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Good day, sweet world! As we travel down the path of the Holiday season, the beer releases are coming in strong and fast, much like all of the news below! As our Atlantic provinces do our best to combat the spread of the virus, we must stay diligent by staying home and still supporting local businesses and breweries. Make sure you check out your old favourites and new shops and restaurants for pick-up and delivery options as we all do our part to stop the spread of the virus and spread the cheers! Onto what you’re really here for… the news!

Let’s start you off with some good news from our pals in Hanwell, New Brunswick, Niche Brewing. They are dropping another in their line of “infrequent and always special” bottle releases, After the Storm. Quite the fitting name given the world’s state of affairs, and the beer inside rises to the occasion, naturally. Starting with primary fermentation in a freshly-emptied Chardonnay barrel, this Dark Sour featured the use of Lactobacillus, and then fermentation with their house culture with Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces that they’ve been using for the past 3 years. After developing in the barrel for a year and a half (!!), it was moved to a stainless tank and loads of tart cherry puree was added, and allowed to meld for another few months before bottling and conditioning was complete. Dark fruit, chocolate, oak, and more, all in a 5.5% tart beer, ready for us to enjoy this season. In addition to a select few ANBL locations in the Capital (York Street) and Moncton area, After the Storm will also be at the Picaroons Crafted NB Drinks Market this Sunday, and at Maybee Brewing and CAVOK Brewing in their to-go fridges as well.

Heading 2 hours East of Hanwell, just before you hit the Acadian Coast, you will encounter Saint-Antoine/Saint Anthony. There you will find the newest brewery to open in the region, Twin Harbour Brewing. They are operating at 18 Des Bouleaux Ave in the town, and will be open for growler sales today 5 – 9 PM, and Saturday, 2 – 5 PM. So, what can you expect when you roll up to Twin Harbour? As it is a private residence, park in their driveway and head for the side door, bringing you right into the 120 litre (1 BBL) brewhouse. Please, masks on and respect social distancing, and wait until all other customers have left. Payment can be via Cash or EMT or their new gift certificates, perfect for slipping in a holiday card. OK, enough of that stuff, what beer do they have available?? Their locally-themed beers include Bo-Soleil Pale Ale (5.0%), Côte d’Or Blonde (5.0%), Cape Enragée West Coast IPA, and two fruited beers, the Raspberry Wheat (4.3%) and Blueberry Ale (4.5%). All beers are available in their own 1L Twin Harbour growlers, and they will also fill your own 1L and 2L clean growlers as well. We hope to have lots more on their beer and the people behind Twin Harbour next week, and wish them a great and busy weekend! Salut!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has recently launched a collaboration beer that is near and dear to their hearts, in appreciation of a gesture from long ago. Ok, enough with the teasing! Most residents of Nova Scotia know that after the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the city of Boston was a big help in getting the city and its residents back on their feet. As a thank you, Halifax has sent a very large (“the biggest and best” – D. Trump) Christmas tree to the city of Boston every year since 1971. Hence, From Nova Scotia With Love, a “Whiskey Barrel Aged Abbey Ale” brewed in a “Home and Home” collaboration with Boston’s Harpoon Brewery. Brewed with a grist containing a portion of oak and cherry wood smoked malts, they decided to throw in a small addition of spruce tips, and aged the beer in Glenora Single Malt Whiskey barrels from Cape Breton. Packaged in 650 mL bottles, the 8% ABV beer is “both layered and complex, with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, wood smoke, and caramel”, as well as a bit of warmth from the whiskey. Proceeds from this beer will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s Tema Grant, “a non-profit dedicated to supporting the mental health of first responders, frontline workers, and allied health professionals making unprecedented sacrifices in these difficult times”. Grab your bottles at the Sprucetique, or order online for delivery all over!

If you’re wanting to hear even more about the project and more fun details on the beer, may we suggest you check out the 902 BrewCast Podcast, as their most recent episode features an interview with Jeremy White from Big Spruce Brewing. During the episode, Kyle and Tony also chat with the fine folks at North Brewing about their Holiday Box and other recent releases, and drink their way through some new and old favourite Nova Scotian beers. The 902 fellas are also running a contest on their instagram page, so be sure to order some beer and tag them in the post. And congratulations to (former?) co-host Phil Church who has launched his professional photography business, find out more here.

The other interview during that most recent episode was with Allan of Bedford’s Off Track Brewing, who have released two Bourbon Barrel-Aged beers this week, both available now for pick up or delivery. First up is the Barrel-Aged version of their Crash Course IPA, which spent 6 months in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel, before being moved to a conditioning tank for an extra dry-hopping dose of Mosaic, before a low and slow keg conditioning for the past 4 months, before bottling this 9.4% beast. And a brand new recipe is the Choc-Full Chocolate Stout, a roasty-chocolately stout that was aged for 11 months in a Woodford Reserve barrel, picking up a touch of booze and plenty of vanilla and wood character, before bottling. This 9.2% beaut is available in 500 ml bottles, just like the BBA Crash Course, and both are available for delivery in their region (Hammonds Plains/Bedford/Sackville/Fall River), as well as at the brewery at 275 Rocky Lake Drive during their current retail hours, Thursday and Friday 3 – 7 PM, and Saturday 12 – 4 PM.

Let’s head North, waaaaay North, to Lab City, to tell you about the newest release from Iron Rock Brewing. In November, Nardia McGrath (most recently of Landwash Brewery) took over their brewhouse for a couple of weeks, and along with Assistant Brewer Cindy, developed Cat’s Away IPA. Using a light-coloured base malt of 2-Row, Wheat, Flaked Oats and touch of Crystal 60, the beer featured a ton of Cascade and Citra in the boil, before a round of dry-hopping with Cascade, Citra, and Mosaic. This 6.0% Deadly beer is available in the taproom and to take-away now, so grab some when you pop by for this evening’s Trivia at 7:30 PM, or tomorrow evening’s Open Mic. And for those not in Lab City, check their website for delivery, which they’re offering Canada-wide!

Big things are happening in Rothesay this week as Long Bay Brewery releases its first canned product, Double-Dragon Fly-PA. This 8% ABV New England style DIPA features Sabro, Citra and Mosaic hops, showcasing tropical notes including mango, coconut and tangerine. The team at Long Bay used two different yeast strains and a blend of English and Canadian malts. The beer was cold conditioned for a week before packaging the features the hazy appearance you’ve come to expect from the New England style. Cans are available in 355 ml (more big beers in small cans, please!) and are available now at the brewery, with pints and growler fills also an option. If you can’t make it to Rothesay, look for cans to start popping up on ANBL shelves in the coming days and weeks. Double-Dragon Fly-PA is being launched as part of Long Bay’s core brands, which means you’ll soon be able to enjoy it all year long. In other Long Bay news, construction continues on their taproom expansion with the wall officially coming down to join the current taproom with the neighboring space. Stay tuned to Long Bay’s social channels as they work towards opening the new space during the holiday season.

Have you been stuck in your province? Is the PEI ferry operating? (seriously, we don’t know!) Well, if you’ve been missing some boat traffic if your life Lone Oak is back to fill your waters. Boat Traffic 2.0 is here. The initial release was back in January, as a smooth Oatmeal Stout oak-aged in a new, locally-made foedre. Version 2.0 is here with a big body, chocolate and coconut flavours with undertones of roast and vanilla. The brewery’s first dark beer is back again at 5.0% and 27IBU and is definitely a style to keep stocked in your fridge. Cans are now available in their taproom for pick-up or online for delivery (perfect for anyone stuck quarantining in their hotel room in Charlottetown and needing a bit of a pick-me-up, for example….).

From one island to another, we skip down to Sydney for a pair of new releases from Breton Brewing. The first early christmas gift is a Kolsch, aptly named … Kolsch! A 4.0% true to style, light and refreshing lager, keep it crispy and get some of this delicious style. Staying with the German styles, we get another lager with a very underrated style, as Breton brings us Dunkel, a traditional Munich style Dark Lager. This baby was brewed with Munich and Chocolate malt, well hopped for balance and brings lots of roasty, toasty, caramel notes all come together in a 5.0% gem. Both releases are available now at the brewery, online for home delivery in the CBRM & HRM, and shipping throughout the rest of the province. 

Follow the trail, all the way to Trailway, where in Fredericton we get some new South African hops in Mt. Passion, a new IPA release. Mt (Mount) Passion, 6%, is brewed with Southern Passion and Experimental XJA2/436 hop varieties that are meant to bring out a flavour profile of bright zesty lemon and lime, passionfruit, pineapple, and guava. Southern Passion is a South African bred aroma hop whose pedigree is a diploid seedling originating from a Saaz and Hallertauer crossing. XJA2/436 is a bittering hop with an aroma profile of bergamot citrus, dried lemon zest, candied papaya, ripe cantaloupe, gooseberries, and resin. These are probably the first time these hops have been used in the region and it’s worth a try to expand your flavour profile. It’s currently available in cans at the brewery with shipping options online and will be available on tap for pints and fills later. 

Our friends at 2 Crows have taken a respite from hoppy beers and mixed-fermentation ales to bring us their latest, Hibernaculum, an “Old Barleywine Ale”. This beauty was a l-o-o-o-ng time in the making, as it was brewed almost *three* years ago! The style and recipe research were completed by local beer aficionado Matt McNair, who helped convince the brewery to  brew the beer as two separate concoctions: an Old Ale, and a Barleywine. Both of these were brewed in the traditional English style, with a large portion of Maris Otter in both grists, East Kent Golding hops in the boil, and fermented with a dry English Ale yeast strain. Also, the Old Ale featured an addition of homemade brewer’s caramel, to really help bump up the flavour complexity. After a year of conditioning separately, the beers were blended, along with a pitch of Brett C (oops, did we say a break from mixed-ferm beers? Oh well!). After another year, the final beer was bottled and allowed to condition until now, for a grand total of close to three years. It’s a huge beer at 11.9% ABV (!), and is tasting “rich, bold, and warming”, with notes of leather, dried fruit, treacle and sherry. This is the quintessential sipping-by-the-fire beer, or in front of your Christmas tree, or at your breakfast table with cereal… we won’t judge! Ok, maybe we will a little for that last one. There is an extremely-limited number of bottles available (about 200), so be sure to grab some ASAP… rest assured this is a beer that will cellar wonderfully. Available now!

Yesterday, December 10th, was National Lager Day, and Sea Level Brewing decided to celebrate with the release of their latest Small Batch beer, Schwarzbier. This Dark German Lager is a style that has become increasingly popular over the years, with quite a few local breweries creating their own take on the style. Sea Level’s version is easy-drinking at just 4.2% ABV, and has “a hint of smokiness, chocolate and molasses, and a subtle floral aroma” thanks to an unusual-for-the-style dry hop of Crystal from Fundy Hops. Finishing clean and crisp, you can find it in cans and on tap at the Millstone Harvest Brewhouse.

Tanner squeezes in a Thursday release, with Saison III.  “Best described as a saison IPA hybrid”. The Chester faithful used pilsner, Vienna, Munich and oats and fermented the beer with French saison yeast. This was generously hopped throughout with Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Lemondrop. Coming in at 7.0% and 40 IBU, “a combination of slightly spicy fruit forward yeast character & dryness, with the exotic fruit from the hop varieties. Complex aromas of citrus and tropical fruit give way to a dry palate that balances with the light malt backbone.” Order online for delivery (deliveries go out Friday!) or pop by to grab 500ml bottles if you can. And there looks to be beer in a new format available shortly, so peep their online store for more details on that over the next few days.

The beery Christmas gifts just keep on comin’, with Propeller bringing us another two for you lucky Haligonians, both of which the brewery refers to as “special bottles a long time in the making”. Sounds like the perfect gifts to us! No, seriously, TO us, for those of you looking for a way to thank us for all of our hard work! What’s that, just get to the beers, you say? FINE. The first is Dark Saison, which was brewed in October, 2019 and aged in a single Bourbon barrel (the very same that kicked off the brewery’s barrel program!). Fermented with a blend of clean Saison yeast and Brettanomyces strains, the beer spent 11 months in the barrel before packaging. Weighing in at 8.0% ABV, the final beer is rich and dark, with “notes of figs, dark fruit, and classic Brett earthiness and funk”, as well as some Bourbon and oak, of course! 

Continuing on this little trend of dark, funky beers, the next release is the return of Brett Porter. This one they refer to as a “classic London Style Porter”, that was initially fermented with a British Ale yeast, and then transferred to oak barrels for a secondary fermentation with Brett C. Aged for over nine months, the 6.4% ABV beer was then bottled and exhibit “layers of rich, roasted malt” to go with the mild Brett characteristics. Both beers are available today for sale in the Prop Shops, and can also be ordered online for home delivery

Just a couple quick hits before we leave you this week. Stay safe and drink well, friends!

Down in Shelburne, Boxing Rock is back with a re-release from a few years ago. Rauch Star is a rauchbier, aka a smoked lager. This beer is smooth, malty and full of old-world flavour. The style may not be for everyone, but we encourage you to try it!. True to it’s Bamberg roots, this beer is brewed with Pilsner and roasted malts and just the right amount of German beech-smoked malt. 6.2% ABV and available in 473ml cans at the brewery, private stores in HRM, and in the December 8th slot in the Maritime Craft Beer Advent Calendar. 

If you could use some Holiday cheer, or Good News (a 2 Crows/Change is Brewing Collective release), North Brewing, along with their community, and along with the Change Is Brewing Collective, have raised $14,037.25 with the sales of the Cherry Brook Wheat. Keep an eye out for further releases on how you can support the collective, like the Lake City Cider Forest Glory release out, too. 

In some other celebratory news, Tire Shack out of Moncton has no beer releases this week, but there’s still something to be excited about. This brewery should be on the radar for many of you already with their latest releases, but they picked up a few medals at The US Open Beer Championship held in Ohio. They won Gold in the ‘Fruit Gose’ category for our Lime Margarita Gose . This was a beer that was released this past summer that was hugely popular. They also won Bronze in the ‘Coconut’ category for their Coco Loco. This was a Vanilla-Coconut Porter that sold quickly in the Moncton area. Both of these winners will be coming back into production, so keep an eye out. Check out the full results and medal winners here

Our friends in St. John’s have a few pieces of news to carry us home this week. Bannerman gives us seasonal re-release, Yuletide, is a jammy, delicious, tart 5% ale brewed with Pilsner and wheat malts, then conditioned on huge amounts of cranberry, raspberry and cherry puree. Get this in cans or on tap at the brewery. Also this Sunday, they’re hosting a Holiday Edition of the St. John’s Music Merch Fair. The lineup includes many merchants of clothing and or music, including Tim Baker, Hey Rosetta! Duane Andrews and more. Check it out from 11am-5pm at the brewery on Sunday. Check out the event here