Sober Island Brewing

All posts tagged Sober Island Brewing

Let us take this opportunity to be the last to wish you a Happy New Year 2020! As we kick off a new year, it’s a great time to take stock of the state of beer in our region, with the number of breweries having exploded since the Atlantic Canada Beer Blog started on January 1, 2012. As we inevitably hurtle towards 200 breweries and cideries across the region, one of the stories we continue to hear is the markets outside of the big cities being served by small breweries opening there, and serving as a gathering place for locals. We hope that trend continues in 2020, as there are still many places in the region where getting a locally made pint are near-impossible.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is releasing the latest in their line of “solo hop showcase” beers (think Cascade, Azacca, and Galaxy) with their Sabro Double IPA. At 7.5% ABV and more than 100 (calc) IBU, this is a hazy flavourful ode to this newer experimental hop. A very similar beer, by the same name, saw a one-time release in May 2019, as part of the “Single Hop IPA” competition at the Stillwell Open (brewed with our own acbbchris). This beer has had a few tweaks made to it, but not many! Like last year, the beer features a massive tropical nose and flavour of pineapple, passionfruit, and coconut, with a smooth body and balanced bitterness. No fruit added to this beer, that’s all from the Sabro hops! Available on draught for growler fills (both Prop Shops) and pints (at their Gottingen Street taproom, and at licensees across the province), as well as in cans at Prop both locations, plus at many NSLC locations across the province (check store availability here). And fear not fans, unlike last year, this beer will be sticking around for a spell, at least through winter and spring.

And in case you missed it, Propeller released a very different beer last week, a Rauchbier. Focussing on the malt side of things, this features a light smoke character thanks to the beechwood-smoked malt used. Melded with a pleasant toast character from medium-dark malts, the hops are there only for a balancing act. Fermented with lager yeast means this is a clean and crisp beer without anything getting in the way of the light flavour. This is a draught-only release, with growlers and pints of the 5.0% ABV beer available now. And as if you needed another reason to visit, today’s Cask at their Gottingen Street taproom is Baltic Porter on Oak aged in rum. That is tapped at 5 PM, and lasts… until it doesn’t.

Over in Miramichi, Timber Ship Brewing has released their first new beer in several months, Peabody Porter. This English Porter (usually sweeter than their American counterparts) was brewed with Maris Otter, Brown malt and Chocolate malt in the grist, and hopped with the Fuggle variety to 27 IBUs. Once fermentation was complete (it rings it at 5% ABV), the beer was allowed to condition on vanilla beans for some time, to complement the notes of coffee and dark chocolate in the flavour. Look for it on tap at your favourite Timber Ship accounts.

TrailWay is launching their latest batch of El Generico, their constantly rotating fruited kettle sour. The latest batch – released today – features a large addition of peach puree, as well as a small amount of passion fruit concentrate. Stone fruit is obviously the center of attention here, with “an overall tropical vibe” and moderate acidity. Cans and on tap at the brewery and elsewhere too! 

And while on the subject of TrailWay, they still have two new-as-of-last-week hoppy beers available at the brewery (on tap and in cans). South Island (6% ABV)  is their newest American IPA, which was single-hopped with the very difficult to source Nelson Sauvin. This New Zealand variety is well-known for the gooseberry character it imparts in beer; South Island also exhibits grape and grapefruit. Next up is Box Theories, an 8% ABV DIPA that focuses on Strata, a fairly new hop variety that gives the beer lots of tropical fruit (especially mango and melon, according to the brewery), as well as citrus and tangerine. The beer was also brewed with small amounts of Munich and Rye malt, and flaked grain, to provide a bit more malt character than is typical for TW’s hoppier offerings. Look for this one to pop up at ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future.

Finally in TrailWay news, they rang in the New Year by making full use of their taproom beer engine by “reinventing” their cask program. The plans are to brew a new beer every month, with these beers specifically designed to be served via the beer engine. Their first release was Dry Stout, their 5% ABV take on the style of the same name. Also known as an Irish Stout, the beer is “slightly roasty and coffee-forward, complemented by some chocolate sweetness”. No word yet on the next release, but we’re all for well-made beers poured via handpump (and cool to see it served in their new 10 oz British-style Nonic glassware).

Edmundston’s Petit-Sault so enjoyed the first Brut beer that they brewed (Brighid, a collaboration with Big Tide’s Wendy Papadopoulos for International Women’s Day), they’ve gone ahead and created a completely new one. La Pêchée is a Brut IPA hopped with heavy amounts of Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, and features an addition of peach puree. Which the peach definitely comes through in the aroma, this 8.8% ABV beer is definitely not sweet; enzymes were added to help the yeast chew up any remaining sugars, so the beer finishes very dry, with a lingering bitterness. It’s only available at the brewery; you can pick it up there in growlers or in bottles.

Back in Nova Scotia, Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing teamed up with their pals across the bridge at Timber Lounge to release a special collaborative brew. Long-time supporters of local craft beer, the axellent people at Timber Lounge were looking to spruce things up on their taps, and New Scotland bowed their way in to help. OK, enough of my horrible puns. Timbeer is a 6.0% ABV Spruce-infused Ale, but the name alone does not tell the whole story… Using spruce bows and bark hand selected by TL’s Darren Hudson (World Champion lumberjack), the New Scotland crew did an overnight infusion of the brewing water with the wood, before sparging traditional European malt, adding Old World hops, and fermenting it with Kveik yeast. Think Norwegian farmhouse ale, but with a Nova Scotian twist. That extra effort is worth it, as the beer is brimming with spruce character on a pale base. This is a Timber Lounge / New Scotland exclusive (and limited) release, so be sure to drop by one, or both, to grab a pint of it before it makes like a tree, and leaves. (sorry, had to do it)

Out of the bustling metropolis of Hanwell, NB, comes a welcome re-release from our friends at Niche Brewing. If you love you some hops but are looking for a bit of a break from the ultra hazy, super juicy, low bitterness, soft mouthfeel NEIPAs that are currently dominating the market and are waxing sentimental for a good old West Coast IPA, then Niche has you covered. First released a few months ago, North Park harkens back to a time when nobody suspected anyone of putting flour in their beer. Piney, fruity, and a bit dank, owing to the use of some classic American hop varietals (Simcoe and Columbus in the kettle, more of the same plus Citra in the dry hop), it weighs in at 6% ABV. Not a candidate for the IBU wars, this one’s still plenty bitter at 45 IBU. Look for it at the usual Niche tap accounts as well as the ANBL Moncton North Growler Station (which is also scheduled to have their Day Tripper Belgian Tripel real soon now). And in other Niche release news, this time on the packaged side, version 2 of their barrel-aged saison, Evolution, will be available next week at select ANBL stores. Featuring the house culture that they’ve been nurturing and using since they opened, it was aged in the same Chardonnay barrel as version 1 and Golden Flair for about 6 months. Super dry, extra bubbly, and slightly tart, it comes in at 6.8% ABV. And stay tuned for more bottled Niche news as they’re pledging to package more this year and even if that doesn’t work out (bottling sucks, folks), we happen to know that the one they’ve got coming up next is pretty special.

Sober Island Brewing in Sheet Harbour has officially opened their taproom, and are continuing the celebrations this weekend and next, with the space open Saturday and Sunday afternoon, 2 – 5 PM. They are then switching to full winter hours, which means more access to their taps and crowlers on Thursday and Friday, when they are open 4 – 9 PM both days, and are featuring Trivia each Thursday night beginning at 7 PM. Those hours begin on Thursday the 16th, and will continue until they open up 7 days a week in the summer, after all of their renovations, improvements, and expansions are complete, which includes doubling their taps to eight. Pouring now are their Beth’s Black Oyster Stout, Marigold Blonde, and a fresh batch of their IPA. And they’ll soon be pouring an Old Ale that we’ll fill you in on when we have more information.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing released a pair of new beers over the last two weeks, on decidedly different ends of the spectrum. Due South Pina Colada Milkshake IPA features the addition of raw coconut and fresh pineapple, along with some lactose (milk sugar), complementing the massive hops addition, resulting in a 7.2% ABV, 80 IBU beer. And on the other end, Rum Row is a 9.9% ABV, 40 IBU Imperial Stout, that was aged on cranberries from Terra Beata farm and Ironworks Distillery Bluenose Rum-soaked oak cubes. Rich dark malt, tart cranberry, and dark rum notes blend together in this beer. Both should still be available on tap and in crowlers at the brewery, and also at the Grand Banker.

Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing released their inaugural brew in their Field Trip series, featuring different fruit featured in kettle sours. The first release is Field Trip: Pomegranate, jam packed with the eponymous fruit, complementing the tart and sessionable underlying beer. This 5.0% ABV beer is still on tap at the brewery and available to go in cans.

Is it already getting to be FCBF 2020 time? Eek! Here’s the pertinent info on another related event going on in Freddie that week:

With the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival two months away (still a few tickets left for the Friday night session as well as Saturday afternoon), the other events surrounding the fun weekend are coming into focus. One of which is the Down East Brew Conference, happening on Thursday and Friday, March 5 & 6. Aimed at those in the brewing and distilling industry, or those looking to get into it, there are two full days of talks on all aspects of the craft. From malt and hops history and analysis, how to treat and test your yeast, as well as trademark and tap room operations, attendees will be sure to learn a thing or two. Speakers are coming from across the country, as well as the US, and there will be plenty of time for socializing and networking. The conference will also feature a Tradeshow floor with booths from suppliers and producers. Tickets (and the full agendas) for attendees are available here (don’t forget to use code DEBC20 to save $30 off admission if you are a member of any of the provincial brewery/alcohol associations).

And, as usual, here’s a couple more quick newsbites before you get on towards your first weekend of 2020!

Big Spruce’s Conniption Fit, a 4% ABV Golden Ale, has only been around for a very short time, but cans are already hitting NSLC stores across the province. Crisp and refreshing, it was brewed with the word “sessionable” in mind, and now it’s even easier for you to get it into your home (and then your stomachs)!

Flying Boats has a “Brewer’s Test Recipe” batch exclusively on tap at their taproom in Dieppe; Mango Wheat Ale (5.3% ABV)  was brewed with mango puree to give plenty of tropical flavour.

Our regular schedule of Friday afternoon posting has some downsides and one of them is that sometimes a small batch of special beer is released earlier in the week and we can’t tell you in time. Such is the case with CAVOK Brewing’s Alpha Canis Majoris, Cuvée 2019, a Sirius (hah!) 4.5% ABV mixed-fermentation beer with Brettanomyces and dark berries (dark cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) that was aged for some 4 months before packaging. Only 80 bottles were available when it was released on the 31st of December and we’re told that there were only a few left as of yesterday morning so we don’t suspect there are any remaining at this point, but we thought we’d let you know so you can keep an eye out for more interesting releases from CAVOK in the future (Cuvée 2019 does sort of imply that there might be a Cuvée 2020, now, doesn’t it!).

Well, Christmas is right around the corner, so you know what that means: oodles of new releases from breweries, followed by a brief hiatus as everyone takes a much-needed break. That break translates to one for us as well, so this is your last read of the ACBB for 2019 (holds Chris away from the computer). We highly recommend you check out your favorite breweries’ social media pages over the holiday season before venturing out on a beer run; hours are likely to be highly variable over the next week or two, so plan ahead!
And as we close out our seventh year of the blog, we’d like to thank all of you readers, and the rest of the beer community, for letting us tell your stories. And when we hit the ground running in 2020, look for plenty more tales of new breweries, beers, events, and the people behind your favourite beverages. 

Another group of chaps sharing the stories behind the beer of our region is the 902 BrewCast. They’ve released their December Tasting Episode, and last one of the year, this morning. Our own acbbchris managed to sneak on for a taste of PEI, with beer from Bogside Brewing and brand-new Lone Oak, as well as Gahan House Port City in Saint John. Topics from favourite beers of the year, to what they’re looking forward to in 2020 (and how to get it), plus a healthy dose of shoutouts and callbacks, naturally! Grab the episode today for your commute home, or while you brave the stores this weekend, to drown out the 1000th playing of All I Want For Christmas

We’re not pulling any punches for the first beer of the day, let’s jump in and embrace the season! St. John’s Bannerman Brewing released Yuletide last weekend, and we think it would be a perfect beer for sharing with turkey dinner. A 5.0% ABV kettle sour with Pils and Wheat malts, it was conditioned on loads of cranberry, raspberry, and cherry purees, for a tart, fruity, and lightly savoury beer that complements and cuts through meat and potatoes and all the fixings. Grab it on tap at the brewery now!

The Big Spruce gang up in Nyanza is out to make sure you’ve got plenty of options for beers for the holidays with two new ones out this week. First up is Mele Kveikimaka, an IPA which features the Ebbgarden strain of Kveik, considered by some to increase the perception of bitterness, which should be perfect for the style. Hazy and rich, with a lovely head, this one no doubt features tons of hops and comes in at a pretty stiff 7.4% ABV. Also on the go is a new wine-influenced beer (seems all the cool kids are doing that these days) called Saviour Complex. Aged in a grape pomace barrel, this one is nominally a sour, but also features Brettanomyces. With sourness, funk, pomace, and barrel character all competing for palate space, we suspect this one lives up the the word “complex” in its name. At 7.2% ABV you probably didn’t want to slam this one down anyway. Neither of these beers is scheduled to be packaged, so you’ll have to make your way to one of the fine establishments serving them on draught. For Mele Kveikimaka, that’ll be Battery Park, Hopyard Halifax, Studio East, Boardroom Cafe, and Maritime Express. Saviour Complex will be found at Battery Park and Maritime Express. And if you contact them *right now* you may still be able to get on their Holiday Home Delivery to HRM tomorrow. Check out the FB Event for availability details, and then call them at 902-295-ALES!

On the West side of PEI in Ellerslie, Moth Lane Brewing has a brand new beer they’re excited for folks to know about, and for which they’ve gone all out on the pouring side. Na Zdravi is a Czech-style Pilsner named for the Czech version of the phrase “Cheers!” Expect this one to be clean and slightly sweet, with a pronounced, but not overwhelming bitterness and plenty of biscuity and bready character. It’s pouring from traditional side-pour taps imported from the Czech Republic and into traditional glassware for a maximally continental experience. Even better, the beer will also be pouring down the road in Tyne Valley at Backwoods Burger just as soon as they get their matching side-pour tap installed!

From one Island to another, let’s head East to Cormack, Newfoundland, where Crooked Feeder calls home. They are pouring a new Hefeweizen (German-style Wheat), featuring Newfoundland-grown wheat. Grown on Rideout’s Farm, just a few kilometres from the brewery, this is one of the first times grain from the province has been used in beer. Ausrittweizen (German for “rideout heat”) is a 5.0% ABV hazy beer, featuring loads of banana and bubblegum character thanks to the yeast chosen, and is pouring now at the brewery, as well as their Gastropub in Corner Brook.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing is knee-deep into their Christmas Countdown right now, where they’ve had daily specials on everything from beer to merchandise. Day one, however, marked the launch of their newest barrel-aged beer, Chocolate Whiskey Stout. Aged for over a year in Glenora whisky barrels with cocoa and coffee, this 7% ABV dark brew is exhibiting a blend of whisky, chocolate and coffee, with notes of oak. Smooth and warming, the entire batch was bottled, and there was only a limited amount – 500 – available when they released it. If you haven’t grabbed yours yet, we wouldn’t recommend waiting much longer. And keep an eye on their IG account for the latest news and specials.

Not to be slowed down by the holidays, North Brewing has a trifecta of beers out for you to fill your stockings with. The first two are new iterations of their Strong Dark Belgian (Glenora Barrel Aged), one inspired by Figgy Pudding (brewed with figs, dates, and vanilla), and one by Speculaas Cookies (brewed with fresh ginger and the brewery’s special Speculaas spice blend). Both come from the original base beer, which was aged in four Glenora barrels for more than two years, before blending. This is a big beer – at 10+% ABV – the perfect style for sipping while watching your kids open their presents (kids wait to open gifts after cocktail hour, right?). The third beer is a barrel-aged version of their Grisette, Blanc. Fermented on Sauvignon Blanc grape skins from Benjamin Bridge, and aged in a wine barrel for 11 months, it was then bottled and allowed to condition naturally. Lots of “funky barrel character” in this refreshing beer, the perfect counterpart to those Strong Dark Belgians you’ll be picking up. All three are available in bottles at your most-convenient North location.

Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a couple of new beers of their own. The first is this year’s edition of their annual Tibb’s the Saison, a Saison fermented with Fruit Bomb Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. With aromas of cinnamon, banana and clove, you can expect “notes of spice and black pepper” to follow on the palate; it weighs in at 6.6% ABV. Next up is the newest hoppy entry in their Continuum series, Continuum – Happy HoliHaze. This iteration was hopped with lots of varieties, including Hallertau Blanc, Columbus and Galaxy, accompanied by Citra and Simcoe. Lots of juiciness and haziness in this 5.9% ABV IPA, with stone fruit character and “light herbal and pith notes”. Both of these newbies are available for growler fills at the retail shop in St. John’s, and growlers and pints at the taproom starting today. And hey, they’ve just canned a fresh batch of Mixed Opportunity, their mixed-ferm Saison, so you can take home some of those as well. And if you visit the brewery taproom on Tibb’s Eve (that’s Monday the 23rd), you’ll have a chance to try their first ever casked beer, Blue Steel with orange peel and hibiscus! Tapped when they open at 6 PM, and won’t last long, as there’s only 40 litres!

TrailWay is launching the latest iteration of Beans, their Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they open. Espresso Beans was brewed with a large amount of espresso beans from Fredericton’s Mill Town Roasters. The roast used was selected to complement their chocolate-forward base beer, with more beans being used than in previous Beans releases. They also boosted the ABV of the beer slightly to 6.8%, in order to give it more body and flavour. If you’re dropping by the brewery to pick up some cans/growlers, they’ve also re-released their Stormy Weather American IPA, hopped heavily with Vic Secret and other “supporting” hop varieties, giving lots of citrus and pineapple in the beer; also on tap and in cans. Today is a great time, by the way, to pick up your TW beers for the weekend/holidays, as half of all pint sales sold today will be donated to the Fredericton Homeless Shelter… so, stay for a pour, why dontcha?

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has launched not one, not two, but three new beers today, sure to satisfy thirsty folks out and about in the city today. Crimson Thunder is a Barley Wine, weighing in at 9.0% ABV, and features a balancing act between light alcohol warmth and malt sweetness, as well as light dried fruit character perfect for enjoying in front of the fire.Speaking of warming… Face Melter is a 10.5% ABV Wee Heavy, taking the malt base up a few notches for light sweetness, bold caramel flavours, but without any hot alcohol burn. Sounds like this will fuel many a story over the holidays! And the third release is Waffle Sauce is a “Maple Butter Tart ESB”, a Canadian twist on this English standard. The 4.7% ABV Extra Special Bitter features addition of maple syrup, rum, and vanilla, making the beer a great bevvie to warm up, or accompany your flapjacks or waffles tomorrow morning. All three are pouring at the brewery currently, with Crimson Thunder and Face Malter available to go in retro stubbie bottles, and Waffle Sauce being canned and available later on the weekend.

We always like to hear about our local breweries working together on things, and this week two downtown Dartmouth breweries have stepped up with some news in that vein for the holidays. Brightwood Brewery and New Scotland Brewing have collaborated on a new Triple IPA they’re calling Eraserhead (after the notoriously feel-good holiday movie we’re sure). At 10.5% ABV you might want to sit down to drink it, but it’s got a hop onslaught to match the booze factor, with Chinook for bittering and then “crazy amounts” of Centennial, Columbus, and the YCH Hops 2019 Pink Boots Blend of Loral, Mosaic, Simcoe, Sabro, and Glacier. Look for an explosion of juicy and citrusy hop flavors, and some stone fruit in there as well. This one will be on tap at both breweries as of this evening, some kegs will go out to other locations around the HRM, and cans will be available as of tomorrow.

And New Scotland also has a pair of their own beers on tap at the brewery on Alderney Drive, available today. Blunderbuss 1839 is an ode to the home of IPAs, Burton-on-Trent in England, famed for their water profile and generous use of hops. Using a historical recipe, and “Burtonizing” the brew water (lots of minerals and salts like Calcium, Bicarbonate, and Sulfate), they’ve achieved a 6.0% ABV brew with well over 100 IBU of bitterness. Choosing UK floor malts and a long boil allow the malt to provide a sturdy backbone to support the hops. The second release is a return of Slowburn, a Chocolate and Chili Porter, featuring chilies grown in Annapolis Valley. Added both in the kettle, as well as twice during the conditioning phase, the heat grows throughout the drinking, as the notes of chocolate and vanilla give way to a pleasant spicing level. Both Blunderbuss 1839 and Slowburn are on tap at the brewery now, and should be available at licensees elsewhere in HRM (but sorry, no cans!).

Down the 101 in Wolfville, Church Brewing continues to favour European styles, as is their wont. This time out is a Dubbel they’re calling The Luxury. On one hand, it’s a traditional style brewed by Trappist monks, on the other, boy is there a lot of variation in that style, ranging from pale to dark, 10 – 30 IBU, and 4 – 12(!)% ABV. This one rests on the darker side, smack dab in the middle for IBU at 21, and i hearty, but not insane 7.0% ABV. Leveraging a pile of Franco-Belge continental malts along with some Munich malt from Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, Belgian Candi sugar was also added to enrich the color and mouthfeel. Overall chestnut in colour with some coppery highlights, it’s got a dense off-white head on the pour. Aroma- and flavour-wise, expect yeast character in the form of clove-y phenols paired with deep sweet flavours of caramelized sugar and dark fruit. A dry finish leaves a clean impression. Look for this one for sure on tap at the brewery, and we’ve been told to expect it to be canned as well, so there’s some potential for this one to be available in the city over the holidays..

Not to let something like Christmas Eve slow them down, Good Robot is still releasing a Beta Brew next Tuesday. A Black IPA they’ve named The Night Before… Black IPA, it was hopped with Chinook, Amarillo, and a bit of Citra. With a malt profile that focuses on dark chocolate, the hops provide a bright, fruity characteristics to this dry beer. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, it was brewed with Krista Collier-Jarvis. And if you come back on Boxing Day, you’ll find The New Original Kentucky Common (4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs) back on tap.

Propeller has brought back Baltic Porter, their 6.7% ABV take on the eponymous style. Fermented with a Lager strain, the full-bodied beer has aromas of “dark roasted coffee, burnt caramel, with hints of raisin and vanilla”. It’s available as of today, on tap now at the Gottingen Street taproom. Pair it with a bottle of last year’s version aged in barrels, which was released late last month. Also, today’s cask beer (tapped at 5 PM at their Gottingen taproom) is Schwarzbier with vanilla, and next week’s will be Porter with chocolate and clementine zest. And they’ve teamed up with Compass Distillers on Agricola Street to bring you the latest in their Windmill Craft Cocktails family, Rhumb Line. Using Compass’ Spiced Rhumb, and a blend of cola with a hint of lime, they’ve constructed a tasty Cuba Libre perfect for wherever your next travel takes you. Available at the brewery and distillery retail shops, as well as Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport.

Late addition to the blog today (sorry!), is the full release of 2 Crows‘ Tinto, their Flanders Red inspired beer that was first released for Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary party in November. Using a complex malt bill, and lightly hopped with EKG, the beer has been 18 months in the making. Check for the full details in our previous post, to wet your whistle for bottles at the brewery tomorrow at noon. And in the meantime, you can enjoy Graduation, a 5.5% ABV mango and raspberry sour ale brewed in 2018 by the Prud’homme beer sommelier course attended by many in the NS Craft Brewery community, including 2C’s own Kelly Huizink. Light malt bill, just a touch of Nelson Sauvin and Enigma ops, before fermentation by kveik yeast and then soured in the fermenter with a blend of LactobaccillusFurther fermenting was done with a blend of bugs from favourite beers from around the world, before the addition of fresh mangoes and raspberries. Natural carbonation by champagne yeast in the keg, and now available on tap. We’d say that earns the crew an A+! Grab Graduation only on tap at the brewery now, no bottles or cans of this one!

Lots on the go this weekend to keep you out of trouble!

As a reminder and follow-up to our piece earlier this month, Sober Island Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 22462 Highway 7 in Sheet Harbour. Seating for 50, kiddos welcome, and those in the Sheet Harbour area can pick up their own specialized growler to show off to friends and visitors. Drop by today 4 – 9 PM, Saturday 2 – 8 PM, and Sunday 2 – 7 PM, before they take a break for Christmas. Congratulations to the SIBC family!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing is hosting Deer Lake’s newly-opened Rough Waters Brewing with a Rough Waters Brewing Pop-Up today, starting at 7 pm. All four of the brewery’s flagship beers will be available, including Selkie (American Wheat), Scallywag (American IPA), Signaler (American Porter), and Sou’Wester (Kettle Sour).  While they’re currently only packaging in bottles, Bootleg will be serving the beers in full pints, half pints, and 5 oz tasting glasses. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for sale, and the Rough Waters crew will be on-site to chat beer! And for those thirsty for Rough Waters on the East Coast, we highly recommend getting into Toslow this weekend for your fix. We’ve also heard they may have a keg from a new/not-yet-fully-open West Coast brewery pouring, but it won’t last long!

Picaroons and the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest are hosting a Christmas Cask Event at their Roundhouse location Sunday afternoon, 1 – 5 PM. Your ticket gets you in the door, a sampling glass to keep, and pours from the almost 20 casks pouring. In addition to the host brewery, try casks from Big Tide, Flying Boats, Foghorn, Garrison, Grimross, Maybee, PEI Brewing, Upstreet, as well as Pollen Angels and Red Rover. Wear your favourite Ugly Sweater for a chance at a prize. This may be the first time to check out the collaborative beer from Pics and the FCBF, Double Vision Imperial IPA, out now (soon?) in cans.

Both the Charlottetown and Halifax HopYard locations will be holding an Alberta beer tap takeover event directly after Christmas, starting Thursday, December 26th and running into the weekend. With breweries like Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Grizzly Paw, Outcast, and Troubled Monk participating, there will surely be something for every taste. And in true HY fashion, special food items will be available during the event. Specifically, the Halifax location will have an Alberta-themed menu, while in Charlottetown, local chef Nigel Thompson of Sneaky Cheats will be hosting a pop-up. Stay tuned to HY’s social media for updates on the breweries/beers as they become available.

Upstreet will be continuing their New Year’s Day annual partying with The 2020 Kickoff, happening – of course – Wednesday, January 1st. The all-day event (starting at noon) will be jam-picked with activities, including live bands, beer cocktails, happy hour pricing for the entire day, and a special brunch menu from 11am-3pm (as well as tacos and pizza-by-the-slice from 3pm-10pm). As always, it’s free to attend, and the beer will be flowing like wine, so drop by and help ring in 2020!

Some quick newsbites before we sign off today…

Hell Bay has teamed up with a “guest brewer” – Johnny Oickle – to brew Johnny O’s IPA, a 6.8% ABV, 70 IBUs brew with “citrusy hop flavours upfront, finishing with a bitter bite”. Available now at the brewery.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing have brought back their Belgian Tripel this week, Day Tripper. Light in colour, and finishing quite dry, it hides a pleasant 8.0% ABV in its spicy and fruity finished product, thanks to an iconic Belgian yeast. Kegs have been delivered to Capital Region licensees, including The Joyce and Ringo’s Bar & Grill, with a few more spots sure to be pouring it over the weekend.

Route 19 Brewing is pouring Cranberry Pine Winter Ale, a lightly-hopped, 5% ABV brew with aromas of citrus and flavours of, yes, cranberry and pine. Lightly bitter in the finish, it’s available on tap and in cans at the brewery in Inverness. 

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back a favorite DIPA for the Holidays, Fist of God is available now for fills and in cans as well as on tap at Charm School next door. You’ll also find 12 Years to Zion, Inducement, Sour Motherfucker, Hoppy Fingers, Exile on North Street, and Flat Black Jesus in cans, but you might not want to wait to long on some or all of those as you’ll likely not be the only one stocking up on hoppy goodness. Also, Unfiltered has very proactively put up their holiday hours on social media, so as alluded to in our intro today, you can’t say you weren’t warned!!

And finally this week, we’ve seen that the much-anticipated Painted Boat Beer Company now has product to sell. Produced at their Stellarton location at 230 Foord Street, which they share with Nova Scotia Spirit Company, and where they’ll be opening a taproom in the new year. PBBC launched at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market earlier this week, and promise to pop-up at the Seaport Market tomorrow, but beyond that, we can’t help you! If you happen to know anything, drop us a line!

Well, here we are in December, and while the weather hasn’t been too terrible, there’s still a great argument to be made for stocking up on beer for both the holidays and for après shovelling, sledding, skiing, and other wintertime activities that are fun and/or necessary. The good news around that is that our region’s breweries continue to step up with new and interesting beers that will make building up a collection fun and interesting, if not easy (how do we choose?!). And not only that, but we’ve got some news about a couple breweries expanding, which can only mean more beer and/or more space to drink it in! Read on for details on those and for the rest of your weekly dose of beer news from across the Atlantic Provinces.

Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl opened their doors December 6th, 2018, and to celebrate their First Anniversary, today they are releasing an appropriate beer to celebrate, Burn Your Boats. This 9.0% ABV deep dark beauty is an Imperial Stout that spent several months in Bourbon barrels before canning. Major dark roast and coffee notes are paired with the lovely vanilla and notes of spirits. BYB is available at the brewery at opening today at 3 PM, by the glass and in a limited run of cans too (ISO!). And while you’re at the brewery, check out their wide selection of glassware that they’ve had shipped in from Jymline, plenty of options for whichever beer you’re drinking, from 1 litre Maß to a small Arome glass. Keep an eye on their IG account for more details on their Anniversary Party and their plans from now until the end of the month (we can tease that there is another Merb’ys collaboration coming out next week, a Key Lime Pastry Pale Ale!, and Cake Tray, a Cherry Pound Cake Pastry Pale Ale joining it. More detes next week. Congratulations to the Landwash family!

The folks at Propeller have been playing with their small batch program, and have brewed up three pilot brews that have all been fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast strain. The first of these beers has just been released today, Schwarzbier. Named, of course, after the style that is commonly referred to as a “Black Lager”, the grist contained a portion of debittered black malt (huskless malt that provides that dark colour and some roasted character, without the acrid flavours that can accompany darker malts), giving the beer a deep, black colour. Hopped to 30 IBUs with noble varieties, the beer has a “subtle, earthy backdrop” to complement. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and is light-bodied and moderately dry, with a clean finish. If you’d like to give it a try, best to drop by one of the Prop shops to find it. And while you’re there, you can grab this year’s edition of their Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout (note that this version is marked as 2018, as the beer went into Bourbon barrels in December of last year).

The folks at recently-opened Tire Shack Brewing in Moncton are starting to run some experiments on their pilot system, which should be welcome news to those who are able to get to the brewery to try them. There are 3 small batches going on the taps right now for folks to try. First up is a coffee saison, St Caroline, at 6.0% ABV and using coffee sourced from local organic roaster Sunny Brae Coffee. This one still maintains a light color thanks to the use of cold brew on the coffee side. Next up is a gose they’re calling Duck Duck Gose, that they describe as “very balanced” and which also weighs in at 6.0% ABV. And last, but certainly not least, is a Piña Colada Milkshake IPA dubbed Love at Midnight. With flavors of pineapple and coconut, as you’d expect in anything bearing the descriptor “Piña Colada”, there was also an addition of lactose for a sweetness to enhance the fruit flavors and mouthfeel. This one is already in short supply though, so if you want to try it you’d best make your way to Tire Shack this weekend! But wait, there’s more! Just because they’re tapping the pilot system doesn’t mean they’re ignoring the big one. Resistance is Fruitile (*groan*) is a black raspberry sour that’s described as “Christmas in a Glass” owing to its red color. Look for this one to see a limited canning run over the next week or two.

Bedford’s Off Track released a new IPA late last week out this week, Jersey IPA. Named after a loyal customer’s recently-deceased Boston Terrier, Jersey, both of whom would often frequent the taproom. Jersey IPA is of the American variety, and was brewed with a fairly simple grist, and hopped with a blend of Mosaic and Cascade. Golden-coloured, with lots of tropical and citrus notes from the hop additions, it’s just about sold out already. Luckily, they do plan on brewing a larger batch of this 5.5% ABV, 63 IBUs brew; however, you may still be able to get one of the last pours from the final keg if you get over there soon!

Fredericton’s Red Rover Cider has a new release hitting their shelves today, a cider three years in the making. Starting from a blend of Spartan apples and Dolgo crabapples, after an initial 6-month cool fermentation, this dry cider was aged on oak for over two years before packaging. The full aromatics from Spartan (even when fermented bone-dry), along with the acidic character from the Dolgo make this a blend made in heaven. Le Brut is a 7.6% sparkling cider, and is available now at their CiderHouse location on Queen Street, Fredericton Farmers Market this weekend, and soon from their online store. The handsome bottle seems like a great option to pop open at midnight in a few short weeks…

Let’s stay in Fredericton (well, in Fredericton-adjacent Hanwell) for the next new release, from Niche Brewing. Celebrating their 100th batch (congrats, guys!), they decided to push the envelope in a different direction this time, brewing and fermenting their first Lager. The Bear is a 5.0% ABV Munich Helles, featuring Pilsner and Munich (natch) malts, a light bittering addition of Magnum hops, and fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager strain. Bold malt flavour, but not sweetness, a touch of floral hop, and dry finish are what to expect in this beer, perfect for new- and old-school craft drinkers alike. Sharing the nickname of the father-in-law of co-owner Shawn Meek, The Bear is one that we think he’d be proud of. Grab a pint at one of their licensees around the Capital city, and those in Halifax will soon be able to enjoy it on tap at Stillwell HQ.

We’ve got tons of news from Robie Street, Halifax’s, Good Robot Brewing this week, so prep yourself before you wet yourself… First up is Li’l Creature aka Creature Feature VIII aka Baby Yoda, the latest and littlest in their line of biotransformation (aka, hopping during high fermentation) IPAs. At 4.5% ABV, you can still enjoy all of the tropical and citrus notes from a bigger IPA, but without the hangover. Next is C.R.E.A.M. – Cats Rule Everything Around Me, a new released dreamed up to hit the taps at the HaliMac Axe Throwing locations in Halifax and Kentville. Look for this light drinking Cream Ale the next time you’re tossing the ol’ hatchet around.

This week’s release of their first Beta Brew in a while (The Absolute Unit Belgian Tripel, thanks to their Sabco system being back up and running) wasn’t a one-time thing, as next Tuesday sees the launch of Stabby Geoff. Brewed with Brendan Martin, they’re describing it as a 5.3% ABV Wheat Ale hopped with Warrior, Ella and Summit in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Not being finished there (it IS a Beta Brew, after all), they also threw in some Queen of Tarts tea, and Grains of Paradise. Following hot on the heels of that brew will be their next newest beer, Et Tu? Brut IPA, a couple of days later on Thursday, Dec 12th (gotta admit, clever segue with the beer names there!). Naturally a Brut IPA, this 6.4% ABV, 22 IBUs brew has “bright flavours of orange and lemon citrus, as well as some white tea”, and finishes expectantly dry.

In St. John’s, this Monday saw the annual release of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (2019). This year’s batch is a 7.3% ABV Mocha Porter brewed with Oats, Wheat and Flaked Barley, along with Midnight Wheat, BlackPrinz, and Roasted Barley. These latter specialty grains added plenty of roasted character to the brew (along with a black colour, of course), but not too much so that the other wonderful flavours don’t come through. Specifically, we’re talking about the “deep, beautiful, nutty and malty” notes from the addition of Brazilian coffee beans (roasted by local Darkstar Coffee Roasters). The brew was hopped (to 25 IBUs) with Sasquatch and East Kent Goldings to add a bit of earthiness and a surprising licorice presence, according to the brewery. You can find it on tap at the brewpub and in bottles for takeaway; the bottles should be landing at NLC stores later in the week.  

Looks like there’s a new hoppy beer coming out of North Brewing this week, and it’s also the second release in the brewery’s 2019 collaboration with Benjamin Bridge. Musqué Double IPA was co-fermented on Chardonnay musqué grape skins (provided by the winery, naturally), and dry-hopped with the Australian Vic Secret variety. This 8% ABV hybrid DIPA is showing “notes of pear, mango and grape”, with a delicate acidity, and is dangerously easy-drinking. It launches today, and you can grab it in some fancy-lookin’ cans if you’re in the area. And why not pick up some Blanc while you’re there, which made its return last week? This year’s batch of the 4.5% ABV Grisette was fermented on some skins of its own… specifically, Sauvignon Blanc skins that were also provided by Benjamin Bridge. Like last year, $0.50 from each can sold will be donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust

Unfortunately, we also have some sad news to share concerning North. Recently, their good friend and business partner, Leo Christakos, passed away unexpectedly. Leo was involved in creating Battery Park, and was always thoroughly involved with every aspect of the business, ranging from customer service to the nitty gritty details. Long-time fans of craft beer will undoubtedly connect him to the Brooklyn Warehouse, a restaurant that Leo opened, that was one of the first restaurants in the city to give craft beer top billing. His death is a huge loss to the craft beer community, and our condolences go out to his family and everyone touched by his loss… which are many, indeed. 

Fresh off their big win at the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards last month, Montague, PEI’s, Bogside Brewing has branched out and released their first cider. Fizz the Season is a 6.0% ABV blend of all Island apples, processed and pressed right in the brewery. Featuring a blend of holiday spicing (think cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice), Fizz is a nice complement to the crispy lagers and ales they’ve been releasing (and winning awards for!). And coming out next week is the beginning of their SMaSH (Single Malt And Single Hop) series with Shoreline Malting, with a new malt being used to create its iconic beer recipe. First up will be a Munich Dunkel, hitting the taps and retail next week. Joining it will be another new cider blend, this time using fresh local cranberries, bringing a decidely tart character to the finished product. We’ll have lots more on those releases next week, of course!

Down in Shelburne, NS, Boxing Rock has both a new beer and a returning favorite this week. On the new side is Inverse a “white stout”. Reminding everyone that “stout” means “strong”, not necessarily “dark”, this beer looks like a pale ale, but has plenty of the coffee, and chocolate flavors you’d associate with a darker beer in the stout style. Featuring additions of cold-brewed espresso to boost the coffee notes and vanilla to provide a background sweetness and smooth mouthfeel, it comes in at 6% ABV. Also returning to the fold is a beer first released in March of this year, Patricius Irish Stout, a 5% ABV stout that IS dark. “Refreshingly dry,” and intended to be an easy drinking beer for the winter months, it’s light enough in ABV that you won’t have to worry about having a couple on a snowy afternoon. Keep your eyes out for these beers, along with their barrel-aged series, Fisticuffs, wherever you get your BR fix. And if you’re interested in trying those big beers, but not sure you want to commit to a big bottle, you also have a chance to try them paired with cheese and cookies at Boxing Rock’s two upcoming customer appreciation events, the first at Local Source in Halifax on Thursday, December 12, from 4 – 6 PM and the second at the taproom in Shelburne on Thursday, December 19, from 5 – 7 PM.

If you follow TrailWay Brewing on social media, you may have noticed their mention a couple of weeks ago of a collaboration they did with Quebec’s Lagabiere brewery. The beer was De L’Autre Boutte to Here, a double-dry-hopped American IPA that they brewed at the Lagabiere’s location in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Luckily for their NB fans, they came back to Fredericton and brewed the same beer in their own brewery, and it’s being released today. At 7% ABV, it was hopped with almost twice the typical-for-TW amount of hops for their IPAs (which we’re guessing is therefore a crapload, for lack of a better term). The hops used were Motueka, Simcoe and Citra, so expect lots of juicy, tropical fruit character. You can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery starting today. If you stop by, you’ll also notice that their Simcoe-focused American IPA, More Better, is also back; this one will also be hitting ANBL growler stations in the next couple of weeks.

We’ve got two bits of big expansion news to tell you about today, one in Nova Scotia, and one in New Brunswick.

Since opening their doors in 2016, Sober Island Brewing has been bringing great beer to Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Currently brewing in their own space at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, they have announced that their own taproom will be opening next door in a couple of weeks. Located at 22462 Highway 7 (the former Three Sisters storefront), the taproom will have room for 50 guests, in a common area as well as side room that can be closed off for private events, or opened to accommodate thirsty visitors. Thanks to their manufacturers permit, they are able to welcome kids as well as adults, so no need to tie Junior up outside while you have a wee swally. With beer on tap, cider in the bottle, and some non-alcoholic bevvies to start, they’ll be expanding to an 8 tap draught system with beer, cider, and mobucha flowing. Their spot will also feature a retail space, with cans, crowlers, as well as growler fills, for the first time ever. Local flair is abundant in the space, with a live edge bar top, stone accents, and boards from an old barn. Local craftsman George Child has been a great asset to the design and build, still working harder than most, despite celebrating 80 years of age. So, when can you visit?? It won’t be long now, as they will be opening their doors Tuesday, December 17th, and celebrating with the launch of new merchandise and a new batch of IPA. From then until December 22nd, they will be welcoming guests in the new space, and then taking a break over Christmas. They will then be opening again for a New Year’s Day levee potluck, to celebrate the new year and big things to come in 2020 (including some short-term rental rooms above the taproom for the full SIBC experience). We’ll have lots more details to share with you as the space comes into its own over winter, and the Sober Island team is excited to offer a space that is open year-round, as well as partnering with neighbouring Henley House during its open season.

In other big taproom and expansion news, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has announced that they will be opening a brewery and taproom location in the New Year. Currently brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system in the basement of their Main Street restaurant of the same name, they will be exiting into the light, and expanding brewing operations significantly. Located 15 minutes walk down Main at 1355 Main Street, the new location is just a 3 minute walk from the new Avenir Centre. The 15 BBL (1800 litre) system will offer the ability to serve not only their restaurant, but the new tap room onsite and more regular growler fills and canned offerings. The location will also have a kitchen onsite, which may mean more access to their High Fives pizza offerings. As they work hard on renovations and opening their doors this Spring, they’ve launched a new website to let you see behind the scenes, as well as pick up some great deals perfect for sharing with your loved ones (or not, no sharing!) over the holidays. Peep their deals on the Mug Club, Growler Club, Pizza Party and others here. Congratulations on the big news to Chad and the rest of the T&B crew.

Only one event in the hopper this week, but if you haven’t been to the Garrison Oxford Taproom yet, this would be a fun way to get an introduction:

If you’re in Halifax and looking for an excuse to get away from all your Christmas shopping this weekend (or if you just want to get away from your family, we won’t judge), the Ladies Beer League has you covered. This Sunday, December 8th, they’re hosting a December Bevvy at the Oxford Taproom from 2-4 pm. Hang out in the loft and drink some Garrison beers; they’ll even have some merch available for purchase, so you can take care of a bit of shopping at the same time, you efficient bugger you. They’ll also be collecting donations for Feed Nova Scotia, and if you donate you’ll be entered to win a gift basket with treats from the LBL and Garrison. 

And a few last mentions before we send you on your way:

With Foghorn’s recent expansion comes great responsibility… no wait, sorry, a new canning line! They’ve recently canned and released some of their regulars, including Golden Grover (English Pale Ale), Bumble (APA), and Constable Winchester (IPA). You can find them at brewery’s taproom in Rothesay, and at ANBL stores across the province.

Maybee Brewing released a new DIPA last week, Clockwork. Weighing in at 8.3% ABV, it has “rich stone fruit and citrus notes, a clean and balanced malt profile, and a light caramel finish”. Find it at the brewery, and at select licensees.

The PEI Brewing Co. has begun their Christmas Growler Countdown, where they release a new, small batch beer for growler fills, every Friday leading up to Christmas. This week’s release is English Mild with Brett; it goes on tap at the brewery starting today at 4 pm.

Secret Cove Brewing has teamed up with Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi to brew The Rice is Right, a 4.8% ABV Session IPA. The beer is “crisp and smooth”, and features the addition of gelatinized Japanese rice.