All posts for the month September, 2015

It’s been another busy week in the Atlantic Region! Another new brewery has launched in Nova Scotia, a new cidery will be opening soon in New Brunswick, and there are more new beers (and return of seasonal releases) than you can shake a stick at; not to mention several great events for you to check out this weekend. Let’s get to it!

Spindrift Brewing in Dartmouth now has beer available for purchase. While their storefront is not yet open, their Coastal Lager is available now in several NSLCs around the province (with that list growing daily). This 5.0% ABV Amber Lager has an initial province-wide launch in cans, with tap accounts soon, and growler fills at their Burnside location upon its opening in the coming weeks. Look for our profile of them early next week, and go grab a can now!

• There’s a new cidery coming to Fredericton – York County Cider recently got the final approval to move into 418 York St downtown. They’re hoping to launch by the end of October; their first five products should include a Dry, Semi-Dry, Hopped, Ginger, and Blueberry version. Plans right now are to distribute in 12 oz bottles, along with one confirmed tap account in the city (with likely more to follow); growler fills are also a strong possibility. We’ll keep you updated on their progress, and should have a Q&A with owner/brewer Ed Teale in the near future!

• Meanwhile, the string of wet-hopped seasonal beers continues! First off is a “Harvest ale version” of Celtic Knot‘s American IPA, Hopicide. Owner/brewer Bruce Barton was generously given a large amount of fresh Cascade from Amherst, NS homebrewer Jeff Smith, all of which were used as a single dry-hop addition in the already-brewed beer. Look for this batch to pop up on tap at various Celtic Knot accounts very soon. And in other Celtic Knot news, they will be brewing an Oyster Stout version of their Oatmeal Stout, Dark Passage, soon; this one will feature the addition of oyster shells at the beginning of the boil, followed by the meat and juices added near the end. We’ll keep you updated on its release.

• Moving on to Hammond River, they’ve once again released their Harvest Ale. This season’s batch was wet-hopped with a large amount of fresh Cascade that was harvested at the home of owner/brewer Shane Steeves. A West-Coast style IPA, it weighs in at 70 IBUs and 7% ABV and features a “simple grain bill” to let the hops shine through. It’s been popping up at selects bars/restaurants over the last week or two; only two batches were brewed, so if you haven’t tried it yet, find it quickly before it’s gone!

Big Spruce has released their annual hop harvest beer, Craig Goes Yard. An American IPA clocking in at 6.7% ABV, and features a combination of wet and freshly-dried hops, all harvested from their on-premise hop farm. East Kent Goldings and Mt Hood were used wet, while a healthy dose of dried Chinook made it into the boil, and the beer was further dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria. The multiple hops give a great combination of complex aromatics, with the brewery describing the final product as “deeply flavourful”. Look for it on tap at the brewery during today’s Food Truck Friday, around Halifax and Sydney, and at tonight’s Hops n’ Brats event (more details below).

Unfiltered will be releasing their first single-varietal fresh-hopped beer, Hop Riot India Red Ale, at the brewery today at noon. This one features the addition of a total of 272 kg (!!) of wet Centennial hops, grown locally and sourced through the Maritime Hop Growers Cooperative. The hops were used within 6 hours of harvesting in PEI, so expect a blast of fresh hop aromas and flavours in this 7.3% ABV Red IPA. We can only imagine how much work this brew day must have been, with the sheer weight and volume of hops in their brew system.

Big Tide has released three hop harvest beers, all part of their Indian Beach series. The three varieties used in these beers – Cascade, Hallertau, and Nugget – were grown locally at Dunhams Run Estate Winery at Gorham’s Bluff on the Kingston peninsula, historically known as Indian Beach. The first beer is Indian Beach Kolsch-style, which is their regular-release Karnival Kolsch (4.8% ABV) brewed with fresh Cascade. The Indian Beach Pumpkin Ale (5.2% ABV) also uses Cascade, along with fresh local pumpkin that has been cut up and roasted with several spices, and added to the mash of Pale Ale malt. Both beers are available on tap now at the brewpub. Coming early next week is the final beer, Indian Beach Harvest Ale. With a grist of 2-row and CaraMunich, it was hopped with all three of the fresh varieties, and comes in at 5% ABV.

• In PEI, BarNone has just released a batch of their award-winning Sub Stanchel Amber that has been wet-hopped with Cascade grown on their farm, with some wild PEI native hops grown nearby in Stanchel (or directly under it). It’s currently available at the brewery, and on tap at the Olde Dublin Pub and Old Triangle in Charlottetown. BarNone is also releasing a new beer that was brewed in tribute to co-owner Hugh Campbell, who passed away last month. 333 Somewhat Irish Red is brewed in the style of an Irish Red, but features more hops… specifically, 3.33 kg of freshly-dried whole hops were added as a dry-hop addition. Both beers will be pouring at a special music event being held at the brewery tonight, featuring Nudie’s Country Duets with Hannah Rose, plus Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar. The show begins at 8 pm; tickets are available online.

• In case you didn’t know, there are always a few in-house brewed beers on at Your Father’s Moustache in Halifax, courtesy of Rockbottom in the basement. The latest to hit the taps is a wet-hopped version of their Red Duster American Pale Ale. This 5.5% ABV Pale Ale was brewed with a healthy dose of locally-grown Centennial hops, but instead of typical floral or piney aromatics, these wet hops deliver a massive orange and sweet citrus aroma and flavour.

• Downstairs at Rockbottom, they have a couple of seasonals in addition to their four core lineup: Bulldog Brown Ale is a 4.5% ABV English Brown with a light and semi-sweet body, toasted aromas, and mild toffee flavour. It’s lightly hopped to 25 IBUs using traditional earthy English varietals. The Märzen Red Lager is a malty, amber German lager traditionally brewed for Oktoberfest. At 5.9% ABV and 25 IBUs, it features a bready malt flavour, restrained bitterness, and a dry finish. Be sure to drop down for a pint of each, and don’t forget their Wednesday weekly firkins for a taste of something different (this week’s was a Schwartz Bier Black Lager).

• Finally in harvest beers this week, North Brewing has released their second of the year (after the Many Hands collab with Boxing Rock): Setting Sun. This wet-hopped version of their Saison features brewer Josh Herbin’s own Cascade, Chinook and Willamette hops. If that wasn’t enough, the beer was aged on 12 kg of sour cherries from Stirling Fruit Farms in the valley. The cherries come through brilliantly in the aroma, coupled with a citrus flavour and bitterness, and pepper finish from the yeast. The beer is available now at the Agricola St brewery for growler fills, and will make it on tap at just a few spots around the city shortly. And the crowdfunding for their new partnership with Brooklyn Warehouse, Battery Park Beer Bar, is entering its last week. Things are definitely taking shape at the new location in Dartmouth, with the grand opening happening in the coming weeks.

PEI Brewing Co. has re-released their Pumpkin Ale seasonal. An Amber Ale that includes the addition of plenty of local pumpkins and squash, it’s also spiced with whole nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cassia, and fresh ginger. The grist also features Victory malt for a “toasty sweetness”. Hopped with Magnum to 25 IBUs, it clocks in at 5.8% ABV. It’s available now at the brewery in bottles and on tap, and will be at the PEILCC and licencees shortly, and select ANBL and NSLC stores, soon.

• Next week should also mark the arrival of Rogues IPA, which was brewed at the PEI Brewing Co. Brewed “in the style of an American IPA”, it actually features a lot of British ingredients, such as Maris Otter malt (along with Crystal 40 L and Torrified Wheat), Goldings and Target hops, and was fermented with Burton Ale yeast. This 6% ABV, 70 IBUs ale should be released in cans at the brewery next week, with PEILCC  and NSLC stores to follow shortly afterwards; ANBL stores should eventually be seeing some, too. The beer is based on the IPA served at Rogues Roost brewpub in Halifax, which closed last week, due to the building being demolished for renovations. Be sure to raise a can of Rogues IPA to toast the life of this Halifax institution.

• Moving back to Pumpkin beers: Garrison has re-released their Double Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Brewed with Cinderella pumpkins (a variety regarded as a superior dessert pumpkin) from the Dill Family, the beer was also spiced with cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg. Hopped with Millenium to 30 IBUs for “a light bitterness to offset the malt and spice character”, it weighs in at a might 8% ABV. It’s currently available at select NSLC stores, and will follow shortly at the brewery and tap accounts. And for those heading to the Halifax Oktoberfest this weekend (more details below), you will be able to enjoy three new brews on tap: the Hammer-Schlagen Brau, Nass Hopfenweisse, and Rise ‘n’ Stein Hefeweizen.

Bulwark Cider will be releasing an Oak-aged blend later this fall, and they’re currently holding a Label Competition for the bottles of this new cider. The competition is open to all artists, and entries should not include any text (name of the brand and cider); the winner will receive a cash prize and TBD cider prize. The deadline for entry is October 6th at 1 pm; eight finalists will be chosen by Oct 12th, and will then move on to final judging in a display at Bar Stillwell. For more information on how to enter, check out the link above.

• Next Friday, October 2nd at 7 pm, Rudder’s Brewpub will be holding their 10th Annual Brewer’s Dinner. Reservations are required, and include a 4-course dinner, with each course paired with a different Rudder’s-brewed beer. Contact the brewpub today to reserve your seat!

• Finally brewers, don’t forget to submit the forms for the second annual Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards. Today is the last day to register, with beers due in a couple of weeks. This year’s Awards has expanded to an entire week of events, including seminars and dinners for both brewers and open to the public.

There are lots of events on the go this weekend, so be sure to get out for some great local beer:

• The Ladies Beer League will be holding a Food and Beer Pairing at Bishop’s Cellar this afternoon, beginning at 5pm. Nine beers from Bishop’s shelves will be paired with some small plates and snacks from a local chef. Tickets are $20, and available online.

• The Tatamagouche Oktoberfest is being held today and tomorrow; this is the 36th year for Atlantic Canada’s largest Oktoberfest, and there’s plenty of events going on both days, including a Beer Garden tonight from 6-11 pm. If you’re attending, keep your eyes open for Tatabrew‘s just-released Lagerhosen.

• The Halifax Oktoberfest is also taking place this weekend, with a craft beer/sausage event, Hops & Brats, taking place today from 5-11 pm. Entry is $16 and includes five beer samples from local craft breweries; of course, plenty of sausages will be available for purchase as well. Tickets are available online. Tomorrow there will be an Oktoberfest & Kinderfest from 11 am – 11 pm, featuring traditional German food, games, music, and plenty of Garrison beer and Bulwark cider. Entry is free until 6 pm; afterwards, it becomes a 19+ event, where entry is $20 and includes a 500 mL Stein to keep, and your first fill.

• Saturday afternoon, the Moncton Beer League will be going on an Urban Hike to five different craft-beer-friendly bars in the downtown area; more details on this event in an earlier post. Those who purchase tickets to the Hike will receive a $5 discount on the upcoming Atlantic Canadian Craft Beer Oktoberfest, being held October 9th at the Moncton Crowne Plaza. We’ll have more details on the Oktoberfest next week; in the meantime, tickets are on sale now.

• And for those who are looking for a fun group of homebrewers to hang with, the Brewnosers Hoptoberfest event is being held Saturday afternoon and evening. Check the thread on the forum for details, and though it is a private event, anyone looking to chat, snack, and taste and enjoy great beer, of course, is welcome! There will be at least 20 different homebrew kegs of all types, and hop-infused sausages, especially made for the crew by Cavicchi’s Meats.

Wow, another extremely busy week! There’s even more new beers coming soon, including the first seasonal from Breton Brewing, Celtic Colours Maple Lager, and an Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Upstreet Brewing (actually a collaboration brewed with award-winning homebrewer Ryan Palmer)… more on these beers, soon. Boxing Rock has re-released their Black IPA, The Darkness; it should be popping up, now. If you live in Fredericton and are thinking you’d like to work in a brewery, Maybee Brewing Co. is now accepting resumes for positions in the New Year; send along yours via email. Have a fantastic weekend!

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s too beautiful of a day to be stuck reading some hilarious and insightful introduction paragraph, so let’s get right to the beer news, and get you on your way out the door for a beer!

• This week saw the launch of FirkinStein Brewing, a small brewery based in Bridgewater, NS. While not available on tap in bars or restaurants just yet, they have begun direct delivery of growlers to the public in their region. They currently have their Nor’easter Ale on offer, a 7.5% ABV Strong Ale, with lots of citrus aroma and flavour from Cascade hops (to about 55 IBUs). To take part in the fun, visit their Facebook page and send them a message with your name, address, and request. And yes, direct growler deliveries ARE legal, don’t worry! Growler fills are $12, with a growler cost of $8. Look for more details on the brewery and the folks behind it very soon, and welcome to the neighbourhood, FirkinStein!

• Despite the warm temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately, October is just around the corner, which can only mean… pumpkin beers! Petit-Sault has just released their Bonhomme Sept-Heures (roughly translated as “Bogeyman”), and as pumpkin beers go, it’s a big one! Weighing in at a whopping 8.6% ABV, the batch included the addition of more than 60 lbs of fresh pumpkin and squash, and 2 lbs of spices. Described by the brewery as having a “hint of caramel, with a slight biscuit sweetness” to go along with the pumpkin and spice flavours, it features a “warm finish” from the deceptively-hidden alcohol. It’s available now for growler fills at the brewery, on tap at select locations, and will also be at ANBL growler stations by next Thursday, Sept. 24th. And for those of you in PEI, Petit-Sault is now selling several of their beers at select PEILCC locations!

• Things are hopping over at Tatamagouche Brewing, as there’s lots of beer news to report! First off, their Russian Imperial Stout (the next beer in their Giant Beer Series) is now available; a monster of a beer at 8.5% ABV and over 100 IBUs, it was brewed with Frontenac Organic Pale Malt, Munich, Chocolate malt, and Roasted Barley to provide lots of dark colour and roasted flavours, and a bit of Flaked Barley to boost the body and head retention. Hopped with Pacific Gem and Chinook, it’s available in 650ml bottles now at the brewery, and at the Truro Farmers Market Saturdays.

• Tatabrew is also releasing a brand new IPA next Thursday, Sept. 24th: Deception Bay IPA is a 6.2% ABV “West Coast-inspired IPA” that was bittered with Magnum, and features large late-hop additions of Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria and Citra for intense juiciness in both the aroma and flavour, and a big 63 IBUs. This beer will be available in growlers and cans, and on tap as well, so be sure to grab a pint when you spot it in the wild!

• AND, Tatabrew will soon be re-releasing a couple of old favourites; their seasonal Oktoberfest, Lagerhosen, will be released on Sept. 24th. Brewed specifically for the Tatamagouche Oktoberfest (Sept. 25th-26th), it was hopped solely with Hallertau, and weighs in at a very-drinkable 4.5% ABV. And their DIPA, Horns Over Hooves, was brewed earlier this week; it should be available for release around Oct. 8th.

• It’s Harvest Jazz & Blues week in Fredericton, so there’s plenty going on in the city. In terms of beer, the Capital Complex is holding a Saturday Matinee tomorrow, from 12-4 pm, at Wilser’s Room. Tickets are $15 each at the door, and get you a plate of BBQ (roast pig, while available), live music (starting at 1 pm), and a pint of craft beer. Both TrailWay and Gray Stone will be pouring; while not yet officially open, this will be Gray Stone’s second official appearance on the scene, with another preview of some of the beers they should be releasing when construction is completed on their brewery. They will have their American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, American Stout, and Brown Ale on hand, and will be pouring at Wilser’s Room for the rest of the day until the beer is gone! TrailWay will be bringing their Primetime APA, and a new version of their D’Under – this batch was hopped entirely with a fairly new (and hard to come by!) Australian variety, Vic Secret (known for giving plenty of pineapple and pine characteristics). We hope to see you there!

• In other Harvest news, Red Rover is re-releasing their Blueberry Cider under the name The Blues. This batch features a change in the apple blend, but with the same 7% ABV. The name, flavour, and colour come from the addition of 55 kg local wild blueberries to the batch. Grab a growler at the Ciderhouse, and look for it on tap at bars and restaurants around Fredericton. And keep your eyes open for the return of their popular Fall in a couple of weeks.

• The crew at Good Robot in Halifax have announced the release of a new beer, so of course they will be holding a party to celebrate it! On October 4th, they will be releasing Leave Me Blue Kentucky Corn Beer, their take on the Kentucky Common pre-prohibition style beer. Brewed with corn and rye, this beer will be another departure from the mainstream for GR. The Sowr Soul party looks to be a fun one, featuring Southern-inspired food, music, and, of course, the beer. Joe Martin of Bar Stillwell will be preparing a feast, centering around a roasted pig (raised by Moo Nay Farms and fed GR spent grain!), with corn on the cob, mac & cheese, collard greens and more. Big Country Ramblers will be playing bluegrass music to keep the party going into the evening. Check the FB Event page for a few more details.

Uncle Leo’s in Lyons Brook, NS are releasing their ode to the hop harvest today, a wet-hopped Pale Ale. The Pictou County Harvest Ale is 5.7% and at 35 IBU beer thanks to 23 kg of Centennial and Cascade fresh hops from local grower Bramble Hill Farm. Grab a growler at the brewery, and look for it on tap at their accounts shortly.

Distillerie Fils du Roy brewed up a one-off beer specifically for the Oktoberfest des Acadiens in Bertrand, NB earlier this month. While it is named Oktoberfest Bieretrand, the beer was actually brewed in the German Hefeweizen style. Exhibiting the banana and clove aromas and flavours expected from this style (thanks to the Weizen yeast strain), this cloudy and light gold-coloured ale has low hop character, and a smooth and creamy texture. Easy-drinking at 5% ABV, expect to see some light bubblegum and candy-like qualities in the taste as well. The leftover kegs are currently at all four ANBL growler stations for growler fills this weekend.

Big Spruce Brewing has brought back the very popular Gimme Citra this week. Brewed in conspiracy with the Bar Stillwell crew, this 4.7% ABV Pale Ale features loads of late hopping exclusively from the Citra varietal, showcasing more in the aroma and flavour than in bitterness (calculated at 36 IBUs). Look for it on tap for growler fills at the brewery and around Cape Breton and Halifax (including tomorrow’s Sausage Fest Sasuage Throwdown and Sausage O’ The Night). Drop by the brewery today for lunch for their Food Truck Friday to grab the assortment of sandwiches prepared with/built to pair with beer, and enjoy some music from their house band, The Asaphs, who go on at 3pm.

• The Antigonish Townhouse recently released a new beer, Old & Bitter. Brewed in the style of an Old Ale, it’s maltier and has a higher bitterness than their regular Best Bitter, which is often pouring at the pub. Also slightly higher in ABV at 5.7%, it was hopped with a higher alpha-acid variety, giving it “more complex, slightly spicy notes” according to the brewery. It ran out just recently, but will be returning in the near future. And next Friday, Sept. 25th, they will be releasing a new experimental beer to celebrate the Antigonight Art After Dark Festival. Incorporating elements of their Best Bitter and the Old & Bitter, expect it to be slightly darker than the two beers on their own, as the Chocolate malt has been increased in the recipe.

• For those looking to expand their knowledge of beer brewing, serving beer, and pairing food with beer, the Atlantic Chapter of CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers) is offering training centered around the Cicerone certification program. Local Certified Cicerone Angeline MacLennan (along with formerly-local Certified Cicerone Tracy Phillippi) developed two courses to prepare students to take and pass the Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone exams. Consisting of 4- and 10-week courses, respectively, the course includes information on the history of beer styles, recipe development, caring for draft and bottled beer, and pairing food with beer. The first course launches Tuesday, October 13th, so check out the details and sign up today!

A few parting shots this week: If you haven’t filled your growler with Unfiltered Brewing’s Double Orange Ale yet (or even if you have, and need more), best get down to the brewery *now* to grab it, as it will be out before the end of the day Friday. And look for a special tapping of their core lineup of beers at the James Joyce in Fredericton later in the weekend. The Little Rollin’ Bistro Food Truck set up at Breton Brewing 12-8pm today, who are now also running events throughout the week (Wednesday night 7-11pm is Game Night; Thursday 7-9pm is Trivia Night with wings made with Great Breton sauce, including Sons of Hector Brown Ale). Or, if you are on the other island, drop by Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing for food and music: the Thai Pad Food Truck is set up all day, and drop by after work for free and live music from Al Tuck during their Quittin’ Time Sessions, beginning at 6pm. Don’t forget to check out the Sausage Fest kick-off events at the Olympic Centre tomorrow; check last week’s post for more details. With nine breweries and lots of great food all under one roof, it will sure to be a blast! And be sure to check out the Sausage and Beer Patio Party at Scanway on Wednesday the 23rd. Picaroons’s Harvest Ale series will be hitting the shelves next week. Check their Meet Your Farmer website for information on the folks behind the wet hops used in the seven different beers. And speaking of Picaroons, the latest release of Half Cut‘s Alter Ego (brewed on Picaroons’ pilot system at the Brewtique) is out now, and available at bars around Fredericton. Sea Level has released their 6.5% ABV Hopfazupfa IPA at the brewery today, brewed with local wet hops. And congratulations to North Brewing, who have taken possession of their new 12 hl DME-built brewhouse late last week. The doubling of their brewery capacity is also part of their moving a pilot brewing system into the Battery Park Beer Bar, whose crowdfunding is entering its last couple of weeks. Now, put down your phone, laptop, or raven-delivered scroll, and get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts!

It’s Friday again! Things aren’t slowing down much in the way of beer news this month, so we might as well get right to it!

This year’s Halifax Sausage Fest is fast approaching, and as a handful of special beers and a cider are being released in its celebration, we want to share the details:

• Boxing Rock Brewing has released Kerfuffle APA, a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale. It features MagnumWillamette, and Centennial hop for a bright and fresh hop bitterness and aroma. The hops were sourced from Canadian hop farm Clear Valley Hops, just outside of Collingwood, ON. It is available in growlers now at the brewery, their market stalls at the The Halifax Seaport Market and Alderney Farmers’ Market tomorrow, and on tap at a few spots in Halifax and Lunenburg.

• Bulwark Cider is releasing Hopped Citrus Cider this weekend. The first of its kind in the province, this 6.0% ABV cider uses a special blend of Annapolis Valley apples to complement the hops, and the resultant brew has a distinct citrus character. Cascade and Comet hops make up the majority of the dry-hopping, with some Summit and Hersbrucker as well. The cider is being launched at the Stubborn Goat‘s Sausage & Cider event Sunday (tickets are still available, and will include a pour of the very last keg of Bulwark’s very popular, and long gone, Sour Cherry Cider). Like the Sour Cherry, this will be a limited, draft only release., however, it may return later in the fall in bottles at the NSLC.

• Garrison Brewing is bringing back their Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale today, a collaboration with Beau’s All Natural Brewing. Brewed with Munich, Wheat, Rye, and Pale Malt, this copper-coloured beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV, and 40 IBUs, thanks to CitraCascade, and Columbus hops. The fine folks at Beau’s sent down a special ingredient for the brew: bog myrtle (Beau’s uses this in a couple of their beers).  Thanks to this plant, which is a very common ingredient in the bittering of gruits, a more herbaceous and spiced character comes through. Catch this Sweet Rye’d at the brewery, private stores, and the NSLC very soon.

• Propeller Brewing has released Wind Swell Wheat, an American-style Wheat Ale. At 5.5% ABV and 20 IBUs, the beer features Cascade hops for a floral, citrus, and spice notes, and the wheat offers a smooth, approachable finish. The beer is available in 650 ml bottles and growler fills at the brewery, and will be on tap around the city as well.

• The co-flagship events for the Sausage Fest are the Sausage Throwdown (11:00 am – 3:00 pm) and Sausage O’ The Night (5:30-10:00pm), next Saturday, Sept 19th. The $51.75 ticket price includes 12 four ounce samples (with more being available for purchase for $2), a Belgian glass to keep, plus $20 in food allowance to spend at the many great food vendors on-site (including T DOGS, Obladee, Getaway Farm and several more). Breweries taking part are: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bulwark Cider, Gahan House, Garrison, Good Robot, North Brewing, Propeller, Sea Level (afternoon only), and Tatamagouche (evening only).

• During the week, Local Tasting Tours will be running a Sausage Crawl each day (2-4pm, Sunday-Friday, Sept 20-25), visiting multiple stops in the downtown area, with plenty of sausages and/or beer at every stop. Tickets are still available.

• The Sausage Fun continues with the Hops ‘n’ Brats event taking place Friday September 25th, as the kick-off to the Halifax Oktoberfest weekend. For the first time, multiple breweries will be taking part in the German fun: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Gahan House, Good Robot, Meander River, Propeller, and Rare Bird. The Brats will be courtesy of Harbourstone, Scanway and T-Dogs. The event is from 5-11pm at the Sands on Salter location on the Halifax Waterfront, with tickets now available. Your $16 entry includes a sampling cup to keep and five drink tickets (with additional samples available at $2 each). We know of a couple special casks being put together for this event, including a pin of dry-hopped-wet-hops Hefeweizen from Garrison.

• In other new brews from the above breweries, look for the Boxing Rock & North Brewing collaboration Many Hands Pale Ale (version 3.0) out this week. This annual celebration of local wet hops was brewed with this year’s harvest from North brewer Josh Herbin’s Lazy Acres farm in the Valley. More than 35 kilos of fresh-picked CascadeChinook, and Willamette organic hops went in at all stages of the brewday, for a floral aroma and mild bitterness. This 5.6% ABV beer is available at the Boxing Rock brewery, as well as both Boxing Rock and North’s market booths, and on tap around Halifax, but for a limited time only.

• Propeller Brewing has released this year’s Nocturne Lager, in celebration of the Nocturne: Art at Night event, scheduled for October 17. A 4.8% Munich Dunkel (Dark Lager), it features rich and malty flavours, balanced with traditional German Noble hops. It is available now at both the Halifax and Dartmouth breweries, as well as the private stores shortly.

• Switching gears from the Sausage Fest, Big Axe has just released a new IPA at their brewery/taproom in Nackawic. Therapy Session IPA comes in at an easy-drinking 5.2% ABV, and is single-hopped with Topaz, an Australian variety that can exhibit characteristics of lychee, tangerine, citrus, and resin. The calculated IBUs are about 50, so expect a firm bitterness in the finish of this deep gold-coloured beer. It should also be on tap at the Saint John Ale House soon, and likely at the James Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton shortly.

• Over in Cape Breton, Big Spruce announced the release of a new beer… sort of. Ivana Drinkalot is an American IPA that came into existence quite accidentally, during a planned brew day of Big Spruce’s Crazy Ivan DIPA. Due to a slight miscalculation when scaling up the batch size, the beer came in at a lower OG (original gravity). A bag of Munich malt was also missed in the batch, so owner/brewer Jeremy White decided to roll with it, and completely changed the dry-hop! Details on WHICH hop(s) was/were used here are being kept a secret, but the brewery describes the new beer as “deeply aromatic”, with “lots of gooey hop flavour”. It weighs in at 7.1% ABV and 89 IBUs; it’s available now at the brewery, and should follow soon at Halifax’s Bar Stillwell and the Stubborn Goat.

Picaroons will soon be releasing their annual Harvest Ale, their 5.5%-ABV British-style Pale Ale that features several batches, all hopped with a different, locally-harvested variety. This year, there are six different batches, all single-hopped with one of the following varieties: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Crystal, Goldings, or Nugget. When the beer is released later this month, each bottle will have a four-digit code that signifies which hop was used, and where the hop was cultivated (farms include three from NB, two from NS, and one from PEI); that info can be obtained online. Look for the beer to be released in 2-3 weeks!

• The PEI Beer Fest begins tonight with a 6:30-9:30pm session, continuing with an afternoon (2-4:30pm) and evening (6:30-9:30pm) session tomorrow. The Fest will feature more than 75 beers from around the world, including several Atlantic Canadian breweries. The beer list can be viewed on their site, and they have encouraged special one-off casks from the local breweries. Upstreet Craft Brewing will be pouring a pair of them: Friday evening, they will be serving Do-Wooder, a cask of their Do-Gooder American Pale Ale, aged with oak cubes for 1 month and double dry-hopped with Amarillo. Citrusy and malty but with a dry finish from the oak. Saturday, they will be serving Poppa Haskap, a pin of their Commons Pilsner, refermented with 5lbs of local Haskap berries. A refreshing, tart beer, but with the colour of a red wine. PEI Brewing Company will also be pouring a few casks during the fest, though the details on those are not yet available.

• There’s a new event coming soon from the Moncton Beer League – the Urban Beer Hike will take place on Saturday, September 26th from 2:30 – 5:30 pm. Featuring a walking tour of several of Moncton’s beer-drinking locations (including Marky’s, Plan b, St. James’ Gate, The Old Triangle, and the Pump House Brewpub), each stop will include two or three 4 oz beer samples, as well as various food items. Tickets ($49 each) are available now on the event page; attendees will be meeting at 2:15 pm at Marky’s to begin the tour.

• In other tasting news, the Ladies Beer League is partnering with Bishop’s Cellar to hold a craft beer and food pairing on Friday, Sept. 25th from 5-7 pm. Tickets are $20 each and are available online. They will be pairing a wide variety of beers with chef-prepared bites.

• The ANBL is marking the one-year anniversary of their growler program this weekend. While they have been hinting at expanded locations for months, it is still only in four locations: Dieppe, Fredericton, Kennebecasis Valley and Sackville. To celebrate, they will be giving away free growlers to the first 100 customers looking for a fill at each of the locations tomorrow. While most brewers we’ve spoken to have had positive experiences with the program, there is much room for improvement. The fact that this week’s offerings at the fill stations are not from New Brunswick, and two of the three are from multi-national brewing conglomerates, illustrate the fact that there are many improvements still needed to the program. Be sure to let the ANBL know your feelings and suggestions for improvement.

Be sure to grab some of the other great new beers out this week. Upstreet and Boxing Rock’s Rumble in the Alley: Round 1 is available now in Charlottetown, as well as the last few kegs of Upstreet’s White Noize White IPA (but don’t worry, there’s more on its way, as it was rebrewed last week). PEI Brewing has released their Vic Park Pale Ale, Citra version in cans, now at the brewery, and at the PEILCC shortly. Coming soon will also be the Rogues Roost IPA in cans, and Hell Street Barrel-aged Doppelbock. Savoie’s Brewhouse is already looking to expand from their 20 gallon system; they’ve built a new fermentation room to increase space, and are hoping to more than double their capacity soon (to 45 gallons). Finally, the James Joyce in Fredericton will soon be expanding their tap selection, as they’re adding another 6 lines to their system, bringing the total to 24! Look for even more NB beers (and beyond) to be available at the Joyce within the next week. And watch this spot for details on the many other wet-hop and harvest beers brewed around our region, including BarNone, Big Tide, Uncle Leo’s, and Unfiltered.