Sober Island Brewing

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Here we are in the shank of February and I think it’s safe to say lots of us are already looking forward to Spring (*shakes fist at groundhog*). Plenty to tell you about in these parts this week, with some new openings, plenty of new beers, and even some brewery jobs opening up. Let’s get right to it!

In case you missed the big news, Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South is opening their doors tomorrow! Saturday from 2 – 10 PM, they will be pouring three of their beers for onsite consumption and to take away in growlers. Pop by to try their Porter (4.9% ABV), Pale Ale (4.7% ABV) and White IPA (5.7% ABV), which may also be complemented by some other great Newfoundland Craft Beer. They’ll be open Sunday at 2 PM as well, if you need a refill on that growler! To learn more about Ninepenny, check our yesterday’s Profile with them, and keep an eye on their social media (Fb/IG/Tw) for the latest and greatest news from CBS!

Southern New Brunswick also has a new brewery to call their own, as Hampton Brewing Company has recently launched their first two beers. While they wait for their forever home in the town of Hampton to come together, they are brewing in Saint John, thanks to their buds at Loyalist City. HBC’s first two beers to hit the taps are their take on hoppy brews, an ode to their love of the styles. Victory! is a 5.5% ABV American Pale Ale, with Citra and Vic Secret hops to the tune of 50 IBU, for a citrus, tropical, and piney aroma and flavour profile on top of a smooth base. Crush is a 4.6% ABV Session IPA, featuring loads of late addition Centennial and Mosaic hops (also about 50 IBU), for a citrus and stone fruit character with a floral touch. This smooth mouthfeel and medium-light body make this a beer one can truly enjoy for a full “session”. Find the first two Hampton Brewing beers at the Cask and Kettle and Peppers Pub in Saint John and at The Joyce in Fredericton, and other local-beer-friendly establishments in between very soon. We’ll have a full Profile with HBC early next week!

There was a new beer release from 2 Crows last week, and the jerks didn’t even remember to let us know! As a result, there’s still some left at the brewery for you to grab, so we might as well tell you all about it now. Jamboree is their latest sour beer, brewed with Pilsner, wheat malt, raw wheat, and oats. After being soured with Lactobacillus, the wort was fermented nice and warm with Ebbengarden Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, they conditioned the beer on a whack o’ fruit… specifically, 190 kg of strawberry purée and 130 kg guava purée. Woo! They also dry-hopped the beer with Huell Melon to add more fruit flavour (and to hold back that Lactobacillus, as the wort was not boiled after souring). They’re using the words “crazy tropical, lush, fuzzy, and smooth” to describe this one, and we’ll take their word for it! Available at the brewery on tap and in cans.

Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. continues to play with new beers with the release of Cherry Bomb!, a “Sour Red Ale”. This kettle sour features a portion of Rye malt in the grist to add a touch of spice in the aroma, which also has notes of dark fruit, thanks to the addition of cherries (you probably gathered that from the name, we’d guess). Pretty sessionable at 4.5% ABV, there’s “just enough sweetness to balance the tart”. Drop by the Bootleg tap room in Corner Brook for a taste/growler.

The Neon Friday series from Upstreet returns today, with the release of Neon Friday Session IPA. This actually isn’t the first Session IPA in the series, but we’re pretty sure it’s the first one with a shortish name! This one was hopped with Amarillo, Cashmere and Motueka. Bittered in the medium-low region (on paper) of 25 IBUs, this 4.5% ABV brew has “lime and melon aromas, with hints of tropical stone fruit and tangerine”, and a soft mouthfeel. They’ll be celebrating its release today at the Craft Beer Corner from 5-7 pm with a Daytime Disco, featuring DJ Bradford Rooney. As for the beer, you can find it on tap and in cans at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown, and on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, with cans following at the private stores in Halifax in the near future.

We’ve got a pair of releasesMore bottle releases at Tidehouse, with this week’s featuring the brewery’s first stab at the strong Wheatwine style. King Friday was brewed with over half of the grist made up of Wheat malt (as is common for the style), and hopped entirely with Ahtanum. It is indeed strong, at 9.5% ABV, making it similar to a Barleywine, but lighter in colour. TH is describing the beer as sweet and malty, definitely meant for sipping (as we hope any beer with this ABV would be!). Bottles of this one (in both 341 mL and the “one-person-all-night-party” 750 mL) will be available at the brewery today at 2 pm. Also available today is a new beer from frequent guest brewer Ian Wheatly, with his Lil’ Witty. Wheatly’s take on a Belgian Witbier is true to style with lots of wheat in the grist, and coriander and orange peel to enhance the citrus and spice from the yeast. Lightly bittered with Magnum to balance, this 5.1% ABV beer is available on tap for samples and pints, and to go in growler fills.

St. John’s brewery and brewpub YellowBelly continue their series of winter ciders this week with another apple and fruit blend. Strawberry Passion Fruit Apple Cider is a 6.5% ABV cider, featuring, you guessed it, Passion Fruit and Strawberry. Tropical notes of citrus, mango, pineapple, capped by strawberry bring memories of summers past, and a hope for the months to come. It is available now on tap at the brewpub, their airport location, and the YellowBelly Takeaway, where it can also be grabbed in growler format.

In the Annapolis Valley area and itching for something smokey? Annapolis Brewing has you covered with their 1921 Smoked Lager. Released earlier this week at their taproom, the beer had beechwood smoked malt in the grist to provide plenty of smokiness in the flavour. Hopped with Hallertau, it was fermented with a German Lager yeast strain, and then lagered (natch) to bring the flavours together even more. The brewery’s first Lager comes in at 5.3% ABV and 24 IBUs, and you can drop by right now (do it!) to give it a try.

Continuing with Annapolis Valley news, by popular demand, Annapolis Cider is re-releasing a favorite from their Something Different series, Hopped Pear. A sparkling perry and apple blend coming in at 6.3% ABV, the perry was created with two separate fermentations, one of Flemish Beauty pears fermented dry and then dry-hopped, and one of Bosc pears, also fermented dry before being finished with a touch of fresh-pressed apple juice. Put together, the two create a crisp and refreshing perry with a distinct hop character that is balanced by more mellow notes of ripe pear and fresh apple. A slight bitterness completes the picture and highlights the dryness of the overall product. As always, this one is available at the cidery on Main Street in Wolfville with $0.50 from each refill being donated to Refresh Annapolis Valley.

The mad scientists at Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, have yet another new beer for you this week, one they’re calling Vibrant. A mixed-fermentation saison with raspberry and hibiscus, it weighs in at 5.9% ABV. Based on a grist of mostly Pilsner malt with a healthy portion of wheat added, it was fermented with Niche’s house culture. Raspberry puree was added to the mix after fermentation had slowed down and the hibiscus was introduced during conditioning. Slightly floral and herbal, with a slight tannic quality and a light funkiness, the raspberry is predominant, but the hibiscus certainly makes itself known. This deep red brew will be released to tap accounts in New Brunswick next week, but the first two kegs are actually going to Nova Scotia, where Stillwell has spoken for two kegs (along with one each of Single Origin, Niche’s coffee sweet stout, and Counting Stars, their latest NEIPA).

O’Creek Brewing, a nanobrewery in Dieppe, has debuted a brand new beer this week. Coffee Island is an 8.8% ABV Imperial Stout, which features the addition of cold brewed coffee during conditioning. The grist consists of Chocolate, Roast, Coffee and Carapils malts (on top of the 2-Row base). Chocolate malt notes blend with the intense coffee, all on a lovely balanced beer. Grab a pint of it on the guest taps at CAVOK Brewing or Marky’s Laundromat, and at this weekend’s beerfest at Dolma Food (more details below).

As the region gets ready for the premier bash of the year in a couple of weeks’ time, the folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have teamed up with Flying Boats Brewing to create a special beer just for the fest. Flying Sasquatch Pale Ale is described as a “medium-bodied East Coast Pale Ale” and it features Canada’s first patented and trademarked hop, Sasquatch™ from Hops Connect (who generously provided the hops for this brew). Most of the hops were added towards the end of the boil, imparting a balanced herbal and grassy character with a gentle orange and tangerine citrus flavor and aroma. Coming in at 5.6% ABV and 42 IBU, you’ll find it in select ANBL stores as of this weekend in 473 mL cans, at ANBL growler stations starting February 28th, and on tap for pints and fills (and in cans as well) at Flying Boats’ taproom at 700 Malenfant Boulevard in Dieppe!

Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is getting ready to launch one of their biggest beers yet, a Russian Imperial Stout named Star Anise Destroyer. With a big grist that includes a pretty hefty portion of Dextrin malt (to help give that full body that you may expect from the style), this 9.7% ABV brew was dry-hopped with a pound of hand-crushed star anise pods (is dry-star-anised a word? It should be!). Brewer Les Barr was looking to bring some black licorice character to this beer, similar to a Jager liqueur, and it sounds like he may have succeeded! Hopped to a high-IBU level to help balance all that roast and sweetness from the grain bill, it’s “surprisingly smooth and refreshing for such a big beer”, according to Barr. Look for bottles to be officially released on March 1st; it’ll also show up on tap at the Roof Hound tap takeover at Battery Park on March 7th… don’t worry, we’ll have more details on that event, soon!

Attention, Mount Pearl, Newfoundland hop lovers! Your local brewery, Landwash, has just released their first DIPA, Dream Island #1, and it’s sounding delicious! With a grist that includes flaked oats and malted oats to boost the beer’s mouthfeel and haziness, it was hopped heavily with Simcoe and Mosaic, giving the final product notes of “orange zest, tangerine juice, and mango flavours”. Who are you to say no to Simcoe and Mosaic? This one comes in at a hefty 8% ABV – it IS a DIPA, after all – so don’t be too eager to chug that hop goodness down. As you may have expected from the name of the beer, this is the first in an intended series of DIPAs, so look for more entries, soon. It’s currently available on tap at the brewery (along with six other brews; cans may appear in the future.

For you Good Robot regulars out there, we’re pleased to report that their weekly Beta release returns next Tuesday, after a brief hiatus this week. They’ve teamed up with Colin Smith to brew Barrel, Ontario, an attempt at brewing a beer similar to a certain flagship from a certain Toronto brewery that is owned by a certain company that maybe we’re not going to mention here… oh, the hell with it, it’s a beer similar to Tankhouse Ale. Basically expect a Red Ale hopped with a “solid” amount of Cascade (to 36 IBUs), and weighing in at 5.1% ABV. As for Alpha beers, it’s all cans next week… Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie and Espinazo del Diablo. Finally, in other Good Robot news, they’re looking to hire a part-time salesperson; if you’re interested, check out the application here.

In other hiring news, Sober Island Brewing Company in Sheet Harbour is looking to high a full-time Head Brewer. This person will be responsible for their 850 litre (7 BBL) brewhouse, supplying the Henley House, packaged product to the NSLC and private stores, and licensees across the province. As this is a head brewer position, previous experience and education are big pluses! Check out the full job posting here, and start/continue your path in a growing craft brewery!

And if brewing isn’t in the cards for you (not right now, at least), maybe you can try your hand as a Sales person, or working on a packaging line? Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is looking to hire people in both of those positions, as they continue to expand their offerings far and wide. The Sales Person will be responsible for HRM accounts (existing and new), and is a full-time position. The Packaging position is part-time (for now), and will be working on the bottling and canning lines, as well as other maintenance and tasks in the brewery. Pop them an email to apply or learn more about either position!

For those of us keeping track of the goings-on in Charlottetown, it has been announced that a purchase agreement in the sale of DME Brewing’s Charlottetown facilities has been agreed upon. CIMC Enric is a Dutch company, and manufacturer of equipment used in brewing, distilling, and other related industries. They intend to keep the interim staff who have been working for the past couple of months, and possibly hire back some of those who lost their jobs. The purchase gives them access to all records, inventory, customer base information, and everything else to continue operating. We’re keeping our ears to the ground on this front, hope to share more good news soon.

The events slate is a little light this week, but we expect we’ll see that change in the next couple of weeks!

Just one new event to tell you about this week, and it should be a fun one! Put on your favourite retro snowsuit or outfit for an outdoor rooftop beefest in Moncton. Dolma Food is hosting Winter Beerfest On The Rooftop, tomorrow from 4 – 10 PM. Acadie-Broue, CAVOK Brewing, Holy Whale Brewing, O’Creek Brewing, and Tatamagouche Brewing will all be sharing their finest beers for you, plus VALK Fermentation will be a special guest and will be collaborating with Acadie-Broue for an exclusive kombucha beer. Dolma’s BBQ will be fired up and roasting a pig, and there will be much more to enhance the afternoon and evening. Tickets are available two way: purchase a pre-sale ticket for $15 which includes entry, 2 drink tickets and your glass for the evening  and to take home (available online or in store), or pay at the door for $25. Additional beer, or pulled pork sandwich or churros, are $5. Check out the links above for more details!

Before you go, just a couple more things!

Boxing Rock recently released this year’s version of La Rive du Sud (7.5% ABV), their Bière de Garde that they’ve been brewing annually since 2014. Various malts in the grist lend the beer biscuit, caramel and toffee notes, with a “noteworthy complexity”. And keep your eyes open for 14 Carrot Gold, a collaboration beer featuring the juice from 1100 lbs of carrots. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Stay tuned for more info!

Off Track Brewing has debuted another in their line of experimental and limited releases, with Sankara Amber Ale. This 5.3% ABV beer is malt-forward, with notes of toast, caramel, and is lightly sweet, but well-balanced, with Northern Brewer hops bringing its typical woody profile to the mix. Grab one (or all 5, so the legend goes) on tap at the brewery this weekend. And keep an eye out for the return of their Let’s Dance, a 6.8% ABV Double IPA, also on tap at the brewery now.

Propeller wants you to know that their popular XPA, their 5% ABV “Extra Pale Ale”, is back again for a limited time, available at their stores only. If you’re in any NSLC stores, however, Dark Berry Sour should be popping up there next week. Finally, tonight’s cask beer is an Oatmeal Stout that is essentially a preview of a beer that should be released, outside of a cask, in the near future.

Welcome to February, beer lovers. It’s bastard cold today in much of Atlantic Canada, with a high percentage chance for continued bastard coldness through the weekend. Probably a good idea, then, to stock up on some beer to at least make yourself feel warm, and there’s plenty of new stuff coming this week from our region’s breweries to help you do that. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Niche Brewing has a brand new beer hitting the taps this week, plus their first much-anticipated bottle release. Let’s start with the new beer, Coalescence. What they describe as a Sour Grapefruit Milkshake IPA began with souring of the wort with Lactobacillus plantarum for a refreshing and clean acidity, before boiling to stop that process, and adding in lactose. Fermentation was completed with a low-flocculating (aka hazy) yeast strain often used in New England IPAs, and generously hopped with Citra, Azacca, and Vic Secret. Completing the “milkshake” theme of the beer with vanilla beans, an addition of grapefruit puree was also added, for a citrus and fruit base to complement the tropical, pineapple, and passion fruit aromatics from the hops, on top of the acidic yet lightly sweet beer. Look for it on tap in Fredericton at The Joyce and 540 Kitchen, Tide & Boar in Moncton, and Peppers Pub and Saint John Ale House in Saint John. Pop into the York Street ANBL growler station to get your fill of their Single Origin Coffee Sweet Stout, pouring this weekend (though we’re sure it won’t last long!).

Evolution is Niche’s first bottle release, and will soon be available at ANBL stores in the Capital region and beyond. Almost a year in the making, this beer started with a malt bill of Pilsner, Rye, Wheat, and Vienna malts, lightly hopped with Huell Melon. Instead of going in their stainless fermenters, this beer went straight into a single Chardonnay barrel, where it was fermented and conditioned with their house culture of yeast strains (a mixture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces). This process was allowed to continue for 6 months, before bottling still (flat), and conditioning with Champagne yeasts since late last year. The result is an effervescent beer with notes of grape must, a touch of oak, and plenty of funky goodness. If you cannot find these 500 mL bottles at your local ANBL, ask them to place an order, as they’ll be happy to bring it in!

The Church Brewing Company will soon be opening their brewery at 329 Main Street in Wolfville, but in the meantime, their on-site restaurant is now open for food and beers. Located in the deconsecrated St. Andrew’s United Church, the stone building was built in 1914, and had been underused for years before construction of the brewery and restaurant began. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 AM until late, with a varied menu of breakfast/brunch options, ramen, sandwiches, entrees, and more. While they await their own beer to be pouring, they have a variety of Valley and Nova Scotian beers available. You can keep up on their brewery progress on their social media (FB / IG / Tw). And this is where you can make a difference. The Town of Wolfville is making some amendments to their regulations regarding craft beer and cider, and are holding the first reading of that on Monday, February 4th, at 6:30 PM during a special Town Council meeting at Town Hall (359 Main Street). There has been a slew of mis-information surrounding Church’s brewery, including brewing volume, water usage, wastewater disposal, and traffic and parking concerns. We encourage you to learn more about how breweries are helping to bring jobs and visitors back to small towns throughout the region, and maybe even drop by Monday to listen and take part in the public hearing. For those unable to attend, check out the town’s Facebook page, where they livestream all of the council meetings. We will be there lending our support to growth of the industry and of the economy of small towns in Nova Scotia. Big kudos to our buds at the 902BrewCast for raising awareness of this issue and promoting local breweries. Check out their IG page for a contest they’re holding right now, promoting #NSBeerTravel.

It’s not that often that a week of Good Robot Alpha and Beta releases actually jive with one another, but next week will be one of those weeks. It all started with their Alpha release, Tom Waits For No One, one of their flagship – and still one of their most popular – beers, a 7.9% ABV, 58 IBUs Imperial Stout. While transferring the wort for this beer to the boil kettle, it suddenly dawned on the brewers that there was likely a fair amount of sugar still left in the grain bed. This resulted in their choice to go with a parti-gyle – adding another batch of water to the same grain, using the second runnings to create a lower-ABV beer… in this case, Tiny Tom. Same grist as its bigger brother, but fermented with a Lager yeast, it comes in at a more-manageable 4.5% ABV and 14 IBUs. Only one way to find out the taste difference, so you’d better drop by the taproom on Tuesday if you’re curious.

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is marking their 3rd Anniversary this weekend, and have reached another important milestone recently, with the brewing of their 200th batch of beer. Naturally, they decided to brew up something brand new, which is being released today. M is for Mosaic is a SMaSH (single-malt and single-hop) kettle sour, featuring a grist of Pilsner malt, and dry-hopped entirely with the lovely Mosaic variety. Soured with Lacto plantarum and fermented with an English Ale yeast strain, the 4.7% ABV, 8 IBUs beer has aromas of “lemon, orange, tangerine and passionfruit”, along with more of the same on the palate, with “hints of dough/bread” and an acidic finish. It’s draught-only for now, and will be available at the brewery as of noon today, and at select tap accounts over the next few days. And about that Third Birthday Bash, drop into the brewery tomorrow evening for a big bash including live music, food from GastroGnomes, and tons of fun planned. Montgomery Street Band and YORKS will be jamming from 7 PM until late, $10 cover.

In downtown Fredericton, the Gahan Riverside has a pair of new one-off brews at their location this week. First up is a dark and weighty beer, Russian Imperial Stout. It’s just that, a RIS that was fermented cool (to keep the alcohol heat as low as possible for this 8% ABV beer) and given a “long, cold aging process” to allow the flavours to develop further. “Intensely malt-forward with a supporting bitterness for balance”, it has “pronounced notes of coffee and chocolate” with a touch of caramel. Weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV, and 63 IBUs, it’s the kind of beer meant for gently sipping during these horribly cold days. The second new release is of the newer Brut IPA style. Known for being extremely dry, it can be seen as a contrast to hazy/juicy IPAs, which tend to have perceived sweetness from the hops and residual sugar. Gahan’s take is 7.7% ABV, and a light 23 IBUs, with notes of melon, berries, and stone fruit. Both new beers are on tap right now at the brewpub’s location on Queen St.

There’s a new Gottingen Small Batch hitting the taps today at Propeller, Coconut Extra Strong Stout. Indeed quite strong at 8% ABV, the coconut flavours combine with “layers of complex, dark fruit, and roasted coffee” to give just a hint of the tropics. While it will be on tap for growlers and pints at the brewery’s tasting room, they’ve also sent some to New Brunswick to go on tap at some of the ANBL growler stations; look for those to appear over the weekend. And as for tonight’s Cask Night offering (tapped just after 5 PM), it’s their Common, dry-hopped with Mosaic and Citra. Why not grab a pint and check out the new Propeller Arcade while you’re at it: they opened to the general public for the first time last night and will be providing a place for you to get your classic pinball and arcade game fix Thursday to Sunday nights (Thu/Sun 4 – 10 PM, Fri/Sat 4 PM – Midnight).

And in other Propeller news, but really Granite Brewery news, word came out this week that Granite would be taking up residence as the third brewery getting cozy in Propeller’s Gottingen Street location. So in addition to Propeller’s own small batch ministrations and Stillwell Brewing’s mixed fermentation madness, Granite will be pumping out their classic beers from the same facility for a while. Why, you ask? Turns out their Stairs Street building was sold by its owner recently, and efforts to secure a new location have so far not panned out. While Granite continue their search for a permanent home, Propeller has stepped up to make sure that fans can continue to get their fix. Look for Granite beers to continue to be on tap at places like Henry House, Stillwell, Lion’s Head Tavern, Obladee, and Tom’s. If you’re not familiar with Granite (hint: you should be) they are the oldest craft brewery in the region and actually were the first brewpub in North America east of the Rockies, when they started brewing their own in 1985. They have also been a very big part of breaking down many of the barriers to opening and operating breweries in Nova Scotia (and probably beyond). Featuring predominantly characterful English-style beers fermented with Ringwood yeast, a pint of Granite’s Best Bitter, Best Bitter Special, Peculiar, Keefe’s Irish Stout, or Traditional IPA is a bit of beer education in a glass. Possibly even better is when Stillwell has a cask of the Best Bitter on the handpump. We encourage existing fans of Granite as well as those who have somehow managed to miss them to show support for the brewery by seeking out their beers at the locations listed above and those listed on their website. Granite has advised us that they’ll be trying to be more active on social media (Fb, Tw) to let folks know where to find their beers (including where it might be possible to grab a growler) and to keep everyone up to date on their hunt for a new home. And much respect to Propeller for showing that camaraderie and looking out for your peers is still very much alive and well in the Nova Scotia craft beer scene!

New Scotland Brewing has not one, but two new releases this week, both of which are officially launching today. First up is a dry-hopped cider, On the Brite. Semi-sweet and unfiltered, the juice was fermented with a Saison yeast; they then dry-hopped the cider with Centennial and Columbus. “Light-tasting and refreshing, with lots of citrus notes”, it comes in at 6.9% ABV. Next is Angus, a Brut IPA that was triple-dry-hopped with the tropical American variety, Azacca. With a bone-dry finish, yet an “unexpected amount of body”, this 7.1% ABV brew shows off “an intense blast of tropical fruit flavour”. Both beers can be found at the brewery at noon today.

Today marks the first El Generico release of 2019 for TrailWay; this iteration of their ever-changing fruited kettle sour features a mixture of plum and raspberry puree (with the emphasis on plum). Always sessionable at just 3.8% ABV, this release is showing “a big, juicy, plum front, with a raspberry background, tasting like a mouthful of sour candies”, according to the brewery. You can find it at the brewery today when they open, on draught and in cans. They’re also releasing a new cask today, a double dry-hopped version of last week’s new release, Seeing Summit (Summit single-hopped American IPA).

Sober Island teamed up with The Harbour Brewing Company to brew Scotch Squall Scotch Ale, a 7.4% ABV “malty, spicy” beer that will be served exclusively on tap at Battery Park; it launches there tonight. The color is described as “rusted penny” and the flavor profile leans heavily towards the malt side, with malt sweetness up front and a spicy finish from all English hop varieties. Very smooth for its weight, this should be a great one to help warm you up on these cold winter days.

Newfoundland’s newest brewing addition, Landwash Brewing in Mount Pearl, has a brand new beer on the go this week. Inspired by German Kölsch, an ale style that undergoes a lagering period, Shining Smiling Land was fermented with a strain from Escarpment Labs. Czech Saaz and German Saphir hops impart notes of spice and citrus to this clean and crisp-finishing refreshing beer. This one is the first batch out of their biggest lagering tank (30 BBL) so they’re hoping it lasts for a little while, but the goal is certainly for it to sell out while it’s still fresh. Look for batches of this one to be available at least into Spring, when they’ve hinted we might see them treat the island to a Northern German Lager.

Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co have a couple brand new beers on the go this week, the first being Brut IPA, a 6.1% ABV in the (surprise!) Brut IPA style. Leveraging extra enzymes to ensure the beer fermented out almost completely dry, Galaxy, Mosaic and Amarillo hops are the stars of this one, giving aromatic notes of grapefruit, lime zest and orange. The grist, interestingly, contains a mixture of Pilsner malt, corn, wheat, and a bit of Munich malt. Expect a very dry beer with hop flavors and aromas taking center stage. Brewer Dan Tanner says he’s excited about the style, so even after this one goes it’s probably safe to hope it won’t be the last Brut IPA from the brewery. And speaking of beer excitement, Tanner is also releasing the first in a series they’re calling Assemblage, reflecting Dan’s two passions, wine and beer. Starting with a beer that’s best described as a Munich Helles, Planters Ridge Winery Chardonnay and Mead were blended in, allowing the fermentation character of both to intermingle with the beer, giving character that cannot be gained from fermenting with beer yeast on grape pomace or honey. With the aspects of the wine and the mead presenting predominantly on the nose in the form of pear and apple from the wine and honey and floral character from the mead, the cereal malt character of the beer side of things blends nicely with the residual sweetness from the mead resulting in a 7% ABV beer with plenty of character. Dan Surette, Assistant Winemaker at Planters Ridge gets credit for the idea of adding mead to the mix. This one is growler fills and pints at the brewery only, as only 2 kegs are available. Look for more interesting beers in the Assemblage Series to appear as we get further into 2019.

Boxing Rock in Shelburne is releasing a brand new beer this week, hoping to up-end what they see as craft beer’s departure from “traditional” beer. Instead of a complex malt or hop bill, they are releasing an uncomplicated, but still flavourful, beer. Eschewing descriptors like dank, juicy, tropical, or hazy, they are embracing the crisp, clear, and drinkable characteristics from a lagered ale. With aromas of white bread and caramel, with light honey, cereal, red apple, and lemon on the palate, with a smooth finish. The New Normal is 4.9% ABV and is seeing a wide release in 650 mL bottles at the brewery and their Test Kitchen on Agricola Street in Halifax, as well as the private beer stores, plus growler fills and kegs to licensees. And keep an eye out later this month for the return of their Rive du Sud Biere de Garde, available shortly.

This week’s winner in the shamefully late email sweepstakes goes to Garrison, who are releasing (earlier than expected, apparently) a new beer just in time for your Superb Owl Sunday beer drinking needs. Georgia Fuzzy Peach is a refreshing pale ale packed with peach flavor, no doubt owing to the heavy use of Huell Melon and Cascade hops. Coming in at 30 IBU and a sessionable (in the modern sense, anyway) 5.0% ABV, the grist is a fairly simple blend of Pale malt, Oats and Wheat. It hasn’t been packaged, so it’s on draft only at the brewery, but you’re welcome to bring a growler or two and get a fill to go! You’re likely to also see it pop up on taps around Halifax as early as this weekend.

Some fun things coming up this weekend and in the next couple of weeks as well:

If you’re one of the few beer fans who haven’t yet tried your hand at making your own beer at home, we have just the event for you! Pop into Brightwood Brewery on Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth Sunday afternoon (12 – 2 PM) for a presentation and demo of how to get started. The fine folks from Everwood Ave Brew Shop will be in there to answer all of your questions, and get you excited about crafting your own soon enough. This is Part 1 in their Learning to Brew Series, and we’ll keep you in the loop with the other events as they come up.

Speaking of home-brewing, a friendly reminder to our homebrewing brethren and sistren that registration and beers are due Monday Feb 4 for the 11th Annual Garrison Home Brew-Off. Be sure to get your Dunkles Bock to your local Noble Grape, or Garrison itself, in time for judging, and we’ll see you at the Gala on Feb 28! Details here, Registration/Recipe Form here.

Tickets are now available for Halifax’s Craft Beer Cottage Party, taking place at the Halifax Seaport Market February 16th. With more than 30 breweries and cideries from Nova Scotia and PEI, there will be a wide assortment of offerings pouring that evening. There are sure to be some new releases, and plenty of washer toss, cornhole, and other cottage activities, as breweries dress up their booths to fully embrace the theme. Live music all evening, and food will be available for purchase. Grab your tickets now!

Though we’re still a few months away, tickets for the Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival are now on sale. They are doubling down this year, with events on both the West and East coasts of the island. First, on April 6th, they will be taking over the Corner Brook Civic Centre for the evening, for a full evening of beer, live music, food, and fun. Grab your tickets here. And the following weekend they are in the Royal Canadian Legion at Quidi Vidi for two nights, April 12 and 13, to bring the same fun to the East coast. Tickets are available here. All events have VIP tickets available for an hour-earlier entrance. No brewery/beer list available yet, but look for a great mix of Newfoundland, Maritimes, Canadian, and maybe even US and European beer to be flowing in the first couple of weeks of April.

And here be your final bits of beer news; have a great (beer-filled) weekend!!

Stillwell Brewing will be back selling beer at the back door of Propeller’s Gottingen Street location tomorrow from noon to 4 PM. New this week is the latest batch of Easy, their house saison, that’s been napping for quite some time in bottles after 2 months in their biggest foedre. While you’re there grabbing that one, you’ll also have the chance to get your grubby paws on Auld (old ale), Make 1,2 (bière de coupage) and Five (saison with honey fermented in a Pineau des Charentes puncheon).

If you were kicking yourself for missing Kiskadee Sour Porter with Strawberries from Tatamagouche at Curated’s Eat. Drink. Local. event in early January, as we mentioned in our wrap-up the next day that beer was bottled and kegged and is now generally available for your drinking pleasure. Two years in the making, it’s a big ol’ beast at 9.8% ABV with notes of chocolate, spirits and tart strawberries. Available now at the brewery and Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax, and, we suspect, kegs will go out to tap accounts as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few more bites before we leave you this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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