It’s shaping up to be another lovely weekend across the region, so let’s keep this short and sweet and get you that pint in your hand ASAP! Here’s what’s new and exciting in Atlantic Canada this weekend. As usual, if we’ve missed something, let us know and we’ll get the word out next week!
The Church Brewing Company at 329 Main St in Wolfville, NS, is now serving their own beer! Having opened their restaurant and taproom at the beginning of 2019, the brewery took a little bit longer to set up. As of last weekend, their Sanctuary Enkel (3.8% ABV) and Mayflower White IPA (5.8% ABV) are pouring at the restaurant for your enjoyment. With cans are coming in August to both their retail shop and the NSLC, the only place to grab a pint of Church Brew Co beer for now is at the brewery, so pop out and toast their success! The restaurant is open from 10 AM, seven days a week, so now’s the time to visit, in case you have not yet made the trip. More information from them, and more of their own beers on tap, soon! In the meantime, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb / Ig / Tw) for updates. Oh, and peep their podcast episode recorded just this week with the 902 Brewcast crew, at your finer podcast retailers.
And speaking of new breweries, word went out on social media a couple weeks ago from newly revitalized DME Process Systems that they’re building a system for a place in Bedford. That’s right, someone has noticed that the stretch from Clayton Park to Sackville is relatively bereft of craft breweries and has decided to do something about it. That someone is the Grafton Connor Group, who operate more than 14 establishments throughout HRM and beyond, including long-standing family restaurants like The Esquire and Kempsters, the classic seafood house Five Fishermen, and possibly Halifax’s most (in)famous nightclub, The Dome. Of late, another of their properties, The Auction House, has quietly become a destination for craft beer in the downtown. You may also remember that when The Auction House opened, it featured a much-maligned ferment-on-premise (FoP) system in the front window, but this new brewery will not be that: a full 10 BBL (12 hL) mash tun and kettle will be installed along with four 10 BBL fermentation tanks and a hot liquor tank besides. Beer will be served on-premises direct from four 5 BBL bright tanks, and some kegging will take place to service other Grafton Connor properties, including Roxbury Urban Dive Bar, Riverside Pub, Redwood Grill, The Dome, Hide + Seek, and The Auction House. Where, you may ask, is this place going to be? On the south side of Bedford at Mill Cove, in Brewster’s Bar & Grill. We’ve been told they expect the equipment to be delivered in October, and hope to be up and running in November, just in time for Christmas Party season. We’ll check back in with them later in the year to see how they’re doing and hopefully get some more details on what they plan to offer in terms of beers.
Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing celebrated their First Anniversary last weekend, which brought with it two new beers into the fold. Thanks to an expansion of their fermentation and conditioning capabilities (they’ve added 7 new tanks!), they’ll be able to keep up with demand of their core beers, as well as introduce new recipes. The first is Yacht Rock, in celebration of their weekly Thursday night Brews Cruise on the Tall Ship Silva, running all summer long. Single-hopped with Comet, this Session IPA features a light base of Pilsner, Munich, CaraPils, and Crystal malts, and at 3.7% ABV and 28 IB, perfect for enjoying on the boat, wharf, patio, or wherever you find yourself this weekend. And pop by the brewery taproom at 91 Alderney Drive to grab a sample, pint, or growler of their other new release, Louisville Chugger. An old-school Kentucky Common weighing in at 4.5% ABV, this historic recipe features corn in the grist, and is lightly hopped to 21 IBU with Cluster hops. Keep an eye on their social media for details on their ever-rotating list of musicians playing on their taproom stage.
St. John’s latest brewery, Bannerman Brewing Co., released a new beer late last week. Mood Improvement is a kettle sour that was inspired by the Moscow Mule, a mixed drink traditionally made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. While there’s no vodka in Mood Improvement (thankfully!), they did add ginger, along with a dry hop of Motueka, before finally conditioning the beer on lime puree. The resulting beer, which weighs in at 5.2% ABV, is tasting “light and refreshing, with citrusy and spicy notes” to go along with the tartness. If you’re in that fine city this weekend, we highly suggest you drop by for a pint or fill to take away.
This year’s Stan Rogers Folk Festival (aka Stanfest), being held in Canso, NS from July 25th-28th, will include Nyanza’s own Big Spruce at the event. This is the 23rd year for the music festival, and the first year that they have used a local brewery as the beer provider. Big Spruce is pretty hyped about that, so naturally they’ve created a new beer for the occasion! Stanfest, a 4.2% ABV “Session Ale” created with the intention of being the perfect outdoor-concert-summer-sipper. Lightly hazy, nice tight foam, dry and light-bodied. Those not in attendance *may* have a chance to try it at the brewery or better retail spots after this weekend, if they’re lucky! In order to reduce glass issues, the Beer Tent at Stanfest is all cans, so look for other faves like Kitchen Party, Cereal Killer, and The Silver Tart, as well as bevvies from Bulwark and Nova Scotia Spirit Co.
And available now at the brewery taproom in Nyanza, and soon at better bars and retail locations in HRM, is Maracu-YES!, a 7.1% ABV “Passion Fruit IPA”. Starting with a base of a Hazy IPA, it conditioned on a ton (figuratively) of Organic passion fruit to impart its iconic tart character along with the floral, tropical fruity notes from the flesh. The result is a lovely melding of these two worlds, with the beer giving the drinker something new with every sip. Maracu-YES! is a draught-only release, so find a patio pouring it, and take your growler to the brewery this weekend!
2 Crows Brewing on Halifax’s Brunswick Street is continuing their summer of bottle releases, with Persica hitting the shelves tomorrow at noon. This Golden Sour beer started from a malt base of Pilsner malt, oats, spelt, wheat, and special aromatic malt in the tun, made a quick turn into the kettle, but did not receive any hops in the boil. After cooling, the wort was transferred directly into freshly-emptied peach brandy barrels, ready to impart their fuzzy fruity goodness. After fermenting and conditioning in the barrels for a total of 3 months, the beer was transferred to a tank, with a heavy addition of Organic dried peaches. After 2 more months to allow everything to be extracted from the fruit possible, the still (flat) beer was bottled with a touch of sugar and champagne yeast, and has spent the last two months carbing up. That’s quite the journey for this little beer, but now the wait is over! Peach comes through the beer in waves, on top of the lightly funky, tart, and bright base, reminiscent of fuzzy peaches candy. Bottles of the 6.5% ABV beer are available from noon tomorrow at the taproom, with one keg available for onsite pours (or in bottles, if you’d prefer).
Niche Brewing is releasing another new beer this week, a dry-hopped kettle sour that they’re calling Wander. Coming in at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU, it was hopped very lightly during the boil with two hops known for citrus and fruity character, Idaho 7 and Citra. After fermentation had completed, however, massive amounts of both varieties were used to dry hop, giving a powerful hop nose and flavor notes of tropical fruit and stone fruit along with a bit of dankness. Given that it’s quite tart, it’s a lovely palate cleanser and will no doubt make a great companion to food. Look for it on tap at The Joyce Pub, Peppers Pub, Southside Shake, Graystone Brewing, Le BarBu and Laundromat Expresso Bar, and hopefully some other places as well.
Propeller Brewing keeps the new beers coming and coming, with a couple releases this week to help keep your thirsts satisfied, just in time for the weekend. Hypocrite American Stout ain’t your typical American Stout… it was fermented with the Norwegian Voss Kveik yeast. Brewed on Prop’s pilot system in collaboration with Peter Davis, winner of this year’s Everwood Homebrew Competition, the use of Kveik yeast adds an orange, citrus flavour to the beer, to go with the typical roasted characteristics seen in American Stouts. A very small batch that comes in at 6.1% ABV and 31 IBUs, it will be available for pints and flights at Prop’s tasting room, and will be pouring at tonight’s Cask Night, starting at 5 pm. There’s also a couple of kegs going to Battery Park, the Board Room Cafe, and Truro’s Nook and Cranny, in Davis’ hometown.
Next up is Sabro Sour IPA, a 6.1% ABV kettle sour brewed with lots and lots of flaked oats to help give a smooth mouthfeel. While Sabro hops were indeed used in this beer, Mosaic was also used as a late-boil addition, and Galaxy was thrown into the dry-hop addition (along with the Sabro). Featuring a lactose addition in the boil to add a touch of sweetness, the hops provide plenty of tropical fruit aromas to this tart beer, and at just 10 IBUs, you don’t have to worry about any lingering bitterness. This one is the latest in their line of Gottingen Small Batch releases, which means draught-only, and should be available for growler fills at both Prop locations, and pints and flights in Halifax, as of 5PM today.
There’s a brand new outdoor sidewalk patio at Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing, and what better way to celebrate than with a brand new beer to drink on it! Appropriately named Sidewalk Saison, the beer was brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, as well as equal amounts of oat, rye, and wheat. Some fresh lychee, tangerine peel, and cardamom were added to the boil; the wort was then fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast strain. This is a very light, easy-drinking brew (at just 3.8% ABV) that has the cardamom coming through prominently in the aroma, with “some slight Belgian funk, followed by some upfront acidity and a balance of citrus and spice”. Grab your seat on the sunny patio (the weekend looks quite nice) and order up a pint!
Looks like Horton Ridge is keeping up their collaborating pace, as they’re latest team-effort beer, brewed with Annapolis Brewing, has been released this week. The beer is a 6.5% ABV NEIPA named Juicy Bits, and it was – of course – brewed with 100% Horton Ridge organic floor-malted malt. Hopped heavily (3 lbs/bbl) with Mosaic, El Dorado, and Idaho 7, this hazy beverage is very fruit-forward and juicy. Available in limited quantities only, at both taprooms.
Today marks the third collaboration beer release that Tidehouse has brewed with Dartmouth’s Low Point Coffee, but this one is definitely a step away from the first two beers. Sidama is a Saison… probably not the first beer style you would think of to feature coffee, but stay with us, we’ll walk you through it. Brewed with a Pilsner malt base as well as additions of flaked oats, flaked wheat, and Vienna malt, there was also a touch of Pale Chocolate malt added (via sparging only) to add a “touch of orange colour” without extracting any chocolate flavours. The wort was hopped with Huell Melon and Motueka, and then fermented and allowed to condition since late May, until it was ready for the coffee addition. Speaking of the coffee, the beans (specifically, Green Ethiopia Tolima coffee beans) were first added to peach brandy barrels, and then extracted and lightly roasted at Halifax’s Java Blend. These beans were then made into a “very potent” cold brew, which the chaps at Tidehouse blended into the Saison before bottle conditioning. And now it’s ready! With notes of peaches, vanilla, and tropical fruit, there’s also plenty of malt character and some toasted oak in the background, along with a bit of citrus and honeydew from the hop additions. You can find it on tap at the brewery for pints and tasters, and there’s also bottles (both 340 mL and 650 mL) to purchase for takeaway.
Charlottetown’s Upstreet has brought back a pair of seasonal favourites, perfect for enjoying outside amongst friends this weekend. First up is Rainbrew Strawberry Lavender Saison, released Monday to celebrate Pride PEI, and tomorrow’s parade through downtown Charlottetown. Featuring ingredients from all colours of the rainbow including Red strawberries, Orange and Yellow malts (all from Island Malt House in PEI), Green hops (wild hops from NB’s Moose Mountain), Blue water, and Purple Lavender. The resulting beer shows influence of the berries, flowers, and yeast, on a dry yet complex base. Grab a pint of this 5.5% ABV brew at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner today! Plus back on tap and in cans is Island Hopspitality, their annual ode to hops, this year focusing on Australia and New Zealand, thanks to Galaxy, Waimeau, and Wakatu in the boil and dry hop. Hazy, juicy, tropical, resinous, this is everything we’re looking for in a 6.5% ABV NEIPA this summer.
Port Rexton Brewing has released the second of their beers for the Port Rexton Come Home Year, celebrating 50 years of the town. Events continue this weekend, which can now be highlighted by Lamplighter, PRBC’s latest brew. Weighing in at 4.5% ABV, this beer is best described as a “craft lager”, sure to pique everyone’s taste buds. “With light floral notes and a smooth body, this easy-drinking beer is crisp, clean and super crushable!” It’s available right now in the taproom, as well as at the St. John’s Retail Shop (while supplies last).
Dartmouth’s Nine Locks is releasing the fourth installment in their series of Summer Seasonals this week, with a Witbier featuring blood orange and an unwieldy name. From Brussels with Blood: a Blood Orange Witbier is pretty much what it says on the tin: a wheat-laden beer with classic notes of coriander and orange peel, but also featuring some additional character, especially citrus, from additions of curaçao (a liqueur made with bitter orange peel) and, of course, blood orange (and a hefty dose at that). Look for aromas of orange peel, vanilla and even some bubblegum along with a pronounced citric tartness. At 5.0% ABV and only 15 IBU you can expect this one to be refreshing in the heat and especially well-paired with hearty foods. Although it’s been canned, it’s only available at the Nine Locks retail store, so you’ll need to get yourself to Dartmouth to grab some.
School has been out for 5 weeks now, but luckily for residents of Windsor, NS, Schoolhouse Brewery is still going strong. Their latest addition to their lineup, Early Dismissal, is a Kolsch that was fermented with a yeast strain “traditionally used in mostly wheat beers”, to 5.5% ABV. The beer was then aged at cool temperatures for four weeks after fermentation was complete, before packaging in kegs. Only available on tap, with the majority at the brewery’s taproom, they’re describing it as having a bready flavour with a “subtle but noticeable fruitiness” and a clean finish.
What’s on the go this weekend, and beyond? Here’s what’s got us excited…
Unfiltered is turning four, and they’re celebrating tomorrow, July 27th, with a party, Unfiltered-style. What does that mean, you ask? Well, they’ll be pouring plenty of beer (including the return of both Daytimer and Front Line Rocker), with special prices, and lots of cursing throughout the event! Food will be available on-site from The Other Bean, and DJ Chris Toms will be spinning some tunes until they’re forced to shut ‘er down. They’ll even be taking over a portion of the parking lot, to take advantage of that beautiful weather. The fun starts at noon… don’t forget to bring your empty growlers!
Those Stillwell events just keep on comin’, with next Saturday, August 3rd being no exception, as they welcome Ontario’s Bellwoods to Halifax. One of the highest-rated breweries in the country, they’ll be taking over the taps (11) all day, and will also be bringing plenty of bottles for purchase to enjoy on-site. You know what that means – lots of hoppy, sour, wild goodness… and more! A special menu from the kitchen will also be on hand to fill your eager tummies, and the next day they’ll be serving a selection of Bellwoods sour beers at the Stilly Beegarden, from noon to close. And check out Bishop’s Cellar that Saturday at 8 am; they’ll have some Bellwoods cans on hand for sale.
Tickets are still available for next weekend’s Down East Brew Festival, being held in downtown Fredericton. Taking over Carleton Street 4 – 8 PM August 3rd, breweries from across the province, as well as food trucks, will be serving their wares for thirst and hungry visitors. The accompanying Beer Run kicks off at 3 PM, so maybe you can work up a thirst to get the party started. Check out tickets here.
One of Saint John’s longest-running breweries, Big Tide, is turning the big 1-0 in a couple of weeks, and they’re holding a 10th Anniversary With a Purpose on Monday, August 5th. The small, ticketed event will occur from 7:30 pm – 9 pm, and will feature a tasting of a number of BT beers, with the brewers also in attendance to provide details and answer questions on each. The kitchen will also be providing a selection of finger foods, and your $20 ticket entitles you to a commemorative souvenir. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Bobby’s Hospice; call the brewery today to reserve yours at 506-214-3311 (you can also purchase them directly at the brewpub).
On August 9th and 10th, the Halifax Seaport Cider and Beer Fest will once again be taking over the Cunard Centre, and pouring beers and ciders from across the world to attendees. With most Nova Scotian breweries in attendance, plus 20 from New Brunswick and PEI, the Maritimes’ producers will be well represented. Guest beer from the rest of the country, and afar, will also be in full supply, including a delegacy from Iceland braving the Atlantic to attend. The Maine Brewers Guild is sending the Maine Beer Box to the event, featuring 78 taps of beer from our closest state. Grab your tickets here!
Before we let you go, just a few Newsbites for ya:
Gahan House in Charlottetown is pouring a new creation from the brewpub, German Hefeweizen (4.7% ABV, 20 IBUs). Medium-bodied with “aromas of fruit and phenols, leading into a pillowy mouthfeel with notes of banana, clove, bubblegum, and a slight yeast finish”.
Good Robot has a fresh batch of their El Corazón de Ángel (a Mexican Lager w/ orange peel and lime zest) on tap, and will soon be pouring a collaboration they brewed with Graystone Brewing, Outdoorsy Brut IPA (7.2% ABV, 25 IBUs). Described as “herbal and light”, you can also find it on tap at Graystone’s taproom in Fredericton. And pick up their El Espinazo del Diablo Corn Lager with lime and jalapenos at your local NSLC, and check their Facebook and Instagram pages for a contest they’re currently running.
Hilltop Hops in Newport, NS, is pouring a pair of new beers this weekend, perfect for a hot summer’s day. Smash is a 4.6% ABV light and crisp beer brewed with their 215 hops, old growth hops planted by English settlers, growing in nearby Summerville. And Hill Top Saison weighs in at 4.1% ABV, and while it can be described as hoppy (naturally!), it’s light on bitterness with more fruity character. Pop by their taproom right beside Tidal Bore market on Highway 14!
Microbrasserie Houblon-Pecheur has just bottled their latest beer, Balbuzard Pêcheur IPA (6% ABV). They’re describing it as an East Coast IPA with “big tropical fruit flavour and aroma”. Looks like it’s currently available at the Caraquet, Tracadie, and Shippagan ANBL stores, with others to follow in the fall.
Tatamagouche Brewing has a pair of returning favourite this week, the first being their Englishish Golden Ale, a 4.5% ABV brew perfect for a session in your favourite local. English hops bring out traditional earthy, floral, and spicy aromatics, and make it a nice pair to pub food. Also returning, and now available on their online store for shipping Canada-wide, is Feronia. This 5.1% ABV beer is fermented solely with Brettanomyces (a blend of three strains, in fact), and was aged on Organic plums before bottle conditioning for a melding of dark fruit and funky yeast character, all in a lovely package. 750 mL bottles can also be found at Bishop’s Cellar as of today.
TrailWay has brought back their extremely popular DDH Hu Jon Hops (6.5% ABV), the double-dry-hopped (you figured that out already, didn’t you?) version of their flagship IPA, HJH. Brewed only once a year, it’s hoppiness dialed to 11, with “flavours of pineapple, overripe tropical fruit, and citrus, with a firm, spicy, dank backbone”. On tap and in cans at the brewery, with a few local pubs getting kegs as well.