Valonray Farmhouse Brewing

All posts tagged Valonray Farmhouse Brewing

It’s another weekend in Atlantic Canada and that means it’s time to bring you our weekly report on the regional craft beer scene. For those who might be a little disoriented from busy work, school, and/or social lives, or maybe those who availed themselves of the NSLC’s new product offerings, this weekend comes at the tail end of wet hop and pumpkin beer seasons, and somewhat on the cusp of darker seasonal season, with big ass ale and winter warmer season still several weeks out. And with that, here’s what new and news for craft beer lovers in NS, NB, PEI and NL this weekend!

PEI’s Moth Lane, located in Ellerslie, has been sitting on a beer that they’re particularly excited to share with all of you, and it’s finally available! Named after brewer Eric Wagner’s family’s bootlegging legacy, 3 Mile Limit (the minimum distance bootleggers had to be from shore to be out of reach of the jurisdiction of local authorities) is a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. This dark, roasty brew spent about 8 months in Bourbon barrels from Glenora Distillery, and a very limited supply of 1000 bottles is available (as of late last week). It’s a whopper of a beer, naturally, at 11% ABV and 40 IBUs, with flavours of “bourbon, cherry, oak, vanilla, coconut, chocolate, and coffee”. You can grab bottles directly at Moth Lane, or at the Summerside Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 9AM-1PM. And new on tap at the brewery is Rolling Papers, coincidentally released on Wednesday for some reason ;). Pop by for a taste this weekend!

Not content to rest on the laurels of their triumphant tap takeover last Saturday in Halifax at Stillwell Beer Bar, Niche Brewing are back in Hanwell, NB, plotting the continuance of their campaign of world domination. This week manifested itself through a collaboration brewday with the fine folks from 2 Crows that we’ll no doubt be telling you about down the road (maybe a ways down the road; we’ve heard that’s going into barrels) and two new new releases. Up first is Constellation (which was actually released LAST week) that started as a Saison on the darker side of the style, which was soured with Lactobacillus before fermentation with a blend of Saison yeast strains (and, this being Niche, they pitched some Brettanomyces in there too halfway through because, well, why not?). The beer was then conditioned for a couple of weeks to let the flavors develop before black currant puree was added to the mix. The end result is a 4.7% ABV mix of various components, some roasty light chocolate from the malt, tartness from the souring, yeast character and, of course, black currant to top it off. The second new release made its debut at Stillwell but is now making its way to taps around New Brunswick. Mahalo is a 6.4% ABV IPA of the milkshake variety; it of course has a healthy, but not overpowering, hit of lactose and vanilla bean for an overall sweet impression and rounded mouthfeel. The fruit in this one is pineapple puree, which provides a soft acidity to balance the sweetness. And on top of that you’ve got hops. Lots of them. Centennial, Hallertau Blanc and Azacca added in copious quantities ensure that the “IPA” part of the style is well represented. Top it off with a solid but not distracting bitterness and you’ve got an excellent example of the style, complex and interesting, but not overwhelming. You can expect to find it making an appearance at King Street Alehouse, The Joyce, Isaac’s Way, Ducky’s, CAVOK Brewing Co., Cask & Kettle Irish Gastropub and the Saint John Ale House.

The folks behind Yellowbelly Brewery have decided to up the ante less than a year after opening a location at the St. John’s International Airport departures lounge. This time, they’re taking on a whole Cathedral! As reported by the CBC, they’ll be taking over the historic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Harbour Grace, which has lain dormant since 2014 with little hope of the diocese of Grand Falls being able to raise the estimated $9 million required to make it vital again. For Yellowbelly, this is a multi-year initiative that will see not only a brewery, but a tap room and restaurant, and eventually hotel and spa incorporated. Although that goal is no doubt a few years away, it could eventually mean employing as many as 100 people in the area as well as providing a new community venue in the town of some 3,000 people roughly an hour outside the city of St. John’s. We’ll certainly let you know how the brewery part of the proceedings progresses and when you can expect to have your first pint!

Looks like there’s another new bottle release from New Brunswick’s Valonray Brewing, happening this weekend. Tomorrow, from 9AM-5PM at the brewery, they’ll be selling bottles of Brett Belgian IPA, a 6.5% ABV which was bittered to 60 IBUs with Hallertau, further hopped with Mandarina Bavaria at flameout, and then dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. The beer was fermented solely with Escarpment LabsBrett D strain. The final product has notes of tropical fruit and pineapple in the flavour, along with lemon, citrus, and white wine. This one won’t be for sale at ANBL stores for the time-being, so be sure to drop by Valonray in MacDougall Settlement if you want to give it a try.

We hope you had a chance to drop by Battery Park yesterday to take in the great 2 Crows tap takeover. As mentioned last week, there were several debuts on the board, including one brewed especially for the event. For those of you who missed out, may we suggest lunch on Ochterloney to check out the beers still available? And fear not, most of the newbies will see release at the brewery this weekend. Let’s get you up to date on those right now:

Second Situation (American IPA) – Similar to their recently-released Perfect Situation, the grist is the same (Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, Wheat, and Carafoam), and the beer was also fermented with London Fog yeast. This time around, however, the beer was hopped with Simcoe and Azacca in the hopback, and then dry-hopped twice with “stupid” (read: extremely high) amounts of Azacca, Huell Melon, and Citra. “Super lush, pillowy, and juicy, with huge mango, papaya, cantaloupe, and a touch of orchard fruit throughout”, it comes in at 6.1% ABV and 44 IBUs. Look for this one at the 2 Crows taproom on draught and in cans available tomorrow at noon.

Little Rodeo (Foedre-Aged Farmhouse Grisette) – Brewed with Pilsner, Rye, Spelt, Raw Wheat, and Aromatic malt, this brew was hopped in the boil with Calypso and Bramling Cross (to just 11 IBUs). Fermented in one of the brewery’s oak foedres with a blend of American Farmhouse yeasts (both Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces), it was allowed to condition further for several months, before finally being dry-hopped lightly with Loral and Nelson Sauvin. “Dry, earthy, refreshing and bright, and lightly herbal with notes of gooseberry and lemon zest”, it’s super-drinkable at just 4.6% ABV. Cans and pints of this one will also be available at 2C tomorrow at noon as well.

Phone Tag (Hoppy Kveik) – A collaboration brew with North Brewing, this one was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner malt and Flaked Wheat, and fermented very warm with Omega Hothead Kveik yeast. Hopped and then dry-hopped (aggressively) with Vic Secret and Galaxy, it was keg-conditioned with Champagne yeast. You read that right – this one is draught-only, available today, and is exhibiting flavours of “overripe mango, passionfruit, and papaya”; 3.5% ABV, 14 IBUs.

Battery Marc (NE Table Beer) – Also draught-only from their pilot system, this is another collab brew, this time with Marc and Fred from Battery Park. The grist for this one is meant to build up the low ABV (just 2.9%!), with Pilsner, Flaked Oats, and Raw Wheat). Hopped at flameout with Enigma and Nelson Sauvin, it was fermented with London Fog and then dry-hopped twice, with more Enigma and Nelson. “Bright, lush, with big gooseberry, red currrant, Sauvingnon Blanc, and pinot grigio notes”. Keg #1 kicked last night, and you’ll have to keep an eye on Battery Park’s social media to grab pours from the second keg, date/time TBD.

There were also two more debuts last night, with just single kegs of each, which did not last very long into the evening. You haven’t missed out completely, however, as they will make their debut – in bottles – in about a month. We’ll hold off on the nitty gritty details until they’re released then, but we can tell you that they are Mellarium (a Sauvignon Blanc-barrel-aged sour w/ apricot, honeycomb, and saffron) and Blackberry Collins (a gin-barrel-aged with blackberries and lemon).

Today, Upstreet is releasing the latest in their Million Acres series with Million Acres Chardonnay Barrel-Aged IIPA with Belma. As always with these beers, the name may take awhile to say, but pretty much tells you what you’re getting! At 9% ABV and 40 IBUs, it has aromas of “strawberry, vanilla, and floral notes” with “a light strawberry, honey candy flavour”. The oak tannins from the barrel-aging complement the medium body of the beer; due to the beer’s nature, it’s meant to be consumed fresh. There’s a very limited amount of bottles available at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner, where it can also be found on tap for pints.

Elsewhere on PEI (specifically, Montague), Copper Bottom is now pouring their first new beer in a while (hey, they had a busy summer!). Ekuanot Sour is brewed along the same lines as their Citra Sour, which debuted last March. With a grist of mostly 2-row, and a bit of Acid malt and Flaked Barley, it was kettle-soured with a Lactobacillus pitch, before being fermented and then dry-hopped with, yep, Ekuanot. With a firm tartness, it has notes of “tangerine, papaya, and orange peel”, and weighs in at 5% ABV and 10 IBUs. It’s on tap only, right now at CB, for pints and growler fills.

The peeps at Port Rexton Brewing kindly have brewed a new beer for us, Pony Chops, an American Pale Ale that is a spin-off of sorts of their Horse Chops IPA. It’s got a lower ABV (4.9%) than it’s bigger brother, but features “familiar floral grapefruit flavours, and tropical, stone fruit aromas”, all thanks to the addition of lots of the lovely Mosaic hop variety. This one will be on tap only at the PR taproom (for pints and growlers), as well as their retail shop in St. John’s this weekend (now open Thursday evenings 5-8PM, Friday 12-7PM, and Saturday 12-6PM). And they announced this week that for the first time, the taproom will remain open throughout the winter! Open daily from now until November 4th, the hours will adjust to open Friday and Saturday evenings, 4-10PM.

Might as well hang around Newfoundland, as Bootleg Brew Co. has just released their newest beer, Nightman, a 5.8% ABV Black IPA. Hopped with Amarillo and Mosaic (to about 60 IBUs), this dark-coloured brew has “aromas of tangerine, orange, and pomegranate”, with a moderate bitterness in the finish that “slowly fades into dark chocolate”. Full-bodied and perfect to sip now that the temperatures are dropping, swing on by brewery taproom to give it a taste!

And on to Quidi Vidi, who are giving us a special sneak peek of a new beer that won’t see wide release until mid-November. Cappucino Stout is, as you may have expected, a Stout with coffee; incorporating roasted grain in the grist, lactose powder was added in the boil to boost the mouthfeel and provide some balancing sweetness. Coffee was added after fermentation was complete, with the final 6.5% ABV beer smelling of “sweet cream and nutty dark roast, with earthy, hazelnut flavours and lingering coffee notes”. Mild carbonation helps increase the creamy mouthfeel. It’s available right now at the brewery for a limited time on tap for pours and growler fills; again, look for it to return next month.

In Good Robot news, we have the details on their release Beta Brewsday (aka Tuesday small batch, brewery and 1L growler-only) release. My Rituals is a beer dreamed up by GRBC’s neighbour Lianne Lessard with FemmeBot Extraordinaire Kelly. This is the first sour mash from Good Robot, and it turned out a treat! Yellow plums were added to the brew, for some lovely fruit character, and its own tart character, enhancing the overall experience. Described as “comforting and enlivening, like a brisk walk in crisp autumn air with the promise of warmth at home”, grab a pint of this 4.6% ABV brew early next week when it debuts. And then drop by again later in the week for the release of Creature Feature I, another in the series of their bio-transformation IPAs. This technique of hopping during active fermentation, with the yeast altering the terpene and other flavour compounds in the hops. For this beer, Amarillo, Citra, and Cascade were used in serious quantities, with notes of mago, peach, and pineapple shining through. This 6.4% ABV beer will see wider distribution late next week, so keep an eye out at your favourite bar or restaurant for it as well.

Pump House has brewed up a new beer in support of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, and it’s available on tap right now at their locations in Moncton. Fundy Forager Sage & Elderberry Ale includes the addition of, yes, sage and elderberries, both of which that were locally sourced in the Biosphere. Subtle hints of both are noticeable in the brew. The beer is available on tap at the Brewpub on Orange Lane, as well as at the Pump House Fill Station on Mill Road, where it is also available for Growler and Crowler fills.

And a few more beer releases to round out today’s news…

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing has debuted a new beer this past week, the latest in their rotating smaller releases. Scratch 12: Hop Blonde is a hoppy hybrid of German and North American engineering, with the former lending malt to build the base to 6.0% ABV, while juicy American hops top it off, with notes of citrus, lime, and tropical fruit. On tap, and in a limited number of cans, grab it today before it disappears. And as a public service announcement, cans of their Maritime Black IPA have hit the shelves, and are sure to sell out quickly, so be sure to grab those this weekend.

What incredible timing! With a bit of snow blowing around, and the temperature dipping below freezing, Halifax’s North Brewing has brought back their sweet and flavourful pastry stout, Twinkle Pony Tiramisu Stout. Using actual lady finger cookies in addition to Chocolate malt, lactose, and vanilla cold brew coffee from Manual Co (Ardi beans ℅ Java Blend), the beer weighs in at a robust 7.0% ABV. With single and 4-packs of cans available now at their two retail locations, kegs will also be distributed to better beer bars in the region.

Winning the prize for, “Sending us stuff at (literally) the 11th hour,” this week is Garrison, who are planning to release a new stout tomorrow. Using a classic grist of 2-row, Munich, Oats, Crystal, and then Roasted Barley for that deep dark color that the style requires, the beer was hopped in a decidedly modern way with Mandarina Bavaria and Cascade. Differentiating itself from other stouts in the local market with a fuller-body, and bringing a truly dark beer back to Garrison’s portfolio, look for flavors of strong coffee and dark fruit in this 6.0% ABV and 38 IBU beer.

Eek! We’re late this week. Why? Partially because we have these pesky day jobs. But also because our region Will. Not. Stop. with the new breweries, new beers, beer re-releases, and beer-related events. Also, somethingsomething about the weather. Enjoy!!

• After a full year of construction, brewing, aging, blending, and bottle conditioning, Valonray Farmhouse Brewing in MacDougall Settlement is ready to share the fruits of their labours with you. Celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow 10 AM – 4 PM, visitors can drop by the brewery for a tour, sample some of their initial offerings (five will be available), and grab a bottle or two to go. Available will be their flagship Saison, a Single and a Tripel, Blonde, and Pale Ale, all in the Belgian style. Learn more about Valonray in the profile we published last month, to get you excited for their opening and big plans for the future. Going forward, the brewery retail will be open every Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM, with the hours expanding in the summer. While the plan is for their beer to eventually be at local ANBL locations, it is only available at the brewery for the next while.

• After many months of planning and hard work, Dieppe’s Flying Boats Brewing is finally just-about-ready to open their new brewery (15 bbl – 1750 L – vs. their original 1 bbl brewery) to the public. They’re holding a soft launch this weekend, starting today from 11 AM – 7 PM, and continuing tomorrow from 11 AM – 5 PM, at their new location at 700 Malenfant Blvd. They’ll have seven of their beers on tap to start, and will be filling growlers (which can be purchased there, or of course you can bring your own), pouring pints and flights, and also selling 473 mL cans of their Dixie Clipper IPA and Empress Irish Red Ale for you to take home. More beers will be popping up over the next few weeks, and they’ll be updating their taproom hours once they officially open.

York County Cider in Fredericton recently celebrated their second anniversary, and used that as an excuse to release their latest seasonal cider blend, Smoky Maple. As the name implies, the base apple cider is enhanced by additions of maple syrup for an iconic taste of spring in our region, as well as light smoke to complete the full “outdoor maple boil” of this 6.3% ABV cider. This cider was primarily available during their anniversary celebrations and now only three kegs are left until next year! That said, the YCC crew is happy to let us know that their Strawberry Ciderita is now on the shelves of the local ANBL locations. This strawberry and lime cider is 5.8% ABV, and crisp and fruity. Drop by Ed’s Garage (aka, the taproom) at 38 Main Street to grab your taste of their full line-up today.

Port Rexton Brewing brought back their annual Ten Eighty Series last week with the release of Imperial Saison. This single batch is the brewery’s take on a traditional style, taking the typically-mid-strength Farmhouse Ale and dialling it to 11… or, more accurately, 9.6. Yes, it weighs in at an impressive 9.6% ABV, coming through as crisp, effervescent, and warming. Fermented with the fruity and spicy French Saison yeast strain, the beer was dry-hopped lightly with Mandarina Bavaria. There are still a few bottles left at the retail shop at 286 Torbay Road (open today from 4 – 8 PM and tomorrow from 12 – 6 PM), be sure to pick some up if you’re in the area… as we mentioned, this is a single batch only, and they won’t last long!

• And debuting at the PRB retail location today is SeaWind Saison, made with Sorrel, a Jamaican preparation of hibiscus flowers, and orange peel. At 5.4% ABV, SeaWind offers floral aromatics, low bitterness, and a light bubblegum character from the Belgian yeast. It is available exclusively in growlers at the retail spot, where you can also pick up some PRB merch. And good news for those who’ve been waiting for an excuse to go for a visit, the brewery will be opening for the season May 4th.

• The latest in PEI Brewing Company’s After Hours series is now available at their taproom and retail shops. Perseverance is a 7.0% ABV malty Belgian ale, first fermented with saison yeast, and then transferred onto three strains of Brettanomyces for several months to develop a complex blend of aroma and flavour. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with German Tettnanger, packaged and bottle conditioned, and now ready for your enjoyment! Rather than packaging with Brett to condition in the bottle, the beer has already developed a full complement of secondary flavour and aromatics, drying out the bigger body, and is ready to drink right now. Mark your calendars for the April 12 official-re-launch of the After Hours series, where several more beers will be pouring at the brewery taproom, and a great way to taste several of them at once, more details below.

• As has become usual for them, Good Robot has news of two brews this week, an Alpha and a Beta batch. From the Alpha system a Chocolate Porter this way comes, with origins in the last chocolate porter brewed at Good Robot. Still boasting a “rich taste, exquisite mouthfeel, and tantalizing aroma” this time it’s got a brand new name: Bingo Bronson. Coming in at a very drinkable 6% ABV, it was made with classic English Maris Otter malt, flaked oats and flaked barley, chocolate and coffee malts, and some Vienna to boot. Hopped with Belma, of all things, don’t go looking for a big hop presence, but expect an impact from the carob powder, cocoa powder and chocolate extract used to provide chocolate flavor. This one should be available for growler fills at the brewery as well as pints in the tasting room. And coming out on Tuesday next for Beta Brewsday, Beta system Queen Kelly Costello teamed with Allana Dalrymple to concoct a low-ABV Scottish Ale leaning heavily on Golden Promise malt with some CaraAroma, Crystal 60 and Roasted Barley for character. High-alpha acid Warrior hops battered the brew and some Perle provide aroma. Finished on Caldera whiskey-soaked oak chips before being racked to a cask, look for this 3.9% ABV and 20ish IBU treat to top the bar this coming Tuesday!

YellowBelly Brewing in St John’s has a new take on an old favourite beer back on tap these days. First released as a home-and-home collaboration with Australia’s Top Shed Brewery (located on Australia’s East Coast), Me Ol’ Trout (formerly East Coast Cream Ale) is back at the brewpub, as well as bottes at local NLC. At 4.8% ABV, and less than 20 IBUs, the Cream Ale style can often be considered a boring (for both brewer and drinker), so Brewmaster Liam McKenna was sure to make the style his own, opting for a significant dry hop rate to raise the hop aromatics. Grab a pint or bottle today, and those across the country will be able to enjoy the beer starting in May, as Me Ol’ Trout will be available in the Central City “Across the Nation” collaboration mix pack.

• And speaking of YellowBelly, they are teaming up with Semintha Nutraceuticals to hold a birch beverage competition, with the goal of producing a tasty and healthful drink with Birch sap at its base. Interested folks are encouraged to reach out to the Newfermenters homebrew group for more details, including sharing their recipe and technique to produce a beer, mead, or cider, or even non-fermented drink, using Semintha’s sap. Check out the Facebook group for more details, and submit your plan via email before May 1st.

Off Track Brewing is getting closer to commissioning their larger brewhouse, but in the meantime, they’ve got several new beers pouring at their taproom in Bedford. Diving right in with Wheat in the Knees, an American Wheat Ale hopped lightly with Belma and Huell Melon; at just 4.5% ABV and 23 IBUs, it’s the perfect beer for what they refer to as “soon-to-be summer”, but we’re highly skeptical today! Regardless, an easy-drinking beer with a touch of citrus, meant to be enjoyed in quantity. In the same mold, Raspberry Wheat is another wheat beer, but with fruit. An experimental batch, look for others in the “series” to follow suit, with Cherry Wheat and Mango Wheat coming soon… as in later this weekend! These are all single kegs only, so be sure to drop by for your taste.

• And in non-Wheat beers, expect to see State Capitals for $500 from Off Track this weekend. An American Pale Ale hopped with Cascade, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, it’s described by the brewery as “very melony and fruity”; it weighs in at 5.5% ABV and 43 IBUs. Finally, expect to see Pull the Pin IPA on tap as well, a 6% ABV, 58 IBUs IPA hopped mainly with Centennial, giving the beer aromas and flavours of light fruit, as well as some spicy and floral character.

• We have the details on the latest release from Brightwood Brewery, an interesting beer they’re referring to as a Rosé IPA. Dartmouth Blush is a Belgian IPA hopped with Mosaic and Hallertau Blanc late in the boil, and at flameout, to maximize the aroma and flavour characteristics of both varieties. After fermentation was complete, the beer was dry-hopped with more Hallertau Blanc, and Hibiscus and Rose Hips were also added to give the final product a pink hue.

• In Halifax, 2 Crows has two new small batch taproom-only releases to share this week put together by staff members Graeme and Nick. First, from Graeme, is another obscure Dutch ale (he was also responsible for the Dutch Bokbier late last year), this time a Luyks Bier, whatever that is. Built on a grist of predominantly spelt, with Pilsner, wheat and some flaked oats, it was bittered with Magnum and hopped with a combination of Columbus and Goldings. Fermentation with Omega Labs Hothead yeast makes Peace Train a full-bodied 5.7% ABV and 34 IBU beer that features notes of grapefruit and clementine leading to a dry, slightly bitter finish (and Cat Stevens ringing in your ears). Next up is Nick’s Blithe, a Belgian Pale Ale featuring the middle eastern spice Sumac. At 5.9% ABV and 29 IBU, it was brewed with pale malt, spelt, malted oats, and a bit of Munich malt. Hops included the spicy/fruity British hybrid Bramling Cross and the citrus/floral/fruity American Calypso. Fermented with the 2 Crows house saison culture, the sumac (sourced from East Coast Wild Foods) entered the picture during conditioning. The beer is described as “bright, fruity, floral and dry” with some yeast-based funk and some bitter orange flavors from the sumac. You’ll find both of these brews only available by the pint on Brunswick Street at the 2 Crows tasting room.

• New Brunswick’s heaviest hoppists, Trailway Brewing in Fredericton have yet another IPA dropping this Friday. Featuring one of the industry darling hops of the last year or two, Ekuanot, alongside so-new-we-had-to-look-it-up Loral (HBC 291), Imagination is a 6.5% ABV super-refreshing brew with a hint of green pepper from the Ekuanot and a very soft and floral, yet fruity finish from the Loral. You’ll find it at the brewery and possibly over the coming weeks at ANBL locations. Watch Trailway social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram) for more on that.

• On Agricola Street in Halifax, urban cidery Chain Yard has a new batch on the go they’re calling Mallow Yallow. Leveraging malolactic fermentation where bacteria other than yeast are introduced to convert malic acid to lactic acid, and, in doing so, soften the acidity of the final product, this cider was also put into oak barrels for 4 months to condition. The result is a dry cider at 6.4% ABV, with a crisp, light carbonation, some sweetness, and featuring notes of caramel, whiskey and French oak.

Beerocracy, the independent documentary on New Brunswick craft beer (how the NB beer industry started and where it’s headed, as well as what challenges could hamper its growth), is finally viewable online for the world to see! Anyone interested in the story of beer in NB can go to Vimeo to either rent the movie for less than the cost of a fresh pint, or buy it to watch anytime, anywhere. Check it out here!

• Stellarton’s Backstage Brewing has a new session pale ale on tap this week. Called Night Moves, it’s a very quaffable 5% ABV, 35 IBU beer that hopped with Citra and Mosaic. And a reminder that the taproom on Bridge Avenue is open for business and the guest are now in full force. The dozen beer currently pouring includes offerings from the Eastern Shore’s Sober Island, Antigonish’s Half Cocked, and others. So if you’re in the PC, AJ and his band have your craft beer fix; give a thought to heading down and checking it out!

Here are the events we’re excited about in the coming weeks:

• Back in 2013, Picaroons released their Plaid to the Bone, an English Pale Ale brewed with Heather tips. Don’t be too confused, but they’re releasing a new beer, named Plaid to the Bone – Scotch Ale, to continue the Scottish theme. A big (8.6% ABV), malty brew, this one-off has been bottled and will officially be released at a Launch Party today at the Picaroons Roundhouse in Fredericton. The fun starts at 4 PM, with lots of beer available in bottles and on tap, served alongside haggis samosas and Scotch eggs, with live fiddling music to jig to (or you can just sit and listen).

• First poured at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival last month, the Tide & Boar Gastropub is releasing their Sour Otis – Peach Barrel Edition tomorrow, April 7th at 11 AM . Spontaneously fermented and aged for 7 months in a Pinot Noir barrel, this limited edition beer will be available in short supply to enjoy at the T&B, and to take home. Only 125 bottles will be available for purchase, with the remaining 57 bottles going on sale to drink in-house at the brewpub. Look for another one of their beers to be on the growler filling station at Duo Cafe as well.

• A reminder that Revel Cider from Guelph will be taking over the taps at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow from noon, with a dozen of their fun and funky ciders available all day. Check out the tap list here to get an idea of what you’ll be tasting. Fans of mixed fermentation and spontaneous beers will enjoy their offerings, and for those who don’t… fear not, there’ll be plenty of cool bottles from Stilly’s fridges and cellar available for tasting and comparing!

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub has quickly lined up their next brewery-featured event, with one of New Brunswick’s newest breweries – Holy Whale, out of Alma – bringing their beers for all to enjoy! Call Me Ishmael – A Holy Whale Micro Tap Takeover will take place tomorrow, April 7th when the pub opens at 3 PM. Holy Whale is bringing four of their beers – Whitney IBUston (Witbier), Medusa’s Milk Stout, Pale Ale, and Keller Whale (Kellerbier), which you can order by the pint or flight. No charge to attend, just show up to give them a try!

• A few days later (Wednesday, April 11th) the Fredericton Ladies Beer Connection will be holding their next Ladies n’ Beers Social, at TrailWay. Join them in the TW taproom at 8 PM for a flight of beer and some beer education; just RSVP to freddyladiesbeerconnection@gmail.com to hold your spot (cost is $9 to attend). As always, feel free to show up beforehand or hang around afterwards, to enjoy an extra beer or two and socialize some more!

PEI Brewing Co. is celebrating their After Hours series with a launch at the brewery April 12, 5 – 7 PM. You will be taken on a guided tour of the production area, sample some future releases straight from the tank, and hear from the brewers about the inspiration and brewing process of each beer. It will also mark the return of Patience, the dry-hopped Brett Saison first bottled and released last year. Learn more about the event here.

• They’ve been open since last fall, but Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has never had an official launch party. Luckily, they’ve found the perfect excuse to have one now, in conjunction with their upcoming tap takeover at Freeman’s Little New York, at their Sackville location. The joint event will take place next Saturday, April 14th at 552 Sackville Dr., with Ol’ Biddy’s bringing 8 beers, including the last keg of their Salty Fog, a toasted coconut Porter with pink Himalayan salt, and the latest release of their Sackvegas Sour.

• Tickets are still on sale for the Friday session of St John’s BrewFest, April 20th at Club One on New Gower Street. From 6 – 10 PM, sample your choice of more than 100 beers from across North America, with most not already available in Newfoundland. Joining the local breweries will be Brooklyn’s Other Half, as well as Canadian breweries Half Hours on Earth, Blindman Brewing, and Left Field. Plus regional favourites TrailWay and Hammond River. Secure your tickets today to avoid major FOMO that weekend!

• Early Bird Pricing is ending this Monday for the Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, being held in Halifax May 24 – 26. The biggest gathering of brewers from across the country, there are sessions and presentations and plenty of fun events surrounding the weekend, which we’ll be sure to share in a handy-dandy gCal and map. The Keynote Speaker is Emily Tipton, co-owner and -brewer at Boxing Rock, and the President of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia. While entry to the CBAC is restricted to brewery employees, there are volunteer positions available to keep everything running smoothly. Sign up today to help make the weekend a success!

A few News Bites today:

Gahan House on the Halifax Waterfront has tapped a new cider made with fresh apples from Windsor, Nova Scotia. Hazy, pale and dry, Harbour Valley Cider finishes with “just the right amount” of tartness and is listed at 6.4% ABV.
– We mentioned last week that The Grand Banker in Lunenburg, NS, has announced that they’re opening a craft brewery called Shipwright Brewing. This week they announced that their Brewmaster will be a local Lunenburger coming back to her roots, Kellye Robertson! We’ll have more details to share about the plans for the brewery in coming weeks.
Unfiltered in Halifax has their extremely popular Citra SMaSH, DOA, back on tap for fills in the brewery and pints at Charm School as of noon today: 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU. Rumor has it there are also still a few cans of other offerings from their last canning run available at the brewery.
Upstreet in Charlottetown has a small amount of their popular sour, Million Acres Twice-hopped Sour with Centennial and Chinook back in a limited re-release today starting at 11 AM at Craft Beer Corner. 200 bottles, limit 4 per person.

You might think that the last week of February/first week of March would see a bit of a slowdown in beer news — winter’s not quite over, March break is yet to come and the University students are back in class. But if you write a beer blog and you try to keep up with it all, you know better. There are plenty of things to tell you about as the region prepares for one of its biggest annual events, the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. As well, seasonal beers are being released, plenty of events going on, another new brewery has opened its doors and we’ve received word of another brewery in the works! We’re starting to think there might possibly be something to this whole “Craft Beer Industry” thing.

• The wait is over for local beer fans in Lawrencetown, in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley! Lunn’s Mill Beer held their first growler session yesterday afternoon, with their four core beers available (Charming Molly Blonde Ale, Brickyard Red Red Ale, Lunn’s Pub Ale English Ale, and XPA #1 IPA). For those who contact them ASAP, there will be the first Growler Delivery happening this afternoon, for folks in the Annapolis Royal to Greenwood region. For now, Growler Nights and Delivery will be the best way to get your hands on Lunn’s Mill beer, and we will be sure to let you know when the brewery is set up for samples and pints, as well as draft available at local pubs and restaurants. Congratulations to Mark, Sean, and the whole Lunn’s Mill Crew!

• We’ve received word of another new brewery on the way for New Brunswick, with Valonray Farmhouse Brewing (changed from the initial name, “46th Parallel Brewing”) scheduled to open later this summer in MacDougall Settlement. Founded by Phil and Allison Fontaine, they plan on launching with a small line-up of American-style ales – brewed by Phil on a 1 BBL (115 L) electric system – with Belgian-style barrel-aged ales following within a few months, thanks to the acquisition of twenty 225 L oak barrels. The initial beers will be available at select licensees, as well as some being bottled and sold through the ANBL. The couple will be using 100%-locally sourced ingredients, with some being grown directly on-site. A tap room is also in the planning stages, and will hopefully be open by the summer of 2018. The eventual goal is to become an authentic Belgian-style, Farmhouse brewery within the first few years, including expanding to barrel-aged sour beers. Look for a Q&A with Allison and Phil from us in the near future.

• Early this week, Maybee Brewing released Mars Madness, a Bière de Mars. This style is closely related to the Bière de Garde, a French style traditionally brewed in the early spring, and then cellared for several months to be enjoyed during warmer weather. Bière de Mars, on the other hand, is usually brewed in March and released immediately. It is in some ways similar to a Belgian Saison, especially in that the yeast provides a lot of the character, with a malty backbone from the grist. Mars Madness was fermented at a low temperature to keep the fruity esters in check, and had a lengthier conditioning time than usual for Maybee brews. Described by the brewery as a crisp, refreshing beer, it has “fruity notes of banana and bubble gum, and subtle hints of noble hop spice and clove”. Clocking in at 6.7% ABV and 30 IBUs, this one is available on tap only. For those of you attending the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival next week, it will be available on cask at both the afternoon and evening sessions.

• Dartmouth’s Downeast Beer Factory has a new beer on tap, perfect for the approaching St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Nitro Irish Stout was brewed with plenty of Roasted Barley and Midnight Wheat in the grist, to give lots of the roasted aromas and flavours expected from the style. Both Cascade and East Kent Goldings hops were added, with “a generous amount” of EKG at the end of the boil. Served on a 75/25 nitrogen/CO2 blend to boost the creamy mouthfeel, it’s easy-drinking at 4.8% ABV, and on tap right now at the brewpub.

• With the 2017 Brier kicking off this week in St John’s, YellowBelly Brewpub has released a new beer to celebrate. They’ve released the quintessential American Pale Ale, weighing in at 4.5% ABV and 40 IBU, featuring two dry-hopping rounds with Cascade. The beer is on tap now (and only on tap, no plans for bottles), but they need your help to name it! Hit them up on Twitter or Facebook with your best curling pun name to win a $100 gift certificate. And once this small batch APA kicks, their St Patrick’s Day celebration Patrick’s Pale Ale will hit the taps. This year’s version features Sorachi Ace as the sole hop in the 6.0% ABV, 45 IBU beer.

• After two straight releases of the decidedly less hoppy variety, Unfiltered Brewing is bringing out a beer today to remind everyone just who punches the hoppy dance cards in HRM. And speaking of dancing, the beer is being released in conjunction with the film Goon: Last of the Enforcers, which will be screened in Halifax on March 9 a week ahead of its March 17 release date. Fist of God is a NASHian DIPA in the Northeast IPA style with 100+ IBU and featuring a mix of Citra, Simcoe, Columbus and Mosaic hops for big citrus, tropical and dank aromas and flavors. At 8% ABV, it’s also likely to leave you in a bit of a FoG if you’re not careful. Look for it at the brewery and Charm School pub for pints and fills as of noon today, as well as on tap at Primal Kitchen, Stillwell (from Friday open), and Tom’s Little Havana (who will keep it on tap as long as Unfiltered can supply it).

• And while you are grabbing a pint and/or growler at Unfiltered today, be sure to try the other latest addition to their taps, kombucha from Mad Boocha. Brewed in small batches in the Unfiltered brewhouse, kombucha is produced using yeast and bacteria, fermenting sweet tea into a lightly acidic and refreshing low-, or no-, alcohol drink. Mad Boocha has released several styles of the drink, with a Hibiscus Ginger version available currently for both pints and take-away in growlers at Unfiltered. Keep an eye on their social media pages for more details on the next releases.

North is releasing a new beer today, a Belgian Dubbel named Doki Doki Dubbel. Not your typical Dubbel, this one had a secondary fermentation on black cherries, gives notes of cherry, raisin, and dark fruit in the flavour, along with a light spiciness in the finish. Weighing in at 7.4% ABV, it will be available for growler fills, as well as in 750 mL swing tops. Battery Park will have it on tap, and it will be available at tonight’s North Tap Takeover at Good Robot; it may also appear at other beer establishments in the HRM in the near future.

• Earlier this week Boxing Rock in Shelburne brought a new beer to market in a style not common around these parts, and certainly not one we’ve seen from a local brewery any time recently. Stayin’ Alive is a malty lager in the traditional bock style, fairly high in alcohol and hopped very mildly for a satisfying and filling experience. Originating in the town of Einbeck some 700 years ago, it was commonly brewed and consumed by monks as a means of maintaining nutrition during pre-Easter fasting. Though they eschewed the de rigueur billy goat on the label, Boxing Rock’s version stays true to the style, coming in at 6.8% ABV, with biscuit, bread and roast flavours, smooth bittering and just a touch of noble hop flavor. You can find it now at the brewery, at private stores in HRM, and on tap at tap accounts throughout Nova Scotia. And speaking of taps, Boxing Rock has announced their Legendary Keg Club contest, where the winner will see a beer tap installed in his or her home and Boxing Rock will supply 6 months of beer to stock it! To enter, simply go to the contest page and fill in the blanks appropriately.

• Like Boxing Rock, Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay will also be hopping on the seasonal malty German lager train early in March, but with the bigger, beefier version of the bock style, the Doppelbock. Doppel being German for “double”, doppelbock takes the maltiness of the bock to deeper, darker places where more roasty and dark fruit flavours emerge. Doppelbock 1753 pays tribute to the German heritage of the South Shore and is subtitled, “The Winter Beer of Lunenburg County.” This beer features the requisite malty sweetness as well as rich plum flavours, hints of dark chocolate and a slightly warming mouthfeel consistent with the 8.1% ABV. A characteristically low 19 IBU provide slight bitterness to this dark brown brew that finishes with a lingering vinous character.​ A firm launch date has not yet been determined, but watch the brewery’s Twitter feed where it will surely be announced. Late notice addition: Launch Date is March 10th.

• After celebrating their First Anniversary this week, the fine folks at Nine Locks Brewing have decided to give us all the gift of another new beer! Launching this coming Monday, Vanilla Porter will be available on draft and in cans. Featuring three separate additions of vanilla, this full-bodied porter blends dark chocolate and vanilla together in a great brew. At 5.0% ABV and a light 25 IBU, the malt and vanilla are the stars of the show. Keep an eye on their Twitter page for the exact launch details.

• Launching at next weekend’s Fredericton Craft Beer Festival is a cross-Confederation-Bridge Collaboration, between Charlottetown’s Upstreet and Fredericton’s Picaroons breweries. Brewed using the same malt bill, featuring a healthy dose of Rye malt, Rye’d On is an 8.0% ABV Imperial Rye Beer, but fermented with two different yeasts. Upstreet’s Hogie brewed the beer at his brewery in Charlottetown, and then travelled to Fredericton to assist in brewing the same beer on the Picaroons system. In Fredericton, the beer was fermented using Pics’ own Ringwood ale strain, while in C’town, Upstreet used a pitch of lager yeast normally destined for their Commons Pilsner. The result is two different beers with a common origin. You’ll have the first chance to try the beer at the Fest March 11th, and to a wider release at both ANBL and PEILCC stores, and on draft in both provinces on Monday the 13th.

• Hammond River is brewing a new American IPA next week – single-hopped with Summit, this is a high alpha-acid American variety known for providing plenty of orange, tangerine, and citrus character in beer. Going in the dry-hop with the Summit will be lots of freshly-zest grapefruit zest, so we can likely expect a beer chock-full of citrus character! Expect this one to come in at around 6.5% ABV and 60 IBUs, and to start popping up on tap in a few weeks.

And the goings-on keep going strong:

• Head out to Digby’s Roof Hound this Saturday, March 4th, for another Beer Launch Music Event. Kicking off their “Dive Bar Classic Cocktail Series”, they are releasing the Mojito Dry Hopped Sour that we told you about last week. Weighing in at 4.8% ABV, the light-bodied tart beer features loads of freshly zested and squeezed limes and fresh mint. To celebrate, they are holding a live music event that evening, with Hannah-Grace playing from 10pm, after the beer starts flowing at 9pm.

• For those of you in Halifax, drop by Lion & Bright Saturday night from 8pm for a Breton Brewing takeover of their taps. Featuring their core lineup, as well as a few seasonal and fun favourites, there will sure to be something for everybody flowing tomorrow night. Find out more on their event page.

Good Robot continues to keep their schedule packed with goings-on. After last night’s tap takeover at Battery Park in Dartmouth, tonight sees North-end neighbours North Brewing populating 8 of the GR taps completing a craft beer quid pro quo celebrating the collaboration beer Moo Nay Tripel that we told you about last week. On Wednesday, they bring you FemmeBot, a celebration of International Women’s Day hosted by comedian Megan McDowell. They’ll have three new beers on tap: Red Moon Landing, a Red IPA that celebrates the African American women who were key to NASA space missions (and who inspired the film Hidden Figures); Baba Yaga Chaga Brown, an American Brown Ale featuring Chaga Fungus that invokes a supernatural feminine spirit of Slavic folklore; and, Faster Pussy Hat! Kill! Kill! a hibiscus-infused IPA. The first two of these were brewed by female staff of Good Robot, the third by Glee Club member and home brewer, Robyn Vaughan. There will also be guest taps from other breweries with prominent female brewers, including Sober Island, Boxing Rock, Spindrift and Lazy Bear. Much more information is available on the event’s Facebook page and Thursday’s article in The Coast.

• Next week is Fredericton Craft Beer Week, with plenty of events leading up to the grand finale, the FCBF, on March 11th. In addition to these events, the James Joyce will be hosting a New Brunswick IPA Showdown from Tuesday, March 7th to Thursday, March 9th. During this time period, all 25 taps (and a cask) will be pouring various IPA styles, ranging from American to English, White to Black, and beyond! All of your favourites will be on, as well as some new beers, including the first appearance of Saint John’s Loyalist City Brewing, which will have both their Hop Series Cascade and Hop Series Motueka on tap at some point. Be sure to show up and order some flights (and/or full pours) to get your hop fix!

• Also next Thursday, March 9th, don’t forget to stop by the King Street Ale House for their Nova Scotia Tap Takeover and Trivia Night. Lots of great NS beer, lots of easier (we promise) trivia questions from Shawn and Chris… and lots of brewery swag to the winners! Beer starts pouring at 6 pm, with trivia following at 7 pm. No charge to attend, but if you buy a ticket in advance you get a special glass and ten 5 oz pours to get you started. And once you’re done there, maybe you can head down the street to Graystone to sample some beers from their New Brunswick NanoTakeover, where 8 different small NB breweries will have their beers on tap.

Enjoy your weekend, and as always, just a few more things before signing off…

Picaroons seasonal Maple Cream Ale is back; this 5% ale is brewed with maple syrup from local producers Briggs Maples. Available for a limited time on tap at the Roundhouse and Brewtique, and in bottles at ANBL stores.
Tatamagouche Brewing has added a third can to their offerings at the NSLC, their popular Hippie Dippie Pale Ale. Check here for the availability at your local outlet. And watch your podcatching app next #902sday (aka March 7th), as the 902 BrewCast folks (with our own Chris in tow), drop by Tatamagouche to learn about the history of the brewery, and some cool new beers and projects on the horizon.
– Yesterday, TrailWay released the winning American IPA in their first Homebrew Challenge; Hoppy McHazy was brewed by local homebrewer Pierre Gagnon, and is available now on tap and in cans. Only 50 cases of cans were released, but fear not… the beer will be brewed again within a couple of months. Check here for the full details on the beer.