Hey folks, it’s another Friday and we’re not letting things like region-wide a State of Emergency keep us from our appointed rounds as chroniclers of the beer scene in Atlantic Canada. Breweries are continuing to work hard and keep themselves vital despite the craziness that’s going on and we’d like to encourage everyone who is able to, within their means, keep supporting their favorite producers.
We’d also like to send out a sincere “Thank You!” to everyone who tuned in to take part in our trivia evening on Wednesday. And thanks as well to The Auction House, Off Track, Propeller, and Spindrift for the donations of close to $500 in beer, swag, and giftcards to you deserving winners! Those breweries are celebrating the release of their Scotia Lager collab beer, still available at all three online shops for contactless pickup and delivery. With more than 80+ of you on 30+ teams connecting, it was definitely the highlight of our week, well, right up until the end (sorry again about that, but we know how to avoid that in the future). Speaking of which, if there’s enough interest, we may be able to run another one of these next month. Let us know what you think on social media or via email, our DMs are always open (but our Zoom won’t be, next time!). ♡
Just a note that in addition to the breweries and ciderhouses mentioned below, there are plenty more in our region continuing to pump out the good stuff. We’ve tried to summarize how they are pivoting in light of the current situation here, with curbside pick-up and deliveries spreading further across the region.
And if there is anything missing or out of date on that list, we’d appreciate a quick nudge via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, Fb often gets missed).
In what was an “is it? or is it not?” April Fool’s joke, which some didn’t believe it until the goods were in their hands, Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing released their first products ever in the canned format. In addition to the new format for their Puck Off! Kolsch, they also released two new offerings Wednesday. First up is the simply-named IPA, a 6.6% ABV American IPA, most definitely rooted in the West Coast style: think bright/no haze, quite bitter, and with a flavour of citrus and pine. Achieving that bitterness and hop character is a mix of Old- and New-School hops, like Summit, Cascade, Simcoe; Nelson Sauvin, Waimea.
The second new canned beer from Boxing Rock is Coffee Porter, a hefty beer at 7.3% ABV, building upon the dark and roasted malts in the base beer with an extra kick from fair trade coffee care of Annapolis Valley roasters Just Us!. In addition to the expected roast and coffee notes, the full-bodied beer shows some light sweet character along with caramel and raisins, rounding out the experience. Either a breakfast beer, or when you want something to keep you up and dancing in your PJs in the living room, this seems like a good choice!
Cans (it still feels funny writing that) of Coffee Porter and IPA are available through their online shop for local and HRM delivery or pickup at their Shelburne Taproom, their spot in Halifax’s Local Source Market (pre-order is best!), as well as at WestSide/Harvest Wines family of shops for pickup or delivery.
Our friends at Upstreet are still keeping the brewhouse chugging along, and have a brand new Neon Friday release this week. The latest entry in their hoppy beer series is named Neon Friday 3.01 NEIPA, and was brewed with a grist made up of 2-row, Vienna, Wheat and Oats. Four wonderful, delicious hop varieties were added in the brew process: Galaxy, Citra, Mosaic and Ekuanot. The 6.5% ABV, 30 IBUs beer is soft and hazy, with low bitterness, and features aromas of “punchy pineapple, passion fruit, mango, guava, tangerine and banana”, with lots of tropical fruit on the palate. Look for cans of this bad boy at both Upstreet locations (taproom and Craft Beer Corner) and the PEILCC stores that have re-opened; the CBC will also be filling crowlers for takeaway.
Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault have debuted a new beer this week, a tribute to the high quality water found in the area. Source Kölsch is a collaboration brewed with friend and Chemist Mike Doucette of the nearby CCNB BTSC lab, who has assisted many in the province, and further afield, bring their ideas for recipes, breweries and distilleries, and even some non-alcohol endeavours (what are those?) to life. Now, back to the beer! Starting from naturally-filtered water from Iroquois-Blanchette watershed, the beer features light-coloured and -flavoured German Pilsner and Vienna malts, lightly hopped with traditional favourites Hallertau and Saaz, and saw a long conditioning time. Grab bottles and growler fills of Source at the Source on rue d’Eglise, or order for local delivery through their online shop.
We haven’t been approaching the last couple of Fridays thinking that there’d be a ton of beer news to report on, but in true fashion for them, 2 Crows still has a boatload! Let’s start with the actual beers, first (yeah, you’ll see). First up is a brand new bottled beer, Olio. Starting its life as a small-batch, tart Grisette, the beer was blended with some fruit. But not just any fruit… second-use fruit! This is a technique that has been slowly gaining popularity over the last few years. In the case of Olio, a blend of strawberry, red gooseberries, and guava – that had been used in another sour/wild beer – was allowed to macerate (soften, basically) over 10 months. The fruit was then separated from its liquid, and added to the Grisette and bottled in late 2019. Now that this 4.2% ABV beer has had a few months to mellow out, it’s tasting “bright, funky, tannic, and grippy”, with “a distinct tartness, subtle fruit character, and a real zingy finish”. Only 240 bottles of this beauty exist, and it’s available only on the brewery’s webstore. And if delicious, wild/sour beers are your thing (of course they are!), 2 Crows has also brought back bottles of Hayward, their peach barrel brandy-aged sour beer with kiwi. It’s not a new batch, but a few more bottles they’ve allowed to escape from their cellar; who are you to refuse them?
And for those of you self-isolating who are finding it a touch more difficult to avoid reaching for a beer earlier in the day (hey, these are stressful times! And don’t even get me started on if you have kids in the house…), 2 Crows has your back, with Hop Water. We realize this is 100% NOT a beer, or a cider, or… anything alcoholic. There’s 0% alcohol in this, but it sounds pretty cool! The “recipe” is basically water, Citra hops, and a touch of yeast to give a little bit of umami character… plus some citric acid to lower the pH. Offering “some nice citrus/tangerine/pomelo” notes, and some citrus in the aroma, it’s light, refreshing, and most importantly, hydrating! Cans are limited, and also available for purchase online.
Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom has just released a new sour beer to zip up your day a little, the next entry in their Field Trip fruited kettle sour series. Field Trip: Haskap was brewed with, yes, haskap berries, which have a taste that the brewery describes as a cross between raspberries, black currant, and Honeycrisp apples. The 5% ABV beer is “bursting with fruit flavour”, and while slightly-less sour than their previous release, Field Trip: Pomegranate, it’s still bright and tart. Available for curbside pickup at their brewery, as well as delivery in their online shop. In addition to delivery on the Island (free for orders over $50), they now offer Canada-wide beer shipping, with free shipping to fellow Maritime provinces for orders over $100 (roughly one flat), and for orders over $200 elsewhere.
In Port au Port on the West coast of Newfoundland, Secret Cove Brewing has a new IPA on the go. Named after the Tuckamore tree, an enduring symbol of strength and resilience, Tuckamore IPA is a 6% ABV beer in the East Coast IPA style. With a soft mouthfeel and a slight bitter kick at the end, with a hop profile of tropical and evergreen notes thanks to plenty of late whirlpool hop additions. As you drink it you can think of the Tuckamore tree, clinging to the rocky coast and no doubt shaped by the wind, but thriving nonetheless. Available for pre-order and pickup along with other Secret Cove offerings on Wednesdays and Fridays. Orders must be in by 1 PM, check their website for all the relevant details.
And staying with Newfoundland, but all the way across to the East coast of the Province, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. also has a new IPA out, one on the tart side of the spectrum called Aloha Sour IPA. They were hoping to introduce it with a tropical beach party at the brewery, but recent events have made that an impossibility, so they recommend instead maybe curling up by the wood stove or cranking the heat to 30º before cracking one on your couch. And at 4.7% ABV you can feel free to have a couple without risking a day boil (although, really, where you going to go anyway?). Released two days ago on Wednesday, it’s available for retail pickup per the information in this Ig post (whether or not you’re in a position to grab some of this beer from them, we recommend you check out that link just to see the gorgeous can design).
And if sour is your thing and you’re in more Northerly areas of the Rock, Split Rock Brewing way up there in Twillingate has the latest in their Sour Patch B’ys series of beers available at the brewery now. Leveraging the same base as the rest of the beers in the series, with 50% Pilsner and 50% wheat, it’s super clean and “medium-sour” with plenty of peachy flavor thanks to the addition of peach purée. Only 4.1% ABV means a couple aren’t going to knock you sideways. Available for contactless curbside pickup along with other Split Rock favorites, you can find the details about putting your order in and picking it up in this Ig post.
It’s not only reassuring to see new, local beers making it into our fridges/cellars during the pandemic, but also to see that some breweries are still doing what they can to collaborate… maybe not directly, but at least intellectually? In one example, North Brewing is releasing a collaboration effort with Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing. The beer in question, Goin’ Down the Road Helles Lager, was originally supposed to be brewed at Dominion City with the North peoples in February, but an unfortunately equipment malfunction scrapped the brew day. Luckily, the two breweries decided to brew the recipe later, on their own systems, which North is releasing today. Brewed with Pilsner malt from Shoreline Malting, hopped with Strisselspalt and Saphir, and fermented with the Isar Lager strain from Escarpment Labs, the 4.3% ABV beer was lagered for a time before packaging in cans. It’s available right now for “Click & Collect”, as well as home delivery; check out North’s website for ordering details.
On Dartmouth’s waterfront, New Scotland Brewing has been busy, and have released four products this week, reflecting their various emotions throughout these past couple of weeks.
First up was Barracks (as in, confined to…), a 6.4% ABV dry English cider, made from the juice of Nova Scotian apples. This cider is available in 650 ml bomber bottles, and is perfect for drinking at the kitchen table.
The second release of the week was The Darkness Behind Us, a Chocolate Milkshake Stout. At just 5.0% ABV, this rich and decadent beer featured additions of chocolate in the boil, as well as lactose, with the resultant beer featuring extra notes of coffee, cherry, and vanilla, for a full on taste of a Black Forest Cake. Maybe a couch beer is in order?
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel is their third release of the week, a 6.2% ABV crisp and dry Champagne IPA. Fermented with Kveik yeast, and hopped to the gills with Citra and Sabro, it features lots of lemon and lime character, so much so that Margarita vibes come to mind. We think this is perfect for the balcony or deck.
Finally, released just moments ago, is Fresh Start. Mosaic hops are the star of this 7.3% ABV American IPA, which was fermented with their blend of three different ale yeasts. The result is a beer that finishes dry, but still has lots of juicy character. Let’s go wild and say shower beer for this… So Fresh and So Clean…
All four of these new drinks have joined their full-time offerings in their online shop, which can be used to pre-order for pickup (retail open 11 – 7 PM), local delivery in HRM, as well as shipping Canada-wide.
Tidehouse Brewing is up and running again, albeit strictly in a curbside-pickup capacity, starting tomorrow. But hey, it’s still a way to grab some beer from them! This weekend they’ve got two options, both available in cans. The first is a new influx of cans of their latest hoppy Saison, Float On India Saison (7% ABV), hopped with Azacca, Ella, and El Dorado varieties. They’ve also got a brand new American IPA, Bonosux, which weighs in at 6.5% ABV and is hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Simcoe. Make your choices now, and give them a call tomorrow (starting at noon) at 902-407-2550 with at least 15 minutes notice. Head to the taproom and they’ll take your cans to you outside for safe, contactless delivery. They’ll continue until 5 pm, or until cans run out, whichever comes first.
In Nova Scotia, there was a change in NSLC licensee regulations that came into effect this week allowing restos and bars to sell beer, wine (and maybe spirits?) along with food during our collective societal lockout. Wouldn’t you know that our friends at Stillwell Beer Bar would step up to that with a quickness, announcing the Stillwell Corner Store this week whereby you can get yourself some delectable treats from their bottle list along with tasty snax, some of which come from Stillwell pals Café Good Luck (currently sold out) and Ratinaud French Cuisine. You do absolutely have to order food with your sweet bottles and cans (stuff like Bellwoods, Burdock, Revel Cider, Crooked Stave, and even some Belgian delights!), but the offerings are small and geared towards having a quick bite while you enjoy the hell out of some tasty beer. Minimum order is $30 and it’s free next day delivery in the HRM. You can also sign-up for contactless curbside pickup between Noon and 2 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Check the website for full details, and keep your eyes peeled for other restaurants that you know and love in your area to be getting on this train in the coming weeks!