Happy 2024! We hope you were able to find a bit of relaxation and community these past few weeks, whether it be with (or away from) family, friends, pets, nature, or alone with a great book, podcast, or however you felt most at ease. We were fortunate to do a combination of all of those, and are thankful for each other and for you, our faithful readers. We missed a few new releases while we were away, and we’ll of course miss others in the future, so don’t be shy about letting us know some great cider and beer news that’s happening in your neck of the woods. The best way is via email, but you can also DM or tag us on Instagram to get our attention. This week’s post is short and sweet, as we, and the breweries, ease their way into the New Year. As always, please support local when and if you’re able, especially during these traditionally slower months for producers and restaurants and bars. Support in moderation, of course!
Just before year-end, Hardisty Brewing opened their taproom in Cole Harbour, Dartmouth. Graduating from production at their home nearby, Char and Laura have brought in Amber to complete the brewing team on their expanded equipment in the new space. 230 litre batches are now possible, thanks to the equipment they picked up from Truro Brewing Company’s own recent expansion. The Hardisty taproom is fully equipped with a half-dozen taps, and an extensive selection of meat and cheese to build your own CHARcuterie board (sorry, couldn’t resist!), and a full retail shop for your take-away needs. Keep an eye on Hardisty’s website and social media for updates, and pop by their location at 958 Cole Harbour Rd, Tuesday to Saturday, from noon til 8 PM. Congratulations again!
A little bit of a change this week, as we highlight some non-alcoholic products from the region, as we know many of you (and us) are taking a little breather from booze in January. You’re already aware of the Libra line produced by Upstreet Craft Brewing, and we were introduced to NOMAD Pilsner, and more recently Witbier, “brewed” by the fine folks at Tatamagouche Brewing. This week saw the launch of another in the region, Instead, produced for Garrison Brewing. For sale now from their shops, and soon at private stores in HRM, the Blonde and IPA are both flavourful, crisp, and clean, you’ll never even notice there’s no alcohol!
For those looking for a bevvie with another flavour profile, don’t forget about Lake City Cider’s line of non-alcoholic ciders, which happen to be on sale this week!
And if you’re looking for a bit more in both alcohol or character, Trailway Brewing’s Hu Jon Hops Ultra will fit the bill! At just 1.5% ABV, it’s chock-full of hops, and raring to go!
If you are someone who is already an experienced homebrewer, or one of the lucky group of folks gifted a kit or equipment over the Holidays, let us tell you about a couple brewing competitions that you can enter, to receive some honest feedback and guidance on improving your craft. Or win fabulous prizes; that could happen too!
Prince Edward Island’s Gahan House is once again sponsoring the Atlantic Home Brew Challenge, which is open to amateur brewers in any of the four Atlantic Provinces. Celebrating their presence that started in New Brunswick, and has spread to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and most recently Newfoundland and Labrador, Gahan is looking for folks to submit their best Best Bitter, or Spice, Herb, and Vegetable Beer. While you have until March 2nd to drop off the beer to your local Gahan House, we highly recommend signing up today to ensure you do not miss out on the opportunity! The top beers in each category will win cash prizes, with the Best in Show also winning the opportunity and honour of brewing their beer on a big scale! Former winners have gone on to fame and fortune in their own right, and you could be the next to wear the crown! More details are available at the Challenge website above.
Meanwhile, across the Northumberland Strait (or near enough), Nyanza, Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing is hosting the latest in what we believe to be the longest-running homebrew competition in the Maritimes. Now up to the 11th edition, this year’s official title is 11th Annual Homebrew Challenge: Pomona vs Elysium. A face off featuring two brand new (really really brand new, very few commercial breweries have used these) yeast strains from Escarpment Labs, homebrewers are being challenged to make their best IPA. Twenty-five pouches of each strain were available and to date 36 total pouches have been claimed. That means there’s room for fourteen more entrants. A winner for each strain will be crowned and a batch of each winning beer will be brewed on Big Spruce’s pilot system for province-wide distribution. Check the linked official Facebook page for the event for all the details you need!
While our friends at 2 Crows Brewing are enjoying the recent opening of 2 Crows Oxford, their birthday is right around the corner. January 27th will mark their 7th Anniversary with an all day event at the Brunswick Street brewery. There will be 7 new anniversary beers, including collaborations with OK Sea Salt, Yeah Yeah’s Pizza and some returning favourites and a new mystery beer. Food will be served at noon by Luke’s Small Goods and when 8 PM rolls around, it’s time for the beats to drop, as Skunk Motel, Pavel Stroke and June Body will be playing their tunes. As usual, there are no tickets, reservations or cover. Stay tuned to the brewery’s social media for any updates (Sour Sunday anyone?) or changes and we’ll be sure to include a reminder the week of.
As they have every year for the last half-decade or so, many of the member breweries of CBANS have once again converged to produce a collaborative beer for the year. This year we feel like they’re doing it a little earlier than usual, but we also suspect that’s got to do with the beer and where it’s being brewed. This week saw 30+ folks from 15+ breweries converge on Kempt Road and Stillwell Brewing for this year’s Together We Brew, where they put together a ((possibly double-)decocted, natch) batch of something that’s destined to be called Export Lager. Though it won’t be available until spring, for long-term cold-conditioning reasons, when it is you’ll be able to find it around the province at various breweries, NSLC stores, and private stores as well. Look for our announcement of its availability and tasting notes then! And special thanks to Stillwell Brewing for hosting, Brew Culture, Escarpment Labs, and Shoreline Malting for ingredients support, and (eventually) Hart Printing for the cans!