Happy Friday everyone! We hope it’s been a good week for all of you, and we doubly hope you will be able to (responsibly) enjoy your work parties, friend get-togethers, or taking in the cheer of the season this weekend, rather than contending with the malls and traffic to buy gifts. If your loved ones are anything like us, they’ll appreciate a selection of beers from around the region, so be sure to check out the many breweries offering shipping across the region, or pop into your local good beer store for one- stop shopping!
Happy Fourth Anniversary to Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery! They’ve been out there on Commonwealth Ave, making and slinging the good stuff since 2018, bringing locally-made beer to their local community. And to celebrate their accomplishments over those four years, they have released Develop or Perish Belgian Double (Dubbel). Staying true to the original style by using some darker malts as well as dark-coloured Candi sugar, they also were sure to use a Belgian yeast to enhance the toast and lightly sweet notes with some banana and clove on the nose, ending in a rich finish. The 6.3% beer is available on tap and in cans now, with the latter sporting a quote from Joey Smallwood upon which the beer name was based. Much like Smallwood, Landwash is looking both back on their progress, and forward to what they will become, so be sure to be part of that future and pop out to their spot, open Wednesday through Sunday.
Landwash’s recent co-conspirators on Ursa Minor Session IPA and Ursa Major Session Double IPAs, Port Rexton Brewing has a new beer celebrating the season. Tibbs the Saison is their annual ode to the cooler months, a Belgian Saison where the yeast shines through, with notes of bubble gum, cinnamon, clove, and banana, with a hint of pepper spiciness on the palate. At 6.6%, it has a bit of a warming quality, exactly what you need for this time of year! It’s available now at the brewery, and their St. John’s Retail Shop, at the local convenience stores, and at their Online Store, which has recently begun offering Canada-wide shipping! Available across the nation, except Newfoundland for some reason, now is the time to order if you are looking to receive the beer in time for Tibbs Eve. And you can even get those two new PRBC-LB collabs included in the box.
Hot off the heels of their takeover at Battery Park, Tatamagouche Brewery has a special new beer available in cans this weekend. Old Fangled is a very special take on their Darling English mild, over a year in the making. Taking a couple hundred litres of the base beer, it was transferred to a Cognac Barrel, and a healthy pitch of Brett Lambicus yeast and bacteria blend from Escarpment Labs, where the beasties were allowed to chew away for a full 10 months. During that time, thanks to both the additional fermentation of complex sugars, as well as some residual cognac in the barrel, the beer’s level rose from 3.6% to 6.0% ABV. With that bump in potency comes a leveling up in complexity as well, with notes of cherry, date, chocolate, and light acidity as well. The beer was allowed to condition in 355ml cans to develop a natural carbonation, and they are available now at the brewery, and from the brewery’s webshop, too. And hey, if you act quickly, you can take advantage of free Canada-wide shipping this weekend!
We’ve got a few nuggets of holiday cheer coming out of Sydney, Cape Breton. Breton Brewing has a wonderful holiday release that gets you right in the mood for winter. Fireside, a Belgian Dubbel is a rich, malty treat showcasing St. Remy Belgian yeast and a mix of European specialty malts. This is hopped to balance, but overall brings sweet toffee notes and a delicious malt body with some fruity esters in a 6.6% package. Also, the can design is fun and festive and one of their best yet. This one is available now from the taproom and online.
Another special release from Breton is a collaboration that is even more limited. A collaboration with PRO Skates (in Halifax) sees the two companies teaming up to raise funds for Feed Nova Scotia. The beer is a limited edition can design of Black Angus IPA. There is a launch even on Saturday December 10th from 1pm-5pm. There are a few cans available at the Sydney brewery as well. $2 from every can sold will go to Feed NS. At the launch event there will be samples and t-shirts! The t-shirts are also a collaborative design and $5 from every t-shirt sale will also go to Feed NS.
To round out the Breton tri-fecta of news, the fine folks are hiring in Sydney and Halifax. They need a part-time delivery driver in Halifax and a full-time brewer and cellar hand in Sydney. Check out their careers page to apply.
Back on the mainland, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has two new releases out this week. You may recall their previous release of Forbidden Fruit, a blueberry Belgian blonde. Well, it turns out they bought way too many blueberries and their blunder is paying off for their thirsty patrons. The remaining berries have been put to use in Blueberry King, a 5.3% ABV fruited sour. This one starts with a grain bill of wheat, oats and pilsner malt. It then saw an extended fermentation of about 3 months of the blueberries (nothing quick about this sour). This is a small batch release, so is only available for pints at the taproom. Next up is An Ode to Sabro, an IPA that showcases the tropical and coconut-forward Sabro hop, with some Perle also added for bittering. This one will be available for pints and growler fills. Both sound like great options to enjoy alongside Serpent’s new taproom food offerings.
Next up are two great newsbites from Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing. First, a new release, to get you into the holiday spirit, Candy Cane Stout. Expect notes of peppermint and chocolate in this 5.5% holiday sipper, and could even be used as a complement to a cream liqueur… And you can celebrate along with Tire Shack, as they have just won Brewery of the Year in the 2022 Canadian Brewers Choice Awards! Hosted by Brewers Journal Canada, the contest was judged by an independent group of industry folk, based on nominations of the brewery’s business wins and plans for the future. Congratulations to Jerica, Alan, Henry, and the rest of the team!
In downtown Halifax, Gahan House Nova Centre has been somewhat quietly pushing out some fun stuff to augment their standard PEIBC offerings. The latest of these, from brewer Ryan Shirtliff, is one that’s been a little while in the making. Taking advantage of one of the on-site foeders and the microflora contained within, as well as bottle- and keg-conditioning, Table Beer features bright acidity, fruity tart cherry and plum notes, and a sherry and oak finish that remains smooth. Six months in the barrel yielded lots of complexity in a quaffable 3.9% ABV package. Even better, taking advantage of the other Gahan locations, the joy has been spread out around the region, with this one available at all Gahan House locations (Port City in Saint John, Riverside in Fredericton, Hub City in Moncton, and the OG Gahan Pub in Charlottetown), as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom and the Gahan Beer Store!
Down the South Shore, Tanner Brewing is releasing Blended Chai Milk Stout. Coming in at 9.0% ABV, this is a milk stout of the imperial variety, sure to keep you warm during the chilly, damp nights we’ve been having. The batch of beer was split on brew day, with half of it spending 6 months in rum barrels from Ironworks Distillery, and the other half fermented on chai tea from Tea Brewery. The result is a complex sipper that is now out in 500 ml bottles and also on tap at their downtown Chester taproom.
Trailway is releasing a new version of a beer we last saw about two years ago, An Anomaly. Originally brewed in the NEIPA style, this iteration is more akin to an American Pale ale, using a non-house yeast to produce a fruitier ester profile. This time around it showcases a combination of hops, Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy, that lead to lots of tropical fruit notes, berries and a touch of dankness. Cans of the 5% ABV IPA are available now at the brewery.
Paradise NL’s, Mauzy Cider has a new release this week, another one showcasing local ingredients from the 2021 harvest. This is All Paradise features Strawberries from Lester’s Farm in St. John’s, honey from Baccalieu Trail Honey, along with Burin “Feral” Apple Pomace and Montmorency cherries. The strawberries were allowed to spontaneously ferment into a wine, and blended with Take Me Away Piquette to the tune of 4.2% ABV, before a dose of unfermented apple juice for bottle conditioning and carbonation. As such, you’ll want to chill well and open cautiously when it’s time! So, how can you get your hands on a bottle? Fire up the Sonoma and head out to Paradise, specifically at Banished Brewing’s location on Maverick Place, and you can secure your order ahead of time through their webshop.
Big Spruce is re-releasing a few of their greatest hits from 2022 this weekend. First up is Україна, a 4.9% Ukrainian Pilsner featuring the Zlato Polissya hop. Staying sessionable, they’ll also have their 4.9% English Pub Ale, Hoom Is Where the Heart Is available again. This one uses Challenger, Goldings and Fuggles hops, all grown on-site in the Big Spruce hopyard. Cans of both are available now at the brewery, in their online store, and through Bishops Cellar.
If you find yourself, like many people, a little cash-strapped in this inflation-affected holiday season, Halifax’s (or is it Elmsdale’s now?) Good Robot Brewing has gone out of their way to try to help you have a little beery cheer on a budget. The Recession Special 8-pack is what it says on the tin(s): 8 beers for a measly $16.79. You’ll get two each Recession Special Red and Recession Special Blonde along with four Recession Special IPA. The Red is described as, “slightly nutty with a hint of dark fruit and caramel,” the blonde, “wheaty, slight citrus and low on hops,” and the IPA, “honey, stone fruit and grapefruit.” Sounds like right in the wheelhouse for those styles to us, and at an extremely affordable price. Just remember these are only available in 8-packs, and only at Good Robot locations, on Robie Street in Halifax and Industrial Way in Elmsdale. And if you are interested in being part of their new brewery in Elmsdale, or have a go in their taproom kitchen in Halifax, check out their job postings!
The denizens of West Bedford and/or commuters along Larry Uteck are no doubt aware, but other folks in the HRM may not be, that there’s a new beer bar up and running in the plaza on Bloom Lane by the roundabout. Featuring 35 taps of mostly Maritime-brewed beer & cider, along with wine and spirits of course, The Village Taphouse is intended to be, “a community hangout where we can celebrate our Canadian Spirit with the drinks we love.” Sounds like a noble cause to us! Wolfville’s Church Brewing is eager to help celebrate the new place, and have collaborated to produce Village Pillage, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, non-filtered, that is pleasantly fruity and spiced with coriander, bittered to 45 IBU with Tomahawk and finished with a hint of noble Saaz hops. What’s “strong” about it? Wellll, you best plan to bring a DD or your bus pass with you because this one comes in at a hefty 10.9% ABV. Only available at the Taphouse and in a very limited supply at Church, it’s one more reason to check out this new spot for pints!
We’ve got some news from the downtown Halifax private liquor store just in time for the weekend, as they’ve got some new releases in the fridges and shelves. Bishop’s Cellar has a fresh local beer delivery in stock and a big Belgian order just landed as well, with all of these treats launching today! While not all of these beers are new to Bishop’s, some of the pricing on the Belgian lambics is better than you may remember, so make sure you check out their website to order online. Or, just pop right down if you can and explore IRL.
Here’s the local list which sees a few new to Halifax beers.
Serpent – Long Lake Pilsner
Tatamagouche – Collusion Double IPA & Old Fangled Barrel Aged Mild Ale
Big Spruce – Ykpaïha Ukrainian Pilsner
Next up is 5 releases from Belgium’s de Ranke:
- Guldenberg 330ml
- Noir de Dottignies 330ml
- XX-Bitter 330ml
- XXX-Bitter 750ml (variation of XX-bitter, with an additional 50% more hops)
- Cuvee de Ranke 750ml
Another five releases are available from 3 Fonteinen as well and there are a lot of cases available.
Belgian treats, aplenty!
- Oude Gueuze 375ml
- Golden Blend 375ml
- Intens Rood 375ml
- Oude Gueuze 1500ml (only 18 magnums available)
- Oude Kriek 750ml
And a returning favourite, the Belgian powerhouse Delirium’s Delirium Tremens 5L Mini Keg is available so you can share as much of the tasty Strong Blond Ale with whomever you wish!
Just one event on the radar this weekend, be sure to send others along if you know of/see them!
One of Atlantic Canada’s better beer bars, Battery Park, is celebrating its seventh anniversary this weekend, and they’re throwing a party on Saturday (December 10th) to celebrate. Drop by for great beers from Nova Scotia’s best breweries and cideries, free cupcakes, and plenty of brewery giveaways throughout the day. Happy Anniversary to Battery Park from your friends at ACBB.
Last couple of newsbites this week before we let you go…
In a bit of interesting news, Graystone Brewing has announced the re-branding of their flagship Patagonia beers, after a request from an extremely well-known US-based clothing company. No stranger to trademark issues (remember when the brewery opened as Gray Stone, or when they were caught up in this boner?), Patagonia Outdoor Clothing Company reached out to them in 2021 asking them to stop using the “Patagonia” moniker. While another company entirely owns the “Patagonia” trademark for beer in the US, the clothing maker has been brewing since 2016 and more recently released a collaboration beer with Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware, and that could have been the prompt to reach out to Graystone. A possible name change has been planned on for quite a while, as Graystone owner Wes Ward acknowledges in this CBC interview, and Patagonia “worked with and supported” them in the transition. The new branding is available now, and will replace stock at ANBL and other stores in the coming weeks.
And finally this week, the Canadian Craft Brewers Association has announced that New Brunswick’s Christine Comeau is now their Executive Director. Formerly with Craft Alcohol NB, Comeau brings with her plenty of experience in the brewing and marketing spaces, and recently co-chaired the Canada Beer Cup. The CCBA is the national association to which provincial and territorial brewery associations are members, and advocates for modernizing the federal excise tax, promoting the Independent Craft Brewery seal, compliance with the upcoming CFIA labeling requirements. We’re most excited for improvement in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies in the industry, and Codes of Conduct for breweries, events, and festivals for beer, and will be reaching out to Comeau for more on both important topics.