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.
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