The Grand Banker

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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!).

It was probably too much to ask for two awesome weather weekends in a row across the Atlantic Provinces, but fear not, our region’s breweries and cideries are gearing up for a good’er anyways to help beat those Vitamin D deficiency blahs. Plenty of new beers available this weekend, some grand openings, and some birthday parties. Plus, there’s apparently some kind of sports championship thinger worth celebrating. Or something.

Sourwood Cider has been producing funky, tart, and dare we say wild, ciders in Halifax for just over a year now, focussing on spontaneous or pitched mixed yeast and bacteria, playing with barrels for primary and secondary fermentation, and incorporating local fruits, berries, and other adjuncts (Chaga, anyone?). After pop-up sales at their spot on Almon Street, they were able to supply the NSLC with Sour City, a 6.2% ABV dry and sour cider available across the province. And today at 4 PM, they will be opening the doors to their new taproom located at 5576 Cornwallis St. Featuring several of their own ciders on tap (as well as guest taps), a small kitchen will provide food perfect for pairing, and a retail sales counter will allow for cans and bottles to go. Pop by today, or throughout the weekend, to get your Sourwood fix. Congratulations to Jake and Kyle on all their hard work!

Last Saturday, Stillwell Brewing had a 3-beer release (two new, one returning) and we kinda, sorta didn’t mention it in the Friday post! Whoopsie! This stuff happens, we’re only human, yada yada yada the beers are still around so let’s just pretend this never happened, shall we? Let’s start off with Shiro, a sour Farmhouse Ale. Made up of a blend of various barrel- and foedre-aged beers brewed between April, 2017 and February, 2018 (including Batch #1, which at about 25% of the beer is the first time it has appeared in a blend), this blend was then re-fermented on 300 g/L (= a lot) of Nova Scotia-grown Shiro plums, for five months. Bottled back in early March of this year, it’s been conditioning ever since, and is finally available for your eager mouths/tummies. Lots of tannic notes in this beer thanks at least in part to those plum skins, the aroma is described as lambic-like (hooray!), “with notes of hay, funk, wet stone and bright, pithy lemon”. Available in bottles at Bar Stillwell, and on tap!

Next up is the brewery’s second stab at their beloved Pilsner style, Prince Pils. Designed to be a different sort of beer than their house Pilsner, Stilly Pils, it was brewed with extra pale premium Pilsner malt and wheat in the grist, and was hopped with Pacific Jade (a New Zealand variety that is a descendent of the oft-used Saaz). The wort was fermented by a Bavarian strain from Escarpment Labs, that has not been used by the brewery in the past. The result is an aroma that is “bigger, more peppery, and herbaceous” compared to Saaz, with a light, fluffy body and firm bitterness. Highly drinkable at just 4.4% ABV, this royal beer is available only on draught, and has been a frequent presence on tap at both Stilly HQ and their Spring Garden Road Beergarden.

Finally, newly-returned is Poptones, the second batch of the brewery’s Farmhouse Pale Ale. Fermented with a clean, Saccharomyces yeast in primary, and then Brettanomyces in secondary, it’s a bright and easy drinking hoppy Pale Ale with funky Brett shining through. All stainless, six months from brewing to the beer’s release, at 5.3% you can approach it as you prefer (you know, like Smarties). Bottles and on tap at Stillwell.

Tatamagouche Brewing has a full weekend of fun ahead of them (and us!), as they are celebrating their Fifth Anniversary all weekend. The details are available in that FB Event, but the highlights include the release of a new beer that was first previewed/teased at May’s NS Craft Beer Full House Festival. Spring is a 6.6% ABV Saison, both sour and funky from the blend of yeast and bacteria used to ferment the wort. The golden yellow beer also features plenty of tropical fruit esters, reminiscent of mandarin oranges, lychee and stone fruit. Bottles of Spring are available at the brewery as of 10 AM today, so we certainly suggest popping by to grab a few bottles and take part in the fun. They have also brought back Guava Heist, their 3.6% ABV guava-infused Berliner Weisse, available on tap and in cans. The Shree Curry Place food truck is onsite for lunch, with live music from Eric Fresia beginning at 6 PM. There are brewery tours at 10, 12, 2, and 4 tomorrow, with a fundraising BBQ lunch starting at 11 AM, and live music from 1 – 4 PM. There’s more live music and a food truck on Sunday, and if you stick around/come back on Monday, you can enjoy cake with the Tata Crew!

Two new beers from 2 Crows this week, one a draught-only release that is on right now (we hope!), and another a very special can release. Let’s start with the draught beer, shall we? Named Pony Up, it’s a Brett Pale Ale from brewer Miles Bishop. A parti-gyle brew using the leftovers (the remaining sugary wort, that is) of an Oat Wine which should be released in several months, the original grist included a whopping ~70% mixture of malted, flaked, and golden naked oats. Hopped lightly to 13 IBUs with Nelson Sauvin and Citra, the wort was fermented with a Brett strain from The Yeast Bay that showcases “strong barnyard funk and backing notes of peach and strawberry”. Coming in at 5.8% ABV, the final beer has a grainy texture, smooth body, and “a pleasant white wine and affirmative citrus aroma” to go with all that funk. There is only a single keg available, so pony up for some Pony Up (ha!) at the 2C taproom right now… assuming it isn’t all gone already.

Beer number two is an international collaboration, of sorts. The online Saison, Biere de Garde, and Farmhouse Ale Appreciation Society arranged the collab between about 40 breweries, all of who brewed a recipe for a Biėre de Garde that was determined by the society and a number of brewers. While some of the brewing techniques were also predetermined, each brewery had the freedom to determine fermentation, and the possibility of oak aging. The 2C version of L’Internationale Vol II was brewed back in December with 90% six-row malted barley and 10% raw wheat from PEI’s Shoreline Malting. They used a turbid mashing technique (spoiler: it takes a long time) and a 5-hour boil (ok, that makes the day even longer!), hopping the wort with Saaz and Strisselspalt to 17 IBUs. Fermented in one of the brewery’s oak foedres (with a variety of microflora), the beer was finally packaged in early May to condition in the can, and it’s being released at the brewery tomorrow. Rich and complex, 2C’s house cultures have added “a distinct tartness and funk, which play well with the rich malt backbone and deep honey vibes). Grab your cans on Saturday!

Propeller Brewing is releasing a brand new beer this week, a limited release that may be your next summer sipper. Azacca Session IPA is a 4.5% ABV ale, which showcases the unique Azacca hop. Used in combination with El Dorado and Citra, aromatics and flavours of mango, pineapple, and tangerine dance on top of this light and hazy easy-drinking beer. Azacca is available today on draught and in cans at the Prop Shops on both sides of the harbour, and in cans at the four private stores in HRM now/very soon. And pop by their Gottingen Street taproom for a cask of Azacca, featuring real pineapple added to the cask. It will be tapped at 5 PM (or earlier if you ask real nice), and make the perfect accompaniment to a round of pinball downstairs in the Arcade.

New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing continues their longtime trend of zagging after every zig with this week’s release. After a big bruiser of a Belgian Tripel last week in Day Tripper, this week brings a much smaller, hoppier beer that you can fearlessly have a few of without worrying about stumbling away from your barstool or patio chair. Paradox is a session IPA fermented with a hazier strain and heaped with Columbus, Simcoe, and Topaz late additions and a huge dry hop of more Simcoe as well as Enigma. Weighing in at a super (duper!) sessionable 3.0% ABV it’s plenty light, but not to the point of being watery, with enough citrusy and juicy hop aroma and flavor to satisfy your need for hops. This one is heading out to tap accounts this week, with Pepper’s Pub, The Joyce, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and Graystone at the head of the line. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this weekend and you’ll be able to enjoy a pint (or a few) of this in all its refreshing glory outside in the sun.

Hampton Brewing has delivered kegs of their latest beer, an American Pale Ale named Big Shoes. The brewery’s first new beer since April, it’s a Pale Ale brewed more towards the New England side of the style. With a grist made up of 2-row, Vienna, a touch of Crystal malt, and a “healthy” dose of wheat, it was hopped aggressively in the whirlpool and a two-stage dry hop with a combination of American ‘C’ hops and Amarillo. This hazy 5.6% ABV, 45 IBUs beer is sporting plenty of tropical fruit and citrus in the flavour and aroma, with low bitterness. You can find it on tap at Peppers, The Joyce, and the Hampton Golf Club.

Port Rexton is celebrating the local release of their Across the Nation collaboration with Red Racer this weekend, Skerwink Haze. Named after the nearby Skerwink Trail, a must-visit when visiting the brewery, Skerwink Haze is a 6.4% ABV New England IPA fermented with Kveik yeast. Using the Escarpment Labs Ebbegarden Kveik blend, this incredibly hearty and temperature-resilient yeast (in fact, it thrives at high temperatures [think 35C and higher] that many yeasts would produce some serious off-flavours) chews through most any wort that’s thrown at it. Expect a soft mouthfeel, and juicy vibes from the Belma, Galaxy, and Vic Secret hops used late in the brew to favour flavour and aroma over bitterness. To celebrate the release, their friends from Jack Axes in town are coming out for pop-up axe throwing from 2 PM today, and tomorrow will see a guided hike of the Skerwink Trail, leaving the brewery at 11 AM (free cake after!), and live music from 8 PM.

Skerwink Haze joins the PRBC taps as the second new IPA this week, after launching the latest in their Continuum series last week. Continuum w/ Zythos is a 5.5% ABV hazy IPA, which features loads of, you guessed it, Zythos in the whirlpool (post-boil in the kettle), hop back (out of the kettle and into the fermenter) and dry hop (in the fermenter). Getting a little help from its friend Azacca, tropical, citrus, and stone fruit vibes shine through with an orange-pith bitterness. If you can’t make it out to the brewery to take part in the fun this weekend, you’re in luck! Look for Continuum, and seven more Port Rexton brews taking over the taps at Jack Axes in downtown St. John’s, kicking off today at 6 PM, and running all weekend/until the kegs kick. Or find Skerwink Haze at Toslow’s One-Year Anniversary party Saturday.

Hey, Landwash fans! The brewery has announced they’ll be pouring a whopping seven of their tasty beverages at Rocket Bakery in St. John’s today from 7 PM – 12 AM. If that isn’t enough to excite you, two of these beers will be brand new releases! First up is Silvern Voices, a 5.3% ABV kettle sour that has been dry-hopped with the lovely Cashmere and Azacca varieties; there’s also a touch of lactose powder added to up the sweetness just a tad. They claim that if you’re big on “sour key candy, fruity white wine, and/or passion fruit flavours”, you’re probably gonna enjoy this one! They’ve also got a new hoppy brew that will be making its debut at the event, Green Nap. This 6.3% ABV NEIPA was brewed with plenty of oats and malted oat in the grist, to help give the beer that trademark haze/smooth body you’d expect in the style. Hopped mightily with Bru-1 and Galaxy to give flavours of apricot, pineapple, and lime, don’t be expecting too much bitterness, so it’ll go down plenty easy. Look for future iterations of Green Nap that will feature different hop varieties. We should probably mention that both of these new beers will also be available at the brewery’s taproom this weekend (which starts today at 3 PM, FYI), on tap and in cans.

Let’s stick with the Newfoundland theme we’ve got going to update you on the goings ons (going ons? goings on?) at 90 Duckworth Street in St. John’s. Since opening just over a month ago, the crew at Bannerman Brewing have been working like mad to keep up with demand and interest for their beer and food. And more recently, they have launched the cafe side of things in their taproom, with shots and pour-overs available from 7:30 AM weekdays, and 9 AM on the weekend. While the kitchen does not open until later in the afternoon (4 PM Mon, Wed, Thurs; 1 PM Fri; and 12 PM on the weekend, closed Tues), there are some baked goods onsite for a grab-and-go European breakfast. And while you’re stopping in, be sure to check out their 946 mL cans, filled on demand to take away.

Way out on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Sober Island Brewing has put together a very special beer, developed in concert with the 5th Canadian Division of the Canadian Army and intended to be their official beer. This one has been in development since December, with Commander Brigadier-General D.A. Macaulay and several members of the division involved in helping Sober Island taste test and guide the development of the recipe. The result is called The 5 and it’s a super-easy drinking blonde ale that’s low in bitterness, but not on flavour. A touch of honey malt gives it a touch of roundness, Magnum, Cascade, and Mt. Hood hops provide a hint of bitterness (only 5 IBU) and some gentle hop flavor, and an American ale yeast ensures a well-attenuated beer with a crisp finish weighing in at a perfectly fitting 5% ABV. You’ll be able to find this at Rockhead, West Side, and Harvest Wines, with in-store tasting events coming tomorrow at Rockhead from 11 – 4 PM and at Harvest on June 22nd from 2 – 4 PM. The 5th Canadian Division covers all of Atlantic Canada, and Sober Island is working to ensure that the beer eventually will too, so hopefully you’ll be hearing of this beer being available in New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland later this year. Hopefully you won’t have any trouble finding it in stores, but be aware that the super swank camouflage can (designed by Pierre Tabbiner) may be hard to spot if you take a few out into the field. You can also find it at the brewery as early as next weekend. Go Mighty Maroon Machine!

In other Sober Island news this week, their blueberry blonde ale known as The Blueberry Express, brewed in collaboration with the Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum is back for the summer, again at Rockhead/West Side Harvest, with $0.50 from every can going to the museum ($1,600 raised last year!). The blueberries for this one came from local producer Glenmore Farms Blueberries. And fans of Beth’s Black Oyster Stout should be aware that Marigold Blonde is replacing it in the seasonal rotation, but that they’ll still be able to grab it through the summer at the brewery and the same private stores as well as at events where Sober Island is pouring beer.

The weekly new releases from Shipwright Brewing continue with a “Rye Session Ale” named Rye’T Aweigh. Featuring rye malt in the grist, of course, the wort was generously hopped with three different Australian varieties: Topaz, Ella and Vic Secret. The addition of rye malt provides some sweetness on the palate, with “flavours of lime zest, honeydew melon and papaya” following suit, thanks to juicy hop additions. Quite sessionable at just 4.6% ABV (and 30 IBUs), if you’re around Lunenburg this week, best drop by the brewery to give this one a taste. It’ll also be pouring at the brewery’s regular tap account, the Grand Banker.

We’ve already told you (last week) about the East Coast Cider Fest and North Brewing’s Retail Spot and Lighter than Air launch, both happening tomorrow (Saturday). We’ve got one more big thing to tell you about this week…

Since opening their doors in late February, Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South has been supplying their community with their blend of English, Belgian, and American beers. And this weekend, they are celebrating their Grand Opening, and we’re all invited! The return of their Porter means their taps are once again full, with seven beers for enjoyment onsite or to take away. Plus there is an Open Mic tonight beginning at 4 PM, live music tomorrow from 7 PM, and a Paint Night on Sunday from 6 PM. Full details in their Facebook Events page. Congratulations to the Ninepenny family on their continued success in bringing great beer to folks around the Bay!

And just a few last things to inform your beer buying (and drinking!) excursions this weekend:

Good Robot has a new take on a Mexican-style Lager with the release of El Corazón Del Ángel (5.5% ABV). Like their fan-favourite El Espinazo Del Diablo, there’s plenty of lime zest added, but this newer beer substitutes the jalapeno addition with sweet orange peel. Grab it at the GR taproom today.

It’s been a couple of years since Grimross has brewed their Maritime Amber Ale, but it’s hitting shelves and taps again this week. Hopped with Goldings from Southan Farms, it’s a malty, toasty 5.2% ABV, 32 IBUs brew with hints of caramel and a balancing bitterness. Available at Grimross in cans and on tap, with cans hitting ANBL stores next week; kegs will also be shipping to licensees soon.

Nine Locks has their latest kettle sour available on tap and in cans at the brewery, Bohemian Raspberry (4.8% ABV). A Berliner Weisse brewed with ripe raspberries, it pours a hazy pink colour and features raspberry in the aroma and flavour, to go with the tartness in the finish.

Tanner & Co. Brewing has hot weather on the mind, and what better beer to enjoy with nice weather than a Kolsch? Their take on the style, which they’ve simply named Kolsch, is 5.2% ABV and 20 IBUs, and is currently available at the brewery on tap and in bottles; stop by this weekend between 12 – 6 PM.

St. John’s YellowBelly has brewed up a special beer to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the very first non-stop transatlantic flight, performed by John Alcock and Arthur Brown in June, 1919. Named after the duo, Alcock and Brown is a 5.5% ABV, 49 IBUs unfiltered Porter, sporting notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and coffee, along with hints of plum. You can grab it at the brewpub this weekend, and bottles and growlers are available at the Takeaway shop down Water Street.