This has been a week of transitions in Atlantic Canada, with plenty of good news across the four provinces… We marked the opening of two breweries, New Brunswick has loosened restrictions allowing taprooms and restaurants to open for sit-down service (No Touching!), Newfoundland breweries are now allowed to do deliveries of their products (only 6 weeks after the rest of the Atlantic Provinces!), Nova Scotia has allowed taprooms to be open seven days a week now (pickup and delivery options have changed for some), and most importantly, Prince Edward Island hasn’t sunk into the ocean. Happy Victoria Day weekend! Plenty of details below, and in our Delivery/curbside pickup options page. As always, two months on, if we’ve missed something important there, or just want to chat, get in touch via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred). Take care of yourselves! ?
The first brewery to open in AtlCan this week was Grand Falls Brewing Company, in Northwest New Brunswick. Operating a 1200 litre brewhouse at 651 Main Street, they are currently open for retail sales of cans, 2 – 8 PM Monday through Saturday. For all of the juicy details on their four three offerings (Hop Dam IPA is sold out, thanks to their thirsty local fans!), check out our Profile of them from earlier this week. Their 175 seat taproom will be opening in the coming days/weeks, once the final touches are complete, and physical distancing protocols can be maintained. Keep an eye out here or on their FB and IG pages. Congratulations!
The other brewery opening this week could perhaps be better described as a re-opening of a re-imagined brewery, in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. First opened in owner Keith Forbes’ basement in 2017, Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House was definitively a nano-scale brewery, selling beer a few kegs at a time to licensees in that area. The OG OB himself was juggling a full-time job outside of brewing, and shuttered the brewery mid-2018. Now back full-time, and with business partner Chris Balcom as GM, OBB is opening tomorrow at 111 Cobequid Road. Their hours this weekend will be 12 – 8 PM Saturday and 12 – 6 PM Sunday & Monday. While the taproom is closed due to the pandemic, cans of their eight launch beers will be available to grab and go. Look for our Profile with Fobes and Balcom coming later today.
The great news keeps coming this week, with Propeller Brewing launching a new beer, opening a new location, and switching to seven-days-a-week delivery! Let’s start with the beer….
A fun melding of two tastes are coming together in their Earl Grey Pale Ale. Using Idaho 7 and Citra hops which complement the Earl Grey tea leaves in the beer, and a first on the blog, we think, with the use of Cookie Malt, for a “tea and biscuits” flavour profile. Black tea, bergamot orange, citrus, and floral, perfect for an afternoon break from whatever you’re doing. Cans of the 5.5% ABV beer are available at the Prop Shops, or for home delivery. Pinkies up!
The next big news from Propeller is that their location at The Keep Condominiums [condominia?] (6112 Quinpool Road) will be opening this Sunday, May 17th. While the taproom will remain closed until it is safe to do so, the Propeller Quinpool retail space of cans and bottles will be open for no-contact and safe distancing sales from 12 – 8 PM, seven days a week. This is the site of their 300 litre pilot system, which will be used to test the waters of some cool experimental and one-off brews, mostly for sale onsite in pints and growlers, so the first releases of those will come when it is safe to do so.
And with the NSLC requirements of Sunday closure lifted, Propeller’s three locations will be on the same 12 – 8 PM schedule, and they are expanding their delivery to every day as well. Orders placed online before 3 PM will see same-day delivery to much of HRM, with orders to Bedford, the Sackvilles, and Eastern Passage on a Tues, Thurs, Sat schedule. So plenty of time to submit an order for the Earl Grey Pale Ale, any of their hazy hoppy offerings like Galaxy and Sabro, as well as take advantage of this weekend’s deal of Commons, where you can enjoy $10 off a flat of 24.
Newfoundland’s Bannerman Brewing just celebrated their first birthday, so happy birthday to them! Of course you can’t have any type of celebration in the beer world without launching a new beer (or if you do, you’re basically dead to us), so Bannerman has kindly given us Youthful Daze, a sour IPA. Brewed with Pilsner malt and flaked oats, it was kettle soured and then hopped with heavy amounts of Sabro, Citra, and Galaxy. They also added a small amount of lactose to the boil to make the beer “more cocktail-like”, and with flavours of “citrus, tropical fruit, and coconut”, it sounds like they may have succeeded. This 6.5% ABV tart and hoppy wonder is available right now, so do what you can to get your hands on some (we recommend checking out their online store).
We enjoy getting news from Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing, as it’s quite often more than one or two new beers that they have hitting taps… and this week is no exception! We’ve got four new beers to report on, all of which will be available from the brewery as of today. It’s easier and neater to separate them so no one gets confused:
Love at Midnight (7% ABV) – a “Pina Colada IPA” featuring additions of pineapple and coconut, to add tropical notes to those already present from the hop additions.
Hip Hop Series Vol. 2 Citra (8% ABV) – the second entry in their Hip Hop series of DIPAs, Volume 2 features all Citra hops (oh come on, you know you still love them) used both in the kettle and dry-hop, so except lots of juicy and dank flavours.
Pump Up the Jam (7% ABV) – a kettle sour dry-hopped with Idaho 7, it sports a “nice, citrusy bitterness on top of a smooth sour taste”.
Pump Up the Jam: Pink Guava Sour (7% ABV) – another kettle sour (obviously), this one had an addition of pink guava purée to give “super-refreshing and amazing tropical flavours”. This one in particular is in extremely limited supply, so that’s your warning!
All of these beers will be available for growlers and cans, with the exception of the last one, which will be growlers only. Ok, Monctonians, start your beer engines!
Let’s skip back across the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and visit the lovely Port Rexton, where, coincidentally, you will find Port Rexton Brewing Co. How’s that kismet for you?! They are celebrating the Victoria Long Weekend with this year’s release in their ongoing Ten Eighty series. Back in December, they brewed up an Imperial Milk Stout, starting specific gravity 1.080 (like the name of the beer series!), with plenty of chocolate and roast malt used to bring out those same flavours and aromas in the finished beer. The addition of lactose, aka milk sugar which is unfermentable by most yeasts, allows some sweetness to remain in the final beer, enhancing the milk chocolate feel of the beer, complementing the coffee and darker chocolate malt-derived flavour. After packaging in February and the lovely nap these bottles have taken for the past few months, the 8.5% ABV beer is for sale now! If you live near Port Rexton itself, you can email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to organize a contactless patio-side pickup, but for those not so fortunate, order up online now, and drop by their St. John’s Retail Shop for a pickup, or, for the first time, delivery this afternoon! Those within 20km of the Torbay Rd location can opt for that, with a $40 minimum order and a $5 delivery fee.
Up in Cape Breton, you wouldn’t know there was a pandemic ruining the economy by the beer flying out of Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing. And to up the ante that much higher, this week they’ve got four, yes FOUR new things for you to try plus a returning summer favorite. It’s like they think they’re 2 Crows or something… Anyways, first up is the second in their line of hard seltzers: Bliss Zesty Lime is made just like the Bliss Raspberry we told you about last week: water, malt, and a touch of hops fermented clean and then passed through an ultrafine filtration process to remove almost all color and malt flavor. Add some organic lime essence and you’ve got ZIMA! We kid. What you really get is a crisp and super clean beer-based beverage with a refreshing lime flavor; and like all Big Spruce products, it’s certified organic. We anticipate there will be lots of these downed over the course of the coming summer along with Big Spruce’s returning beer this week, Silver Tart. Don’t expect anything to have changed with this one, it’s still a sour wheat beer with plenty of raspberry essence, and it’s still, we’d wager, super easy-drinking and refreshing.
From those light and refreshing beverages we move onto the remaining three new releases from Big Spruce this week, none of which we’d recommend crushing too many of on a summer afternoon unless you’re looking for life to get unnecessarily interesting. First up is a collaboration between the brewery and Halifax homebrew maven Ian Wheatley (that guy collaborates with errybody). A Belgian ale weighing in at a beefy 9.3% ABV, it was fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Saint Lucifer strain. Called Tripel because, well, that’s what it is, you can safely expect plenty of classic stylistic character, smooth and malty with some banana bread character and a touch of citrus along with a balancing bitterness of 30 IBU or so. Available in 650 mL bottles, you might want to plan to share one; or have a nap afterwards. And continuing with the continental European bent, the next beer up is also a beast, this one from the other side of the Franco-Belgian border, stylistically speaking. Bière de Garde is known as “keeping” beer from Northern France: brewed in the cool weather of late winter or early spring to avoid off flavors from the yeast getting too warm and then “guarded” (kept) for the summer season. Plainly named like the tripel, Bière de Garde is also plenty dangerous at 9.5% ABV and packaged in 650 mL bottles. Malt-driven, but with some hop character from the French variety Aramis to the tune of 22 IBU, expect some aromas of honey and ripe apricot along with a prominent toffee character and a long finish. And if those two bruisers weren’t enough for you, perhaps something a little lower in ABV but with more bitterness and a lot more hop character would suit your needs? Enter Old School a West Coast IPA that harkens back to the early days of West Coast IPA when it wasn’t about who could blow out their customer’s taste buds with bitterness and malt was still a thing you expected to taste quite a bit of in an IPA. At 6.7% ABV and 60 IBU, expect this beer to be, above all things, balanced. That said, don’t get the idea that there’s nothing modern about this beer: the hops used, Amarillo, El Dorado, and Mosaic, certainly don’t date back to the 80s, nor does the Vermont Yeast strain (at least not in its current form), but we suspect nobody’s going to complain about that! This one has also been packaged in bombers ready for you to order for delivery anywhere in NS!
Montague, PEI’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer in the fridge and on their virtual shelves this week, Tropical Storm Nor-Easter IPA. At 8.1% ABV it’s a commitment, but it’s also a commitment to hops, as it took a “boatload” to put this one together. In the kettle at whirlpool were Galaxy and Simcoe, followed by Vic Secret and more Galaxy pre- and post-fermentation. The result is lots of juiciness and mango, pineapple, passionfruit, and stonefruit character with a lush mouthfeel and not too much bitterness. Did you also guess hazy? Well if you did, you got it in one. Bogside Brewing is open for pickup of this beer or any of their other eleven or so canned offerings Tues – Sun, 1 – 6 PM, and The Wheelhouse in Georgetown has temporarily set up in their kitchen offering take-out options Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 – 7 PM (which means the brewery is open then too!). Check the menu here and call in your food order!
Has it been awhile since a brewery around here has brewed an all-Simcoe-hopped DIPA? We’re honestly not sure, but now that we know that Backstage Brewing has released one, we’re in the mood for one! Brewed with a majority of malt from Shoreline Malting, Pour Some Simcoe On Me is a 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU beer hopped entirely with, yes, Simcoe. Ah, Simcoe… you’re actually a pretty ancient hop variety in comparison to so many of the new, cooler kids, but we still adore you! You know, like your favourite grandfather, but better-smelling! Oh right, the beer. Backstage is describing it as showing off “huge, sweet citrus and pine, with a solid bitterness”. Check it out if you’re able!
Brand new hoppy beer from TrailWay this week, an American IPA named ?. No, it’s not that we don’t know what it’s named, it’s just a question mark. Personally, we’d love to be flies on the wall of a local bar to see exactly how people are ordering this beer… but we digress. ? is hopped entirely with Enigma, with a grain bill designed to showcase flavours in the bready, spicy, and toasty areas. The beer also features an addition of raw wildflower honey in the boil, with the final 6.6% ABV product showing off “loads of juicy tropical fruit, apricot and cantaloupe, while the honey introduces complexity with a sweet, floral touch”. Currently available at the brewery, they’ve also got a fresh batch of Ooz, their 8% ABV DIPA hopped with Sabro and a mix of other varieties.
Quidi Vidi continues to push out the small batch beers, with two new releases this week, both available in their retail shop for pickup. The first beer is Belgian Pale Ale, a 4.6% ABV BPA brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, CaraVienna, Victory, Dark Munich, and Acid malt, and hopped with Sterling and Saaz. Next is another European style, Biere de Garde, brewed with a wide variety of specialty malts to give the beer its signature amber colour. It was hopped with Galena and Mt. Hood, and comes in at 6.2% ABV. Unfortunately, we do not have any tasting notes for these two, so if you’re in St. John’s, you’ll have to try them yourselves!
This week marks the Fifth Anniversary of Good Robot, who burst on the scenes ala Kramer back in 2015, bringing their fun attitude, killer taproom events, charitable endeavours, oh, and beer! While the party hats and streamers were donned and tossed remotely, plenty of good vibes are flowing. No brand new beers out for them this week, though their Creature Feature Biotransformation IPA is back in cans. 6.4% ABV, hazy NEIPA with plenty of tropical vibes. GRBC is also marking this weekend by opening their doors for retail and delivery Sundays, with their new hours Mon – Thurs, 2 – 7 PM, Fri – Sun, 12 – 7 PM. Order by 6 PM for same-day delivery. And if you want to take part in the fun with one of their neat-o-rama offerings, you can order up their The Fizz, their 4.7% ABV fermented seltzer. Use code MOREFIZZNESS at checkout to save 30% off your growler fill, today until Sunday.
Your favorite beer nerds (besides us, we mean), have a new episode out this week, and it looks like if nothing else, COVID-19 has allowed them to get back to talking to actual breweries thanks to the advent of Zoom! This week’s guest is Cam MacKinnon, one of the principal folks behind Sydney’s Breton Brewing. Tune in to hear them discuss (among other things), the impacts of the pandemic on the brewery and the beer industry as a whole; just dial up “902BrewCast” on your favorite podcast app or hit their homepage here.
A couple last things to keep you busy before beer time!
Annapolis Brewing just released Dunkel, a 5.1% ABV, 21 IBUs dark German Lager; with some sweetness thanks to the addition of specialty malts, it’s well-balanced with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Their retail shop is open Saturdays, 12 – 4 PM for bottles to go!
Unfiltered has growler fills and cans available of their latest batch of Riddle of Steel, a 7% ABV NEIPA, available as of today, so be sure to load up for the long weekend. And again Monday, as they’ll be open, in case you drink it all Sunday!