Have you heard of the second wave? Will you ride the wave like an undercover cop pretending to be a surfer? Have you reached your point break breaking point as cases rise? The Atlantic beer scene keeps rolling along and many of our friends have kept home delivery going strong. We wish you nothing but safety, tasty beers and merry cheers as we roll into the holiday season. Stay alert (like the COVID alert app) and stay safe!
This long awaited release from Tatamagouche is finally here, adding to the global lineup of this cultural beer. Black is Beautiful (9.5%) is their take on the Weathered Souls recipe shared around the world, as other breweries have done. Our friends at Tata used Crisp Pale Malt and Horton Ridge Pale Malt for the base with oats, C-120 malt for some dark caramel malt, chocolate wheat and rye with roasted barley and a pinch of lactose. This malty beauty was bittered to 75 IBU and with Nugget and Cascade hops.
As with all of the Black is Beautiful releases, a local initiative will benefit from the sales. All proceeds will be donated to the Tatamagouche Centre to be used for bursaries and scholarships, supporting equality and inclusion. For over 60 years the Tatamagouche Center has been a meeting place for those who care deeply about spirituality, leadership, and social justice. Each year they offer over 10 programs, which cover areas such as congregational life, spirituality, community growth and development, transformational learning, social justice, youth and family, and retreats. Available now in 500ml bottles at Tatabrew HQ on Main Street in Tatamagouche, via their online store and in the city at Bishop’s Cellar real soon. Kegs in the Tata tap room will be available as well as a few licensees in HRM. Many have tried this already (including us!) at Stillwell and the Stillwell Freehouse. It is smooth and has a beautiful balance with the bittering hops. Keep an eye out for this over the winter months, support a good cause, and you may even see it on Nitro taps, too!
Straight out of Hanwell, we missed one from last week! If you’ve followed Niche (like we have), you may be aware of Hop Altered, a Northeast American Pale Ale (NEAPA!) that changes their hop schedule in the recipe. Back for a third iteration, this beer sticks with the flaked wheat and oats and Escarpment Labs’ Foggy London yeast, but goes tropical fruity with Galaxy hops in the kettle and dry-hopped with Citra and Nelson. These are 3 tasty hops that should bring a nice balance of dank, haze and citrus to this 5.2% pale ale. This will be available on draft at the usual Fredericton accounts, along with Stillwell in Halifax.
Over in PEI, Upstreet has two new beers, both being released on the same day. First up is the latest entry in their Million Acres series of barrel aged brews, Million Acres Yuzu Farmhouse Ale. A Saison that was hopped with Kazbek and Sorachi Ace, and conditioned on yuzu (a citrus fruit of East Asian origin), it spent about 2 & ½ months in the barrel before bottling; the shorter time (compared to “usual” barrel aging) was to allow the Saison yeast character shine through. The beer is pale yellow, with aromas of “candied orange peel, hay, and farmyard goodness” and flavours of grapefruit and lemon zest, with a bit of oak and tannins coming through as well. It’s 7% ABV, and available only in 500 mL bottles at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner.
Next up is a new beer in another ongoing series, but hops instead of Farmhouse. You guessed it, it’s the latest Neon Friday, Neon Friday 3.04 NEIPA. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, wheat, and oats, they hopped it heavily with plenty of varieties: Sabro, Cashmere, Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot. Hazy, golden, and bursting with big aromas of “peach, coconut, tropical fruit, and dehydrated strawberries,” along with lots of stone fruit on the palate, you can find this 6.5% ABV hop bomb on tap at all Upstreet locations, as well as in cans at their Charlottetown taproom and the CBC (no, not the news organization).
Coupla new brews coming out of Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing the last couple of weeks. Let’s start with the hoppy one, just for a change (:D). Hot Sky is the brewery’s latest American IPA, which was hopped almost exclusively with Eclipse. An Australian variety that used to be known as the less-catchy name of HPA 016 (BOR-ing!), it’s giving this particular 6.6% ABV beer notes of “sweet citrus fruits, candied orange, peach juice, papaya, Juicy Fruit gum, and pine needles”, according to TW. It’s currently available both on tap and in cans at the brewery.
And in a move away from the world of hops, TW released their newest German-style beer late last week, Alternate Side. Brewed in the Altbier style, it was fermented cool with an Ale yeast, which is traditional for the style. Exhibiting lots of malt character (specifically “honey, caramel, and multigrain toast”), it’s balanced by a firm hop bitterness, while remaining dry in the finish. Balance is key for a beer like this, not to mention drinkability; at 4.5% ABV, it sounds like TW may have hit the nail on the head. This one is only on tap at the brewery, in their 0.5 L mugs, so you’ve got to visit to try it!
Halifax’s Tidehouse has a new beer in cans available for takeaway starting today; continuing their look back at their first four years of beers, it’s a re-release, but it’s been such a long time since it was originally brewed, it’s bordering new-beer territory! The beer is El-Galaxarillo, a 7.5% ABV New England IPA that was first released way back in October, 2017, for pints and growlers at the TH taproom. Many of you may be able to look at the beer’s name and surmise what hops they went with, but just in case you’re not that hop-geeky, the varieties are El Dorado, Galaxy, and Amarillo. With a heavy amount used in the whirlpool, and multiple dry-hop additions, it’s exhibiting plenty of stone fruit, orange, and grapefruit notes in the aroma and flavour. Available in cans to grab and go today at Tidehouse, starting at 2 PM.
Winter technically isn’t here yet, but that wouldn’t stop some breweries from getting their winter seasonals ready for release, would it? Hells, no! And really, it’s basically cold enough most of these November days/nights to warrant sipping on some stouts, barleywines, et al. In an answer to our needs, the people at Spindrift Brewing have conjured up their newest winter seasonal, Seeker Espresso Stout. Featuring additions of cocoa, toasted coconut, cinnamon bark, and – yes – espresso, it’s a complex brew with “bold flavours reminiscent of a holiday dessert”, with a silky, smooth mouthfeel. Weighing in at 6.9% ABV, you can grab some right now at the brewery in the form of pints and growlers, with cans rumoured to be hitting shelves very soon.
Experimentation is still the name of the game at Tanner & Co. with the release of their latest beer, Kuhlmann. With a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malts, along with a touch of Rye, the wort was fermented on 100 lbs of Lucie Kuhlmann grape skins from Planters Ridge Winery out of Port Williams. No yeast was pitched in the making of this beer – all of the fermentation took place from the wild yeasts naturally occurring on the grape skins. The final 7% ABV beer has “youthful grape-forward notes of blackberry, cherry, and black currant”, and can be found at the brewery on tap and in bottles, as well as on their online store (which will unlock the secret of Friday delivery in the Bridgewater to Halifax stretch of the province, if ordered before midnight Thursday).
Continuing to surpass the high bar set by their award-winning German styles, Montague PEI’s Bogside Brewing is releasing the Gladiator Doppelbock tomorrow, Saturday November 21st. This beer is truly a meeting of the minds between German-trained Head Brewer Mark Patriquin, and Island Hop Company’s Josh Mayich. Using a Mayich family recipe for Doppelbock, and their own family farm grown hops, this beer is just about as authentic as it gets outside of Munich. Heavy use of Vienna and Munich Type 2 malts, as well as a decoction mash step, bring out some lovely rich caramel notes and full mouthfeel. The use of IHC Hallertau Tradition in the beer was used to target the flavour of traditional Doppelbocks, and it underwent a controlled aging process to bring out those characteristics. Beer science and history incoming! Historical brews of this style were done a couple of months after hop harvest, due to availability of resources, and during that time a light oxidation of the hops would change the aromatic compounds (those terpenes you’ve heard so much about) ever so slightly. Mayich performed the same steps, monitoring the results often, before halting it and locking in the character. Added late in the boil, allowed more of the woody, tobacco, floral, and light citrus to stay in the final beer. A low and slow lagering over the course of two months rounded out the beer to where it stands now. Available on tap and in cans tomorrow, the release party from 2 – 5 PM will feature live music, and even a pairing of schnitzel from Thatchers Eatery kitchen onsite. Get thee to Montague tomorrow, or make an order for delivery!
It’s getting to be *that* time of year, when husbands, wives, partners, and kids struggle to find a meaningful and useful gift for loved ones. Well, if that special someone in your life loves beer, maybe we can lighten the load a little bit. Here’s a round-up of some Holiday and Gift Boxes we’ve spotted. Have we missed one? Let us know! Hit us up on twitter or instagram or via email.
In Shelburne, Boxing Rock is releasing a very-limited number of the Brewmance Box this December. A gift box that includes thirteen beers (4 x Unobtainium, 4 x Vicar’s Cross, one Temptation, and four of either IPA, Sour, or Puck Off!, your choice), it also includes a Boxing Rock toque, drinking game, and spice mix (with recipes). You can purchase yours here for $89; if you sign up for a subscription, you’ll receive a different Brewmance Box every three months for a year, and save 10% on each Box. Free local pickup or delivery in the HRM (at Local Source Market) or Shelburne area, with $15 shipping elsewhere in NS.
North Brewing is very rarely outdone in these parts, whether that’s for quality, style, or grace, and their Holiday Beer Box is no exception – there’s a lot going on here. Non-beer wise, you’ll find a North Brewing Holiday Card and an exclusive-to-the-box 20 OZ ceramic stein with a North Snowflake design in yellow or blue. Beer-wise, there’s a can each of local favorites Lawrencetown Surf session ale, Rosy Berry saison, Pleasant Disposition IPA, Alloy Champagne IPA, Cole Harbour Red, Little Beast lagered ale, and a can of their Cranberry Clementine Seltzer as well. Where things get extra delightful is with the holiday beers and seasonals, including one brewed specifically for, and not available outside, the box. First up, a couple of returning beers that exemplify both North’s penchant for experimentation with grapes and grape skins as well as their relationship with local winery Benjamin Bridge. Blanc is a 4.5% ABV beer in the Grisette style (think “baby saison”) made with Sauvignon Blanc grape skins. Musqué is a burlier beer, an 8% ABV Double IPA made with Chardonnay Musqué grapes. From there are three very special beers not made before:
- Cinnamon Bun and Stack o’ Pancakes are both 9% ABV “Holiday Stouts” based off the same recipe (no actual Cinnamon Buns or Pancakes were harmed in the brewing of these beers). Cinnamon Bun was given treatment with a generous dose of cinnamon bark along with vanilla and salt. Stack o’ Pancakes was fermented with “many” buckets of Nova Scotia maple syrup, which was allowed to ferment out completely to prevent a cloyingly sweet result, along with vanilla and salt as well.
- Down Time is at the opposite end of the spectrum from those two, an Altbier that comes in at 4% ABV. Brewed specifically for this box and not available outside of it, it’s apparently something they’ve been wanting to brew for a long time and will be an extra special treat for those who grab a box.
On sale as of yesterday (earlier for newsletter subscribers), 300 of these are being assembled and they’re selling for $89.95 (tax-in). They will be available for pickup on December 1st, but they also qualify for free shipping in North’s local delivery area but not quite free shipping within the Maritimes or Nationally (although you could always add a few things to your order, such as a second Holiday Beer Box to get to the respective $100 or $150 minimums). Wrapped in custom North Brewing holiday wrapping paper, they’ll even write a special note for you if you indicate that your purchase is a gift. There’s a good chance, we think, that these will sell out fairly quickly, so if you’re interested (and why wouldn’t you be?!) best act soon! But if the box isn’t your thing, look for all of its contents (except the steins and the Altbier) available separately via North’s online store or at the brewery. The Stack o’ Pancakes is out today and the Cinnamon Bun is coming soon, as are the Musqué and Blanc (the latter two will see a $0.50 donation per can to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust); we’ll do our best to let you know when those are all available.
Bathurst’s 13 Barrels Brewing is getting in on the fun as well, with a, you guessed it, 13 days of Christmas Advent Calendar box. Pre-orders are open now at the brewery until December 5th, with the pickup scheduled for December 9 – 12. In addition to the baker’s (brewer’s?) dozen of beers inside (some of these thirteen will be exclusively available in this box), look for some mystery gifts as well! Message 13B on social media to place your order, and then fall asleep with visions of a sugar plum gose dancing in your head. And once it’s all over, return your box in good condition and they’ll give you a bonus 14th beer!
If cider is more your speed, Lake City Cider has you covered! They have a handful of gift boxes all ready to rock, some feature just the cider in the “Spice Up Your Life” or “Mixed Three Pack”, or go all out with the Holiday and Fan packs featuring blankets, stemless glassware, tote bags, and much more! Check out their online shop and grab them today!
Brightwood Brewery in Dartmouth is also thinking of your hard-to-buy-for friends and family, with a Gift Box set ready to pick up and share in a hurry. A six-pack of Beer is complemented by a 16oz Brightwood Glass and Canvas Tote Bag. Pick from some curated options for selecting the beers (whether your giftee is into Hops, Malt, or something a bit more seasonal allowing you to grab the Christmas on Portland Street Raspberry Porter), or you can opt pick exactly the six beers you’d like if you visit their shop!
If a surprise every day of December leading up to Christmas sounds more up your alley, the Harvest Wines/RockHead/WestSide group has brought back the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown, which features 23 beers and ciders from across the Maritimes, plus a free glass to enjoy them in. The identity of the beers is secret until you open them up, and you can expect several exclusive Countdown-only bevvies, but peep the box’s website for a sneak peek at which breweries and cider producers took part! Available now in store and online if you can’t wait the two additional weeks until December 1st (or want to get them chilling ASAP).
What about gifting your beau/belle a membership in the hottest club to ever hit the shores of Spryfield? Serpent Brewing has re-jigged their Membership Clubs so that you can get in on the ground floor even easier. The benefits will start once their opening-real-soon Taproom is complete, but here’s a sneak peek: As a member of the Brew Club, every month for the next two years you’ll enjoy a free growler fill or two bottles or two pints, plus $3 off growler fills every Thursday, a Serpent shirt and a pair of glasses, plus vouchers for a handful of free pints and flights to use or share with friends. How about gifting them a full Beer Creation Experience? This will allow them to work with Head Honcho Glen O’Keefe to formulate a brand new beer recipe, work with Serpent to name and design the label, sample it throughout the brewing and maturation process, and get the first case of the finished product! And if you are feeling especially generous, gift them both as part of the Founders Club. More details and how to sign up are on their website, but don’t delay as there are only a limited number of the memberships available!
OK, enough of those “Future Holiday Boxes”, let’s get you up to speed with the events happening in our region this weekend!. It just so happens to be a little Hali-centric this time ‘round, but we know there’ll be great beer on tap no matter where you find yourself!
Propeller’s Gottingen Taproom continues their Community Cask this evening, once again highlighting and supporting a community group that inspires and improves the community. November’s recipient is Ecology Action Centre to benefit the Green Avengers Team, a group of 16 dedicated individuals who are running in this year’s Blue Nose Marathon to raise funds for the Ecology Action Centre. So, help support EAC while enjoying a pint! What can you expect in your glass, when the cask is tapped at 5 PM this evening? It’s a sneak peek of a big release coming in December, with a rum-soaked-oak-stave-conditioned Mocha Oatmeal Stout! The base 5.5% ABV beer already showcases tons of locally roasted coffee, tempered by the smooth character of the addition of oats in the malt bill, and the rum and oak are sure to bump this up to a truly special beer. Real Fake Meats will be onsite with Donair Egg Rolls (vegan, natch) for a fun pairing.
Tomorrow, Saturday November 21st, Brunswick Street’s 2 Crows Brewing will be putting a few of their favourite beers back on tap for a “Hey, it’s Saturday, let’s have a pint” event they’ve dubbed “Some of the Good Ones”. Plenty of fun collabs done with the likes of Change is Brewing Collective (Good News), Bannerman Brewing and Lightfoot & Wolfville (Vinello), Orono Brewing Company (Deux II), Kilter Brewing (Lil’ Miguel), plus a great variety of fresh & hoppy (Perfect Situation) and wild (Old & New). The doors open at noon, and you’ll also have the chance to grab the amazing fried chicken sandwiches, pastries, and more from Buttered Bliss, onsite from 12 – 4 PM (or earlier, most likely, if they sell out).
The Stillwell Freehouse at 2534 Agricola celebrates its First Anniversary next Saturday, November 28th, and they will be stacking the taps and casks with killer beer and cider options from the region, and beyond. Chef Graeme will continue to work his magic in the kitchen, preparing some lovely complementing dishes… Or will the beer be complementing the food? I’d say both are true! Open noon til 1 AM, no reservations required, just show up with an empty stomach!
A few more things to tell you about this week before you’re dismissed. Don’t forget to wash your hands and wear your mask, things are getting a bit hairy out there again!
Gahan is jumping on the holiday dessert beer wagon (or should we say sleigh?) with the rerelease of Shortest Day. Their take on a milk stout is spiced with nutmeg to get those holiday feels going. Expect notes of vanilla to go along with the spice. Coming in at 4.5%, you can find cans of Shortest Day on the Island at PEI Brewing Company, the Gahan Beer Store, and look for it next week at PEI Liquor locations and Gahan’s other outlets across the Maritimes.
Keeping on trend, Garrison is also re-releasing one of its holiday seasonals with All Lit Up making its return. This 7.0% ABV spiced ale features Cascade hops and is available in single cans or in their Holiday Mingler 4-Pack. You’ll also find Stay The Blazes Home Ale back in stock, this time only at the Oxford Taproom and Seaport locations (or for home delivery). As before, a portion of sales will go to support Feed Nova Scotia.
Brand new IPA from Good Robot available just in time for your Friday drinking needs! SpaceTime NaviGator is a 6% ABV brew hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fruity and tropical, no doubt, you can find it at the bar for pints and takeaway cans, and online.
Back in Fredericton, Grimross is adding to its Maritime Series with Maritime Wheat Ale. Expect classic Belgian witbier flavours of clove and fruit, and a slightly cloudy appearance (can swirl anyone?). As an added bonus, this 5% ABV beer features 100% Maritime ingredients from two excellent local supplies, Shoreline Malting and Island Hop Company. Grab some today on tap or to-go in cans.
Hardisty Brewing Co. has expanded its reach beyond the Colby Village area of Dartmouth. Look for cans of their BlockParty SMaSH pale ale at Harvest Wines in Dartmouth, starting today. And they are now in rotation at Battery Park in downtown Dartmouth, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled to their IG page for the latest updates.
Crossing the harbour, check out North Street’s Unfiltered Brewing for the release of Riddle of Steel. This 7.0% ABV IPA is back in cans and on tap next door at Charm School.
New Scotland Brewing has released Tough Chit, a DIPA brewed with – we assume – some Chit in the grist, and bigly-hopped with late additions of Mosaic and Idaho 7, as well as a large dry-hop. Slightly sweet, with flavours and aromas of “mango, honeydew, and peach”, it weighs in at 7.5% ABV and 40 IBUs. You can find it on tap at the taproom this weekend.
Let’s end on a new beer from Quidi Vidi Brewing, for those who need a whole buncha hops in their lives (isn’t that all of us?). Simply named Imperial IPA, this small batch release is an 8.7% ABV blast of citrus, orange, and pine on the nose, along with a serious bitterness and just a touch of warmth on the finish. Fans of Calm Tom will certainly dig this one. You can grab it at their Hop Shop in QV Village, or their Home Delivery happening Friday and Saturday. More details on their website. And look for a rebrand on the line of sours QV put out this summer, now dubbed the Sofa Sour Series. The first to be released under this moniker is the Pineapple Sour Sour, a re-brew of their July debut. Other sours getting the facelift will feature passion fruit, peach & raspberry, and strawberry & guava, on shelves and out for delivery in the coming months.