Stillwell Brewing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a week! We’ve had wild weather across the region, big news from the Nova Scotian government on personal alcohol importation limits (good news at that!), and more than a dozen brand new beers pouring in the region. Let’s get right to it, so you can get out the door and pick up those gifts for the beer-lovers in your life (but start with yourself first!).

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen a new bottle release from Stillwell Brewing (the last was Five, brewed to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Bar Stillwell), but thankfully they’ve got a brand new one dropping for us all tomorrow. The high majority of Stillwell’s beers require time and patience on the brewery’s part, but tomorrow’s beer, Auld, takes that level of waiting even further. An Old Ale, the beer was brewed in early June of 2017. Fermented with their house culture, and aged in their smallest former-Cognac foeder for one year, it was then packaged and bottle-conditioned for another six months. Sure, it’s a strong one (at 9.5% ABV), but all this time has smoothed out the beer wonderfully. They’re describing as having “lots of oak, balanced acidity, some pleasant oxidized notes [ed: yeah, you definitely want that in an Old Ale!] and a big malty nose and palate”. It still finishes nice and dry, making this the perfect evening sipper for these brutally cold nights we’ve been experiencing. Think of this one as a combination of English and Belgian traditional beers. Still a bit unsure how to approach this one? We highly encourage you to read the BJCP description of the style (skip to page 30), and swing by the brewery tomorrow from 12-4 to pick up a few bottles (you know they’ll age spectacularly)!

While on the topic of delightful Halifax bottle releases, let’s move over to Brunswick St., where 2 Crows has their own tasty brew coming out tomorrow, Blackberry Collins. Brewed 9 months ago with a grist of Belgian Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus plantarum. Lightly hopped in the boil with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in freshly-emptied American gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains. It was allowed to sit in the barrels for six months before being transferred onto 128 kg of blackberry purée (yep, that’s a lot) and “a couple of cases” of lemon zest and juice, where it conditioned for three more months before packaging. Finally, it was bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for two and a half more months, and is now tasting “super jammy, rich, bright, and lively, with nice juniper aromatics and a great level of acidity”. We’ll take it! Like we said, available in a limited supply in 375 mL bottles at the brewery tomorrow as soon as they open.

North Brewing, the Halifax/Dartmouth bridge-spanning brewery, has hit us with not one, not two, not even three, but four new releases this week, making your choices for beer purchasing either much easier, or infinitely harder. Released earlier this week in cans is Soleil Saison, a 5.0% ABV mostly-traditional Saison brewed with 2-Row, Wheat, and Torrified Wheat malts, and hopped with Saaz, for a melding of Noble hop earth and spice, complementing the crisp, zesty, and light citrus and spicy notes from the Old World Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Released yesterday were the one-two punch of their continuing wine/beer collaboration with Benjamin Bridge winery in Gaspereau Valley, NS. The 2017 Barrel-Aged Saison de Pinot was limited to about 200 litres of last years beer/wine hybrid, which spent an extra 11 months in a BB Pinot barrel, before being packaged and allowed to bottle condition before release. Think tart, dry, a little funky, and with an extra bit of je ne sais quoi from the barrel contact since last year. We suggest trying this bottle with that of the original 2017 release to compare and contrast. Be sure to grab yours today, as they will surely sell out over the weekend, due to the limited volume. Also released yesterday was this year’s version of the collaboration, Saison de Chardonnay. 200 litres of Chardonnay must was added to the beer, fermented with Saccharomyces Trois, a yeast known for providing many of the “wild-like” funky and fruit characters more commonly attributed to Brettanomyces strains. The change of grape must was two-fold: playing with the different flavour profile of a new liquid, and the unfortunate fact that the Pinot crop was negatively affected by early frost, severely limiting this year’s yield. The 7.4% ABV beer features some spiciness on the nose and palate, with orange and floral notes coming through as well. These bottles are perfect for enjoying (or gifting) now, and will continue to develop in the bottle, so be sure to lay one down for enjoyment with the inevitable barrel version to be released next December. And finally, hitting the fridges at both locations today, is the latest in their Twinkle Pony series, Twinkle’s Chocolate Orange. Think of the traditional English sweet as you sip this one, as the 7.0% ABV beer features loads of chocolate malt, and a ton of fresh orange zest (RIP their elbows and forearms from all that work!). We strongly suggest dropping into Battery Park today to grab a glass of one or all of these, as they were pouring during BP’s Third Anniversary Tap Takeover yesterday (congratulations folks!).

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has a brand new beer returning to the taps in New Brunswick this week. Huh? Let us explain: during their Tap Takeover at Bar Stillwell in October, they prepared a single one-off keg of Moderation, a Milkshake IPA with passion fruit. It went over well (really well), and thankfully the stars have aligned and they were able to sell off enough body parts to afford the vanilla beans (and passion fruit!) to brew a full batch, so that Moderation could see wider release. This 5.9% ABV beer features the aforementioned real Madagascar vanilla beans as well as lactose for the base Milkshake IPA style, with Enigma and Mosaic in the kettle and dry-hopping. Adding in lots of passion fruit puree kicks it up several notches, for a tropical fruit, lightly floral, smooth mouthfeel and low bitterness beer. Look for it on tap at your favourite watering hole in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

The bottle releases at Tidehouse seem to be pretty consistent lately, and this week is no exception with the release of a Belgian Tripel, Hey Abbot! They’re referencing this name as an homage to the Mel Brooks movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but our astute acbbaaron has correctly pointed out that THAT reference is actually an homage to the classic comedy team Abbott and Costello (Google it, it’s probably easier than trying to explain it all). Anyway, the beer. Coming in strong (as Tripels should) at 8% ABV, it was hopped with Saaz and Tettnang, giving some spicy/floral notes to accompany those provided by the Belgian yeast strain. With a thick white head and high carbonation, it has “just a touch of clove/banana” and finishes dry, with a light bitterness. No kegs of this one, so you’ll have to stop by the brewery starting today to pick up some bottles.

Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewing has been known to dabble with flavoured kettle sours in the past, and they’re continuing this tradition with the release this week of Blackcurrant Sour (not to be confused with Black Currant Sour, a beer they brewed in the summer of 2017 that actually had a blend of blackcurrants and blackberries). Soured with the brewery’s house Lactobacillus blend, it was fermented with a “fruity yeast strain” and conditioned on 16 kg of black currants. They’re describing the final product as having aromas of “fuzzy peach, with a blend of citrus and cherry, offset by earthy notes of black currant”, to complement the tartness. Pretty darn drinkable at 4.8% ABV, this release will see bottles heading to various ANBL stores in the very near future.

Back in Fredericton, TrailWay is releasing the latest iteration of their rotating Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog. Conditioned on vanilla beans as usual, and dry-hopped very highly – also as usual – this one features the addition of both peach and cherry (peach>cherry), both of which burst through on the nose and palate. Accompanied by the aromas/flavours from the hops and vanilla, expect a smooth mouthfeel in this 6.5% ABV beer, thanks to the addition of lactose powder in the boil. Cans of this one will be available at the brewery only, starting today at 11 am, with kegs also on hand there and at local pubs and restaurants.

The team at Port Rexton Brewing continue to experiment with their latest new brew, Salted Sour Pale Ale. You probably have a pretty good idea of what this beer will be like based on the name, but let us help you expand that a little bit. They took a Pale Ale base and kettle-soured it with Lactobacillus, before boiling it and adding plenty of hops (including Belma, an American variety that has been popping up over the last several years). Salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company was also added in the bottle, blending nicely with the aromas and flavours of “strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, tropical mango, melon, and pineapple” (that’s a lotta fruit goodness!) from the hops. Looks like they plan to continue experimenting with this beer, so don’t be surprised if you see some different iterations in the future. As for this batch, it’s on at tap at the brewery and St. John retail shop this weekend.

If you’re a Nova Scotia native, or even a long-term resident, or heck, even a well-informed visitor, perhaps you’ve heard of Blueberry Grunt, a classic (so I’m told) NS baked dessert. Well, Heritage Brewing has created their own eponymous beer-version! Blueberry Grunt is a 5% beer that includes the addition of locally-grown blueberries, giving a mixture of sour and sweet, along with flavours of “baked biscuit, to emulate the crust flavours in traditional Grunt”. They also added a bit of salt tie the flavour profile together. If you’re into beery desserts, drop by Heritage to give this one a taste.

Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse is releasing a very special beer today, in celebration of someone very dear to the Nova Scotia beer family. Allie’s Fearless is a wet-hopped Kveik yeast-fermented IPA, brewed in memory of Olivia Jollota, part of the Jymline Glassware family. Olivia passed away in 2015, and the Olivia Jollota Memorial Trust has been set up in her name, awarding scholarships to graduating high school students based more on their community and social work than academics, celebrating Olivia’s passion for helping her fellow students, community, animals, and making the world a better place. This limited bottle release features Olivia’s signature tree logo, and is available at the brewery in Somerset and The Core in Wolfville, as well as on tap at a few bars and restaurants, including Stillwell and Jamieson’s Irish Pub, with the proceeds supporting more scholarships and outreach events for years to come.

Halifax’s Good Robot has quite a bit going on over the next week before things quiet down over the holidays. Yesterday marked the canning of another big batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, their 5.7% ABV Mexican-style lager with jalepeño peppers. Look for it at their retail outlet and onsite at the taproom and the Mousetrap. On Tuesday, look for another spicy beer, their collaboration with Antojo Tacos + Tequila that we told you about last week, La Luchadora Catrina, to be available at the restaurant before it goes on tap at Good Robot the following day. Also available next Wednesday, December 19th, will be a BetaBrew called Sugar Boots. Brewed with Sara Panchaud from GR’s design team, the idea in mind was a “Neapolitan Stout” featuring flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry reminiscent of the original three-flavor ice cream. Using real strawberries for real strawberry flavor, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.6% ABV and 28 IBU. And lastly, fans of GR’s Tom Waits for No One American Stout will be happy to hear that they’ve kegged another batch of that one for release on Thursday, December 20th.

Foghorn in Rothesay, NB, brought back their Imperial Porter with local honey, The Monk, in late November, but it’s still around for you to try. At 7.5% ABV and 40 IBU, it’s got some weight to it and, we presume, some honey character. Meanwhile, Foghorn is the latest brewery to enter the gluten-reduced space with their new JJ Pattycake. Leveraging Clarity Ferm, an enzyme known to prevent long-chain proteins like gluten from forming during fermentation. Brewed in support of a friend of the brewery who has discovered a gluten sensitivity, the lab results aren’t back yet, but the brewery is hoping it tests low enough for him to drink it. A pale ale at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU, it was dry-hopped with the Falconer’s Flight hop blend for a classic American hop profile. Look for it on tap at the brewery.

Big Spruce will be making the rounds in Halifax tomorrow for those who ordered beer for holiday delivery and one of the beers that will no doubt be delivered is their Barrel-aged Baltic Porter, Complexified. Meanwhile, they’re releasing a new beer called Simplified. If you’re wondering whether those names indicate that the two beers are somehow related, you can go ahead and treat yourself to a beer: Simplified is the same beer without the barrel treatment. Still big, bold, and smooth, it’s a hefty 10.9% ABV. It made a brief appearance at Battery Park this week and is now available in bottles at the brewery (and hopefully soon at the private stores in Halifax). And seeing as how Complexified is also available, this would be an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the beers and get a feel for what some time in a barrel can do.

With things finally slowing down a little for the holiday season we don’t have any big beer events to highlight this week, but do check out your favorite brewery’s website and social media to see what they might have on the go. Meanwhile, here’s a final few mentions to lead you into the weekend:

In terms of Nova Scotia Craft Beer traditions, Garrison’s Spruce Beer has to be considered part of the old school, which is fitting, considering that Spruce Beer is one of the oldest beer styles in North America. Featuring locally harvested spruce tips from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s blackstrap molasses, it comes in at 7.5% ABV with a fairly gentle bitterness at 35 IBU. Look for it at the brewery in 650 mL bottles and, hopefully, in the coming days and weeks at some of the private stores in the city.

Sticking with our longest-running regional craft breweries, Propeller continues their Black Cask Month today with another special treat. Porter with Chocolate & Orange is just that: their porter with orange and chocolate flavors added. Reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, a classic Christmas confection, it will be tapped earlier than usual today at 3 PM to accommodate Propeller’s holiday party. Also of note to fans of Propeller, starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 15th, the tasting room and retail shop on Gottingen will be open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays!

For those of you living in Saint John that are fans of local brewery Loyalist City, they mentioned some good news earlier this week… they’ve finally got a taproom! The brewery has partnered with the Bunkhaus Hostel down the street; the two have opened a taproom/cafe at 36 Water St. over the past few days. They’ve started with four taps dedicated to Loyalist City, with more to be added shortly afterwards, as well as several guest taps.

The fairly-new Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth is releasing a new brew today, Sailor’s Dream. We don’t have a lot of details on this one, but we can tell you it’s a dry-hopped Lager, “light with a mild sweetness, with a subtle fruity aroma and a finish of melon”. Find it on tap at that location this weekend, where they’ll also be launching their Mug Club there tomorrow… grab one of the 150 memberships available for all sorts of discounts and exclusive club events and promotions, plus your own personal hand-made mug, of course!

Welp, we’re definitely in the thick of winter now, with all four provinces in the region now officially getting snowfall this week. We suggest putting off the inevitable hard work and hellish drive home for just a few more minutes and join us in getting up-to-date with the important beer news in the region. Here we go!

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this weekend the good folks at Stillwell are celebrating their Fifth Anniversary in style. Their celebratory annual beer release continues with Stillwell Five, produced at their sister Stillwell Brewing on Gottingen. The beer started with a grist of Vienna and Pilsner malts, with Oats and Wheat added, and hopped with primarily Tettnang in the kettle. Brewed in Summer 2017, it was fermented in a puncheon (700 litres) that had recently been emptied of Pineau de Charentes, a french appertif/vin de liquor. The wort was fortified with honey as it was transferred, and the Stilly House Blend™ was pitched, giving rise to a light, dry, and tart final beer. After 10+ months in the first-use-post-spirit wood, it has picked up some serious wine and spirit notes, as well as light notes of honey, rounding out the full drinking experience. Since fermentation completed this spring, it has been bottle conditioning for six months, and is ready to enjoy now. As with all of the Stillwell Brewing releases, the best way to get a bottle is by visiting the brewery around back of 2015 Gottingen Street, during their weekly bottle sale tomorrow, 12 – 4 PM. You can pick up 500 mL bottles of the 6.9% ABV at that time, and then scoot on over to Barrington St to put your name in a hat to win the opportunity to buy one of the few magnums (1.5 litre) of Five that were prepared.

So, about the party… Also kicking off at noon tomorrow, the Stillwell crew is celebrating with a full complement of beer from some of their favourite breweries and ciderhouses across the province, country, and world, with options that will satisfy lovers-of-good-drinks of all stripes. Plus free cake! Local DIPA, funky stuff, Quebec Saisons, perhaps the world’s best Gueuze (Cantillon), Pet Nat Applewine, etc, etc. You get the idea: when Stillwell throws a party it’s definitely not half-assed. If you must, here is the opening taplist. There will no doubt be some fun and cool beers on the handpump and flowing from bottles as well, plus Chef Ruppel and crew will be busy out back with some special accompaniments. We’ll see you there to toast this major driving force to the enjoyment and promotion of Good Beer.

The celebratin’ continues as Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom Brewing is turning one this week! And is there a better way to celebrate an anniversary/birthday than with a new beer? Apparently not, because they’re launching two of them this week! First is Ken’s Stout, the brewery’s latest seasonal. Co-owner/head brewer Ken Spears had dreamed up and brewed this Oatmeal Stout back in the very early stages of the brewery (as in, pre-opening), and apparently couldn’t be happier with the final result, so now gets to share it with the rest of us. Brewed with Maris Otter, Chocolate malt, Munich, Flaked Oats, and Roasted Barley, the 5% ABV beer was hopped lightly with Columbus (to 25 IBUs). Dark, rich, and full-bodied, with “notes of chocolate and lightly-roasted coffee”, the oats add a silky mouthfeel, increasing the beer’s drinkability. This one will be available all winter long; look for it in cans, growlers, and on tap around the Island over the next couple of weeks.

Next up from Copper Bottom is Birthday Beer, which we assume needs no explanation as to its intentions! This one is a Brut IPA, brewed entirely with Pilsner malt and Mosaic hops. As with many beers in this ever-growing-in-popularity style, amylase enzyme was added in order to dry the beer out even further. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, the beer is “ultra pale and effervescent, with big notes of blueberries, stone fruit, and a bit of mango”. It’ll have a limited run in cans, and will join Ken’s Stout on tap at the brewery’s big birthday party – 1 Year of Beer – happening tomorrow, November 17th, in Montague. It’s a full-day party, with live music, a food truck on-site, tarot card reading, and beer by the boatload! Be sure to drop by and raise a pint to the fine folks at Copper Bottom!

Another weekend approacheth, which normally means new 2 Crows beer… among other things. And don’t worry, they’re not letting us down this week! Two new beers are about to reach your eager little hands, one a “big” release, and the other a limited, draught-only beauty. The full-batch beer is Lil’ Miguel, a 5.6% ABV, 39 IBUs “Aztec Stout”. Inspired by Mexican Hot Chocolate, this isn’t your grandpappy’s Stout – it includes additions of lactose, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and a “blend of various hot peppers”. Not only does this one sound really tasty, they’ve canned it…. in 355 mL cans! Say it ain’t so! Wait, that’s not it… it was canned ON NITRO. Beer nerds, you may commence squealing. Cans and nitro draught pours will be available at the brewery today at noon; it’ll also pop up on tap around the HRM with regular CO2 carbonation (pfft!).

As for that draught-only beer, it’s a NEIPA named Maybe Tomorrow, concocted by Assistant Brewer Grant. With a grist comprised of Pilsner malt, Wheat, and Flaked Oats, the wort was very-lightly-bittered with Columbus at first wort, followed later by a heavy addition of Galaxy, Simcoe, and Azacca in the whirlpool. These same hops were then used for two separate dry-hop additions, giving a final beer with “a touch of grapefruity bitterness, washed away by bright tropical and citrus notes”. Only 40 L of this one exist, so grab a pint at the 2C taproom today (assuming it’s lasted this long) when you’re picking up your Lil’ Miguel cans!

Big congratulations are in order for the winner’s of Gahan’s Maritime Home Brew Challenge, announced last Saturday. From a field of 50 entrants, the top beers in the Lager/ Pilsner, Hoppy, and Saison categories, as well as Best Name, Bravest Beer, Best Use of Local Ingredients, and Rookie of the Year were crowned, plus an overall winner, whose beer will be scaled up and canned for enjoyment across the Maritimes, was announced. The full results are available here, but kudos to Brathair Brewing, the Orange Tub Brewing Collective, and Derek Wood for taking top honours for their beers. Look for Wood’s D-Rocks Dunkel to be in wide release, including cans!, in the coming months.

And while you’re in a Gahan type of mood, grab their Shortest Day Spiced Milk Stout, now available across the region in cans and on tap. This 4.3% ABV beer features vanilla, coffee, lactose, and a variety of spices to keep you warm in these colder months. For some, it came just in time for this week’s first snowfall! Available at Gahan locations, as well as the liquor stores in PEI, NB, and NS.

Speaking of homebrew competitions, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has released the full details and registration forms for their upcoming Home Brew-Off. This year’s style is Dunkles Bock, a malty German style originating in Einbeck, and later brought back to life in Munich. Check out the BJCP Guidelines for 6C here for more details on recipe development and final tasting notes, plus the Brewnosers Home Brew Club has started a thread for folks to share ideas on how to tackle the recipe.

Plus we have two new beers from Garrison to tell you about. Last week saw the full release of their Lucky Punk Sour IPA. First debuting in the Summer, this 5.5% ABV, 50 IBU hybrid of the hazy IPA and kettle sour is now also available in bottles around the region. Featuring “aromas of grass, peaches, and tart pineapple”, the kettle souring technique provides a refreshing mouthfeel and zing to complement the beer.

And new on shelves from Garrison today is All Lit Up, a Festive Strong Ale. Clocking in at 7.0% ABV, and a relatively low 20 IBU, the star of the show is the malt (2-Row, Munich, Caramel with a touch of Roasted Barley) and spicing, courtesy of Cinnamon, Cloves, and Demerara sugar. Grab your cans (which glow in the dark!) from the brewery today, and from your local good beer emporium soon.

Looks like Propeller Brewing has another of their Gottingen Small Batch beers coming out today. Saison is named after the style it emulates, naturally, and has a range of flavour characteristics, including “subtle, spicy tones of clove and black pepper than complement citrus peel and subtle fruit characteristics”. Carbonated high as the style demands, it finishes moderately dry and refreshing. It’s pretty drinkable at 5.5% ABV, and is available at the Gottingen taproom for pints and growlers. And for those of you who love their Cask Fridays, today’s cask will be their Pilsener with peach and hibiscus, enhancing the base beer with stonefruit, floral, and a lovely pink hue. Drop by from 5 PM for a pour!

Following up on releases earlier in the month, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing has released a pair of bottles from their barrel-aging program, both of which were many months in the making. The first is Golden Brett Beer – Dry Hopped, a variation on one of previous debuts. As a reminder, this 6.2% ABV beer was finished with Brett Brux Vrai in a red wine French oak barrel, with this portion of the beer dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. An extremely limited run of just 100 bottles of this beer were released at the brewery yesterday, and we don’t expect them to last very long. Joining this beer is Champagner Hell, a 4.7% ABV unfiltered Helles beer, with some light dry-hopping from Czech Saaz. Bottle conditioned to a very high carbonation level, akin to Champagne, just 220 bottles of this beer were released yesterday. And returning after a hiatus is their Riptide IPL, a 6.5% ABV India Pale Lager. Borrowing the high hopping from the IPA style (using Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, and Hell Melon late in the kettle and again with two rounds of dry-hopping), the fermentation was done low and slow with a lager yeast to keep other characteristics in check. Cans are available at the brewery and private stores in NS, with growler fills at the ANBL this weekend.

TrailWay Brewing has another new hoppy brew releasing today, one that tips its hat to “the hop that started a beer revolution”, Cascade. Veja Du was hopped entirely with this classic American varietal, this 6.5% ABV American IPA was brewed with the intention of giving a medium-bodied, and slightly-drier beer, compared to most of the other hoppy releases from TW. With “notes of juicy citrus, and floral”, you can grab some cans or growlers at the brewery when they open at noon; it’ll also be making its way to other tap accounts, including the Stillwell 5th Anniversary party we talked about earlier. We should also mention that Parallel, the brewery’s “winter hoppy session ale” is back for the season. This 4% ABV Session IPA has a “sweet and slightly toasty male profile”, with a “hop-forward, tropical fruit and berry hop character” to follow along the TW line.

If you happen to be travelling around the Moncton area over the weekend, you’ll have a good opportunity to pick up some of Grand Monk’s latest beer, Hop Fin Vice. For those of you more familiar with German beer styles (and their pronunciation), it may be fairly obvious that this beer is the brewery’s take on a Hopfenweisse. Pilsner and Vienna malts were used in the grist, along with a large portion of Wheat malt. Hopped in the boil with Czech Saaz, and then moving over the Atlantic with some Cascade and Columbus at knockout, the wort was fermented with a Kolsch yeast strain (as opposed to the regular use of a Weizen strain). Dry-hopped with more Cascade and Columbus, the final clean, “lager-like” 6.6% ABV beer is “very citrus-forward in aroma, with a bit of breadiness from the wheat”. It’s currently on tap at the Pump House Fill Station for growler and crowler fills, and if it isn’t on at the Laundromat already… it should be very soon!

Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing has a new beer available from their pilot system. Test Pilot No. 2 Winter Warmer is a rich and malty beer with additions of seasonal spices, including cloves, ginger, nutmeg, orange peel and cinnamon. Tipping the scales at a healthy 7.0% ABV and a gentle 18 IBU, it’s no doubt the kind of beer that would be very welcoming on a wintry day (oh look, you’re in luck!). Being a small batch, it’s only available at the tap room.

Halifax’s littlest brewery that could has another bottle release for us this week on Salter Street. Tidehouse is releasing In on the Kill Taker today at 2 PM. A double-dry hopped black IPA, it’s extremely bitter, almost discordantly so, and a reminder of the days when craft breweries routinely engaged in IBU wars. Described by 902BrewCast’s Tony as, “like licking a beer tree,” you would be well-advised not to look for balance in this one. Built on a base of flaked grains, 2-row, Carafa II and Midnight Wheat, the hops in the kettle included Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe so look for a dank, piney, and resinous presence underlying the 100+ IBUs worth of bitterness. A thoroughly irresponsible double dry hop using Cryo hops completed the process, although there’s some question amongst the brewers as to whether it was Simcoe or Ekuanot that was used. Coming in at 7.3% ABV, it’ll kill your straight edge cred, and it’s a minor threat to burn out your tastebuds, but it ain’t no fugazi — this one’s the real, bitter, deal. You can learn more about this beer, plus listen to the ranting of 4 madmen and one sane woman, in today’s 902 BrewCast release, which sees the East Coast craft beer podcast celebrating their second anniversary. Congratulations, buds!

When breweries collide, sometimes fine things can happen, and the brewing minds behind Hammond River and Maybee Brewing are hoping that has happened with their first collaboration! They’re officially releasing The Sorcerer’s Apprentice today at Maybee, and despite the name (am I the only one that thinks Mickey Mouse?), this ain’t no little beer. It’s a “Double Belgian Stout with Salted Caramel”, which was brewed at both breweries (yep, same recipe). This very dark beer is a firm 9% ABV for the Maybee version, and even a bit higher (10%) for Hammond River’s. With aromas of “salted caramel, toffee, and clove”, as well as “plum, raisin, and some malt sweetness and general spice”. Medium-bodied, with high carbonation, expect “raisin, plum, and prune, along with toffee and caramel, with a hint of salinity” on the palate. The beer debuts at Maybee today at noon, on tap, with the Hammond River brewers on hand (thank you, weather!) for a release party starting at 4 pm. Drop on by for a pour and a chat! If you plan on doing more than sampling, it may not hurt to plan ahead for a drive home, know what I mean? The beer will be hitting other tap accounts across New Brunswick over the next week. As for the Hammond River version, which is named Sultans of Sweet, you’ll be able to grab it on tap at their taproom, as well as local accounts in the province. They plan on bottling some of their batch next week as well, and there’s even about 450 L currently aging in whiskey barrels!

Annapolis Cider Co. is following up their successful tap takeover at Stillwell from a couple weeks ago with a brand new entry in their Something Different series, Wine & Blackcurrant. Fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice with blended with the juice of two grape varieties – Leon Millot and L’Acadie Blanc – to undergo a “co-fermentation”, creating what Annapolis is calling a “unique cider-and-wine blend”. Blackcurrant juice was added afterwards to give a deep, red hue, along with some tannin presence. Finally, the blend was infused with bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and winter savoury, giving a medium-bodied cider “with subtle herbal aromatics and bright notes of tart blackcurrants”. As always, this 7.2% ABV cider is available at the cidery; $0.50 of each refill will be donated to Enactus Acadia University.

The guys and gals at Upstreet in Charlottetown have been churning out the hoppy beers in their Neon Friday releases for several months now, and they’ve decided to release a “VIP pack” of their four favourites. Hitting shelves today, the collection includes DDH IPA with Azacca, West Coast Session IPA, NEIPA with Simcoe, and DDH Oat IPA with Idaho 7; you’ll be able to purchase the packs at both Upstreet locations (taproom and Craft Beer Corner), as well as select PEILCC stores. These will also be on tap at Dartmouth’s Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse! They’re also planning to celebrate with a Neon Friday Dance Party tonight at the Upstreet taproom, from 10pm-2am. The fun will include a Neon Friday tap takeover, DJs, neon lights (of course!), and lots of other neon-themed decorations! No charge to attend, just pick out your brightest clothes and drop in to cut a rug (kids still say that, right?).

The weekly, shaming, last-minute-entry award for November 16th goes to… Good Robot! Rather than scold, however, we’ll just tell you about their latest beers (we’re good like that!). Next Tuesday’s Beta Brew is Frostenweizen, a hoppy Hefeweizen brewed with Rockbottom’s Ian Kean. Cryo hops were used in this brew, including Mosaic, Simcoe, and Loral (as well as a tasty dry-hop addition of Citra), giving a beer that they describe as “like floating away on a tangerine cloud, while snacking on mango and peach” (gotta admit, probably more eloquent than we could have done). It’s 4.3% ABV and 22 IBUs; seek it out early next week. As for next week’s Alpha Brew, it’s a special collaboration for the upcoming FemmeBot celebrations. Jana and Meg from Tatamagouche Brewing made the trip to Halifax to help brew The Witching Hour, a red ale with cranberry and lemon. The ABV and IBUs are still MIA, but rest assured it will be released next Thursday, with its Tata counterpart coming out sometime in the next few months.

Here’s what’s happening around our region over the next few weeks!

Don’t forget to drop by Maritime Express Cider tomorrow evening to help celebrate their Grand Opening. While they’re open all day, the fun kicks off at 8 PM with live music, small bites and appetizers, and of course cider (plus some guest taps devoted to beer)! More details on their Facebook Event page above, including special stuff on the go by their neighbours in the railway hotel.

Do you live in/near Moncton? Are you a fan of The Bruery, from Orange County, California? If you’re both of these things, the Tide & Boar has some very good news for you – they’re holding a Bruery Tap Takeover on Saturday, November 24th. We probably don’t need to tell you this, but this is a brewery who have been releasing tasty, fascinating beers for quite some time, and to have 15 different ones on tap – yes, 15! – at one time, in New Brunswick, is kind of a big deal. Check out the event link for the full taplist; it’s going to include several barrel-aged options, as well as sours, hoppy beers, and more. Oh, and definitely plan on cabbing/walking/whatever-that-isn’t-driving home… a lot of these beers are 8% ABV and higher! The T&B will also be serving up food from a special “Californian-inspired” menu (eating is a good idea; did we mention many of these beers are strong?). They open at 11 am sharp, and the beer will be flowing all day. There’s also a concert that night, at 10 pm, which will require a cover charge if you plan on heading there late.

Quidi Vidi Brewery is launching a truly Newfoundland Beer project later this month, with some very special partners. Bog and Barrens is a true collaboration between QV’s Brewmaster Einer Holtet, and local chefs and restaurateurs Jeremy Charles and Jeremy Bonia, of Raymond’s and The Merchant Tavern. Foraging wild ingredients from across the Newfoundland and Labrador, Holtet has created a trio of unique beers: Imperial Bake Apple Gose, Pineapple Weed NEIPA, and Smoked Alderberry Porter. The Gose features sea salt from Bonavista Bay, and bakeapples from Labrador, and is set for release in cans in a fortnight. The other two beers are in extremely low quantity, and will only be available on draught. To celebrate these releases, there will be three beer pairing events held at Raymond’s and Merchant Tavern, paired with other ingredients and game who forage on these iconic plants and herbs. On Tuesday November 27th, Raymond’s is hosting a five-course meal to pair with these beers. Tickets are now available by calling Raymond’s at 709-579-5800, only 60 available. At The Merchant Tavern, there will be a special tasting menu to pair with these beers from November 28-30th, available while supplies last. No tickets required, but we strongly suggest making resos to guarantee your seat at the table. Call 709.722.5050 or visit OpenTable. More details on the beers and pairing are available here. And we’ll remind you about the Bake Apple Gose when it’s released in cans!

Winter may be approaching/already here, but don’t let that make you think the beer festivals have dried up in our region. In fact, the 3rd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is coming up fast, happening on Saturday, December 1st, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. There’s over 15 breweries that will be on-site pouring their tasty beverages, from 7:00-9:30 pm (VIP ticket holders get entry at 6:00 pm); check out the current list of vendors here. There are still general admission tickets available, for $55 + tax; you can purchase them online.

A few more things to leave you with before you break out the shovel today…

Start making your list, and check it twice… Big Spruce will once again be doing its Holiday Delivery mid-December, where you can receive to-the-door delivery of your favourite bottles and/or cans. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for ordering and delivery details.

Hell Bay has brought back the seasonal Tannen Bomb (yep, it’s time for Christmas-pun beers!), a 5% ABV, 19 IBUs Blonde Ale infused with honey and balsam fir. It’s currently available at the brewery, and select NSLC stores.

In other seasonal beer news, Oromocto’s Johnny Jacks has re-released their Holiday Cheer, a Red IPA. Described by the brewery as “malt-flavoured, and full-bodied”, it should be available in bottles now at the Oromocto ANBL, with other select stores in New Brunswick receiving stock over the coming weeks.

Lazy Bear Brewing wants to remind you that the seasons shouldn’t necessarily dictate what you drink (and they’re right!), and they released a new beer last week to doubly remind you! Louis is a 5.4% Wheat Beer, brewed in celebration of Louis, their “beer loving helper” from Trinidad who spent the summer in Smiths Cove. It is available at their regular Thursday night growler/pint nights, as well as the Annapolis Royal Market tomorrow.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewery has sent out another wave of their Single Origin Coffee Stout to the local bars and restaurants, so fans of the dark stuff will soon get their fix again. And keep an eye out at these same spots for a brand new kettle-soured beer to be hitting the taps late next week. Moonage Daydream features a nice level of dry-hopping, and with the addition of hibiscus, a lovely floral note and beautiful pink hue. Keep an eye on their Social Media for when it’s tapped, it may even be available for growler fills!