The Joyce

All posts tagged The Joyce

Here we go again, beer fans! We’re in the final weekend of NS Craft Beer Week! We hope those of you in the province have been getting out to support your local brewery and licensee. We want to sincerely thank those of you who came out and took part in our Beer Trivia Night at The Auction House last night, and big thanks to the breweries who donated so much swag that all of the teams who took part went home with something. We can’t wait to do it again, and it may be even sooner than next year! Enough gushing, on with the news!

Another week of releases for Big Spruce, this time it’s the return of She’s Maibock. A fitting release, given we’ve just entered the month of May, this is a heritage German style of lager brewed similar to a Helles, but a bit more intense in malt/ABV/hops (pro tip, “bock” means buck or ram, and these beers will often feature one on the label). Their take on the style is a 5.9% ABV copper beer, brewed using their own farm-grown hops, and lots of complex and flavourful malts, giving rise to toast and bread notes, with a light citrus character. Grab this beer on tap at the brewery in Nyanza, and at licensees around the province. And drop by HopYard Halifax this afternoon (4 – 7 PM) for the official launch of Year 3 of their Tag! You’re It! IPA, with $0.50 from each can going to Ocean Tracking Network.

Boxing Rock’s Agricola Street Test Kitchen at Local Source Market has another new beer pouring this week. Fail No More is a 3.7% ABV English Mild, keeping to the iconic style with a light bitterness and pleasant caramel and toast and roast notes. You’ll have to pop in for a taste and a growler fill soon, as these Test Kitchen releases are always quite limited!

And in more great Boxing Rock news, the culmination of their Black Box Challenge was on Sunday. This saw homebrewers given the same list of ingredients, and it was up to them to come up with a recipe using some or all of the materials. With presentations ranging from a game of Jeopardy!, to a Crazy Game of Porter, the finalists put their best foot forward on Sunday to present and “sell” their beer to the judges. At the end of the afternoon, Jana Dellapinna and her Hello Darkness Schwarzbier was crowned the winner, through a combination of scores of the beer, presentation, and song choice (The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel). Dellapina will be traveling down to Shelburne to brew up a full size release of the beer, for wide distribution. And some of her fellow finalists may receive the same call, given the quality of the entries in this year’s competition!

Backstage Brewing will be releasing their first Red Ale (aka American Amber) this weekend in time for the main festivities (read: Full House). Simple Man was brewed with Pale malt, CaraMunich, Carafa and Roasted Barley (likely in moderation, to help provide colour). Hopped lightly to 20 IBUs with Willamette from Fundy Hops, the brewery is describing the final beer as “smooth, malty, and simple”. In addition to pouring at Full House, it’ll be on tap at the brewery.

Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay is celebrating the opening of their new location in Bridgewater, King Street Beer Co. Not surprisingly, this brewery and taproom is located at 463 King Street in the town, and features a pilot system that they are using for special on-premise beer releases, LaHave River Beers. The first of these hits the taps at 6:30 PM this evening. Silvercat Legendary Canamerican Pale Ale (that’s a mouthful!) is a 5.5% ABV, 39 IBU, Maple Pale Ale, brewed with local homebrewer Don Graham. No word on the origin or amount of maple used in the beer. As with all the brews on this pilot system, it is in very short supply (under 40 litres!), so pop down this evening to avoid disappointment! And drop by both King Street and Saltbox this weekend as they are hosting the Highway 103 Tap Takeovers, featuring breweries from up and down the 103 Highway on the province’s South Shore.

To help celebrate NS Craft Beer Week, Tanner & Co. Brewing is releasing the latest beer in their Sauvage series, with 2019 Sauvage. This Saison features a malt bill built entirely around grain from Horton Ridge, including Pale malt, Vienna, and Wheat. Hopped to 20 IBUs with EKG and Mt. Hood, it was fermented – like last year – with Big Spruce’s pin cherry yeast isolate. All about the yeast character (as a good Saison should be!), it’s showcasing “tropical fruit such as pineapple, mango, citrus, and a bit of lemon rind on the finish”. It clocks in at 6% ABV, it’ll be pouring at the Full House event this weekend, with bottles at the brewery as well.

Coupla new hoppy beers coming from the Upstreet family for this weekend, starting with an early sneak peek of Great Day Session IPA. Brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, Wheat, and Golden Naked Oats, they hopped the beer with Cashmere, Amarillo and Mosaic, for aromas of “pear, white grapes, melon, and coconut”. Light-golden in colour, with a smooth body thanks to the addition of the oats, it lives up to its name at 4.8%, and finishes only mildly bitter (25 IBUs). It’s officially launching at tomorrow’s Full House, and will also be on tap at the BBQ Brewhouse for pints, growlers, and crowlers this weekend. Look for draught and cans to follow on PEI next Thursday.

Upstreet’s other hoppy offering is Neon Friday 2.04, the latest in the ongoing series. With the addition of some Honey malt and Melanoiden to give the beer a “gentle, warming sweetness”, as well as a reddish colour, it was hopped with Amarillo, Southern Cross and Sorachi Ace (to 45 IBUs), providing the 6.5% American IPA with aromas of “orange peel, lemon, pine, and a hint of dill”. This one is debuting on the Island today at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner (on tap and in cans), with a few cans making their way to the Nova Scotia private stores as well.

Landwash Brewery, out of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, has lots going on this weekend, including the launch of a brand new beer. Might as well start there! Another Shore is releasing in cans and on tap at the brewery today at 4 pm, and it’s a very specific take on the classic Kolsch style. Brewed with malted barley and wheat from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, it was fermented cool and allowed to condition at low temperatures. Once complete, they dry-hopped it with Amarillo and Sabro, and then went further by adding “a whole whack” (that’s a lot!) of fresh lime zest. You can probably imagine in your head how this 4.2% ABV brew is tasting… we’ll leave you to it. In other Landwash news, they’re holding their first Cask Night at Toslow in St. John’s, tonight, where they’ll be tapping Coconut Hazures Rock (and they’ll have a keg of Another Shore, too). Also, keep your eyes peeled for a new batch of One Wave Blonde Ale coming out soon.

While in St. John’s, why not stop by YellowBelly and try Deadly, Missus, their 2019 International Women’s Day brew. It’s being referred to as a “Belgian India Blonde Ale” (!) that was hopped with the Pink Boots Society hop blend (Loral, Glacier, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Sabro). Designed and brewed by head brewer Nardia McGrath, it’s tasting “spicy, funky, and earthy”; it clocks in at 7.1% ABV. And hey, you’re there, so you might as well give their latest cider, Iceberg Cider, a try. Made entirely with iceberg water (natch), it’s 5.5% ABV and on tap now; bottles should follow next week in local NLC stores.

Speaking of cider, the PEI Brewing Company has a new one of their own available, 6 Hours of Sun. Made with a “special blend of apples”, it was fermented with Champagne yeast to give a crisp, fruity, refreshing cider. Semi-dry with a semi-sweet finish, it’s 5% ABV and can be found right now at the PEIBC taproom in Charlottetown; you’ll be able to find it at all Gahan locations soon, as well as in cans at PEILCC stores.

New beer alert from Moncton’s Grand Monk Artisan Ales, Flat Earth IPA. Hopped copiously with varieties from North America (Cascade and Mosaic) and Australia (Ella), you can probably expect a beer full of tropical, juicy goodness. It weighs in at 7.5% ABV, and can be found at your favourite Grand Monk watering hole. And stay tuned for their next beer, Down With Vaccinations Pale Ale. Too soon?

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is releasing their first Lager tomorrow, May 4th. A Schwarzbier, we’re slightly confidant you could take a crack at what the name was going to be, knowing the date… and if you guessed May the Schwarz Be With You, you would be correct! This black Lager was brewed almost entirely with German malt and German hops, it was fermented cold with a dry Lager yeast. Fairly dark (24 SRM), and pretty easy-drinking at 4.9% ABV and 29 IBUs, it’s showing aromas of espresso, milk chocolate, and caramel, and a medium-light body with chocolate and caramel on the palate. They’re releasing it initially at the brewery on tap and in cans; look for it to follow at tap accounts later next week, and it should be on at ANBL growler sites later in the month. Drop by the brewery tomorrow from noon, where they’ll be holding a launch party, featuring beer (of course) and food from Gastrognomes.

Plenty of things going on in the region this weekend and into next week, check them out! And of course keep an eye on the NSCBW Calendar we put together so that you’re never late for an event.

Tomorrow, Propeller’s Gottingen Street taproom will be the site of their celebration of all things Star Wars, with their May the Fourth celebration.They’ll be featuring two casks, both hopped with out-of-worldy hops, like their Galaxy IPA hopped with an extra dose of (Millenium) Falconer’s Flight, and a cask made with their brand new canned (also draught) release, Sasquatch Pale Ale. This 5.2% Pale Ale features a wholly-Canadian hop, Sasquatch, grown in BC, and used throughout the brewing process to impart a tropical and juicy note to the beer. Also back this week is their Stone Fruit, which will be hitting the shelves of the private and NSLC stores soon. Back to the taproom, the Propeller Arcade is open all day (from 10AM), and they’ll have Star Wars-themed Vandal Doughnuts to pair with your pint. And if you’re wearing some Star Wars paraphernalia, your first pint is just $5! Pop by on your way to…

The Full House Beer Fest is also tomorrow, with forty breweries from across Nova Scotia pouring the newest and best beers at the Halifax Forum Multipurpose Centre (entrance is from the Young Street parking lot). From Yarmouth to Sydney, Amherst to Musquodoboit Harbour, breweries from all over are coming together for the biggest celebration of #NSCraftBeer. Tickets for both the afternoon and evening session are still available, and we will certainly be there taking it all in. One of the new releases you’ll be able to enjoy is Annapolis Brewing’s Port Royal Pilsner, which was fermented low and slow (over a month!), for a smooth finish, with the Saaz used giving a hint of herbal notes. (It will also be available for pints and growler fills in their taproom this weekend)

If you wake up woozy and disoriented in Halifax on Sunday morning, Good Robot has your hookup to maybe soothe your self-inflicted wounds with a taste of the tropics. The Limestone Group will be hosting a brunch featuring food inspired by sunny climes (and based on the weather forecast a little imagination might be required there). How does coconut crusted French Toast sound? And if lovely food isn’t enough to get you over the hangover hump, there will, of course be beer. The brunch runs from 10 – 3 PM, so there’s plenty of time to drag your sorry self out of bed and get down to Good Robot and partake.

Also going down on Sunday is an annual event that’s near and dear to our hearts here at the ACBB (well, the empty places where our hearts used to be anyway), the 2019 Stillwell Open at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington Street. Now in its 5th year, this event pairs homebrewers and breweries together to develop beers for a blind tasting competition that ultimately crowns a champion beer based on the voting response of the public. To up the ante a little in terms of bragging rights, once again the province has been divided into geographical regions, North, South, Halifax, and Dartmouth, with a title going to the team with the best overall showing. This year’s theme for beers is single-hop IPAs. Each team will bring four beers in the Session IPA, American IPA, Double IPA, and English IPA (served on cask) categories, all made with but a single variety of hop. Beers are expected to be one offs for the competition or production batches that will debut at the competition, so 100% brand new, never sampled, sipped, or swigged before beers will be available. Our own Chris McDonald is captaining Team Halifax, with Les Barr of Roof Hound heading up Team South, Spindrift’s Kyle Jeppesen helming Team Dartmouth, and Jeremy White of Big Spruce once again leading the charge for the two-time (TWO-TIME!) defending champions, Team North. If you attend you may need to plan to balance your blood lupulin levels next week with some crispy Pilsners and fruity mixed ferms, but Sunday is all about the hops. The blind tasting starts at 12 PM with the field being cut in half based on votes after 90 minutes and again in half every 30 minutes until 3 PM when the category winners, the winning Team, and the overall champion beer will be revealed. So come on down and see if you don’t find yourself bleeding green afterwards!

Let’s turn our gaze away from NS Craft Beer Week for a moment, and look elsewhere… Namely, the fact that Hanwell’s very own Niche Brewing will be holding a Meet the Maker Tap Takeover tomorrow, May 4th, at The Joyce Pub in Fredericton. Those crazy cats decided to brew and keg up 16 different beers for this event, with almost half of them being one-offs and debuts. One of those is Into the Great Wide Open, a Saison dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Amarillo. The Takeover officially begins at 7 PM, so be sure to drop by and meet the brewers behind the beer, and try the many offerings on tap. The full list of beers for the evening is available on the FB event page.

HopYard Halifax is holding a Battle of the Breweries every Thursday, where they’ll be dedicating three taps each to a number of breweries who will be fighting to the death… or, bragging rights, I suppose. Round 1 will be stretched over four Thursdays (starting yesterday) with three breweries for each day… ten from Nova Scotia, one from PEI, and one from NB. The brewery who has sold the most beer for each day moves forward to the next round, so you’re essentially voting with your wallets! Show up to support your favourite(s)!

And a couple last things before you get your plans together for the weekend:

Garrison is re-releasing Lemondrop, their dry-hopped kettle sour, this weekend at the brewery. Hopped entirely with Lemondrop after the boil was complete, this 5% ABV sour is tart and lemony, and will also be available at NSLC and private stores. You should be able to find it in other provinces this summer, too.

TrailWay is bringing back Good Times in the Fridge today, their 6% ABV American IPA brewed with a rotating hop schedule. This batch features Southern Cross, Wakatu, Enigma and Loral, giving a beer that is “dank, pungent, fruity, pineapple, spicy, and herbaceous”. You can find it at the brewery starting today.

Drop by Unfiltered today at noon if you’re a fan of Warning Label, their super strong (10% ABV) and super hoppy DIPA; it’ll be available on tap and in cans.

Happy Friday, everyone! While we have your attention, would any of you be opposed to us renaming this weekly post the “Almost-Saturday Wrap Up”? No? Great, we didn’t think so!

And now, beer.

We’ve got the news on the latest bottle release from Halifax’s Tide House, which was just released yesterday. Turtles All the Way Down (<brain explodes>) is a Saison with a grist made up mostly of Pilsner and Wheat, with some Flaked Oats and Acid malt thrown in for good measure. Hopped with Ahtanum, the wort was fermented with the Old World Saison blend (made up of two “classic” Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs, giving a light-bodied beer with notes of “pepper, lemon, honey and spice”. It’s an easy-drinking 4.7% ABV, so when you’re at the brewery to pick up your stock, you might as well grab a few, no?

For the second year in a row, Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing has paired up with Bangor’s Geaghan Brothers Brewing for a collaboration beer, which will be released in Fredericton today. A Lot in Common is a California Common which was brewed at Maybee, with several of the Geaghan Brothers team making the short trip north to participate in the brew day. With a grist featuring a blend of Canadian, German, and British malts, it was hopped with Cluster to 38 IBUs. Fermented at cool ale temperatures to keep the production of fruity esters to a minimum, this 5.6% ABV amber-coloured “hybrid” has aromas of “raison, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and Baker’s chocolate” with more of the same in the flavour, followed by an assertive bitterness in the finish. This one will be available on tap and in cans, both of which can be found at the Maybee taproom right now; it’ll also be on tap at many Maybee accounts, as well as the ANBL growler program as of March 7th. And of course at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Fest, where both breweries (and many, many more) will be pouring the best and newest beers. More details below.

If you’re eating and drinking in Dartmouth this weekend, you may want to swing by North and/or Battery Park (and if you’re doing your eating and drinking there, even better!). Why, you ask? Well, North is releasing Into the Aether today, an Imperial Stout that has a lot more than just roast character going for it. This 5 bbl batch of beer has additions of 5-6 lbs of toasted cocoa nibs and 12 lbs of toasted coconut, as well as vanilla and sea salt to top it all off. They’re aiming for a beer with a balanced blend of all of these flavours, so that no single one of them overshadows the others. You can grab cans at both retail shops, with the only kegs being poured at Battery Park on their nitro tap.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing has a brand new sour hitting the taps over the next few days, Ginger Spur. This 4.7% ABV beer started with a grist of Pilsner, 2-Row, Munich and Wheat malts, and was soured with Lactobacillus plantarum, before being boiled and lightly hopped with Amarillo (to 6 IBU… like we said, “lightly hopped”, mainly to ensure the Lacto cannot survive). After fermentation is when the fun began, as the beer was conditioned on fresh lemon zest and a mixture of fresh and powdered ginger, for a complementary blend of citrus aroma and ginger flavour and zip, on top of the lightly sour base beer. Kegs of Ginger Spur will be delivered to a few restaurants in Fredericton and Saint John next week, and will be available to Niche fans in Nova Scotia, pouring at HopYard Halifax before the end of the weekend.

TrailWay has got their hop-oil-soaked hands on a popular new American hop variety, Sabro, which they’ve used in their latest American IPA, Urban Sabrero. Sabro is an odd variety in that it doesn’t have a European heritage (like most hops do); it actually comes from a sub-species that has been growing wild in the mountains of New Mexico for the past million years (according to the Washington Beer Blog). Many sources have described Sabro as very unique, featuring flavours of tangerine, tropical fruit, citrus, coconut, and even hints of “cedar, mint and cream”. In TW’s beer, they also added some other hop varieties they deemed showing similarities to these descriptors, resulting in a 6% ABV brew with aromas and flavours of “coconut, pina colada, tangerine citrus, and vanilla”. Urban Sabrero is releasing today on tap and in cans at the brewery.

Quidi Vidi Brewing has released a mixed four-pack of cans this week, the winning beers of their collaborative contest with the Newfermenters Home Brew Club. The homebrew competition was held in the Fall of 2018, and saw the top 4 brewers drop into QV for a brewday. The winning beers are: Uncle Fred’s Kolsch (4.5% ABV), Iron Cherry Sour (5.5% ABV), Milky Way NEIPA (5.9% ABV), and Perfect Storm Dunkelweizen (6.0% ABV). Four-packs flew off the shelves at QVBC yesterday, but they assure us that there will be more available soon. They are also available at a few NLCs today, so be sure to ask at your local one!

We think that maybe Good Robot is mad at us or something, because instead of making us report on their usual weekly Beta Brew release, they had to go and make FOUR of them! To be fair, they *are* pretty psyched about celebrating FemmeBot, so it may actually have more to do with that than actually messing with our heads. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt! So, let’s get right to these beers, shall we? All were brewed with local ladies who are keen on the beer scene in Halifax.

  • #yololager – A 4.8% ABV “light and crushable lager” made by local real estate agent Jess Tasker (March 5th release)
  • The Ploughwind – A 6.7% ABV “big, rich stout” made by Missy Searl (March 6th release)
  • Aunty Fukkup’s Blueberry Pie-PA – A 4.4% ABV light Pale Ale hopped with Saphir, with a generous addition of blueberries, brewed with Dalhousie nursing student Leslie Langille (March 7th release)
  • Imposter’s Syndrome – A 4.1% ABV Dark Wheat Ale brewed with Whitney Moran, co-author of East Coast Crafted (March 9th release)

Actually, that wasn’t so bad. Sorry for complaining! Finally, next week’s Alpha beer will be this year’s official FemmeBot brew, Big Witch Energy. Brewed with Golden Promise malt, Summer hops, and sweet orange peel (which was added with the dry hop), it sounds like a refreshing break from some of the other big beers out there this time of year.

Halifax stalwart Garrison, now rocking their third decade of production in the city, have all kinds of new beer news to share with us this week. First up is the return of Sour to the People, brewed in conjunction with the folks from The Carleton restaurant on Argyle Street. Originally brewed in Summer of 2017, this will be an excellent beer to help get you through the last dregs of winter and help remind you that better weather is (maybe!) just around the corner. With lots of notes of peach, lemon and green apple sour notes balanced against pineapple, citrus and pine notes from new hop Denali, the beer is 6.1% ABV and, as is often the case with sour beers, 0 IBU. Available in cans and on draft at the brewery (and we suspect both cans and kegs will make it to other places in the city).

Next up, as is traditional with Garrison, the winning beer from last year’s Garrison Home Brew-off is being released at the same time as the winners of this year’s competition are announced. Kölsch 1149, a 5.2% ABV Kölsch by Dave Martin and Kent Brooks was on tap last night at this year’s awards gala and will continue to be available at the brewery, including cans. As for the 2019 competition results, this year’s category was another European style that was perhaps a little difficult for local brewers to wrap their heads around, with no commercial examples readily available. A fairly sweet and full-bodied lager balanced very much towards the malt side (“a sandwich in a glass”), it also generally packs a punch, in the 6.3 – 7.5% ABV range. Four beers won accolades this year, starting with an honorable mention for Kevin Sweezey’s entry. The top three were Jeramy Slaunwhite in 3rd place, Scott MacLean in 2nd and David Pepper winning the competition. Pepper and Slaunwhite are no strangers to the winners’ circle in local homebrew competitions; the two were category winners in the 2016 Big Spruce competition where Pepper’s Risky Biscuits Dark Mild also took Best of Show. Look for the winning beer to be brewed in time for next year’s awards gala where the category has already been announced: New England IPA!! Garrison also made sure to include a shoutout to local homebrew supplier Noble Grape who every year help immensely with the logistics of this competition.

And in still more Garrison news, this coming week also marks the release of the first beer they’ve ever produced by an all-female team. Starting with brewer Kellye Robertson, Susannah is a collaboration with East Coast Wild Foods, who provided wild-foraged sumac and sea buckthorn to this all-German malt Imperial Pale Lager that was heavily hopped with Topaz and Hallertau Blanc. Look for elements of sweet grain complemented by elements from the hops and fruit, including notes of lychee, grapefruit and pineapple. Proceeds from the beer, which is being packaged in 473 mL cans will support women in trades in Nova Scotia through the NSCC Foundation. A launch party for the beer will take place next Friday, March 8th, at the Garrison Brewery. Starting at 7 PM, it will feature live music from Halifax rockers Like a Motorcycle beginning at 8:30 PM. Meanwhile Ray Brisson, the artist who designed the label, will be present, Birdie’s Bread Co. will have food available for purchase, and East Coast Wild Foods will be on site to talk about foraging and the workshops that they run. No tickets are required for entry, but donations will be taken at the door in support of the NSCC Foundation.

Propeller Brewing, also in their third decade of operation, has plenty of news for us this week as well, including the launch of a pair of new beers for us to enjoy. First up is the return of their Irish Red, just in time for that *big celebration of all things Irish* later in the month. While the recipe for this 5.0% ABV, 25 IBU beer has not changed, this year’s version has been left unfiltered, letting more flavour molecules through to your sniffer and taster. Look for sweetness and light roast from the malt, with an earthy hoppiness from the traditional UK hops.

Debuting today at their Gottingen taproom is an experiment months in the making: they took their ESB and aged it for 4 months in the barrels that previously held their Baltic Porter. The light malt in the base beer, along with the light barrel and dark malt notes from the porter, make this a wonderful beer to enjoy lightly carbed, so they will be featuring this beer on their bartop at the taproom for the entire month of March (or as long as the casks last!). Pop by today at 5 PM for the tapping of the first Barrel Aged ESB, and enjoy a pint. Paired with the Propeller Arcade downstairs, and/or today’s Cask Night snack, Vandal Doughnuts, you can kick your weekend off right!

Also hitting the taps today is the release of a beer Propeller brewed in celebration of International Women’s Day, Call Me Blondie. Brewed with the fine crew of the Ladies Beer League, CMB is a Blonde Ale with a twist, as it is dry-hopped with Simcoe, featuring a melon and cantaloupe aroma, complementing the citrus flavour and light and crisp body. This draught-only beer debuts at today’s Cask Friday event as well, and will be pouring at LBL’s big International Women’s Day event at Halifax’s Timber Lounge on March 8, Axe the Patriarchy. From 7 – 10 PM, drop in to enjoy the beer, live music, craft corner, and meet your fellow local beer enthusiasts! There is no fee to attend, though a portion of axe throwing costs, and donations, are being collected to support Alice House.

Newly-opened 3Flip Brewing out of Douglas, NB has a one-off, limited release that should be hitting a couple of taps soon, and will also be pouring at the FCBF Nano Night next Friday. The beer is Sassy Cow, a 5% ABV “Root Beer Milk Stout” that showcases a “sweet malt/lactose flavour with hints of roasted coffee”. Complemented by aromas and flavours of root beer (thanks to the addition of a special extract), the finishing bitterness is low. If you don’t have tickets to next week’s Nano Night, and still want to try the beer, both The Joyce and Saint John Ale House will be receiving a keg over the next few days.

After an extremely busy couple of weeks after opening in mid-January, Hill Top Hops Brewhouse in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, had to re-fill their fermenters and build up some product. They are scheduled to reopen today, Friday March 1st starting at noon and going ‘til 10 PM. The full lineup of taps will be available, including their Cream Ale, Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, Pilsner, Red Ale, and Porter. Fans of their IPA will have to wait one more week. Be sure to check out their Fb page for updates to their hours for the winter season.

New Scotland in Dartmouth has a brand new beer on the go, one they’re calling Eastbound Brown. An American Brown Ale, a somewhat surprisingly uncommon style in our region, it’s big and malty, but hard-hitting in the bitterness department with 64 IBU and in terms of ABV at 6.8%. Look for some hints of chocolate paired with malty sweetness underlying a very firm bitterness and an aroma characteristic of American ‘C’ hops. You’ll find it at their taproom this week for sure, with the potential for a few kegs to make it to other locations about town.

Also in Dartmouth, Nine Locks is celebrating their 3rd Anniversary with the release of Champagne IPA. Combining lots of hop aroma (leaning on citrus and Juicy Fruit) with high, downright spritzy carbonation, it finishes very dry with a moderate bitterness. Nothing says “celebrate” like Champagne, ya know? It weighs in at 6.3% ABV and 38 IBUs, and can be picked up at the taproom as we speak.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing continues to crank out beers in their more experimental First Sail series. This week’s entry, Dark Cherry Blonde was based on their Kölsch from a malt and mash perspective, but fermented with clean American yeast and with some dark cherries added towards the end of fermentation. At 5.5% ABV and 15 IBUs, expect something akin to a rosé wine, with a light body and a slight sweetness balanced by some tartness from the cherries. Only at the brewery and in very limited quantities, it’s available for pints or crowlers to go. And if that weren’t enough to get you there, the Midnight Oil milk stout is back by popular demand. A blend of six malts, it’s a medium-bodied milk stout with bit of nuttiness sitting on top of a base of cacao, coffee and vanilla flavors, with a sweetness from an addition of lactose. Coming in at 5.2% ABV and 25 IBU, you can sit down for a pint, bring a growler for a fill, or grab a crowler to go!

New beer coming at you from 2 Crows when they open today at noon (although by the way things are going, I’m going to assume when this post is actually published, noon has already come and gone). Livewire is a hoppy Brett Saison brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, as well as some Wheat, Rye and Oats. Hopped lightly with Calypso and Azacca, a portion of the beer was soured with Lactobacillus, and then blended back in with the rest of the beer when the acidity reached the level they were looking for. The entire batch was fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces strains, and finally dry-hopped with the delicious Enigma variety. Expect a very dry beer with funk, light pith, and “notes of Pinot Gris, lemon zest, and rock melon, with a firm minerality and a touch of tartness”, according to 2C. It weighs in at 4.6% ABV and 17 IBUs, and can be found (probably now!) at the brewery in cans and on tap.

In yet more beer competition news (well, sorta), this time from Spindrift, the winning beer from their first (annual, we hope) homebrew competition is once again available, this time with a twist. Brian Whalen’s Naughtius Maximus v2.0: Naughtier Maximumus has a slightly different grist from the original recipe due to some crystal malt left at the bottom of the grain mill, but it’s also been cellared since 2018. Perfectly balanced between bitter and crisp this 7.3% ABV and 22 IBU Belgian Saison is on tap at the brewery now, though only 40 L were made, so you’ll want to move fast if you want in on this.

In what could be seen as sad news, Naughtier Maximus also marks the end of Spindrift’s Seventh Wave Series, those growler-fill-at-the-brewery-only small batch, often experimental brews that would taunt those who couldn’t get over to Burnside before they were gone. But weep not, gentle reader, as is often the case, as one door closes, another opens. Coming March 7th is the first beer in an all new series designed and curated by Steve Crane, Spindrift’s Assistant Brewer, called Future Thoughts. Designed to be like Seventh Wave in being somewhat experimental, and notably exploring contemporary styles, flavours and brewing techniques, Future Thoughts batches are scheduled to be larger, allowing for more customers to have a chance to try them and at a somewhat more leisurely pace versus the old mad dash to Dartmouth. Look for the first beer in this series, Lemon to a Knife Fight Blueberry Imperial Wit to be released this coming Thursday, March 7th. We’ll no doubt have the full details on that beer next week.

For those of you interested in keeping track of the going-ons in the Town of Wolfville, the first reading of the amendments to their Municipal Planning Strategy and Land-Use Bylaws happened Feb 4, and we were in attendance to take in the action. The issue at hand is whether to make changes to the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Usage By-laws (LUB) to (a) have a clear policy statement on alcohol producers, (b) specifically allow off-site sales of product, and (c) forbid contract brewing. With the legality of contract brewing already decided (as far as we can tell, it’s illegal in Nova Scotia), the second amendment is where the rubber meets the road. Last week’s meeting was the first reading of the amendments, and was crammed with members of the public wanting to be heard, mostly expressing their objection to the changes. Video of Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here, or, if you prefer to just listen instead, you can find an audio version here (loud audio warning at 8:20).

But let’s back up for a second. Why the fuss? The public are concerned that Church Brewing (who have recently opened their restaurant, but whose brewery is still under construction) will increase truck traffic as much as 10-fold on Main Street, take up many parking spaces, and have 24/7 noise and brewing smells. These concerns seem to be largely based on a preponderance of poor information, some of which has a particular odor of its own, and the most dubious of which is the notion that Church Brewing will somehow reach 15,000 hectoliters of production, the legal limit for a craft brewery in this province, in the near future. We noted above that both Garrison and Propeller have passed the 20 year mark in their respective lifespans. Both have spent over two decades working to extend their distribution footprint from Halifax to not just beyond Nova Scotia but beyond Atlantic Canada as well. And both fall well short of 15,000 hL per year in production. To suggest that Church could attain even greater success in any kind of short time is either a massive nod to Church’s business plan and leadership or fearmongering at its worst. Most of the doom and gloom scenarios being proffered as dissent are heavily anchored in this number as a realistic estimate of production.

We encourage everyone with an interest to educate themselves; there is plenty of material available online thanks to the Town of Wolfville and interested parties such as the 902BrewCast. While we understand some of the consternation and concern about how things have been done, we believe that, as in so many communities in our region, having Church open and producing quality beer will benefit the town and its citizens. You can find the agenda for the next town council session regarding the MPS and LUB changes here. We hope that these meetings lead to us writing a profile of Church after their successful opening as a brewery in the near future.

A few things coming up events-wise:

Secret Cove Brewing Co. has been celebrating their Grand Opening the past couple of days, but don’t worry if you missed it! They’re continuing with more events throughout this weekend. Tonight they’re launching a brand new beer (which they’re not sharing details on yet… sorry!) to go with their open mic night, and while closed some of tomorrow for a private event, they’ll be reopening their doors to the public at 6 PM, with live music starting at 7 PM. Finally, Sunday will feature a Kitchen Party from 2 – 6 PM; they’ve also hinted at a “special announcement” sometime throughout the weekend. Congrats to all of the Secret Cove crew!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co. is turning one, and in true Newfoundland fashion, they’re celebratin’ (ok, most breweries celebrate their anniversaries, but it’s NL so maybe it’ll be even more fun?) at the taproom today. Starting at 4 pm when they open, there will be snacks throughout the day, plenty of beer from both Bootleg and local guest breweries, and live music starting at 10 PM tonight. No cover!

We mentioned the big Belgian beer drop at Moncton’s Tide & Boar two weeks ago, but wanted to remind you all since the event officially happens tomorrow, March 2nd. Check out the link for all the details, but rest assured if you love Belgian beer, you want to be going to this. They open at 11 am; it’ll be going on all day, but we’re pretty positive that some of these bottles will be gone quickly, so best that you get there early!

As we’ve mentioned earlier in the post, the annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is next week, with the main event – the beer festival! – happening next Saturday, March 9th. While tickets for the evening session are sold out, there ARE still a few regular-entry afternoon session ones available (grab them here). There are also events going on throughout the week, leading up to Saturday, including our Trivia Night at The Joyce on Thursday, March 7th, which is also happening at the same time as a Hammond River tap takeover. There’s some educational seminars as well, including Distilling School and Home Brewing School on Thursday, and Beer School on Friday, March 8th, which is a day-long event that focuses on several aspects of the brewing process. As for the main event on Saturday, you know what to expect… hope to see you there!

And our usual last mentions on our way out the door (where? To get BEER):

Picaroons has released CBA, a 7.5% ABV “Canadian Black Ale”; described as “big, dark, and hoppy”, we think it’s pretty safe for you to put this in the Black IPA category. You can currently find it at all Picaroons locations, and it should be hitting ANBL stores sometime next week.

Port Rexton has their newest American Pale Ale exclusively on tap, Pith and Substance (5.9% ABV). Featuring “grapefruit pith vibes and a delicate strawberry aroma”, it has a medium bitterness in the finish; look for it at the PR taproom and retail shop, as well as on tap at Bootleg Brew Co. for tonight’s One Year Anniversary Tap Takeover that we mentioned earlier.

Here we are in the shank of February and I think it’s safe to say lots of us are already looking forward to Spring (*shakes fist at groundhog*). Plenty to tell you about in these parts this week, with some new openings, plenty of new beers, and even some brewery jobs opening up. Let’s get right to it!

In case you missed the big news, Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South is opening their doors tomorrow! Saturday from 2 – 10 PM, they will be pouring three of their beers for onsite consumption and to take away in growlers. Pop by to try their Porter (4.9% ABV), Pale Ale (4.7% ABV) and White IPA (5.7% ABV), which may also be complemented by some other great Newfoundland Craft Beer. They’ll be open Sunday at 2 PM as well, if you need a refill on that growler! To learn more about Ninepenny, check our yesterday’s Profile with them, and keep an eye on their social media (Fb/IG/Tw) for the latest and greatest news from CBS!

Southern New Brunswick also has a new brewery to call their own, as Hampton Brewing Company has recently launched their first two beers. While they wait for their forever home in the town of Hampton to come together, they are brewing in Saint John, thanks to their buds at Loyalist City. HBC’s first two beers to hit the taps are their take on hoppy brews, an ode to their love of the styles. Victory! is a 5.5% ABV American Pale Ale, with Citra and Vic Secret hops to the tune of 50 IBU, for a citrus, tropical, and piney aroma and flavour profile on top of a smooth base. Crush is a 4.6% ABV Session IPA, featuring loads of late addition Centennial and Mosaic hops (also about 50 IBU), for a citrus and stone fruit character with a floral touch. This smooth mouthfeel and medium-light body make this a beer one can truly enjoy for a full “session”. Find the first two Hampton Brewing beers at the Cask and Kettle and Peppers Pub in Saint John and at The Joyce in Fredericton, and other local-beer-friendly establishments in between very soon. We’ll have a full Profile with HBC early next week!

There was a new beer release from 2 Crows last week, and the jerks didn’t even remember to let us know! As a result, there’s still some left at the brewery for you to grab, so we might as well tell you all about it now. Jamboree is their latest sour beer, brewed with Pilsner, wheat malt, raw wheat, and oats. After being soured with Lactobacillus, the wort was fermented nice and warm with Ebbengarden Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, they conditioned the beer on a whack o’ fruit… specifically, 190 kg of strawberry purée and 130 kg guava purée. Woo! They also dry-hopped the beer with Huell Melon to add more fruit flavour (and to hold back that Lactobacillus, as the wort was not boiled after souring). They’re using the words “crazy tropical, lush, fuzzy, and smooth” to describe this one, and we’ll take their word for it! Available at the brewery on tap and in cans.

Over in Newfoundland, Bootleg Brew Co. continues to play with new beers with the release of Cherry Bomb!, a “Sour Red Ale”. This kettle sour features a portion of Rye malt in the grist to add a touch of spice in the aroma, which also has notes of dark fruit, thanks to the addition of cherries (you probably gathered that from the name, we’d guess). Pretty sessionable at 4.5% ABV, there’s “just enough sweetness to balance the tart”. Drop by the Bootleg tap room in Corner Brook for a taste/growler.

The Neon Friday series from Upstreet returns today, with the release of Neon Friday Session IPA. This actually isn’t the first Session IPA in the series, but we’re pretty sure it’s the first one with a shortish name! This one was hopped with Amarillo, Cashmere and Motueka. Bittered in the medium-low region (on paper) of 25 IBUs, this 4.5% ABV brew has “lime and melon aromas, with hints of tropical stone fruit and tangerine”, and a soft mouthfeel. They’ll be celebrating its release today at the Craft Beer Corner from 5-7 pm with a Daytime Disco, featuring DJ Bradford Rooney. As for the beer, you can find it on tap and in cans at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown, and on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, with cans following at the private stores in Halifax in the near future.

We’ve got a pair of releasesMore bottle releases at Tidehouse, with this week’s featuring the brewery’s first stab at the strong Wheatwine style. King Friday was brewed with over half of the grist made up of Wheat malt (as is common for the style), and hopped entirely with Ahtanum. It is indeed strong, at 9.5% ABV, making it similar to a Barleywine, but lighter in colour. TH is describing the beer as sweet and malty, definitely meant for sipping (as we hope any beer with this ABV would be!). Bottles of this one (in both 341 mL and the “one-person-all-night-party” 750 mL) will be available at the brewery today at 2 pm. Also available today is a new beer from frequent guest brewer Ian Wheatly, with his Lil’ Witty. Wheatly’s take on a Belgian Witbier is true to style with lots of wheat in the grist, and coriander and orange peel to enhance the citrus and spice from the yeast. Lightly bittered with Magnum to balance, this 5.1% ABV beer is available on tap for samples and pints, and to go in growler fills.

St. John’s brewery and brewpub YellowBelly continue their series of winter ciders this week with another apple and fruit blend. Strawberry Passion Fruit Apple Cider is a 6.5% ABV cider, featuring, you guessed it, Passion Fruit and Strawberry. Tropical notes of citrus, mango, pineapple, capped by strawberry bring memories of summers past, and a hope for the months to come. It is available now on tap at the brewpub, their airport location, and the YellowBelly Takeaway, where it can also be grabbed in growler format.

In the Annapolis Valley area and itching for something smokey? Annapolis Brewing has you covered with their 1921 Smoked Lager. Released earlier this week at their taproom, the beer had beechwood smoked malt in the grist to provide plenty of smokiness in the flavour. Hopped with Hallertau, it was fermented with a German Lager yeast strain, and then lagered (natch) to bring the flavours together even more. The brewery’s first Lager comes in at 5.3% ABV and 24 IBUs, and you can drop by right now (do it!) to give it a try.

Continuing with Annapolis Valley news, by popular demand, Annapolis Cider is re-releasing a favorite from their Something Different series, Hopped Pear. A sparkling perry and apple blend coming in at 6.3% ABV, the perry was created with two separate fermentations, one of Flemish Beauty pears fermented dry and then dry-hopped, and one of Bosc pears, also fermented dry before being finished with a touch of fresh-pressed apple juice. Put together, the two create a crisp and refreshing perry with a distinct hop character that is balanced by more mellow notes of ripe pear and fresh apple. A slight bitterness completes the picture and highlights the dryness of the overall product. As always, this one is available at the cidery on Main Street in Wolfville with $0.50 from each refill being donated to Refresh Annapolis Valley.

The mad scientists at Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, have yet another new beer for you this week, one they’re calling Vibrant. A mixed-fermentation saison with raspberry and hibiscus, it weighs in at 5.9% ABV. Based on a grist of mostly Pilsner malt with a healthy portion of wheat added, it was fermented with Niche’s house culture. Raspberry puree was added to the mix after fermentation had slowed down and the hibiscus was introduced during conditioning. Slightly floral and herbal, with a slight tannic quality and a light funkiness, the raspberry is predominant, but the hibiscus certainly makes itself known. This deep red brew will be released to tap accounts in New Brunswick next week, but the first two kegs are actually going to Nova Scotia, where Stillwell has spoken for two kegs (along with one each of Single Origin, Niche’s coffee sweet stout, and Counting Stars, their latest NEIPA).

O’Creek Brewing, a nanobrewery in Dieppe, has debuted a brand new beer this week. Coffee Island is an 8.8% ABV Imperial Stout, which features the addition of cold brewed coffee during conditioning. The grist consists of Chocolate, Roast, Coffee and Carapils malts (on top of the 2-Row base). Chocolate malt notes blend with the intense coffee, all on a lovely balanced beer. Grab a pint of it on the guest taps at CAVOK Brewing or Marky’s Laundromat, and at this weekend’s beerfest at Dolma Food (more details below).

As the region gets ready for the premier bash of the year in a couple of weeks’ time, the folks behind the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival have teamed up with Flying Boats Brewing to create a special beer just for the fest. Flying Sasquatch Pale Ale is described as a “medium-bodied East Coast Pale Ale” and it features Canada’s first patented and trademarked hop, Sasquatch™ from Hops Connect (who generously provided the hops for this brew). Most of the hops were added towards the end of the boil, imparting a balanced herbal and grassy character with a gentle orange and tangerine citrus flavor and aroma. Coming in at 5.6% ABV and 42 IBU, you’ll find it in select ANBL stores as of this weekend in 473 mL cans, at ANBL growler stations starting February 28th, and on tap for pints and fills (and in cans as well) at Flying Boats’ taproom at 700 Malenfant Boulevard in Dieppe!

Digby’s Roof Hound Brewing is getting ready to launch one of their biggest beers yet, a Russian Imperial Stout named Star Anise Destroyer. With a big grist that includes a pretty hefty portion of Dextrin malt (to help give that full body that you may expect from the style), this 9.7% ABV brew was dry-hopped with a pound of hand-crushed star anise pods (is dry-star-anised a word? It should be!). Brewer Les Barr was looking to bring some black licorice character to this beer, similar to a Jager liqueur, and it sounds like he may have succeeded! Hopped to a high-IBU level to help balance all that roast and sweetness from the grain bill, it’s “surprisingly smooth and refreshing for such a big beer”, according to Barr. Look for bottles to be officially released on March 1st; it’ll also show up on tap at the Roof Hound tap takeover at Battery Park on March 7th… don’t worry, we’ll have more details on that event, soon!

Attention, Mount Pearl, Newfoundland hop lovers! Your local brewery, Landwash, has just released their first DIPA, Dream Island #1, and it’s sounding delicious! With a grist that includes flaked oats and malted oats to boost the beer’s mouthfeel and haziness, it was hopped heavily with Simcoe and Mosaic, giving the final product notes of “orange zest, tangerine juice, and mango flavours”. Who are you to say no to Simcoe and Mosaic? This one comes in at a hefty 8% ABV – it IS a DIPA, after all – so don’t be too eager to chug that hop goodness down. As you may have expected from the name of the beer, this is the first in an intended series of DIPAs, so look for more entries, soon. It’s currently available on tap at the brewery (along with six other brews; cans may appear in the future.

For you Good Robot regulars out there, we’re pleased to report that their weekly Beta release returns next Tuesday, after a brief hiatus this week. They’ve teamed up with Colin Smith to brew Barrel, Ontario, an attempt at brewing a beer similar to a certain flagship from a certain Toronto brewery that is owned by a certain company that maybe we’re not going to mention here… oh, the hell with it, it’s a beer similar to Tankhouse Ale. Basically expect a Red Ale hopped with a “solid” amount of Cascade (to 36 IBUs), and weighing in at 5.1% ABV. As for Alpha beers, it’s all cans next week… Damn Fine Coffee and Cherry Pie and Espinazo del Diablo. Finally, in other Good Robot news, they’re looking to hire a part-time salesperson; if you’re interested, check out the application here.

In other hiring news, Sober Island Brewing Company in Sheet Harbour is looking to high a full-time Head Brewer. This person will be responsible for their 850 litre (7 BBL) brewhouse, supplying the Henley House, packaged product to the NSLC and private stores, and licensees across the province. As this is a head brewer position, previous experience and education are big pluses! Check out the full job posting here, and start/continue your path in a growing craft brewery!

And if brewing isn’t in the cards for you (not right now, at least), maybe you can try your hand as a Sales person, or working on a packaging line? Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is looking to hire people in both of those positions, as they continue to expand their offerings far and wide. The Sales Person will be responsible for HRM accounts (existing and new), and is a full-time position. The Packaging position is part-time (for now), and will be working on the bottling and canning lines, as well as other maintenance and tasks in the brewery. Pop them an email to apply or learn more about either position!

For those of us keeping track of the goings-on in Charlottetown, it has been announced that a purchase agreement in the sale of DME Brewing’s Charlottetown facilities has been agreed upon. CIMC Enric is a Dutch company, and manufacturer of equipment used in brewing, distilling, and other related industries. They intend to keep the interim staff who have been working for the past couple of months, and possibly hire back some of those who lost their jobs. The purchase gives them access to all records, inventory, customer base information, and everything else to continue operating. We’re keeping our ears to the ground on this front, hope to share more good news soon.

The events slate is a little light this week, but we expect we’ll see that change in the next couple of weeks!

Just one new event to tell you about this week, and it should be a fun one! Put on your favourite retro snowsuit or outfit for an outdoor rooftop beefest in Moncton. Dolma Food is hosting Winter Beerfest On The Rooftop, tomorrow from 4 – 10 PM. Acadie-Broue, CAVOK Brewing, Holy Whale Brewing, O’Creek Brewing, and Tatamagouche Brewing will all be sharing their finest beers for you, plus VALK Fermentation will be a special guest and will be collaborating with Acadie-Broue for an exclusive kombucha beer. Dolma’s BBQ will be fired up and roasting a pig, and there will be much more to enhance the afternoon and evening. Tickets are available two way: purchase a pre-sale ticket for $15 which includes entry, 2 drink tickets and your glass for the evening  and to take home (available online or in store), or pay at the door for $25. Additional beer, or pulled pork sandwich or churros, are $5. Check out the links above for more details!

Before you go, just a couple more things!

Boxing Rock recently released this year’s version of La Rive du Sud (7.5% ABV), their Bière de Garde that they’ve been brewing annually since 2014. Various malts in the grist lend the beer biscuit, caramel and toffee notes, with a “noteworthy complexity”. And keep your eyes open for 14 Carrot Gold, a collaboration beer featuring the juice from 1100 lbs of carrots. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Stay tuned for more info!

Off Track Brewing has debuted another in their line of experimental and limited releases, with Sankara Amber Ale. This 5.3% ABV beer is malt-forward, with notes of toast, caramel, and is lightly sweet, but well-balanced, with Northern Brewer hops bringing its typical woody profile to the mix. Grab one (or all 5, so the legend goes) on tap at the brewery this weekend. And keep an eye out for the return of their Let’s Dance, a 6.8% ABV Double IPA, also on tap at the brewery now.

Propeller wants you to know that their popular XPA, their 5% ABV “Extra Pale Ale”, is back again for a limited time, available at their stores only. If you’re in any NSLC stores, however, Dark Berry Sour should be popping up there next week. Finally, tonight’s cask beer is an Oatmeal Stout that is essentially a preview of a beer that should be released, outside of a cask, in the near future.