month, they’ve got just a little bit left. Made exclusively with Horton Ridge Munich Malt, it’s a quite sessionable 4.5% ABV and a comfortable 32 IBU. Look for what remains at this week’s Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders market. If you miss it, fear not, as they’ve got plans for some more seasonal brews over the next couple months. And if you’re in the city with no plans to go to the Valley but wishing you could sample some of Lazy Bear’s wares, word has it they’ve got kegs of their Sour Punch on at 2 Crows and Battery Park and they’re hoping to send some other beers to the HRM over fall and winter.

• Hey Hey Mama, Hammond River Brewing has a brand new beer available, with a name inspired by the lead-off tune from Led Zeppelin’s classic fourth album. Black Dog is an India Black Ale brewed with lots of dark malts including Chocolate, Roasted Barley and Carafa III to give it a bold toasty and chocolatey body. Meanwhile, it was hopped exclusively with Citra hops for a tropical and especially citrusy flavour and aroma. It’s a stout 6.9% ABV and a bracing 79 IBU. You’ll find it at the brewery for fills and pints and look for it to appear at HRB’s tap accounts throughout New Brunswick. And keep an eye on their social media today for details on the brewday they are conducting with Third Annual Home Brew Contest winners Jean-Marc Landry and Julien Belliveau, as they put together the soon-to-be-released Black River Sweet Milk Stout. You can follow Belliveau and Landry’s activities on their homebrew page on Facebook, Quiet Revolution Brewing.

• Tickets are still available for next weekend’s Craft Beer Attraction in St. John’s, being held Friday and Saturday, September 22 and 23. In case you still needed convincing, the hard working crew at Port Rexton Brewing are going to seal the deal for you. Their Mixed Opportunity is a 6.5% ABV mixed fermentation (featuring both Sacchromyces and Brettanomyces strains of yeast) Saison, with light spiciness and effervescent mouthfeel. For the CBA, they are releasing a special version of the beer that was fermented and aged for three months in red wine barrels, for an extra level of complexity. Marrying the unique characteristics of the barrel with the dose of Sorachi Ace hops added at flame out, this is sure to stand out next weekend. Now that we’ve got you sufficiently thirsty, grab tickets for the main events, or the Brewmaster’s Luncheon with the crew from Trou du Diable at Merchant Tavern Friday at noon (featuring 9 beers poured by Isaac Tremblay and Stephane Thibodeau of TdD, paired with local food), RSVP by phone 709-722-5050.

• There’s a new hoppy beer coming out of Heritage Brewing in Yarmouth, NS – Hop With No Name is a Session IPA brewed with Experimental Hop #07270. A new variety described as having “spicy, resinous, and tangerine notes”, it’s fairly new to the brewing world (as expected, since it doesn’t actually have an official name yet), and Heritage was happy to grab some and experiment! With the majority added at flameout and in a dry-hop addition, the grist of the beer was kept simple, in order to let the hop characters stand out. Why not drop by the brewery during their hours today (4-8 pm) or tomorrow (11 am – 5 pm) to pick up a growler? Only 60 L were brewed, so it won’t hang around too long.

• As those who attended the opening of FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival last night no doubt noticed, Propeller has provided the official beer of that event. Wheat Kings Witbier, no doubt named as a nod to the Tragically Hip documentary film Long Time Running that opened the festival at the Rebecca Cohn. Part of Propeller’s Gottingen Small Batch series, the beer clocks in at 4.8% ABV and a mild 18 IBU, pouring a hazy light gold colour and possessing the crisp wheat character, balanced by orange citrus and coriander spice as is de rigueur for the style. It has a medium body with a dry finish and a moussy white head. Look for it at other FIN events and the Propeller tap room on Gottingen!

• As expected, more news of wet-hopped beers is hitting social media, with local breweries continuing to put the call out for hop-pickers, and some already at the brewing stage of these beers. Antigonish’s newest brewery, Half Cocked, teased earlier this week that they were brewing their wet-hopped beer and would be releasing it within a few weeks. We’ll have more details then, but their Instagram account clearly showed bags of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Galena. Next up is Saltbox Brewery whose Blue Nose 1850 is expected to be released on Saturday at opening (10 AM), while they celebrate their first anniversary. It features local Challenger, Mount Hood, Nugget and Cascade hop varieties blended into a 5% ABV “any time” sort of beer. And joining the fun next week will be Lunn’s Mill, who are currently fermenting their wet hopped offering, a Harvest SMaSH featuring Chinook hops from Four Horses Farm just down the road. They expect to have it available next week.

• And in other Lunn’s Mill news, they’ve joined the ranks of the breweries doing sours with their new kettle soured Berliner Weisse. Hitting the tap room this week, it’s a barely perceptible 4 IBU and a solid 5.2% ABV. It’s a sour, light and refreshing wheat beer with a high carbonation level to give it some bite. If you stop by you’ll be able to sample it straight up, with the traditional Sweet Woodruff syrup, or with less traditional, but surely delicious blackberry or rhubarb syrups! The folks from Long Bay might kick themselves a little when they find out that Lunn’s Mill didn’t have to bring in Woodruff syrup all the way from Germany; instead they found that Bunchberry Nurseries in Upper Clements, NS, was able to help them out! As with all Lunn’s Mill seasonals, this one is available just until it’s gone, so head down to the tap room and give it a go.

• The crew at Good Robot has brought back El Espinazo del Diablo, their corn-based beer, fermented with Mexican Lager yeast, and featuring a healthy dose of lime zest and Jalapeno peppers. Pairing this 5.5%, 14 IBU beer is a breeze, with its light body and slight heat. Look for next Tuesday’s BetaBrewsday drop to be AirWolf Chocolate Milkshake IPA, brewed by Kelly C and Mike M of Everwood Ave Brew Shop. Lots of chocolate and other dark malts, along with the characteristic flaked oats and lactose (milk sugar). As with all Beta releases, this is only available at the brewery, and usually sells out that evening, so don’t delay!

• From deep inside their lair on Salter Street in the shadow of the Maritime Centre, Tidehouse Brewing Company continues to pump out new beers and they’ve got two brand new ones to share with us this week. First up is Strange Meadow Lark, a deep orange 5.5% ABV beer in the Saison style. With a grist made up of mostly Pilsner with a solid dose of Munich, it was initially bittered with Magnum before being finished with a classic British hop, East Kent Goldings, a novel hop choice for a classic Belgian style. Sessionable in nature, the malty Munich paired with the earthy, floral and spicy notes from the hops should make this a lovely beer to welcome the change of season. This one will be pouring tonight at the Garrison Hops ’n Brats event and also at the Tiny Tasting Room for 4 oz pours and growler fills. And coming this weekend or possibly into next week is It’s a Secret, a pale ale featuring the Australian variety Vic Secret, lauded for its fruity and tropical character when used in the whirlpool or for dry hop, which is what Tidehouse has done with this one. Matched with a simple grist of largely 2-row barley and a bit of melanoidin for a balancing malt character, it was fermented on a clean American yeast strain to help accentuate the hops. Expect berry, melon and tropical fruit notes to be prominent when you drop by the tasting room for a 4 oz sample before grabbing a growler fill and going on your merry way.

• Down the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Sober Island has a new beer available for the Fall season. Harvest Rye is a bigger beer, tipping the scales at 7% ABV and bringing a solid 44 IBU. A deep amber in color, it leverages an English yeast that will no doubt accentuate the malt and possibly provide some contrasting fruity esters to the spiciness of the rye malt. It also features some wheat, which should contribute to a softer mouthfeel and it’s hopped with the noble pair Saaz and Tettnang for earthy and herbal tones and some additional spiciness. Harvest Rye will be available at the brewery in crowlers and also at Sober Island’s usual market presences, and should be a great one to sip as the cooler evenings creep up.

• Attention home brewers, we have two competitions to tell you about this week, each with their own unique diversion from the traditional. Big Spruce Brewing is once again holding their Home Brew Challenge (their 5th year!), but instead of taking entries in only one or two categories, the idea is for all entrants to brew any style they wish, but to use the same yeast. This unique strain is actually a Big Spruce exclusive, isolated from a wild pincherry tree on their brewery farm in Nyanza. After extensive work by them and the fine folks at Escarpment Labs in Guelph (you can learn more about the involved process in last week’s 902 BrewCast), they now have enough of this pure yeast to share with homebrewers. The yeast gives off light spiciness and floral characteristics, so keep that in mind when selecting the base style and recipe. The yeast will be available for pickup at the brewery, and Noble Grapes in HRM, at the beginning of October, but you can learn more (including how to register) by checking out the FB Event page, or by emailing owner Jeremy White. In the meantime, get thinking about which recipe you’d like to brew!

• Also coming across our desk this week is a brand new homebrew competition from Sober Island Brewing. Embracing their love of using native and hyper-local ingredients in their beers (think oysters and chanterelle mushrooms), they are hosting a Foraged Beer Competition. Using a locally-foraged ingredient (either collected yourself or from one of the local foraging groups), and at least a quarter locally-processed malt from Horton Ridge Malt Company, design a beer highlighting the best of local ingredients. Be sure to grab a selfie of you harvesting or using the ingredients, and send that along with your entry. More details on the timeline of the competition can be found on the Event Page, and registration forms can be retrieved by emailing SIBC owner Rebecca Atkinson. The winning beer will be served at the Henley House on November 26th, along with Sober Island’s first in their Foraged Series beer release.

There’s plenty on the go this weekend and the coming weeks, take a look!

• A reminder that the 2017 Hops ‘n’ Brats event is happening today at Garrison’s Seaport Hall (their newly renovated and expanded taproom). Featuring beers from 2 Crows, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Good Robot, Nine Locks, North, Sober Island, Spindrift, Tatamagouche, Tidehouse, and of course hosts Garrison. Tickets are still available, and your $25 include your first 8 samples and a souvenir glass, with more samples available to purchase once inside. And don’t forget that tomorrow is Garrison’s Oktoberfest, with events kicking off at 11AM, and going until late! Check out more details here.

Beerocracy, the independently-created documentary on the beer scene in New Brunswick, is screening tonight at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. In addition to diving into the growing craft beer industry in NB, the film goes further to compare and contrast the benefits and challenges to the same scene in Nova Scotia and Maine. The screening will take place at the Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, at 6:45 pm. If you’d like to purchase your tickets in advance, you can right here. Both Alex Vietinghoff and Shauna Chase, the creators of the documentary, will be attending, and will be hosting a 15 minute Q&A after the show.

Tomorrow in Mahone Bay, NS, Saltbox Brewing will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary of opening. Open from 10 AM to 9:30 PM, they’ll have Backoos Korean BBQ available for purchase all day and a pig roast with all the fixin’s presented by Mateus Bistro from 4 PM – 8 PM. They’ll also have live music and, of course, plenty of fresh beer. So come on out and help celebrate their first successful year!

• If you’re in the Hortonville, NS area (or within driving distance), there’s going to be another screening of Sociable!, the documentary on the craft beer scene in NS, at the Horton Ridge taproom tomorrow, September 16th, at 7 pm. Chris and Helen, who created the film, will be on hand to chat and answer any questions you may have.

• There’s a big tap takeover in the works for next weekend in Dartmouth at Jamieson’s Irish Pub. Two craft heavyweights square off with 8 taps each for a total of 16 lines of top notch local craft beer from 2 Crows and Tatamagouche Brewing. Starting Thursday, September 21st, with “practice night” in combination with Wing Night, continuing on Friday with their TGIF and official launch, and then an afternoon Ceilidh from 2 – 4PM ($2 cover) and Kitchen Party from 7:30 – 10pm ($3 cover) on Saturday and finishing up on Sunday with Industry Night (all taps $6 for industry personnel). Saturday night will also give you an opportunity to Meet the Brewers from these two fine breweries. There is also talk of a trophy presentation, which implies perhaps a touch of (friendly, we’re sure) competition going on. Keep your eyes on Jamieson’s social media (Facebook, Twitter) as the tap list is yet to be revealed.

• The Fall Edition of Keji’s Dark Sky Weekend is happening next weekend, and Boxing Rock will be on hand with samples of their Dark as Keji Black IPA. With events happening both Friday and Saturday, Sept 22 & 23, take advantage of this special Dark Sky Preserve to see and learn more about our place in the universe. The “Gourmet Fall Night Hike to Peter Point” is Friday starting at 6:30PM. Walk to Peter Point, and enjoy a beer and food tasting along the way! Sign-up is required at the Visitor Centre or by calling 902-682-2772.

• Digby’s Roof Hound is coming to Halifax in a big way, as they’ll be pouring on all five taps at Bishop’s Cellar with their Roof Hound Tap Takeover, happening next Saturday, September 23rd. Drop by from noon-5 pm and sample some of the beers, before deciding on which one(s) you’d like to fill your growlers with. The tap list has been released, and includes Average Joe American Wheat, Big Brown, Rye-It, Wasted Days Chocolate Peanut Butter Wheat, and a brand new beer, Oat of My Mind DIPA. Brewed with oats in the grist to increase the mouthfeel, it was hopped with Azacca and weighs in at 7.1% ABV.

• If you’re looking for an Oktoberfest celebration that actually happens in October, look no further than Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown (the one in the Valley!), NS. They’re planning their big OktoBEERfest party for Saturday, October 7th, from 3 PM to 10 PM at the brewery. Tickets are $45 a pop and include a customer 20 ounce beer glass, a beer of your choice, a meal and live music. The beer menu will include two special beers, both German in style, brewed especially for the event. The first is a Hefeweizen and the second a Vienna Lager; there will also be three of the Lunn’s mill regular rotation available. The meal includes sausages (of course!), chicken schnitzel, potato salad, green salad and apple crisp. Four music, four local acts are on the ticket: Two Can Sam, Heather & Caleb, Midnight Genny and Dayliner. Dress for the occasion in your lederhosen and Tirolerhüte so you can take advantage of the photo booth. And best of all, there’s a shuttle running through the Valley to get you there and home safe! It will run from Bridgetown to Middleton from 3-5 PM to take folks to the event and again from 7 – 10 PM to bring them home! Purchase your tickets directly from the Lunn’s Mill website and keep your eye on the event page for any updates.

A few more things to round out the post today…

Petit-Sault‘s big Pumpkin Ale, Bonhomme Sept-heures (8.5% ABV), is back again for the season; currently only available on tap and in bottles at the brewery’s taproom in Edmundston, NB.
Red Rover has re-released their popular blueberry-infused cider, The Blues (7% ABV), semi-dry and “bursting with wild blueberries and a crisp apple finish”; look for it on tap and in flagons.
– Noon today North Street saw the return of Halifax’s hoppy, roasty savior as Flat Black Jesus reappeared at Unfiltered and Charm School Pub next door for fills and pints. And if you’re in Charlottetown, PEI, look for leftovers from Unfiltered’s tap takeover last night at Hopyard!

We’re entering the last week of August and, assumedly, most of us have our summer vacations behind us. That’s fine, there’s still plenty of gorgeous weather and beautiful beer to enjoy, not necessarily in that order. So grab a pint of your favourite local brew and let’s see what’s going down in the local scene this week.

Split Rock Brewing has opened their doors at 119 Main Street in Twillingate, NL. Their 500 litre (4 BBL) system has been working overtime, and they are ready to welcome thirsty visitors to the Northernmost brewery in Atlantic Canada. The brewery and Stage Head Pub are open daily 2-11pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday, Sunday hours TBA). They are fully licensed for sample flights, pints, and growler fills of their six beer: Combines Ale, 5.3%; Bluff Head Bitter, 4.6%; Gateway IPA, 6.7%; Red Sky Red Rye, 4.9%; Alli’s Big Brown Ale, 5.6%; Black Island Stout, 6.1%. Keep an eye out for our Profile of them coming next week, and check their FB, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news. Congratulations, Team Split Rock!

• Shediac’s Flying Boats Brewery has been in operation for a little over two years now, since officially launching in July of 2015. Owner/brewer Marc Melanson has confirmed that the brewery will be expanding in the future, moving from a 2 bbl (230 L) brewhouse in his garage to a much larger brewery in a commercial space in nearby Dieppe. Renovations are currently underway, with the goal being a brewery with an attached taproom for pints and growler fills; a canning line will also be purchased. Other details are being kept silent for now, but stay tuned to their social media accounts for updates. Congratulations to the Flying Boats team!

• After obviously slacking off and only releasing two new beers last week, the crew at 2 Crows is back at it with a bevy of bevvies coming your way. Released earlier this week is Invisible Touch, a 4.9% Brett Saison, a light-bodied beer fermented using a blend of several strains of Brettanomyces yeast. Dry hopped with Azacca and Simcoe, resulting in a citrusy and stonefruit notes to complement the dry body and funky notes from the wild yeast. This small batch is only available at the brewery’s tasting room, so best drop by today (and you can check out what the heck they’re doing with 200kg of peaches!!).

• Promising to hit the taps at 2 Crows today or tomorrow (once a draught line comes clear), is the final keg of Smackwater Jack, an American Farmhouse Ale, conditioned on quince fruit. Featuring a grist of Pilsner malt with Wheat (both malted and raw) and a touch of Oats, lightly hopped with Calypso and Centennial, the beer was fermented with an American Farmhouse blend of yeasts and has sat for seven months on the fruit to allow the farmhouse/barn funkiness to develop. This final keg was allowed to carbonate naturally using Champagne yeast, allowing a tighter carbonation. Keep an eye on their social media for the tapping announcement. Ed note: it was tapped Friday at 1PM, so get down there now!

• And as soon as there are two taps available (we’re guessing late this weekend/early next week, depending on how thirsty y’all are), there will be a pair of brand new pilot brews available.  Pancho and Lefty are both Pale Ales fermented with Brett, with the same malt bill (Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt and Oats), and kettle-hopped with Belma and Simcoe. The specs are also identical, at 6.2% ABV and 23 IBU, but the similarities end there. Pancho was conditioned on whole mangoes, and dry-hopped with AzaccaLefty skipped the fruit, and was heavily dry-hopped with Enigma. Both beers end up being quite dry and funky with tropical notes, with Pancho taking it to another level with the stonefruit and tangerine flavours, and Lefty picking up berry notes from the Enigma. Again, these will be for on-site enjoyment only, and announced via social media.

• And rounding out the 2 Crows news this week is a preview of their Promiseland Double IPA. Dropping next Friday, Sept 1, this seasonal beer features a Pale malt base (with Oats and Honey Malt), fermented with London Ale III, heavily hopped late in the boil, active fermentation, and then dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe. At 8.3% ABV and 64 IBU, “This beer is a juice bomb!” proclaims Brewmaster Jeremy Taylor. Citrus, stonefruit, tangerine are found throughout, with a soft mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, and smooth bitterness. As with their other seasonals (Fantacity and Midnight Mood), the beer will be available at the brewery in pints, growlers, and cans, and will likely be available at the private beer stores in HRM as well.

• After the success of their first Milkshake IPA, Liquid James Brown, Big Spruce is following up with a new variation of the same beer. For Peach’s Sake! features the addition of, you guessed it, organic peach puree. Generously hopped with Cascade, Centennial and El Dorado, with an addition of lactose powder to slightly boost the mouthfeel and sweetness of the beer, it clocks in at 6.5% ABV and 52 IBUs. Available for pours and growlers at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, you should also be able to find it on tap at Stillwell, Battery Park, and the Saint John Ale House. Look for two more iterations to come in the near future, each featuring a different fruit addition.

• And speaking of Big Spruce, a couple more things to pass on this week: owner Jeremy White sat down with the gents from the 902 BrewCast (happy now, guys?) recently, and the first part of that chat dropped on Tuesday. Learn about the origins of the brewery, from buying the farmstead using a Nicaraguan Phone Call (also a possible future beer name?), their first beers, their homebrew competition, White’s open letter to Nova Scotia (what’s changed and what’s not since its publication 10 months ago), and much more! Listen to the first half now, and prepare yourself for the second half, coming September 5th.

• And as if you need another reason to visit Nyanza, drop by next Saturday, September 2nd, as there will be another screening of the Nova Scotia craft beer documentary Sociable!, at Big Spruce at 7PM. It will be taking place at their new production brewery across the road from their original brewery and beer patio. Filmmakers Helen and Chris will be on hand, and you can enjoy some beer and food while you watch the film. And stay the night nearby, so you can pop back to the brewery on Sunday the 3rd for a Pig Roast, 12-5PM.

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Cider released a new cider blend late last week at their Agricola Street taproom. The Fuzz features their Foundation apple blend at its base, with the final 25% of the volume comprised of cryo-extracted peach wine. For the uninitiated (we count ourselves in that boat!), the cryo-extraction process entails freezing the peach juice to gently remove water, while maintaining the great aromatic and flavour profile and increasing the sugar (aka fermentable) content. And unlike many apple/fruit blends that feature blending of the secondary fruit after fermentation (diluting the cider and adding sweetness), the higher gravity peach juice was fermented first, and then blended and cold conditioned with the finished cider for two weeks. Before packaging, the cider was fizzified first using Nitrogen, and then CO2, with the aim to create a smaller bubble and lighter carbonation level. All of these extra steps result in a smooth 6.5% ABV cider with soft mouthfeel and flavour and aroma of not only peach, but also apricot and pineapple. Grab a glass today!

• Some beer drinkers at the Foghorn taproom in Rothesay have been asking for “the lightest one you’ve got” since the brewery opened, and they’ve now got the perfect beer as an answer! A Kölsch, Leitest Von Veigott (if you don’t get it, say the name with your worst German accent) was brewed with Pilsner malt, and hopped to 18 IBUs with Perle and Magnum. Pale-coloured and easy-drinking as planned, at 5.5% ABV, you can find it at Foghorn for growlers and pints, and at select accounts. Also recently, the brewery introduced Lola, a “Tropical Pale Ale” featuring 90 lbs of mango puree (20% in the boil, 80% in secondary) and dry-hopped with Citra and Vic Secret for even more tropical fruit character. Kegs of this beauty sold out extremely fast, so you may be able to find it on tap if you’re lucky (hint: seen at the James Joyce in Fredericton last night).

• Bottles of Hammond River beer are officially here! Both the Hop Flash IPA and Blood Orange Hefeweizen are now available in 500 mL bottles at the taproom, as well as at the KV ANBL and some stores in Saint John. Don’t worry if you don’t live in the SJ area – a recent delivery was sent out to ANBL stores in Fredericton, Moncton and Sussex, so expect to see these pop up very soon, with this weekend being extremely likely. Look for distribution to expand with time, and other beers will be bottled very soon as well.

Grimross plans on releasing their newest Belgian IPA sometime this morning at the brewery in Fredericton. After the high popularity of their last Belgian IPA, Scratch #2, they took the recipe and tweaked it. Hopped with Amarillo, Cascade, and Columbus, it was fermented with the Belgian strain used in their Cheval D’Or Saison, resulting in spicy phenolics and fruity esters expected in many Belgian styles, and fruity, tropical notes from the use of American hops. Simply named Belgian IPA, grab some by the pour or growler fill at the brewery, or on tap at any fine establishments where Grimross beers are served. And in other Grimross news, they have started their expansion into the unit next door to othe brewery on Bishop Dr., which means more brewing equipment, a larger taproom area, and a patio space.

• Back in June, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing brought us a fruited sour wheat that broke the mold, at least locally, for what kind of weight that style could carry. Originally touted at 6.2% ABV, as of noon today, Sour MFer will be available once again at the brewery and neighbouring tied house Charm School Pub, this time sporting a lab-verified ABV of 6.4%. Still featuring a big bouquet and flavour from aging on tart cherry puree, and still with a super solid body, we expect it to be just as dangerously thirst quenching as the first batch back in early summer. And what better for the dog days of August?

• Lots of action is going on these days up the Eastern Shore of the province at Sober Island Brewery. Firstly, a keg of the 5% ABV smooth and malty Altbier they did up for the Horton Ridge event in May hit the taps at the neighbouring Henley House earlier this week. You’ll have to keep your eyes open on Twitter and Facebook to know when more one-offs like these go on tap. And with limited availability in HRM, for now, anyway, visiting the brewery for a crowler or Henley House for a pint is your best bet to get your mitts on some Sober Island brew. Your next best bet is the Beer Truck, doing the rounds at Farmers Markets, locations in the HRM and elsewhere, its current assignment is also best determined through social media. Hopefully we’ll see some wider availability in the fall, when plans are to start canning beer for distribution, including the private stores in Halifax! And lastly, look for an interesting run of beers to come out of the foraging series now under development; looks like one of the first ones might be a Chanterelle Mushroom-laced Mild. Keep your eyes peeled for these to appear as we move into fall.

• Today, TrailWay is releasing their newest Double IPA, Voyager. This hazy, light-coloured beer was hopped entirely with the Australian Galaxy, a fantastic variety that gives the beer aromas and flavours that are “juicy, pungent, and tropical”. Quite drinkable despite the 7.8% ABV, it will be available in cans exclusively at the brewery taproom as of this morning at 11 am; you can also purchase tasters, pints and growlers there, and it will be popping up at a few TW tap accounts across Fredericton.

• In Good Robot news, they’re releasing The Smashing, the fifth – and last – beer in their SMaSH Pale Ale series. The grist is made up of Golden Promise, a Pale malt from England, and the featured hop is Topaz, an Australian variety gaining in popularity thanks to its light tropical fruit characteristics, as well as resinous notes. Fermented with East Coast Pale Ale yeast to boost the fruitiness even more, it comes in at 7% ABV and 52 IBUs; available at the GR taproom, as always. Continuing on, next week’s Brewsday Tuesday is Virgo Saison, a slightly-stronger-than-planned “Saison/Grisette” brewed by assistant brewer Irene; hopped with Tettnanger, and finishing quite dry thanks to a strong fermentation, it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 24 IBUs. Finally, today’s Cask in the Sun entry is Corn Chili Sin Carne, which is their Leave me Blue with Yucatan Recado Rojo spice from local coffee shop Cafe Aroma Latino added to the cask, as well as fresh Nova Scotia-grown tomatoes and red peppers from Den Haan Greenhouses.

• Since the release of Cryo Hops – concentrated lupulin powder that gives intense hop aroma and flavour, while at the same time minimizing the amount of beer absorption and loss from the hop additions – breweries in our area have been utilizing them in some recent brews. Tidehouse has added their name to the list with the release of Cryo Me a River. This 7.2% ABV, 35 IBUs IPA was brewed with Canadian 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe Cryo hops. The brewery describes the Cryo hop character in this beer as having “juicy tangerine, papaya, and pine notes, with a light body and soft bitterness”. It’s available now at the Tidehouse Tiny Tasty Beverage Room only, for growler fills and tasters.

Propeller in Halifax continues its Friday cask series with a double dry-hopped, cask conditioned Double IPA (whose recently tweaked recipe already features three times the dry hops!) all ready to be tapped today at 5 PM at their Gottingen Street location. Drop by for a pint, and you get to keep the glass!

• If you’re into the live music scene here in Halifax, you probably already know that next week (Aug 27 – Sep 3) is the 8th annual Halifax Urban Folk Fest (HUFF), one of the premiere musical events in this city. This year’s lineup features some absolutely huge names in Canadian songwriting: Ron Hawkins, Art Bergman, Moe Berg (totally an adult now), Skydiggers, and John K. Samson as well as many other local and not-so-local artists curated by the Carleton’s Mike Campbell. As presenting sponsor of this great week of live music, Propeller has stepped up and brewed a new beer in their Gottingen Small Batch Series. The official beer of HUFF, it’s in the Festbier style, the classic beer of Munich’s Oktoberfest. It weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, with a golden colour and deep, malty aroma. Fermented with Czech Pils yeast and given an extended layering, it will have a clean and crisp character for supreme drinkability. You’ll find it starting next week at all HUFF venues, including The Carleton, Timber Lounge, Seahorse Tavern, Marquee Ballroom, Tempo Food + Drink, Stubborn Goat Waterfront, Loose Cannon, The Anchor and Wooden Monkey.

Plenty to do around our region this weekend!

• If you’re planning to be in Truro (the Hub of Nova Scotia!) this evening, you picked a good night! From 4 – 9PM downtown you’ll find an event called BBQ, Beer, & Blues going on at Inglis Place and environs. Featuring eight Nova Scotia craft breweries, each paired up with a local shop, along with BBQ and live music, it’s sure to be a good night. A paltry $15 gets you 8 tickets, each good for a 4 oz sample at any of the craft beer stations. Participating breweries are Nine Locks, Saltbox, Tatamagouche, Sober Island, Meander River, Schoolhouse, Good Robot and Garrison. Even better, 100% of the proceeds will go towards three charitable organizations: the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Wayward Cats Society, and the Colchester Food Bank.

• Attention Belgian Beer Fans!! For those of us who are enjoying the recent foray local breweries have been making into the farmhouse, sour, and wild side of brewing, we would be well served to try the originators of many of these styles from Belgium. We’ve got a hot tip for you that will save you airfare to Brussels: Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar has received a pair of pallets of draught and bottles straight from Belgium, and will be holding a Lambic-fest this Sunday, August 27th. From 1PM until late, the twelve taps will be pouring straight and mixed lambics, Belgian Pale Ales, Saisons, and Quadrupels, with a bottle list putting many bars in Brussels itself to shame, with Cantillon, Boon, De Cam, and even some Trappist Westvleteren XII. Check the full beer list here, and prep yourself for Belgian beer and food all day. For those who are keen to get in early and enjoy a few beers in a quiet environment, there were a handful of Earlybird tickets made available. Oh, and stay tuned to Stilly’s (and ours) social media for the details on the Oxbow Tap Takeover at both HQ and the Beer Garden, now happening Sept 8 and 9.

• Bertrand, NB, will be hosting the Oktoberfest des Acadiens next week, Aug 31-Sept 3. Featuring a Grand Tasting by Acadie-Broue’s Patrice Godin on the 31st, and the Oktoberfest itself on Friday and Saturday, it will be a great weekend of beer, drink, and food. Check out the full program here!

A few more beers and news to keep you up to date:

Bishop’s Cellar was facing an unscheduled issue with a construction crane moving in their area this weekend, but due to the short notice provided to businesses in the area the move has been rescheduled. To when? We don’t know; but we’ll be sure to give you a head’s up when it’s announced!
– Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill has successfully obtained their taproom license and is no longer limited to serving you tasting glass after tasting glass in your quest to cop a buzz. Full pints are now available in their taproom, so head on down!
Maybee has a new beer in cans and on tap, Owd Bob, a kettle-soured Brown ale (5.9% ABV); we haven’t received any details, but you can grab some cans or a growler at the brewery, and it seems to be popping up on tap at select accounts across NB.
Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has brought back their crowd favourite Hefeweizen, RDF Hefe (5.7% ABV, 25 IBUs); you can find it on tap now at the brewpub on Harbour Dr.
– As we mentioned last week, Digby’s Roof Hound Brewery is ramping up their bottling line (read, home-made filler), and these oversized stubbie bottles are now available to the public. The Average Joe Wheat Beer, Big Stink IPA, and Sweet Little SIPA are all available at the brewery now, and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Help the RH crew celebrate the launch with some live music at the brewery tomorrow evening, with duo “Just Us” taking the stage at 9PM.
– Yarmouth’s Rudder’s Brewpub has released a new beer this week, Barefoot Sailor Session IPA. The copper-coloured beer was loosely based on the CBANS Collaboration Ale from earlier this year, but lighter in body and hopped up, coming in at 3.7% ABV, and a robust 80 IBU. You’ll have to drop by their Water Street location to find out more!
Schoolhouse is also in full swing with their Cask Friday event, this week they’ll be tapping a test batch of their forthcoming seasonal Pumpkin Ale at today at 4 PM in Windsor.

Happy Summer, folks! It sure felt that the warm weather was never going to come, but with temperatures reaching well above 20C in all four provinces this week, we’re finally able to dust off the patio furniture for real, and work on those farmer tans. Let’s get right to the beer(s) you should be drinking!

Lunn’s Mill Beer Company has added a new brew, Anvil, a Porter, to their list of offerings in Lawrencetown, NS. Described by the brewery as being closer to the American Porter style (as opposed to British), it’s smooth and dark, with “hints of roast, chocolate, and dark fruit”. With a moderate bitterness in the finish to balance the malt flavours, it weighs in at 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. It was released late last week at the brewery, so only limited amounts are likely still available. But fear not! They’ll be brewing it again soon, and their tasting room has extended their hours (Thursdays 3:30-6:30 and Friday 12:00-6:00). And with three new 5 bbl (580 L) BIACs (Brew-in-a-Conical) arriving, there’ll be a big increase in production at the brewery any day now!

• Halifax’s Chain Yard Urban Cidery has released a brand new blend this week, Yard Berry. The base cider of Jonagold and Northern Spy apples was blended with NS High Bush blueberries that underwent an arrested fermentation (aka, stopped short of finishing too dry). The final product features notes of sour cherry, cranberry, and of course plenty of blueberry, with a heavier weight, but clean finish. Drop by their location at North & Agricola and enjoy a glass on their patio.

Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has had a busy spring, brewing up some test batches at their Pasadena location. They currently have three of these smaller batches in rotation (as well as their Killdevil Pale Ale and Wild Cove Cream Ale) at their officially-unofficial taproom, Galliott Studios in Woody Point, located inside Gros Morne National Park. On tap currently is The Hoppin’ McIlroy, a Pale Ale brewed using wild hops from Norris Point, across Bonne Bay from the Studios. Also rotating through are Oat Pale Ale, featuring oats for a creamy mouthfeel and lots of late-hopping for a pleasant citrus and fruit flavour, and the preview for an upcoming wider release, Stout River (formerly Stout #1). Take a drive into the Park, grab a pint and sit on their beautiful wharf, and watch the humpbacks and minke whales that frequent the Bay.

• Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is releasing an all-new beer today, the aggressively named Sour M.F. This is a wheat beer, kettle-soured and weighing in at 6.2% ABV. And here we depart from the typical text of an Unfiltered beer release because there’s no IBU number to report, nor are there any hop varieties to name. This ain’t a hoppy beer, it’s a sour, and in typical NASH style, it was rather unsubtly re-fermented on a metric fuckton of tart cherries for a big cherry bouquet. It’s described as acidic, refreshing and bright with a light spicy finish. Probably a beautiful beer for your patio drinking needs on a hot day. Available from noon today for fills at the brewery and pints next door at Charm School Pub.

• Those of us who’ve were lucky enough to share in the beers of Peter Lionais over his homebrewing career have reason to be excited, as there’s a new beer coming out of Tidehouse and it finished at a specific gravity of 1.003. A beer that dry can mean only one thing: Peter’s been into the saison yeast again! Using a blend of two strains, 2 Many Birds is firmly in the saison style, with a balance of earthy and citrus characters from the yeast. A grist of largely Pilsner malt with some Vienna added for character yields a rounded mouthfeel despite the dry finish. Hops in this batch were a blend of the old school Perle, the American darling Amarillo and the Southern Hemisphere newcomer Pacific Jade, for a floral and orange-grapefruity hop presence. The lion’s share of this batch was shipped up to Stillwell‘s Beer Garden on Spring Garden, so look for it to appear there soon, with the balance likely to find a home across the water at Battery Park and for a severely limited number of fills at the retail space on Salter Street.

• Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing put their thinking caps on and developed a “100% Canadian beer”, utilizing ingredients from all four of our favourite provinces. Big Cod Mountain Ridge uses PEI malt (floor malted by Horton Ridge) in the grist, Cascade hops from Moose Mountain Hops in NB, and pineapple weed (tea-infused) harvested in NL by Cod Sounds. Finally fermented by Big Spruce‘s pin cherry-harvested yeast (with some help from Escarpment Labs), the beer – probably best described as a Saison – comes in at 5% ABV and 19 IBUs and exhibits a “Belgian feel”, and finishes very dry.

North Brewing is releasing two beers today, one of which is new, the other, a returning favourite. The new brew is Little Beast, brewed for the North End Runners, a community of local runners who meet every Wednesday at 6 pm at North Brewing for a 6 km run. A 4% ABV “lagered ale”, it was hopped with Huell Melon to 10 IBUs, and features an addition of salt to the boil. North wants you to think of it as a “post-run recovery beer”… sounds right to us! Returning is White Lightning (4.8% ABV), a dry-hopped kettle sour. This time around, the beer is slightly more tart, thanks to the use of a different Lactobacillus starter, and was hopped with Azacca, Huell Melon, and Wai-Iti. Both beers will be available as of today at both North locations, for growler and swing-top fills, as well as in 650 mL bottles.

TrailWay has their brand new automatic canning line up and running, which means more cans for all of us, and less work for the TW crew! It also means new label designs, and packaging dates indicated on each can. Beyond Reality (raspberry Fruit beer) is already out with its new look, and their Rye Pale Ale, Rype, will be available as of today. Finally, the winning American IPA in the first TrailWay Homebrew Challenge is available again (probably for the last time); Hoppy McHazy was brewed by Pierre Gagnon, and features plenty of Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe, for a huge blast of tropical, fruity goodness.

• And the circle of life is complete as we heard from a little birdie this week that the canning line Trailway replaced with their new whizzbang automatic dealio is on its way to Sober Island on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. While we let you consider what that’s going to mean for Rebecca Atkinson and her crew, or, more to the point, for you, gentle beer drinker, we’ll tell you about their latest release, dubbed Kirby’s Canoe Rye Pale Ale. The grist features 11% rye, which will almost certainly provide a spicy note on the finish. We also know that it was dry hopped with both Willamette and Bramling Cross hops, with the Bramling being the focus. This should provide a bright berry character. It’s straw-yellow in colour, with a solid 5.7% ABV and 30 IBU, if you really want to figure this one out, look for it in crowlers at the brewery, on tap at The Henley House in Sheet Harbour and Battery Park in Dartmouth, and appearing at the New Glasgow and Musquodoboit Farmers Markets.

• Heading Southwest along Nova Scotia’s coast, FirkinStein in Bridgewater has their latest experiment on tap and ready for prime time. Sassamanana is a 7.0% ABV Pale Ale, featuring the addition of cranberries and banana to the beer. While the techniques they used are secret (trust us, we asked!), they promise that the light tart character from the berries, and creaminess from the banana will make for a great experience. The beer is debuting at tomorrow morning’s Bridgewater Farmers’ Market. And keep an eye out for the news of their King Street satellite brewery/taproom/retail location, which is poised to open before the end of the month.

• And back to the city, on the waterfront in Halifax, Gahan Harbourfront is now serving up a batch of Flavour of the Monk which was the winning beer in their first annual homebrew competition. Devised (and named) by Ian Wheatley, who you may remember from March’s Lil’Wheatey Tap Takeover at Tidehouse Brewing earlier this year, it’s a Belgian beer in the Trappist Single style, with a pillowy white head and moderate bitterness. The hops used are classic Czech and German noble varieities, giving a floral and spicy nose to balance against the classic peppery and fruity Belgian yeast character. It’s a fairly easy-drinking 5.4% ABV and 35 IBU. Meanwhile, Gahan has quietly become the second brewery in NS to offer crowlers. These 32oz cans let you take beer pretty much anywhere in a convenient package, or let you sock it in the fridge for up to a month. Only Gahan beers are available (no PEIBC or guest taps) and they’re available for $8 from the fridge at the restaurant entrance. Currently available in this format are their Crosscurrent APA, Impatience Sour Brown and Captain Falcon’s IPA.

Maybee Brewing is releasing Old Growth, an Extra Special Bitter, sometime today. The slightly-bigger brother to their Slanty Shanty Best Bitter that originally came out last December, the malt and hop profiles have been tweaked slightly. Horton Ridge floor-malted Organic Pale Malt makes up the majority of the grist, with New Brunswick Goldings hops bringing the IBUs to 44. Exhibiting “hints of honey and caramel”, and nicely-balanced with a firm bitterness, this 5.5% ABV beer is available at the brewery for pints, growlers, and cans. Look for cans to likely appear at select ANBL stores in the future; local tap accounts will also be receiving kegs.

• St. John’s YellowBelly Brewpub celebrated the changing of the seasons this week with the release of Summer Solstice Crystal Wheat. A nod to Wexford Wheat, one of their core beers, this beer features a simplified malt bill with just 2-Row and Wheat malts. Unlike WW, it is filtered, resulting in a bright, crystal-clear straw coloured beer. The hops are also unique to this release, with Pacific Gem and Sorachi Ace used in the boil, with more Sorachi and a second hop during dry-hopping. At 5.3% ABV and 18 IBUs, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser on their patio this weekend at the corner of George Street, or to take-away when bottles make an appearance next week.

• Dropping today is YellowBelly’s latest cider, this one is a blend of dry apple cider fermented with Champagne yeast and sweetened with a touch of unfermented cider, then blended with 6% cold-pressed cranberry juice from the Island’s West Coast just prior to filtration. At 6.0% ABV, the resultant cider is juicy and tart, and thirst quenching for the warm weather (enjoy it over ice to extend the pleasure). On tap today, it should also see release in bottles at the Brewpub next week. And for a hint of what’s to come this summer, YB is currently on the look-out for an experience manager for “YellowBelly Take-Away”, to open at 264 Water Street in the coming months. Contact them via email for more details.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery has been busy crafting up some new sour beers, after the success of their kettle-soured Partridgeberry Sour and Sumac Sour. Coming up next is their next entry, Strawberry Sour. Initially fermented with a “collection of Brettanomyces and bacteria”, a neutral Ale strain (read: Saccharomyces) was used to finish things off. Real strawberries were then added during secondary fermentation, resulting in a “sourness complemented by a strawberry and citrus aroma” in this hazy, light-copper-coloured brew. Easy-drinking at 5% ABV, you’ll be able to find this one on tap at the brewery, as well as in Fredericton at 540 Kitchen & Bar and the Cider House. Next week should also see the release of Seaberry Sour, an amber-coloured kettle sour brewed with NB Sea Buckthorn berries, resulting in lots of citrus aromas, according to the brewery. This very-limited release will pop up at a few tap accounts.

• We have some great news for you New Brunswick Mead fans out there! Fredericton’s Sunset Heights Meadery has a very large shipment of bottles heading to more than 30 different ANBL locations across the province, starting this coming Monday, June 26th. After a few releases at four locations over the past months, the high demand was apparent; the current numbers hitting stores is ten times the amounts from before. Look for plenty of bottles of Queen’s Nectar, Scuttlebutt, ChaChaChaga, and Latifah to be hitting shelves very soon, with another release scheduled for sometime in early September. You can check the ANBL location list here.

Big Tide has announced that they have a beer coming out soon, LaTour, their entry in the Acadian Nut Brown style being seen more and more in New Brunswick (check out our mention of it in last week’s post for more info). The 2 Row base malt is accented by plenty of CaraMunich and Chocolate Wheat malts for a medium-bodied, malt-forward, 6.5% ABV Nut Brown. Hopped to 27 IBUs with Fuggles for a mild bitterness and earthy aroma. A little past the June 9th official launch date, but that’s ok! It’ll be available at the brewpub for pours and growler next week. And grab a pint or growler of their 4.5% ABV Zippy Pale Ale, as it is sure to run out this weekend.

• Last week we told you a bunch of stuff about Good Robot that turned out to be a week too early (we blame contrails and the Illuminati). To save us some typing, you can catch up on that stuff right here (CTRL-F “robot” <enter>). We have it on good authority this week, that you will finally see the Cream Team cream ale appear this coming Tuesday, June 27th. This will mark the first of the Tuesday Beta Brew releases, heretofore and forever known as BetaBrewsDays. Also heading for Tuesday next, assuming kegs can be cleared in time, will be #2 in the SMaSH Pale Ale series, now officially known as Hey Now (you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play). And lastly, but not leastly, today will see the debut of the Cherry Goseface Killah, so head on down to Robie Street and get yourself some sour, salty brew with a fruit kick.

• Breton Brewing in Sydney, NS, has a brand new summer refresher out, the cleverly-named Miami Weiss, a weizen-style beer mixed with 100% organic grapefruit juice to create a Shandy. At a very light 4.0% and barely there 12 IBU it’s likely to be extremely crushable and perfect for a sunny afternoon on a patio somewhere. It’s already available at the brewery for pints and fills and you should see it make taps in the big city within the next couple of weeks. They’ve also got a third batch of the Stillwell Open-winning Seven Years Pale Ale just brewed and have put down their second lager for aging into early July. We’ll have more information on availability for the former and details on the latter in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you’re in Sydney this weekend and you love beer, why not swing by the brewery and check out Breton’s 2nd Birthday Party, which has been in full swing since kicking off last night. The festivities continue tonight with a Music on Tap event from 4 – 10 PM before tomorrow’s 10 hours of live music, food trucks and cake! Check out the Breton Brewing Birthday Bash Facebook event page and plan accordingly!

• Down in the old A. Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, a new beer is on the horizon, this one being labeled Highland Scottish Pilsner. Taking advantage of the similarities (water-chemistry wise) between the Halifax Pockwock water supply and the classic brewing liquor of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, this brew sees light and grainy Pilsner wed to the round sweet maltiness of Scottish Golden Promise. This will no doubt provide the beer with somewhat more body than a truly classic Pils, while preserving the dry and crisp finish characteristic of the style. The hopping also sees an uncommon marriage, with the classic Saaz combined with its descendant variety from New Zealand, Motueka. At 5.5% ABV and 20 IBU, you’ll find it available for growler fills at the brewery.

• Despite our best efforts, we’re always finding out we’re not quite as on top of things as we like to think we are. Case in point, this week we heard about The Groundswell Inn, located on the Fleur-de-lis trail in D’Escousse on Isle Madame, NS, on the south side of Cape Breton. A bed and breakfast with an attached British-style Pub, they’ve been since last year and feature 8 craft beer taps, one of the largest selections of craft beer, if not the largest, in Cape Breton! We’ve added them to the Brewnosers Good Beer Map on this site, but certainly if you’re planning to be in the area or looking for accommodations or a place to have a pint near Isle Madame, check out their website and look for info on their coming events on Facebook and Twitter!

• Those of us patiently waiting for Big Spruce‘s Silver Tart to be available in cans in Halifax, rejoice! After a run on the cans yesterday, we’ve been assured that there are a few hundred more being delivered to Bishop’s Cellar this morning, in time for your post-work pint. Keep an eye on BC’s twitter feed, as they’ll be sure to announce their arrival. Or, why not make a run up to Nyanza, where you can also enjoy some food, live music, and relaxation courtesy of some Beer Yoga.

Looking for a few things to do in the next few weeks? We’ve got lots to keep you busy, no matter where you are!

• The tap takeovers at Charlottetown’s HopYard continue in full force today, June 23rd, with an Upstreet/North Takeover all day. All taps will be dedicated to the two breweries – check out the event link for a full list – including a new collaboration between the two, Northern Light, a 3.5% ABV, 15 IBUs Session IPA brewed with equal amounts 2-row and Wheat malt, and hopped with Cashmere and Mosaic. Launching at this event, Northern Light will also be on tap at the Upstreet taproom in Charlottetown and Battery Park in Halifax, as well as select tap accounts in both cities.

Horton Ridge is holding the Grand Opening of their brewery and taproom tomorrow, June 24th, starting at 11 am. A selection of NS craft beer will be on tap for purchase, including – of course – several of the releases from Horton Ridge, which are only available at the brewery/malt house. Singer/songwriter Caleb Miles will be performing at 6 pm, and the Let’s Eat Beer food truck will be serving up some beer-infused items all day (all proceeds will be going to Atlantic Canadian charities). Games, tours, and door prizes will be rounding out the day, so drop by and bring the family!

• Back to Upstreet, who will be having their 2nd Birthday next week, and like last year, will be celebrating with the launch of a new beer in their annual De Novo series. De Novo II is a Belgian Saison brewed with Maritime malt, New Brunswick Goldings hops, and fermented with a Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces blend. The result is flavours of “light candy and funk”, backed lightly by a dry finish and hop bitterness. This already-dry beer will get more so over time, as the Brett continues to chew away at residual sugars, increasing the amount of funk character in the beer (and, quite possibly, carbonation… you’ve been warned!). The De Novo II Release Party is next Thursday, June 29th, at the taproom, from 6-10 pm. There’s no charge to attend, just drop by for some music, cake, and pick up some hand-bottled De Novo II while it’s available!

• All year, Propeller Brewing is celebrating their 20th Anniversary, with several initiatives and collaborations and events planned. The details of their official Anniversary Party have been announced, taking place July 8th. From 2-8PM, they are taking over the parking lot of their neighbours Seven Bay Bouldering, and inviting some great local bands to play free concerts all day, also featuring games for young and old alike, beer specials, and plenty more surprises. After the day’s fun, the party moves a few feet down the block to the Marquee, where Skratch Bastid and friends will be playing starting at 10PM. With tickets priced at $20, this is a steal of a deal, but even more so when realizing that 100% of profits will be going to the North End Community Health Centre, just down Gottingen from Propeller, and their favourite charity. Check out the FB Events page for more information, and grab your tickets for the show at the Marquee before they sell out.