‘Tis the season (or saison) as they say, and as it’s only 10 more sleeps ‘til the big day, we’re all busy, busy, busy, hence the later than usual post! As a programming note here, we very likely won’t be doing wrap-up posts the next two weeks, but we are planning to have a special post going up in the meantime. So let’s get onto some quick hits about the beer news in the region for this weekend so you can tackle your to-do lists!
We’ll start out with our friends at 2 Crows opening their second location, 2 Crows Oxford. As we’ve noted before, it’s in the West End of Halifax on Oxford/Cork streets (next to On The Mat and in the former location of 4Cats Art Studio); Yeah Yeah’s Pizza has moved from their Barrington Street location to join them for slices and whole pies, alongside a full taplist. They soft-opened a week ago and have done some industry and newsletter subscriber nights, but this Saturday is their grand opening! The taproom will be open 11 AM until 11 PM with the kitchen open from 2 PM until 9:30 PM. Featuring ten taps from 2 Crows, a Sourwood cider and a Goodmore Kombucha, 2 Crows Oxford has 12 taps to serve the people! There are no reservations at this time, so show up for a slice to go, a slice to stay, a pint to stay, beer to go, whatever mix and match combo you desire!
Here are the ten 2 Crows offerings to start:
- AC Light Lager
- Pollyanna – Northeast IPA
- Classic – Maritime Dry Stout
- Fantacity – Belgian Wheat
- Jamboree Strawberry & Guava – Sour
- Jamboree Blueberry & Lemon – Sour
- Perfect Revelation – New England IPA
- Home & Home – collaboration with Lone Oak – Hazy IPA w/ wine grapes
- Battery Power – Hazy IPA
- Letna – Bohemian Pilsner
In Deer Lake, Rough Waters Brewing is celebrating their birthday! Being open for four years is a great accomplishment and we’re happy they’re still around. As a celebration for the season and anniversary, they have a new barrel aged saison, High Tide. For this year it is a cherry saison that was brewed and then hung out for a year in a single malt whiskey barrel. This clocks in at 7% and is in a 750ml bottle. Looking for this in shops around Newfoundland from the east to west coasts of the province.
South we go to PEI’s evergrowing brewery. Lone Oak has a brand new release that is right on point with what the people are drinking. Nocturnal is a German-inspired dark lager. Brewed with German Pilsner malt, this dark lager is 5.2% and has some hints of caramel, while being smooth, dry and easily drinkable. This is available on tap at their three locations (Borden-Carleton, Milky Way and Fox Meadow) and available in cans to go from the Cold Beer Store at Milky Way and the main taproom in Borden. (And if you’re not from the area, like us, Milky Way is the little retail area by the main Cow’s Creamery along the Trans-Canada Highway just west of Charlottetown!)
Continuing south to Nova Scotia, Burnside Brewing (formerly Spindrift, in case you forgot!) has just launched a new small batch series called The Brew Lab. This series won’t be tied to a certain style, but gives the brewery folks a chance to try new flavours and styles and test them out on customers. The first in this series is Hazy Pale Ale and it’s available now. The baby sibling to Sea Glass (Burnside’s New England IPA), this Hazy Pale Ale is 4.5% with a lush tropical and citrusy hop character from Sabro, El Dorado, Citra, Eclipse and Comet. While keeping that strong flavour, the bitterness is medium at 35 IBU. The beer will be on tap at their 3 taproms (Dartmouth, Truro and Antigonish) and will also be available at the three private non-Bishop’s Cellar stores (Harvest in Dartmouth, West Side in Clayton Park and Rockhead on Windsor Street on the peninsula).
Headed up Magazine Hill and off to Windsor the town, Schoolhouse Brewery has a new release that is also in the IPA Family. Blackboard is a Black IPA featuring Amarillo and Cascade hops. Using a malt bill with a combination of crystal malts, it weighs in on the heavier side at 7% but is still crisp and refreshing with a solid bitterness and bit of sweetness. It will be available on tap and cans from the brewery, on tap at various locations, and cans at the private stores mentioned above.
The folks from Tatamagouche and their Nomad non-alcoholic brand are back! After a very popular initial run, they’re back with a new style and the launch of Nomad Witbier. All the usual flavours from the Belgian classic, namely coriander, orange peel, and elderflower highlight this refreshing and zesty beer, but in a non-alc 0.5% brew in a 355ml format! Check this one out online or directly from the brewery.
Tanner Brewing is giving us two new releases before the Holidays. First up is a Hopfenweisse, a hybrid version of a German wheat beer and an IPA. Expect some yeast-driven banana character along with some hop derived tropical fruit and citrus notes with a 5.5% body. This is canned and available from the brewery’s two locations and online. Second up, is a Baco Noir Sparkling Mead, using local honey fermented on Baco Noir grape skins from Grand Pré Winery. This is a 5.9% sparkling mead with lots of berry and cherry notes, which pair nicely with the sweetness of the honey. Find this in 500ml bottles online for delivery or at their two locations!
Over to New Brunswick where Tire Shack has a new one out in Moncton. If you’re like some of us, December means buying boxes of tangerines and Tire Shack’s new beer is bringing the festivity. Cranberry Tangerine Sour is a new release that uses those two exact fruits in a festive, drinkable sour. This is canned and on tap directly from the brewery.
A short drive up to Fredericton takes us to Trailway where they’re headed in the other direction with their latest seasonal release. Italian Stout is exactly that! An 11% bold, rich, chocolate and hazelnut flavoured imperial stout. Using additions of both (although for the hazelnuts, it’s just the extract so the typical allergens are removed), this should bring the flavours of those delicious gold foil-wrapped holiday treats that get devoured during this time of year. Rich and decadent, this is a limited release so grab it in cans from their Fredericton and Saint John locations.
A few pieces of beer news out of Big Spruce this week, as they have both a new one and a returning release. Starting with that new-new, Just Shilling is an 80 Shilling Scottish Ale. You may know this style as Scottish Export Ale and it is a very drinkable deep copper, malty sweet, and smooth brew. At 4.8% it’s a lovely sipper for this time of year. Next up is the return of Ykpaïha (we’ll let you figure out the pronunciation on that one!), their Ukrainian Pilsner. It features the Ukrainian Zlato Polissya hop and is a crisp, bitter beer that is floral, herbal and well balanced at 4.9%. Both of these beers are canned and available at the brewery or online.
Bannerman Brewing has a returning favourite with Aces High. A rice lager, it is a collaboration with Namjim, the Thai dining lads who run the kitchen at Bannerman. This is a 4.5% beer with toasted rice and dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace. It is canned and available at the brewery and around the Avalon peninsula.
A fan favourite is back from Propeller Brewing today. Revolution is their approachable Imperial Stout that is once again in cans. At 8%, this is a rich, dark, robust beer that has dark fruit, coffee and chocolate flavours and is well balanced with hop bitterness. it is available at all 3 Prop Shops, online for delivery, and Harvest, West Side, and Rockhead. It will also be hitting select NSLC locations.
Capping off the returning beers is Alloy from North Brewing. A Champagne IPA, this is one of their more popular seasonal releases as the IPA flavour and body come through with a very dry finish. Using a lovely combination of Vic Secret and Huell Melon hops, the flavours are predominantly pineapple and melon with some herbaceous notes. It’s 6% and available on tap at all three locations and in cans as well, in store and online.
Piggybacking off of Thursday’s Lambic and a Movie fun at the Freehouse…. Stilly HQ is back for its annual Belgianfest! On Saturday December 16th, from Noon until late, Bar Stillwell will be featuring Belgian bottle pours and draft selections from Boon, Del Dolle, De Struise, Fantome, Lambiek Fabriek, Oud Beersel and more. We also expect there to be some treats on the food menu side as well (duck fat popcorn is back!). There are no tickets and no cover for this one, they just ask you to wear some Holiday swag or ugly sweaters to get into the festive spirit.
As we finished drafting up this week’s post, we noticed the social media release from Canadian Beer News. Greg Clow will be shutting down his beloved site and it’s hard to capture in words just how much the industry and consumers have loved (and will miss!) his work. Since 2008, it’s been a completely individual effort from Greg to keep up with the ever-growing and changing industry on a national level. Seeing as a group of us sometimes struggle to keep up with just Atlantic Canada, we can speak directly to how herculean his effort has been. His dedication on a daily basis is something that so many of us have relied on and we often marvelled at how one person could do all that work themselves. Our glasses are raised to Greg and we’ll pour one out for his stalwart site. We also absolutely agree with his parting words: remember to support your favorite independent breweries through the holidays and into the new year; many of them need it now more than ever.