For fans of craft beer in Nova Scotia, one of the most wonderful times of the year is upon us. For beer bloggers, well, at least we’ll have cold beer glasses full of fine ales and lagers to soothe our sore fingers. Yes, Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week is upon us, and it’s fixing to be a busy one with events starting tonight and going clear through to next Sunday. We did our best to put together a couple of tools to help you navigate the plethora of events including a calendar and a map. You can find those in our post from yesterday. But don’t be fooled, there’s still plenty going on in New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland. So without further ado, here’s 4,000+ words on what’s to drink and what’s to do if you’re a beer lover in Atlantic Canada this week.
Attention Cape Breton Beer Fans, there is another brewery open on your beautiful island! Route 19 Brewing is located in Inverness, at 16030 Central Avenue (aka Route 19), very close to the Cabot Links Golf Course. After a tease of their beers were pouring at Battery Park and Westside Cookhouse last week, Route 19 will be celebrating their Opening Weekend at their own taproom starting today at 4 PM, and again tomorrow (also opening at 4 PM). Keith Mullins and Colin Grant will be playing this evening 7 – 10 PM, with Mullins playing again tomorrow evening 7:30 – 10:30 PM. So, what else can you expect if you drop by? There will be five of their own beer pouring (The Nineteenth Hole Pale Ale, Red Rows Scotch Ale, 1497 IPA, Coal Dust Stout, and Sea Ice Double IPA), plus food from their kitchen, and plenty of merch and swag to take away. After the weekend, the brewery and taproom are open from 4 PM daily, open until 10 PM (or whenever the fun dies down), except later on Friday and Saturday (1 AM). For those unable to pop in over the next week, they will be pouring their beer at next Saturday’s Full House event in Halifax, so be sure to grab tickets before they sell out! Congratulations on opening! Keep an eye here for a full Profile with the R19 folks soon, and in the meantime, follow them on your preferred social media platform (Fb/Ig/Tw).
Fans of lovely beer across New Brunswick have another reason to be happy this weekend, as Fredericton’s (FINE, Hanwell’s) Niche Brewing has their second bottled offering available; it should appear over the next couple of days at select ANBL locations around the Province. This one also happens to be the second collaboration with Halifax’s 2 Crows, which, if you remember the first, Cool Kid, should have you pretty excited. Golden Flair falls into the saison style, brewed with Pilsner, Oats and Spelt before being fermented with a blend of house yeast cultures from both breweries. Aged in a single Chardonnay barrel, and addition of apricot purée and a healthy dry hop of El Dorado and Ekuanot completed the picture before packaging. The finished beer is rife with yeast character, with some funk, apricot, of course, tropical fruit and a touch of oak. Look for updates on Niche social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) over the next few days to help guide you to an ANBL location that’s got some!
Speaking of 2 Crows, let’s head over to their brewery in Halifax, where they’ll be releasing another collaboration beer tomorrow at noon. They teamed up with British Columbia’s Dageraad Brewing to brew a foedre-aged wild Saison, Fool’s Errand. With a base of Pilsner, Triticale, and a bit of Munich malt, they hopped it lightly in the whirlpool stage with Sterling and Huell Melon. Fermented in a foedre with multiple house yeast cultures, it remained there for four months before being dry-hopped with Loral, Huell Melon, and Citra. Can-conditioned with champagne yeast, it’s tasting “super bright, lightly tart, with big melon and orchard fruit character and a balanced bit of funk”. This beer sounds wonderful, but we’d also like to do a little hat tip to 2 Crows for admitting out of the gate that this is their second attempt at this beer, as the first time around (the day after the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards… eek!) resulted in a batch that they weren’t completely happy with. Dumping any beer isn’t easy… dumping a 7-month old beer is even worse. Thanks for thinking of your beer fans, 2 Crows! Oh, and tell your employees to enjoy what’s pouring at their next 18 staff parties! 😉
The 2 Crows crew are releasing a second beer this weekend, this one a collaborative effort with the folks from Big Spruce in Nyanza, Cape Breton. Media Naranja is a 5.8% ABV “Copenhagen lager” that began life fermented and aged for five months in a Chardonnay barrel, then finished with the addition of orange zest shortly before packaging. Described as “bright and crisp”, along with “notes of white win, cut green grass, wildflower honey and melon”, the beer is debuting Sunday at 4 PM in the 2 Crows taproom. To celebrate, they are holding a “Tap Sharing” event, with plenty of great beers from both breweries pouring that afternoon, including some favourite rare kegs held back for that day. Live music from Son Latino will help you stay in the mood, and there will be a special menu as well. Cans will also be available, but only at the two breweries!
Keeping in the “Shared Tap Takeover” theme, let’s highlight a couple more new beer from Big Spruce coming out this weekend, including one pouring at their Cape Breton Double Header Tap Takeover Weekend at Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth. Put Me in Kolsch is a 4.9% ABV dry-hopped ale/lager hybrid, that was given an extra bump of hops in a dry-hopping addition of Nelson Sauvin and Citra, for a bright citrus and floral nose, with passion fruit and pear on the palate. Dry, crisp, and clean thanks to the yeast and fermentation temperature, this was brewed by some of the important women in the Big Spruce family, including co-owner Melanie Bock-White and manager Shauna Asaph. This will be one of Big Spruce’s signature offerings at Saturday’s Brewster Fest at the Mayflower Curling Club (still some tickets available here!). You’ll also be able to catch it on tap at Battery Park and Stillwell, and in bottles at private stores and their Seaport Market stall.
Next from Big Spruce is another collaborative effort with two other breweries in the province, Cerberus IPA. Brewed once again with Tatamagouche Brewing, the only other Organic brewery in the province, this year’s three-headed and -handed release saw soon-to-open The Church Brewing from Wolfville share in the fun. Doubling (or should we say Tripling) down on the hops with El Dorado, Mosaic, and Simcoe, this 7.5% ABV American IPA weighs in at 48 IBU, with tropical and piney aroma and flavour in a hazy and tasty package. Look for cans of Cerberus around town post haste. Also returning this week is Big Spruce’s signal that warmer weather can’t be far away, their Silver Tart Sour Raspberry Wheat Ale. This 4.0% ABV beer is once again in its distinctive pink can, and will be available very soon in retailers across the region.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Big Spruce’s yearly collaboration with the Ocean Tracking Network, Tag! You’re It! is back for 2019, with a tweaked recipe, a spiffy new design featuring a salmon. They’re also happy to announce that it’s going to be available at NSLC stores across the province so everyone can get in on the hazy juiciness. Once again, $0.50 from every can sold will go to benefit marine research and education. And if you scan your Air Miles card when you make your purchase you’ll automatically be entered to win a shark tagging trip this summer!
Let’s turn to Big Spruce’s competitor in the Jamieson’s event, Breton Brewing. They have two new beers pouring this weekend as well, so let’s dive right in! Let’s Jam! is a kettle sour brewed with “loads” of strawberry and rhubarb. Pink in colour, they’re describing it as sweet upfront and lightly tart in the finish. At 4% ABV and 4 IBUs, it was brewed to be consumed in quantity, preferably during some warmer days once they come back to our region again. Aside from also being available at the brewery, cans will also be hitting NSLC shelves this coming Monday, allowing those of you outside Cape Breton to stock up easily. Their next beer is another collaboration with the Brathair Brewing homebrew team, which they’re calling Mosaic to the People. It’s a DIPA that we’re pretty sure you can guess what hop is featured… hey, you got it! Mosaic! Apparently they happily used quite a bit of it in this 7.6% ABV, 60 IBUs beer, so expect lots of mango, pineapple, tangerine, peach, and pine backed up by a supporting malt backbone, all in a hazy package. If you want to be one of the first ones to try this beer on tap (it’s being released in kegs only), head to Jamieson’s this weekend and seek it out there.
Spindrift is releasing a very-limited run of bottles of their newest beer next week, a “Rye-Maibock” called Heaven’s Goat. Brewed with Pilsner, Munich II, and Rye malt, they hopped it with Tettnang and Herkules (to the tune of 28 IBUs). The beer was brewed “during the winter months” (that’s quite a range!) and conditioned until it’s release next Wednesday, May 1st. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV, it’s showing flavours of “warm honey, dark and stone fruits, and grainy, medium-toasted bread”, all backed up by some floral character from the hops, and a bit of spice from the Rye malt. There’s only sixty 500 mL bottles available, so if you’re anxious to try, be sure to be at the brewery next Wednesday.
Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brew Co may have jumped the gun a little bit this week, releasing a fair weather beer when the forecast is calling for anything but. Ay Caramba! is a chili lime pale ale coming in at a nice and light 4.5% ABV, with lots of fresh lime juice and a bit of a kick from some Scotch Bonnet peppers. Crisp and easy drinking, it can’t change the weather that’s coming through, but it can certainly help you think of warmer and sunnier days that are (hopefully) soon to come. Bootleg is also happy to report that they’ve got their Squiffy Boy IPA available in 1 L swing-top bottles to go from the brewery. They’re hoping to have freshly bottled beer every Tuesday, so you can plan to bring back your empties and exchange them for full ones!
Down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore near Yarmouth, Tusket Falls has a couple new ones to talk about, the first being Electric City, a Mango Sour IPA. Featuring pale wheat malt for a light body, along with Citra hops and some fresh mango puree added after primary fermentation, it was soured with a culture of Lactobacillus. Nice and light, at 4.5% ABV, expect a slightly tart beer with plenty of mango flavor and a hop kick. You’ll find this one at the brewery, of course, at private stores in the city sometime soon, and this summer at NSLC stores. Also being released this weekend is Keep On the Low Road, a Robust Porter at 6.0% ABV. The use of specialty malts from the UK gives this one plenty of deep and sweet malt presence balanced by a roasty character, with underlying notes of toffee, caramel, and dark chocolate. It’s got plenty of flavor, but a soft mouthfeel. Look for it in cans at the brewery and, hopefully some of it will make it to the city as well.
Tidehouse Brewing has been busy getting some beers ready for Brewster Fest this weekend – two returning favourites and two brand new beers (one of which is a collaboration). For the returning beers, both are the first two entries in their Rockwell Series, both of which were created by their very own Shannon Higgins. Rockwell Series Vol. I originally came out near the brewery’s beginning; it’s a 8.4% ABV DIPA hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Amarillo, featuring lots of grapefruit, tangerine, and citrus. Rockwell Series Vol II – more commonly known as Hibiscus City – has popped up more than once; it’s a Hibiscus Lime Gose that weighs in at a very sessionable 4% ABV. Shannon has also been persuaded to brew a new beer to keep the series alive, with Rockwell Series Vol III: Splendid, a Grisette brewed with cucumber and juniper berries. With a simple grist of Pilsner and Wheat malt, as well as a little Vienna and acid malt, it was fermented with the French Saison yeast strain. Juniper berries were added in two stages (during fermentation and after), with the cucumber going in just a couple of days before packaging. And their fourth beer pouring at the fest will be a collaboration brew with a couple of local homebrewers (and members of the Brewnosers), Darci and Jenn Shaw. These ladies have been tweaking their recipe for a coffee stout on their home system for some time and Tidehouse has helped them push out a much bigger batch. Even better, Jeremy Waterman of Low Point Coffee happened to have something extra special on hand to up the ante in the form of some San Antonio coffee from Costa Rica. Central Perk Coffee Stout tips the scales at 6.0% ABV, with plenty of caramel, roast, and chocolate notes, with just enough coffee that you know it’s there, but not so much that you wonder whether what you’re really drinking is beer.
Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing will be on-hand for Saturday’s Brewster Fest as well, invited to share in the celebration of a stronger female presence in the beer community. We really hope they’ll be bringing their latest release, their Salted Stout. This 5.4% ABV ale showcases roast and dark chocolate aroma and flavour, with some dark cherry and fig notes. The addition of salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company lightens the body and mouthfeel, keeping this jet black brew nice and refreshing. For those back in Newfoundland, you will be able to catch growler fills at their St John’s Retail Shop, as well as the brewery, open 4 – 10 PM Friday and Saturday, 12 – 6 PM Sunday. And great news, starting next weekend, the Port Rexton taproom will be open 7 days a week for the summer, so now you can pop in whenever you like, 12 – 10 PM daily!
As one of the longest running breweries in the region, Propeller is, as you’d expect, going to be heavily involved with NS Craft Beer Week. And they’re also bringing plenty of beer to the mix too. You’ll be able to grab the Dry-hopped Blonde brewed in collaboration with the Ladies Beer League at Saturday’s Brewster Fest, and they’ve got a couple other things on the go as well. Earlier this week saw the release of Loral Saison, a smaller batch of barrel-fermented saison. Generously dry hopped with Loral, a relatively new hop with an old school pedigree and known to have a “super noble” character heavy on floral and herbal notes, which present nicely in this beer. Other tasting notes include some citrus and earthy character and a bit of fruity sweetness on the nose. It finishes dry and clean with a balanced bitterness. Only eight kegs of this 5.5% ABV beer were produced, so it’s available only at the brewery for pints and flights. Coming out tonight is another new one, Mocha Oatmeal Stout. Designed to showcase both coffee and beer, it features plenty of coffee character (locally roasted, of course), alongside flavors of brown sugar and milk chocolate. This one has been put into cans, but is also available for growler fills at the brewery. And it has been suggested that a keg might make it over to Battery Park to go on the nitro tap, which would be an extra special treat indeed. And that’s not all that will be available tonight, as they’re having their usual cask night, this time featuring their Common with a kick of Simcoe hops being tapped at 5 PM. Plus Humble Pies available to keep you happy. More details here. Plus keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the several fun events they’ve got on the go for the week. Oh, and if you are scientifically-minded, and want to get into the brewing industry, Propeller is hiring a Quality Assurance Manager, responsible for running their lab and sensory panel. The full job details are available here.
Also with lots on the go is Shelburne’s Boxing Rock. Starting with a new refresher for the summer, they’ve got Arnold’s Apricot Wheat Ale available now in bottles at the brewery and the bottle shop at Local Source. A pale ale with plenty of wheat, it’s subtly sweet and 5.5% ABV. The addition of real apricots provides a stone fruit presence. Also new on the docket and debuting at next week’s Full House event is Summer Love, a dry-hopped sour ale with a 5.4% ABV. Brewed with Pilsner malt and some oat flakes before being kettle-soured, it’s got very little bitterness, with a citrus and tropical flavor punch coming courtesy of a dry-hop of Simcoe and Amarillo. We expect to see this one at the brewery and the bottle shop as well, and, hopefully for the sake of the beautiful weather we’re sure to be having any time now, at private stores in the city as well. And if you’re in the city looking for something to do on Sunday afternoon, the finals of the 2019 Boxing Rock Black Box Challenge will be taking place at Hop Yard on Gottingen Street in Halifax starting at 12 PM. Grab a pint and watch each of the six finalists present their beer along with a vinyl record they paired with it before the winner is crowned. It’s always impressive to see the creativity put into the presentations and the variety of ways homebrewers come up with to talk about their passion.
Out in Port Williams, NS, Sea Level Brewing has a new beer releasing today, one that features their own Synergy Malt. Maple Bach is a German Bock made with a Pilsner yeast and noble Hallertau hops. Lagered very cold (near 0°C) for three weeks, the cherry on the sundae was the addition of Sea Level’s own Estate Maple Syrup. Available in cans and growlers at the brewery store and on tap at the Port Pub & Bistro and Maritime Express Cider in Kentville, this one is truly farm to glass.
New Scotland Brewing has put together a tropical stout that’s pouring as of today at their spot in Dartmouth. McCoy’s Contraband is blacker than black, with notes of chocolate, roasted coffee, and a subtle spiciness from the inclusion of some rye malt in the grist. Served on nitro for the ultimate in creamy texture and mouthfeel, all that darkness is balanced by citrus and tropical elements from the use of Chinook, Citra, and Amarillo hops. Plenty beefy at 8.3% ABV, you shouldn’t find the 36 IBU too bitter at all. In addition to the tap room, you can reasonably expect to find this one popping on tap at various other places around the city, with both standard carbonation and nitro pours available.
Plenty of things going on in the region this weekend and into next week, check them out! And of course keep an eye on the NSCBW Calendar we put together so that you’re never late for an event.
One of the most unique events of the NS Craft Beer Week festivities goes on tomorrow, April 27th, at the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax. Spearheaded and organized by the fine folks of Good Robot, Brewster Fest recognizes and celebrates the women and woman-identifying brewers and staff who help make the industry and the local scenes across our region as amazing as they are. Nineteen breweries and cideries will be in attendance, with more than fifty beers pouring, all (or almost all) of which involved women in the brewing process. Tickets are still available for both sessions, 1 – 4 PM and 7 – 10 PM; absolutely everyone is welcome, regardless of how they identify, as long as they’re there to celebrate beer and the women and woman-identifying people who help make it possible. (ProTip: if you’re planning to attend and you think you might find yourself starting a sentence with, “Well, actually…” or using the phrase “…not just women…” we recommend you grab a six-pack of something local and stay home instead.) ACBeerBlog will be in attendance, with representation likely at both sessions, so as always, if you see one (or more) of us, come say, “Hi!” And if you want to hear more about how this event came about from the people who made it happen, check out the latest 902BrewCast episode with Kelly & Nicki of Good Robot, and Evelyn of Propeller!
Here’s a full list of the breweries and cideries that will be participating:
- Port Rexton Brewery
- Chainyard Urban Cidery
- Boxing Rock
- Sober Island
- Big Spruce
- Big Tide
- 2 Crows
- A. Keith’s
- Lunn’s Mill
- New Scotland
- Good Robot Brewing
We’ve also got a little contest going on Twitter today to give away two tickets to this event. Check it out!!
Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is taking their show on the road to Toronto tomorrow (April 27), with an appearance by co-owner Andrew Murphy at Birreria Volo entitled “An Afternoon with Unfiltered Brewing.” Featuring 12 beers pouring, including their regular hop-heavy lineup, some mixed-fermentation, sour, heavy, and wood-aged favorites, and even a couple of apparently one-off beers we don’t remember previously hearing about. Festivities start at 2 PM (EDT) and the beers will pour as long as supplies last. Nice to see Toronto having a chance to get on the good shit. So if you’re going to be in the T-dot this weekend, or have some beer-loving friends who live up there, you might make a plan to either attend or make a mention of this to your pals. Here’s the full list for your edification:
- Commissar (2019) – Russian Imperial Stout
- Daytimer – Berliner Weisse
- Hoppy Fingers – American Pale Ale
- Exile On North St – Gluten-Reduced IPA
- Twelve Years To Zion – DIPA
- Sour Motherf@$&er – Sour Cherry Oak Aged Wheat Beer
- Mise En Garde! – Co-Fermented Oak Aged Barley Wine
- Fist Of God – DIPA
- Inducement – DIPA
- Flat Black Jesus – American Stout
- Daytimer Repasado – Tequila Barrel Aged Berliner Weisse w. Salt
- DIBA – Double India Black Ale
In addition to all of the events happening for NSCBW, this time of year is also special as it marks Good Robot’s anniversary of opening. Celebrating Four Years of operation (shocking, eh?? 😉 ) on Sunday the 28th, the most questionable brewery in Halifax is opening their Gastroturf patio for the season, and will be shucking oysters all day. Bring your pup and take a break from the madness to refresh before the rest of the week hits ya. More details here.
Quidi Vidi Brewing is continuing their trend of inviting special interest groups to the taproom, next Tuesday, April 30, is Knit Night! The folks from Cast On Cast Off are hosting the evening of pints and patterns with fellow enthusiasts. No word yet if there is a theme to the evening, but we encourage you to check out the info here and ask away!
May 18th marks Meander River’s Fifth Anniversary, and they are throwing a massive party to simultaneously celebrate their Grand Opening and five years in business. You see, they have been flat out brewing beer, and then expanding into the cider world as well, and haven’t stopped since opening their doors in May 2014. After some hiccups on that first day, including being overwhelmed with the response and running out of beer, they have gone on to win awards both regionally and nationally for both beer and cider. From opening at 11 AM on the 18th, they’ll be slinging some brand new beers (sneak peeks available at the Full House event May 4th, we won’t ruin the surprise here), Nomad Gourmet Food Truck will be set up from 2 – 8 PM. The Big Country Ramblers bluegrass band take the stage at 7 PM, and the evening will be capped with fireworks at 9:30. Check out the full details on Facebook. Congratulations!
And just a couple more things to mention before we leave you to enjoy the opening weekend of NS Craft Beer Week!!
Hampton Brewing in (imaaaagine!) Hampton, New Brunswick, is has released a new beer they’re calling Afternooner that should be perfect for the patio season. A “juicy blonde ale” it features a blend of American hops on top of a grist of 2-row and malted wheat. A slight bitterness rounds out this refreshing 5.2% ABV and 30 IBU beer.
Details are a bit slim at the moment, but we’ve spotted that CBS’s Ninepenny Brewing debuted a new beer yesterday. Original Bitter is another of their English-inspired beers to be brewed and available on tap. Grab this 3.7% ABV beer on tap and for growler fills at the brewery this weekend, along with their Porter, Blonde, Red, Witbier, and NEIPA. The taproom is open 4 – 10 PM today, 2 – 10 PM Saturday, and 12 – 6 PM Sunday.