The Joyce

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Another summer week is in the books and it appears that most of the region is staring down a lovely weekend weather-wise. And what better companion for a beautiful weekend in the shank of the summer than beer? We may be biased, but we can’t think of one. So read on for all the latest beer news in Atlantic Canada and hopefully you’ll find something to wet your whistle on Sunday afternoon.

For those of you who think that Gose is one of the finest warm weather beer styles out there (raises hand), Lunn’s Mill is probably on your side. Well, maybe we’re assuming too much here, but they DO have their own take on the style, How She Gose B’y, currently available on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills. A classic take on the style, this kettle sour was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat, along with a bit of Acid malt. Hopped very lightly with Hallertauer, they added the usual coriander and sea salt (from local Salt & Light Sea Salt Co.), resulting in a beer with “restrained tartness and mild saltiness”, along with some bright notes of lime from the coriander. Light and refreshing at 4.7% ABV, it’s a great beer to crush and sob into as you contemplate the end of yet another summer. 

Moving to one of the finest Belgian styles, where Big Spruce is pouring their latest Saison at the Sprucetique in Nyanza. L’Été Phone Home (“l’ete” is french for summer, and Saisons have traditionally been brewed for different seasons, with certain techniques and ingredients often used for varying seasons) is a 6.1% ABV Saison hopped entirely with organic Aramis (a variety from the Alsace region in France), and fermented with the Old World Saison strain from Escarpment Labs. The result is a complex beer that is lightly sweet, with stone fruit, white peppercorn, clove, and floral aromas. Golden-coloured and hazy, you’ll find some clove, coriander, sage and marjoram on the palate, according to the brewery. This one is available on tap only; apart from directly at the source, you’ll likely find some showing up – briefly! – at your favourite Big Spruce tap accounts. 

TrailWay Brewing has been extra busy lately as the summer winds down to an end, and as a result they’ve got two brand new hoppy brews out this week, as well as a returning fave. Let’s start with Ooz, their latest DIPA that they hopped with two of their favourite Australian varieties (Ella and Galaxy), no doubt in significantly high quantities. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV, you can expect “overripe tropical fruit, cantaloupe, and mango” throughout, with a very juicy and pungent character, along with an earthiness quality. On tap and in cans at the brewery, with some cans being sent to various ANBL stores across the province. Next up is Half Past, an American IPA that is freshly available as of today at 11 am. Brewed with Lotus, a very new American variety that was previously known as Experimental Hop 06297 (odd that they decided that Lotus was a catchier name, no?). Also hopped with a “supporting variety” that TW felt would complement, the final beer has “massive stone fruit, bordering on a fuzzy peach candy, with a solid amount of straight tropical fruit”. Available on tap, this 6% IPA has also been canned, but these will be available at the brewery only, for the time-being. Finally, the brewery’s New Zealand Pilsner, Emerald – hopped with Southern Cross and Wakatu, it also has an addition of key lime juice and lime zest – is back, also on tap and in cans. 

PEI Brewing Company has released the latest in their After Hours series, where they let the brewers play, experiment, and take their time with beer. Midnight Oil is a beer that certainly fits that description, as this beer began life as a Stout aged in wine barrels full of funky bacteria, before being further aged in Bourbon barrels on dark cherries and raspberries. The 6.0% ABV beer was then packaged and allowed to naturally carbonate in the bottle before release. Bottles can be bought now at the brewery taproom, and will be appearing on shelves at PEI Liquor next week.

The Newfoundland Cider Company is continuing their effort of showcasing local ingredients beyond apples in their products, and have two new expressions coming this weekend. The first is Sparkling Strawberry, a wild-fermented cider made with all local strawberries from Lester’s Farm in St. John’s. At 5.1% ABV, there is plenty of aroma and flavour from the strawberries, in addition to a lovely rose hue. The second new cider is actually a cyser, thanks to the addition of local honey. Honey Cyser weighs in at 5.3% ABV, and uses honey harvested from hives located close to the NCC apple orchards (not too far from their taproom in George’s Brook-Milton), and was also wild fermented. A touch of sweetness, but light and summery, perfect for this time of year. Pop by the taproom for a taste, and then the bottle shop in Shoal Harbour later this weekend to take some home.

Tatamagouche Brewing has another fun collaboration in their Weird Beer line of offerings, this time with Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing. Haven Blended Saison, 5.9% ABV. Primary fermentation occurred in barrels thanks to a mixed bag of yeast, and aged for over a year before a referment on NS Haskap berries and Nfld Partridge berries. Packaged still and bottle conditioned, there are tons of fruit, funk, and lovely parts to pick out of the beer. Bottles are available to take away at the brewery (as well as one keg hitting the taps at some point this weekend), and can also be ordered for delivery Canada-wide at their online bottle shop.

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Charlottetown’s Upstreet release a beer in their Million Acres series of long-term barrel-aged beers, but if you were waiting with bated breath for the next one, you can finally exhale. Mango & Pink Guava Sour was brewed in fall of 2018 when it was barreled and left to develop lots of character. Shortly before bottling it was transferred to steel where it met up and mingled with lots of fruit for 30 days. Bottled in 500 mL bottles on July 5th, and, we presume, bottle-conditioned, it’s now available for purchase at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner. Mug Club members got a preview of this one yesterday at the Upstreet Taproom, where a single keg was pouring, but the rest of us plebs can have at it now. Expect a fruit-forward beer, juicy, yet with some tannic barrel character and lots of fruity aromas. Weighing in at 7% ABV and a slight 20 IBU, it’s got some weight to it, so be careful!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co has a pair of new beers on tap this week, from two different ends of the spectrum. First up is Midnight Snack, a 4.2% ABV English Porter, featuring lovely chocolate and caramel notes, on top of a medium-bodied roasty snack of a beer. Also newly on tap is Charlie Work, a 6.5% ABV Belgian Saison, featuring a load of fresh lemons added to the beer, enhancing the fruity yeast esters, and making this ever-so refreshing and crushable. 

Lots of news from Good Robot in Halifax this week beginning with some packaging and availability news: GR’s Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs has been pretty popular over the last while, none moreso, we think, than the original version, Creature Feature I. In recognition of that popularity (hey, give the people what they want!), that beer has been brewed big and packaged in cans that are on their way to the NSLC. Now more folks will have more chances to try this 6.4% ABV and 68 IBU juicy and jazy IPA (and look for GR Brew Queen Kelly Costello and her dog on the can!). If you’re in the city, though, you can also head on down to the GR taproom where they’ve got a new beer on tap. Easy Bruiser is a novel style, a California Common-ish beer taken to the Nth degree. Fermented at a warm temperature with a tolerant lager yeast, it was also loaded up with Mosaic, Ekuanot and Cascade. But lest you think this is just an uncharacteristically-hopped steam beer, check the specs: 8% ABV and 73 IBU. To quote Ted (Theodore) Logan, “Woah.” Be careful with this one, folks, we’re told it’s smooth, fruity, and dangerously drinkable. 

And lastly, but definitely not leastly, GR is giving the femme brewers of the region some extra time this year to get their entries together for the 2020 edition of the Good Robot FemmeBrew Competition by announcing the competition now even though judging will not take place until March. The primary reason for the early opening is this year’s stipulation that entries contain some local or foraged ingredients and, as Kelly succinctly put it, “as it turns out nothing grows in January/February in NS.” We also think that this will give neophyte brewers an opportunity to get a few extra brews under their belts to tweak out process and recipes. Remember, just because you forage an ingredient now doesn’t mean you can’t use it a few months down the line (depending on what it is, of course). Know someone with some hops growing in their yard? That’s local. Dry ‘em, vacpac ‘em, and pop ‘em in the freezer until brewday. There are plenty of flowers, herbs, veggies and fruit about this time of year that will keep in one form or another if you treat them right. As always, the competition is open to women and woman-identifying folks throughout the region who are able to get their entries to GR or their local Noble Grape before March 3rd, 2020. First-time brewer? No problem. Seasoned (pickled?) homebrew veteran? Also no problem. Entering also gives you access to the Three Cheers for the Lady Beers party where the winning beers will be announced. For more information, go to the GR website and click “On Tap” at the top (or click this handy dandy link right here), then scroll down until you see “Femmebrew Competition 2020” where you’ll find a link to the entry form.

Congratulations are in order, as Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 218 Water Street in the Loyalist Plaza. With ten taps, there is a wide variety of Boxing Rock pouring at any one time, plus there is always room for a guest beer and cider or two, to keep everyone happy. Their retail fridge from their production brewery has also moved over, making it easy to grab bottles to go, and are set up to sell/exchange growlers (filling on demand is coming). Their friends at Finest Kind Food have also moved into the new space, and are celebrating with their first Finest Kind Friday there, with live music this afternoon 5 – 7 PM, and food specials to accompany your pints. And their barrel-aging program has made the move as well, so you can check into what’s bubbling and coming soon from Boxing Rock.

Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing is hiring someone to play double-duty in the brewery, in a full-time position working both the production side, as well as delivery on the Island. Working with their brewing team, they will be responsible for canning operation and assist in troubleshooting. And then working with delivery of those cans, plus kegs, to the different licensees and retailers in the province, to ensure the freshest and best beer possible gets in your hand. Learn more in their job posting.

A couple of beery things going on this week and next:

Fredericton’s The Joyce is continuing to promote sour beers, as their 3rd Annual sour event is happening tomorrow, August 24th. Tarte Diem III: Bigger, Sour & Untappd is an all-day event (starting at noon when the pub opens) that will feature 20+ taps of some of the finest sour beers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. As always, there’s no charge to attend, and you can buy individual beers by the pints or 12 oz pours, as well as flights. And now that their deck is open, you can finally enjoy some of these beers outside!

Tickets for August 31st’s Gros Morne Beer Festival are still available, but are definitely moving quickly. Put on by the fine folks at the Nfld Craft Beer Festival (who ran the events in April in St. John’s and Corner Brook), this will see beer from across the province, Atlantic provinces, and elsewhere in the country, pouring at the Town Hall in Norris Point. There are some pretty special extra options available to enhance your Gros Morne experience, which include taking a Zodiac, Kayak, or SUP tour of the area before the festival, with a beer and food pairing. Peep their Instagram feed for hints as to what you’ll be able to enjoy next weekend, and then grab a ticket here!

And a few last mentions before you get back to your Friday afternoon:

The boys at Off Track Brewing in Bedford found themselves in a bit of hot water this week, as their Damn Skippy Peanut Butter Stout caught the eye of an international peanut butter maker, and they kindly (ya right!) asked them to cease and desist use of their trademark. Rather than let that be a problem, they interrogated their automated-beer-naming-machine and it spat out another moniker fit for the brew. The new name is Illuminutty Peanut Butter Stout, and bottles will be featuring a new label next week. But if you skip to the brewery this weekend, you may be able to find some of the forbidden bottles, and grab them as a keepsake.

Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing is releasing a new beer today, 16 Tons. a 6.0% ABV Black IPA, it features plenty of roast malt character enhanced by piney bitterness from Cascadeand Amarillo hops. Find it on draught for pints and growlers at the brewery, and may hit the taps at local restaurants and pubs soon!

Tusket Falls Brewing is tapping their latest experimental beer this afternoon. Details are pretty light, but we wanted to let you know about the Blackberry Sour, as these small batch brews rarely last more than a few days. Keep your eyes on their social media to see when the beer is pouring!

Howdy howdy folks, and welcome to another ACBeerBlog Friday Wrap-up where we blather on at length about as many of the beer happenings in Atlantic Canada as we were able to get details about. This week we’ve got a new brewery announcement, some collabs, the usual fresh releases, and a couple of events to tell you about, so grab a beer and get ready. But before you read further, we’d like to give you a heads-up that next week we’ll be taking one of our (ultra-)rare weeks off from the blog, so you’ll have to do your own social media mining for beer news on Friday, July 19. We’ll be back on the 26th, refreshed and ready to bring you our usual high quality reportage.

While details are a bit light at the moment, we are thrilled to share news of a soon-to-open brewery coming to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Delta Force Brewing is the culmination of well over a decade of recipe development and perfection of techniques by decorated homebrewers Jayme Keddy and Gavin Stewart. Concentrating on “farmshed” beers (think “farmhouse”, but smaller and with a local bent), Delta Force will serve the Valley and HRM before fall. Follow along on their social mediums for progress ( Fb / Ig / Tw ), and we’ll have a full Profile with Keddy and Stewart (aka Alexander and McCoy) closer to opening, with background on their beer, brewhouse, and plans. 

Lake City Cider celebrated their Anniversary this week, marking their cidery and taproom’s first year of operation with a tap takeover at fellow downtown Dartmouth business Battery Park. One of the ciders ahem beverages debuting yesterday was Hometown Hybrid, a collaborative graf brewed with North Brewing. Graf (or graff) is the melding of beer and cider, with the starting wort and juices fermented together for the best of both styles. Hometown Hybrid is a 5.0% ABV bevvie, and is available on tap and in cans today at both host fermentories, with kegs being sent out to licensees as well. And if you’re lucky, there may still be a few ciders on tap at BP to quench your thirst today.

Speaking of downtown Dartmouth, Brightwood Brewery shares a space with Lake City at 35 Portland Street, and is releasing a new beer today, a hybrid in its own way. Pineapple Crushable is a Sour Wheat Beer, but arrived at in a unique way. Using techniques developed a couple of years ago, the Brightwood crew used a SCoBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)  from Pop Culture Kombucha to first sour the wheat-heavy wort, before halting the process by boiling (and killing all bacteria and yeast). Yeast is then used to complete fermentation, generating alcohol instead of lactic acid as in the first step. After fermentation, loads of fresh pureed pineapple and Idaho 7 and Simcoe hops were added to the fermenter to round out the beer. Pick up this tart, fruity, and refreshing 4.7% ABV beer at the brewery’s taproom today for pints and growler fills, with cans to follow next week.

Last weekend’s Beer on the Bridge festival in Fredericton saw the debut of several new beers, one of which was the latest to come out of Harvey’s Think Brewing. Train of Thought is an American IPA brewed with a grist that includes flaked oats, and malted and flaked wheat, giving the beer a smooth body and slight haziness. Hopped with Citra and Amarillo, expect juicy and tropical aromas and flavours. No need to be upset if you missed this 6.9% ABV, 43 IBUs beer last weekend – it’ll be popping up at regular Think tap accounts across the province.

Tatamagouche Brewing, conveniently located located on Main Street Tatamagouche (that was good planning!), has a new brew out this week. Holiday Honeycomb is a 5.5% ABV Blonde Ale with all malts originating from the Valley’s Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co. Featuring the addition of 60 lbs of honey (20 lbs in the kettle, 40 lbs in secondary) from Holiday Inn Truro’s hives, the beer was hopped with Saaz to 25 IBUs. Grab this one on tap at the brewery, partner hotel, and at better beer spots around the province (including Horton Ridge, Battery Park, Stillwell, and HopYard Halifax).

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has spent the last few months releasing new and interesting things for you to drink and they’re continuing that trend this week with their Brut Rosé Sparkling Ale. This one has been inspired by classic light and easy summery rosé wines, perfect for this time of year. A “sparkling ale” (which we assume means more highly carbonated than your average ale), it carries the brut designation, implying a very dry body and finish, and a blush color provided by pinot noir grapes and hibiscus. Very light and refreshing at 4.4% ABV and a mere 8 IBU, limited kegs have been filled for Propeller’s own locations and, most likely, licensees around the city, but it’s also been packaged in 473 mL cans, which you can pick up at both Prop shops and hopefully the private stores in the city.

No one has ever accused Big Spruce Brewing of a lack of experimentation… or, if they have, they likely received a well-deserved smack! But with their latest beer, Slam Dunkel, they’ve even got us admitting that the “style” is one that likely hasn’t been seen before: a “Jamaican rum-barrel-aged Dunkel Wit”. This 7.3% ABV brew has a Dunkelweizen-type grist, fermented with a Witbier yeast strain. Aged for five months in dark rum barrels from Jamaica, the final beer has an aroma of chocolate-spiced rum cake, with lots of dried fruit and spice on the palate… and more rum! A touch warming in the finish, as you may expect, this dark beer is meant to be sipped on during these fine summer evenings. It’s available in kegs only, so look for it on tap at the brewery and a select few tap accounts in Nova Scotia. And in returning beer news for Big Spruce, their organic guava IPA, Guava Get Me Some (6.4% ABV), is back on tap and in cans, so grab some tropical goodness wherever you see it.

Moving westward to Amherst, where Trider’s has a brand new beer for you fans of American Wheat Ales out there. American Orange in Paris isn’t your typical wheat beer, however, as it was dry-hopped with the French variety, Triskel. While this hop is known for imparting citrus and floral character when used, the brewery decided to add a bit more punch with an addition of sweet orange peel. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, it was fermented with a neutral American ale yeast to allow the hop and orange peel additions to shine. It’s draught-only for now, at the brewery tap room and maybe one or two lucky licensees.

Up in Fredericton, Niche Brewing has a brand new beer on the go this week, the first to be designed and brewed solo by Matt Scott, secret squirrel member of the Niche team for the past few months (but not anymore!). Westfalia is a straight-up, classic Hefeweizen built on a grist of Pilsner and lots of malted and flaked wheat and fermented on Niche’s favorite Weizen yeast strain. Look for plenty of banana and clove presence from the yeast and a classic wheat-driven body in this 4.5% ABV refresher. Kegs of this are going out to The Joyce, Ringo’s Grill, Peppers Pub, Brasseux BrouePub, and Graystone Brewing in New Brunswick, and folks in Halifax will also get a chance at this one thanks to Stillwell and The Auction House.

While it kinda feels like Port Rexton Brewing just opened yesterday, it also feels like they’ve been around forever. That’s probably just old age talking, but regardless of that, they’re turning the big 0-3 this Saturday, and you’re probably not too surprised to hear that they’ve got some celebratin’ planned! With four new beers, new glassware, and free cake – at both the taproom AND St. John’s retail shop – it’s fun times for all, guaranteed! Let’s dive into these beers and get started…

John Jacob Lichtenhainer Schmidt – Brewed with a portion of smoked malt, this is a 4.1% ABV sour beer that has “a limeade tartness” to contrast all of that delightful, smoky BBQ character

Dry-Hopped Baycation Blonde – Name gives it away, this is their regular Baycation Blonde that has been dry-hopped with Cascade and Azacca. The 5.2% ABV base beer is showing plenty of “grapefruit, peach, stone fruit and pineapple” thanks to that dry-hop addition, along with a little more bitterness than the non-dry-hopped version. 

Continuum w/ Mandarina Bavaria – The latest in the Continuum series, a whole whack of Mandarina Bavaria (along with some Simcoe) was added in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry hop additions. Hazy, bitter, and 5.6% ABV, this IPA has notes of mandarin orange and wildflower in the aroma, along with “tropical mango/pineapple, apricot and rose” on the palate. 

2019 High Fives – Some of you may recall that for their 2nd birthday bash, PRB released High Fives as a tribute to their customers (that’s you!); this year’s batch is another “thank you” to the people they love and appreciate! A mixed-fermentation Farmhouse Ale that was aged for 11 months in their Calvados foeder on their Brett-packed house culture, it’s finally ready, just in time! Weighing in at 6.4% ABV, it’s showing lots of Brett character, with “undertones of oak, apple brandy, and pear” in the aroma. Expect a dry cider-like experience in the flavour, with “Champagne-esque vibes backed up by green apple Jolly Rancher/kiwi/green grape skin”.  

All of these birthday beers will be available on tap, and will be sold as 12 oz pours only… at a discount! If you get there nice and early, however (i.e. you’re one of the first 40 people through the door), you’ll be given a special 16 oz PRB birthday mason jar, which you’ll not only be allowed to take home, but you’ll also have filled at the 12 oz price all day! When the birthday brews sell out, there’ll be other PRB flagships ready to go on, to ensure the beer/fun keeps flowing. Happy birthday, PRB!

Earlier this week, Maybee Brewing released the second beer in their barrel-aged series, Maple Bourbon Elevensies. As you may have guessed from the name, this beer is their regular Espresso Stout, Elevensies, aged in Maple Bourbon barrels (more specifically, Kentucky Bourbon barrels which previously held Vermont maple syrup). The beer was fermented in stainless, then moved into barrels where it went through a brief, secondary fermentation, and then was allowed to age in the barrels for seven months. Carbonated before packaging, this dark brew has aromas of maple syrup, Bourbon, and vanilla, with a touch of chocolate and caramel, all supported by notes of oak. Both the oak and maple carry through to the flavour, with a low level of carbonation allowing the barrel character to be more prevalent. At 6% ABV and 41 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery right now in 750 mL cork & cage bottles, and is also pouring on one of their nitro taps. Look for kegs to make their way to select tap accounts across NB over the coming weeks.

Brand new bottle release from Halifax’s Tidehouse this week, a 7.5% ABV Double IPA named It Was All A Dream. A tropical, juicy brew hopped heavily with El Dorado, Idaho 7, and Ella, it’s available exclusively at the brewery. You can purchase some 650 mL bottles to go, or stay for a visit in the taproom and sip on a glass. Growler fills are available as well, but limited to the 1 L size.

Congratulations are in order, as homebrewer Derek Woods’ winning D Rock Dunkel has been released. Gahan House in Charlottetown hosted Woods as he won the Maritime Home Brew Challenge in the fall, with his 5.7% ABV Dunkel taking top honours. Woods reports that the experience was great, and “Brewmaster Trent Hayes let me get my hands dirty on brew day and the Gahan team gave me a healthy dose of Island hospitality”. Cans of the brew are currently available at the host brewery in Charlottetown, as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom, and the three Gahan locations in New Brunswick (Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton). Fingers crossed that it will also be available at the Nova Centre location soon. And if you want the chance to brew up a full batch with Hayes in 2020, check out the details of this year’s Challenge, submitting your best IPA (any style), Mixed Fermented/Sour, or Stout by October 27th. Check out their website for more information.

And speaking of homebrewers, and those looking to transition away from amateur brewing and making it a career, The Capital Complex in Fredericton is adding a 4 BBL (500 litre) brewhouse to their portfolio. Take a look at their Assistant Brewer job posting on Indeed, package up some of your homebrews to share. They are focusing on easy-drinking Pale Ales to start, with expansion of the offerings to come later.

We don’t have a whole lot of events to report on this week, or at least we didn’t manage to find out about a whole lot, but as always, check your favorite breweries’ social media pages to see what they’ve got going on.

We’re a little late to be mentioning this one, as online ticket sales have ended, but this weekend marks the 3rd edition of the Big Axe Beer Festival in Nackawic, NB. Billed as the largest outdoor beer festival in Atlantica Canada, it’s taking place near the World’s Biggest Axe on the shores of the Saint John River. Taking place tomorrow, July 13th, from 4 PM (gates open at 2 PM), attendees are welcome to roll on up via the river, by car, or by one of the several buses they’ve got running from Fredericton, Woodstock, Saint John/Quispamsis, and Moncton. More than 35 producers, mostly of beer and cider, but with some mead as well, will be pouring, with representation from all Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the State of Maine. Tickets are still available for the Friday Night Kickoff Party featuring Denum tonight starting at 6 PM.

Thanks to the brewers in our region, we in Atlantic Canada can celebrate the IPA style all year round, but as some may know, there has been a movement, started by Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co. in 2011, to designate the first Thursday in August as International IPA Day. This year #IPADay falls on August 1 and Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has decided to celebrate it in style at The Carleton in Halifax. Chef Dolente will be on-hand introducing his five-course dinner menu paired with five unique beers in the India Pale Ale style from Propeller, with beer sommelier Pat Robichaud providing insight into the pairings. Only 20 tickets are available for this intimate dinner, so if you’re interested it’s best that you act quickly; cost is $60 per person plus tax (gratuity included) and tickets can be purchased online on The Carleton website.

And, as is our wont, we end with a few final items to inform and possibly influence your beer buying this weekend:

Good Robot is pouring Nova Scoby at their taproom this weekend, which is a blend of Pale Ale with Goodmore’s Black Sage Lavender Kombucha. At 4% ABV and 14 IBUs, it’s refreshing and easy-drinking… and maybe good for your belly!

Grimross has brought back Grimdonk (6.5% ABV, 17 IBUs), their award-winning (from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards) Belgian Blonde. “Golden, crisp and dry, with balanced fruity and spicy notes”, it’s available now on draft and in cans at the brewery, with cans heading out to ANBL stores in the not-too-distant future. 

As a follow-up to last week’s mention of Dream Time, the DIPA collaboration between Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl, Landwash is pleased to announce the release of the version of that beer that they brewed on their system, packaged in cans. Look for it at the brewery as soon as they can get the labels on to ‘em!

And on the West Coast of the Rock, Secret Cove Brewing is releasing Newfoundland Light & Sour, a 3.8% ABV Berliner Weisse with loads of local Marsh Berries. Grab a pint or fill at the brewery in Port Au Port, and you may be lucky enough to see it in Central or the Avalon too!

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.