All posts for the month December, 2014

Welcome to the last Atlantic Canada Beer Blog Friday Wrap-Up for 2014! There’s lots of new beers (many of which are Christmas-themed) and other news this week, before the true craziness of the holidays really begins, so let’s get cracking…

• Fredericton, your wait is over: TrailWay Brewing will be officially releasing their beers to the public this weekend! Beginning with a launch party at the King Street Ale House tomorrow at 7:00 pm (open to all), their beers will then be on tap regularly at the KSAH and 540 Kitchen & Bar. They will be bringing four beers to the launch party on Saturday: a 6% ABV hoppy Amber Ale with lots of finishing hops to boost the aroma; an American Pale Ale that is also heavily hopped, with Cascade and Apollo, and dry-hopped twice; another APA hopped entirely with Comet; and a Coffee Stout brewed in the American Stout style, but with less Roasted Barley than is typical, in order to let the added coffee (from Fredericton’s Whitney Coffee Co.) shine. Sounds like some tasty beverages! They’ll have two of these beers available for sampling, and all four can be purchased as full pours. Hope to see you there! For more on TrailWay, check out our original post.

• Last week, we reported on a collaboration beer being brewed at Tatamagouche Brewing with the folks from The Stubborn Goat in Halifax, for the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration on January 15th. We know now that the beer in question is an 8% ABV Imperial IPA, featuring large amounts of Centennial, Columbus, and Chinook hops. It is also dry-hopped with a new variety called Azacca (which is very difficult to obtain), which features notes of citrus, melon, orchard fruit, and pine. The beer hasn’t been named yet, and they’re looking for your help! Head to Tata Brew’s Facebook page and submit your goat-themed beer name by commenting on their contest status; if your name is chosen, you’ll win a free party keg rental and a $100 gift card to the Stubborn Goat! The contest closes on December 22nd.

• And don’t forget that the winning entry in the Big Spruce 2nd Annual Homebrew Competition will also be making its debut at the Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration. Homebrewer Eric Gautier just brewed his American Wheat Ale, Bráthair Éric, on the Big Spruce system; along with Simcoe and Cascade hops as late additions in the boil, Eric has also chosen to dry-hop the beer with the Wakatu variety, from New Zealand. Sounds delicious!

• While on the topic of Big Spruce, they just brewed up a new beer to be released in the New Year. The style is Winter Warmer, and it features an interesting ingredient – Gila Squash. This is a type of squash not grown commercially in Canada; however, Michelle Smith of North Wind Farm in Skye Glen, Cape Breton was lucky enough to obtain 21 Gila seeds from the National Seed Bank, according to Big Spruce. After successfully growing over 30 mature squash this summer, Michelle passed on 7 to Big Spruce, where owner/brewer Jeremy White sugar-roasted the flesh and added it to the mash on brewday. This beer also features local hops from Southan Farms, the Doyle Family farm in Nova Scotia, and the farm at the brewery. White plans on adding black strap molasses as well, bringing this monster of a beer to about 9% ABV. Stay tuned for info on the beer’s release over the new few weeks. And look for their Spruce Bringstein to be released today!

Bad Apple Brewhouse has brewed up another batch of their Barrel-Aged Black & Tackle Russian Imperial Stout, with a different twist. For this batch, the beer spent some time in barrels from Planters Ridge, a winery in Port Williams, giving it a sherry-like finish. This big beer (10.5% ABV) will be on tap only at the brewhouse, and may show up at one or two BAB accounts in Halifax. Owner/brewer Jeff Saunders has also brewed the second version of his Box Cutter IPA, and has assured us it’s even hoppier than the first beer! Look for this one to be available on Boxing Day (just a coincidence). Also, if you happen to see a beer from BAB named Winter Whistler on tap, it’s their Summer Slurper, renamed.

• And speaking of BAB, they’re holding their one-year Anniversary party on December 31st! There’ll be lots going on, including door prizes, gift giveaways, food… and most importantly, a special beer on tap (details TBA in the near future)! Keep your eyes on BAB’s social media pages for more details on the party, soon.

Railcar Brewing will have two new beers on tap for growler fills starting tomorrow. Both beers were brewed in collaboration with and designed by homebrewer Justin Tompkins of Basset Hound Brewing in Perth-Andover; Justin hopes to go pro sometime in the not-too-distant future, so this is a great opportunity to get a feel for his brewing style early! First up is the  Blonde Ale, brewed with the purpose of transitioning Light Beer drinkers into the world of craft beer. It features a grist of Pale malt and Carafoam, and is lightly hopped with Centennial and Hallertauer. Fermented with an English ale yeast, it clocks in at 5% ABV.  The Cherry Chocolate Stout is at the other end of the spectrum – featuring Roasted Barley and Chocolate malts, lactose sugar, Fuggles and Cascade hops from Southan Farms, “various forms of cocoa” in the mash and secondary fermentation, along with real sweet cherries, this will definitely not be a light-tasting beer (but is still quite sessionable at 4.5% ABV)! Get down to the brewery if you can, these beers won’t be around for long!

• Just in time for Christmas, Boxing Rock is releasing a new beer today that’s perfect for pairing with “Christmas cake and holiday cheer”. Blue Toboggan is a Spiced Winter Ale; the spices in question include ginger and cinnamon that were added in the brewing process. As well, a little Haskap juice – provided by Haskapa, out of Blockhouse, NS – was added to give this pale-straw beer a slight red-blue color (Haskaps are small blue berries, sometimes referred to as “Blue Honeysuckle”). The ginger and cinnamon, combined with the tartness from the Haskap, are supported by the malt backbone, as well as a “mild bitterness and smooth finish”. Sounds like a great take on a Christmas beer! Look for it on tap at the brewery, select bars/restaurants in Halifax, and in 650 mL bottles at the private liquor stores in the HRM starting today; it should also be available at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market tomorrow.

• The newest One Hit Wonder from Propeller is out this weekend. Snowblower Winter Ale is described by the brewery as a “Darkish British-style brew”, a 6.2% ABV malt-forward beer brewed with Melanoidin, Munich and Roast to complement the base malts. English hop varieties, including Fuggles, are used to balance and enhance the flavour and aroma, to 31 IBUs. On tap now at Gottingen, and soon at the Windmill location, this beer is only available in growlers, with a limited number of kegs around the city.

• A reminder that Propeller’s second Lambic release, Blackberry, is being released Monday, Dec 21st. To celebrate, the launch party will be taking place at Stillwell tomorrow, starting at noon. You’ll be able to buy the beer by the glass or bottle, and from 1-3pm will have the chance to sign up for a pre-release bottle to be picked up Sunday (limit one per person). The beer goes on sale Monday at opening at Gottingen (10am) and Windmill Rd (noon), with a strict one-bottle per person limit. Show up early to avoid disappointment, the Framboise sold out within minutes of opening!

• Jake Saunders just took over the role of Brewmaster at Rockbottom in Halifax, and his first creation is already on tap at the brewpub! An Extra Special Bitter, The Loyalist ESB weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 35 IBUs, and was hopped heavily (~8.5 kg) with East Kent Goldings. Copper-colored with an aroma of “toast, honey and pears”, this malty beer features flavors of coffee, toffee, and an earthy, balanced bitter finish. Get down there to give this new beer a try, before it’s gone!

Grimross Brewing has announced that, inspection and licence-pending, their new location at 600 Bishop Dr. in Fredericton will be open this coming Monday, December 22nd, from noon – 10:00 pm. There should be two beers on tap on opening day: a Belgian Blonde Ale test batch, and one of their popular flagship beers, the Saison Cheval D’or; both will be available for growler fills (750 mL and 1.89 L), and samples or full pours! They’ve also just brewed a batch of their popular  Belgian Rye IPA, which has been renamed Grimross Rye IPA. For the most up-to-date status on their opening, keep an eye on their Facebook and Twitter accounts on Monday morning.

• The 2015 Garrison Home Brew-Off site is now live! This is the 7th year for this homebrew competition, with this year’s style being a Robust Porter, a “substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavorful roasty character”. Entries are due by February 12th, and will consist of six bottles of homebrew and a $15 registration fee. Taking part gets you entry to the gala and awards ceremony on March 5th, along with a souvenir glass, a Growlito and your first fill. Your homebrew will be evaluated by BJCP-certified judges, and the winning brewer will get to brew a full batch of his or her beer on the Garrison system with brewmaster Daniel Girard. Get brewing!

• Speaking of homebrew competitions, we’re down to the last month before entries are due for the 1st Annual Hammond River Brewing Homebrew Competition. Your Christmas / Winter Specialty Beer entries are due by January 16th. For more info, check out the link above, and our previous post.

• Are you having a big party at your house on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve? Or, maybe you’re just going to be in the mood for some cider and snacks one of those nights, and don’t feel like leaving the house? Well, Red Rover is pairing with Real Food Connections to offer delivery to your home (within Fredericton only). Just follow the directions on this link to make your order; delivery charge will be only $5, and if your order is over $100, delivery is free!

In closing, if you happen to be out skiing at Mont Farlagne this weekend, all three flagship beers from Petit-Sault are now available on tap and/or in bottles at the bar! A reminder that their event at Le Deck on Saturday will feature several special one-offs (check out our previous post for more info). And look for their Louis XVII to be available in bottles in early 2015! Picaroons finally broke ground on their new brewery this week, so they’re on their way to another expansion! For those not able to make it to the Brewtique every day at 4pm to be enjoying their 12 Beers of Christmas, be sure to visit Stillwell on the 23rd to have your pick of them all!

As hinted at above, we will be taking next week off for the holidays. We’ll still be updating our Twitter account with new beer releases and interesting events during the next couple of weeks, but we’ll be sharing the full details with you all when we return in the New Year. In the meantime, drink local… and have a safe, happy, and beer-filled Christmas!

Good morning! After a couple of very busy beer-news weeks, it looks like things have slowed down a bit… but there’s still quite a bit going on in the Atlantic Canada beer world!

• We have some more info on the new Sweet Stout (aka Milk Stout), La Vaca Loca, brewed by BarNone. This complex, dark beer was months in the making; co-owner/brewer Don Campbell had long wanted to brew a Sweet Stout with cacoa nibs from Island Chocolates in Victoria-by-the-Sea. Brewed with seven different malts, the beer has lactose powder added late in the boil to increase body and sweetness. During secondary, there are additions of the cacoa nibs (which have been soaked in alcohol), vanilla bean (also soaked in alcohol), and Belgian candy. On top of all this, Campbell saved some of the cacoa nibs for a final addition, or “dry-nibbing”. This 6.4% ABV Stout should be available soon! And their Imperial IPA, The Little DIPA, should now be on tap at The Pilot House and Baba’s Lounge in Charlottetown… go get some!

Big Axe, meanwhile, has also provided more details on their newest beer, Wrath of Putin Imperial Pale Ale. A stronger beer at 7.5% ABV, it is hopped to 75 IBUs with two varieties – Centennial and Goldings – from Southan Farms. It is described by the brewery as having a “golden amber color” and “strong hop flavor with a clean malty sweetness”; look for it on tap in Fredericton at 540 Kitchen & Bar and Vault 29. Also note that Big Axe is currently closed for growler fills and retail sales until December 28th.

Hammond River‘s Chocolate Coconut Porter, Into the Dark, is finally ready! Along with the toasted cacao nibs and toasted coconut, owner/brewer Shane Steeves decided to go ahead and add some steeped coffee from local roaster Java Moose as well. Sounds like a good idea to us! Look for this 6.3% ABV Porter on tap at the usual Hammond River accounts in New Brunswick over the next few days.

Sea Level Brewing is bringing back one of their seasonals, High Street Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. Brewed to style, it’s a malty beer with a “sweet caramel taste”, accompanied by toasted and roasted flavors. A dark-amber, 6.4% ABV ale, you can find it now at the brewery in cans, and for growler fills. Look for it on tap in Halifax and the Annapolis Valley at select beer bars/restaurants, and in cans at the private liquor stores in Halifax.

Tatamagouche Brewing has released their Festive Ale this week, Maple Squash Ale. Organic, locally grown and roasted Red Kuri Squash from Waldegrave Farms in Tatamagouche, along with organic Maple Syrup from Acadian Maple, were used to create this special beer. Malagash-grown Goldings and Willamette hops were used to balance  for a nice smooth finish, with a hint of spicing and sweetness on this 5.1% beer. It is on tap for growler sales at the brewery now, and will hit the local bars and be in bottles next week. For those not lucky enough to have picked up a ticket to the Festive Brunch with the Ladies Beer League at Bar Stillwell Sunday at noon, we expect there to be some still on tap at 4pm, when the bar is open to all. Look for merch and goodies from both TataBrew and the LBL that afternoon. And the LBL crew will be on hand to answer questions and chat about their membership and discount card, which will be released in January 2015. We have a preview of the discounts available here, looks like a great value for $25!
• Coming soon from TataBrew is their Oyster Cloister, an Oyster Stout. Yes, you read that correctly, an Oyster Stout! Brewed with the dark and roasty malts characteristic of a stout, Malagash-grown oysters were added to the boil for a special kick, and a faint saltiness to complement the roast character. Weighing in at 5.3%, it also features Tata farm-grown Willamette and Goldings hops. This brew will be released in growlers and 650 mL bottles, and your friendly neighbourhood pub, on December 31st.
• In preparation for their participation in the Craft Beer and Local Food event January 15th, the TataBrew Crew invited the Stubborn Goat Crew over for a brewday last week. Tyler, Evan and Josh assisted with the milling, mashing in and out, and measuring and adding of hops. Look for this special collaboration beer to debut on the 15th, and we’ll have more details closer to that date.

Yellowbelly Brewpub in St. John’s has released their annual Mummer’s Brew seasonal beer. This year’s style is a Chocolate Coffee Porter, and weighs in at 6%. Maris Otter base malt with a healthy dose of Baird’s Black and Thomas Fawcett Roast Barley malts complete the bill. Light additions of East Kent Goldings and Willamette hops were used to balance the beer, to 30 IBUs. After primary fermentation (using a blend of American and British Ale and Champagne yeasts), Newfoundland Chocolate Company cocoa nibs were added to the tank, and Fixed cold-steeped coffee was blended in during transfer to the packaging tank. The resultant dark ruby-coloured beer features roast and chocolate notes, with some noble hop character, and a slight warming characteristic. The beer is on tap now, and bottles should be available next week.

• Coming soon from Yellowbelly is a Christmas Cider. This special release features fresh-pressed cranberry juice from the West Coast of Newfoundland, and is  drier than their Yellow Mellow Cider. The cranberries lend a pink hue to the body, and a fruit aroma that melds nicely with the apple character. This cider weighs in at 6.5%, and will only be available in bottles at Yellowbelly and the local NLC locations. Look for it in the next week or so.

Distillerie Fils du Roi est situé à Petit-Paquetville, sur la Péninsule acadienne de nouveau brunswick. Ils produisent des esprits il y a deux ans, et ont récemment acquis l’équipement supplémentaire pour brasser de la bière. Leur première bière est Caraquet Flyer, nommé d’après un train qui a été utilisé dans la région dans les années 1880. La bière est du style Eisbock, en utilisant un procédure de congélation et l’enlèvement de l’eau de la bière pour permettre le niveau d’alcool se élever à 8,5%. La bière a a été approuvé par Revenu Canada, Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments et de la sécurité publique, mais est maintenant en attente d’approbation de la ANBL, qui malheureusement ne peut être accordée qu’après une réunion du conseil en Février 2015. Nous avons hâte d’essayer cette nouvelle bière, et futur bières saisonniers de la Péninsule acadienne.

 • Distillery Fils du Roi is located in Petit-Paquetville, on the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick. They have been producing small batch spirits for two years, and have recently acquired the additional equipment to brew beer. Their first beer is Caraquet Flyer, named after a train that was used in the region in the 1880s. The beer is an Eisbock, using a method of freezing and removal of water from the beer to allow the alcohol levels to rise to 8.5%. The beer  has been approved by Revenue Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Safety, but is now awaiting approval from the ANBL, which sadly may not be granted until after a board meeting in February 2015. We look forward to trying this new beer, and future seasonal brews from the Acadian Peninsula.

•  Railcar Brewing in Florenceville-Bristol is now offering CSB shares. Community Supported Brewing shares are available from the $125 to $500 level, offering at least 20% bonus return in beer and merchandise, plus invitations to special events, dinners and free brewery tours. Contact Mitch at the brewery for more details, and help support your local brewery!

• Unfortunately, the third Burgers n’ Beer event in Fredericton, which was scheduled for earlier this week on December 9th, had to be cancelled again due to poor weather conditions. However, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, January 6th (still at the uptown reLiSH location from 8:00 – 10:30 pm), and there’s still a few tickets available! Here’s hoping for better weather this time around!

• A reminder that today is the first day of the Picaroons 12 Beers of Christmas; the first beer will be released for growler fills (two per person maximum) at the Brewtique, and the style/beer will be announced online at noon. For those of you outside of Fredericton who are disappointed you won’t be able to take part, good news… Stillwell will be featuring a tap takeover on December 23rd, where all 12 Christmas-themed beers will be on tap at the same time! No charge, just show up to sample one, two, or all twelve beers while you’re out doing your last-minute shopping/trying to get away from the in-laws already.

Here’s hoping your weekend is filled with good beer! Shiretown has their Honey House Ale back on tap for growler fills at the brewery, and Garrison’s Spruce Beer is definitely being released at the brewery this morning (the bottling issues were resolved), and on its way to the private stores and other provinces as well. And congratulations to Jake Saunders, who is now the Brewmaster at Rockbottom Brewpub. Be sure to drop by and wish him a warm welcome, and look out for his first brew on the RB system to be released soon.

Happy Friday! As we enter the busy month of December, the breweries in Atlantic Canada are firing on all cylinders, as there is lots of beer news this week. Let’s get started…

Big Tide has a new brew on tap at the brewpub: Gasworks Chocolate Honey Wheat was brewed for an event at the Saint John Free Public Library, “Beethoven, Books and Beer”. Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos was aiming to brew a beer that was “light and dark”, and warming and refreshing at the same time. So, she added honey to a light wheat ale base to hopefully give a creamier mouthfeel, and also added both Chocolate and Carafa malts to darken the beer and give some roastiness to the flavor. The IBUs are on the lower end, to keep the malt characters upfront. It clocks in at 5.5% ABV; get down to try it, as it won’t be around for long! They’ve also got another new beer in the works just in time for the holidays, Santa’s Chocolate Porter. More on that one, soon!

Pump House has re-released their own take on the Winter Warmer style… a style which is becoming more and more popular for these colder months. Nor’Easter Winter Warmer is a strong ale at 7.5% ABV, and malty sweet, as the style calls for. The brewers spice the beer with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and lightly hop it to only 20 IBUs. It’s currently on tap at the brewpub in Moncton, and is also available for growler fills at the Dieppe ANBL store this week.

• Along with their first DIPA, 8 Cord, the PEI Brewing Co. also released another new beer yesterday! Ice Boat is the brewery’s Sydney Street Stout that has been aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels for three months (the barrels were rinsed before adding the beer, to temper the alcohol flavor and enhance the softening effects of the oak, according to head brewer Chris Long). Packaged in a limited number – 1000 – of 750 mL, wax-dipped bottles (they assure us the wax is easier to remove than in their Transmitter Stout!), it’s currently available at the brewery, and should hit PEILCC stores sometime next week. We also mentioned a Doppelbock last week; that beer has currently been put on hold, but don’t worry, they still plan on brewing it soon!

• In cider news, Red Rover has just released their newest product, Jingleberry. A semi-dry cider coming in at 7% ABV, it has wild blueberries added during the brewing process to give some tartness in the flavors. And if you’re looking to take home some Red Rover cider in a larger container than their usual 1 L flagons, they now have 5 L “Kitchen Party Kegs” for sale… they’re $64 (taxes included) and are refillable; available for purchase at the Ciderhouse. You can also find their products on tap at Sam Snead’s and Ten Resto in Fredericton, joining several other accounts in the city.

• With Christmas around the corner, it’s good news for Picaroons fans… they’re about ready to start their 12 Beers of Christmas! Starting next Friday, December 12th, they will be releasing a new holiday-themed beer every day at 4:00 pm (noon on Sundays) for 12 days, in growler form at the Brewtique. Like last year, there will be a 2 growler limit per person, and the day’s beer won’t be announced until noon on that day (through Facebook and Twitter). There may be a couple of brand new beers, according to the brewery; most will be re-releases of favorites over the last couple of years. These beers always go quickly, so if you want to grab some, make sure to show up early!

• If you don’t have plans for Saturday, Dec. 20th, we have a great idea for you! Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault is having a tap-takeover at Resto-Bar Le Deck in Edmundston. All 8 taps will be dedicated to Petit-Sault beers, four of which will be “One-Hit Wonders” that have never been released before! These new beers include La Dictée (IPA), La Winding Eddy (Vanilla Bourbon Porter), La Kedgwick (Lager), and La Mud Lake (Brown Ale). It all starts at 7:00 pm; admission is free.

• Tickets for the 2015 Saint John Beerfest are now on sale! The event will be held on Saturday, April 11th from 7:30 – 9:30 pm; general admission tickets are $60, with VIP tickets – which allow you entry to the festival half an hour early, and access to “limited quantity beer, food, and entertainment” are $70. We’ll have some more details on the breweries, beers, and food and entertainment options closer to the date.

Propeller Brewing Co is at it again! They are releasing the second in their four-beer Lambic-style beer series in a couple of weeks. Their Blackberry beer will be released December 22nd at both the Dartmouth and Halifax breweries. This beer started out from the same batch of wort and young beer as the Framboise (and the two other beers to come), and then blackberries were added for a unique Nova Scotia twist on this Senne Valley traditional style. And much like their Framboise release in August, they will be holding a special event at Bar Stillwell on Saturday, December 20th. Beginning at noon, patrons can enjoy the new beer by the glass or bottle before it hits the shelves to the general public Monday morning. No tickets are necessary to drop by and enjoy the beer, and those who do will have the opportunity to sign up for a guaranteed bottle to be purchased at the Gottingen St location Sunday the 21st.

• Another busy week for Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza, NS. Last weekend, the Second Annual Homebrew Competition judging took place, and Eric Gauthier’s American Wheat was crowned the best in show! Through stiff competition, Eric’s beer rose to the top, and he will be joining the Big Spruce crew for a brewday in a couple of weeks. His beer will then be released for the first time at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration at the Halifax Club, January 15, 2015 (sorry, tickets are sold out, but you can sign up to the Wait List). Congratulations Eric, and finalists Keith and Jimmy! Last year’s Homebrew Competition winning beer, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, has made a return to the brewery and tap accounts this week, so be sure to grab it when you see it.

• And in more Big Spruce news, they are releasing a new beer today, an Imperial IPA, brewed with 100% imported German malts. Crazy Ivan weighs in at 8.2% and 108 IBUs, thanks to several different American hops. Due to the wicked amount of hops in the boil, the yield for this Bad Boy is quite low, at just over 500 litres, so don’t delay, and grab this insane beer today. And this is a warning to be on the lookout for Hoppuccino version 2, brewed this week. This version featured a special blend from Just Us! Coffee Roasters, roasted especially for this brew. The beer has more coffee added, and a lower ABV, so the flavour profile will really allow this new coffee blend to shine through.

Boxing Rock Brewing Co has brought back their very popular U-889 Russian Imperial Stout, just in time for the colder days ahead. Weighing in at 8.89% ABV and 65 IBUs, this dark beer features a full body, and significant roast and chocolate character, benefitting from additions of organic, fair trade coffee from Just Us! and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for a complex flavour and aroma profile. Available in 650 ml bottles at the private beer stores in HRM, at the Halifax Seaport Market both Friday (for the next three weeks) and Saturday, and at select bars on the South Shore and HRM.

Tatamagouche Brewing Co had a busy week, with a beer re-release, a new beer style on the horizon, and some visitors to the brewery. They have re-released their Dreadnot IBA (India Black Ale) in 650 ml bottles (for the first time), as well as on tap around the province, and in growlers at the brewery. More details on the beer are available here. Details are light, but we spotted the Tata Crew adding some oysters to a new brew that will debut in early 2015, an Oyster Stout. We’ll be sure to pass along the specs when available, but we can say that it features both local Malagash hops and oysters. And the crew from Stubborn Goat Gastropub paid a visit to the brewery to help out with a collaboration that will be released in early 2015 as well. More details on that beer soon.

• And while we don’t yet have all of the details on Tata’s upcoming festive ale, we do have more information on the Holiday Brunch launch event, being held at Stillwell December 12th, put on in partnership with the Ladies Beer League. Chef Graeme Ruppel has prepared three special menu items for the event, Frittata, Strata and Purgatorio (full details at the link above). Tickets for the noon event are $25, which gets you a glass of the Tata holiday beer and food beginning at noon, before the standard 4pm Sunday opening time. Tickets are available online, and will sell out this weekend, so act fast!

• The North Brewing crew were working their new bottling system hard again this week, busy packaging their Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian. Aged in barrels from Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton for two months, the base beer features dark candy sugar and a long boil for dark fruit flavors and a full mouthfeel, that is only enhanced by the vanilla and whisky flavours and aromas picked up from the barrels. Available in 650 ml bottles at the brewery beginning today.

• Local glassware printer Jym Line received a shoutout in the Herald this week. Chances are good that if you’ve filled a growler, or drunk a beer from a logoed glass from a local brewery, you were using a Jym Line product. Check out the article for more insight into this local business.

• As drinkers, we include local beer in our diet, to support our vibrant community of local breweries. In turn, these breweries are increasing their use of local ingredients, grown or harvested in our region. Hop harvest season is a flurry of activity with breweries teaming up with local hop growers to share the best our land has to offer. Other ingredients just as critical to beer production are the grains and malt. While there are local grain producers, there are no commercial malting facilities in the Maritime Provinces. Though the barley for Maritime Malt is grown in our region, it is malted in Quebec. Enter Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co, a new malt house, located in the Annapolis Valley, NS. President Alan Stewart has been growing certified organic produce in Nova Scotia for over 25 years, so is well aware of the unique character of the land and climate of this region. He wants to bring that passion to begin producing malt and grain for local breweries, distilleries, and homebrewers. To further his knowledge on the art and science of malting, Stewart trained at the Canadian Malt Barley Technical Centre in Winnipeg, completing the Malt Academy course. Plans are in place for the first malting to take place during the 2015 season, including three varieties of rye grown on-site. To involve the wider local community in this new venture, Horton Ridge has launched a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (or CEDIF). Stewart is holding an information session December 11, 2014, at the Wolfville Farmers Market, to learn more about the Malt House plans, and the CEDIF details. If interested in attending, be sure to RSVP. We wish Horton Ridge success, and look forward to tasting beers brewed with their malt soon!

• “The best laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry” … Garrison Brewing Company was to be releasing their much anticipated Spruce Beer today, but sadly some bottling line issues has delayed the release until next week. However, we’ll give you the details today, to get you in the mood. It was all hands on deck for over a dozen staff, family and friends of the brewery who visited Meander River Farm and Brewery, to harvest spruce and fir tips and boughs three weeks ago. A bit of snow fell as they collected the tips, making it all the more magical. Pale, dark crystal, roasted malt, and oat flakes were used in the mash, with Crosby’s Molasses from Saint John, NB added to the wort for additional body, aroma, and fermentable sugars, aiding the beer to reach the 7.5% ABV. To complement the aroma from the nearly 40 bags of boughs used, Citra hops brought the bitterness up to 25 IBUs. This year’s brew will be packaged in 650 ml bottles, just the right size for sharing with your favourite elf. And good news for beer drinkers, the distribution of the beer has now expanded into both New Brunswick and PEI, and will be sent to Manitoba and Alberta, as well. The Spruce Beer goes on sale at the brewery next Friday, the 12th, at 9am. We can also share that some of this year’s Spruce Beer will be aged in barrels that previously held Ironworks Distillery Rum, and that last year’s Barrel Aged Spruce Beer will be released before the New Year.

• May 11-17, 2015 will be the inaugural Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week! The Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia is hosting this week-long celebration of beer made in the Bluenose province. Events include Open Brewery Day, Tap Takeovers, Beer Dinners and more, capped off by the flagship event Saturday May 16th, the Full House Craft Beer Fest. The Fest will see beer poured by all members of the Association, all under one roof for the first time. There are two sessions of the fest, being held at the Olympic Community Centre, 12-3pm and 4-7pm. Tickets are now available at the Early Bird price of $22, which gets you in the door, a take-home glass, and your first 12 beer samples. After that, samples are only $1. This format allows for a more relaxed environment, without people rushing and overindulging, in the hopes of “getting their money’s worth” of a higher ticket price. Reasonably-priced food options will be available onsite, as well as musical entertainment and a pop-up shop with merchandise from the Association members. Grab your ticket now to avoid disappointment! We will be sharing details of the other NS Craft Beer Week events as they are released, but from what we’ve heard so far, we can assure you that there will be events across the province, and for beer lovers of all stripes.

Wow! Just when you think beer news is slowing down a bit, you get a week like this. Have a fantastic weekend! In addition to all of the new beers mentioned above, Granite Brewery‘s Darkside IPA is now available at their Beer Store for growler fills, so if you’re in Halifax, stop in to pick some up! And there’s some other new beers on the horizon that we weren’t able to get info on for this week… Big Axe has Chocolate Mint Stout and Wrath of Putin Imperial Pale Ale, both of which will be on tap at 540 Kitchen & Bar soon; BarNone announced that they’ve just brewed a Sweet Stout, La Vaca Loca; and Yellowbelly has their latest seasonal, Root Cellar, on tap now, with bottles following shortly. If you haven’t bought your tickets for the 2015 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, don’t wait any longer… VIP tickets are gone, and general admission tickets are already over 50% sold out! Hell Bay has received a new 12 hL horizontal fermenter that will become their new (and bigger) mash tun, so expect more production from them in the near future. Finally, a big congratulations to Cam and Jenn at Schoolhouse Brewery, who welcomed the newest addition to the family/brewery – baby Claire – on Monday!