Stillwell Beer Bar

All posts tagged Stillwell Beer Bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few News Bites today:

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

Happy entry into the long weekend! We naturally decided that the best place to grab your attention is while you’re at work, so that’s why we’re posting today, instead of tomorrow (that and we don’t really feel like working on a holiday either). So sit back with a coffee or beer and enjoy the latest in Atlantic Canadian beer news. Oh, and remember, Sunday is April 1st, so mentally prepare yourself… just a fair warning.

• Bootstrap BrewPub opens tomorrow at 184 Hampton Rd in Quispamsis. With a 240 litre brewing system onsite, the four brewers are launching with thirteen of their own beers to start, ranging from Blonde and Amber Ales, to NE and traditional IPAs, ESB and Stouts. Rounding out their 25 taps are a dozen guest ciders and beers from around the province. In addition to the beers, they will be serving small plates of food, ala food truck, to keep you satisfied. Concentrating on their own location, the only spot to try Bootstrap is at Bootstrap, and with so many different beers on the go and their small system size, you’ll want to keep an eye on their social media for frequent rotation (FB and IG). Help celebrate their opening from noon tomorrow, and stay tuned for a full Profile with them very soon. Congratulations to the Bootstrap crew!

• And in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the long-awaited opening of Scudrunner Brewing will soon be a reality. Owned by a group of pilots, the brewery is named after the practice of adjusting a plane’s altitude to avoid cloud and other poor weather. Their taproom at 131 Roe Ave in Gander is expected to be fully licensed and open for business next week, pouring the beers brewed on their 10 BBL (1200 litre) system. Pouring next week will be an Ordinary Bitter, an American Pale Ale (citrusy with a touch of haze), a hoppy Red Ale, and a mild-in-bitterness Dark IPA. When given the “cleared for takeoff” sign on social media (FB, Tw, IG), drop by for samples and pints, and take home a growler of your favourite brews. Congratulations to this crew on their inaugural flight!

• And in the “coming soon” category, New Scotland Brewing now has a home in downtown Dartmouth. Those who are familiar with New Scotland Clothing Co. might know from some of their social media that they’re getting into the craft brewing game. For everyone else, consider this your notice! Scott and Kevin Saccary, who founded the clothing company, are teaming up with their friend Mike Gillespie to bring New Scotland Brewing Co., a 5 hectolitre (4.5 BBL) brewery and 40-seat taproom to downtown Dartmouth, at 91 Alderney Drive. With an assortment of fermenters ranging from 150 to 1200L comprising their total fermentation capacity of 56hL, they intend to produce 5 “signature” brews alongside a wide range of “fun and sometimes experimental projects.” This will include various beer styles, with traditional Scottish and English styles represented, as well as more modern American styles (including wild ales and sours), and even ciders and meads (the term “session mead” was even mentioned)! Focus will be placed on sourcing ingredients locally, from malt to hops, fruit and vegetables, honey, herbs and even sea salt. Mike has also spent the last few years isolating wild microbes and is looking forward to leveraging those skills for the brewery. Sales will be largely through the taproom, with pints and growler fills available, although the occasional keg may escape captivity to other local establishments, and they do have access to a single-head canner for special limited edition runs. And in keeping with all three principals being active musicians, the taproom has been designed with the capacity for live music in mind, where local and out of town artists can come in and play an intimate show for a small audience. We’ve talked to enough folks who have set up breweries to know that things don’t always go as planned, but right now Mike, Kevin and Scott are hoping to open their doors in late summer; you can follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to see how that’s going and certainly check back here for a profile as the official opening day approaches.

• Switching from “opening soon”, to “recently opened”, Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, has two new beers on the go this week, both part of the Small Lot Series they use for experimentation and recipe refinement. The first is Sauvin Saison featuring the elusive Nelson Sauvin hop variety known for its white wine-esque qualities and a natural for pairing with the dry, often citrus and phenolic character of saison yeast. Built on a grist of largely Pilsner with some Vienna and wheat malts added, the result is a very dry beer with a lemon character from the yeast and gooseberry, mango and citrus notes from the hops. Reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it comes in at 45 IBU and 6.8% ABV. Also available this week is a new Belgian Tripel, a big’un tipping the scales at 37 IBU and a hefty 9.3% ABV. Using a different yeast and hopping regime than the last version of this beer has resulted in a more integrated beer than the last batch. That said, the beer is so popular that a grassroots campaign has been started amongst Tanner’s customers to generate enough pre-orders to justify a full-size 3 BBL batch! Look for both of these brews to be available at the brewery this weekend, Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12-5.

• Charlottetown’s Upstreet will be releasing the second in their new Neon Friday series (bi-weekly, hop-focused beers), Amarillo Orange Milkshake IPA. The name kind of gives it away, but we can fill in a couple of details! A Milkshake IPA featuring the usual addition of lactose in the boil (to provide a touch of residual sweetness, as well as additional mouthfeel), it was dry-hopped with the ultra-fruity Amarillo, and also features orange zest and vanilla extract added to the beer post-fermentation. At 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs, you’ll be able to find this one on Friday (of course!), on tap only at Upstreet for pints and growlers, and the new Craft Beer Corner for more of the same (plus crowlers!).

• Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. recently tapped their latest, SMaSH ’em Up. As you may have guessed, this is a Single-Malt-and-Single-Hop brew, featuring 2-row and Mosaic, respectively. Interestingly, the hops were added continuously over a 60-minute boil, with three dry-hop additions featured as well. The result of all this Mosaic is a “super fruity and bright IPA with pineapple, mango, and citrus aromas and flavours, and not a lot of bitterness”. The brewery also describes the beer as quite drinkable, despite an ABV of 7.6% ABV (and 56 IBUs). And for those thirsty fans not on the West coast of the province, we’ve got great news! For the first time, Bootleg’s beers are available in St. John’s! , with a keg of their Winter Ale on tap at Chinched Bistro, and the SMaSH ’em Up will be available soon at SETO Kitchen + Bar. And look for some coming soon at Quidi Vidi’s taproom, set to open in the next couple of weeks.

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new IPA to share this week called The Big Deal. Packed with Amarillo and Simcoe hops for a grapefruit and resinous punch, it’s 6% ABV, 70 IBU, and available at their taproom now along with a selection of their other hop-happy offerings and some guest taps as well. They’ll also be open tomorrow from noon ’til midnight for all your Good Friday beer needs!

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has added a new Assistant Brewer to their team, Steve Crane. With a solid homebrewing background over the past many years, and working and managing at local homebrew shop Noble Grape, this is Crane’s first foray into the commercial side of beer. And you don’t have to wait long to taste his first beer, First Kraken Brown Porter. The latest in the their Seventh Wave Series (small batch beers out every Thursday), this 5.5% ABV Porter features notes of coffee and roast on the nose, with flavours of raisin, plum, and caramel. Due to the batch size, First Kraken, and all others in the Seventh Wave, are only available on tap at the brewery on Frazee Avenue, so drop by today on your way home from work.

• The gang at Niche Brewing has yet another new beer for us this week (although we’ve been promised a little break in the debut action coming up) and once again it sees them taking a well-known style, IPA, and taking it a little bit off the beaten path. The Best of Both Worlds brings a Belgian flair, with Pilsner, Aromatic and Wheat malts forming the grist and a Southern Hemisphere twist from the use of Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hops at the the end of the boil and for two dry-hop additions. Fermented with a combination of two different yeast strains, it’s got a light spice character, a complex mix of fruit notes that includes passion fruit and stone fruit, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel all leading to a dry finish. They’re calling this light orange 6.4% ABV beer a “Belgian IPA” but it’s certainly open to interpretation. Look for it to appear at Niche accounts in the region and order a pint so you can decide for yourself! And for a glimpse behind the taps at Rob and Shawn from Niche Brewing, grab this week’s 902 BrewCast, when Kyle and Tony dropped by their Hanwell brewery to talk about all things brewing (homebrewing and commercial), cleaning (there’s a lot of that!!), and the future of Niche.

• Next week’s Good Robot beer releases are locked and loaded, so let’s start off with their latest Alpha beer, which will see the light (of your stomach?) next Thursday, April 5th. But Wait, There’s More! IPA involved some new ingredients and techniques for the GR crew, including experimental hop HBC 342, the aroma of which has been described as “mild, pleasant, citrusy and tropical, with some notes of melon” (hops don’t get those catchy names until they’re widely available for sale). The brewing staff also played with the method of biotransformation, where dry hops are added during active fermentation, as opposed to afterwards. In a nutshell, it involves active yeast ingesting hop oils and turning them into different compounds, resulting in an entirely new hop profile in the finished beer. It’s a method that has been increasing in popularity in homebrewing and professional brewing circles for the last couple of years. Good Robot’s take clocks in at 6.6% ABV and 91 IBUs.

• And for Good Robot’s Beta brew, they bring us Como Bailamos. The brainchild of employee Nicki Brown, the idea was to mimic Mexican chocolate. The beer itself is a Porter brewed with plenty of dark malt, along with cocoa nibs, chocolate malt, chocolate extract and Bird’s Eye peppers (7-8 times higher on the Scoville scale than jalapenos). The result? A spicy (surprise!), chocolatey beer with lots of roast character; 4.6% ABV, 26 IBUs. Look for it on tap at the brewery this coming Tuesday.

• Moving through Halifax to Tidehouse, who will be releasing the poignantly-named Honeypepper Don’t Give a Frig this weekend. A 6.4% ABV American IPA brewed with 2-row, Honey malt, Melanoidin and Vienna, some real honey and black peppercorns were added at the end of the boil, along with a “goodly dose” of Centennial hops. With a “sweet, malty taste and a light, spicy note topped with Centennial citrus/floral hoppiness”, it still finishes quite dry. Look for it in tiny pours and growler fills at the brewery taproom. But that’s not all! They’ll also soon be releasing this year’s version of their Baltic Porter, Baltimax. With a base of Munich malt, and additions of Crystal Wheat, Crystal 120 L, and Midnight Wheat in the grist, this iteration was hopped entirely with Saaz. Weighing in at 7% ABV, look for this one on tap, soon.

• Good Friday isn’t stopping the folks at TrailWay from releasing their newest weekly creation, as Mood Ring – their latest Imperial IPA – available on tap and in cans tomorrow. Hopped with two of the brewery’s favourite varieties – Ella and Mosaic – this 8% ABV beer has a “unique, distinct dank fruitiness, and massive tropical fruit”. Light-coloured and smooth like most of their hoppy releases, this one is going to be available at the brewery only.

• This past weekend marked the finals of the Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge, with homebrewers from across the Maritimes sharing their skills in recipe creation and execution, with all starting from the same box of ingredients. With 25 entries, the competition was stiff, but after blind judging earlier in the week, and then a great round of presentations and more judging Sunday, there could only be one winner. Our own acbbaaron was the victor, with his Oh Snap! American Brown Ale with Ginger taking high points in both the presentation and creative use of ingredients (that ginger was separated piece by piece from the allotment of green tea, and he made his own inverted sugar from the dextrose provided). An extremely close second was Derek Woods’s Bursted IPA, which had taken top honours in the blind tasting, and was helped by Wood’s debut in the East Coast rapping scene during his presentation. Third place went to Derek Gates and Aaron Hebb for their Oatmeal Stout, who bribed the judges (and the rest of the attendees) with homemade oatmeal stout cookies. Always a great time catching up with fellow members of the homebrewing community, the event was very well attended, and beside a few nervous presenters, everyone was in high spirits. Look for Oh Snap!, and maybe a few others in the finals), to make their debut in the coming months.

• It looks like PEI Brewing Co. is continuing to brew new beers for the one-off After Hours series, with their newest brew – Cuvée La Joye – also being the first of the series to be bottled. Falling in the Belgian Golden Strong style (think Belgian Tripel, but a usually a bit stronger, paler, and drier), this particular brew was aged for 8 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and then blended with a younger, non-barreled beer to dampen the barrel character slightly. With lots of Pilsner malt in the grist, the beer was hopped with European varieties to add some spiciness to go with the yeast character. It’s available in 750 mL bottles at the brewery taproom starting today, and at 9% ABV, is probably best shared with one or two others! Expect more After Hours beers (specifically, three of them) to be released soon, over time.

• After almost two years of great success, Charlottetown’s HopYard – a beer bar focusing on regional beers, an excellent, rotating food menu, vinyl, and relaxed vibes – has announced that they will be opening a Halifax location, at 2103 Gottingen Street. Co-owner Mike Ross has assured us that the same HopYard experience will carry over to the Halifax location, with a simple-yet-eclectic menu that changes every two weeks, and plenty of vinyl supplied by Back Alley Music in an environment with approximately 125 seats. And, naturally, beer! Ten rotating taps will feature you favourites from across the Maritimes. An exact date for the grand opening hasn’t been set, but expect to see their doors open sometime this summer. Peep their HopYard Halifax FB page for details along the way.

• It’s a homebrew kind of week here in the region, as Garrison Brewing is also celebrating these amateurs brewers with the announcement Gala for their 10th Annual Home Brew-Off this evening. From 45 entries in the Kolsch category, the top 4 have been decided, with the ultimate winner announced this evening at the brewery. That also means that last year’s winning beer will be debuting at the brewery this evening. Rowdy Roger Piper is the winning recipe brewed by Roger Ringuette to win the 2017 edition of the competition, and was re-brewed in the fall on Garrison’s system, with Ringuette joining Brewmaster Daniel Girard and Brewer Kellye Robertson on the day. With a malt bill of 2-Row Maritime Pale, Amber, and Crystal malts, plus Flaked Oats and Roasted Barley, this 7.8% ABV dark brown beer lets the malt shine through with caramel, dried fruit and licorice flavours, lightly hopped to 22 IBU with Willamette. From Girard, “You don’t need to know how good this beer is to know how good this beer is. With its sweet maltiness & full bodied flavour, 2017 Home Brew-Off Winner Roger Ringuette delivered the goods & now its time to pay the piper.” 650 mL bottles of Rowdy Roger Piper will be available to the public tomorrow at the brewery, and eventually at NSLC locations across the province.

• Launching on Monday is the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia‘s community beer, Made Here By Us. Released to celebrate the CBANS Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week, April 27 to May 6, this 5.0% ABV was brewed at Tatamagouche, at the end of February, with more than 25 member breweries in attendance to take part in the fun, all while swapping stories (and beers). The beer features Pale, Vienna, Wheat, and Cara malts, all from the valley’s Horton Ridge Malt, for an amber colour and clean malt character. The Crystal hops for the beer came from Tata’s hop farm in Malagash, with a light addition of Tettenang for a Noble spicy character. As for the yeast, the brew team used a wild yeast collected from a Pincherry on Big Spruce in Nyanza (and isolated and grown up by Escarpment Labs). This Amber Table Beer’s yeast character shines through nicely, with spiciness characteristic of Belgian Dubbel or Blonde beers, enhanced by the Noble hops. The beer is being released in cans at the NSLC province-wide April 2nd, as well as at Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar.  $1/can is going to CBANS efforts to improve the brewing scene for all in the province, through promotion and increasing the voice of the local brewing community. Keep an eye on their (and our) social media as the schedule for next months’ NS Craft Beer Week is finalized, and we encourage you to grab a few cans of Made Here By Us to help support the cause.

What’s on the go this weekend?

Boxing Rock will be taking over the taps at Lion and Bright from 5PM today. With 7 taps flowing at a time (plus extra kegs to rotate in during the evening), there will be a mix of Classic BR beers, as well as some new favourites, recently released. Chef Tyrone will have plenty of beer-friendly bites to serve up, and DJ Loukas Stilldrunk will start spinning tunes starting at 9PM. Come chat with the cool cats from Boxing Rock (and wish co-owner/-brewer Henry Happy Birthday!) all evening long.

• A reminder that Stillwell is welcoming a bevvy of London-area breweries to take over their taps on Saturday, March 31st. From Bitters, Session IPAs, to hazy NEIPAs there should be something for everyone on tap from noon. And for those of the cider persuasion, mark your calendars for April 7th, as Revel Cider from Guelph will be featured on tap. Revel’s motto seems to be “less [interaction] is more”, as their ciders are spontaneously fermented and barrel-aged and blended at packaging, making them an easy sell for those of us who enjoy the wilder side of beer.

• Garrison has announced the line-up for their Backlot Bash, taking place Saturday June 16th. Juno Award-winning The Glorious Sons will be joined by The Motorleague and Hello Delaware. And fans can help shape the rest of the line-up by taking part in Live 105’s Battle for the Bash Contest. More details on their website. As usual, proceeds are going to the Ecology Action Centre, and tickets went on sale this morning!

Just a few newsbites today:
– In late-breaking news today, Lunenburg’s Grand Banker has announced that they will be adding a brewery to their location this summer. Shipwright Brewing will start on a small system on the first floor of the building, and expand to another location on Victoria Road later on. Keep an eye on their FB page, and here, for their progress.
Nine Locks has brought back their Watermelon Blonde this week, and the brewery is the only spot to pick it up at this time.
– Brewed as part of Pink Boots Brew Day, Petit-Sault is celebrating the release of Phémie-la-Bootlegger. A 4.6% ABV “maple chocolate truffle” Porter, it features maple syrup from local producer Montagne Verte. Available in bottles and on tap at the brewery in Edmundston, it may also make it to Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing, as Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos took part in the brew day.
Tusket Falls Brewing on the South Shore has released a Kettle Sour this week, Left Right Here. Details on the beer are thin at the moment, but we’ll update once we know more.

A quick reminder to double-check that your favourite brewery or retail location is open before visiting tomorrow/Sunday/Monday, as many are adjusting their hours this Easter Weekend. Cheers!

While it may not exactly look it today, we marked the end of Winter, and beginning of Spring, this week. Apparently no one told the meteorologists! Let’s hope these are the last throes of the white stuff for another 9 months, and the weather can turn a bit warmer, with all of those great local hop and grain crops beginning their journey up from the soil, and (eventually) into our glasses. Cheers!

• Yesterday, Lunn’s Mill introduced two new one-offs to their taproom line-up in Lawrencetown. The first is You Can Call Miel, a Saison brewed with Pilsner malt and hopped with Hallertau. When fermentation with French Saison yeast was about complete, they added some locally-produced honey from Sophie’s Bees to allow the beer to dry out even further. After a long aging period (3 months) the beer was finally packaged, exhibiting “delicate honey aromatics and a soft, funky finish” to go with it’s 7.5% ABV package. Next up is 2×4, the brewery’s 100th batch, and their first Double IPA. Incorporated in the grist was some Rye malt from Horton Ridge, to add just a touch of spiciness to the flavour. The beer was double-dry hopped with four different varieties – Azacca, Ekuanot, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria – giving “bold notes of resin, orange pith, tropical fruit, and pine”. This is another big beer, at 8.6% ABV and 100+ IBUs, and both one-offs have very limited availability, with samples and pints only pouring at the taproom (no growlers, sorry). Those of you in Halifax just may see a keg or two pop up, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.

• There’s a whole lot of Good Robot beer flowing at the brewery’s popular taproom on Robie St., with ten different brews pouring as we speak (read?)! And in new beer news, they’ve got one in Alpha, and one in Beta. Let’s start with Alpha, which is Into the Warmth, their latest collaboration with the gents behind the Sickboy Podcast. Falling loosely in the English IPA category, the grist is made up of Maris Otter and Flaked Barley, with a wide variety of hops (some not-so-traditional for an English IPA) being added, such as Belma, Centennial, and Fusion. Fermented with the classic London ESB yeast, it comes in at 6.1% ABV and approximately 60 IBUs; proceeds will benefit Out of the Cold, an emergency winter shelter in Halifax. In Beta news, The Mac was brewed with local homebrewer John MacPhail. Loosely (again?!) based on a White IPA, the beer was brewed with 2-row, Wheat malt, Flaked Corn, and a touch of Vienna, and hopped with El Dorado, Wai-Iti, Mandarina Bavaria, and Zythos. They also took the “why not?” approach for a change (it’s about time!) and threw in some orange peel and Grains of Paradise, and fermented the whole thing with California Ale yeast. Easy-drinking, dry, and crisp at 4.4% ABV and 60 IBUs.

• Fredericton’s TrailWay has their latest American IPA, Good Weather, hitting taps today. If you’re angered by the name, settle down, it could hit any day now, right? As for the beer, this is another of their pale-coloured, easy-drinking hoppy beers, with some candied melon notes thanks to the addition of one of the brewery’s favourite hop varieties, El Dorado. A new experimental variety, BRU-1, was also thrown in; this Yakima Valley hop has been reported to give characteristics of pineapple and stone fruit, with a bit of spice in the background. Now’s your chance to see for yourself, with cans and growlers of this 6.5% ABV IPA available at the brewery starting today.

• The fine gentlemen at Niche Brewing are bringing out yet another new beer this week, marking four weeks in a row (and six of the last seven!) for Niche beer releases. And if you consider there’s been at least one two-release week in there, they’re averaging at least one new beer a week over that span; we’re starting to think just maybe they had a collection of tried and tested recipes all ready to go when they opened last Fall… This week’s new one, Chromatic by Design is in the Red IPA style, a solid 6% IPA beer that’s dark amber and lightly hazy with some toffee and light caramel notes. The body is balanced by a big, juicy tropical presence brought by Citra, Equanot, and Mosaic. Look for it where you usually find Niche beers, at tap accounts in Fredericton and other New Brunswick environs, but occasionally in Nova Scotia (and PEI soon maybe?) as well.

• Down at the far end of the Valley in Annapolis Royal, small batch specialists Annapolis Brewing have two new beers on the go. The first, M*A*S*H Valley Pale Ale, is sort of named for the old TV show but really for the Mosaic, Amarillo, Simcoe and Horizon hops that went into brewing it. The 5.7% ABV beer sports 41 IBU with a grain bill of mostly 2-row accented by a bit of Maris Otter and some medium crystal. A big addition of Mosaic at flameout defines this beer, giving a hoppy jolt on the nose and palate. The other new beer is a Black IPA they’re calling Big Shot. Weighing in at a hefty 7.1% ABV and 60 IBU, it’s a heavy hitter with Chinook, Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Cascade hops all bringing their own characters to the mix. The final hit, a dry hop of Amarillo, accentuates the hint of smoke. The team is confident enough in this beer that it’s been entered for judging in the Canadian Brewing Awards that will be hosted in Halifax in May.

• And not to be outdone, our downtown big city small batch brewery, Tidehouse, has two beers coming out this week as well. The first is an exclusive beer for Tidehouse’s regular tap account showcase, aFrite Restaurant, just in time to accompany their Apple Burger being served up for Halifax Burger Week. Belcher’s ESB was brewed with Maris Otter, Crystal Wheat and Flaked Corn with a touch of Pale Chocolate. Hops-wise, it’s flavoured with the American version of the classic British Fuggle strain, known as Willamette (for the river valley in Oregon in which it took hold) before fermentation with a blend of ester-y British yeast strains. We’re told that it’s “fruity, with a pleasant lightly roasty malt flavour” and that it comes in at a very quaffable 5.5% ABV. Also on the go is a second beer from Tidehouse in the Norwegian Farmhouse style. NORDWAVE is a simple beer, with only a base of 2-row pale malt, a touch of aromatic malt and Warrior hops creating a wort that was fermented by the Sigmund Voss Kveik strain. Super sessionable at 4.4% ABV, it’s got notes of sweet orange on a tart base with a hint of funkiness. This one’s available for tasters and fills at they #TinyTastyBeverageRoom on Salter Street.

Trider’s has brought back one of their most popular beers, Maccan Maple, for the season. With fresh, Cumberland County maple sap replacing water in the brew process, the brewery describes this as an Amber Ale. A sweet-tasting Amber Ale, thanks in part to the addition of pure maple syrup during both fermentation and conditioning, it was hopped with English Fuggles to help complement the “intense earthiness” of the brew. Easy-drinking at just 5% ABV, they brewed twice as much this year compared to last, but it’s still expected to go fast. It’s available now in growlers and bottles, with some kegs being sent out to select tap accounts.

• The folks at Halifax’s 2 Crows brewing have a pair of releases set to launch tomorrow at their taproom. First teased at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest earlier in the month, Maestro is set to make its full debut. This 4.0% ABV Gose was brewed with Pilsner and Wheat malts, along with a touch of raw wheat. Keeping in line with the tradition of the style, the hopping rate is very low, lightly dosed only in the mash tun. There were boil additions, however, consisting of sea salt and coriander. Transfered directly to one of their foedres (large volume wooden barrels), it was first soured with Lactobacillus Plantarum, and then further fermented with the “Amalgamaton” blend of Brettanomyces strains. After a few months of conditioning, allowing the Brett to express themselves, the beer is now ready for our enjoyment. Maestro will makes its debut tomorrow at noon, available on tap, and in cans to take home.

• 2C’s second beer release this weekend is a by-the-glass only release named Heartbreaker. At 5.2% ABV, this hoppy Brett beer features a malt bill of Pale malt, along with Flaked Oats and Barley. Hopped to 40 IBU with BelmaCitra, and Hallertau Blanc in the boil, it was dry-hopped with healthy dose (2kg/hl) of Galaxy and Simcoe before release. In between all of those hops, the fermentation profile was nothing to scoff at: First fermented with “Hothead” yeast from Omega Yeast Labs, and then conditioned for three months with “All The Bretts”. Originally destined for a canning run, the dry-hopping proved so aggressive that they lost more than anticipated to trub (hop matter), and decided to flip the script and release it on draught only, saving all of those hearts from being broken completely. Grab this tropical, funky, dank, yet dry brew from opening at noon tomorrow. And while you’re grabbing the two new releases, check out the pop-up restaurant, by friends Buttered Bliss, featuring several different grilled sandwiches on their menu.

Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville introduced their Cider Club to the general public earlier this week. Membership allows access to special releases selected by their cidermaker, Melanie Eelman, many in very limited quantity. Twice a year, there will be 6 different ciders made available, either exclusive to the Club, or a re-visit of previous “Something Different” releases. During those bottle pick-up events, a guided tasting of the ciders, as well as discussion and the sharing of ideas on what future releases may be. Open to members across the country, those unable to attend can have their bottles shipped to them. While the initial membership run has filled up, check out their page for further details and to sign up to the waitlist.

Just a few events to tell you about this week, so be sure and get out to support your local brewery and good beer bar!

• A reminder that tomorrow is Peche Mortel Day at Fredericton’s King Street Ale House, Halifax’s Stillwell, and Moncton’s Tide & Boar. Featuring a half-dozen different iterations of the Imperial Coffee Stout, including different coffee, hopping levels or alcohol content, there should be something for everyone looking for a solid pint of stout.

• Halifax’s Lion and Bright will be hosting a Boxing Rock Tap Takeover on March 29th, featuring eight different beers from the Shelburne brewery. While the taplist has not yet been released, we expect to see a wide variety of brew pouring, with the BR crew on hand to chat and share the latest news and views from the South Shore. Check the FB Event page for more details leading up to next Thursday.

 

• On March 31st, Stillwell is welcoming eight (*!) London breweries to their wall, the latest in their efforts to give the local good beers fans exposure to brews from around the world. New wave London breweries including Brixton, Canopy, and Partizan have sent over a slew of kegs for enjoyment from noon on Saturday, so be sure to drop by for a taste from across the pond. Check out the full brewery list here, with the taplist reveal expected next week.

• Due to overwhelming response, a second session of the St John’s BrewFest has been added. Coupling with the Saturday evening session is one from 6-10 PM Friday, April 20th, with all other details being the same. Your $30 ticket gets you in the door, your welcome beer and a couple of tokens to get you going on your next beer. Additional beers will require tokens, sold in books of ten. The beer list is still expanding, but take a gander at their site and Facebook for the latest updates.