This has been a tough week for our region, with localized spikes in the number of COVID cases bursting the Atlantic Bubble, and now the forced closing of in-person dining and drinking in Halifax and Hants County Zones. All is not lost, however, as most of your favourite breweries, cider houses, and Good Beer Restos are transitioning (back) to delivery and curbside take-away options. Or if your fridge is already full, consider picking up another set of gift certificates to help your local spot. Black Friday/Cyber Monday be damned, we’ll repeat here what we’ve seen elsewhere, “Buy Local, or Bye Local”. We’ll get our butts in gear with a full updated COVID list soon, but in the meantime, here’s the latest news on drinks to guide you to and through the weekend. As always, stay safe, stay kind, and drink well.
One of those affected breweries is Dartmouth’s North Brewing, who has closed their taproom at 899 Portland Street, though their retail shop is open (may we suggest Delivery and Curbside Click and Collect?), with the Side Hustle Snack Bar pivoting to Take Out only (Fri & Sat, 4 – 8 PM, menu here, must order by phone 902-444-7765). Hitting the shelves today is the latest in their series of collaborations with Benjamin Bridge, using a new variety of grape in the continuing hybrid releases. 2020 Saison de Lucie started life as a Saison base beer, to which 500 kg of freshly crushed, whole Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (juice, pomace, and skins) were added for a secondary fermentation. After sufficient tannic structure from the pomace and skins developed, the 7.4% ABV beer/wine hybrid was transferred a second time into bottles to complete conditioning, and carbonate naturally. The resulting bevvy is a wonderful melding of a crisp and effervescent Saison with a bold fruitiness from the Hazuki Vineyards grapes. Bottles of 2020 SdL are available for delivery (nation-wide, btw), and pickup at their Portland Street and Battery Park locations.
Also on shelves today is the Barrel-aged version of their 2019 Saison de Petite Pearl, which was allowed to build some oak character while sitting in a barrel for 10 months, before undergoing final maturation and natural carbonation in the bottle. Just one barrel was prepared, meaning this is a small release of just 25 cases, so seek it out today if you’re interested.
Adding to these two brand new releases are a dive in the cellar for the un-oaked 2019 Saison de Petite Pearl, as well as the Barrel-aged 2018 Saison de Chardonnay, both 7.4% ABV, and available online.
For those of you isolated in St. John’s (hey, there’s way worse places to be stuck!), you may want to mosey on over to Bannerman Brewing, where they have a pretty new beer on tap. Strange Overtones is a 7.5% ABV Sour IPA that was brewed with lots of flaked oats to increase haziness and give the beer a smooth, creamy mouthfeel, as well as a little lactose powder for some sweetness to balance the tartness. We’re unsure exactly what hop varieties were used in this one, but they’re describing the beer as “jammy, with flavours of berry, pine and candied citrus”. Oh, did we mention that it was also conditioned on plenty of blackberries? Yeah, that may explain at least a portion of the jammy descriptor! This one is available on tap only, so pop by for a pint and/or a growler.
Delta Force Brewing, Nova Scotia’s most clandestine brewery, has popped up again with another set of releases this week, and we’ve got the scoop for you! First up is Wessex, a 7.8% ABV English Barley Wine, featuring plenty of caramel and bread crust with a balancing bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Full mouthfeel and maybe a touch of alcohol heat will reward those bold enough to take it on. Word on the street is that this one is in very short supply, so this may only be a tease for some readers (sorry not sorry, you can get on the shortlist for future releases by signing up to their mailing list via email, email@example.com). We understand there should be some Operation Barrow left at this point, however, so let’s expound on this one! This 7.0% English IPA started out traditional enough, using English malts and hops, but was instead fermented with Brettanomyces for a more funk-forward take on the style. While there is little doubt yeasts would have had some extra funky bugs in there due to a lack of modern sanitation practices, this is definitely a doubling down on this fact to gain complexity and character in the final product. Sounds like a winner to us!
Delta Force also has a trio of bottles from their previous releases with less-than-waterproof labels, which means they may not exactly be pretty, but the beers inside are still damn tasty. And with a bit of a discount, that’s pretty sweet!
- Anderlecht is their Trappist Single-inspired ale, with a touch of Brett funkiness, a 6.0% ABV ode to Guy of Anderlecht, the patron saint of sheds. Delta Force is a Farmshed brewery, after all!
- Mean Time is a 5.6% ABV English Bitter with a touch of Brett, featuring their own Greenwich-grown hops! Bit of funk, a bit of floral from the hops, all good.
- Operation Assay is their Kveik Pale Ale, a 6.3% ABV quaffable elixir with just a smattering of hops.
All of the Delta Force Brewing beers can be ordered via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), $40 minimum for free contactless delivery within HRM (or so), and they’ll fill you in on anything else necessary.
Chester’s finest and pride of Lunenburg County, Tanner Brewing, have an Old Black Forest restaurant pop-up this weekend, as part of the Chester Village Christmas. Their latest release is right on theme, as Black Forest Milk Stout is available today! From the brewery, “Inspired by the delicious cake itself, this stout was finished with milk sugar towards the end of the boil and then fermented with cherry puree, vanilla & chocolate.” This 6.9% ABV and 25 IBU stout can also be ordered with a slice of Black Forest cake, available at the brewery or even online as part of their delivery. Online slice of cake orders? Welcome to 2020! We encourage you to follow local guidelines when placing in person and online orders, as they will deliver as far down as Bridgewater. Typical delivery days are Fridays if you can’t make it to the brewery. For those in Halifax, keep an eye on the online store and when local guidelines allow you to get this tasty new release.
After all the fantastic news this week (if your sarcasm meter isn’t going off, you’d better check its batteries), you may find yourself craving something a little on the stronger side. Those of you in Moncton are covered by Tire Shack’s latest bottle release, Into the Void, a Russian Imperial Stout weighing in at a whopping 11.9% ABV. No doubt brewed with a complex grist of multiple specialty grains, it’s showing off “prominent flavours of dried fruits (dates and figs) and some molasses, followed by espresso and a tinge of bitter chocolate.” Accompanied by a smooth, heavy body, the alcohol is warming, yet not one bit harsh. The perfect beer for sipping by a fire, or chugging in an attempt to escape reality (that being said, nobody really recommends that approach!). Lots of bottles at the brewery for the weekend, drop by to stock up, as this one should be a great beer for cellaring.
If you’re looking to scratch the spiced holiday beer itch, check out Good Robot this weekend for their release of El Zorro Spiced Dark Lager. Coming in at 4.4% ABV, expect the familiar spice notes of a winter warmer. This one is also gluten reduced, with less than 20 PPM of gluten. While their beer store is open for pickup, the Robots are encouraging you to stay home by doubling down on their BeerMiles delivery rewards this weekend, and Tripling them today only! Check out their webstore for more info.
Just one event on the books for this week, but it’s a good one:
Borden-Carleton’s Lone Oak Brewing is celebrating the opening of their onsite kitchen today, The Abby. Run by the very capable folks behind the Wheelhouse in Georgetown and the bright pink Terry’s Berries food truck outside the brewery this summer. Think handhelds and sides, with plenty of pairing opportunities with the Lone Oak beers on tap. This kitchen opens today at 4 PM, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 until 7 or later, all winter. And what better way to celebrate than with the return of Trivia with Dan and Spencer, starting at 7 PM. And from 9 PM until close, Fraser McCallum will take the stage for some live music. Tomorrow evening will see Brad Milligan & Griffen Arsenault playing 7 – 10 PM, and Sunday Brian Dunn ft John MacAllar, 1 – 4 PM. What a full weekend, jam packed with great beer, food, and fun!
This is where we usually say, “A few short things before we leave you to your weekend,” but really this week there’s a lot. So, enjoy a lot of short things (plus a bonus feature) before we leave you to your weekend!!
In Dieppe, NB, CAVOK Brewing has a brand new beer on tap, Pear”adise”. A 5.9% ABV Saison brewed with local, fresh pears (from Crooked River Farm, out of Memramcook), as well as an addition of Grains of Paradise, you can grab it in pints, crowlers, and growlers, for on-site drinking (in your bubble, naturally), takeaway, or delivery.
Also in Dieppe, we get a new IPA release from O’Creek Brewing, SOLOH IPA. Featuring Talus hops, a cultivated daughter of Sabro, this should come with big aromas of citrus, floral and fruit aromas, with big orange and tangerine flavours. Available on tap right now at CAVOK.
Back in the big city, check out Garrison Brewing for their annual release of Spruce Beer. This year’s version features spruce and fir tips from their friends at Meander River Farm and the usual addition of Blackstrap molasses. In response to the current conditions, Garrison is also expanding its home delivery options. And have started a “Save the Tax” offering for all of their merch, on now until the end of the year. Check out their webstore for more info.
Hopping over to St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. is releasing the second of their Sofa Sour Series with Peach Raspberry Sour. This 5.6% ABV fruited sour is available now at the QV Hop Shop in cans. Check out QV’s web store for local delivery, available today and Saturday.
Upstreet has brought back their popular DIPA, Third Place, an 8.5% ABV hop bomb featuring additions of Galaxy, Azacca, Mosaic, and Citra. Lots of tropical fruit and citrus in this one, as well as notes of “caramelized brown sugar”, likely from the use of some Victory malt in the grist. Available on tap and in cans at Upstreet and Craft Beer Corner, it’ll also be seen at Dartmouth’s Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse soon, as well as in select ANBL stores in New Brunswick in the New Year.
And finally, In the grand tradition of holiday cheer venturing northwards from our neighbours to the south, no doubt combined with so many taprooms shutting down due to lockdown and affecting on-site sales, many of the providers in our region, but especially in Halifax, are adding a bit of incentive to their online ordering this weekend (and, in some cases, beyond). If you’re looking to take advantage, PLEASE do read the details carefully on the brewery’s/cidery’s website for full details (limits, timeframe, etc.) before placing your order:
- 2 Crows has lowered their minimum for free shipping to $30 and is including a 4-pack of Hop Water with every order until December 9th.
- Annapolis Cider is ceasing shipping for the Winter months (cider can freeze in transit, which is a Bad Thing™) so they’ve set a flat shipping charge of $15 on orders over $100 anywhere in Canada (with some exceptions) until November 29th.
- Lake City Cider is offering 20% off on all orders over $70 this weekend; as always, order by 1 PM for sameday delivery.
- Murphy Hospitality Group are offering a $10 cash card when you buy a $50 in MHG gift cards via the MHG Gift Cards site from November 27th to December 31st. A reminder that MHG cards can be used at any MHG property, which includes PEI Brewing Company, PEIBC Beer Station, and the Gahan Beer Store. The cash card will be for use in January and February, 2021. Today (Black Friday) only, you get 2 x $10 cards for your purchase. On Cyber Monday you can get free shipping by using the code “CYBER MONDAY.”
- Propeller Brewing has a sale on their Lime Lite lime-infused light lager all weekend long, with a flat of 24 cans going for $60.
- Tatamagouche Brewing is having a buy 5 Get (Square) One Free promotion on where if you order 5 bottles of tasty Tata brews they’ll throw in a bottle of their Canadian Beer Awards Silver Medal winning Square One Saison.
- As mentioned above, Good Robot is doubling your BeerMiles reward miles if you order online this weekend, tripling them today only.
- Also mentioned above, Garrison Brewing has a “save the tax” deal on Garrison merchandise running until the end of the year.