Tidehouse Brewing

All posts tagged Tidehouse Brewing

We’re well into the meat of the winter season now in Atlantic Canada, with it colder than a polar bear’s claws through most of the region and a “bomb cyclone” (sounds menacing!) descending on St. John’s. The good news is that our region’s beer and cider producers are still hard at work ensuring that you’ve got a spectrum of new and familiar potables to get you through, ranging from fireside sippers to reminders of summer. So have a read and make a plan to both stock your fridge for the coming weekend and check out some of the cool beer happenings that are coming this weekend and beyond.

If you’re still on a hazy-and-hoppy kick, Garrison Brewing is keeping up with your needs (well, your beer needs, anyway) with the recent release of No. 1 Squeeze IPA. This NEIPA was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner and Oat malts, and hopped heavily with Mosaic, Azacca and Comet (to the tune of 40 IBUs). The result is a beer jam-packed with aromas and flavours of apricot, tangerine and passion fruit, “with a smooth and restrained citrusy finish”. Weighing in at 6.2% ABV, this batch will only be available on tap, exclusively at both Garrison locations in Halifax. 

In ciderland, Halifax’s Chain Yard has just released something new at their taproom – Rubintette is a small batch, single apple variety cider. Featuring the Rubinette apple (apparently a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin), the batch was slow-fermented, giving it a “vinous and woody character, with summer fruit flavours”. Pretty hefty at 8% ABV, drop by sometime this weekend for a taste, as it likely won’t be around for very long. And they’ll be hosting a Nova Scotia Snakebite Competition mid-February, in a celebration of the cider-beer blend popular in the UK. Check that link for details on the participating partners.

As we’ve mentioned once or twice over the last couple years, the rural community Hanwell, NB, is the home of Niche Brewing and thus carries a pretty weighty rating if you’re measuring fine beers per-capita; and we suspect this week’s release will only improve that ratio. Speed of Life isn’t a first for Niche; it’s not their first session IPA and certainly isn’t their first beer named for a David Bowie tune. What it definitely is, though, is hazy and juicy, the former owing to hefty amounts of flaked wheat and oats along with some chit malt in the grist, and the latter thanks to plenty of Amarillo and Ekuanot in the kettle and more of the same along with Galaxy at dry hop. Medium-low in bitterness, you can expect plenty of stone fruit and citrus character in a beer that you’ll likely wish you were enjoying on a hot summer day. You’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine while you drink your pint, though, as it almost certainly won’t be around that long (this batch, anyway). Look for it to appear first at The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Cask and Kettle, Sussex Ale Works and the Laundromat. And there are still a few bottles of their Evolution available at ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, but they certainly won’t be around for much longer.

Brand new barrel-aged beer in their Weird Beer series coming at you from Tatamagouche Brewing this week! Ceres is a 4.2% ABV Berliner Weisse brewed with a 60/40 blend of Pilsner and Wheat malt. After being kettle-soured with a pitch of Lactobacillus bacteria, the wort was fermented in stainless with an American Ale yeast strain, and Brettanomyces in the form of Berliner Brett from Escarpment Labs. Once complete, the beer was moved to barrels for aging, and was then blended and refermented on yellow plums from Malagash Cidery. Aged on elderflower for a couple of days before packaging in 500 mL bottles, it’s finally ready! Pouring a hazy, goldenrod colour, it has aromas and flavours of “tart lemon meringue pie”. Accompanying on the nose is “yeast, black tea, and lychee”, as well as “underripe yellow plum, wheat cereal and white pepper” on the palate. Sounds pretty complex to us! The best way to truly experience this beer is, of course, to snag some yourself. How, you may ask? Well, you can find bottles directly at the source (read: Tatabrew), or they can ship them to you via their online store; Ceres should also pop up on the shelves of Bishop’s Cellar sometime in the near future. 

Even more news in the world of hops (does it ever end?) with Tidehouse, who is releasing a new bottled beer today that puts the “Imperial” in Imperial IPA. Big Yacht Money is a 10.5% ABV “DDH Milkshake Triple IPA”. Hopped with very heavy amounts of Azacca, Idaho 7 and El Dorado, lactose was also used in the boil to give that touch of sweetness that goes with Milkshake IPAs. This style of beer is usually fruited as well, and this particular brew was fruited to the extreme, with mango, strawberry, and orange zest, accompanied by an addition of vanilla. As you may imagine, the final result is juicy and boozy, with the fruit quite prominent and complemented with notes of vanilla. Bottles likely won’t last long, so may be a good idea to drop by the brewery today to start your weekend off right.

It’s always nice to see local breweries taking on classic beer styles that are exhibiting a sort of resurgence, and lately, Lagers are gradually coming back. Big Spruce just kegged and tapped Honza’s Boho, their take on the classic Bohemian Pilsner (aka Czech Pilsner). They apparently worked closely with a brewery from the Czech Republic to ensure that they were treating this style with the utmost respect, and brewing it as authentically as possible. With a grist made up almost-entirely of imported Pils malt from continental Europe (a bit of Carapils was thrown in, as well), and hopped with Saaz, it was fermented with the Urquell yeast (that refers to one of the classic examples of the style, not Family Matters) (or even better, this!) from Escarpment Labs. The final beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, and if you’re curious as to how it’s tasting, you can try it at the brewery, or at one of your favourite BS accounts. And check our Events listing below for more info on new beers from them debuting next week…

Not to be outdone, Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom has launched a Bohemian Pilsner of their own (after all, they’ve been expanding with the purchase of new tanks, so why not brew some new beer?). Their beer is named Flora, and was brewed with PEI-grown floor malt and Saaz hops, before lagering for five weeks. Now that it’s been packaged (cans and kegs), this crisp, 5% ABV beer is available and pouring bright and crystal-clear. You won’t be able to try it until tomorrow when the brewery officially reveals it at a launch party, UNLESS you were lucky enough to be at last night’s edition of HopYard’s Battle of the Breweries, where Copper Bottom took on Moth Lane). If not, it’s off to Montague with ya!

Apparently, Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing has had many requests for a “red beer” to be available at their taproom. They’ve finally given in, but it may not be quite the style of beer that most were expecting, but it sounds plenty tasty, nonetheless! Red Beer is a “Red Table Saison” brewed mostly with Red X blended malts, along with a bit of Munich, Wheat malt, and kilned Amber malt. Fermented with a Saison strain, the beer is showing some slight malty/bready character in the aroma, along with some dried fruit. Finishing crisp and dry, this 4.7% ABV brew is meant to be enjoyed in quantity, but it’s got a lot more going on than a lot of your American Amber Ales that some may have been expecting. Currently pouring on tap in Corner Brook!

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new beer come out of Unfiltered Brewing on North Street in Halifax. But that itself is nothing new; would you believe they’ve released “only” about 30 beers since they opened in mid-2015? That’s exactly the way NASH said it would be, of course, and he’s managed to stick to it and, near as we can tell, still sell plenty of beer. So if you’re the type to get excited about a new beer release from Unfiltered, you may do so, with Edgy hitting the taps for the first time today. The sixth beer (we think, but we never claimed to be good at math) in NASH’s inimitable SMaSH DIPA series, this one features Centennial hops in great quantity for plenty of citrus and herbal character in the tried and true 7.5% ABV and 100+ IBU format. Pints, fills, and cans available at noon.

In the “beer coming soon” category, and plenty soon at that, is an intra-provincial, cross-bridge collaboration between Nova Scotia’s Spindrift Brewing and PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing. A solid friendship between the two Head Brewers was formed as they both spent time brewing for Gahan Brewing, and the bon ami continues now that they are at the helms elsewhere. Silver Fox is a 5.5% ABV Export Lager, featuring uniquely PEI-sourced ingredients. Shoreline Malting near Summerside provided the Pilsner and Munich Malts, with Island Hop Company supplied the Ultra hops (a descendant of the very-Noble Hallertau and Saaz varietals). Bready malt notes, zesty and floral components from the hops (aided by a hard water profile to accentuate), along with a crisp finish thanks to the two months of lagering, which also allowed it to be unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Look for Silver Fox to debut at both Spindrift and Lone Oak next week, just ahead of LO’s Grand Opening on the 25th.

And in more collaboration news with Spindrift, they brewed with another island brewery, from a different island, Newfoundand’s Dildo Brewing Company. Coming to both the NSLC and NLC at the end of the month is Altbier, a 5.3% ABV ode to the classic German style, which saw the wort first fermented cool with a German Ale yeast, and further lagered for a month before canning. All German ingredients, from Munich, Caramel Munich and Carafa malts, and hopped generously with Hallertau Mittelfruh for a “spicy, herbal hop character”. The official release will be at both breweries on Friday, January 31st, with the beers at the provincial liquor stores in the future.

Annapolis Brewing in Annapolis Royal has a new beer on tap these days, their first foray into the farmhouse/Saison side of things. The Old Mill is 6.2% ABV Saison, and is available for pints and growlers in their taproom now, as well as at Horton Ridge Malt’s taproom for pints as well. This is their first, but by no means last, look at the style, so stay tuned for more iterations as they play in this wheelhouse. And keep an eye out for several other new styles in the coming weeks and months, including an Extra Special Bitter and a Berliner Weisse with cranberries. One or both of those may be out in time for their Cask versus Keg night on Friday, February 24th, comparing a cask of their Double Dry Hopped Rye IPA (aka Keep it on the Rails) to their W & A Railway Rye IPA on draught. Lots of fun and education on the go that evening, and all winter! Keep an eye on the latest news on their Social Media (Fb/IG/Tw).

Newfoundland Cider Company in Clarenville had a major release this week, with seven new ciders dropping yesterday. Their 2018 Pet Nat cider is a low intervention and naturally carbonated cider over a year in the making. They also released six new entries in their Forager Small Batch Series, with Barrel-Aged Applewood Smoked Crabapple, Barrel-Aged Partridgeberry Perry, Orchard and Vine, Barrel-Aged Sour Cherry, Newfoundland Honey Mead, and New England Style on Blueberry Skins. All of these, as well as their Scrumpy are available at the Cider Shop at 24 Balbo Drive in Shoal Harbour, as well as at the Howley Estates NLC in St. John’s.

Big congratulations to Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur who are celebrating their first year of operation today. And whaddya know, they got *us* a present! Loup de Mer Dry Stout is 4.2% ABV, and features a smooth body, dry finish, and plenty of dark chocolate and coffee character. Look for bottles on the shelves of your local ANBL from Bathurst to Moncton, including in MH-B’s own Acadian Peninsula. Details here!

And just making it under the wire this week (because when have we ever been able to say “no” to anyone?) is Propeller, with today’s release of their latest beer, Sweet Orange Sour. Luckily, the name gives you a pretty solid idea of exactly what to expect – it’s a kettle-soured beer that was hit with lots of lots of citrus zest, lending a mixture of sweet and tangy flavours to go with the assertive tartness. Orange and tangerine notes abound in a 4.8% ABV brew that finishes dry. On tap only, at both Prop locations. And for tonight’s cask, their delicious Galaxy IPA, with clementine zest, vanilla, and lactose.

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

If you’re a craft beer fan in the Northeast New Brunswick area and don’t find yourself getting down to the Moncton region very often, you’re in luck: Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing (that’s “CAV-Oh-Kay” for those unfamiliar with aviation terms) will be in Bathurst for a tap takeover tomorrow at Au Bootlegger. Starting at 6 PM there will be at least 10 taps of CAVOK’s finest pouring; full details are available on the Fb event page, with the confirmed taps as follows:

  • Petitcoudiac Rye IPA 6.0% 60 IBU
  • Leger Corner Honey Ale 4.8% 25 IBU
  • Foxtrot 33 (Oatmeal Stout) 5.0% 33 IBU
  • Runway 11 Lager 4.3% 13 IBU
  • East Coast Pirates IPA 6.5% 70 IBU
  • YQM Pilsner 4.3% 29IBU
  • Soleil d’Été NEPA 4.5% 15 IBU
  • Echo Saison 6.0% 17 IBU
  • Apricot Belgian Stout 4.1% 23 IBU
  • Terre Rouge (Red Ale) 4.8% 24 IBU

You can check out this post for more details on each of those beers, and be forewarned that there’s been rumours of a “secret surprise beer” as well.

For the second weekend in a row, Stillwell is hitting us with a mini-event on a Saturday without much notice or fanfare even though they’re bringing some of Toronto’s finest beer – last week it was Burdock Brewery, this week it’s Bellwoods. Those who are already familiar will almost certainly head down, and those who do not know, but enjoy really good beer, would do well to join them. Though not a full tap takeover, some of the best of what Bellwoods has to offer across sour, saison, farmhouse and hoppy styles is on offer, to wit:

  • Jelly King (Dry Hopped Sour 5.6%)
  • Raspberry Jelly King (Fruited Sour Ale 5.6%)
  • Justu (Pale Ale 5.6%)
  • Roman Candle (American IPA 6.8%)
  • Farmageddon w/ Niagara Montmorency Cherries (Fruited Barrel Aged Wild Farmhouse Ale 6.3%)
  • White Picket Fence [Peach] (Blended Foedre Saison Conditioned on Peaches 5.7%)
  • White Picket Fence OG (Blended Foedre Saison 6.1%)

As always on Saturdays, doors open at noon tomorrow and the taps will commence pouring (these are all kegged beers), with the usual lovely food coming out of the kitchen as well. So head on down and get another taste of the Big Smoke without having to actually besmirch yourself by going there.

Everwood Ave Brewshop is bringing back their EverBrews Home Brewers Club this month, with their meeting next Tuesday, January 21st. Starting at 6:30PM at their store at 731 Old Sackville Road, the evening will feature social and guided tastings, club business, presentations, and a general Q&A on what form the club will take. Everyone interested in the homebrewing hobby is welcome to attend, whether you currently partake or not. 

Dartmouth’s Battery Park will be host to a Norweigian Invasion next Thursday, January 23rd, as three Nova Scotian breweries will be showing off their favourite Kviek beers for the day. Big Spruce, North Brewing, and Tatamagouche will each bring three (or more) brews fermented with the hottest thing to escape Norway since Darkthrone and Cadaver. Look for hazy pale ales/IPAs, the winner of Big Spruce’s Homebrew Challenge Winter Warmer, Nordic Tea Saison, a co-fermented Lager, and at least one barrel-aged behemoth. The pour party kicks off at 11:30 AM, and runs all day, so be sure to drop by to taste the latest releases from these beauties!

Halifax’s Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House is hosting a Battle of the Brews Thursday evening, pitting Garrison and Spindrift against each other to pick the perfect beer to complement a six course tasting menu. Tickets are best reserved via phone or email for the event that kicks off at 6 PM on January 23rd. Grab them here: 902-428-7852 or harbourstone@marriott.com

Details are still very loose right now, but we see that there will be a Certified Cicerone exam being held in Halifax in April May Spring. The exact date has not been finalized, but if this is something you’re interested in, be sure to sign up on the Cicerone website, sign up that you are interested, and pass the Certified Beer Server Exam.

And here be your last few mentions before we leave you to your weekend:

Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer pouring this week, Paint it Black, Jack, a 6.3% ABV Porter featuring loads of additions of chocolate and orange, natch, for a full on sweet, chocolate, and coffee brew. Grab it on tap this weekend!

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has their Full Service Double IPA back on tap for pints and growler fills. After selling out *very* quickly upon first release, they have been able to brew up another batch and quell the demands of the masses. Juicy, hazy, and a solid 7.5% ABV, it certainly packs a hoppy punch. Look for more from Tire Shack in next week’s post, as they promise a trio of new beers out before the end of the month.

And finally, a note that the YellowBelly Brewery Takeaway location on Water St will be closing tomorrow while they search for a new location. Upgrades needed in the kitchen area have them out of commission for a while, which means growler fills and their Skip the Dishes will be paused for the time being. They promise to let us know once they are back in action!

We here at the ACBeerBlog do our best on a weekly basis to pump up the good things happening in our beer scene here in Atlantic Canada and generally try to do so in a way that is free of any bias. But sometimes things happen that bear comment and those comments cannot be made in the opinion-free vacuum that we generally try to inhabit. The recent controversy around the “Dirty Blonde” marketing from Nine Locks is one of those times. We would like to state unequivocally both as a blog and as three people who love this industry and the community that surrounds it, that we fully support all the folks who have brought this issue to light and who have stood up against misogyny and sexism. While only those involved know their own intentions with regards to the marketing campaign, we firmly believe that when folks speak up to say that they not only feel that it encourages and enables bad behavior, but have experienced it, that in turn those who are in a position to do something about it would do well to listen and, hopefully, act. We’re glad that the marketing campaign was changed. We’re disappointed that there are so many out there who feel that since they weren’t affected that nobody else was or since they didn’t care, nobody else should. We’re both flabbergasted and sad that this has led to “counter attacks” on the people and breweries who bravely took a stand on the issue. We know that our scene and the beer industry both locally and worldwide have a ways to go towards being inclusive and supportive of everyone. Nothing will get better if nobody says anything; we cannot improve if nobody listens when people speak up. A wise person once said, “It’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” People don’t get together to talk about beer, beer gets people together to talk. We’d like to think that means all people and that beer can be an enabler for social awareness and polite, but meaningful conversations, especially about difficult topics. We’re always happy to have a beer and chat with folks about how we feel about things; try us sometime.

ICYMI, Prince Edward Island is getting a little more beery today! Lone Oak Brewing is opening their taproom and retail space in Borden-Carleton at 4 PM this afternoon. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in the Gateway Village, you can make Lone Oak your first and last stop when visiting or venturing from the Island. We had a sneak peek of their space and chat with Spencer Gallant, so check out our Profile with Lone Oak Brewing now! And after tonight’s opening, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the taproom hours and where you may be able to find their beer beyond their doors. Congratulations again Lone Oak Team!

From one new Island Brewery to another, a reminder that Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Rough Waters Brewing, has opened their doors in Deer Lake. Located at 83 Wights Road (a stone’s throw from the junction of Trans Canada and Hwy 430), their beer is available at their retail spot by the bottle only, with their taproom opening in the spring. And for those with tickets to the Newfoundland Craft Beer Fest’s East Coast edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer this weekend! And great news, there are still some available! Keep up to date with Rough Waters’ retail store hours via Instagram.

Let’s stick on the Rock for another new beer, and in fact a whole new world, from Port Rexton Brewing. Ever since co-owner and head brewer Alicia MacDonald was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple of years ago, she has been searching, scheming, and doing trials with gluten-free grains and malts, to better serve other (former) beer drinkers in the same situation. After testing liquid malts of different gluten-free grains such sorgum and rice, the entire PRBC Brew Crew has lent their expertise in crafting their first gluten-free release. Aptly named Fox Island* Fog, it is a 4.3% ABV Hazy IPA made with gluten-free ingredients, including pale buckwheat and millet malts, as well as Vienna-style kilned millet, flaked oats, and flaked quinoa. With plenty of Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus added throughout, you’d never miss the gluten that has skipped this beer, with the orange and mango aroma layered on top of a piney bitterness up front. This release was brewed on their new Gluten-Free pilot system (ie, no gluten-containing malts have ever touched any of the equipment), and you can expect many more to come (we hear the next one will be decidedly darker!). Given then small batch size, Fox Island Fog is only available at the brewery (open today and tomorrow 4 PM – 10 PM) and their retail shop on Torbay Road in St. John’s from noon tomorrow.
* Fox Island is visible from Port Rexton Brewing’s taproom, features on their logo, and is not really an island! The best that folks can tell is that the name is a bastardization of Faux Island, as in False Island… The more you know! 

If you happen to be in Halifax this weekend, be sure to drop by 2 Crows, where they’ll be releasing their latest barrel-aged beer, Bellini. This one is a blend, starting with some unhopped wort that was fermented warm with Ebbengarden Kveik, and dry-hopped during active fermentation with Citra. The beer was then blended with some sour barrel-aged beer and conditioned on 200 kg of peaches (Never Again, my ass!) for nine weeks. Before packaging, it blended once again, with a foedre sour beer to increase the tartness. It weighs in at just 4.7% ABV, and is tasting “bright, lightly tart, and peachy”. You can pick up some bottles at the brewery starting tomorrow. And stay a while and enjoy the grilled cheese and sandy (and hopefully donuts!) pop-up from 2C pals Buttered Bliss.

Back to Newfoundland, where St. John’s YellowBelly celebrated a big milestone – the release of their 1500th brew – last week. Founder’s Reserve Stout, which the brewery has brewed in honour of their loyal customers – Founders, if you will – who have helped support the brewpub over the years. Brewed with a grist that contains multiple dark malts (Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Malt), there was also some lactose powder added in the boil to bring a touch of sweetness to help balance all of that roasted character. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the addition of Malted Oats, some cacao was also added to bump up the chocolate presence. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, it’s available on tap and in 1 L bottles at YB; bottles should also be popping up at NLC stores any day (minute??) now.

If you’re looking for a beer with a taste of summer, Crooked Feeder has you covered with their latest small batch, Good Vibrations. This is a 5% ABV Strawberry Rhubarb Gose brewed with real fruit from local farm Mark’s Market. The strawberry comes through prominently in the aroma, with a mild presence on the palate; the rhubarb and salt follow subtly in the finish, along with a dry tartness. If you want to try this one at the brewery’s taproom, you’ll only be able to get it in a flight, as they’re trying to ensure that everyone has a chance for a taste. 

Those of you looking for your next hoppy fix from Propeller after drinking multiple cans of Galaxy may be happy with today’s news: the brewery has their first Triple IPA on tap for this weekend. Simply named Triple India Pale Ale, it was heavily hopped with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer “intense tropical fruit flavours and aromas”. It’s hazy and packing a punch at 9.9% ABV, and finishes “aggressively bitter” (90+ IBUs). Only available on tap, at the brewery’s taproom, for pints and flights; no growlers, sorry! And hey, if you’re there later today, might as well still around for tonight’s cask, Sure Thing!, which is Cascade dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Falconer’s Flight. Finally, to celebrate Black Friday today, the brewery is offering two of their popular dark beers for a special deal – you can buy a 650 mL bottle of Russian Imperial Stout and a 330 mL bottle of Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter for $10.

Two hoppy brews hitting shelves at TrailWay today, one of which is a brand new American IPA they’ve named Slippery Mind. This 6% ABV hazy IPA was hopped with American Mosaic and Australian Topaz, giving the beer a “big, overripe fruit character with a firm spice and pine backbone”. And returning is their hoppy Amber, Good Aura. Fruity and dank, and 7% ABV, a donation is made to the SPCA every time this beer is brewed. Both of these beers are available in both cans and on tap, starting today. 

Another bottle release from Tidehouse this week, a beer that they brewed with Tony Wight (aka Tony Important… I’m sure there’s a story there!) of 902 BrewCast “fame”. Cherry Important is a Saison that was brewed with cherries (at roughly 5 kg/100 L) picked from a cherry tree in Tony’s yard. The cherries were added in two stages; the first as whole, pitted cherries about one week into fermentation, and the second as puree at the third week. Some hibiscus was added to boost the red colour and tartness, and a touch of lemon zest was thrown in as well. The result is bright and tart, with definite Saison notes coming through. Bottles (340 mL and 750 mL) of this 7% ABV brew are available starting at 2 pm today, with a limit of two per person.

There’s a new beer coming out from Nackawic’s Big Axe, their first in quite some time. Black Forest Porter was hopped with English varieties to provide some earthiness in the aroma, and “a heaping pile” of Chaga mushrooms to offer some unique flavours. With some mild roastiness and a bit of caramel character, it’s 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. You’ll likely see it on tap at some of your favourite Big Axe accounts (as well as at their brewery, of course), and it’s also available in bottles. Bonus points when you pick up a bottle if you can quickly spout your favourite Forrest Gump quote! 😉

This past Sunday at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, 32 beers made with the Voss Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs were poured, smelled, sampled, and judged in the name of finding the winner of the 7th annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge (Kveik the East!). Styles ranged from IPA to Stout and more, with a couple of entries reaching pretty far afield to styles such as Gose and Pilsner (yes, really!). With honorable mentions to David Pepper (sorry for the typo earlier!), for being bold enough to brew that lager, Chill Pils, and Jamie MacEachern and Sandy Smoliak for Sandy’s Last Call, a NEIPA with a hop aroma that damn near knocked the judges over, the top three beers were as follows: 3rd place to Andrew Beaton for his APA End of Shift, 2nd to previous winner Ian Wheatley for his NE IPA Simcoe Slaughter, and the grand champion (AGAIN?!) was Brian Harvey, whose Santa Voss/ Kviek Kringle Winter Warmer with Vanilla Bean and Orange Peel. We understand that the winning beer has already been brewed at the Spruce HQ, so you might reasonably expect to see it for sale come next month. Congratulations especially to the winners, but also to all those who entered and thanks to Jeremy and the Big Spruce team for putting on a great event as always.

Only one event to mention today, but it’s a big’un and important if you’re planning on going to FCBF this year:

It’s that time of year again… time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. While the VIP tickets are undoubtedly sold out already (they go in under a minute, usually, and tickets went on sale at 11 am this morning), there should be other tickets still available for sale. However, they also sell out quickly, so don’t wait (you can purchase yours here)! This is the first year that a full Friday session with 60 breweries will take place, so you’ve got an extra option in addition to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. There’s also going to be another conference happening for the couple days leading up to the weekend, so those of you who are in the industry or looking to get into it, keep this open as an option. And we’ll be doing our insanely-popular* ACBB Trivia Night at the Joyce on the Thursday before, so you’ve got that going for you, too!
* your opinion will likely vary

And a few last items to inform your Friday afternoon beer-buying:

Garrison has put Tesoro – an Italian Pilsner – on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations; it is also available in cans to take home.

If you’ve been missing the weekly Good Robot Beta Brews, we can confirm that they’re officially back as of next Tuesday, December 3rd with The Absolute Unit. This 8.9% ABV, 23 IBUs Belgian Tripel was brewed by Amy and Amber, and features the addition of lemon zest.

Grimross Brewing has brought back their Apres Lager for the season, but due to a “friendly” little poke from another brewery in Canada, the beer has been renamed King’s Horn Vienna Lager. Still the same beer with a “toasty malt backbone, amber colour, restrained bitterness and some background earthy hop tones”, it’s available now on tap at the brewery and licensees, with cans following sometime in early 2020. 

Hammond River has a brand new beer pouring at their Rothesay taproom, Coffee & Coconut Oatmeal Brown Ale. Brewed with locally-roasted coffee beans and coconut, it comes in at 7.4% ABV and 29 IBUs; drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

Moderation is back from Niche Brewing, a 5.9% ABV passion fruit Milkshake IPA hopped with American and Australian hops, bolstered with lactose, and conditioned on vanilla and passion fruit puree. At all ANBL growler stations as of yesterday, there will also be kegs hitting Halifax (Auction House and Stillwell) and the usual New Brunswick pubs. If you spill it on your pants at the bar your cab driver will hate you on the shameful ride home; don’t ask us how we know, just get it in your mouth instead.

Although November is on the wane, the beer news in Atlantic Canada is showing no signs of slowing down. Last weekend’s Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards Gala celebrated the best beers in the region at HopYard Halifax with all four Provinces represented in the winner’s circle and Montague, PEI’s Bogside Brewing taking home the title of Brewery of the Year. You can check out the full results in our post here and maybe use it as a guide to trying some beers you’ve not had before. Meanwhile, in eagerly anticipated news, especially for beer lovers in Halifax, the latest venture from the gang at Stillwell, The Stillwell Freehouse, is now officially open on Agricola Street in the North End. You can read (and see!) more about what is certainly to become a favorite haunt for many in our profile posted this morning. But that is far from all the news you need to know, read on for plenty more about this week’s releases, re-releases, and events in our little corner of the continent.

Good news if you’re a fan of Port Rexton’s ongoing Continuum series (hazy IPAs that tend to focus mainly on one single hop variety), as they’ve just released their latest entry, Continuum w/ Cashmere. While there’s plenty of the Cashmere variety used in the whirlpool, hop back, and dry-hop additions, they threw in some Columbus as well. Lots of pineapple, lemon, and pine in this one, as well as “a light herbal bouquet on the palate”. Pretty manageable at 5.6% ABV, it finishes with a smooth bitterness. Look for it right now on tap at the taproom, and it’s also available for growler fills at the St. John’s retail shop.

Speaking of the wonderful world of hops, Tatamagouche Brewing has their newest hoppy beauty out this week. Lotus DIPA is an 8% Imperial IPA that is loaded with Lotus (breweries take note, “Loaded with Lotus” is a pretty cool-sounding name for a beer), a quite-new American variety that has popped up in a few beers in our region since its launch. The Lotus is accompanied by Citra and Galaxy, resulting in a hazy beer with “sweet aromas and flavours of strawberry Campino candies, tropical pineapple, and citrus with a slight spice”. It’s available at Tata on tap, with cans hitting the shelves hopefully sometime next week (some of those may make it to some of the private stores in Halifax, too). 

New can release from your buds at 2 Crows, and after a super-hoppy and hazy American IPA, they’re giving us something to dial it back a bit, a Helles they’ve named Milosh. They’ve teamed up with the folks at Shoreline Malting and Darlings Island Farm to design/brew this one, a Lager that features Pilsner malt (from Shoreline) and all NB-grown hops from Darlings Island. Brewed using a low-oxygen, multiple step mash, the wort was hopped with Magnum, Ultra, and Tettnanger is the mash, first wort, and late kettle additions. After fermentation with a traditional German Lager yeast (and krausening with fresh wort and active yeast), the beer was lagered for nine weeks, before packaging. It’s tasting “crisp and smooth, with a bready/doughy aroma, a full malty body and a firm, lingering head”. Some floral and herbal notes accompany, and it finishes with a firm bitterness. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV and 17 IBUs, look for cans and draught pours of this baby at 2 Crows, starting today at noon (we expect it’ll be on tap at several fine establishments across the HRM, as well). 

Waaaay up in Twilingate, NL, Split Rock Brewing Co. has their first lager available on the taps, a beer in the California Common style. Amber in color, it’s clean and malty as one would expect, with spicy and floral hop character owing to the use of American Cluster hops and a dry, bitter finish. Coming in at 5.0% ABV, you’ll find it pouring at their tap room as well as The Guv’nor and Fort Amherst Pub in St. John’s. As far as we know they’ve got no current plans to package it, but never say never, and if it’s a hit with the drinking public it’s certainly possible that future batches will see release in cans.

Moving Southeast down the shore, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. has teamed up with Tod Perrin, Steve Lee, and the crew  of Mallard Cottage for two new entries in their Bog & Barrens series. If you get up to Mallard you’ll be able to get a sneak peak of these new beers with special food pairings before they are packaged in cans and released to the wider public later this month. The beers in question are Parsnip & Golden Beet Kveik and Partridgeberry Stout, both clearly hewing to the ethos of the Bog & Barrens banner to collaborate with local providers and bring to market beers that could only come from Newfoundland. If you’re interested in this preview, you’d best get your reservation together for tonight or tomorrow by contacting Mallard Cottage directly.

And continuing with Newfoundland beer news, moving West this time to Cormack, Crooked Feeder Brewing has released a new beer as well, a brown they’re calling 12 Mile House Nut Brown Ale. This 5% ABV and 27 IBU beer has a lovely mahogany color and a firm off-white head. It’s available at the brewery, of course (open 6 – 10 PM tonight), and the Crooked Feeder Gastro Pub in Corner Brook, as well as being served at the Corner Brook 12 Beers of Xmas event happening tomorrow and, if you’re in town, on tap at The Guv’nor in St. John’s.

Lastly, before we leave the Rock, we head all the way up to St. Anthony to one of the newest breweries in our region, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Co. who are celebrating the Norse Goddess of Death with a beer they’re calling Hela’s Fury IPA. We don’t have much in the way of details on this one other than an ABV of 6.9%, but we do remember Atlantic Canada’s Hop Overlord Greg Nash posting pictures from a brewery in St. Anthony a few weeks ago, so we think maybe, just maybe, the gang at RagnaRöck got themselves some superstar help with this one. There’s only one way to find out for sure: head on up and give it a try! Brewery hours are currently Sunday to Wednesday, 3pm – 11pm, and Thursday to Saturday 3pm – 12am.

Good Robot is taking another swing at the wonderful Schwarzbier style, a dark Lager that is meant to be roasty yet smooth (i.e. not acrid), with a lighter body than other dark beers out there. This beer, which they’ve named A Cunning Plan, is a 4.6% ABV, 27 IBUs brew that is dark brown, light-bodied, with a bit of bitter chocolate on the palate and an herbal hop aroma. Finishing crisp and roasty, it was originally supposed to be released at the taproom this week; however, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for it now… look for it to debut at Good Robot next Thursday.

Down in Lunenburg, Shipwright Brewing has a new beer to put the wind in your sails (see what I did there? It’s because they’re a brewery named after ships and such). Hull N’ Boats is an “Irish Extra Stout” that has aromatics of “dark roast coffee, anise, and roasted barley”. There’s a bit of cacao bean on the palate as well with this one, and with the beer being brewed with a healthy addition of oats in the grist, a smooth, silky mouthfeel. It’s 5.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, and available now at the brewery, along with three other beers of theirs (apparently a first for Shipwright, having four different beers available all at once… that’s a good sign for them!). 

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery has a new beer on the go for the holiday season: Christmas on Portland Street is a version of their Portland Street Porter, a porter with plenty of chocolate malt for a dark chocolate-y bitter character, that was aged on raspberries. The result is something they’re describing as raspberry chocolate cake in a can. Coming in at 5.5% ABV, we’re told that it’s one of the beers in the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown box now available at certain private stores in Halifax. But if you’re eager to give it a try, a limited amount is available on tap and to go at the brewery as well!

Moncton’s Pump House Brewery has released a new beer this week, the latest in their limited edition Backdraught series. Now out is KAZAK Russian Imperial Stout. Inspired by co-owner Lilia Fraser’s Russian and Kazakhstani heritage, this 8.7% ABV beer is the perfect accompaniment to the cold days, and colder nights, we are experiencing. Featuring a variety of dark and black malts, the beer is punctuated with bitterness and light citrus notes from Magnum and Celeia hops. Available on draught at the Brewpub and Fill Station, tall cans are also available to go in their retail spot, and rolling out to select ANBL locations.

New bottle release at Tidehouse this weekend, and it’s got the three most profitable words in the beer industry: DDH (yes, we’re counting that as one word, because seriously, those three letters are $$ when used in that order), Milkshake, and IPA. Yep, Milk Trip is an 8.5% ABV DDH Milkshake IPA brewed with lactose, orange zest, and vanilla bean, and heavily-hopped with Citra and Mosaic. Hazy, with a full mouthfeel, and helluva lotta citrus throughout, it’s available today at 2 pm in 650 mL bottles (maximum 2/person). They won’t last long, as it’s a smaller bottling run than usual for TH, so drop by soonish or they may be all gone!

Your pals and ours, the 902 BrewCast triumvirate of Tony “Important” Wight, Phil “KelticDevil” Church, and Kyle “I don’t need no stinking nickname” Andrus, have somehow managed to survive three years of visiting breweries, drinking beer and talking (at length) about it all for your (presumed) education and entertainment! Head on over to their podcast homepage or check them out on your favorite podcasting app for their most recent episode, which dropped today, their Third Anniversary tasting episode where they reminisce about the antics of the last few years and no doubt toast to more in the next one, we also expect they busted out some bangers from their cellars in celebration. Congrats to the guys on managing to get this far and we look forward to hearing more from them in the future!

If you’re the type to keep abreast of trends in the beverage alcohol industry, especially the US markets, you might know that Hard Seltzers are currently hotter than a Times Square Rolex. Although they’re generally coming out of beer breweries, these very accessible products, low in carbs and calories, generally don’t feature much, if any, beer flavor at all, but boast bubbly effervescence, fruity flavors, moderate alcohol levels, and catchy slogans like, “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.” As is very often the case, trends tend to push north across the border and this one is no exception, as we’ve now got a brewery in our region with a release that’s ticking a lot of the same boxes (hopefully not the slogan part though, mmkay?). Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing is releasing Raspberry Bubbly today at the brewery, which they’re calling a “seltzer-style ale” no doubt owing to the portion of malt included in the recipe. “Super zippy, clean and ultra dry” you can expect this 4% ABV beer-adjacent beverage to be a low carb option for those looking to imbibe without paying a penalty in the waistline department and/or a more fruit-forward option for those who aren’t into hoppy or beer-flavored beer. If you’re curious, you can grab cans, pints, or fills starting today at the brewery. And stay tuned, Tw social media posts about this one certainly seem to imply that raspberry won’t be the limit of their explorations of the style, so it’s very possible that in coming months you’ll be able to taste the rainbow.

So, what’s on the go around the region this weekend?

Starting right …. about …. an hour ago (sorry!), Stillwell HQ on Barrington kicked off their tap takeover by St. John’s newest brewery, Bannerman Brewing. This is the first time these new favourites have been available outside of Newfoundland (maybe even outside of St John’s?), and we can’t think of a better place to hold it. Phil Maloney and Dave Bridger (Co-owner and Brewer, respectively) will be in the bar chatting with folks. Six Bannerman beers will be pouring this afternoon, including their All Hands Helles, Thirst Trap APA, Island Time DIPA, as well as brand newbies Nervous State Milk Stout (collab with Hogie from Upstreet), Medium Cool IPA, and Scenic Route Sour with blueberry and mint. We’ve heard you may also be able to pick up some merch when you drop by, so best visit early!

Don’t forget that Cask in the Sticks is being held at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, this Saturday. This roving beer festival is moving cask beer into the country, with 8 breweries (and one homebrew collective) sharing some old standards and new to the format. Your $30 ticket ($25 if you buy one at one of the participating breweries ahead of time) gets you your own take-home glass, and fills all afternoon long. Dress up in your favourite onesie to take part in the competition, and build your own S’mores too. Breweries in attendance are: Lunn’s Mill Beer Co., Sober Island Brewing Company, Big Spruce Brewing, Boxing Rock Brewing Company, Meander River Farm, Tatamagouche Brewing Co., Roof Hound Brewing Co., and Annapolis Brewing Company.

Just a couple more things to woo you with before we send you on your way:

Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar is having a large weekend, with plenty of new beers available on their shelves. Available from noon today, is SpontanBasil, a totally unique unique collaboration between Lindemans and Mikkeller. Their take on a gueuze, with one- and two-year old lambic blended and added with fresh basil at bottling. After conditioning and a final fermentation, the beer is now available for sale at their shop, as well as online. And dropping tomorrow morning are three releases from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewing, Fruit Jelly King PTG, Saison Pizazz, and Yeehaw Y’All. Available from 8 AM in store and online, we suspect these won’t last long, so set your alarms now! Probably a good excuse to get out to peep their newly expanded location in Bishop’s Landing, eh?

Propeller Brewing has brought back a seasonal favourite, their Coffee Porter. Using Fog City coffee from Java Blend Coffee Roasters, this 5.9% ABV beer is full of chocolate, coffee, and light toffee notes as well. This year’s batch is a bottle exclusive, and only available at the NSLC, so pop by your local to grab some!

Have you found yourself with an orange hop bomb-sized hole in your beer drinking life lately? Well we’ve got good news from Unfiltered about getting you what you’re missing. DOA (Double Orange Apocalypse) is back at the brewery in all formats (fills, pints, and cans) starting from noon today. As always, 7.5% ABV, hoppy as hell, and leaving you happily belching an orange grove.

North Brewing, formerly of Halifax, now firmly ensconced in Dartmouth, has two returning beers to mention this week. First up is a brand new version of their Sunshine Shandy, this time made with Meyer lemons and local honey, a tart and lemony brew with a teensy bit of residual sweetness from the honey. And also returning is the OG tiramisu version of their Twinkle Pony Pastry Stout, which features lady fingers and chocolate malt on the grist side, lactose and vanilla for some sweetness, and cold brew coffee for an espresso kick. Both are available at the brewery and the Twinkle Pony can be had on nitro pours at Battery Park on Ochterloney.

And in late-late-late breaking news, Rough Waters Brewing is opening their retail space in Deer Lake this Sunday. Located at 83 Wight’s Road, the space will be open 1 – 6 PM Sunday, and will have four beers available: their Selkie Wheat, Scallywag IPA, Sou’wester Sour, and Singaler Porter. You can also get a sneak peek of their beer at this weekend’s Newfoundland Craft Beer Festival in Corner Brook. We’ll have lots more details on Rough Waters very soon! Congratulations!