Archives

All posts for the month October, 2021

With the summer rush officially behind us, breweries across Atlantic Canada are turning their attention back to new releases and fun events to keep thirsty beer fans across the region happy.  Last weekend saw many breweries and beer drinkers partaking in the final Oktoberfest celebrations, soaking up the great weather and general good vibes. This week, we’ve got a bunch more new releases and some great events in Halifax and St. John’s to help you plan your weekend. This week is also the kickoff of the infamous Burger Week in HRM. A friendly reminder – be courteous and patient as your favourite beer bars and taproom restaurants deal with the onslaught of burger fans and do their part to keep us safe with the new vaccination mandates. Take a look below at what’s new this week and make some plans to grab some burgers, peep some leaves, and drink some tasty fermented beverages from your favourite breweries and cideries this weekend. 

Starting out on one of our favourite islands, Dildo Brewing had a few new releases over the last few weeks. We’re here to get you caught up to speed and help you quench your thirst for Atlantic Canadian beer! First up is Lassie, a Dildo take on a classic Northern English Brown ale. This dark ale has caramel hues of reddish-brown but well balanced with hop flavour and malt character. Very light and drinkable at 4.5% this beer uses a mix of English pale, biscuit, brown and caramel malts, all blending for a nice roasty flavour with some nutty and biscuit malt notes. Additions of fancy molasses helped develop a deeper colour and balance of sweetness, producing a lovely beer that pairs well with this season.

Second up from Dildo, Bitter Cold is another malt forward, easy-drinking ale. A 4.0% ordinary bitter, it has classic English flavour notes of orange pekoe tea and toasted biscuits. Both of these new brews are available in 473ml cans at the brewery, St. John’s store, and Marie’s, this should also be popping up at Orangestores around the province. 

Heading to another island (and another beer release last week), Big Spruce Brewing has a canned release of a beer that was at the Stillwell Beer Garden Oktoberfest. Festfriends is a German Festbier perfect for the time of year. This German-style lager is just what you’d want for your crisp beergarden bevvy taking you straight over to Germany. Featuring some toasted malt and biscuity notes from Pilsner malt, this 5.8% beer is available now in 473 mL cans directly from Big Spruce at the brewery or online. 

Back to the Rock, where just west of Stephenville, you’ll find lovely Port au Port and Secret Cove Brewing. Flake & Gunnels is a Double IPA named after classic Atlantic fishing terms (a “flake” is a platform to dry and preserve your catch and, if you were lucky, you were loaded to the Gunnels) this beer represents the families that harvest from the sea. Packed with those classic American “C” hops (Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook and Citra) and adding creaminess and body with flaked oats and flaked barley, this hop-forward, smooth beer brings flavours of juice, citrus, resin and pine. At 7.6% ABV with high juiciness and bitterness, cans should be available today from the brewery. We’ll end this blurb with a note straight from the brewery (and because this beer sounds so delicious) “Cod may be God, but We Love and Pray Hops.

Aaaand back to the mainland for a pair of new releases from Nova Scotia’s North Shore at Tatamagouche Brewing. Their Intertidal line of hop-centric beers continues with Intertidal Eclipse + Galaxy Pale Ale, leveraging both of these tropical and citrus hops in a Pale Ale. Available on draught at the brewery, and soon at better bars in HRM and beyond, cans should be hitting their shelves (virtually and on Main Street Tatamagouche) in the next week.

Available now in bottles is another in Tata’s exploration of barrel-aged beer, Petite Milo. Beginning life as a Golden Ale that was fermented and conditioned in some funky barrels for several months, it underwent a secondary fermentation with the addition of locally-grown Petite Milo grapes. More time means more character when it comes to these mixed fermentation beers, and PM is no exception. A touch of barrel pokes through the bright and tart beer, with vinous character from the grapes also making their presence known. Bottles are now available at the brewery and online, with just a few kegs available, so it should be popping up in the wild soon.

Never one to shy away from our weekly updates, Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has a very special release for a good cause today. A special freshly picked wet-hopped IPA is a brew for goodwill with all profits from sales being donated to the Moncton SPCA. It’s is 6% and the hops were hand-picked locally in Moncton by Tire Shack employees. While you can never be sure with backyard hops, the fine folks at the brewery believe it is mostly Cascade. There are only 100 litres of this beer and it will be available for pints only at the brewery, so stop by this weekend if you get the chance! 

On to another island, Montague, PE’s Copper Bottom is back with a fresh entry in their Flux series, a single hop feature constantly changing with new releases. This edition is Flux: Azacca a Session IPA clocking in at 4.2% and 20 IBU. This is hazy and sessionable, with the Azacca hops bringing out bright citrus notes along with stone fruits like mango and peach. Soft and smooth it has just enough bitterness to balance the grain bill of 2-row malt, wheat, and flaked oats and it’s available today in 473ml cans only at the brewery. 

Staying on PEI, another brewery with frequent releases is back with another one (DJ Khaled!). Village Green brings us Wheelie’s Hazy Pale Ale, a hop filled pale ale named after PEI’s famous haunted childrens toy (this is news to us, but it’s definitely creepy!), it features Citra, Mosaic, and Chinook hops (enchanted by the brewers to make it extra spooky). With that combo you can safely expect bold fruity, citrus-y, and piney flavours and a strong hop aroma. This beer release is paired with an event today at the brewery from 4:30 – 6:30 PM where you can see Wheelie there in the flesh (!) and $1 from every sale of the beer will go towards the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation

And one more time up to NL, where Ninepenny Brewing in CBS has also released an ode to a local celebrity (of sorts) this week, in collaboration with the Manuels River Interpretation Centre. MR1 is a 500 million year old trilobite fossil found along Manuels River by Dr. Riccardo Levi-Setti in the 1970s; it is one of the best preserved specimens of this species, and is proudly displayed at Manuels River. The beer is a kettle sour, conditioned on locally grown blackberries and blueberries from Walsh’s Farms in Colliers, as well as wild river mint foraged from near the site of the fossil discovery. At 4.9%, it’s tart, fruit, and refreshing, reminiscent of a fruited mojito. You can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery, and can even grab cans at the Manuels River Interpretation Centre. And speaking of, the Centre is hosting their own Oktoberfest next Friday, Oktober 22, with a German-inspired menu, flights of Ninepenny, and live music. Check out their events page for more information and to book your spot!

As we transition from Oktoberfest to Spooky Season all across the region, Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing has decided that St. Patrick’s Day shouldn’t be the only holiday to have questionably colored beer and have accordingly released a Halloween-themed beer that looks like a witches’ brew! Spooky is a Raspberry sour that is very green (in colour, not flavour!), a 6% sour ale that is dosed with blue Spirulina powder to turn it into a hazy shade of green. Tasting both sweet and sour, reminding you of Halloween candy, it’s full of raspberry flavour and a bit of acidity and it’s available now in 473ml cans only from the brewery. 

Big news out of Greenwich/Halifax’s most clandestine brewery, Delta Force. For the first time, their beers are available via retail. The fine folks at Bishops Cellar will be stocking Anderlecht Farmshed Ale and Atlantic Time Bitter. Anderlecht is their Brett-forward nod to Orval, in the Trappist single style. Atlantic Time is an English-style bitter featuring PEI-grown malt and Delta Force’s own hops from the Greenwich area. To celebrate their retail debut, DF is offering a limited quantity 6-pack of some of their greatest hits, spanning several styles for your drinking pleasure. Home deliveries are available within a 1 hour radius of HRM. Hit up their online store for more details on how to order. 

And lastly for our news section (but bleeding into our events section), did you think you were going to get through a Friday Wrap-up without news from 2 Crows? Psshhhht; silly beer lover. We told you a couple weeks ago about the home and home collaboration between 2C and Bellwoods Brewery, including teasing you about the BW side of the release, the Crowbar IPA that was only available in Ontario. We also talked last week about the recent trend in lagers at 2C and specifically the Harrington released last week that was named after the variety of barley malted by Shoreline Malting and used in that beer. Would you believe all that naturally leads us to this week’s new release, almost as if someone had cunningly planned it that way?

Birds and the Bells is a “New Zealand Pilsner” which is the recent industry term for a Pilsner that’s hopped a little more than average, often late, and always with New Zealand hop varieties. Leveraging the same hop combo that was used in the Crowbar, this beer also exclusively uses the Shoreline Harrington malt. Mashed with their recently adopted regimen that promotes big and long-lasting foam, they really leaned into the hop side of things, with Rakau and Motueka added in the mash, at first wort, and then late. Fermented low and slow with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager, it was krausened and assertively dry hopped with plenty more Motueka and Pacifica plus a little bit more Rakau before being lagered for 5 weeks. At 4.4% ABV and 35 IBU, the result is a maximally crushable ultra crisp beer with some lovely and zippy hop notes, including lime and apricot, and big beautiful foam. Find it at the brewery or for online orders via their web shop, or, you could head down to 2C tomorrow (Saturday, October 15) from noon to 5 PM for the release party! There will be hand pies from Humble Pie Kitchen, bottle pours of some Bellwoods bangers courtesy of Bishop’s Cellar, and, of course, plenty of fluffy-capped Birds and the Bells streaming from the side pour tap.

A couple of things to tell you about today before we send you off to the great unknown…

St John’s Brewdock Beer Bar has always had gluten-free options on tap and on the food menu, but they are pulling out all of the stops this weekend, dedicating three of their draught lines to GF options (which is infinitely easier these days, with Port Rexton having a dedicated line of truly gluten-free options, including the recent Gluten-Free IPA and the newest Gluten-Free Sour, featuring a boat-load of Haskap berries). And Chef Chris Mercer and team in the kitchen have created more than a dozen GF food items, including baking and refining their own potato bun that is the base of either a beef or spicy cod burger. And in chatting with the Brewdock team, they expect to have a few of these items (and beer) on all the time going forward, giving those who live with Celiac Disease, or who just want to reduce their gluten ingestion, more options in their glasses or on their plates.

Mark your calendars for next Saturday, October 23, as the Stillwell Freehouse will be welcoming Microbrasserie Les Grands Bois, located in Saint-Casimir, Quebec. Founded in 2016 in a movie theatre built in the 1940s, Les Grands Bois has a wide portfolio of beer in house, and are sending ten of them to Agricola Street. From Grisettes, Kolsch, Pils, to New England and American IPAs, there promises to be something for everyone that day. And with it being the last day of Burger Week, you can try Chef Graeme’s house-made-beef-bacon- and cheddar-sauce-topped creation one last time… And in “It’s That Time of Year Again”, remember that the Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden is winding down for the season Sunday, October 17, so grab those afternoon and evening pints and Beverly Taco Service eats before they close the metal gates for another year. The good news is that Beverly are expected to be back slinging tacos from Sourwood Cider’s location on Cornwallis later this month.

Happy Thanksgiving Friday! Fall has definitely sprung in the region, with the leaves changing colours and cooler evenings, and our already-short patio season quickly drawing to a close (don’t fear, there are a few outdoor events to tell you about down below…). With the holiday Monday, be sure to check ahead for the opening hours of your favourite local brewery or ciderhouse before heading out, as they may be altered for the day (Sunday too!). Solid representation from all four Atlantic Provinces this week, hopefully satisfying everyone tuning in. And remember that many breweries are shipping within, and outside of, their respective provinces, so be sure to ping them if you read about something here. Be sure to tell them the ACBB crew sent ya! As always, keep drinking the good stuff, supporting your local growers and producers, and we’ll see you again next Friday (if not sooner…)!

Church Brewing in Wolfville released a quad-fecta of new beer last weekend, so let’s get you up to date with those draught-only (pints or crowler fills) offerings. Phantom Altbier is the first of the bunch, a 5.5% Altbier, which is a traditional German hybrid or “lagered ale”. Malt-forward, the beer features some yeast-derived esters (think light apple and banana) on top of the toast and bready notes from the grain bill. A pair of beers in their new IPA Series are Saint John and Saint Paul, named after two members of the iconic Tragically Hip band. Saint John (Fay, drummer) is a 5.8% American IPA, weighing in at about 50 IBU thanks to Magnum, Azacca, Simcoe, and Amarillo added throughout the brew, lending plenty of grapefruit and lime citrus notes with a lingering pine finish. Saint Paul (Langlois, guitarist) is an in-between American and English IPA, again leaning on Magnum for bittering to 50 IBU, with Azacca, Simcoe, and El Dorado finishing off the hop-heavy-lifting. Smooth bitterness, with the sweeter malt notes poking its way through as well. And finally, in a complete left turn, Got You Bae is a 4.0% dry-hopped Sour, leveraging the citrus and tropical notes of Azacca, Simcoe, and Amarillo to differentiate from their Salt Water Joys Gose. All four are pouring at Church now, and are available to go in crowlers from their retail shop on-site.

Just in time for the long weekend, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is releasing a new DIPA, Battleship PM-67. Brewed in memory of Unfiltered-friend Paul McKinnon, this 7.5% DIPA is made with the Cryo Pop hop blend, giving tropical notes including pineapple, stonefruit and grapefruit, finishing with a distinct bitterness. Cans and pints (next door at Charm School) are available now. A portion of the proceeds from the beer will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation in memory of Paul.

Although they’ve got quite a bit on the go these days, with a kitchen to set up at their Cole Harbour location and an entire new taproom going in out Tantallon way, North Brewing is still putting out the good stuff, including a brand new one, a special version of a previous seasonal, and the return of a much anticipated banger. Let’s start with the brand new one, a variation on a classic style dreamed up by Kolapo, who runs the brewery’s lab QA program, looks after the yeast stores, and is also one of the production brewers on the team. Starting with a classic German Weizen, featuring plenty of wheat and classic German noble hops, to amp up the banana character associated with the style (and no doubt the haziness!) this beer underwent a secondary fermentation on 60 kg of banana purée. The result is “banana-y, wheaty, refreshing and crisp” and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It’s name? Beernana, of course!

In the “special re-release” category, this week sees the return of Coco Pony the barrel-aged version of North’s dessert stout, Twinkle Pony. Early in 2021, they took 800 litres of the original beer, made with lady finger cookies, cold brew coffee, lactose, and vanilla, and spread it amongst 4 whisky barrels from Glenora Distillery, where it sat for several months, picking up plenty of oak and whisky notes. From there it was brought back to stainless, where it was aged on plenty of roasty cocoa nibs from Rousseau Chocolatier and toasted coconut. The result is a burly brew, where sweetness and roastiness meet big chocolate flavor, topped with boozy barrel character, all with a subtle hint of coconut all the way through. Smooth, rich, and decadent, ideal for enjoying slowly on a cool fall evening; but be careful, it packs a wallop at 9% ABV!

And lastly, fans of crispy brews can rejoice, as one of the best in the region is back this week. Sparrow is the brewery’s lovely little bird of a German Pils, a crushable 4.8% grainy beauty that still packs a bit of a punch on the hop side to help keep the finish dry and bringing you back for more. All three of these have been packaged in cans (473 mL for the first two, 355 for the Sparrow) and all are available at the brewery or for online ordering. Speaking of online ordering, they’re running a promo this weekend; if you’re a subscriber to their email list, make sure you check out this week’s email for 15% off orders placed before Sunday at 11:59pm! They’ve also got some sweet new swag up, including Dartmouth Dark socks!

Heading up to the Rock, Bannerman has another release (do we say that every week? Keep the good stuff coming!) available now. Bruised Ego is a DIPA that is smooth and fruity. Made with flaked and malted oats for a creamier, smoother mouthfeel, this used dry hops of Mosaic and Barbe Rouge. The beer was then conditioned on lots of raspberries to bring some jam and bold fruitiness. It is available today in cans, on tap and growlers at the brewery and cans at Marie’s and Urban Market.

Staying in Newfoundland, we have a pair of new brews from Quidi Vidi. Starting in the taproom, they’ve got Junior, a super session IPA that keeps it tasty and hoppy. At a paltry 2.3% it still manages to pack a punch of hop flavours bringing in candied orange, citrus fruits, some dark raisin, and a little bit of mint. This one is available only on tap in the taproom.

Reaching further onto the big screen, the brewery has partnered with the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival for the third straight year. Director’s Cut: Strawberry Kiwi Sour is a 5.8% sour that will be featured at NLCs and convenience stores across the province. For the third year in a row, the labels on the cans are done by 32 female artists from Newfoundland and Labrador, so there are 32 different pieces of artwork from female creatives for the same beer release. The Film Festival runs from the 13th until the 17th of October, but the beer is available today, and in stores starting October 11th.

Three in a row for Newfoundland, as Bay Roberts’ Baccalieu Trail Brewing has a limited release available now. Dyes for it is a lagered ale, Kolsch-style ale brewing with Pilsner and Munich malts and balanced with late additions of German Hersbrucker and French Strisslespalt hops. This 5% crispy, lager-like beer will have great Noble Hop aromas and is a label and name conceptualized by one of their employees, packaging technician extraordinaire Haley. It’s available in 473ml cans at the brewery, at Marie’s locations. 

Go for it, Connect Four with Newfoundland breweries, as Boomstick Brewing brings an Oktoberfest release to Cornerbrook. Dunkelweizen is a dark wheat beer featuring smooth, maltiness, with great aromas of fruit and spice. This is a 5% release that is well balanced and is easily drinkable. You can find this on tap at the brewery or in 473ml cans in Corner Brook and will soon make its way to the St. John’s area.  Be sure to check out the brewery’s Oktoberfest celebrations this Saturday October 9th.

Heading back down to NS, where Good Robot has a new Goodwill Partner (formerly Goodwill Bot) in the form of The Limestone Group. You may know the LG from previous Good Robot joints, or that GR’s own Giovanni Johnson is one of the prime movers of the group. In short, they’re a group of native Bahamians living in Halifax who love nothing more than to share their Caribbean culture through tropical beverages (most often beer and beer-adjacent) and good times. Based around the idea of a “switcha” which is a heat-beating citrus beverage from the Bahamas powerful enough to make you “switch up” your face, Hard Limeade Switcha is a fruited radler, which means there’s some beer in there as well. At 5.7% ABV, it’s a bit heartier than your average radler, but we’re guessing that’s to help it bear up against the citrus punch. Being part of the Goodwill Partner initiative, proceeds from this one will go towards the good work of the Limestone Group. Although you can grab cans of Switcha now, you might also want to consider checking out the official launch event happening on October 23rd at GR; keep your eyes peeled on GR/LG social media for more info on that!

The pride of Ashdale, just east of Windsor, Nova Scotia, Meander River Farm and Brewery has a fresh seasonal release, their 2021 Homegrown, a wet-hopped ale. Each year the hops in this release change and this year brings  a light, zesty, sessionable ale made solely with hops from their farm, namely the Galena and Newport varieties. Having a slightly hazy appearance and boasting zesty and wild berry aromas, this 4.5% session ale has medium bitterness with plenty of grassy notes and a crispy finish. Take a lovely fall drive to pick it up from the farm or order online. 

Tatamagouche is famous for its annual Oktoberfest celebration, and coinciding with this year’s modified events, Tatamagouche Brewing is releasing the Sepia Marzen. This version relies primarily on Munich malt with a touch of Vienna and malted wheat, plus some small volumes of speciality malts for colour. The boil stage of the brewing process was extended to extract as much malt character as possible. This is a style that requires enough hop character and bitterness to balance the delicious, bready, sweet malt. Tata used Magnum hops for bittering and some Mittelfruh and Tettnanger as late additions. A partial natural carbonation was also used to create a drinking experience that screams “one more”. Per the style, expect notes of bread crust, toast and malt. We know that this one will be on tap at the Stilly BG event this Saturday, but you’ll likely be able to find it at the brewery soon as well. Keep an eye on their online store for availability in cans later this month.

Newfoundland seekers of gluten-free beers should check out Port Rexton this weekend for a fruited take on their Gluten-Free Sour. This version includes the elusive haskap berry, giving notes of jelly beans, blueberry and some sour apple. Haskap berries are gaining popularity as a superfruit for their antioxidants and other health benefits (don’t @ us blueberry lobby groups). The sour comes in at 5% ABV and is available now in Port Rexton on tap or in cans. Look for it to hit the shelves at the St. John’s retail location next week.

We’ve only got one New Brunswick brewery to mention in this section this week, but they’re making up for the slow NB news week with the release of two beers. Up first for Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing is Killed by Death a 10% Triple IPA. This TIPA features a massive dry-hop of Mosaic, Citra and Vic Secret. Expect tons of tropical and citrus aromas in this big hazy IPA.  Up next is Cherry Pie Sour, a 6% kettle sour featuring pie cherries and the addition of some species to give a hint of graham cracker. Both beers are available now in cans/growlers to go and on tap for pints.

Although their oeuvre remains vast and varied, you may have noticed over the last year or more that Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing has put some real emphasis on their lagers. From the traditional continental stylings of Letna and Waltz and Milosh and the recent smoky Signals, to the new world and old world with a twist entries like Dos Cuervos, Vitis, and Refresh, if you’re a lager lover it’s been a great ride. And that ride continues with this week’s new entry, a “rustic lager” they’ve dubbed Harrington. What’s a rustic lager, you may ask? I’m not sure we know either, but what we can tell you is that it’s got an interesting story behind it. PEI maltster Shoreline Malting decided to explore the malt variety of the same name this year, a variety that was incredibly popular from the mid-80s to the late-90s and then all but disappeared. Interested in seeing how it compared to more modern strains, they arranged to get some, PEI grown, and put it through the malting process. And where Lagers tend to be somewhat better styles for showing off the character of malt, it should be no surprise that they chose 2 Crows to put the malt through its paces. But that wasn’t the end of the fun: 2 Crows were not alone in this brew, they brought in another one of Canada’s best breweries to share the fun, Indie Alehouse out of Toronto. Of course, all the malt in this brew was the Shoreline Harrington, to which some raw wheat was added, and the grist was mashed with a schedule designed to maximize foam and stability. A little bit of Mandarina Bavaria and Diamant hops were added to provide the requisite balance, and the resulting wort was fermented low and slow with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager yeast strain. Post-fermentation this was was lagered long and low, resulting in a 3.9% ABV and 20 IBU beer where fresh, bready malt is the star of the show, with some subtle floral notes, and an ultra crisp finish. Out now in cans available from the brewery, there will be a launch party for it tomorrow evening (Saturday, October 8) from 4 – 10 PM as part of the Patio Lanterns Festival, with DJ CPR, Disco Stu, DJ Douvet, playing tunes, soft pretzels for snacking from Gingerbread Haus, and plenty of Harrington to drink! 

A couple Oktoberfest reminders, an Anniversary celebration, book and cider launch, plus a few more things to get you out the door this weekend!

If you’re in Charlottetown and not ready to be done with Oktoberfest yet, we remind you that PEIBC is doing their OktoberFEAST this weekend. See our post from September 24th for the info and some links to more!

And if you’re in Halifax (or planning to be tomorrow), a reminder that the Stillwell Beergarden is celebrating Oktoberfest tomorrow, from noon until *chilly*, with ten German-inspired beers on tap, plenty more in cans and bottles, including the Tata Sepia Marzen above and plenty more from NS, NB, and PEI, plus imports from Ontario (Sonnen Hill and Tooth & Nail). Sausages and pretzels, roving live music, and plenty more! Check this IG post for the full taplist, and we’ll see you there! 

Cornwall’s Village Green is celebrating their one year anniversary this Saturday (October 9) with food, music and of course, great beer. Let’s start with the beer. In addition to their core lineup, VG will have a new release, a sneak peek at a full upcoming release, and returning favourites. Up first is a new version of Cream Ale. Coming in at 5.2% ABV, this one features Pilsner malt, malted wheat and flaked corn in the malt bill, and a touch of Perle hops to round things out. Cream Ale will be on tap and has also been canned if you’re looking to grab something to go. Look for the sneak peek at Wheelie’s Hazy Pale, inspired by the creepyful antique toy discovered in the province last year, which took the internet by storm. We’ll have full details on it, and its launch event with PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, next week. This weekend’s celebration will also see the return of fan favourite Tripel. This one was brewed and first released back in the Spring, but one keg was cellared for the anniversary. The 9.4% take on the style recently won a Bronze medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards and will be on tap for 5 oz pours. Food will also be available on-site starting at noon care of Sneaky Cheats in the form of smoked bologna and tofu sandwiches. Freshly shucked PEI oysters will also be available. This fully-vaxxed event goes from 12 to 9:00 PM. Cheers to the Modern Brewer and everyone at Village Green!

Another event combining great food and fermented beverages is happening Saturday at the Sourwood taproom. Bryan Picard, owner of The Bite House in Big Baddeck, Cape Breton, will be releasing his new cookbook and conjunction with some new cider releases. For those who don’t know, prior to Covid, The Bite House was an extremely sought after restaurant on Picard’s property that typically sold out a year’s worth of reservations within minutes each year. Since then Picard has been focusing on catering, pop-ups, developing the cookbook and doing cool collabs, like this one with Sourwood. Let’s get to the ciders. First up are two made from an unknown variety of yellow apples from a 100-year old tree on the Bite House property. Unknown Legend is a piquete style cider made with the apples. Juice from the same apples was then combined with Bite House water to make a smaller piquette-style version, Petite Legend. Both will be available on Saturday in bottles. The release will also include Field Blend, a canned cider using a variety of apples foraged from the Bite House grounds. Swing by Sourwood from noon to 4:00 PM on Saturday to grab a cookbook, meet the author, and enjoy some interesting ciders.

Spreading joy to all and creating safe spaces is exactly what beer and society should be. Queer Garden is a cooperative in North End Halifax that is a backyard feel establishment with food, drink and more! Available by reservation only, check out their website and their Instagram page for more info. They’re currently featuring some beer from Upstreet, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. They are launching a fundraiser for a permanent more inclusive location, and are holding two events this weekend to see that come to fruition. Sunday, Oct 10, from 2 – 8 PM, they are holding a “Goodbye Summer” event at their location. DJs all day, great fun and booze!

Here’s the quick hits portion of our program for this week, with a bunch of new releases around:

The leaves are changing, which can only mean two things in Cape Breton – traffic jams on the Cabot Trail and Fall seasonal beers. Breton Brewing is getting in on the action with the return of Maple Lager and Oktoberfest Lager. The former is made with maple syrup sourced from the island, and features notes of caramel, bread and maple with a 5.5% ABV. Oktoberfest is a 5.3% Märzen-style lager brewed in collaboration with Saltbox Brewing. Per the style, look for a big bready malt profile with enough bitterness to keep things balanced. Cans of both are available at the taproom now and for delivery in HRM/CBRM.

In New Brunswick (between Quispamsis and Sussex), Hampton Brewing has a new release from their new brewery. Straddling the Fence is a Session Ale featuring their newest recipe with a low bitterness, smooth finish and flavours of passionfruit, strawberry mango and citrus. Different base malts were used here, with honey malt adding a bit of sweetness. This is available now only from the brewery. 

If you’re near Moth Lane Brewery on PEI, make sure you check out Stargazer, a new 5% seasonal fall release with fresh hops right from the Island. Well-balanced and a delicious sipper, it is available now from the brewery. 

Over in Windsor, Schoolhouse Brewery is back with a new release from their Local Hop Series, Freshman is a NEIPA in its 2021 iteration. Made with the freshest possible hops (not dried, freshly picked wet hops) is a 5.9% hazy New England IPA that is available today in 473ml cans. 

And lastly, but not leastly, there’s beer to be made and somebody’s got to do it. Could that person be you?

If you’re looking for a brewing position in our region you could do worse than the gorgeous South Shore of Nova Scotia. Fortunately, if that’s your bent, there’s one available! Saltbox is looking for someone to brew in their 10 BBL brewhouse and take part in the production of their beers, ciders, and RTD products to feed their distribution channels including local sales, the NSLC, private stores, and tap accounts. As head brewer, you’d lead recipe formulation, yeast management, ordering, and coordinating distro. There’s also a SABCO system for experimental brews, as well as the smaller systems at King Street Beer in Bridgewater and Lightship Brewery in Lunenburg. A real soup to nuts opportunity! Look for all the details, including how to apply, at this link.

While yesterday Canada took a day of learning and reflection to honour the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, today (October 1st) is Treaty Day in Nova Scotia, when the 1752 Treaty of Friendship and Peace was meant to mark a day of renewing friendship and peace between the Mi’kmaq and the Crown. Today, the purpose of Treaty Day is to promote public awareness about the Mi’kmaw culture and heritage for all Nova Scotians. It also kicks off  Mi’kmaq History Month in NS, but keep an eye out around our entire Atlantic region for how your local beverage providers may be supporting their local own Indigenous people. On top of that, we can also keep celebrating Oktoberfest, as these events are still happening all around the globe. As always, keep an eye out for local regulations, proof of vaccination (October 4th for NS folk!) and stay safe out there, fellow fine drinking (and non-drinking) friends!

Antigonish’s Candid Brewing is celebrating their Grand Opening this weekend with their own Oktoberfest; complete with a brand new beer as well as events today and tomorrow… First the beer, shall we? Oktoberfest Märzen was brewed to honour that most excellent Munich tradition of Oktoberfest, and in the same style as the originals, with the 5.9% ABV beer pouring a deep amber colour and is malt on the nose and the palate, with a smooth, quaffable, finish. A taproom feature, draught pours of the Marzen start at 4PM, as the festivities of the weekend kick into high gear…

Today from 4 PM, door prizes and drink and food specials (The Boneyard food truck is onsite), table-side magic from 5 PM, and a free show from Jud Gunning at 6 PM, ahead of two ticketed shows this evening (The Collective at 8 PM, and Andre Pettipas & The Giants at 9 PM, tickets for your table are available here, and include a stein and first fill for each person).

Saturday’s fun start shortly after opening at 1 PM, with more door prizes and drink and food specials, along with Brewery Tours at 1, 2, and 3 PM, with Kinsmen Radio Bingo at 5:30 PM. The doors close for the ticketed events of the evening, before the Dixie Rovers and then Dead Phish take over for the evening. 

The Antigonish Townhouse is also celebrating Candid’s opening, as they’ll have Marzen on tap to pair with a lovely Currywurst feature, and for those unable to make it to town for the weekend fun, kegs will be available in HRM at TAPestry Beer Bar and Battery Park very soon.

In Nyanza, up on Cape Breton Island, Big Spruce is bringing both a returning favorite and an all-new jam to the taps this week, a double-dose of terroir from our CB friends. Up first is Major Hop Lips, also known as, “the beer what they put all their farm-grown hops in.” Yup, you may be aware that Big Spruce has a hopyard on their property, and, barring major investment in extensive cold storage and/or processing and pelletizing equipment, the absolute best way to showcase those hops is to pick ‘em and immediately throw them into a batch of beer. A pale ale weighing in at 5.7% ABV and boasting a stiff-ish 59 IBU, it cone-tains (hyuk hyuk) Cascade, Mount Hood, Goldings, Chinook, and Centennial varieties for an overall impression of apricot, pine, and wildflowers. Golden in color, with a crispy white head, the can design (and name) will no doubt trigger nostalgia for drinkers of a certain age.

Secondly, in a move that screams, “Summer’s not over yet, dammit!” comes Respect Your Elders, a Berlinerweiße featuring elderberries sourced, you guessed it, on the Big Spruce farm. Spritzy, dry, and just a little bit tart, this 4.5% ABV beer takes a soft pink color and light fruit character from the elderberries, long considered to be medicinal. We’re not sure you’ll see any health benefits from drinking this one, but we’re guessing your taste buds will be pretty happy. Both of these beers are now available in cans (although the Respect Your Elders is a small batch) at the Big Spruce online shop for delivery, for pints, fills, and cans to go at the brewery, and, we suspect, on tap over the coming days and weeks at your favorite BS tap accounts.

It won’t surprise regular readers of this blog (both of you!) that we’ve got news from 2 Crows Brewing this week, although it may surprise you that we’ve only got one thing to mention. And we’re not going to lie, this one might seem like a bit of a tease… You see, 2 Crows has done a home-and-home collaboration with one of Canada’s shining light breweries, Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewing, and the first of those two beers, loosely based on a New Zealand theme, is now available. Crowbar features, of course, a raft of New Zealand hops, including Rakau, Pacifica, and Motueka to provide notes of honeydew melon, strawberry, and sweet tart candies. It’s 7.0% ABV, and it’s been canned for your convenience, but here’s the kicker: this is the Bellwoods half of the collab, so it’s only available from them. That said, if you’ve got any friends in Toronto, or the rest of Ontario, Bellwoods ships province-wide, so now may be the time to call in that favor your childhood friend/college roommate/cousin/aunt/uncle/great-grandmother owes you!! Meanwhile, we’ll have the deets on the 2 Crows side of the collab when it’s released in coming weeks.

Up on the Rock, in Mount Pearl, Landwash Brewery has a brand new beer available, although for frequenters of their establishment it’s not exactly new. Originally brewed as a taproom exclusive, English Harbour is a 4.8% ABV sour that was conditioned on locally-sourced field cucumbers and rosewater. Bright and thirst-quenching, it was such a hit on tap they decided to do up a big ol’ batch. Available as of yesterday for pints, fills, and in cans to go, look for this one (and their recent Kveik-fermented quick lager Sand Dollar) to be available via wider distro real soon now!

Sticking with Newfoundland for a spell, we go west to Rough Waters Brewing in Deer Lake, where they’re rolling out a very traditional Belgian style. Mechan-enkel is the RW take on an Enkel, the low-percentage daily drinker brewed by and for monks that you may also know by the name Patersbier. At 4.3% ABV it’s not going to knock you over if you have a couple of them, but it’s got plenty of bready flavor from a grist of Pilsner and wheat malts, some complex overtones from the Belgian yeast strain, and additional notes of citrus, honey, and white pepper. Brewed in partnership with Rough Waters Gravel Grind, a 40/75km bike ride through the Humber Valley trail systems, we think this will go down very smooth after a trek like that, or just the trek from your house to the taproom. This one is available on tap and in cans from the brewery, where you can also grab their two CBA Silver medal-winning offerings, Selkie Wheat beer, Sou-wester sour, or the rest of their lineup.

Let’s chat cider for a bit, as Halifax’s Sourwood Cider has a special release on shelves near and far these days. Cox Orange Pet-Nat is a single varietal cider made from the eponymous apple, that was spontaneously fermented using only the yeast and microbes on the fruit, and underwent a 3-week maceration period with the apple flesh and skins hanging around the fermenting cider. Considered a Zero / Zero cider, there was no sulfur added to kill natural yeast or bacteria, and so no other intervention with chemicals or filtration. With just 24 cases produced, this is certainly a small batch, but is now available at Sourwood’s location on Cornwallis Street, their online shop, and for those in Ontario, through Grape Witches’ shop.

As mentioned in the intro, it is Mi’kmaq Heritage Month and many establishments will show their support in one way or another. One of those is Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider, who is back with one of their Something Different series, featuring limited releases and new flavours blended with their dry cider. Something Different: Peach and Ginger is a full-bodied sparkling cider that blends their cool fermented dry cider with fresh-pressed Annapolis Valley peaches and a bit of ginger. Using a cryo-exraction process for the peach juice, this brings out some acidity and fuller, roundness of flavour, along with notes of tropical fruit and warm peach pie. Splashed with ginger juice, this is notable with a warming zip on the finish of this 5.7% cider. This is available now in growlers only at the cidery and $0.50 from each refill of Peach & Ginger will support the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association (NSNWA). NSNWA offers programs, services and advocacy supports to Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people across the province.

Upstreet’s non-alcoholic offshoot, Libra, continues to expand its offerings with the release of two new beers just in time for anyone partaking in Sober October, or just generally looking for a zero alcohol option that still scratches that beer itch. First up is Libra Pumpkin Spice Ale. Expect those classic fall notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Also joining the party is Libra Pilsner. Brewed with lager yeast and Czech-imported Saaz hops, you can expect a crisp drinking experience with some light malt sweetness. Both beers are 0.4% ABV and are available in 12 and 24 packs at the Libra online store (Pilsner is coming back in a few weeks), with the Pumpkin Spice also available at Upstreet’s retail shop and Craft Beer Corner downtown.

Over to New Brunswick, where you might know that in Village-des-Poirier on the Acadian Peninsula you’ll find Microbrasserie Houblon-Pecheur. What you may also find in the waters nearby, as he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave, is a Great White Shark called, of course, “Brunswick,” but not why you think. Originally tagged off the coast of the Southern US, he was named after the folks of Brunswick, Georgia! Guess he heard about the “other” Brunswick and decided to go on a road trip! A young adult, he’s “only” 8’9” and 430-ish lbs of ocean-going killing machine, but we have every faith his time in the region will bulk him up. What better way to celebrate such a visitor than with a beer? And BHP came up with just the thing, an IPA they’re calling, not surprisingly, Brunswick. At 7.7% ABV and packaged in 500 mL bottles, it’s a double IPA that no doubt packs a shark-sized punch. Look for it at ANBL stores in Caraquet, Tracadie, and Shippagan, with other usually Houblon-Pecheur points of distro expected to pick it up soon.

The Oktoberfest events continue, in addition to Candid’s event mentioned earlier, we’ve got news of a few more coming over the next couple of weeks…

If you’re headed to the Valley this weekend, the Oktoberfest tradition will find you there, too! Starting today, Horton Ridge will have a wonderful tap lineup of 3 new Oktoberfest beers, along with their other core beer and other taps from Tatamagouche, Big Spruce and East Coast Cider. The new beers are an Oktoberfest Honig, a 5.2% Marzen with local honey, Labour of Love, a 5% Schwarzbier and Bucked Up, a 5.5% Kolsch. These will be available all weekend at the malt house. 

Down at the Seaport in Halifax, Garrison Brewing has brought back a beer for a very special in-house event going on Tomorrow, Saturday, October 2nd. It’s a Wienerful Wheat is a hazy, crisp, and refreshing beer, 4.6% ABV and 12 IBU, nominally in the German Weißbier style, with a bready wheat character and overtones of spice and citrus. It was brewed in collaboration with Jack 92.9 FM, specifically morning hosts Griff and Caroline. Fifty cents from every can sold will go towards the Nova Scotia SPCA. Tomorrow’s event will celebrate all of that, with a pet-friendly launch party. Drink and merchandise (pet accessories, natch) deals will be going on all day, with locally handcrafted pet goods from Bog Dog and Hide & Paw also on display and the chance to win a prize pack with stuffs from other vendors @bichobandanas, @craftybeastsbrewingco, @thewhiskerstore, @chowtimepetfoods, and more! So get your furry friend(s) prepped and primped and head down to have some beer and maybe spoil them a little (more).

We’ve been telling you all about various Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the region over the past several weeks, including a couple today, but in classic, “last, but certainly not least,” news comes word that Stillwell Beergarden is doing their thing once again this year on Saturday, October 9. The true blue beer geek’s version of the event in our region, they’ve got confirmed taps from a couple of well regarded out of town breweries, namely Sonnen Hill of Caledon, ON, and Tooth & Nail, of Ottawa, ON, along with a raft of Maritime stalwarts: PEI’s Lone Oak and Bogside, New Brunswick’s Grimross, and Nova Scotia faves Tatamagouche, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Uncle Leo’s, and, of course, Stillwell Brewing. Beers are not all confirmed yet, but you can expect plenty of Märzens/Festbiers along with maybe some Pils, German Lager, Kellerpils, Altbier, and possibly even a Munich Dunkel. No tickets, it’ll be first come, first served, but there will be an entry fee (keep an eye on BG social media for details on that). Beer will be served in ½ L and 1 L steins, and there will be some thematically consistent snacks from HQ chef Joe Martin. So maybe forgo the dirndl and lederhosen and move straight for the drinking pants because this is shaping up to be eine gongshow. 

Just a coupla buncha quick hits this week before we let you go:

Newfoundland isn’t immune to the Fall beer craze either. Bannerman’s Marzen-style lager, Safe Bet, is also available in cans and on tap on Duckworth Street. Their take on the style comes in at 5.5% ABV. Using a blend of Vienna, Pilsner and Caramel malts to produce a beautiful copper colour and provide ample malt sweetness.

In more Newfoundland news, Crooked Feeder has two new releases in its Sour Series. Passion Fruit Sour and Grapefruit Sour are both available at the Cormack taproom and at Marie’s Minimart locations in St. John’s.

If you like your marine vessels to be airborne, Flying Boats has a returning favourite at the brewery and select ANBL stores in a limited release. Red Cap is a 4.8% Peanut Butter Stout using a base of an English-style Double Oatmeal Stout with all-natural peanut butter flavour added in the final stages of fermentation. A mix of peanut butter aroma, flavor with chocolate notes, this is in 473ml cans and on tap and growler fills while quantities last. 

Heading down the river, Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing Co. is releasing a new Double IPA, Trident to Da Troat. Coming in at 8.5% ABV, expect a deep orange colour, with big hop aroma and flavour from the dry-hopping. Grab it today in cans or by the pint in the taproom.

The Fall beers continue to roll out of brite tanks and canning lines across the region. In Fredericton, Fall means the return of Grimross’ Vienna Lager, King’s Horn. This super clean lager with the style’s signature malt sweetness is available now at the brewtique now on Bishop Drive. 

Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery is the fall mood this week as well, as they release Pumpkin Paddler is a 6% Bock with some added pumpkin spice flavour. Try it today at the brewery on Water Street.

We’ll leave you with two final re-releases. Wizzum is back in stock at Trailway. This west coast style IPA has slightly more bitterness than you’ve come to expect from Trailway. Look for a touch of sweet malt flavours and hops that profile the classic pine and resin west coast notes. Finally, on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Cup O Joe is back at Sober Island. This 5.8% coffee porter features an addition of Trider coffee and is available now in cans. 

One more thing this week…

For those who like exploring a bit of science as they craft, create, or enjoy beer, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas is a great place to start. While membership is reserved for those in the brewing industry, or students who may join later, there are resources available to the general public such as their free weekly podcast, tapping into their industry members to contribute research and knowledge to everyone in the industry (or just interested in learning more!). For the first time, we in Atlantic Canada have a seat at the table, as Blair Tobin, owner and Head Brewer of Topside Brewing, has been elected as the Atlantic Canada Representative of District Atlantic Eastern Canada. With a local brewer/owner on the board, expect to see more MBAA exposure at events in the region, and more resources available to local brewers, from both pure research side of things, as well as from partnering companies in the malt, yeast, and hops world. Congratulations to Tobin on the election! And hey, while we’re toasting Tobin, we’re thinking Topside’s returning Winter seasonal Chaos Stout is as good a choice as any. The 6.6% Oatmeal Stout with dark chocolate notes complementing the bold roasted malt flavours. Find it on tap at Finbar’s Portland Hills today, and you can always reach out to Topside directly for growler fills via Social Media (Fb/Ig).