Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse

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Welcome to our first Friday Wrap-up of 2019 (Whoot! Got the year right!!). Although we took last week off, it’s clear that the breweries in our region did no such thing, giving us plenty to catch up on from the holidays as well as news of a few new releases hitting the taps and the shelves this weekend. We’ve also got a couple new breweries open in Nova Scotia and the sad news of the demise of Fredericton’s stalwart craft beer destination, the King Street Ale House. So have a read and plan your purchases for the weekend; it’s fixing to be a snowy one in much of Atlantic Canada, so maybe grab a couple extra this afternoon to help soothe yourself after any shovelling that needs to be done. And breweries take note! Entries are now open for the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards. This year’s event will be in Toronto, but judging takes place in April. Atlantic Canadian breweries had a strong showing at last year’s event; hopefully we’ll see some of the fantastic brews being produced out East continue that trend in 2019!

Let’s kick off the news with the details of two new breweries opening in Nova Scotia since our last Wrap-up…

Hill Top Hops has operated as a hop farm in Scotch Village, Nova Scotia, since 2016, supplying hops for two  Alexander Keith’s Historic Brewery annual harvest brews (Hants County Wet Hopped Pale Ale in 2016 and Annapolis Hop Field Pale Ale in 2017). Now, the family behind the farm have opened a small brewery to showcase their hops and love of the industry. Located at 7232 Hwy 14 in Newport, their brewery and taproom is now open for pints and growler fills. Operating on a 2 BBL (240 litre) brewhouse, they have currently have six beers available: Blonde Ale, Cream Ale, IPA, American Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Red Ale, as well as a full complement of merch to show your HTH pride. They will be celebrating their Grand Opening January 19th from noon, and until then, the taproom and brewery is open on a “by chance” status as they complete small renos and brew. Best to check with them on social media (Fb / IG / Tw) or by phone (902-791-0776) to be sure. They are currently operating by cash/EMT for the moment, and will update their social media when that changes. Congratulations to the Peters family on the opening, and we look forward to sharing a full Profile with them soon.

Congratulations also go out to the crew at Shipwright Brewing who opened their doors in Lunenburg on December 30th. Owner Adam Bower has long been a fan and promoter of local beer while managing, and then buying, the Grand Banker at 82 Montague Street in Lunenburg. Shipwright Brewing is located in the same building, and Brewer Kellye Robertson is using a 1 BBL (120 litre) system to create their own beers. The brewery and taproom is open 12 – 10 PM daily, and they are currently serving three beers to enjoy onsite or to take away in growler or crowler fills. They can also be enjoyed at the Grand Banker, who recently expanded their all-local draught offerings. Cutwater is a 4.8% ABV and 18 IBU traditional German Kolsch (hybrid of lager and ale), First Sail Banker Roast is a 4.5% ABV and 21 IBU Blonde Ale with coffee beans added, and Icebreaker is a 5.3% ABV and 40 IBU New England Pale Ale. Congratulations to Adam, Kellye, and the entire Shipwright family on their opening! Keep an eye on their social media (Fb / IG / Tw) for more updates.

Let’s get caught up with a few beers that were launched over the last two weeks…

Brightwood Brewery released John’s Punch at their brewery taproom last Friday. This 7.5% ABV NEIPA was generously hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon, and is full of citrus and juicy bright notes on the nose and palate. It is currently on tap at the Brightwood Market, with kegs on their way to The Auction House, Battery Park, and HopYard, with cans coming later this month.

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co released a pair of new beers late last year (we can say that!) that should still be around for your liquid enjoyment. First up is Gin & Spruce, a 5.0% ABV kettle sour, dry-hopped with Citra. However, the real fun is in the other ingredients added to the beer, which were spruce tips and juniper berries, soaked in gin from the Newfoundland Distillery Company in Clarke’s Beach. They followed that release up with another the following day, a style they’ve nicknamed “Snowball Stout”, after the eponymous cookies. In keeping with the rap theme, this one is named Untitled 02 | 12.28.18. The 5.0% ABV stout was brewed with plenty of cocoa powder and coconut to match the baked treat’s flavour profile, on a creamy smooth base. Look for these on draught at their taproom, and keep your eyes peeled in St. John’s at your favourite good beer spot.

Speaking of stouts, Quidi Vidi Brewing released their own back in December, which is back now in a limited re-release. Cappuccino Stout is a 6.5% ABV stout featuring 2-Row and Crystal malts, accented with Flaked Barley, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley for a smooth mouthfeel and dark brown appearance, but brought to the next level with the use of lactose (milk sugar) and coffee from Trinity Roastery. These extra ingredients balance each other with sweetness, a touch of bitterness, and nutty dark roast, like a well pulled and blended capp. The beer is available at the brewery now, and at NLCs this weekend.

Earlier in December, Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing released Beaufort 10, a 10% ABV, Doppelbock. This traditional German style is malt-forward, taking advantage of the roast, bread, and dark fruit character of the malts used in the mash, while keeping it lightly hopped to just over 20 IBU. A long fermentation period followed by more than a month of lagering lead to a smooth and deceptively easy-drinking beer for the alcohol level, a solid choice for these colder months. Beaufort 10 is available at the brewery and HRM private stores in cans.

Chester’s Tanner & Co. released a new beer over the holidays that’s actually a bit of an older beer, but in a good way. Bottle-aged Wheat Wine is similar to a barleywine in style, big and boozy, but with 50% wheat malt in the grist. Fermented with an American Ale yeast strain, the result is a 10% ABV bruiser with plenty of molasses, caramel and toffee character. Brewed way back in February of 2018, it was bottled and set aside until now, giving it some time to smooth out and for the flavors to come together. There wasn’t a ton of this one available to begin with and it was released just before Christmas, so you might want to check with the brewery before heading down, as that’s the only place to grab this one.

After that wrap-up of previous releases, let’s share some brand new releases with you…

PEI’s Upstreet Brewing has a new beer called Third Place that has nothing to do with winning a bronze medal. When talking about the places in your life, your first place is home, your second place is work, and your third place is “that special haunt where you come together with your community.” Released on January 1st, this beer celebrates those special places that we all (hopefully) have in our lives. An Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV and 60 IBU, it boasts aromas of mango, clementine and peach, with a distinct piney note thanks to hop additions of Ella, Ekuanot, Azacca, and Simcoe. Look for it both in bottles and on tap at Craft Beer Corner and the Upstreet Taproom, on tap at the Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse and select tap accounts, and in bottles at select PEI Liquor stores. And if you’re at the taproom or CBC, you should check out the available bottles, currently including DeNovos I, II and III, and, from their Million Acres series, Bourbon Barrel-aged Apple Brett Blonde, Chocolate Salted Lager, Spruce Tip Wee Heavy, and Chardonnay Barrel-aged IIPA with Belma, Imperial Saison with Nelson Sauvin, Peach Cream Witbier, and Apricot Cream Witbier.

Halifax’s Good Robot has some big news this week as it has been officially announced that they are getting their first listing with the NSLC. El Espinazo del Diablo Mexican Lager is a fan favorite beer for the brewery with an ABV of 5.7% and 14 IBUs and featuring lime and jalapeño peppers on top of a grist that contains a “perfectly reasonable” amount of flaked corn. Like getting your salsa and your chips in a glass. Look for it at NSLC locations across the province and don’t be surprised if you see it joined by other Good Robot beers as 2019 rolls on.

Meanwhile, back at the farm on Robie Street, there’s plenty in the hopper for the first couple weeks of the year, starting with yesterday’s release of the latest in the Creature Feature series of biotransformation IPAs. Creature Feature III was hit with Columbus, Simcoe, and Nelson Sauvin hops for an assertive bitterness and a dank aroma. It’s 6.4% ABV and 51 IBUs and available now in the taproom. The first BetaBrew of the year will be released on Tuesday, January 8th, and it’s one made by GR staffer Drella and her father, Tim. An homage to their family’s Russian heritage and love of spicy things, it’s a chili stout they’re calling A Chili Night in Minsk. Big and bold at 7.5% ABV and 32 IBU, it’s rich, roasty, and spicy thanks to an addition of Bird’s Eye chilis after primary fermentation. And two days after that beer is tapped you’ll see another new one hit the lines at GR: The Humans Are Dead is their latest India Pale Lager with a twist of New Zealand hops, namely Azacca, Rakau, and Topaz. A calculated IBU level of 60 provides firm bitterness to this 6.8% ABV beer. Will it be the perfect accompaniment to your favorite binary solo and/or dancing the Robot or the Robo-boogie (which will be the only remaining dances in the distant future)? Affirmative!

A short distance away, on Gottingen Street comes the latest in the Propeller Small Batch series. A black lager in the Schwarzbier style it is called, most appropriately, Schwarzbier. It’s light in body, but with a flavorful punch of chocolate and toasted brown and finished off with noble hops for a subtle earthiness. Moderately dry, with a crisp and clean finish, it’s 5% ABV and is available in limited quantities for pints and growler fills only. Also in limited supply from Propeller is their El Dorado Brett IPA, which has been aging for the past nine months in red wine barrels. A mixed fermentation of classic ale yeast and Brettanomyces Claussenii have created a beer that is complex, funky, spicy, and a little earthy. Finished with a healthy dry hop of El Dorado for a tropical burst, it’s 6% ABV. We’ve confirmed that some of the very few kegs of this have gone to Hopyard Halifax, Stillwell and Battery Park, so keep an eye out for it at those places. Propeller also intends to tap a keg at their own tasting room on Monday (pints only). And lastly, the team has installed a beer engine in the Tasting Room that’ll be perfect for a traditional cask experience! So it makes sense that tonight’s Friday cask will be twist on a British style, their ESB aged on oak. Look for it to be tapped at 5 PM and to keep pouring through the weekend, as long as it lasts, anyway.

Unfortunately, we close out the news portion of today’s Wrap-up with some sad news. It was announced yesterday that Fredericton’s iconic beer-centric restaurant King Street Ale House, has closed. Opening 10 years ago as the Garrison District Ale House, Doug Williams and then-partner Shane Fraser saw that there was a big hole in the market for beer-focused establishments, and curated an impressive tap and bottle list well before the craft beer explosion hit our shores. After a fire destroyed the GDAH in January 2013, they rose from the ashes on King Street that November, with a renewed focus on local beer and great food. Having poured over 400 different beers from the Maritimes and beyond, the Garrison District and King Street Ale Houses were many first people’s introduction to well-made local beer. In fact, it’s where Shawn and Chris first met all of those years ago; we’ve conducted trivia nights during Fredericton Craft Beer Festival for several years; met countless other beery friends there over the years, and so we sincerely thank Doug, Shane, and the entire crew there for the many years of great beer. We wish them all the best in their next endeavours. For more details, check out this CBC article.

Only a couple of events to mention this week, but they’re a couple of doozies:

There are a handful of tickets still available for next Thursday’s, Jan 10th, Eat. Drink. Local. event at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront. Formerly known as the The Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration, this is an all-inclusive evening of local beer and cider, with fresh and innovative food pairings from local restaurants. The event also serves as the launch to several new beers in our region, including the winner of Big Spruce’s Home Brew-Off, this year’s will be Ian Wheatley’s Hefeweizen. 30 different stations of food and drink, along with live music all evening, will surely keep you happy. Grab your tickets now before they disappear!

Do try to keep your wits about you after Thursday’s event, as you’ll definitely want to pop up to Bar Stillwell on Barrington Street for their Belgian Beer Fest on Saturday, January 12th. From noon, the Stilly crew will be pouring Lambics, Saisons, Flanders Red, and a bevy of style-breaking beers from one of the best beer-making regions in the world. A full dozen taps, as well as more than double that in bottles, will give any novice or veteran beer fan something to fawn over. Check out the full list here, and we’ll see you there!

A few more notes before we leave you today…

Boxing Rock released a new beer brewed in their Halifax Test Kitchen in mid-December. Knitwise is a Christmas Cake- Inspired Scotch Ale, weighing in a 7.5% ABV. It was brewed with Kim Hart Macneill, a home brewer and beer writer for Halifax Magazine. Brewed with Nova Scotia cranberries, blueberries and raisins to enhance that Christmas Cake character. It’s on tap for pints in Shelburne and growler fills at their Bottle Shop at Local Source Market in Halifax!

Distillerie Fils du Roy released a new beer in December, in a style they are calling “Sour Mash Brut”. At 10% ABV, Biere Brut is a heavy hitter, and started using the sour mash technique usually reserved for whisky. Also fermented with whisky yeast, and finished extremely dry, at 1.000 gravity. Described as hazy, with a sourness reminiscent of green olives, light body and high carbonation. Bottles are available at the brewery in Petit-Paquetville.

Sussex Ale Works has a new beer pouring in their taproom these days. Piccadilly Pale Ale is a 5.8% ABV American Pale Ale with notes of citrusy Chinook and Cascade hops. Grab a sample or pint at their spot this weekend!

St. John’s YellowBelly Brewery has released this ode to the season with Twelfth Night Porter. This 6.5% ABV porter features traditional English ingredients such as Bairds Crystal malt and Thomas Fawcett Roast Barley, along with East Kent Goldings used in the boil and dry-hopping. As described by the brewery, it is “spicy, earthy, warming, roasty, and full bodied with a slight hint of phenol/smokiness”. On tap at the brewery restaurant, in growlers at the YB Takeaway, and in bottles shortly.

What a week! We’ve had wild weather across the region, big news from the Nova Scotian government on personal alcohol importation limits (good news at that!), and more than a dozen brand new beers pouring in the region. Let’s get right to it, so you can get out the door and pick up those gifts for the beer-lovers in your life (but start with yourself first!).

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen a new bottle release from Stillwell Brewing (the last was Five, brewed to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Bar Stillwell), but thankfully they’ve got a brand new one dropping for us all tomorrow. The high majority of Stillwell’s beers require time and patience on the brewery’s part, but tomorrow’s beer, Auld, takes that level of waiting even further. An Old Ale, the beer was brewed in early June of 2017. Fermented with their house culture, and aged in their smallest former-Cognac foeder for one year, it was then packaged and bottle-conditioned for another six months. Sure, it’s a strong one (at 9.5% ABV), but all this time has smoothed out the beer wonderfully. They’re describing as having “lots of oak, balanced acidity, some pleasant oxidized notes [ed: yeah, you definitely want that in an Old Ale!] and a big malty nose and palate”. It still finishes nice and dry, making this the perfect evening sipper for these brutally cold nights we’ve been experiencing. Think of this one as a combination of English and Belgian traditional beers. Still a bit unsure how to approach this one? We highly encourage you to read the BJCP description of the style (skip to page 30), and swing by the brewery tomorrow from 12-4 to pick up a few bottles (you know they’ll age spectacularly)!

While on the topic of delightful Halifax bottle releases, let’s move over to Brunswick St., where 2 Crows has their own tasty brew coming out tomorrow, Blackberry Collins. Brewed 9 months ago with a grist of Belgian Pilsner, Spelt, Wheat, Oats, and Special Aromatic malt, it was kettle-soured with Lactobacillus plantarum. Lightly hopped in the boil with Calypso, Bramling Cross, and Hallertau Blanc, it was fermented in freshly-emptied American gin barrels with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains. It was allowed to sit in the barrels for six months before being transferred onto 128 kg of blackberry purée (yep, that’s a lot) and “a couple of cases” of lemon zest and juice, where it conditioned for three more months before packaging. Finally, it was bottle-conditioned with Champagne yeast for two and a half more months, and is now tasting “super jammy, rich, bright, and lively, with nice juniper aromatics and a great level of acidity”. We’ll take it! Like we said, available in a limited supply in 375 mL bottles at the brewery tomorrow as soon as they open.

North Brewing, the Halifax/Dartmouth bridge-spanning brewery, has hit us with not one, not two, not even three, but four new releases this week, making your choices for beer purchasing either much easier, or infinitely harder. Released earlier this week in cans is Soleil Saison, a 5.0% ABV mostly-traditional Saison brewed with 2-Row, Wheat, and Torrified Wheat malts, and hopped with Saaz, for a melding of Noble hop earth and spice, complementing the crisp, zesty, and light citrus and spicy notes from the Old World Saison yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Released yesterday were the one-two punch of their continuing wine/beer collaboration with Benjamin Bridge winery in Gaspereau Valley, NS. The 2017 Barrel-Aged Saison de Pinot was limited to about 200 litres of last years beer/wine hybrid, which spent an extra 11 months in a BB Pinot barrel, before being packaged and allowed to bottle condition before release. Think tart, dry, a little funky, and with an extra bit of je ne sais quoi from the barrel contact since last year. We suggest trying this bottle with that of the original 2017 release to compare and contrast. Be sure to grab yours today, as they will surely sell out over the weekend, due to the limited volume. Also released yesterday was this year’s version of the collaboration, Saison de Chardonnay. 200 litres of Chardonnay must was added to the beer, fermented with Saccharomyces Trois, a yeast known for providing many of the “wild-like” funky and fruit characters more commonly attributed to Brettanomyces strains. The change of grape must was two-fold: playing with the different flavour profile of a new liquid, and the unfortunate fact that the Pinot crop was negatively affected by early frost, severely limiting this year’s yield. The 7.4% ABV beer features some spiciness on the nose and palate, with orange and floral notes coming through as well. These bottles are perfect for enjoying (or gifting) now, and will continue to develop in the bottle, so be sure to lay one down for enjoyment with the inevitable barrel version to be released next December. And finally, hitting the fridges at both locations today, is the latest in their Twinkle Pony series, Twinkle’s Chocolate Orange. Think of the traditional English sweet as you sip this one, as the 7.0% ABV beer features loads of chocolate malt, and a ton of fresh orange zest (RIP their elbows and forearms from all that work!). We strongly suggest dropping into Battery Park today to grab a glass of one or all of these, as they were pouring during BP’s Third Anniversary Tap Takeover yesterday (congratulations folks!).

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has a brand new beer returning to the taps in New Brunswick this week. Huh? Let us explain: during their Tap Takeover at Bar Stillwell in October, they prepared a single one-off keg of Moderation, a Milkshake IPA with passion fruit. It went over well (really well), and thankfully the stars have aligned and they were able to sell off enough body parts to afford the vanilla beans (and passion fruit!) to brew a full batch, so that Moderation could see wider release. This 5.9% ABV beer features the aforementioned real Madagascar vanilla beans as well as lactose for the base Milkshake IPA style, with Enigma and Mosaic in the kettle and dry-hopping. Adding in lots of passion fruit puree kicks it up several notches, for a tropical fruit, lightly floral, smooth mouthfeel and low bitterness beer. Look for it on tap at your favourite watering hole in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

The bottle releases at Tidehouse seem to be pretty consistent lately, and this week is no exception with the release of a Belgian Tripel, Hey Abbot! They’re referencing this name as an homage to the Mel Brooks movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but our astute acbbaaron has correctly pointed out that THAT reference is actually an homage to the classic comedy team Abbott and Costello (Google it, it’s probably easier than trying to explain it all). Anyway, the beer. Coming in strong (as Tripels should) at 8% ABV, it was hopped with Saaz and Tettnang, giving some spicy/floral notes to accompany those provided by the Belgian yeast strain. With a thick white head and high carbonation, it has “just a touch of clove/banana” and finishes dry, with a light bitterness. No kegs of this one, so you’ll have to stop by the brewery starting today to pick up some bottles.

Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewing has been known to dabble with flavoured kettle sours in the past, and they’re continuing this tradition with the release this week of Blackcurrant Sour (not to be confused with Black Currant Sour, a beer they brewed in the summer of 2017 that actually had a blend of blackcurrants and blackberries). Soured with the brewery’s house Lactobacillus blend, it was fermented with a “fruity yeast strain” and conditioned on 16 kg of black currants. They’re describing the final product as having aromas of “fuzzy peach, with a blend of citrus and cherry, offset by earthy notes of black currant”, to complement the tartness. Pretty darn drinkable at 4.8% ABV, this release will see bottles heading to various ANBL stores in the very near future.

Back in Fredericton, TrailWay is releasing the latest iteration of their rotating Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog. Conditioned on vanilla beans as usual, and dry-hopped very highly – also as usual – this one features the addition of both peach and cherry (peach>cherry), both of which burst through on the nose and palate. Accompanied by the aromas/flavours from the hops and vanilla, expect a smooth mouthfeel in this 6.5% ABV beer, thanks to the addition of lactose powder in the boil. Cans of this one will be available at the brewery only, starting today at 11 am, with kegs also on hand there and at local pubs and restaurants.

The team at Port Rexton Brewing continue to experiment with their latest new brew, Salted Sour Pale Ale. You probably have a pretty good idea of what this beer will be like based on the name, but let us help you expand that a little bit. They took a Pale Ale base and kettle-soured it with Lactobacillus, before boiling it and adding plenty of hops (including Belma, an American variety that has been popping up over the last several years). Salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company was also added in the bottle, blending nicely with the aromas and flavours of “strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, tropical mango, melon, and pineapple” (that’s a lotta fruit goodness!) from the hops. Looks like they plan to continue experimenting with this beer, so don’t be surprised if you see some different iterations in the future. As for this batch, it’s on at tap at the brewery and St. John retail shop this weekend.

If you’re a Nova Scotia native, or even a long-term resident, or heck, even a well-informed visitor, perhaps you’ve heard of Blueberry Grunt, a classic (so I’m told) NS baked dessert. Well, Heritage Brewing has created their own eponymous beer-version! Blueberry Grunt is a 5% beer that includes the addition of locally-grown blueberries, giving a mixture of sour and sweet, along with flavours of “baked biscuit, to emulate the crust flavours in traditional Grunt”. They also added a bit of salt tie the flavour profile together. If you’re into beery desserts, drop by Heritage to give this one a taste.

Somerset’s Bad Apple Brewhouse is releasing a very special beer today, in celebration of someone very dear to the Nova Scotia beer family. Allie’s Fearless is a wet-hopped Kveik yeast-fermented IPA, brewed in memory of Olivia Jollota, part of the Jymline Glassware family. Olivia passed away in 2015, and the Olivia Jollota Memorial Trust has been set up in her name, awarding scholarships to graduating high school students based more on their community and social work than academics, celebrating Olivia’s passion for helping her fellow students, community, animals, and making the world a better place. This limited bottle release features Olivia’s signature tree logo, and is available at the brewery in Somerset and The Core in Wolfville, as well as on tap at a few bars and restaurants, including Stillwell and Jamieson’s Irish Pub, with the proceeds supporting more scholarships and outreach events for years to come.

Halifax’s Good Robot has quite a bit going on over the next week before things quiet down over the holidays. Yesterday marked the canning of another big batch of El Espinazo Del Diablo, their 5.7% ABV Mexican-style lager with jalepeño peppers. Look for it at their retail outlet and onsite at the taproom and the Mousetrap. On Tuesday, look for another spicy beer, their collaboration with Antojo Tacos + Tequila that we told you about last week, La Luchadora Catrina, to be available at the restaurant before it goes on tap at Good Robot the following day. Also available next Wednesday, December 19th, will be a BetaBrew called Sugar Boots. Brewed with Sara Panchaud from GR’s design team, the idea in mind was a “Neapolitan Stout” featuring flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry reminiscent of the original three-flavor ice cream. Using real strawberries for real strawberry flavor, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.6% ABV and 28 IBU. And lastly, fans of GR’s Tom Waits for No One American Stout will be happy to hear that they’ve kegged another batch of that one for release on Thursday, December 20th.

Foghorn in Rothesay, NB, brought back their Imperial Porter with local honey, The Monk, in late November, but it’s still around for you to try. At 7.5% ABV and 40 IBU, it’s got some weight to it and, we presume, some honey character. Meanwhile, Foghorn is the latest brewery to enter the gluten-reduced space with their new JJ Pattycake. Leveraging Clarity Ferm, an enzyme known to prevent long-chain proteins like gluten from forming during fermentation. Brewed in support of a friend of the brewery who has discovered a gluten sensitivity, the lab results aren’t back yet, but the brewery is hoping it tests low enough for him to drink it. A pale ale at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU, it was dry-hopped with the Falconer’s Flight hop blend for a classic American hop profile. Look for it on tap at the brewery.

Big Spruce will be making the rounds in Halifax tomorrow for those who ordered beer for holiday delivery and one of the beers that will no doubt be delivered is their Barrel-aged Baltic Porter, Complexified. Meanwhile, they’re releasing a new beer called Simplified. If you’re wondering whether those names indicate that the two beers are somehow related, you can go ahead and treat yourself to a beer: Simplified is the same beer without the barrel treatment. Still big, bold, and smooth, it’s a hefty 10.9% ABV. It made a brief appearance at Battery Park this week and is now available in bottles at the brewery (and hopefully soon at the private stores in Halifax). And seeing as how Complexified is also available, this would be an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast the beers and get a feel for what some time in a barrel can do.

With things finally slowing down a little for the holiday season we don’t have any big beer events to highlight this week, but do check out your favorite brewery’s website and social media to see what they might have on the go. Meanwhile, here’s a final few mentions to lead you into the weekend:

In terms of Nova Scotia Craft Beer traditions, Garrison’s Spruce Beer has to be considered part of the old school, which is fitting, considering that Spruce Beer is one of the oldest beer styles in North America. Featuring locally harvested spruce tips from Meander River Farm along with Crosby’s blackstrap molasses, it comes in at 7.5% ABV with a fairly gentle bitterness at 35 IBU. Look for it at the brewery in 650 mL bottles and, hopefully, in the coming days and weeks at some of the private stores in the city.

Sticking with our longest-running regional craft breweries, Propeller continues their Black Cask Month today with another special treat. Porter with Chocolate & Orange is just that: their porter with orange and chocolate flavors added. Reminiscent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, a classic Christmas confection, it will be tapped earlier than usual today at 3 PM to accommodate Propeller’s holiday party. Also of note to fans of Propeller, starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 15th, the tasting room and retail shop on Gottingen will be open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays!

For those of you living in Saint John that are fans of local brewery Loyalist City, they mentioned some good news earlier this week… they’ve finally got a taproom! The brewery has partnered with the Bunkhaus Hostel down the street; the two have opened a taproom/cafe at 36 Water St. over the past few days. They’ve started with four taps dedicated to Loyalist City, with more to be added shortly afterwards, as well as several guest taps.

The fairly-new Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth is releasing a new brew today, Sailor’s Dream. We don’t have a lot of details on this one, but we can tell you it’s a dry-hopped Lager, “light with a mild sweetness, with a subtle fruity aroma and a finish of melon”. Find it on tap at that location this weekend, where they’ll also be launching their Mug Club there tomorrow… grab one of the 150 memberships available for all sorts of discounts and exclusive club events and promotions, plus your own personal hand-made mug, of course!

Well, the Atlantic Canada Beer Awards have finally been wrapped up, and now that it’s been almost a week, we’re going to assume that most of you who were in attendance have fully recovered (although, it’s kinda likely that maybe one or two of you have NOT). If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our list of all of the winners, announced at last Sunday’s gala. Now that everything is relatively back to normal, let’s start off this rainy Friday by getting caught up with everything that’s new in the wonderful world of beer in our region! So grab whatever Halloween candy you have left (might we recommend little bags of Doritos, and miniature Kit Kat bars, if they’re available?), and a big old Stout (hey, it WAS International Stout Day recently… or something), and read away!

Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new beer pouring on Bridge Ave. Little Sister is a West Coast IPA packed with plenty of hop character from large additions of Simcoe and Mosaic and featuring the bracing bitterness typical of the style at 75 IBU, while still managing to be soft and smooth. Tipping the scales at 5.9% ABV, right in the IPA sweet spot, expect dank and tropical notes from the hops with a solid malt backbone to balance. Maybe it won’t keep vampires away, but they’ll surely appreciate your taste in beer as they draw you into their world. Look for it on tap at the brewery’s taproom and at tap accounts in the big city in the days to come (and if you don’t see it, be sure to ask for it!). Also, if you’re a fan of Backstage’s all-Citra IPA, Headliner, look for it to be back on tap as well.

In Dartmouth, Spindrift has announced a brand new series of beers which they’ll be calling Out of the Hold. All beers released under this brand will be bottle-conditioned, with many being fermented and/or aged in barrels, in a variety of bottles sizes; some will be one-offs, some will be in regular rotation. While all of the beers will be available to purchase at the brewery, naturally, one can expect many of them to also pop up at the private stores in the HRM. The first two beers in this series – Cherry Brett Beer and Golden Brett Beer – hit shelves yesterday. Both were brewed with Pilsner as the base malt, and both were aged “extensively” in French red wine barrels and highly carbonated during packaging. The Cherry Brett, at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis, and conditioned for months on dark, sweet cherry puree. Conversely, the Golden Brett, also at 6.2% ABV, was fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellensis Vrai. Look for more Spindrift bottles to follow in the near future, with two releases planned for two weeks from now, and another two in mid-December.

Boxing Rock’s venture into Halifax has yielded another small-batch beer from the Test Kitchen, this one brewed by Emily Tipton with Good Robot’s Queen of the Beta Batch, Kelly Costello. Zombie Mule takes cues from the time of year and also the Moscow Mule cocktail, as it features additions of lime and ginger. Exclusive to the Local Source bottle shop where you can pick up growler fills, and Lion & Bright, where you can grab a pint, like all Test Kitchen batches this 5% ABV beer is in limited supply, with only 4 kegs produced. So whether you’re a beer fan who enjoys an occasional cocktail or a cocktail fan who appreciates an occasional beer, or hey, just someone who’s looking for something new to try, you’d best act fast as this one’s not likely to be around long!

We mentioned the launch of 9zero2 Brewing last week, the foray into beer for the Steinhart Distillery in Arisaig. They’ve released another new beer this week, the amber JJs Ale. Named after Joey and Jackie Smith, who were former owners of the land upon which Steinhart and 9zero2 rest, and had a love of farming, gardening, and of course, enjoying a well-made dram or pint. Their eponymous beer is an easy drinking 5.2% ABV and 17 IBUs, with notes of tangerine, and a very smooth finish. The best place to grab a taste of this new release, as well as their other beers, is at the taproom in Arisaig, or hit them up on FB as they are offering a delivery service for those in the region.

Port Rexton Brewing has a new release this week at both the brewery taproom and their St. John’s Retail Shop. The One with Citra is a 4.9% ABV American Pale Ale, dry-hopped with a small fortune of Citra hops, punching well above its weight/ABV in terms of tropical and citrus aroma and flavour, which featuring a medium body and dry finish. Grab a growler fill at both locations, plus here’s what else to expect at 286 Torbay Road: Firehouse Amber, T-Rex Porter, Baycation Blonde are all in growlers, with limited numbers of cans of Baycation and T-Rex, as well as a trio of IPAs Chasing Sun NEIPA, Blazing Sun NEDIPA, and Horse Chops IPA available.

We know that the gang at Niche loves to name their beers with musical references, so we can only assume that this week’s new offering is a tribute to pop icon Madonna’s first US top ten hit. Borderline is Niche’s first black IPA and though colorwise it may be on the lighter side for the style, it still packs plenty of roast and chocolate notes along with a solid hop presence. Featuring dank and citrusy hops, namely Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Citra, it’s also got plenty of bitterness to complement the darker malt flavors at 45 IBU. Although the 5.8% ABV won’t make you feel like you’re going to lose your mind (unless you have too many of them), it’ll have your tastebuds dancing to it’s irresistible beat. Look for it at The Joyce, King Street Ale House, 540 Kitchen & Bar and the Tide & Boar Gastropub. And if you find yourself at one of those locations or any of Niche’s other usual tap accounts, look for the return of Ethos, their house strain-fermented Brett Saison, sometime next week.

Sticking in the Fredericton area, TrailWay has just released Bliss, the little brother to their Fuzzy Bubbles IPL. Yes, they’re billing Bliss as a “Session India Pale Lager”, as it comes in at just 4% ABV. Hopped with a “unique blend of American hops”, and fermented with a Czech Pilsner yeast strain, the beer was then lagered at 0º Celsius for 8 weeks before packaging. TW is describing the beer as “extremely clean, hugely juicy, fruity, soft and smooth, yet crisp and effervescent”. You can grab cans at the brewery right now, where it’s also available on tap for pints and growler fills.

Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is still putting the final touches on their big brewery on Main Street, but in the meantime, they are still busy releasing beers from their pilot system at 19 Kirk Street (open Thursday and Friday evenings for growler fills and flights). The latest is their Hopfenweizen, released in celebration of Oktoberfest. This hybrid of styles has at its base a traditional German Hefeweizen, with a wheat-and-pilsner malt base, and fermented with a yeast strain to highlight the iconic banana and clove characters iconic for the style. However, they used plenty of hops late in the boil to bring a new layer of complexity, to impart some fruit and citrus in the flavour and aroma, complementing the underlying beer. Grab a growler this evening, and/or a pint at their 250 Main Street location. While the brewery may not be quite operational (therefore no growlers just yet), their taproom currently has seven of their own beers on tap, plus another 9 guests. Be sure to catch their Wet Hop Pale Ale before it is done for the year: using local hops, there was only enough to brew one batch!
And big congratulations to the Heritage Brewing family on winning the Rising Star of the Year award from the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce! And congratulations to Dawn and Josh of WIne and Beer Tours of Nova Scotia on their recognition in the Tourism Business of the Year category.

Quidi Vidi Brewery has brought back their Open Saison series with Open Saison on Crabapple. This 6.5% ABV beer was first brewed on their pilot system last year, but this batch was brewed on their larger system, and is seeing distribution to several NLC locations. Crab apples from across the province were gathered and used to enhance the base tart saison. Look for it on tap at the brewery for pints and growler fills, and in 6-packs in retail locations all over. Don’t wait to grab yours, however, as this release is the last of it for 2018!

The Church Brewing Company will be opening their doors within the next couple of months, so they are looking to bring on a few good folks to help keep their taproom running smoothly. They are looking for managers, bartenders, servers, bussers, prep cooks, and loads more. Fire them an email at info@churchbrewing.ca for more details!

The crazy kids of Tidehouse have brought back one of the scariest beers in the region this week just in time for Hallowe’en. Pepperoni Ghost starts with a light smoked porter base that sees the famous pepperoni from Brothers Meats (defatted and dehydrated) added to the cauldron in the last five minutes of the boil. For an extra kick, super duper spicy ghost peppers are also added towards the end of fermentation. This was a limited batch available by the bottle at the brewery since Wednesday, and there’s already not much left. Further, they’ve promised that this is the Last Batch Ever™ (although we suspect that’ll have all the finality of killing Jason or Freddie Krueger) so if meat and heat are your jam when it comes to beer, get yourself down to Salter Street in Halifax with haste! But if you have to make a stop on the way, make it a stop at Canadian Blood Services. CBS needs your blood and Tidehouse wants to encourage you to give it. While you’re donating a pint or two of your finest, grab a selfie to show at the bar and upon presentation you will be rewarded with a gift card that you can immediately exchange for either a 1 L growler fill to go or a 16 oz glass at the bar (metric vs imperial: FIGHT). Step 1: Bleed. Step 2: Get beer. It’s not rocket surgery.

This week’s winner in the, “Really, you emailed us at 11 AM on Friday? Jeez buddy!” sweepstakes is 2 Crows in Halifax. We’ll forgive them (mostly) though, as, frankly, we’re excited about the beer. Dropping tomorrow at noon, and with an extremely limited run of roughly 400 bottles, Glamour isn’t just brewer Jeremy Taylor’s favorite D&D spell (perfect for a Goblin Bard), it’s a Sauvignon Blanc barrel-fermented and bottle-aged sour. Based on a grist of Pilsner malt, wheat, spelt and oats, it was hopped lightly with Hallertau Blanc hops on brewday and then soured with Lactobacillus plantarum and fermented in a freshly-emptied Sauvignon Blanc barrel with a blend of clean and funky critters. Conditioned for six months before transfer, it was dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops in stainless steel before being bottled with Champagne yeast and allowed to condition for an additional two months. It’s 5.1% ABV, and the tasting notes specify that it’s bright, tart and lively, with notes of gooseberry, lemongrass, and light oaky tannins. With such a limited quantity available, you’d best not hesitate. Y’know, like Jeremy did with emailing us about it. Seriously, though, if you’re a fan of sour beers and/or 2 Crows, this one is likely not to be missed; these folks did win Beer of the Year last week after all…

There are some excellent events in our region this weekend where beer and cider take center stage. Check them out below and plan accordingly!

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing is taking over the taps at St. John’s Merchant Tavern this evening. Featuring six taps, this will be the first time several of these beers are available on draught outside of HRM, so be sure to drop by and meet the Spindrift crew! Look for: Abyss Black Lager, their redesigned Coastal Lager, Free Trade APA, Hurricane IPA, Killick, and Knotty Buoy.

Although the Annapolis Cider tap takeover was announced a couple weeks ago now, the tap list was a mystery up until a few days ago when it was posted to social media, and it’s safe to say fans of local cider who make their way down to Stillwell this Saturday are in for a treat. Twelve different ciders will be pouring, running the gamut from Annapolis’ core brands to some of the more outré offerings from their Something Different series. As always, you can also expect some special snacks dreamed up just for the event to be coming out of the kitchen. While you plot your strategy around the list below, maybe open up your favorite podcasting app and throw on the recent 902BrewCast episode featuring Annapolis Cider’s Sean Myles. It’s an incredibly informative session not just about the cidery and their approach, but about cider and cider making in general as well.

  1. Wine & Strawberry – dry cider, red wine, strawberry blend – 5.9%
  2. Earl Blue – dry cider and blueberry blend w. Earl Grey tea – 6.8%
  3. Sour Cherry – dry cider, sour cherry blend – 7.1%
  4. Geneva Crab Rosé – crabapple cider with Geneva Red & Golden Hyslop – 8.6%
  5. Arctic Kiwi – dry cider, arctic kiwi blend – 7%
  6. Mixed Berry & Pear – strawberry, blackcurrant, bosc pear and dry cider – 7%
  7. Pazazz & Grapefruit – single variety Pazazz w. grapefruit zest – 6.8%
  8. Rhubarb Ginger – dry cider and rhubarb blend w. fresh ginger – 6.7%
  9. Honey Blossom – dry cider w. elderflower, purple lilac blossoms and local wildflower honey – 7%
  10. Muscat Mojito – dry cider w. Muscat grape skins, mint and fresh lime – 7.1%
  11. The Classic – semi-dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 5.6%
  12. Crisp & Dry – dry cider w. freshly pressed apple juice – 7.7%

If you happen to be in the Moncton area, the Tide & Boar is hosting a special event, the SPCA Tap Takeover, tomorrow, November 3rd, from noon to close. Several breweries from NB and NS will be participating, and pouring some of their favourite beers. The list includes Tide & Boar Brewing (Method IPA and Mosaic IPA), Grand Monk (Lion’s Cut NEIPA), Celtic Knot (Enigma Salted Caramel Porter), Big Spruce (Fake News! and Tag! You’re It!), Niche Brewing (Constellation), and 2 Crows (Wild Skies). They’ll also have a keg of Zwaaien & Zwieren, a 12.6% ABV Imperial Stout from Brouwerij de Molen (Netherlands); this is the 2015 vintage of this beer, so needless to say it’s a rare one! For every pint sold, $1 will go towards the Greater Moncton SPCA. But that’s not all! A single bottle of the much-coveted Samuel Adams Utopias will be available for 1 oz pours starting at noon, with all proceeds benefiting the GMSPCA. Your purchase of a 1 oz pour will also give you the chance to win the Utopias bottle (once it’s empty… sorry!), as well as a gift package donated by Big Spruce. Be sure to show up on Saturday, drink some delicious beers, and support a good cause all at the same time!

And a few more quick mentions before we let you get on with your Friday:

For the second time in a month or so, there will be no Beta Brewsday at Good Robot this week. Something something about Kelly actually taking time off (can she DO that?!). But all is not lost, GR favorite Damn Fine Coffee & Cherry Pie is back to tide you over. Yes, it’s a pale ale, but yes, it’s also flavored with coffee; 5.1% ABV and 32 IBU and very easy drinking.

Also back for a seasonal appearance (a bit earlier this year) is Propeller’s Russian Imperial Stout. This burly 8.0% ABV brew is smooth and supple and packaged for the first time in 473 mL cans, but you can also grab one of a very few 650 mL bottles if you’re looking to put one down in the cellar for a while, or you can grab a glass on tap at the tasting room.

Available today at noon, Upstreet is bringing back their formal winter seasonal, Black Tie Affair. This 5.0% ABV Stout features the addition of cranberries for a lightly tart flavour, and finishes with a hint of sweet vanilla. It is available on draught, as well as growlers, crowlers, and bottles at both the Taproom, Craft Beer Corner, as well as Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse, as this was a simultaneous brewday in both Charlottetown and Dartmouth.