Spindrift Brewing

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With the weather forecast looking pretty dang fine for most of our region, and now that we seem to have finally reached the magical, “hot days, cool nights” portion of the summer, all we need is for our local beer producers to step up and keep things interesting. And wouldn’t you know it, it appears they have! Read on for the latest beer news from around Atlantic Canada, including plenty of new and re-appearing beers, a new venue in Halifax, and not one, but TWO homebrew competitions.

Halifax fans of local beer got some great news this week, as Boxing Rock unveiled their plans in the big city. The Shelburne brewery has opened up Test Kitchen, a pilot brewery in the Local Source Market space at 2530 Agricola Street. Brewing on a 120 litre (1BBL) system (with a pair of fermenters), this smaller brewhouse will allow them the opportunity to test out some brand new and innovative recipes, before possibly scaling them up to a full-sized batch of several thousand litres. They anticipate brewing a couple of times per month, with Tuesday’s inaugural brew being a collaboration with two-time Black Box Challenge winner Brian Harvey. Brewing onsite also gives Local Source the ability to sell Boxing Rock beer, as an extension of BR’s Retail license. With a dozen different full-time, seasonal, and test batch beers available in bottles, growler fills using their futuristic-looking Pegas CrafTap system, and a couple on tap at adjoining Lion & Bright, Agricola just got a little more South Shore. To accomodate all of us thirsty visitors, they’ve extended the hours of the shop a little later in the evening: M-W 9-7, Th 9-8, F 9-9, Sat 10-9, Sun 10-6. The beers are available at their retail location now, and they are holding a Grand Opening next Saturday, September 1 to celebrate. From 10AM, the first 250 folks to visit the location will receive a free limited-edition Boxing Rock growler (just pay for the fill). This is your key to savings, as it give the owner $2 off each 1.89 litre fill in both Halifax and Shelburne, for the life of the growler. You can also tour the brewery space out back to see what’s bubbling away, and maybe get a hint of what’s coming next. For those unable to attend next Saturday’s event, they are holding an online contest for their followers, you can learn more here. Congratulations to the Boxing Rock Crew!

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing is back with a brand new beer this week, the latest object of their love and appreciation of traditional styles and modern ingredients. New World is a Saison fermented with The Yeast Bay’s Saison Blend, which features two clean-fermenting Saison yeasts, and marks the first time they’ve used this blend. The simple malt bill consists of Pilsner and Wheat, with the yeast offering some spiciness and light minerality. The hops took a decidedly updated turn, with Citra and Ekuanot used lightly in the boil (sub-20 IBUs), with a larger dry-hopping of the same for citrus and tropical flavours and aromatics to complement the yeast. Kegs of this 5.1% ABV have been delivered around Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton, so keep an eye out for it as you hit the patios and barstools in the province this weekend.

Looks like the third entry in Breton Brewing’s Sour Sessions popped up on tap earlier this week; the latest in their rotating-fruit kettle sours brew features the addition of kiwi and passion fruit puree. The low IBUs (4) and sessionable ABV (4.2%) allow you to be able to drink this one in quantity, so you can enjoy the “crushable tartness and fruity finish” in what’s left of our beautiful summer weather. Drop by the brewery for a pint or growler, or look for it at a few select accounts in Halifax (including the Stubborn Goat and Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar).

Fresh off the opening of their expanded location and taproom earlier this month, Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery has a brand new beer to follow up with. The Little Lift is described by the brewery as a Session IPA, based at least in part on their The Big Lift IPA. Brewed with 2-Row, Munich malt, and a touch of Wheat, it was hopped late in the boil with Citra, Northern Brewer, and Palisade. Fermented with the East Coast yeast strain, it was then dry-hopped with more Palisade. Expect “lots of citrus aromas and flavours, with a crisp, full body” in this 5.6% ABV brew; drop by the new taproom to give it a try or fill up a growler.

In Dieppe, New Brunswick, Flying Boats has decided to experiment a little, by launching a Test Pilot Series. The first beer in said series is Test Pilot No. 1 – APA, a “hop-forward” American Pale Ale that features large whirlpool and dry hop additions of Azacca and Citra, two very expressive American varieties. The 5.6% ABV beer is a deep golden colour, and has “intense, tropical and citrusy flavours and aromas, with a lingering, soft, citrusy finish”, according to the brewery. It’s been on tap for the last few weeks, and is now also available in cans at the brewery, select ANBL stores, and Picaroons retail locations.

Looks like Good Robot has even more beer news than usual this week, to tag along with their Beta and Alpha releases. Let’s start with the “usual” – next Tuesday’s Beta will be Ringside Imperial, an Imperial Red Ale brewed with Pat King. Weighing in at 7.3% ABV and 42 IBUs, we don’t really have anything in terms of recipe details for you, but can confirm from GR that it’s a golden-amber coloured beer that leaves a “mild alcohol heat at the back of the palate”. As for next week’s Alpha brew, it’s the return of Leave Me Blue, the brewery’s award-winning 4.5% ABV Cream Ale. You’ll also see cans of El Espinazo del Diablo, their 5.7% ABV Mexican-style Lager with lime and jalapeno flavours, available as of today.

As for the other Good Robot snippets, they’re releasing two other Beta releases on Sunday for Flavabot, their “All-Day Island Party” that will feature plenty of food, games, music, and, naturally, beer. Back to that, the first beer is Stag A Lee (6% ABV, 20 IBUs), brewed with toasted coconut flakes. They then took some more toasted coconut flakes and soaked them in coconut rum, before adding to the beer after fermentation was complete. They’re describing it as a “rich, dark, tropical Porter”. Next is Calypso Gator (5.8% ABV, 81 IBUs), a White IPA with “hints of pineapple, grapefruit, and mangoes, with a nice, hoppy balance”. Be sure to drop by the event on Sunday to give these new beers a taste, and take part in the fun!

Do you remember the tasty, tasty release of Glou from Stillwell Brewing back in April? We sure do! It was a 6.2% ABV foedre-aged sour beer that had been aged on New York muscat pomace. In the forum of great news, bottles of Blend 2 of Glou will be released this Saturday at the brewery from 12-4 pm. The base beer for this blend is a sour that had been aging for almost a year in a foedre, atop the very same pomace used for Blend 1. Described as “floral and peppery on the nose, and deep and round in the middle, with a dry and snappy finish”, it sounds like they probably have another winner!

Lazy Bear in Smiths Cove debuted a new beer during their Growler Night at the brewery Thursday. My Old Friend is the barrel-aged version of their Hello Darkness Dark Saison. Sitting for 6 months in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, the beer picked up some vinous notes, as well as a touch of oak from the barrel itself, which complement the dark malt characteristics in the base beer. The resultant brew is 6.3% ABV, and will be available at the brewery and Annapolis Royal Farmers Market tomorrow, with a lone keg being tapped soon at Dartmouth’s Battery Park.

TrailWay is bringing back an old favourite today, with a twist that they’ve brought to some of their other more-popular beers. DDH Dunder is a double-dry hopped version of their “Australian Pale Ale”, Dunder, a 4.8% ABV brew featuring Australian hop varieties. The extra dose of dry hops has increased the “overripe fruit, dank, extremely tropical” qualities in the beer, according to the brewery. You can find cans exclusively at the taproom as of today; it’s also on tap there, and will likely be at a few tap accounts around New Brunswick.

In the heart of downtown Halifax, and brewing on a system barely larger than most homebrewers (😉), Tidehouse Brewing is releasing a pair of brand new beers today. The first is ESB Rights & Peace. Featuring traditional English hops East Kent Goldings and Fuggles, this 6.5% ABV brew is described by the brewery as “Simple and Crushable”. And the second beer joining it is Brew Swayne, a 5.0% ABV light and supremely easy drinking “Lawnmowing beer”, featuring Athanum, Belma, and Cascade hops, though added more for aroma and flavour than bitterness. You’ll be able to judge for yourself beginning at 2PM, when you drop by for a sample, glass, or growler fill at the brewery at 5187 Salter St. Just be sure to park legally while you pop in…

We have two homebrew competitions to tell you about this week, so all of you amateur brewers, pay particular attention!

The first is from Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing, whose competition is named “May the Best (Wo)Man-Darina Win!”. This competition is wide open to any style of beer, but offers a neat twist on traditional competitions: Spindrift wants to supply you with the hops! Wanting to shaowcase three new German hops, your $20 entry fee will include all of the Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon, or Mandarina Bavaria you may need for your recipe. We checked, and they say there’s no limit to the amount of hops they’ll send your way! Other hops can absolutely be used in the recipe, but the new-world Germans should make up more than 60% of the total hop mass. The deadline to register is September 14th, and you will need to include your recipe plan with your application form, so they can prepare your hops in advance. The beers are due Friday October 3rd, with the judging by Spindrift employees and BJCP judges happening before the Gala and bottle share on October 13th. The top 3 beers will receive prizes, with the top brewer having the opportunity to recreate their recipe on the Spindrift pilot system for later release, and plenty more hops and SD swag. Grab the Poster, Info Sheet, and Recipe sheet now.

The second homebrew competition is being held this fall by Quidi Vidi Brewery, in collaboration with the Newfermenters Homebrew Club. QV is looking to celebrate the great, and growing, homebrew community by releasing a 4-pack of amateur-brewed beers across the province. There are no restrictions on the style you can brew, and entrants will be welcomed to the brewery to present your recipe, beer, and passion for the craft. Submissions are due October 20th, with the presentations and Awards happening at a later date. The winners’ pack will be available in the NLC in early 2019. You can learn more here, and by emailing your intent to enter (and ask questions) to newfermenters@gmail.com.

Speaking of Quidi Vidi, they are looking for an experienced Operations Manager to join their team, to oversee all of their production. Managing the brewing, packaging, storing, and distribution of their beer is a monumental task, so they are looking for an exceptional candidate to take this on. Supply-chain management experience is an asset, as well as previous brewery and management experience. Check out the full posting here, and fire an email to jobs@quidividibrewery.ca by September 6th to apply.

Just one event to tell you about this weekend, but don’t be shy: get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts!

Fredericton’s The Joyce Pub is holding their second annual sour beer event, Tarte Diem II – 2 Sour 2 Acidulous, tomorrow, August 25th. At least 25 of the bar’s taps will be pouring sour beers from breweries in NB, NS, and PEI; for a sneak peek, check out this photo. There’s no charge to attend the event, just plan your attack and order by the pint or flight! It starts at 3 pm when the pub opens, and goes all day. As always, they’ll be serving their full menu to accompany your beers.

Just a couple more bits to tell you about before we let you go:

After a brief hiatus, Unfiltered has brought back their immensely popular DOA Double Orange Ale, their 2-Row and Citra SMaSH. HOWEVER, Nash has adjusted the grain bill slightly, and while you may not be able to tell right away, there is a second malt in there, so they’re calling it a DMaSH. Either way, the 7.5% ABV Double IPA, 100+ IBU beer is back on tap for pints and growler fills. No cans this time around, we thirsty patrons keep drinking it too quickly to give them a chance to restock! (Original version of the post did not include the DMaSH info, as it was not available at the time of posting)

In Clarenville, Newfoundland, the Newfoundland Cider Company has released their widest variety of blends so far. As part of their Forager series, they are now carrying a limited supply of Elderflower & Rhubarb, Wild Cherry & Rose, Lavender & Black Currant, Lilac, and Spruce Tip blends. In addition, growler fills of their Farm house and Cloudy Scrumpy, as well as 375 ml of Wild & Dry and Cloudy Scrumpy are also available. Drop by their spot at 24 Balbo Drive today and tomorrow, open Friday 1 – 6PM and Saturday 1 – 5PM.

Happy first day of Summer and longest day of the year, you’ve got more daylight today than any other day of the year during which to enjoy the fine beers of our region’s producers and it looks like the weather in most of Atlantic Canada is cooperating. So give a read below to see what might be new and interesting in your particular geographical corner of our burgeoning beer scene and get thee to a patio!! (Although if you’re in Newfoundland, maybe bring a sweater? Sawwy).

Starting up on the Rock, waaay up in Twilingate, where Split Rock Brewing has plenty on the go. First is the latest iteration of their Gateway, a 7.1% ABV India Pale Ale that’s been getting successively hoppier as batches have gone on in a possibly not-so-subtle effort to gently introduce modern IPAs to their local market. Featuring plenty of Cascade and Amarillo in both late additions and dry hops, they’ve now gotten it to where they want it, at least for the time being. Also released this week was Razzin’ Around, a Raspberry Wheat beer made with lots of real raspberry puree for aroma and flavor. Tart, but not sour, it still manages to have a crisp finish, making for a refreshing summer beer with a pleasant fruit kick. Lastly, but definitely not least, this weekend Split Rock is kicking off what is planned to be a series of sour beers, each of which will feature something different added to the base, which is a kettle sour using Pilsner and wheat that has been soured with a pure pitch of Lactobacillus plantarum. These beers will come in under the moniker of Sour Patch B’ys and the first has been dubbed Sour Patch B’ys: Citra, for the generous addition of Citra in the dry hop stage. Pale yellow in colour, this medium-sour beer has a lemony-lime tang and overall citrus flavor. You’ll find all three of these beers primarily at their brewpub, the Stage Head Pub (hours on their Facebook page), but some will no doubt make it to other parts of the province, most likely St. John’s (we can confirm that the Gateway IPA is on at Jack Axes and Razzin’ Around is at Fort Amherst Pub in Churchill Square).

Speaking of St. John’s, YellowBelly Brewery has a new beer pouring, a black IPA they’re calling Gravity Base, an homage to the many Newfoundlanders working in the oil and gas industries at sea and on land. This 5.3% ABV and 60 IBU brew is big and toasty, bready and bitter, with Pacific Gem, Citra and Topaz hops added in the boil and a dry hop of Motueka providing a fruity balance. Look for it on tap on site, pouring for pints and growler fills, and bottles to come this week.

And rounding out the Newfoundland news, over in the Southwest portion of the island in Corner Brook, Bootleg Brew Co. has a brand new beer on tap themselves. Drunken Muppet is an Extra Special Bitter ale aimed solidly at non-hopheads. Only 20 IBU and a fairly sessionable 5.0% ABV, it features hints of cocoa and coffee to accompany a light malt toastiness. Available only by the pint at the brewery.

Heading south to Nova Scotia, Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released another in their lineup of Black Box Challenge winners, Bursted! IPA. Brewed by Truro’s Derek Wood (known as Woody amongst the local homebrewing community), his runner-up entry took a different turn than the already-released Oh Snap! Ginger Snap Brown. Focusing on the plethora of hops provided in the box, he used Mosaic late in the boil, Cascade and Amarillo at flameout for a 30 minute whirlpool, and tons of all three in the dry-hop after the fact, extracting more aroma and flavour than bitterness and elevating this pale-coloured beer to new heights. As well as on tap and in growlers, look for bottles of the 6.5% ABV Bursted! at the brewery, their market stalls, and at the private stores in HRM this weekend.

Now that we’re officially into summer, Annapolis Brewing Company is ramping up their energy level to keep the thirsty Valley- (and Visiting-) folk happy. Now that their taproom is open at 302 St George Street, they have a pair of beers coming out in the next several days. Debuting this weekend is a brand new Session IPA named Cool Calm & Collected. “CC & C” also covers the hop side of the beer nicely, with Cascade, Chinook, and Citra coming together to provide a solid hop presence to a very sessionable 4.1% ABV beer. Expect this one to be a hoppy refresher for the deck or the dock this summer. And speaking of summer beers, expect to see Blockhouse Blonde back on tap early next week. Brewed with a combination of 7 malts and hopped with modern Ella and classic East Kent Goldings, it weighs in at 5.3% ABV.

In the big city, Stillwell Brewing has yet another double release happening tomorrow from 12 – 3 PM at their usual spot behind Propeller on Gottingen Street. If you’ve been enjoying the Poptones released two weeks ago but have been musing to yourself, “I say, this is a delightful farmhouse pale ale, but I do wonder what it might taste like if someone were to have aged it in oak barrels for a while,” you’re in luck! Adjust your monocle, good sir/madam, and peep the Poptones Remix. This beer went into Burgundy-style white wine barrels at the same time the OG Poptones was first put into bottles, so while it’s the same age, it grew up in a different part of town, so to speak. Still light and refreshing, but with some oak character, a deeper acidity and funkier flavors overall, it’s 5.3% ABV and displaying herbal and lemony notes with hay and funk. Also up on the block tomorrow is version two of Sport, which was a much bigger batch than the original, allowing more flexibility and variety in the blend. At 5.6% ABV, it’s light and refreshing, if a little heavier than last year’s version, and it once again features lime zest and sea salt to complement the subtle coconut character provided by the barrels. And if you want to get into these beers quickly without cracking into bottles, you’ll also find both on draught today at Stillwell HQ on Barrington, the first time they’re featuring Stillwell Brewing oaked farmhouse beers on tap!

Halifax nano Tidehouse is re-releasing their Cloud Shadow hopfenweisse again, this time in smaller bottles (340 mL vs 640 mL), but still packed with the same flavor. A hoppy wheat beer with Mandarina Bavaria and Ahtanum, expect citrus, tangerine and floral aromas and flavors balanced against a solid malt bill of 50/50 wheat and pale malts. There’s a bottle limit of 6 per person and you can only get them at the brewery on Salter Street starting today at 2 PM. And while you’re there, you might consider asking the helpful barperson for a pour (still only 4 oz, sadly, but only for 10 more days!) of another Tidehouse new release, a strong hoppy saison they’re calling Houndstooth. We’ll have more information on that one as its bottle release approaches in a couple of weeks, but you can get yourself a preview today!

A stone’s throw (OK, maybe a long drive on the fairway) up and over from Salter is Brunswick Street, where you can find a pair of new beers from 2 Crows Brewing’s fermenters. First up is a special collaboration with Coady and Griffin from Dartmouth cocktail and foodie hotspot The Watch That Ends The Night. Inspired by mixology, specifically a cocktail called the Last Word, and expressing brewer Jeremy Taylor’s love of gin (and giving him an excuse to walk over to TWTETN for “research”), Last Word started with a basic grist of Pilsner and wheat malts, with some raw wheat for character, and was lightly hopped in the boil with Halltertau Blanc and Calypso. From there it was fermented warm to encourage earthy and pithy grapefruit yeast character from the Brettanomyces strains used. This became the base for additional machinations centered around the various elements of the Last Word cocktail, namely gin, lime, chartreuse and maraschino, each in its own way. The gin is represented through the addition of juniper berries, coriander and orange peel, the lime by 5 cases worth of lime juice and zest, and the chartreuse by bay leaves and lemon verbana. The maraschino was creatively reflected by the use of mahleb, a spice made from cherry pits, that brings marzipan (sweet almond) and light cinnamon notes. Lastly, a small amount of sour beer was blended in for a bit of zip and to accentuate the lime character. For packaging the beer was keg conditioned with Champagne yeast to provide a tight effervescence. The result is definitely a beer, but one with a lot of subtle reminders of the cocktail. Lime is the dominant flavor, but there is also earthiness, the zip of the gin botanicals, some herbaceous notes, and a slight marzipan sweetness. You’ll find this one of a kind beer only on tap at the brewery and, of course, at The Watch That Ends The Night for now, with kegs possibly going out to other places in coming weeks.

The second of the pair is a pilot brew from Assistant Brewer (let’s be honest, these guys and gals do all of the hard work in breweries) Miles, and Assistant to the Brewer Nick. Retrograde is hoppy and hazy New England-style Pale Ale, available now at the brewery, only by the glass. The malt bill started out as one destined for a Saison, featuring Pilsner, Wheat, Rye, and Spelt, but this dynamic duo decided to cross the Atlantic mid-way through the boil and used loads of Azacca, Ella, Hallertau Blanc, and Loral hops, and fermented it with the darling of NEIPA beers, London Ale III. With more of the same hops added on the cold side, the flavour and aromas shoot through the roof, showcasing peach, pineapple and pear notes on a soft and pillowy base. As mentioned above, this 5.5% ABV beer is only available at the brewery by the pint, so don’t delay your visit to grab it!

Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, has released a new Belgian-inspired beer this week, but setting aside the wild and funkier side for a classic and clean one. Day Tripper is a Tripel, with a malt bill of primarily Pilsner malt, with a little Aromatic and Wheat malt as well, and hopped with the very traditional Saaz varietal to 24 IBUs. Using a traditional Trappist yeast strain which exhibits fruity esters, it melds well with the spiciness from the Noble hopping. With the light sweetness often found with Pils-heavy beers, it transitions to fruity and spicy, and finishes dry with a touch of alcohol warmth from the 8.4% ABV. It can be found around Fredericton at Graystone, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce, and kegs may be available further afield soon.

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has dropped the latest beer in their Scratch Series, this being release #11. 100% Brettanomyces is, you could probably guess, fermented solely with our favourite wild-but-domesticated yeast Brettanomyces. The straw-coloured base was lightly hopped (to 20 IBUs) with locally-grown Hallertau and Magnum from Darlings Island Hop Farm, before fermentation. The resultant beer is quite dry, with bright tropical fruity notes and a touch of funkiness from the yeast. As with the rest of these Scratch releases, this is a draught-only beer, so drop by the brewery, or check out the local haunts for your next pint.

PEI’s Upstreet Brewing is finally releasing a beer they say has been 548 days in the making (but who’s counting?). Part of their Million Acres series of barrel-aged farmhouse and sour beers, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Apple Brett Blonde Ale was brewed on December 21, 2016 and bottled some 9 months later in September of 2017. It’s been aged in those bottles for an additional 9 months, which brings us to today and its availability at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner. Blurring the line between farmhouse and orchard, expect an overall easy drinking beer, but with notes of interest from apples, Brettanomyces and Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon barrel. Although quantities are definitely limited, you might consider grabbing two of these and salting one away to see what another 9 months (or even 18) might bring to it. You can also try a glass on tap at both locations while it lasts.

Unfiltered Brewing on Halifax’s North Street has released their first bottled beer in a spell, Mise en Garde. This 10.8% ABV stunner is a Barleywine fermented with both American and Belgian yeasts, before being aged on oak. Today’s release is available in 500mL bottles (perfect for adding to the cellar), as well as on tap and in growler fills, but as the name implies, proceed with caution.

Good Robot on Robie Street has a pair of new beers hitting the taps next week, hot off the heels of their Halifax Beer North and South Double IPA collaborations, and the perhaps-aptly-named Sorry from the past week. On Tuesday the 26th, they’ll be releasing their latest Beta Brew, Four Freddy Beaches. Assistant Brewer and Beta Brewster Kelly Costello grew up in Fredericton (aka Freddy Beach), and recruited three high school classmates Jenni, Leah, and Ally to brew this one. This 5.3% ABV hoppy Pale Ale has a base of 2 Row, with some Cara Aroma, Red X, and a touch of Rye malts, and hopped in the boil with Warrior and Vic Secret, and dry-hopped with Belma.

On Thursday the 28th, GRBC will be releasing their latest big batch brew, Pterodactyl Song. A 4.8%  American Wheat named in honour of comedian Maria Bamford, the malt bill consists of 2 Row and Wheat, along with Vienna, Red Wheat and a bit of Honey Malt. Hopped to 23 IBUs with Warrior and Falconer’s Flight, this beer also received a dry-hopping treatment of Belma after fermentation.

And mark your calendars for their Hair of the Dog event at the Garrison Grounds (think the edge of Bell Rd at Sackville St) June 30th and July 1st. From 11-11 each day, this dog park/beer garden combination will be full of dogs and their owners playing fetch, rolling in the grass, and sniffing each others butts (mostly the dogs, we reckon). Pints of Good Robot will be available for purchase, plus there will be plenty of dog-related vendors as well as food trucks/tables. While admission to the grounds is free, donations and pint sales proceeds will be going to support the Nova Scotia SPCA and Halifax Pop Explosion. And in case you were wondering, no dog is needed to come hang out and pet the friendly mutts.

A couple more new and re-releases to tell you about, before you hit the nearest beer garden, patio, campground, or dock this afternoon

– Spindrift continues their Seventh Wave Series with Pineapple Pear, a 4.7% ABV unfiltered Helles this week. Lightly flavoured with pineapple and pear, the underlying beer is still the star of the show, giving a fine base for the fruit aroma and flavour. As always, these are only available at the brewery, and in short supply, so be sure to drop by today for a fill.
– North Brewing has a fresh batch of their Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale available at both their Halifax and Dartmouth locations, in both cans and on tap. This 4.0% ABV beer is full of hoppy goodness, but is all flavour and aroma with very low bitterness. The oats in the grain bill help to keep the beer from being too thin, despite its dry finish. And check out the Launch Party tomorrow night at Lion & Bright in celebration of East Coast Surf School.
– PEI Brewing Company is continuing their Growlers of Summer with Hopscotch Lager today. Think New England IPA, but fermented with a lager yeast, the beer features plenty of late- and dry-hopping on a base of light malts and oats to enhance the mouthfeel. Drop by at 4PM for your fill to start your weekend.
– Tanner & Co in Chester have a brand new beer on tap at the brewery this weekend. This Double IPA is a big one at 8.9% ABV, and features loads of Citra and Simcoe in the boil, and at multiple times during the dry hopping phase, ending up at 75 IBUs. Take a trip down Angus Hiltz Road this weekend to grab a growler.

Here we are on another Friday, with the official start of Summer just a week away – though maybe keep bringing your plants in at night, mkay? – bringing you the latest in beer news for the region. It’s a bit of a quiet week compared to some of the craziness of the last couple of months, but that certainly doesn’t mean there’s nothing exciting to tell you.

• Let’s lead off the news with a good story from Nova Scotia, which was made public by the NSLC and CBANS yesterday. Big changes are being implemented July 1st for NS breweries: those breweries who hold a hospitality license (which is many of the smaller spots) will have the option to pour in glasses larger than 4oz, saving glasses countless trips through the washer. The change comes just months after engagement with the Premier and other members of government during a “Meet Your Brewery” event attended by members of all parties, and the divisive beer brewed by Premier McNeil with one of the most vocal members of the province’s brewing industry, Jeremy White of Big Spruce. It really *is* all about engaging those in power, as well as the general population. Here’s hoping this change is only the beginning, as there are plenty more archaic rules in place that could be eased to further help the brewing industry in the province (and the whole region).

• One Nova Scotia brewery that is most-certainly ecstatic about this recent change is Halifax’s Tidehouse. They’ve been waiting for this day, and now that it’s finally here, they just so happen to have a brand new beer to serve you pints of in their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room! Pitcher’s Perfect Pineapple NEIPA was brewed with multi-hate-wearing-employee Mike Pitcher, and is indeed a NEIPA (at 6.3% ABV) brewed with Pale, Oats, Wheat, Munich, and Acidulated malts. Hopped at the end of the boil with Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial, and then more Citra and Amarillo a couple of days into fermentation, the juice factor was upped even higher by the addition of real pineapple in the fermentor at the tail end of the beer’s completion. Tasting like “hoppy pineapple juice”, you’ll be able to find it on tap and in bottles at the brewery, starting at opening (2PM) today.

• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock and Halifax’s Chain Yard have collaborated on a new beverage, possibly the first packaged example (or at least the first local example) of the classic beer/cider mix known as a “snakebite” to be available in NS. A 50/50 blend of Boxing Rock’s Hunky Dory Pale Ale, which features citrus zest and green tea, and Chain Yard’s Foundation cider, known for its tropical notes and light tannins, Snakebite is a 5.7% ABV product that features the best of both worlds. While it will be available in limited quantities at both Boxing Rock, who have some pre-filled growlers and a keg for 4 oz (or MORE?!) samples, and at Chain Yard, who have it on tap as well as in cans, the prime channel for acquiring some for yourself will be select NSLC stores across the province.

• We don’t know whether many people outside the area are aware, but the location of Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay is very close to a spur of the old Halifax to Yarmouth H&SW rail line – Halifax and South Western, which locals repurposed to “Hellish, Slow & Wobbly” based on the travel experience. This line, whose bed has since been repurposed as a recreational trail, is symbolic of a beer brewed at Saltbox in collaboration with Railway City Brewing in St. Thomas, ON. Railway City’s brewer is Amanda Fehr, sister of Saltbox’s own brewer Jeremy Fehr, and the siblings came together during the week of the Canadian Brewing Awards to brew a New England IPA. Called The Last Spike, this easy drinking 5.8% ABV beer features big citrus and pineapple flavors with very little bitterness. Perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon on a patio, possibly while watching some soapbox races…Speaking of which, a reminder that the Saltbox Soapbox Derby is tomorrow down Clearway St. in Mahone Bay with all proceeds going to Bayview Community School Breakfast Program. There are 28 entrants across the 4 classes this year with participants ranging in age from 4.5 to 67 years old!!

• Our friends at Tatamagouche Brewing have been gearing up for their big 4th birthday celebration this weekend, and one of the ways they’re celebrating is with a new beer release, Salt Water Cowboy. This one is a Gose that was soured with a co-pitch of a Kolsch yeast strain and a strain of Lactobacillus, and fermented in tequila barrels. The 4.4% ABV beer was aged in the barrels for four months, and then an additional period on lemon peel, to play up the tequila, salt, and citrus character. With a subtle flavour on all fronts (including the barrel character), it’s meant to be easy-drinking and refreshing, as all good Goses should be! You’ll be able to find it on tap at Tata tomorrow, with bottles being released sometime over the coming weeks. And a reminder since last week’s post, they’ll have Route 6 Food Truck onsite all day, live music, social media contests and real-life games, plus a Nothing But The Hits taplist pouring (sorry, still only in 4oz glasses for now!): Amrita, Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, Crack of Dawn Breakfast Porter, Guava Heist, Lagerhosen, and the aforementioned Salt Water Cowboy.

• Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has another brand new beer dropping this week, Into the Wild. Fermented solely with Brettanomyces Claussenii (Brett C rather than Saccharomyces), this IPA straddles the line between “clean” and “wild”, with both the hops and yeast working together for a fruity tropical and juicy beer. In the boil, and again in the fermenter, Azacca and Vic Secret were used to impart citrus, mango, and pineapple flavour and aromatics, which is further enhanced by the pineapple and a touch of funk from the yeast. The 6.6% ABV beer has a soft and smooth mouthfeel and finishes rather dry, setting you up for your next sip (or pint!). The Niche crew have sent the beer to the bars and restaurants in the area, so keep your eyes peeled for its tapping. In Fredericton: The Snooty Fox, King Street Ale House, and The Joyce Pub; in Saint John: Peppers Pub, Lemongrass Thai Fare, and Saint John Ale House.

• The Good Robot new beers continue, with their latest Beta batch being Rosemary Was A Boy, a 5.5% ABV Witbier. Brewed with graphic designer Margot Durling, the simple grain bill of 2-row and Wheat malt was rounded out with boil additions of Mittelfrüh hops, coriander, orange peel, and, of course, rosemary. Expect your typical Witbier experience – fruity and spicy, light and refreshing – with a touch of rosemary character to complement; check it out next Tuesday.

• Over in PEI, Montague’s Copper Bottom is ready to release the collaboration beer they brewed a few weeks ago with L’Espace Public, a Montreal taproom with a brewery in-house. Patio Beer is a 4.5% ABV kettle sour that was brewed with a grist made up of only 2-row malt. Soured with a pure pitch of Lactobacillus, the wort was then boiled and hopped very lightly with Centennial. Later in the process, they added a plethora (such a great word!) of juices, made up of equal parts strawberry, cranberry, tart cherry, and wild blueberry juice. The brewery describes the beer as “light on the sourness” with a present-but-not-overpowering juice presence. Head on over to the taproom tomorrow for a taste; it’ll be available in pints, growlers, and cans. They’ll also be serving up oysters from Chef Robert Pendergast from 4-8 pm to celebrate.

• Meanwhile, in Charlottetown, Upstreet will have cans and kegs of their latest Neon Friday release, Oat Cream IPA with Cashmere. These beer names pretty much describe themselves, meaning less typing for us! But if you’d like us to be clear, it’s an American IPA with Oats in the grist, and lactose powder in the boil. Double-dry hopped with Cashmere (an American variety that exhibits lemon, lime, and melon characteristics), they’re describing the final product as having “an easy-drinking sweetness that’s juicy and clean”. As always, it’ll be available at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner.

• There are three new beers available from Off Track this week, proving that they’re not planning on slowing down with experimenting in the near future. Here are the Cole’s Notes for all of them: Pull the Pin IPA (5.5% ABV, 57 IBUs), an American IPA hopped entirely with Centennial; Base is Loaded (5% ABV, 37 IBUs), an easy-drinking APA hopped with Cascade, Falconer’s Flight, and Belma; and Cherry-BOMB (4.2% ABV, 22 IBUs), a “Cherry Chocolate Kolsch”. This last one was attempted after the release of their Coconut Kolsch for the Stillwell Open in May, with the cherry adding a slight tartness. And there’s more that just beer news going on at Off Track – their patio is now open for the season, they’ve paired up with On the Wedge to offer food options, and they have stainless steel growlers now available for purchase. Finally, this Sunday they will be donating $1 from every pint, grunter and growler fill towards a Father’s Day charity.

Last week we mentioned the Toast the Coast event happening next Thursday at the Stillwell Beer Garden, and we’ve been able to gather a bit more intel to pass along. Here’s what we have on a few of the beers that will be pouring….

This Beer is Toast! (Garrison) – The grist for this one features Pale Ale and Wheat malt… and bread. Yes, 25% of the grist is made up of “fresh-but-past-code” bread from some local bakeries. Hopped with Hallertau and Cascade to 20 IBUs, this 5.5% ABV Saison has “light malt, bready-dough and toasty flavours, with a dry and effervescent finish”. A portion of all sales will go to Feed Nova Scotia.

Sorry (Good Robot) – Speaking of bread, Good Robot teamed up with Stone Hearth Bakery to brew this one, adding some of their toasted, light rye bread that was slightly past its date. The bread went into a second mash, after the first with Pilsner, Flaked Barley, Vienna, and Flaked Oats. Hopped with Ekuanot and Magnum in the boil, they also added some lactose and carob powder. Once fermentation was complete, they went further, and threw in a little coconut, more chocolate, and coffee beans. We’re not really sure if this beer has an official “style”, but it weighs in at 6% ABV and 55 IBUs, and pours  a “pale orangey colour”. A portion of sales will go to Bryony House.

Wheatly Edition (Off Track) – This 4.2% ABV, 22 IBUs American Wheat Ale was hopped with Belma and Huell Melon to “highlight the tropical, honey dew flavours”, and also has notes of pineapple. A portion of sales will got to SPCA Nova Scotia.

You’ll also see products from Propeller, Spindrift, Brightwood, and Boars Back Cider, all supporting other local charities.

There’s a couple of events going on in Nova Scotia over the next couple of weeks that we’d like to point out:

• There are still some tickets left for Garrison’s Backlot Bash, happening tomorrow, June 16th, at the Cunard Centre in Halifax. This fundraiser for the Ecology Action Centre will feature beer and cider, axe throwing, food trucks, skate demos, and plenty of live music. Tickets are $39.10, and can be purchased here.

• Sydney’s Breton Brewing is throwing a big party they’re calling Under the Breton Sky on Saturday, June 30th. Featuring Matt Anderson & the Bona Fide, Dave Sampson with Band, Slowcoaster, The Jordan Muycsyn Band, and The Carmen Townsend Band as well as, no doubt, plenty of Breton beer. Early bird tickets have come and gone, but General Admission are still available at $55 and will also be available the day of the event at $65. If you’re really enthused by the bill, you might consider the VIP Package at $75, which includes access to the beer patio, tap room, and the front of the stage. All tickets are available on-line and be aware that those prices are irrespective of taxes and fees.

And lastly, before we let you go:

Halifax’s Spindrift has been subtly tweaking their core brands (Killick Session Lager, Knotty Buoy Pils, and Coastal Lager) and are encouraging consumers to visit the brewery to try the new versions while they’re fresh for comparison. The new batches are currently being sent to stores, as well. Both Killick and Knotty Buoy are available now, with Coastal Lager appearing on July 4th. Also, look for Keller-Hell, Keller-Pils and Keller-Amber available on draught at the brewery and select bars and restaurants.
TrailWay is releasing their latest American IPA, All Can Phil (6.5% ABV) today at the brewery, featuring some of their favourite hops (no specifics on which ones). They describe it as having a “big, juicy/clean citrus front and a tangerine sweetness to finish it off”; available in cans and on tap at opening today.