Here we are most of the way through February and it feels a little like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. With both the big sportsball game and everyone’s (least?) favourite Hallmark holiday firmly in the rearview mirror, a three-day weekend coming up for many, it feels like maybe we’re on our way to surviving another winter (unless you’re in Cape Breton, maybe, where they’re probably on the fence about that). Pull up a chair, grab yourself a pint, pat yourself on the back, and read on for all the news we could find in Atlantic Canadian Beer for this week.

We’ll start this week on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin has been quite busy of late. Two weeks ago we told you about their new Best Bitter, made with a new malt (the Maris Otter-esque “The Otter Guys” from the folks at Horton Ridge). Last week it was their new dark and creamy Oatmeal Stout. This week they match those two with a brace of new releases. Up first is Hazy Belgian IPA, which marries the yeast-driven aromas of a Belgian ale with the juicy hop presence and haze of an NEIPA. Coming in at 6.8% ABV, you can safely expect Tanner’s usual care and attention to finding a balance between these two bold characters. This one is 6.8% ABV and 60 IBU and has been canned, but the labels were storm-delayed until yesterday; hopefully it’ll be available later today, but it could be a little later this weekend. On the other end of the spectrum from a hoppy beer intended to be consumed young is their other new release, a dark beer that’s already been hanging around for six months. Tanner’s stalwart Porter has been around for over five years now and features plenty of dark malt character with roasty chocolate and coffee notes balanced against sweeter caramel and malt flavors in a 5.7% package. Last fall, 100 liters or so from a batch of that Porter was fed into a Hungarian oak barrel from Grand Pré Winery that was previously used to age apple brandy. This week that beer came out of the barrel so that it can be enjoyed. What will six months in oak, no doubt with a touch of apple brandy, do to a Porter? The only way to find out is to try it!

That brings us neatly to our last piece of Tanner news, that they will be featured from open ‘til close tomorrow at Battery Park in Dartmouth for a tap takeover. Tanner has one of the broadest oeuvres of any brewery in the region and their full range will be on display. Foch saison fermented on grape skins, German styles, British styles, Belgian styles, and meads will all be represented. This will also be the first opportunity to try the barrel aged Porter (although some will also be canned for release, possibly as early as next week). A full tap list can be found here. Hope to see you there!

Labrador’s Iron Rock Brewing has a returning beer out this week, the annual seasonal they call Banishment. An oat stout that’s been aged in Bourbon barrels, giving the chocolatey notes of the base beer a boost with vanilla and oak, it’s quite smooth, maintaining plenty of body and roast character, and weighing in at 6.0% ABV and 32 IBU. This year’s batch has been crafted in honour of the 2024 running of Cain’s Quest, the world’s longest snowmobile endurance race that covers more than 3,000km around some of the world’s toughest Northern terrain. This year’s race kicks off on March 3rd with 37 teams set to compete. Maybe some of them will relax with a Banishment at the end of it all… we know the spectators will definitely be enjoying a few to keep warm!

Lone Oak of Borden-Carleton, PEI, is coming in hot this week with a brand Double IPA, Elysium. Sneakily debuting at their Battle of the Breweries at Hopyard Beer Bar earlier this month, this 9.1% ABV beast is now available to everyone everywhere all at once. While the yeast is not always the star of the show when it comes to IPAs, it’s definitely worth noting here, as this beer was fermented with the experimental Elysium by yeast darlings Escarpment Labs. Developed in their Guelph facility to promote pineapple aromatics and flavour, that was only enhanced at Lone Oak by their use of Sultana hops as the major addition, to keep the tropical vibes going. On tap and in cans at their four locations across the island (Borden Taproom, Milky Way Brewpub and Cold Beer Store, and Stratford Fox Meadow). If you’re interested in more about Escarpment’s yeast offerings, including Elysium, its new “sister” yeast, Pomona, and how they can help create standout IPAs, check out their latest blog post.

Moncton’s O’Creek Brewing put out a cheeky one earlier this week just in time for Valentine’s Day. HibisKiss is a pale ale low in bitterness at 15 IBU and light on hop character in order to make room for flavors of lemon and hibiscus. Featuring a gorgeous red color, it’s described by the brewery as, “romance in a glass.” But if that’s not your speed and you’re looking for something a little hoppier, check out their Riwaka Loral Hazy Pale Ale. Riwaka is a New Zealand hop variety known for imparting heavy tropical and passion fruit vibes, and Loral is a recently developed American hop that brings citrus and floral character with some peppery spice and some herbal notes. Paired together in a 5%, 25 IBU and very hazy package, we suspect it will be a winner with the hop head crowd. Our best understanding is that both of these beers are draught-only at the taproom, at least for now.

The burgeoning trend towards non-alcoholic options in beer has been progressing nicely for the last couple of years, with some local breweries having strong entries in the segment already. It seems only fitting that the local cideries join the party and recently Halifax’s Chain Yard became the second that we’re aware of. Anytime is a non-alcoholic cider that, like all CY ciders, starts with 100% Nova Scotian apples. All the way down in true NA territory at 0.5% ABV, it’s refreshing and balanced, featuring notes of ripe apple and honey balanced by hints of light citrus and floral overtones. Find it at the tap room for now, but hopefully soon at other places where you find your non-alcoholic options.

One of the other trends that the global beer world has seen in the last while, but that hasn’t had a whole lot of local representation is the “low-carb” offering. Dominated by industrial breweries with equipment that isn’t generally accessible in the craft brewing space, we know of only a couple entries in the category from Canada. Them? Notsomuch with the “craft.” Their parent companies? Notsomuch with the Canadian. Enter Good Robot Brewing, boldly going where very few other craft breweries anywhere have gone. Ultra Light is…ultra…light? A measly three grams of carbs per serving and 4% ABV, but without compromising on flavor, this one is coming out of their state of the art facility in Elmsdale where truly impressive things are possible. You can grab it in 355ml tall cans (the “svelte” ones, natch) at the tap room or order it for home delivery now, or you can wait for it to appear at the NSLC once they’ve got their packaging sorted out.

In addition to the Tanner Tap Takeover at Battery Park tomorrow, there’s some other events coming up shortly.

Eagle-eyed social media savants may have noticed a month or two back some Insta clips featuring the brewers of Tatamagouche Brewing and 2 Crows spending some time with the team at PEI’s Lone Oak (eventually, once everyone had their breakfast and stuff). The result of that collaboration is now ready to share. Taking some cues from an all-world beer, Taras Boulba by Brussels’ Brasserie de la Senne, this beer features the use of three yeast strains: Foggy London by Escarpment Labs, a French Saison blend to finish and dry the beer out, and the White Labs product Metschnikowia reukaufii, a yeast that has evolved to specialize in consuming nectar, but which also provides enhanced aroma and modulated bitterness in malt co-fermentations. Hopped generously with three Alsatian varieties, Aramis, Mistral, and Barbe Rouge, it saw additions in the mash, the kettle, the whirlpool, and a dry hop as well. Finishing at 5.5%, and somewhat hazy, it’s almost certainly a beer without too many analogues in the region. Bière d’Amis hits the taps next Thursday for the first time amidst a tap takeover featuring all three breweries at HopYard in Charlottetown on Thursday, February 22nd. Three beers from each brewery plus the collab will be on offer, and folks from all three will be in attendance as well. This event is the perfect kick-off to what will almost certainly be a fun- and beer-filled weekend for PEI Beer Fest.

Wait, did we say, “PEI Beer Fest?” We sure did! This year’s event will go down at the Delta Prince Edward by Marriott next weekend and will feature three sessions, one on Friday evening, one Saturday afternoon, and one Saturday evening. For general admission, evening sessions are three hours, Saturday afternoon is two and a half but there are VIP tickets available offering a start time 30 minutes earlier and a take-home souvenir glass. There are also, appropriately, Designated Driver tickets available to ensure that folks can plan a team effort in getting home safely. Some twenty-five producers across beer, cider, and ready-to-drink spaces will be represented. There will be live music and local food pairings as well. Tickets are still available for all sessions, although VIP for Saturday evening is now sold out. You can find out more about the fest, the breweries that will be represented, and find links to purchase tickets at the PEI Beer Festival Official Website.

A few more things before we sign off this week. Thanks, as always for reading!

In Big Spruce news, on the heels of the judging of their 11th annual Home Brew Challenge (results next weekend!) is the re-release of last year’s winning beer, Alex Hunt’s Under the Mountain, a cascadian dark ale (aka “Black IPA”) at 6.8% and packed with Chinook, Simcoe, and Centennial hops. Grab it from the source now, and we suspect other places where you find Big Spruce in the coming weeks.

Heading down the 104 we get to Truro, NS, where Truro Brewing Company has their annual collab with Port Rexton Brewing back on the go. Quiet Company is a Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine tipping the scales at a hefty 9% and packaged in 650ml bombers, you’ll probably want to take this one on sitting down. Rich and boozy, there’s plenty of malt there to sip quietly, perhaps by a warm fire with the best of friends. Also available by the pint at the tap room.

Continuing down that very same highway, we reach New Brunswick, and then Dieppe in particular, where CAVOK has a new twist on a hazy style this week. Soleil  is a New England-style hazy pale ale aged with Brettanomyces in an oak foeder. Hops and brett can go together beautifully in our opinion, and the oak should provide some lovely tannic contrast. Check out this 4.8% ABV number for yourself at the source.

Up in St. John’s, NL, Bannerman has their cold IPA back on tap and in cans. Negative Space is brewed and hopped like an IPA, but fermented and conditioned like a lager, giving a crisp and clean finish beneath a generous hop character. Cascade, Centennial, and Citra, make sure you’re getting your classic West Coast hop character in this 6.0% beer.

!!Attention all Atlantic Canadian Homebrewers!! You are just a couple of weeks out from the deadline for the Fifth Annual Atlantic Homebrew Challenge, your chance at hundreds of dollars in prizes, and seeing your beer being brewed and distributed by Gahan Beer across the region. This year’s beer styles are Best Bitter and Spice, Herb, and Vegetable, so you truly do have time to brew one or both styles in time for judging later in March. Visit the website above for all of the details on styles, rules, and be sure to drop off your beer before March 2nd at your local Gahan pub!

And we’ll finish the week back in Halifax with a bit of a PSA. 2 Crows is recalling cans of one of their anniversary beers, Alright Alright Alright due to some issues with can liners. If you’ve got some on hand you’re advised to empty and dispose of them, but also to reach out to eric@2crowsbrewing.com to arrange a refund or replacement with an alternative product. Kudos to the 2C gang for doing the right thing for their customers in response to a quality issue.

We don’t know about you folks, but we blinked and somehow we’re already a third of the way through February; maybe last weekend’s snow did something to accelerate that. Speaking of which, many breweries in the region lost some business days to getting dug out, so bear that in mind when you’re picking up beer for the big foosball game this weekend (see more on that below). Also coming up soon is Valentine’s Day, which really has nothing to do with beer unless you want it to. Anyways, enjoy this week’s round up of beer news in Atlantic Canada.

Chester Basin’s darling, Tanner & Co has a brand new beer available this week, dipping into the dark and delicious end of the spectrum. At 5.7% ABV, Oatmeal Stout is robust, with roast, coffee, and chocolate notes coming though thanks to the dark malts used in the mash. The addition of oats helps smooth out the mouthfeel, lending a wonderful creamy texture. The ensemble will have you looking forward to that next sip (and next pint!). Available now in both their Chester Basin brewery location, as well as their Chester taproom, and for delivery online through their shop, too!

Speaking of dark and roasty beer, Moncton’s Tire Shack has brought back their Belgian Coffee Quad this week. Melding the biggest of the Belgian styles, known for its dark fruit, caramel, and a bit of sweetness, with some great coffee roasted by nearby Down East Coffee. That combination, as well as the 9.0% ABV, will have you praising the heavens for this lovely brew. Pop by 190 John Street to see their recently expanded taproom, and grab a pint and cans before this seasonal disappears.

On to Corner Brook, where Boomstick Brewing calls 55 West Street home. They’ve decided to kick up the hops in a big way with the release of Double Knit ImperialIPA. A light base of Pilsner malt and flaked wheat supports the absolute jumbo weight of hops used in the beer. Idaho 7, Simcoe, and Mosaic have been knitted together for multiple layers of tropical, citrus, resin, and much more. On tap right now, available in cans as well, with those being distributed on the Good Beer Highway across the province soon!

It being February, the annual Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl is up and running on the South Shore of the province, and, as is traditional, the craft brewers in the area are getting involved. This week we can tell you that Boxing Rock Brewing has put together a new brew for the occasion this year, with a name that’s a riff on one of their most popular beers. Shuck Off is a blonde ale coming in at 5% ABV. Although they’re describing it as “LOBSTERIFIC” it contains no actual lobster. That said, with a light and crisp body, it’s the perfect refreshing pairing for rich, and often garlic-butter-soaked lobster! Check out all the events at the official website linked above and grab yourself some Shuck Off at all Boxing Rock locations.

It’s time for the Superb Owl Section of this post. Many breweries have some deals on now until Sunday February 11th. You like deals? We like deals. You like the Superb Owl? We do, too! Check out your favourite local craft breweries offering some special deals for the big game. These deals are directly from the breweries, so go to the source for your stuff if you can. 

Breton Brewing

  • Lager –  Mixed 4 Pack (473ml) for $12
  • Lager – Mixed Flat (24 x 473ml) for $50
  • Black Angus IPA – Two 355ml 6 Packs for $30

2 Crows Brewing

  • AC Light Lager – Flat (24 x 473ml) for $50

Garrison Brewing

  • Tall Ship Light – Case (12 x 355ml) for $25

Propeller Brewing

  • Prime Lager – Flat (24 x 355ml) for $40
  • Azacca – Flat (24 x 355ml) for $50

Burnside Brewing

  • Toller Lager, Gold & Lite – Case (12 x 355ml) for $22

Trailway Brewing

  • Fetch Lager – $4 off a Case (12 x 355ml)

North Brewing

  • 15% Off – Newsletter code

REMINDER: Not every brewery is big enough to produce beers like this that can be brewed in quantity and sold at minimal margin or even a loss to drive cash flow. So by all means, spend some of your craft beer dollars on these deals, but maybe save a couple of simoleons to pick up something from a smaller producer for whom every can counts?

We’ll take a minute to highlight one big party going on Sunday evening, up in Paradise, NL, where Banished Brewing is doing up The Banished Bowl, with tailgate starting at 6pm leading into a private watch party. Tickets for the event are $45 each, which includes entry, 2 beer tickets, 1 meal ticket, a take-home mug, and exclusive access to additional beers from Toronto’s Bellwoods and Halifax’s 2 Crows. One of the Banished joints you’ll be able to enjoy this weekend is the return of Makes Sense, their hazy IPA, which is, “ultra fresh and tasting insane.” So Making Sense is nonsensically good, apparently!!

Here’s our last few quick hits to send you on your way for the weekend. Go Ninefs!! Yay Chiefers!! Happy Tay Tay!!

If you know anything from the last couple of years of craft beer trends, it’s that Lager is Life. Tusket Falls Brewing have two locations in Tusket and Halifax, and both are featuring three new lagers. While they brew up a new one in the tank now, they currently have Czech Pils, German Pils and Helles all on tap. The Czech is featured on a Lukr side pull and all beers are available at both locations. Let your noses and tongues pick up the classic hops of Saaz and Hallterteauer Mittelfruh along with classic continental malts from Raven and Weyermann. They’re hoping to have these available all the time, so check them out if you’re around either location.

As mentioned above, there’s a deal on some Breton Brewing lagers for a football game. If you’ve been following along with their Light Lager series, you’ll be happy (or sad) that this is the fourth and final release. Breton Lager #4 is a Light Lager at 4%. That’s all we can tell you! It’s crisp and light and available now, and as part of one of their Superb Owl deals mentioned above. We’re looking forward to seeing which of the light lager variants will be the go-to for a bigger batch to feed summer thirsts across Cape Breton Island and beyond.

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has a re-release a few years after its debut in 2021. This is a memorial brew to the late Paul McKinnon and Battleship PM-67 is back and available now as a tribute and memorial to the brewery’s late friend and patron. This double IPA is made with the Cryo Pop hop blend (from Yakima Chief) and is packed with tropical tastes and flavours, including pineapple, peach, and grapefruit. This is 7.5% and available at the brewery on tap and in cans. 

Break out the Silver and Black (no the Raiders aren’t in the big game!) because Bearstream is back: Trailway Brewing’s tasty West Coast IPA is back with some tweaks. Still using classic West Coast hops, this new batch beefs up the malt bill to add some toastiness and doughy body not traditionally in the style. Still piney, resinous, and citrusy, it still has the West Coast bitterness, but with a bit more malt balance in a 7% package. It’s available now from the brewery and online. 

Faithful patrons of Nyanza’s Big Spruce will be excited about the latest beer returning to taps and cans. Amärzen Grace is back and this Märzenbier is true to the traditional German lager style. German for “March Beer”, this beer is a malty, full-bodied lager that is very drinkable with notes of toffee and dried fruit. It is 6% and available on tap for growlers and pints and in cans from the brewery (in-person or online!).

The returning favourites keep on rolling as Village Green brings back one of their classic brews, Dark Mild. Forever drinkable at 3.5%, the beer has a good body with notes of chocolate and a nice sweet malty-drinkable everlasting flavour. Get this one on tap or cans to go from the Cornwall, PEI brewery.  

From the Saltbox Brewing crew, we’ve got news of a brand new location launching this summer. In addition to their other Nova Scotia taprooms in Wolfville, Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, and Lunenburg, this will be a Tantallon Taproom at the Shining Waters Marina. More details will be arriving soon, but this planned partnership will launch later this year.

Here we are, starting February with a hum, as we couldn’t get a post out last week due to real life. This week, we’re at least trying to get something out there in honour of Shubenacadie Sam, so this will be mostly a quick hitting summary post, with little to no commentary. Let’s hammer down and get right into it!

Starting with a trio of tidbits from Tatamagouche Brewing, they have one brand new beer and two returning favourites. New to the fold is Fröhlick, a German Pilsner. Made with local hops from Island Hop Company on PEI, this is 5.0% and available in small puppy 355ml cans. Returning after a few years away is Dreadnot, an India Black Ale. It uses debittered black malt, while the hop bill of El Dorado, Chinook, and Centennial bring fruit, citrus, and a bit of pine to the flavour party. It’s 7% and available in cans from the brewery. Also returning is Flanerie, a Belgian Blonde. This one is locally-focused using Horton Ridge malt and whole-leaf hops grown in Oxford, Nova Scotia. It’s 5% and available in cans from the brewery. 

A new one from Propeller enters the crushable category of Session IPAs as Anytime IPA is out now. It’s just 4.5% and 26 IBU but packed with juicy tropical citrus flavour and aroma. It’s canned and available now directly from Prop Shops or private stores.

There are a pair of new lagers out of Trailway to tell you about. Fire On The Mountain is an Imperial Pilsner named after the Grateful Dead song. It’s a 6.8% Pilsner with a great balance of sweetness, crispiness and bitterness. Last week saw the release of Eclipse, a Dark Lager that is in collaboration with Banished Brewing of Paradise, NL. Malt forward and toasted, it’s 5.2%, canned and available at both locations (plus in Paradise!), just like Fire On The Mountain. 

Staying on the lager train, Timber Ship Brewing has a brand new one with Miramichi Classic Pilsner. Named after a locally designed salmon fly using the city’s colours, the beer is a celebration of craftsmanship, drinkability and flavour. It’s 5.1% and 15 IBU. This will be canned soon but available on tap at a few places around Miramichi. 

A couple of new cans out of Tanner & Co Brewing comprise a Best Bitter and a returning Belgian Blonde. First up, the bitter uses a new malt they’re working on with Horton Ridge, trying to locally replicate the English Maris Otter malt. This one is perfectly balanced and 4.5%. The Belgian Blonde is also classically made to the true Belgian style and returns after a few months away. This one is 7% and available in cans. 

Rounding out our double release news is Burnside Brewing, who had a pair of new canned goodies come out last week. First up is Werewolfe, an American Porter (in Burnside). It’s 5.5% and roasty toasty, with just the right balancing sweetness. Second is a release from their Brew Lab series, a Hazy Pale Ale #1.2, which changes up the yeast and ups the dry-hopping from the previous version. The Brew Lab releases focus on small batch brews (that are still canned) that they want your feedback on. This one is 4.5% and both of these beers are available at all Burnside locations. 

Creamy friends in foam, Stillwell Brewing sees their Cream Ale return to cans and taps at the brewery. They think it is probably their best batch yet. If you need a reminder, it’s true to the classic North American style and very crisp and tasty at 4.8%

In other beer news, we wrote about Canadian Beer News closing their taps at the end of 2023, but it appears those taps were taken over by Canadian Brewing Awards & Conference. Stay tuned to their Instagram page and website to see what will be going on with the blog. 

As a note to brewers who may not have seen it, the CBAC is within their window for shipping entries now for the 2024 Awards and Conference that will take place in Hamilton. Check out the details here. It’s too late to enter, but if you are entering best be getting on with that packaging and shipping!

The big miss we had last week was not being able to mention 2 Crows Brewing and their seven new releases for their 7th anniversary. While you may have seen on our Instagram that we were there, we thought we should at least run down all the new beers that are available, just for the record. The seven new cans are as follows and you can check the taprooms and website to pick them up. 

Alright Alright Alright, 4.1% –  Farmhouse-style beer with Raspberry, Lime, and Sea Salt. This beer was sneakily launched on draught in November, while the canned product conditioned away. For fans of their 2023 collaboration with OK Sea Salt, OK OK OK, this one’s for you! 

SAL, 5.1% . This Italian Pilsner is the beer for 2 Crows Oxford and a collaboration with Yeah Yeahs Pizza. This is only available online and at 2 Crows Oxford, where they share a space with YY. 

Feral Fox, 9.1%. A Tart Wild Ale with Apricot, it is delicious and dangerous. 

Squeezie II, 5.1%. This smoothie sour goes more to the berry side for its second release. Make it a slushie and enjoy this one, especially on tap at Brunswick street.

Red Piquette: Pino Noir + Kekfrankos, 4.4%. This is not beer! It’s a piquette. 

Space Words, 10.1%. This Triple IPA is back, baby! 

7, 9.2%. Yes, the beer is named 7 and no, they won’t tell you what style it is. So, you have to buy it to try it!


Editor’s Note: If you think there’s a chance we skipped posting last week solely to avoid doing full write-ups on seven new 2 Crows beers, we suggest you zip your yap and keep walking, slappy.