The Oxford Taproom

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If you’re like us and love loving local beer, then today’s the day for you! Plenty of new releases and returning favourites are out now/coming very soon, plus a Monday holiday to nurse your headache for an extra 24 hours! Sounds like a win-win to us! Let’s get right to the new beers, and the events we think are worth your time….

After quickly selling out of their last entry in their very popular Brut IPA series at the end of 2019, Petit-Sault has decided to keep the momentum going by releasing Brut IPA #3 this week. Like the last beer, La Pêchée, this beer weighs in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, and finishes extremely dry (0° Plato, keeping the residual sugar at a bare minimum). Hopped (and dry-hopped, of course) with Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, the brewery added strawberry and peach puree during fermentation. The combination of both fruit purees with the high dry-hopping makes for some intensely fruity aromas and flavours. Look for this one on tap and in bottles at the brewery now, and it should be hitting licensees and ANBL stores this weekend.

Propeller Brewing Co. in Halifax has a new beer out this week that will hopefully take you out of the mindset of a dismal February afternoon and into the mood of a crisp, yet hoppy beer on a sweltering summer day. Citra Pale Lager marries IPA darling hop Citra to a crisp and crushable base style, yielding what they’re calling a “modern lager.” Plenty of biscuity malt flavor is balanced by a firm, but approachable 38 IBU worth of bitterness, leading to a crisp, dry finish created through the use of a German yeast and a good 3 – 4 weeks of lagering time. And did we mention the hops? Aromas of melon and citrus abound where you might have expected floral, woody, and/or herbal noble hop character in a more traditional lager, giving a fruity vibe to this 5.2% ABV beer. Look for it at both Prop locations on tap, for fills to go, and in cans, with packaged product also going to private stores in Halifax and Liquid Assets at the Stanfield Airport. And if you do head down to Gottingen Street location tomorrow afternoon for a V-Day pint, look for their Galaxy dry-hopped with Sabro and Ekuanot. If you’re not able to make that, though, there’s still plenty going on this weekend with a Valentine’s Day is Dead 2020 live music show on Saturday, Family Day at the Propeller Arcade from 12 – 6 PM on Sunday (after 6 PM the Arcade will be open, but will revert to 19+), and a bonus Arcade afternoon from 2 PM onwards on the holiday Monday.

We’ve just passed the “less than a month” phase leading up to the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and more details are trickling out on the events and ancillary parts of the Fest. One of which is the launch of the annual Diplomatic Immunity collaboration beer, with this year’s falling under the category of Lagered APA. Brewed in early December 2019, host brewery Flying Boats in Dieppe, NB, welcomed in the good folks from Boxing Rock Brewing of Shelburne, NS, and Upstreet Brewing of Charlottetown, PEI. Brewed using primarily Weyermann heritage Barke Pilsner malt (with a touch of CaraBohemian malt for a smooth, yet lightly grainy backbone), and hopped with Pahto as a bittering addition, with whirlpool and dry hop additions of Cashmere, Amarillo, and Simcoe. The six weeks of lagering after primary fermentation by the Fermentis S-189 yeast gives a crisp and clean mouthfeel and finish, hop aromatics of melon, and a touch of coconut and grapefruit. The 5.2% ABV beer is available on draught and in cans at the host brewery now, and rolling out to the visiting breweries shortly. It will also be pouring widely around Fredericton leading up to the Fest, and be featured on the ANBL Growler program starting February 22nd

Recently-opened Gahan Nova Centre in Halifax teamed up with another downtown brewery, 2 Crows, for a collaboration a few months ago that has now hit the shelves. The beer goes by the moniker of 5 Minute Walk, which describes the length of time needed to get between the two breweries. The first beer to go into Gahan’s PEI-built foeder (℅ New World Foeders), and brewed by Spencer G (now of Lone Oak) with Jarrett S and Jeremy T, the beer featured a simple malt bill (Pilsner with a touch of flaked oats and white wheat), a light touch of Saaz and Ella hops, and fermented with 2C’s special house yeast blend. Acidic and citrus notes abound, with notes of funk and new oak complementing. The 6.9% ABV beer is on tap now at Gahan’s location, with a limited number of bottles available to go from their retail counter onsite.

We hinted a couple of weeks ago (well, we think we did, but we’re too lazy to go back and check) that there was an event coming up at Good Robot that would help get you in a summertime mood. Well that event is nigh, we tell you, NIGH!! Brewer Gio Johnson and his pals in The Limestone Group are bringing another FlavaBot Caribbean-infused event to Good Robot on Sunday, this one entitled Heat Wave. Look for plenty of Caribbean food from Chef Ambrose, live music and dance performances throughout the day. Doors open for brunch at 10 AM and food will be served until close at 2 AM. For the first time they’ll also be serving cocktails (Sky Juice and Switcha)! But most pertinent to us here at the ACBeerBlog, is the beer, of course. And as usual, Gio has come up with some recipes that bring the best of the Caribbean to our favorite beverage. First up is one we wrote about previously (seriously, don’t even need to check), Conch-style Bahamian Lager that’s sort of a “International Light Lager meets a Christmas Tree in a dark alley and things get (lime) zesty” kinda deal at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU. But there are also going to be three smaller batches on the go. First is the Banana Bread Ale, a spiced dark ale treated with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and sweetened slightly with a touch of lactose. Doing what it says on the tin, look for a slightly creamy brew with roasty and chocolatey elements and those spices making themselves known. Plenty sessionable at 4.5% ABV and 17 IBU as well. And speaking of sessionable, next up is Lil Cay, a tropical session stout dosed with coconut flakes that had been themselves previously soaked in coconut rum. So plenty of coconut coming at you, but also some roast and vanilla and a mild citrus note to go with it. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 27 IBU, it should be a lovely introduction to the notion of a tropical stout if you’ve never had one. And last, but certainly not least, is the delightfully-named Gruitti Fruitti! It’s a gruit, of course, which means no hops have been used, but an herb mixture takes their place in providing balance to the malt side. In this case, it’s pine needles and basil. And the “fruitti” part of the name isn’t just there for decoration, it refers to the addition of mango to the mix. At 5.0% ABV and 0 IBU, expect something herbaceous, fragrant and balanced.

Tire Shack Brewing hasn’t really slowed down on new releases since their opening last fall and this week they’ve got two more to share with the thirsty folks in the Moncton region. Leading the charge is Abracadabra, a “Tiramisu White Stout.” With a special roast from Sunny Brae Coffee done just for Tire Shack, as well as cacao nibs and vanilla, this one has all the hallmarks of the classic Italian dessert in a creamy white-colored package. Joining it on the taps is Heat Wave, an otherwise smooth and easy-drinking porter that’s been dosed with plenty of Arbol and Chipotle peppers for a smoky flavor and “A TON” of heat. Don’t be surprised if this one comes with a bit of a warning if you’re not into the spicy things. Look for both of these on tap at the brewery this weekend.

Not to be outdone on the white stout front (or the non-traditional ingredients front, for that matter), Upstreet has their own thing on the go over on the Island, a beer dreamed up and executed by Hogie and Josh that they’re calling Cereal Milk. Starting with a concept something like a blonde ale, the grist on this one was pale malt, flaked oats, golden naked oats (not as dirty as it sounds) and wheat, with Citra and Amarillo in the kettle and dry hop for a definite hop presence. Taking it somewhere else entirely were additions of lactose for some sweetness, cacao nibs, for a bit of chocolate, toasted coconut, roasted PEI hazelnuts, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt! Weighing in at 5% ABV and a very light 10 IBU, this is a small batch with only a few kegs pouring at the tap room and Craft Beer Corner. So if this sounds like the kind of thing that’ll turn your crank on Valentine’s weekend, best head down with a quickness.

In Deer Lake, Newfoundland, Rough Waters Brewing continues their hard work towards fully opening their taproom this spring, and are taking us along for the ride. Earlier this month they received the licenses allowing them to serve onsite, and have therefore been sharing pints and samples with visitors to their 83 Wights Rd location. Currently open Wednesday to Friday from 3 – 7 PM, Saturday from 1 – 8 PM, and Sunday from 1 – 4 PM, folks can have a taste of what’s available before grabbing bottles to take away. They have already held some local artisan markets and live music events in their space, teaming up to raise over $700 for local charities, and those types of community events will only increase in frequency once the taproom is fully open.
To help get folks excited about what’s to come (and to help achieve those goals), Rough Waters has launched an Indiegogo campaign. Backers to their project can grab some slick merchandise like stickers, glassware, shirts, or prints of their nautical tattoo themed labels, and locals can grab a VIP ticket to the Grand Opening Party, sign up for their “Hard Ticket” membership (getting you a personalized glass that comes with plenty of benefits), or design and help brew the beer of your dreams! Check out the list of options in the link above.
But not all of the good news is off in the future… There are two newly available brews this week that we can tell you about, and that you can pick up this weekend! The first is Down South, best described as a Pineapple IPA. Starting life as a moderately bitter IPA, they skipped the dry-hopping, and instead opted for a secondary fermentation on a whole whack of pineapple puree from Oregon Fruit. The final beer weighs in at 5.1% ABV, and features plenty of pineapple on the nose and tongue to make you forget, if only for a minute, that we don’t live in a more tropical climate. The second newbie is also the first in their Black Cat series, which will be an occasional release that will always feature spicing of some sort. This inaugural release is Cinnamon Chai ESB, a 6.8% ABV beer started as a malty ESB, and dosed in a brewed Chai blend of spices (heavy on the cinnamon, and leaving out the tea leaves) after fermentation, to keep it full of aroma and flavour. Bottles of both beers are available to taste at the brewery all weekend, with their core line-up also available to take-away.

If you’re the kind of person who has always wondered whether you could take your passion for beer and turn it into a career, there are a couple of breweries in Nova Scotia who might be able to help you figure that out. Tatamagouche Brewing has two positions open right now. First up is a summer position that they’re getting a good head start on filling: Summer Retail Sales Associate. This one runs from May to October and is customer-facing, helping folks who come to the Tata taproom to have a positive experience by providing knowledge and recommendations about the beer, but also the town and the North Shore region of the Province. Also up for grabs is a backroom position, so backroom it’s almost underground! Known as a “Cellar Hand,” this person will be focused on all the little details of making sure that all the beer that goes out with the Tata name on it is as good as it can be. From cleaning, to testing, to monitoring, to packaging and everything in-between, this person will have eyes on Tatamagoodness from wort almost all the way to the customer’s hand. If either of these positions sound good to you, you’ll find more information in the official job postings on the Tata website.

Also looking to fill some shoes in their operation is Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing who are looking for a Production Brewer to head up their “small batch” 7 BBL system. Formerly the main system at the brewery, it’s the one that put out the first Cereal Killer and Regatta Red and Kitchen Party Pale way back when Jeremy White opened up shop. So while bigger batches have now moved to the 20 BBL system across the way, this one still remains a vital operational piece of the Big Spruce empire, especially when it comes to their seasonal offerings. As always, experience in any and all aspects of brewing are likely to be preferred, but the right candidate who’s willing to learn and willing to relocate within/to Cape Breton is likely to find a listening ear even if experience isn’t a big part of their background. So if you’re interested, check out the full details on their Fb post and maybe slide into Big Spruce’s DMs if you think you’re the person for the job.

What’s on the go this weekend? Find out right meow!

Our friends and yours at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington are eager to help you enjoy your Valentine’s Day whether that be happily alone with your own gosh darn self or with your pals or, if absolutely necessary, with that special someone (no, not your dog or cat, that’s not allowed, but we feel you). However you want to celebrate, head on down this afternoon/evening for the usual loverly selection of thoughtfully curated liquids along with a bunch of super cute a la carte snacks from the kitchen: spicy pepperoni pizza pockets (YES, REALLY), charcuterie and cheese for one, house-made chicken nuggets (ALSO YES, REALLY), little mortadella sammies, mini pogos, falafel with extra garlicky toum, and personal tubs of cookie dough (YES, REALLY FOR A THIRD TIME). Just like every other day of the year ain’t nobody gonna judge you for walking in alone, but if you’re nervous about it, you shouldn’t be: it’ll be cozy and welcoming all night long.

The Ladies Beer League is hosting a different kind of Galentine’s Day event tonight at the Garrison Oxford Taproom from 7 – 9 PM. I Heart Beer 2020 is going to be a “get dressed up by dressing down”, in your comfiest jammies or other lounge-around clothes, to celebrate in a casual way with snacks, games, and a surprise or two. Grab your tickets at the FB link above, and stay cozy with fellow beer pals tonight!

Down the South Shore of NS, February means lobster season and the third annual Lobster Crawl Festival. Running the entire month (with an extra day this year!) it celebrates the crustacean that is so important to the economy and lifestyle from Barrington to Peggy’s Cove and encourages potential tourists to check out the province in the winter as well as the summer. Halfway through the month comes one of the premier events of the festival, the Lobster Crawl Beer Festival going down tomorrow night at the Bridgewater Best Western & Convention Centre. Running from 8 – 11:30 PM (with a 7 PM start for VIP ticket holders), tickets are still available: $25 for Designated Drivers (soft drinks and water available), $40 for regular admission with 10 drink tokens, and $55 for VIP admission, giving you early entry, 5 more tokens, and a VIP gift (we recommend that you assume taxes and fees apply to all of those prices). Additional tokens will be available for purchase, as will food. Fifteen breweries and cideries from the South Shore will be pouring their best, and we’ve heard tell that there may be a few cool collaboration beers on tap as well. So whether you’re already planning to be in the Bridgewater area tomorrow night and looking for something to do or you just dig craft beer and lobster, grab yourself a ticket and make a plan.

Back in mid-January, we mentioned that Chain Yard Cider in Halifax would be hosting a “Snakebite” competition in February. Well lookie here, that date is upon us. In case you’re unaware, a Snakebite is a blend of 1 part cider to 1 part beer, generally served by the pint, that is popular in the United Kingdom. Apparently someone has taken notice that our region has plenty of fine breweries and plenty of fine cideries and realized that the potential for sassy snakebite shenanigans is high! Tomorrow afternoon and evening will see eight teams competing for Snakebite Supremacy from 12 – 5 PM. Tasting will be blind and the public will vote on their favorite. The breweries and cideries competing are as follows: Sourwood Cider, Tidehouse Brewing Company, Lake City Cider, Spindrift Brewing Company, Meander River Farm, Chain Yard Cider, North Brewing Company, Saltbox Brewing, Sea Level Brewing, Maritime Express Cider Co Ltd, The Church Brewing Co, Schoolhouse Brewing and Ship Builders Cider! So whether you like cider or prefer beer, this is an opportunity to find out if you like them both together!

Just a few tiny newsbites before we dismiss you today. Then go out and grab a beer!

Fredericton’s Picaroons has a new release out this week. Details are light, like super light, but for those of you looking to “Catch ‘Em All”, 506 Pale Ale is being described as “your next domestic” and “a modern, citrus forward APA”. If you’re so inclined, check it out and let us know how it tastes!

Roof Hound Brewing in Digby (and now operating their taproom daily in Kingston), has a new available today. Save Tonight is a 4.0% ABV Cherry Sour, brimming with the tart fruit character, and available on draught as well as in bottles to take home.

Halifax’s Tiny Tidehouse has brought their most frequent collaborator to the brewhouse, and have the latest Lil Wheaty’s (aka award-winning homebrewer Ian Wheatley) pouring this afternoon. Tic Lac Toe is a blueberry kettle sour, which features a wheat beer base, and 20kg of blueberries. We’re not sure how they managed to cram all of those in there, but we’re sure that you’ll be able to taste every one. Just don’t drink too many or you’ll end up looking like Violet Beauregard!

Fredericton’s Trailway has been serving their Candlepin Kölsch as a regular feature at The Drome by Trailway pretty much since it opened, but they don’t package this easy-drinking beer too often. Good news, then, for Drome denizens who have a hankering for it at home, a fresh batch is available in cans now at the brewery!

We trust that everybody’s now comfortably back at work after the holidays, rested and refreshed and ready for whatever winter can dole out (residents of Northern NS, Cape Breton and Newfoundland may have already been well-tested on that front, but we trust we’ll all get our share before the season’s over). And a big shout out to all of those doing that whole Dry January thing; you’re now a third of the way to insanity success! For the rest of you, we’ve got plenty of news as always about new breweries, new beers, and all the other news we could gather.

Let’s kick off this week’s news with another opening in our region, New Maritime Beer. After launching their brand with a pair of beers this summer, they are now ready to welcome folks to their taproom at 55 Newcastle Blvd in Miramichi. The taproom is opening Saturday at 1 PM (until 11 or later if the party is still rockin’!), and open daily going forward (except for Mondays). They will be pouring an American Pale Ale, IPA, and Stout, brewed elsewhere while they complete the installation and commision of their brewhouse. The new equipment was manufactured by Saint John’s Copper Leaf Brewing Equipment, an 1800 litre brewhouse, and should be in full force next month. The 90 seat taproom features plenty of cozy touches like a fireplace, and plenty of comfortable seating. While they do not yet have food onsite, you can feel free to bring or order your own in. Keep an eye here, and on their Social Media (Fb/IG) for news of new releases (we’ve already heard tell of Juicy and West Coast IPAs, as well as more Pale Ales, Stouts, and Session IPAs coming down the pipeline once they are fully open).

Sea Level Brewing at Millstone Harvest Brewhouse in Sheffield Mills has a brand new release on the taps (and coming soon to cans) these days. A Light in the Dark is a 4.0% ABV Kolsch Ale, the latest of their beer releases to use barley grown at their farm, and malted at nearby Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Opting for a light-coloured and sessionable beer at a time many seasonals are going dark and heavy, there is still plenty going on in the glass. The beer also features Cascade grown at the farm, complemented by Glacier grown by Fundy Hops. The beer is available now on draught at the Brewhouse (for onsite enjoyment or to go), with growlers, and soon cans, at their Port Williams location as well.

Speaking of Horton Ridge, they have a new beer available this week as well. When you’re a combination malt house/brewery and you’re looking to use up a previous crop of grain, you build a beer around it! That’s exactly what they’ve done with The Ridge Rosé, a Farmhouse-inspired Pale Ale. The grist was made up mostly of Queens Pale Malt, a variety of barley developed in PEI that gives an earthy malt profile, which works well in Farmhouse styles, according to Horton Ridge. Also brewed with a touch of Rye malt, and hopped with Saaz, the goal was to brew a base beer that would provide a good amount of malt character, yet also allow the secondary ingredient to shine through – in this beer, Muscat grape skins from Benjamin Bridge and Luckett Vineyards. After aging on the skins for close to two months, the 5% ABV beer has taken on tart, fruity flavours, as well as a subtle maltiness. It’s pouring on tap at the brewery, where you can also pick up some cans to take home.

Last summer, Off Track Brewing released a pilot batch of Boatload of Nerve, an experimental DIPA. Availability was obviously quite limited, and the beer went over very well, so luckily for us they’ve scaled it up and brewed a full batch! Hopped with a blend of El Dorado and Mosaic, this 8% ABV, 95 IBUs DIPA sports “notes of pear and mango, with a slight hint of pine”, as well as a touch of herbal/earthy character. Slightly hazy, it’s only available on tap… however, future batches MAY be bottled if the demand is there. For now, your best bet to find it is at the brewery .

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a new release out this week, sure to satisfy the hop lover on your list (in addition to yourself, of course!). The latest in their Hop Trip series, Southern Hemisphere IPA is 6.0% ABV, and while it is 30 IBU on paper, the hops are certainly the star of the show. Using loads of Galaxy, Topaz, and Vic Secret, three Australian-grown hops. Intense aromatics of passion fruit, melon, grapefruit, and pineapple come through thanks to the generous use of hops throughout. The beer is available on draught for samples, pints, and growler fills at their brewery at the Seaport, as well as the Oxford Taproom, with cans available at those locations as well as a few NSLC and private stores. And for the month of January, all sales/donations through Popcorn with a Purpose, a charitable endeavour at the Oxford where popcorn sales are donated, will be going towards the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Friendly alert for those of you in or around Liverpool NS: local brewery Hell Bay has just released Barrel-Aged Brown Ale, a 9.5% ABV Brown that was aged for six months in Bourbon and rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery. Featuring a “rich, brown malt body with distinctive rum flavour”, it’s sure to pack a punch with that high ABV, despite the alcohol character being nicely hidden. Bottles are limited, so don’t wait to pick up a couple, as no doubt they’ll age in your cellar perfectly!

Something new and hoppy fresh out of 2 Crows this week, a 5.4% ABV, 31 IBUs New England IPA named Merida. Hopped very heavily with Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon, and experimental hop Bru-1, you can expect plenty of juiciness in this one, along with “Tang, pineapple, stone fruit, and cantaloupe vibes”. Available on tap and in cans right now at the brewery. And hey, even more good news – while there, why not grab some cans of the latest batch of Waltz, their German Pilsner? This batch was tweaked slightly, as the beer was brewed with 100% PEI grown-and-malted Shoreline Malting Pils malt. They’ve played with the dry-hopping technique as well, making this iteration “extra bright”, with more floral and lemon notes than usual.

Hanging nearby Rothesay, NB this weekend? Pop on over to the Hammond River taproom, where they’ve tapped a brand new experimental beer. Another entry in the brewery’s Dry-Hopped series, Dry Hopped Sour (Sorachi Ace). The base beer is a Berliner Weisse, kettle-soured with HR’s house Lactobacillus strain. This particular batch was dry-hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace from local Moose Mountain Hop Farm, giving the beer plenty of lemon notes in the aroma and flavour, to complement the tartness in the finish. And hey, if you can’t get to Rothesay, you should be able to find it on tap at The Joyce in Fredericton. And at only 3.5% ABV, you can have a couple and not feel too guilty!

If you’re feeling more cidery this weekend (is that a thing? It should be!), Annapolis Cider Company has you covered. They’ve launched the latest in their Something Different series, a sparkling cider and wine blend named Harvest Rosé. Marechal Foch (a hybrid French red wine grape) was locally harvested, with the juice co-fermented with fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice. This dry, cider-wine blend was then FURTHER blended with small batch, dry Gravenstein ciders which were prepared by the Annapolis Cider retail staff, fermented using four different yeast strains. Still following along ok? Great! Finally, fresh-pressed Geneva Crab apple juice, a “red-fleshed apple variety”, was added to finish it all off. The result? An “elegant, off-dry rosé cider with bright acidity, and notes of red berries and fresh apples”. It comes in at 7.2% ABV, and $0.50 from each refillable bottle purchases will go towards Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing isn’t slowing down one bit as we’ve moved into 2020, and they’ve got two new beers pouring at their taproom to prove it. The first is Captain’s Orders Hopfenweizen, their take on the hoppy Hefeweizen style. Brewed with a 50/50 blend of German Pale and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Magnum and Hallertau Blanc in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Fermented with a Weizen strain, the 6.5% ABV beer was then lightly dry-hopped with Amarillo. It’s showing classic Weizen aromas of banana and clove, along with some citrus thanks to the dry-hop addition. Medium-bodied and refreshing, it’s a great reminder of why this style shouldn’t only be brewed during warmer seasons! The next brew is Cross Island Common, a “modern take” on the California Common style. The malt bill includes Munich, Vienna, English Cara and Flaked Barley, with Perle hops going in the boil (to the tune of 30 IBUs). Dry-hopped with Eureka, the 5.5% ABV brew is exhibiting “herbaceous, hop-forward aromatics, with a candied orange undertone that leads to a palate of red berry fruits and toffee”. Finishing bitter and crisp, it joins the several other beers currently on tap at Shipwright. 

And in more Lunenburg brewery news, Saltbox Brewing will be opening a taproom and pilot brewery in the town this summer, under the moniker Lightship Beer and Cider. Located at 93 Tannery Road, the brewery and taproom will have an unobstructed view of Lunenburg Harbour from its place on the point. While the building design is still being finalized, we can tell you that it will feature indoor seating for 50 people, and a large deck with space for four times that number. A 2 BBL (230 litre) pilot brewhouse will be onsite, focusing on traditional German and other European styles, as an ode to the countries of origin of the early settlers in the region. In addition to those, a complement of beer from Saltbox’s main brewery in Mahone Bay will also be available on tap. The brewery space will also house some foeders which are perfect for long-term aging of some special brews. While the details of the kitchen and food offerings are still being ironed out, there will certainly be tasty offerings to pair with the beers pouring. We’ll keep you up to date on Lightship’s progress over the next months, and you can sign up to learn more on their website.

And in “a brewery we haven’t spoken about in a little while” news, we have some updates for you thirsty New Brunswickers looking for more beer (and info) regarding Valonray Brewing in the Shediac River area. Just over a year ago, they switched focus from clean European- (mostly Belgian-) inspired beers to those with mixed cultures and taking much longer to produce, and therefore their regular debuts stopped. The first of that line was Rouge Provision, a 5.0% ABV light-coloured beer first fermented with a clean ale yeast strain (familiar friend US-05), but underwent a secondary (and tertiary, etc, etc) ferm with a pitch of both Escarpment Labs’ Belgian sour blend, as well as a house culture of other Brett and Lacto strains built up onsite. The beer spent twelve months in a second-use Bourbon American Oak barrel, and then 6 months conditioning in the bottle. Available exclusively at the Picaroons shops in Fredericton and Saint John, we believe there are still a few bottles left on the shelves there. Bottles of their previous releases may still be available at your local ANBL locations. Future releases by Valonray are in the barrel and bottle now, as they continue their exploration of the Flanders Red Ale style. 

Don’t go waiting until Tuesday to wander over to Good Robot for a taste of their latest Beta Brew, as they’ll be closed for a staff day. However, they will be releasing Alternative Roots, their latest BB, on Sunday, January 12th. This one is billed as a Fruit Beer, with beet chiffonade added at the end of the boil, giving the final beer a “wild pink colour and a deep, earthy aroma”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs, drop in at the end of the weekend for your taste.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting an event with Toronto’s Burdock Brewery tomorrow, Jan 11th, at their Barrington Street location. Featuring 3 draught offerings, and more than a dozen canned and bottled brews available as well, there will be something to satisfy everyone’s palate. And as is routine for Stilly, they will have some special menu items on the go, including Mac & Cheese Arancini. The featured beers are available from opening at noon tomorrow, and around until… well, we’re not exactly sure, so your best bet is to visit earlier in the day!

If you instead find yourself 260km Northwest of Halifax tomorrow, may we suggest dropping into Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub for their own takeover/feature, where they are showcasing the beers of Alberta. The Alberta Craft Beer Tap Takeover will have beers from more than a half-dozen breweries across the province, including Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Blindman, Brewsters, Grizzly Paw, New Level, and Troubled Monk

HopYard’s original location in Charlottetown, PEI, is hosting a Battle of the PEI Breweries 2020 event over the course of the next couple of months that will see eight breweries compete for Island supremacy, with the champion being crowned at the Finale on Thursday, February 20th. But to get to that point there first needs to be a tournament, and that tournament started last night as recent ACBA Brewery of the Year Bogside Brewing squared off against PEI’s OG brewery, PEI Brewing Co, with Bogside pulling out a slim victory by 9 glasses. The next 3 Thursdays will see the remaining battles in the first round, with Moth Lane taking on Copper Bottom on January 16th, Lone Oak battling Evermoore on January 23rd, and Barnone taking on Upstreet on January 30th. The two Thursdays after that (February 6th and 13th) will be the two semi-finals before the final showdown a week later. So whether you’re local to Charlottetown or just find yourself on the Island on a Thursday night over the next six weeks, HopYard will be an excellent place for a fun night of drinking beer and voting with your tastebuds.

And speaking of PEI beer and Lone Oak in particular, the brewery and taproom have been open for a little while now, but they haven’t had themselves a proper party to make it all official-like. That will change on Saturday, January 25th, starting at 4 PM when they’ll be hosting a big Grand Opening celebration. One musical act, Max Koughan and The Poets has been confirmed, with two more surprise musical headliners to be announced the evening of. Cover charge will be $20 per person at the door, and the beer will also be flowing, of course. So make your plans to be in Borden-Carleton in two week’s time (but we’ll very likely give you a reminder nudge the day before).

And we leave you, as always, with a few brief beery mentions:

Firkenstein Brewing has a new brew joining their regular tap lineup – Chili & SubLime (6%) is “light and refreshing, with a bit of zest, along with just a hint of chili spice”.

Flying Boats may still be pouring Black Currant Blonde Ale at their taproom; this latest one-keg-only Brewer’s Test Recipe is brewed with local black currants.

Iron Rock Brewing has a pilot batch available exclusively at their taproom – Farmer’s Junction Red Saison is their Railbender Red fermented with Old World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Caramel and toffee notes abound, along with spice and herbal character; only two kegs available, so get in, quickly!

Team TataBrew has released Triple Beam Lagerbier, a 6% ABV Lager dry-hopped with Cascade and Aramis. Easy-drinking and crisp, you can find it at homebase in Tatamagouche, and we hear that it’s been spotted at the Stillwell Freehouse as well!

Well, here we are in December, and while the weather hasn’t been too terrible, there’s still a great argument to be made for stocking up on beer for both the holidays and for après shovelling, sledding, skiing, and other wintertime activities that are fun and/or necessary. The good news around that is that our region’s breweries continue to step up with new and interesting beers that will make building up a collection fun and interesting, if not easy (how do we choose?!). And not only that, but we’ve got some news about a couple breweries expanding, which can only mean more beer and/or more space to drink it in! Read on for details on those and for the rest of your weekly dose of beer news from across the Atlantic Provinces.

Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl opened their doors December 6th, 2018, and to celebrate their First Anniversary, today they are releasing an appropriate beer to celebrate, Burn Your Boats. This 9.0% ABV deep dark beauty is an Imperial Stout that spent several months in Bourbon barrels before canning. Major dark roast and coffee notes are paired with the lovely vanilla and notes of spirits. BYB is available at the brewery at opening today at 3 PM, by the glass and in a limited run of cans too (ISO!). And while you’re at the brewery, check out their wide selection of glassware that they’ve had shipped in from Jymline, plenty of options for whichever beer you’re drinking, from 1 litre Maß to a small Arome glass. Keep an eye on their IG account for more details on their Anniversary Party and their plans from now until the end of the month (we can tease that there is another Merb’ys collaboration coming out next week, a Key Lime Pastry Pale Ale!, and Cake Tray, a Cherry Pound Cake Pastry Pale Ale joining it. More detes next week. Congratulations to the Landwash family!

The folks at Propeller have been playing with their small batch program, and have brewed up three pilot brews that have all been fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast strain. The first of these beers has just been released today, Schwarzbier. Named, of course, after the style that is commonly referred to as a “Black Lager”, the grist contained a portion of debittered black malt (huskless malt that provides that dark colour and some roasted character, without the acrid flavours that can accompany darker malts), giving the beer a deep, black colour. Hopped to 30 IBUs with noble varieties, the beer has a “subtle, earthy backdrop” to complement. It comes in at 5.5% ABV, and is light-bodied and moderately dry, with a clean finish. If you’d like to give it a try, best to drop by one of the Prop shops to find it. And while you’re there, you can grab this year’s edition of their Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout (note that this version is marked as 2018, as the beer went into Bourbon barrels in December of last year).

The folks at recently-opened Tire Shack Brewing in Moncton are starting to run some experiments on their pilot system, which should be welcome news to those who are able to get to the brewery to try them. There are 3 small batches going on the taps right now for folks to try. First up is a coffee saison, St Caroline, at 6.0% ABV and using coffee sourced from local organic roaster Sunny Brae Coffee. This one still maintains a light color thanks to the use of cold brew on the coffee side. Next up is a gose they’re calling Duck Duck Gose, that they describe as “very balanced” and which also weighs in at 6.0% ABV. And last, but certainly not least, is a Piña Colada Milkshake IPA dubbed Love at Midnight. With flavors of pineapple and coconut, as you’d expect in anything bearing the descriptor “Piña Colada”, there was also an addition of lactose for a sweetness to enhance the fruit flavors and mouthfeel. This one is already in short supply though, so if you want to try it you’d best make your way to Tire Shack this weekend! But wait, there’s more! Just because they’re tapping the pilot system doesn’t mean they’re ignoring the big one. Resistance is Fruitile (*groan*) is a black raspberry sour that’s described as “Christmas in a Glass” owing to its red color. Look for this one to see a limited canning run over the next week or two.

Bedford’s Off Track released a new IPA late last week out this week, Jersey IPA. Named after a loyal customer’s recently-deceased Boston Terrier, Jersey, both of whom would often frequent the taproom. Jersey IPA is of the American variety, and was brewed with a fairly simple grist, and hopped with a blend of Mosaic and Cascade. Golden-coloured, with lots of tropical and citrus notes from the hop additions, it’s just about sold out already. Luckily, they do plan on brewing a larger batch of this 5.5% ABV, 63 IBUs brew; however, you may still be able to get one of the last pours from the final keg if you get over there soon!

Fredericton’s Red Rover Cider has a new release hitting their shelves today, a cider three years in the making. Starting from a blend of Spartan apples and Dolgo crabapples, after an initial 6-month cool fermentation, this dry cider was aged on oak for over two years before packaging. The full aromatics from Spartan (even when fermented bone-dry), along with the acidic character from the Dolgo make this a blend made in heaven. Le Brut is a 7.6% sparkling cider, and is available now at their CiderHouse location on Queen Street, Fredericton Farmers Market this weekend, and soon from their online store. The handsome bottle seems like a great option to pop open at midnight in a few short weeks…

Let’s stay in Fredericton (well, in Fredericton-adjacent Hanwell) for the next new release, from Niche Brewing. Celebrating their 100th batch (congrats, guys!), they decided to push the envelope in a different direction this time, brewing and fermenting their first Lager. The Bear is a 5.0% ABV Munich Helles, featuring Pilsner and Munich (natch) malts, a light bittering addition of Magnum hops, and fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager strain. Bold malt flavour, but not sweetness, a touch of floral hop, and dry finish are what to expect in this beer, perfect for new- and old-school craft drinkers alike. Sharing the nickname of the father-in-law of co-owner Shawn Meek, The Bear is one that we think he’d be proud of. Grab a pint at one of their licensees around the Capital city, and those in Halifax will soon be able to enjoy it on tap at Stillwell HQ.

We’ve got tons of news from Robie Street, Halifax’s, Good Robot Brewing this week, so prep yourself before you wet yourself… First up is Li’l Creature aka Creature Feature VIII aka Baby Yoda, the latest and littlest in their line of biotransformation (aka, hopping during high fermentation) IPAs. At 4.5% ABV, you can still enjoy all of the tropical and citrus notes from a bigger IPA, but without the hangover. Next is C.R.E.A.M. – Cats Rule Everything Around Me, a new released dreamed up to hit the taps at the HaliMac Axe Throwing locations in Halifax and Kentville. Look for this light drinking Cream Ale the next time you’re tossing the ol’ hatchet around.

This week’s release of their first Beta Brew in a while (The Absolute Unit Belgian Tripel, thanks to their Sabco system being back up and running) wasn’t a one-time thing, as next Tuesday sees the launch of Stabby Geoff. Brewed with Brendan Martin, they’re describing it as a 5.3% ABV Wheat Ale hopped with Warrior, Ella and Summit in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Not being finished there (it IS a Beta Brew, after all), they also threw in some Queen of Tarts tea, and Grains of Paradise. Following hot on the heels of that brew will be their next newest beer, Et Tu? Brut IPA, a couple of days later on Thursday, Dec 12th (gotta admit, clever segue with the beer names there!). Naturally a Brut IPA, this 6.4% ABV, 22 IBUs brew has “bright flavours of orange and lemon citrus, as well as some white tea”, and finishes expectantly dry.

In St. John’s, this Monday saw the annual release of YellowBelly’s Mummer’s Brew (2019). This year’s batch is a 7.3% ABV Mocha Porter brewed with Oats, Wheat and Flaked Barley, along with Midnight Wheat, BlackPrinz, and Roasted Barley. These latter specialty grains added plenty of roasted character to the brew (along with a black colour, of course), but not too much so that the other wonderful flavours don’t come through. Specifically, we’re talking about the “deep, beautiful, nutty and malty” notes from the addition of Brazilian coffee beans (roasted by local Darkstar Coffee Roasters). The brew was hopped (to 25 IBUs) with Sasquatch and East Kent Goldings to add a bit of earthiness and a surprising licorice presence, according to the brewery. You can find it on tap at the brewpub and in bottles for takeaway; the bottles should be landing at NLC stores later in the week.  

Looks like there’s a new hoppy beer coming out of North Brewing this week, and it’s also the second release in the brewery’s 2019 collaboration with Benjamin Bridge. Musqué Double IPA was co-fermented on Chardonnay musqué grape skins (provided by the winery, naturally), and dry-hopped with the Australian Vic Secret variety. This 8% ABV hybrid DIPA is showing “notes of pear, mango and grape”, with a delicate acidity, and is dangerously easy-drinking. It launches today, and you can grab it in some fancy-lookin’ cans if you’re in the area. And why not pick up some Blanc while you’re there, which made its return last week? This year’s batch of the 4.5% ABV Grisette was fermented on some skins of its own… specifically, Sauvignon Blanc skins that were also provided by Benjamin Bridge. Like last year, $0.50 from each can sold will be donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust

Unfortunately, we also have some sad news to share concerning North. Recently, their good friend and business partner, Leo Christakos, passed away unexpectedly. Leo was involved in creating Battery Park, and was always thoroughly involved with every aspect of the business, ranging from customer service to the nitty gritty details. Long-time fans of craft beer will undoubtedly connect him to the Brooklyn Warehouse, a restaurant that Leo opened, that was one of the first restaurants in the city to give craft beer top billing. His death is a huge loss to the craft beer community, and our condolences go out to his family and everyone touched by his loss… which are many, indeed. 

Fresh off their big win at the Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards last month, Montague, PEI’s, Bogside Brewing has branched out and released their first cider. Fizz the Season is a 6.0% ABV blend of all Island apples, processed and pressed right in the brewery. Featuring a blend of holiday spicing (think cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice), Fizz is a nice complement to the crispy lagers and ales they’ve been releasing (and winning awards for!). And coming out next week is the beginning of their SMaSH (Single Malt And Single Hop) series with Shoreline Malting, with a new malt being used to create its iconic beer recipe. First up will be a Munich Dunkel, hitting the taps and retail next week. Joining it will be another new cider blend, this time using fresh local cranberries, bringing a decidely tart character to the finished product. We’ll have lots more on those releases next week, of course!

Down in Shelburne, NS, Boxing Rock has both a new beer and a returning favorite this week. On the new side is Inverse a “white stout”. Reminding everyone that “stout” means “strong”, not necessarily “dark”, this beer looks like a pale ale, but has plenty of the coffee, and chocolate flavors you’d associate with a darker beer in the stout style. Featuring additions of cold-brewed espresso to boost the coffee notes and vanilla to provide a background sweetness and smooth mouthfeel, it comes in at 6% ABV. Also returning to the fold is a beer first released in March of this year, Patricius Irish Stout, a 5% ABV stout that IS dark. “Refreshingly dry,” and intended to be an easy drinking beer for the winter months, it’s light enough in ABV that you won’t have to worry about having a couple on a snowy afternoon. Keep your eyes out for these beers, along with their barrel-aged series, Fisticuffs, wherever you get your BR fix. And if you’re interested in trying those big beers, but not sure you want to commit to a big bottle, you also have a chance to try them paired with cheese and cookies at Boxing Rock’s two upcoming customer appreciation events, the first at Local Source in Halifax on Thursday, December 12, from 4 – 6 PM and the second at the taproom in Shelburne on Thursday, December 19, from 5 – 7 PM.

If you follow TrailWay Brewing on social media, you may have noticed their mention a couple of weeks ago of a collaboration they did with Quebec’s Lagabiere brewery. The beer was De L’Autre Boutte to Here, a double-dry-hopped American IPA that they brewed at the Lagabiere’s location in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Luckily for their NB fans, they came back to Fredericton and brewed the same beer in their own brewery, and it’s being released today. At 7% ABV, it was hopped with almost twice the typical-for-TW amount of hops for their IPAs (which we’re guessing is therefore a crapload, for lack of a better term). The hops used were Motueka, Simcoe and Citra, so expect lots of juicy, tropical fruit character. You can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery starting today. If you stop by, you’ll also notice that their Simcoe-focused American IPA, More Better, is also back; this one will also be hitting ANBL growler stations in the next couple of weeks.

We’ve got two bits of big expansion news to tell you about today, one in Nova Scotia, and one in New Brunswick.

Since opening their doors in 2016, Sober Island Brewing has been bringing great beer to Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Currently brewing in their own space at the Henley House in Sheet Harbour, they have announced that their own taproom will be opening next door in a couple of weeks. Located at 22462 Highway 7 (the former Three Sisters storefront), the taproom will have room for 50 guests, in a common area as well as side room that can be closed off for private events, or opened to accommodate thirsty visitors. Thanks to their manufacturers permit, they are able to welcome kids as well as adults, so no need to tie Junior up outside while you have a wee swally. With beer on tap, cider in the bottle, and some non-alcoholic bevvies to start, they’ll be expanding to an 8 tap draught system with beer, cider, and mobucha flowing. Their spot will also feature a retail space, with cans, crowlers, as well as growler fills, for the first time ever. Local flair is abundant in the space, with a live edge bar top, stone accents, and boards from an old barn. Local craftsman George Child has been a great asset to the design and build, still working harder than most, despite celebrating 80 years of age. So, when can you visit?? It won’t be long now, as they will be opening their doors Tuesday, December 17th, and celebrating with the launch of new merchandise and a new batch of IPA. From then until December 22nd, they will be welcoming guests in the new space, and then taking a break over Christmas. They will then be opening again for a New Year’s Day levee potluck, to celebrate the new year and big things to come in 2020 (including some short-term rental rooms above the taproom for the full SIBC experience). We’ll have lots more details to share with you as the space comes into its own over winter, and the Sober Island team is excited to offer a space that is open year-round, as well as partnering with neighbouring Henley House during its open season.

In other big taproom and expansion news, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has announced that they will be opening a brewery and taproom location in the New Year. Currently brewing on a 1 BBL (120 litre) system in the basement of their Main Street restaurant of the same name, they will be exiting into the light, and expanding brewing operations significantly. Located 15 minutes walk down Main at 1355 Main Street, the new location is just a 3 minute walk from the new Avenir Centre. The 15 BBL (1800 litre) system will offer the ability to serve not only their restaurant, but the new tap room onsite and more regular growler fills and canned offerings. The location will also have a kitchen onsite, which may mean more access to their High Fives pizza offerings. As they work hard on renovations and opening their doors this Spring, they’ve launched a new website to let you see behind the scenes, as well as pick up some great deals perfect for sharing with your loved ones (or not, no sharing!) over the holidays. Peep their deals on the Mug Club, Growler Club, Pizza Party and others here. Congratulations on the big news to Chad and the rest of the T&B crew.

Only one event in the hopper this week, but if you haven’t been to the Garrison Oxford Taproom yet, this would be a fun way to get an introduction:

If you’re in Halifax and looking for an excuse to get away from all your Christmas shopping this weekend (or if you just want to get away from your family, we won’t judge), the Ladies Beer League has you covered. This Sunday, December 8th, they’re hosting a December Bevvy at the Oxford Taproom from 2-4 pm. Hang out in the loft and drink some Garrison beers; they’ll even have some merch available for purchase, so you can take care of a bit of shopping at the same time, you efficient bugger you. They’ll also be collecting donations for Feed Nova Scotia, and if you donate you’ll be entered to win a gift basket with treats from the LBL and Garrison. 

And a few last mentions before we send you on your way:

With Foghorn’s recent expansion comes great responsibility… no wait, sorry, a new canning line! They’ve recently canned and released some of their regulars, including Golden Grover (English Pale Ale), Bumble (APA), and Constable Winchester (IPA). You can find them at brewery’s taproom in Rothesay, and at ANBL stores across the province.

Maybee Brewing released a new DIPA last week, Clockwork. Weighing in at 8.3% ABV, it has “rich stone fruit and citrus notes, a clean and balanced malt profile, and a light caramel finish”. Find it at the brewery, and at select licensees.

The PEI Brewing Co. has begun their Christmas Growler Countdown, where they release a new, small batch beer for growler fills, every Friday leading up to Christmas. This week’s release is English Mild with Brett; it goes on tap at the brewery starting today at 4 pm.

Secret Cove Brewing has teamed up with Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi to brew The Rice is Right, a 4.8% ABV Session IPA. The beer is “crisp and smooth”, and features the addition of gelatinized Japanese rice.