The Grand Banker

All posts tagged The Grand Banker

Another week of positive news in the region’s response to the pandemic, with very few new and ongoing cases, the provinces continue to relax restrictions and allow more businesses to re-open, including big news from Newfoundland, where they entered Alert Level 3 of COVID recovery this week. That means folks can enlarge their social interactions beyond their double bubble, engage in some outdoor sports and recreation, and restaurants are allowed to open (while still maintaining physical distancing for patrons). This means the local breweries are able to send beer out to licensees, and for those able, can open their own on-site dining and taproom spaces, so be sure to keep an eye on your local’s social media page.

Let’s kick off this week’s post with news from breweries across Newfoundland, including Western, Eastern, and Bonavista regions. Let’s start in Deer Lake, where Rough Waters Brewing calls home. They have just released their first Double IPA, simply named Pandemic. The label sports a picture of The Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, a name Newfoundlanders have learned over the past three months, giving guidance and advice, reporting on the recovery efforts, and sometimes having to put folks in their place when looking for loopholes. The beer brewed in celebration of Haggie’s efforts is 7.7% ABV, and features loads of Azacca, Centennial, and Chinook, including 3 separate dry-hopping additions, resulting in big tropical and citrus aromatics, and a little bit of haze (that’s how you know it’s working!). This is a limited release, available at their retail shop at 83 Wights Road with new hours established today (1 – 5 PM, Tuesday to Saturday). You can organize a no-contact curbside pickup (email info@roughwatersbrewing.com or message them through Facebook or Instagram), or if you can’t make it there in person, via delivery to Norris Point and Rocky Harbour (reach out the same way), with this week’s deliveries going out Friday (but maybe if you get in ASAP there will be some for the next delivery). Sorry, no Pandemic DIPA heading East, though you can find five other RWBC options at St. John’s NLC locations for purchase.

Let’s head East to the Bonavista Peninsula, where Port Rexton Brewing Company has recently released their version of the All Together world-wide collaboration. Hosted by Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn, this New England IPA was conceived with the goal of supporting the service and hospitality industries in breweries’ regions, hit very hard by the closures mandated to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. PRBC joins TrailWay in Fredericton, and 2 Crows in Halifax to take part (more info on that one below). Read more about it here. Ensuring even more proceeds go to the deserving parties, White Cactus Branding and Maritime Labels donated design and printing of the labels, which features an amazing picture of a recent visitor to Port Rexton, taken by Danielle Lethbridge. Port Rexton’s version stays true to the original, weighing in at 6.5% ABV, and featuring boatloads of whirlpool- and dry-hopping, resulting in massive tropical fruit punch flavour and aroma, with very little bitterness. They have also brought back a few favourites, including a re-stock of their Sea Buckthorn Sour, a collaboration with St. John’s Toslow restaurant. Not sitting on their laurels, the crew added an extra 25% sea buckthorn puree to the beer, giving even more character than the previous batch. And returning after a few months off is Long Trek Lager, their 5.0% ABV Munich Helles, ready to be stowed in your backpack for the adventures ahead. All of these releases are available for ordering and pick up now! A note, there are new instructions for their St. John’s Retail Shop: Online stock is refreshed each Thursday morning, so you can set your order for the weekend, and pick up at  286 Torbay Road Thursday and Friday, 12 – 7 PM, or Saturday, 12 – 5 PM. To grab it at the source, check this link, and pop by Friday and Saturday, 12 – 6 PM. And they are joined once again by Oh My Cheeses! food truck (open the same hours), giving you the perfect lunch or dinner accompaniment. No inside dining for the time being, b’ys!

Let’s head Southeast, to Mount Pearl, to be precise… where Landwash Brewery released a “Tiny Pale Ale” earlier this week, named after some very Tiny Fish. The stickleback, also known as prickly fish, are found all around Newfoundland, hanging out in brackish waters and tidepools, and have spines along their dorsal fins (you know, sticky backs…). Prickly Fish is a 4.5% ABV Session APA/IPA sorta thing, featuring hopping in the boil and conditioning tank with Sorachi Ace, Ekuanot, and Bru-1, giving great harmonious notes of coconut, orange, and other tropical fruit on a hazy base. It is joined by the return of their Green Nap Hazy IPA series, with this release featuring Simcoe and Amarillo hops, giving off dank citrus, mango skin, and dried apricots, with a bit more bite than their That Much Ocean NEIPA. Both are available for order and pickup through their online store, now open 12 – 8 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and we highly recommend coordinating your timing to grab something from Saucy Mouth, who continue their residency at the brewery the same days, 4- 8 PM. And keep your eyes open for news on the in-taproom enjoyment front, as the Landwash folks are busy making some moves in the direction, to be able to welcome you inside real soon.

One last stop on the Rock, as Quidi Vidi has a pair of small batch releases available for sale at their Hops Shop this week. First up is the Imperial Baltic Porter, an 8.0% ABV beast of a beer with plenty of chocolate and roast notes, with a bit of toffee and dried fruit character. Joining it is the Czech Pilsner, a 5.0% ABV continuation of the Continental European styles they’ve been dabbling in lately, opting for an unfiltered version, with light grain notes and a touch of bread crust and toast, with a slightly bitter finish. How do you get hold of these? Head to their online shop and choose “Pick Up Order” (both of these new ones are small batch releases, in the Hop Shop only), fill out your request, give them some time to pack it together, then head down for pick up. They are also running deliveries for other cans and bottles, Tuesday – Saturday afternoons, accessible from the same page, choosing the “Home Delivery Order” button. Be sure to keep any “Pick Up Only” items out of your cart, or you’re gonna have a bad time. 

We’ve heard of a brand new beer in the wild from Hanwell’s Niche Brewing, so let’s get you up to speed on this one. A “return to hoppiness” for them, Peaks Island is a 6.0% ABV hoppy hazy NEIPA. Named after the island in Casco Bay just offshore of Portland, Maine, a town home to many well-made NEIPAs (and sometimes you just need to escape them all for an afternoon!). Starting with a base of 2-row and Pilsner malts, with additions of flaked oats and wheat, as well as a touch of CaraHell, the star of the show is definitely the hops, with a variety used throughout. First hopped in the kettle with Chinook and El Dorado, it was dry-hopped with plenty of Ekuanot and Galaxy. The combination leads to a low- to mid-range bitterness, with a ton of tropical fruit on the nose and tongue, complemented with a bit of green pepper character from the Ekuanot. You can grab the first pints of these in Fredericton at The Joyce Pub and in Saint John at Peppers Pub, and may be picked up elsewhere if you’re lucky!

The worldwide collaboration brew started by New York City’s Other Half Brewing to support hospitality professionals during COVID-19 times, All Together, continues to be brewed by breweries, and late last week 2 Crows is releasing their iteration. This 6.5% ABV American IPA was brewed with 2-row, flaked oats, and Carapils; hopped in the boil with Columbus, and lots of Mosaic and Cascade in the hopback, it was later heavily dry-hopped with more Mosaic and Cascade, along with Simcoe and Citra. As you may be guessing… hoppy juice bomb alert! Specifically, “overripe mango, passion fruit, clementine, papaya, and a touch of pine”, if you’re into that sort of thing (you are). Some of the ingredients in this brew were graciously donated by local suppliers, and a portion of the proceeds from sales will go to Halifax’s Laing House, a non-profit organization that helps youth facing mental health challenges. In addition, 2C is also giving a portion of proceeds to their taproom employees, who have seen a reduction in hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ⁣You can grab it in cans and on tap at the brewery. And in other 2C news, their non-alcoholic carbonated water, Hop Water, is back in stock… refreshing, guilt-free, and with a nice hop presence of Citra, it’ll go down even easier in this warmer weather than it did before!

Elsewhere in the province, Roof Hound’s Kingston location is launching a new beer today when they open at noon, Fuzzy Navel IPA. Inspired by the cocktail of the same name, this hazy, juicy brew was hopped with lots of Summit, and features additions of orange juice and housemade peach purée. It comes in at 6.5% ABV, and is definitely tasting reminiscent of that drink you may have tried when you were younger, only it’s better, because it’s beer, you know? Available on tap and in bottles to go; the brewery is still doing home deliveries, so that’s an option as well.

These Kveik yeast strains are all the rage now, ain’t they? Luckily, there’s lots of good reasons for that, and Hampton Brewing is betting that you’ll love their latest beer, Koselig (pronounced “koos-uh-lee”), which was fermented with the Ebbegarden Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Brewed with the malt base of a previous release of theirs, Mosaic Blonde, they’ve increased the dry hop (we’re betting it’s Mosaic!) with this beer; that and the yeast combine to give “flavours of guava and mango, and aromas of tropical and stone fruit”. Definitely not your typical Blonde Ale! Coming in around the mid-5% ABV range, the first kegs can be found pouring at Grass Roots Grill and the Hampton Golf Course.

In Lunenburg, NS, Shipwright Brewing has a new beer available that they’d love you to try. Shoreline Export Ale is a 5.2% ABV Golden Ale brewed with Pale Ale, Wheat, and Light Munich malts, and hopped with Saaz and Hallertau Blanc. Featuring notes of honey and biscuit, with a balanced bitterness (22 IBUs), it’s meant to be one of those easy-drinking styles, yet with a lovely mix of hop and malt character, all in a clean package. You can grab crowlers to go from the brewery right now, and it should be pouring on tap soon at the Grand Banker

Riverdale Orchard in Bonshaw is open today, and this weekend, for retail sales of bottles and baked goods, and are also running a hot meal take-out special this afternoon and evening, featuring pulled pork in Scottish Rolls. The best way to success is via pre-orders on their site, and you will receive an email with a day/time confirmation. In addition to their award-winning 2 Scots 3 Apples flagship, they now have 2 Scots Go Wild, their low-intervention cider made with solely wild apples grown right on their property, and fermented with the naturally-occurring yeasts during a low and slow process, and has been maturing for 5 months before bottling. No sulphites added either! This 5.5% ABV dry cider features a heavy fruity undertone, letting the apple shine through.

Up in Northern New Brunswick, in Bathurst to be specific, Four Rivers is quite pleased to announce the availability of their first barrel-aged beers. Both based on a stout (the same one, we think), they got different barrel treatments for 7 months before 2 additional months of conditioning in the bottle: La Grande Hermine spent it’s time in a Shiraz barrel and Eau de Vie was cognac. Both beers finished at 5.5% ABV and due to the size of the barrels and the aging process, there’s only 200 (or so) 750 mL of each, so they’ll have bottle limits per customer per day and they won’t be accepting reservations. They will, however, be opening an hour early tomorrow specifically for the release, so if you’re in that area of NB and have a hankering for some barrel-aged goodness a trip to the brewery is probably better done earlier than later!

Let’s end this week’s main stories the same place we started, in Newfoundland! Split Rock Brewing in Twillingate has recently released their newest one-off brew, Dry-Hopped Rye Ale. They started with a grist chock full of rye malt, and added a hefty amount of Willamette and East Kent Goldings hops in the boil. Fermented with the brewery’s house English yeast, the final beer was dry-hopped with more Willamette and EKG, before packaging. At 6.3% ABV, it’s tasting “slick and full-bodied, with notes of spice, earth and honey”. Available right now at the brewery in 473 mL cans.

Well, the week got away from us (Chris!), and we didn’t get to put together the big list of re-openings that we had hoped to. For those in Nova Scotia, please check out Kim Hart Macneill’s guide to brewery reopenings and we aim to add our own deep dive into all Atlantic provinces this weekend. If you want to tell us if we’ve missed anything (y’know, like the entire province of New Brunswick), fire us an email! A few notable spots that popped up on our radar:

Newfoundland:

Bannerman Brewing has opened their cafe and restaurant today, with coffee and beer from 8:30 AM until midnight daily (closed Mon and Tues). Baked goods in the morning, with their kitchen operating with a reduced menu 3 – 9 PM. They have suspended their Curbside and To-Go service, as well as filling growlers (this one should just be temporary).

Dildo Brewing has opened their brewery taproom and restaurant for the year, open daily from 11 AM, closing at 8 PM Fri and Sat, 7 PM Sun – Thurs.

Nova Scotia:

Bar Stillwell Barrington is now open, Tuesday – Thursday 4 – 11 PM, Friday – Sunday 12 – 11 PM. RSVP required (902-421-1672). The Spring Garden Beergarden is also open, weather permitting, 12 – 11 PM daily. No resos needed. Canned beers (and other packaged product) can be added to a takeout food order. No word yet on the Freehouse’s re-opening. 

Battery Park is now open for in-person dining, from 3 PM during the week, and noon on weekends. The North Brewing shop onsite follows the same guidelines, check here for more details.

Big Spruce Brewing is opening their taproom, as well as their on-site food truck today, with pints and flights, as well as a full menu of options.

HopYard Halifax is now open for onsite and takeout, 12 – 9 PM daily. Reservations recommended.

Stubborn Goat’s location on Grafton Street is open from 11:30 AM until late Monday – Friday, and from 10:30 AM on the weekend. Their rooftop patio is open, weather permitting. The Beer Garden is open 11 – 11 daily, weather permitting.

Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse is back open for dining, from 11:30 AM until 8 PM, Tuesday through Saturday (closed between 2 and 4 PM, Tues through Thursday, and open until 9 PM Fri and Sat).

North Brewing has resumed in-store retail purchases, to complement their contact-less pickup and delivery options. The taproom is also open again, for on-site enjoyment and eats thanks to the folks at Side Hustle Snack Bar.

Prince Edward Island:

HopYard is open 11:30 AM – 11 PM daily, for sit-down or take-out options.

Bogside Brewing has re-opened their taproom and patio for onsite dining and imbibing, with The Wheelhouse providing food options for folks. They are open daily (except Monday), 12 – 7 PM.

Lone Oak Brewing has re-opened the taproom for pints and flights, and have the Terry’s Berries Food Truck set up onsite noon til 7 PM daily. And are working towards a more permanent kitchen setup inside, for year-round food service.

And if you’ve been missing the shorter newsbites section you’re in luck, as we’ve got a bunch for you today:

Grimross has a fresh batch of Hop Blonde (6% ABV, 23 IBUs) on tap at the brewery today; you can grab it in prefilled 750 mL and 1.89 L bottles/growlers, and it should also be popping up at restaurants and bars across NB. Look for the next batch to be available in cans.

Lazy Bear just released their latest beer, Balancing Rock Ale, at the brewery for growlers and pints. Brewed with a blend of Vienna malts and lightly-hopped, it weighs in at just 4.5% ABV.

Newfoundland’s Secret Cove Brewing is now canning, and have re-released their Come Home Beer, an Apricot Wheat Ale, with a temporarily-new name, Stay Home Beer (we’re sure you can figure out why). “Tart and juicy”, you can grab cans at the brewery’s Curb Shop, which means you do have to leave home…. *brain explodes*

If you’re looking for a job this summer, why not consider applying at your local brewery for a position? If you leave in or near the Chester area of Nova Scotia, Tanner & Co. is currently hiring for the summer; check out this link for more details.

Timber Ship Brewing has announced that they are re-releasing their popular How She Goin’, a “Honey Session Ale” again very soon (if not now!). Brewed with wildflower honey from My Lil’ Bee Honey Farm in Napan, NB, it’s light and crisp, with some slight aromas and flavours from the honey. 

We mentioned it last week, and now it’s a reality, Upstreet Brewing continues their Million Acres series this week with the release of Gamay Noir Saison, a saison aged on grape pomace. And we also mentioned the introduction of their Rewind vodka soda line of 5% ABV and 100 calorie alcopops; these are now available in 6 packs of 355 mL cans with the initial flavors of Raspberry Lemon Zest and Key Lime Sea Salt available now with Blood Orange Grapefruit coming soon!

The last gasps of February have brought some truly awful weather to Atlantic Canada, but as we all know, March can always be counted on to be worse, right?! Well, wetter, for sure. And if that thought leaves you crying a little bit, might we suggest you acquire for yourself a suitable beverage in which to capture your tears? You might not be surprised to learn that for this purpose (and pretty much all others), we favour beer. Fortunately, we’ve got all kinds of breweries kicking out choice liquids in our region, and plenty of them have something new to tell you about today. We’ve even got another all-new brewery and a solid slate of beer-related events! So quit your crying and start reading; but definitely do what you can to get beer involved in your weekend!

Great news for those looking for beer in downtown Truro, you now have a great brewery to visit! Truro Brewing Company, located at 53 Inglis Place, is just a stone’s throw from Victoria Park and the Prince Street main drag. Opening their doors to the public today (and every day except Monday) at 2 PM, you can pop in for pints of their Willow Street Wheat, a 4.0% ABV American Wheat Ale, Hub Town Honey Brown, 5.2% ABV, Cobequid Bay IPA, 6.3% ABV, and Exit 14 Porter, 4.6% ABV. We are also offering Trackside American Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV, and then grab growlers of any of those to take away, to keep the good beer vibes humming. To learn more about Jana and Trish, the dynamic duo behind the brewery, check out the Profile we ran on TBC yesterday. Congratulations!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has a big beer out this week to help us shake off the late-February ice and snow. The name VSOP rightly conjures ideas of spirits, specifically Cognac, with special care taken to the selection and age of the liquor in the bottle. The same goes with Big Spruce’s VSOP, which is a Cognac Barrel Aged Barleywine, their first release of the kind. The deep amber beer features massive aromatics of oak and spirits thanks to the aging process in the freshly-emptied barrel, and follows through on the tongue as well, with a sweet warmth from the 11% ABV, finishing with dark fruit notes. VSOP is available on draught at the brewery, and soon in 330 ml bottles, the perfect size for tackling this big beer solo in front of a cozy fireplace. And yes, Halifax peoples, bottles will be heading your way in the near future.

Brand new big, super-hoppy beer debuting at 2 Crows tomorrow, if you’re into that sort of thing (newsflash: people are!). Bedlam Bridge Double IPA was brewed with a grist of 2-Row, Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, and Wheat malt. Mash-hopped and first-wort-hopped with Columbus, a “hefty dose” of Azacca was added in the hopback as well. Of COURSE there are dry-hop additions in this beer: first, one with more Azacca during fermentation with Foggy London, a hazy IPA strain from Escarpment Labs, and then two more afterwards, with even more Azacca, along with Citra and Vic Secret. So yeah, triple-dry-hopped, so just get ready to hand over your money. You may be expecting a juicy beer, and you wouldn’t be wrong! Look for notes of “pineapple, mango, tangerine, and grapefruit”, and more. It weighs in at 8% ABV, and is on tap and in cans at opening Saturday. They’ll also be hosting a Real Fake Meats popup at 4 pm at the brewery, and live music at 8 pm. Hops = party!

We’ve got a pair of hoppy beauts to tell you about from Propeller Brewing this week. The first is the latest release from their Pilot system, which is soon to be installed at the Quinpool Road location opening this Spring. With their success in the hazy IPA genre with Galaxy and Sabro DIPA, this release is a return to the old school with West Coast IPA. Describes as “crisp, clear, and assertively bitter”, it was hopped early with Simcoe and Amarillo to a hefty 78 IBU, and these hops shine through in both flavour and bitterness, with citrus, pine, and floral notes from later additions of Citra and Centennial. As this is a small batch release, it is on draught only, and currently, the sole point of sale for this 7.2% ABV beer is in the Propeller Arcade in the basement of their Gottingen Street taproom. Old School Beer with Old School Games, sounds like a great match to us! And if you’re visiting the Gottingen Street taproom today, keep an eye open for their weekly cask release, which is Porter with Cardamom added. Brewer Denys used a delicate approach to the addition, but it is still present and shines through, sure to satisfy even the most savage beast.

And in “returning beer news” from Propeller, they polled the audience late last year to find out which beer they should bring back in February, and the winner is Sasquatch Pale Ale! Featuring the first Canadian-patented hop by the same name, Sasquatch is a medium bodied hazy and juicy pale ale featuring plenty of tropical mango and pineapple character, with just a touch of cedar and fresh grapefruit. Catch a can or fill, while you’re able, at both Prop Shops now. 

And for those Propeller fans not in HRM, we kindly direct you to visit the Antigonish Townhouse for a Propeller Tap Takeover. From 4 PM, Prop will be pouring 8 different beers on draught, including the aforementioned Galaxy and Sabro, as well as a special cask for the event, Porter aged on rum-soaked oak. Pop in and stay for a while! 

Amherst’s Trider’s has taken their first crack at brewing a lager, a “Japanese Lager” they’ve named Dry Senso. Brewed with a “healthy” amount of rice in the grist, it was hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace. Fermented slowly over a period of a couple weeks with the S23 dry Lager yeast, it was then lagered for two more weeks before packaging. Easy-drinking and fairly dry, it comes in at 5.5% ABV. This one will be available on tap only, both at the brewery (where you can also purchase growlers) and select licensees, this coming Tuesday (Mar 3), and for those attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, they’ll be pouring it next weekend as well! 

Speaking of the Capital Region, Niche Brewing has a brand new release they’re touting this week, Kashmir. A new addition to their family of mixed-fermentation beers, Kashmir started life with a base malt blend of Pilsner and 2-Row, along with CaraHell and Wheat malts for fuller body/sweetness, and mouthfeel/head retention, respectively. Lightly hopped in the boil with Hallertau Blanc, the wort underwent fermentation with their house culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains. With ferm complete, they dry-hopped with loads of Cashmere, to grab all of that melon, tropical, and citrus character. Paired with the tart and funky base beer, this is a winning combination. Kegs of Kashmir are out in the wild in New Brunswick, and loyal Niche fans in HRM will soon be rewarded for their patience, as we understand that and a couple other kegs will be on the board at Stillwell at some point late next week.

Two of New Brunswick’s breweries have come together to create a collaboration beer to showcase a new, experimental hop variety, HBC 586, that they obtained from Hops Connect. Foghorn and TrailWay developed the recipe together and brewed the same beer at each brewery. A 6.5% ABV American IPA brewed with a majority of 2-row malt and a touch of Munich, Undercover Hop was hopped exclusively with HBC 586, and fermented with an American yeats strain. The beer is exhibiting notes of “mango, mandarin-citrus, beerries, and a white wine-like fruitiness”, according to TW. There will no doubt be one or two minor differences in each brewery’s release, as technique/equipment/etc plays a role, so best that you compare the two, if possible! TW is launching theirs today on tap and in cans at the brewery; look for Foghorn’s version to hit their taps sometime early next week.

And while visiting TW, why not grab cans or fills of their latest batch of Good As? Featuring NZ darling hop Motueka, with a touch of Citra added, this 6.6% ABV beer throws off massive citrus zest and stone fruit character. On tap and in cans at the brewery now, it will also see limited distro to ANBLs in the region next week, so pop in and check/demand it!

Back to Nova Scotia, where Shipwright Brewing has an American Brown Ale on tap. City Bound was brewed with a blend of Golden Promise, raw oats, and roasted malts, to the tune of 5.2% ABV. Hopped with Simcoe and Eureka (to 32 IBUs), the final beer has “aromas of coffee, molasses, and toasted bread”, along with more coffee (and some brown sugar) on the palate, and finishes with a firm bitterness. This beer was originally launched at the Craft Beer Cottage Party in Halifax a few weeks ago, but it’s now on tap at Shipwright and the Grand Banker in Lunenburg. 

Those of you in the Fredericton area can keep your eyes peeled for a newish beer from 3Flip Brewing next weekend; we say “newish” because it did make an appearance at the brewery’s 1-year birthday party at the Joyce a couple of weeks ago, but the rest of the kegs will be popping up next week. Roggen-Roll All Night Long is the brewery’s take on a Roggenbier, a German rye beer. It’s traditional for beers of this style to be brewed with a minimum of 50% rye malt; for those of you who have brewed with rye before, you will know this is not an easy feat, as more rye typically translates to a higher chance of a stuck sparge (basically meaning that your transfer of wort from your mash tun to your boil kettle slows down… or even stops; lots of swearing usually ensues). 3Flip also incorporated 2-row, Munich and some specialty malts into their grist, and lightly hopped the wort with Willamette (to 16 IBUs). Fermented with a Hefeweizen yeast strain, the final beer has a little sweetness from the malt, some clove and banana, and a “spicy and almost sour-like rye character, with a slightly bitter finish”; it weighs in at 6.3% ABV. 3Flip is also releasing the second batch of their Pilsennial SMaSH IPA, an all-Pilsen malt, all-Centennial hopped, 5.3% ABV brew.

International Women’s Day is just around the corner (Sunday, March 8th), which means we’re starting to see some info trickling in from the annual brewdays to celebrate this day. Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has given us all the deets for their entry, The Bees Knees, a Honey Wheat Ale. Brewed with honey from Meander Farm, this 5.2% ABV, 25 IBUs beer has aromas of “soft, sweet melon, and doughy wheat characters”, accompanied by flavours of honey, melon, wheat, and berries. Finishing with a mixture of light bitterness and honey sweetness, it’s easy-drinking and refreshing. You’ll be able to find it on tap at both Garrison locations in the city starting next Friday, as well as in cans; some cans will also be sold at Bishop’s Cellar and Harvest Wines & Spirits. Look for the beer’s official launch to happen on March 8th; they’ll be hosting some local women vendors at their Seaport taproom for a Makers and Vintage market. Garrison will also be donating $0.50 from the sale of every can to create a Women in Trades bursary with the NSCC. And be sure to stop and admire the artwork on your can of beer, as it was designed by local artist Rachel Brisson. 

Newfoundland’s Secret Cove Brewing has two new fruited beers for you heading into the weekend, both part of the brewery’s new Petite Pilot Program, allowing them to play a bit and exhibit some fun, small batch beers. First off is A Night at the Raspberry, which was released last night. This is a Raspberry Wheat Ale that features an addition of local wild raspberries; it clocks in at an easy-drinking 5.1% ABV. Next up is CherryOake (rhymes with “karaoke”) a beer that will be dropping at the brewery tonight at 9 pm. This is another wheat ale, however, it’s a little more complex than the first beer we mentioned. The beer was aged briefly in a French Oak barrel, along with dark tart and red sweet cherries that had been soaked in Newfoundland Distillery Company gin. This 5.2% ABV beer is tart and fruity, with a slight touch of oak. This one will be available for pints only at the taproom.

Looks like Petit-Sault is having fun playing with hoppy beers lately, as they just released their latest at the brewery, Oat Saint-Jean IPA. This beer is a collaboration with one of the brewery’s original brewers, Jason Dionne, who is currently working at Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory. Brewed with very high amounts of both malted and flaked oats (so you know this one is going to be hazy), a whole whack of Citra, Vic Secret, and Simcoe hops were used in the brew. The result is a beer chock-full of fruity goodness, including aromas of “citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit”. You can find it on tap at the brewery today, with bottles following sometime next week.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has a new release this week, just in time for the weekend. Session Lager aims to be what it says on the tin, an easy drinking lighter 3.9% ABV beer that’s going to be refreshing regardless of what you’re doing. Light grain character with a frothy white head, sounds like a killer sipper to us. Don’t think that means they’ve just dashed it out, though, this one has been in development at the brewery for over a year! QVBC has done something new with this release, with the addition of Clarex. This additive serves two purposes in the brewing process, by increasing the clarity of the beer by dropping out gluten-containing molecules. While Quidi Vidi has the lab work back to prove gluten is below the normal threshold for detection (less than 5 ppm), they do caution that as it was made from gluten-containing barley, it cannot be considered gluten-free. This means it’s fine for those of you watching your gluten intake, but those with celiac should take heed (we know mileage varies greatly with this disease). What it does mean, however, is more beer for more people! Look for it in QV’s Hop Shop today and NLC locations as early as tomorrow. The brewery would definitely love if those who try it would provide a little feedback on the beer, which can be done by following this link right here.

And submissions are open for their second year of the Home Chef/Home Brew dinner. They are looking for four amateur chefs to create a small plate to pair with their recently released four-pack of beers chosen in the Newfermenters homebrew competition. These chefs will pair up with the brewers to create plates that will be served at Chinched April 2nd. Submit your recipe entry via email to Chinched, and we’ll remind you of the tasting event closer to the date!

The gang’s all back together again! 902 BrewCast has released their February Tasting Episode this morning, just in time for your commute to/from work this chilly Friday. Catching up on the various ailments and maladies they’ve been feeling the last couple of months, ranting about the impending doom by the name of White Claw hitting the shelves in the region, as well as chatting up their recent foray into beer reviewing. Oh, and they drank some beer on the podcast, too! Listen in to hear what they’re digging, or not, these days, and what’s coming next from them.

Lots of things for beer lovers to do this weekend:

Good news if you’re in Kentville and a big fan of both cider and beer… Maritime Express Cider is hosting a mini-tap-takeover today, with six of their taps going towards beers from Lunn’s Mill. Don’t worry, there will still be Maritime Express cider available, so you’re getting the best of both worlds! They’ll be giving out some prizes as well, so be sure to drop by if you’re in the area.

We’re all for any excuse for a new beer from Tatamagouche Brewing, and with 2020 being a Leap Year, they’ve brewed a new Weird Beer to be released at the brewery tomorrow, February 29th. We have all the info on this newbie, but they don’t want us to give too much away, so too bad! Hmm, let’s see, what to tease… well, it’s big (ABV-wise), it’s barrel-aged, it’s beer… I guess that’s it! You’re just going to have to drop by Tata yourself tomorrow; they’ll launch it at 2 pm and have live music to help celebrate until 5 pm. The official event page is here, but it doesn’t reveal anything more about the beer, so don’t get too excited!

Bar Stillwell in Halifax has a weekend full of fun and cheer, with events both Saturday and Sunday. From noon tomorrow, they are welcoming Toronto’s Blood Brothers Brewing in the house, who will be making their debut on the taps in a big way, bring 9 draught and a handful of bottled offerings. Featuring Blood Light, Inner Eye, and Blood Brotherhood, the wall will also showcase four beers in their Paradise Lost sour series, including Guava, Apricot-Plum, Spiced Cherry, and Blueberry-Vanilla-Spice. And what’s great beer without killer food? In addition to their regularly scheduled menu, Stilly’s Joe Martin will be bringing the heat with a full Southern BBQ feast featuring Briket, Pork Ribs, Crispy Fried Chicken, Cornbread, and more! Check the FB Event for more beer and food detes.

The fun at Stilly continues Sunday, with “Wild West Brunch Bonanza”, the latest event from the Cahoots Cooks Collective. Attendees can expect 6 courses from 6 amazing local chefs who head up or support incredible kitchens in the HRM. Your ticket also includes a bourbon or beer (and then it’s order whatcha’d like from the taps or cocktail menu), plus live music from The Big Country Ramblers. This event is by reservation only, so email Sam to book your seats for the event! Doors open at 12:30, with the food starting at 1 PM.

Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is hosting their second annual Homebrewers Meet & Greet at the brewery tomorrow, Feb 29th. From 2 – 5 PM, it will be a casual drop-in event where you can come chat with other local homebrewers, pick their brains on the latest recipes and gear purchases, as well as see how things are different, and the same, when scaling batches from 20 litres to 2000 litres. Guided brewery tours will take place at 3 and 4 PM, there are door prizes, and no charge for the event.

One final reminder to our pals who live/will be in Fredericton next Thursday. We will be taking over the mics at The Joyce Pub in the Crowne Plaza for everyone’s favourite event, Beer Trivia! Thanks to our amazing brewery friends, we will once again be overflowing with prizes for the brainiest of the bunch of you, and if you’ve been reading the blog for a bit, you’re sure to do well (hint, hint!). If you are still on the fence, here’s what will definitely get you in the door: Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing is in town, and bringing a dozen beers to pour from the taps that evening, a mix of their core beers, beers from the cellar, as well as at least one brand new release even WE don’t know about yet (shocking)! Peep the FB Event to learn more. And we’ll see you all on Thursday, March 5th! And for those breweries looking to donate swag to this fun event, please hit us up on social media or via email!

And a few last brief (or maybe not so brief) things to mention this week before we leave you to it (whatever “it” may be…):

Though they’ve been hinting at it for a couple of weeks, Boxing Rock made it official this week that they’re getting into the cider game. You’ll find their as-yet-unnamed cider on tap and as growlers to-go at Local Source in the city as well as at the tap room in Shelburne. And about that “as-yet-unnamed” bit, they’d love to have some help giving it a moniker; hit them up on social media with your best ideas! They also released The Publican Bitter to Local Source neighbours, the Stillwell Freehouse, earlier this week. Described as, “a 5% balancing act,” with a hint of sweetness and a lingering bitterness, if you’re lucky it’s still pouring there.

Landwash, in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has reached their hundredth mash! Which is different from their hundredth batch in ways that only a brewer would appreciate… Anyways, their Green Nap, a hazy IPA that sees a rotating variety of hops came back just in time for you to toast this milestone along with them. Plenty of orange, mango skin, and apricot notes bloom from a combo of Simcoe and Amarillo hops. We suggest if you’re a hophead and can get your hands on this one you do so with a quickness. And even if you’re not a hophead, you should check out the current offerings, as their Sour and Salty Brackish is also back, and you can also pick up Smiling Land (Kolsch-style Ale), Home and Away (APA), That Much Ocean (NEIPA), Hazures Rock (Breakfast Stout), and Rock and Willow (Rustic Saison) all at the brewery on tap for growler fills and pints and in cans.

With all of the good news of new breweries and new releases, it’s important to keep grounded: the brewery business in the Atlantic Provinces is healthy, but that does not mean there will not be closures. Whether related solely to the business side of things or not, we understand now that Valonray Brewing in MacDougall Settlement has closed. The brewery was an ambitious project that opened in Spring 2018, with the goal of brewing beer in the Belgian tradition with ingredients grown on their farm. We had recently reported on their foray into the Flanders Red style, but with their social media, website, and email no longer functioning, we are not able to update on its availability, nor track the age of these previously released bottles at the ANBL, and whether they are still good. Learn more about their plans in our profile of them from March 2018. We wish the Fontaines all of the best with whatever they choose to do next!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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