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Great news to lead off today, as Newfoundland & Labrador have loosened restrictions to COVID Level 2, which allows restaurants and taprooms to open for in-person dining and imbibing. Be sure to support (safely) those breweries and great beer bars and restos in whatever way you can, as they surely have had a tough few months. With the recent flare-up in Northwestern NB, we know forward progress can be taken away in a moment. We’re still feeling cautiously optimistic about April 19th, with the probable re-inflation of the Atlantic Bubble. Wear a mask and take care of yourself and others. 🧡

Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing has a brand new release this week, which comes with a mystery they’d love to learn more about. Abigail Price was a widowed free Black Woman who immigrated by boat from New York to Shelburne in 1783, her name appearing in The Book of Negroes. 10 years later, she had a home built on her land in Tusket, where she lived for some 20 years, before selling the property in 1816. After the sale, she moved on, and her life afterward is currently lost from the history books. Today, that property is known as The Hatfield House, an award-winning restaurant. 

Chelsea B teamed up with local journalist (and beer enthusiast) Evelyn C White to develop the recipe and brew Abigail Was Here, a beer to honour Price’s legacy. Light amber and a touch hazy in appearance, this 5.9% ABV Saison was lightly hopped with Lemon Drop, before an extra helping of lemon zest and juice, in addition to a touch of blueberry extract to round out the fruit character. A Saison yeast offers a bit of clove spiciness. The beer’s label was designed by Brent Braaten and Sara Panchaud, and drew inspiration from the earliest photograph available of the original house, as Abigail Price may have left it 200 years ago. The beer is available on tap at the brewery, and in cans to take away or for home delivery.

Tatamagouche Brewing has a new beer designed and brewed by brewer Chad Ellis in a somewhat uncommon style for our region. Black Flower is an American Stout coming in at 5.5% ABV and Chad did his best to lean into the “aggressively hopped” aspect of the style and leveraging American varieties. Starting with some Triple Pearl from HOOH (Harvesters of Organic Hops) in BC that he describes as featuring, “some cool vanilla/black tea aromas,” he blended in some “really resinous” Centennial from local hop farm Wicked Hops in Stewiacke, NS. Completing the hop picture is classic Cascade. With a firm bitterness of 55 IBU established, most of the hops were added in the whirlpool, which should give plenty of hop aroma and flavor showing. On the grist side of things, Horton Ridge pale, some caramel malts (but not too much), and a “punchy” blend of dark malts that included barley, rye, and wheat provide balance to all those hops with roasty, chocolate, and coffee notes. Fermented with S-04 yeast, a British strain, but well-suited to the style, the resulting beer has plenty of citrus peel character, especially on the aroma, with similar flavors as well as dark chocolate, black coffee, and caramel. This one is debuting in cask-conditioned (aka naturally carbonated) firkins at the Stillwell Freehouse in the next few days, with kegs and cans coming to Tatmagouche and licensees next week. Don’t forget you can order online as well, for delivery across Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada.

If you’re feeling that Island life and the warm weather has got you in a tropical mood, Copper Bottom brings a new release available today. Field Trip: Pink Guava is their latest in a series with an eye on experimentation, unconventional and unpredictable, which tend to be tart and fruity. This iteration brings a kettle soured with a grain bill of Shoreline two-row and wheat, a bit of Warrior hops and then a lot of pink guava puree added after the kettle souring. This is available in cans today at 5.0% and it will only be available online and in their taproom, with a few choice Charlottetown accounts. If you’re around the taproom, pop in for some live music and an expanded menu to celebrate the release, with Nick Doneff starting the tunes at 5 PM this afternoon. That expanded menu, btw, has several items curated by the fine folks at HopYard, and still includes the great Handpie Company offerings, picnic baskets, and small snacks, joined by the new epic Spinach Dip, Sausage Roll, and Pepperoni and Veggie Flatbreads. 

We would also like to congratulate the team at Copper Bottom for winning the Excellence in Adaptation & Resiliency Award last night at the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce President’s Excellence Awards. This award recognizes a business that has shown resilience in the face of adversity by introducing or improving a product/service to better fit the new environment caused by COVID-19. Congrats to the great team there and we’re happy to have been lucky enough to enjoy your fine brews over the last year. 

Rolling right into the same awards ceremony, Upstreet Brewing also took home some hardware, picking up the Workplace Excellence Award at the same Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce awards noted above. This award is given to an organization that, through its innovative human resource practices, provides employees with a positive, healthy and productive workplace. Things are upbeat at Upstreet and we know you’re worthy recipients!

This sounds like the perfect time for a new release, so they’re back with Neon Friday 3.04 New England IPA. First released in November 2020, they’ve tweaked the recipe ever so slightly, to enhance the smooth hop finish with notes of stone fruit and cherries. Still plenty (more, even!) Cashmere, Citra, Mosaic, and Sabro, they adjusted the timing of those additions, along with changes to the water and grain bill to enhance the haze and head retention. Still at 6.5%, this is available in cans and on tap at Craft Beer Corner, their Taproom and online for island wide delivery. And those in HRM/Nova Scotia should see it in the private stores soon. And no spilling the beans just yet, but fans of their Rewind Seltzer take note, as well as those who are digging their Libra line of <1% ABV beers…

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is saying “So Long” (well, “See You Later”) to their Aussie-hopped Dunder Pale Ale, and bringing in a brand new year-round Pale Ale. Day’s Done is a 5.0% ABV American Pale Ale, that features a hop bill of Cascade and Mosaic, but used judiciously in a well balanced and easy-drinking beer. A medium body and soft mouthfeel from the malt bill (mostly Canadian Pilsner) support the hops in this golden ale. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery now, as well as for shipping across Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

You can help them Hooroo to Dunder for the rest of the week by grabbing a pint or growler fill at the brewery, for just $5 or $10, taxes in. Also, for those looking for something in the fermented seltzer vein, best grab their Bubbly seltzer quick before it goes away. They’re not getting out of the Seltzer game completely, as TW will be back with a less-cease-and-desisty name and brand soon.

The team at North Brewing Company is giving us an early taste of summer with their release of Mango Mango, their take on the Fruited IPA style. This one starts off as a west-coast style IPA featuring Lotus and Mosaic hops. It was then referented on 200 lbs of mango pureé (the Totapuri variety of mango from India and Sri Lanka to be exact). 473 ml cans are available now through North’s two retail locations and for delivery through their webstore. You can also find it on tap now at North’s Portland Street taproom and Battery Park. In other exciting news, North posted a teaser on social media this week about their new, third location! Online sleuths quickly identified the location as the Brunello Estates neighborhood in Timberlea. We’ll have more news in the coming weeks on what is sure to be a great addition to the BLT area. 

Although no brewery puts out a new beer every single week of the year, some breweries do seem to aspire to it, which brings us, of course, to 2 Crows in Halifax. Fans of the brewery (and fruited sours) are no doubt familiar with Jamboree, a regular in the 2C lineup, and this week the gang on Brunswick is releasing a sibling beer they’re calling Jubilee. Built on a similar grist of Pilsner, malted wheat, raw wheat and some flaked oats, no hops were added to the boil. Souring was accomplished with Lactobacillus plantarum after which the wort was fermented at high temperature with the Ebbengarden Kveik strain. Post-fermentation it saw fruit, and not a little bit of it: 440 lbs of blackberry puree and 270 lbs of apricot were added to a 2,400 L batch!. After giving those extra sugars time to ferment out, the batch was dry hopped with a little bit of Bru-1 hops. The result is not unlike a smoothie, according to the brewery, as it’s, “fruity, lush, thick, and purple,” and not super sour, but, “kinda tart.” Also of note is that this beer was soured post-boil, so the bacteria used to sour are still alive; this implies that there could be a little bit of aging potential for this one, although probably not super long term as it’s only 4.8% ABV. You can find it at the brewery packaged in cans for a pint or grab some to go, or you can order on-line for delivery.

What better to celebrate Newfoundland and Labrador’s return to Level 2 than the release of a new beer!? On the west-coast, you’ll find the newest offering from Crooked Feeder Brewing Co. Powder Keg is a Cream Ale brewed with Escarpement Lab’s KRISPY Kveik yeast. Developed in collaboration with local outdoor outfitter Rugged Edge, Powder Keg comes in at 4.5% and is currently available on tap and in 500 ml bottles at the Crooked Feeder Gastropub in Corner Brook. 

Cornwall’s Village Green has not one, not two, but three new beers on tap this weekend. First up is their take on a Belgian-Style Tripel. Brewed in January to allow for sufficient conditioning, Tripel was made using Pilsner malt and Perle hops. At 9.4% ABV, it’s the strongest beer made by VIllage Green to date and is currently available in 5 oz pours at the taproom. Keep an eye out for a canned release of Tripel shortly. Next up is Hazy Pale Ale. This one started with two-row, malted wheat and a touch of crystal malt, along with Warrior hops for bittering. The beer was then hit with auditions of Amarillo, Centennial and Citra in the whirlpool and as a dry hop. Expect notes of candied citrus and spruce needs in this 5.8% hazy ale. Finally, for something on the maltier side, keep an eye out for their take on a Brown Ale, also being released at the taproom this weekend.

The Altbier style has been gaining in popularity in our region, with more breweries in the region producing examples of the beer that originated in Düsseldorf, Germany. Annapolis Brewing Company is the latest to release their take on style. Coming in at 5% ABV and 42 IBU, Altbier pours a dark copper colour with a moderate noble hop aroma. Expect malt notes of biscuit and caramel, nicely balanced by the hop bitterness. Altbier is available for pints and growler fills now at the taproom in Annapolis Royal.

Lots of fun news coming out of Moncton this week, as Tire Shack Brewing has a few exciting things on the go. 

First up, they have a special cask release tonight with 20L of their Russian Imperial Stout that has been sitting in cask for 4 months and filled it with cubes of Hungarian Oak to simulate the effects of barrel aging. The oaky flavours should come through and is definitely worth trying if you’re in the neighbourhood, but even if you’re not, it is worth the trip! It’s a doozy at 11.9% ABV, so tread carefully and have a pal take care of transportation! That way you can also enjoy… 

A new release also graces Tire Shack today, they have a Blueberry-Vanilla Milkshake IPA available now. Using Ahtanum hops for a lemony-spicy kick, the sweetness and blueberry come on the finish for an interesting release. This is available today for enjoyment onsite in pints and flights, and in growlers to go, and at just 4.5% ABV, you can certainly enjoy a couple in these warmer evenings. And if we play our cards right, there may be some cans coming in the next few days!

Lastly in some cool news, they’ve extended their Halo donut collaboration through the weekend for Moncton Craft Beer Week. They have two awesome donuts featuring some of their beers. The first features Secret Society Stout icing with Sunny Brae Coffee espresso crumble. The second donut is loaded with Parts N Labour IPA icing with lime zest. Pairing them with their parent beers in the taproom is highly recommended, though they will also be available to go from Halo’s spot at 110 St-George (open 12 – 6 PM all weekend, though no guarantee the donuts won’t sell out earlier!). Lots of great news from Tire Shack and worthy of heading out this weekend if you’re able. 

Speaking of Moncton Craft Beer Week, it wraps up tomorrow with a couple of special events.

Open Brewery Day is happening tomorrow, with free shuttle buses running a loop between connecting the downtown core, Riverview, and Dieppe, with stops along the way. From 11 AM – 5 PM, start your visits at any one of these spots and get a headstart on your Moncton Craft Beer Passport… The first bus leaves at 11:30 in this order, with the others leaving every 15 minutes: CAVOK Brewing (perfect place to grab some Acadie-Broue, Chockpish, and O’Creek), Flying Boats, Pump House Fill Station, Tire Shack Brewing, Tide & Boar Brewing, Holy Whale Beer Hall (just a 30 min walk Celtic Knot), completing the loop at City Hall in the downtown core (quick walk to Gahan Hub City, Pump House, and Tide & Boar Gastropub).

Speaking of Tide & Boar, they are hosting an All IPA Tap Takeover Saturday, with 14 hoppy beauts from the GMA pouring all day long, plus a secret IPA flight, and if you can correctly guess the identity of the beers, you’ll be entered in a draw for a $50 T&B gift card.

And today and tomorrow are your last chances to take part in the Beer Tasting Menu at Clos, the Spring Beer Garden at Euston Park, and the Mac & Cheese & Beer Restaurant Crawl.

In more great news from Newfoundland being at Level 2, if you’re not able to make it there, you can pop down to Stillwell on Saturday for your own fresh sips of Bannerman Brewing! Your fine purveyors of the good stuff bring six fresh pops from the St. John’s brewery. They’ll be open at Noon on Saturday and joining the six draft pours will be fried fish sandwiches flying out of the kitchen. Check out the full tap list below:

Early Rise – Dry-hopped sour w/ lactose, mango, pomegranate – 6.5%
Eclipse IPA – 7%
After Hours DIPA – 8%
Hill O Sips American IPA – 6.8%
Counter Productive Oatmeal Stout – 6%
Better Watch Out Barleywine – 9.5%

Speaking of Stillwell, they are looking for a Few Good Folks to join their Beergarden staff (yup, it’s that time of year!). Experienced Beer- and Food-tenders should apply by email at yo@barstillwell.com.

The job postings keep flowing as Bannerman is looking to add a few new people to their team. In the kitchen, they are looking for a Prep/Line Cook, as well as an Events Manager. In their words, “We’re looking for an energetic, organized individual to take on our ever growing event space. Experience is a must.” If you’re interested, please drop them a line with your resume to info@bannermanbrewing.com

We mentioned Village Green’s new releases already, but they are also looking to grow their team with the additions of a Trainee Brewer and part-time Beer Servers at the taproom. They are accepting resumes at villagegreenpei@gmail.com, or if you’re in the area, drop by the taproom for more info. 

In Southern New Brunswick, Hampton Brewing is preparing for the May opening of their brewery and taproom at the Fire Fly Forest Recreation area just outside of Hampton, and they are looking to hire a full-time Server. Thriving in a fast-paced work environment, and creating a great experience for those who drop by for pints or beer-to-go, the right candidate will have the opportunity to grow with the brewery. Send them an email (hamptonbrewingco@gmail.com) by April 2nd with your resume and “Taproom Server” in the subject line, and you can check out the full posting here.

Now that we’ve got you up to date with all of the latest news, how about some more beer stuff for your ears while you drink some beer this afternoon? The fellas from the 902 BrewCast are back on the mics this month after a bit of a break, and are getting you up to speed with what’s new in their beer universe, and answered questions about every little thing from their loyal listeners. Check your podcatcher for the latest ep, or go direct to the source here!

 

Seeing as how we’re running a little behind, most folks reading this will already be past the halfway point on their last Friday of February, which in a normal year would feel like enough of an accomplishment in our region, but where March will also mark an entire year of pandemic, it feels even more like something to celebrate. Fortunately, there’s lots to tell you about this week in regards to boozy beverages in our region that can help you with any celebrations you choose to do. With community spread in evidence, folks in NS are encouraged to consider the possibility that we may see some tightening up of the restrictions again in the coming week and to add that to the factors that inform their purchasing this weekend. Producers in all four provinces are doing a great job making their products available through responsible means, whether that’s Atlantic-, province-, or local area-wide shipping, curbside pickup, or socially distanced retail. We’re all for rewarding that consideration and effort whenever possible and helping all these breweries, cideries, and meaderies survive to see the end of this madness!

The Change is Brewing Collective is launching their 5th collaborative product this weekend, partnering with Boxing Rock in Shelburne to release Back to Birchtown, a 6.4% ABV Old Stock Ale. Amber in colour, this is a modern take on what may have been available during the days of the Black Loyalists who settled in the region – malty and smooth now, and designed to stand up to aging quite well. The beer is being debuted at the Boxing Rock Taproom at 218 Water Street in Shelburne, with the event kicking off at noon on Saturday, February 27th. Members of Change is Brewing will be joined by Emily Tipton of Boxing Rock, Sheila Scott of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, Vanessa Hartley of SEED Shelburne, Lauryn Guest of the Buy Black Birchtown Campaign, to learn about their groups’ history and future. All proceeds from the collaboration are being donated in support of Change is Brewing and the Black Loyalist Heritage Society.

Due to COVID restrictions, reserving a seat in advance is required, 902-875-2282. And for those not able to join in person, the event will be live-streamed through the Collective’s Instagram and Facebook pages, so be sure to tune in! Those in attendance are invited to visit the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in nearby Birchtown, who are opening their doors that afternoon, 2 – 4 PM. The beer can also be ordered today on the Boxing Rock webstore, where the full package includes a fabric mask commemorating the collaborative brew, and a ticket for entry to the Heritage Centre to be used in the future.

Don’t forget that this is also the last week to donate to Change is Brewing in their support of BIPOC South Shore’s “Buy Black Birchtown” campaign, in support of an 8-acre Retreat and Learning Centre in the community, a place for people of colour to “rest, resist, and organize for Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty”. They are ¾ of the way to their goal of raising $20,000 (as of publishing), which has allowed the CiBCollective to become full members in the Centre, and sponsor membership for two more groups, working towards a third, before the end of February. If you have the means to donate, or just want to learn more, please check this link.

First opening their brewery and retail space in 2019, Smokehouse Nano Brewery has now opened a taproom in the heart of Berwick, Nova Scotia. Located at 134 Union Street, the taproom and retail spot is open from noon daily, closing at 6PM Sunday through Thursday, and 8PM Wednesday through Saturday. A full dozen beers are on tap for enjoyment in house, with most available in growlers or cans to go once you’ve chosen your favourites. One of those favourites may be Noonan’s Pride, a 4.2% ABV Dry Irish Stout, featuring massive coffee flavour and aroma, with a smooth mouthfeel and dry finish. Sadly, due to its small batch size, this one is an in-house-only treat! Smokehouse’s website social media (Fb/Ig) has their latest offerings, perfect to get you salivating now!

With several successful breweries and cideries already present on Prince Edward Island, it was only a matter of time before somebody got the mead bug (bee? Hah!). And while we don’t have our finger on the pulse so much with honey beverages, we did manage to notice the opening of Horns of Odin Craft Brewery on St. Peter’s Road in Mount Stewart (sharing a building with the Bedford Irving). Owner Chuck Gallison decided to start the business after a fateful trip to Iceland a few years ago, and as you may be able to tell from the name, he’s very much aware of the connection between Vikings/Norsemen and mead. The term “mead” at its most basic means a fermented honey beverage and covers a fairly wide variety of liquids ranging from still to sparkling and dry to sweet, possibly containing herbs, spices, and/or fruits, and with ABVs from low single digits all the way up into the teens. That said, for the pedants amongst us there are usually specific terms for these variations. Right now the brewery is focussed on producing melomels, which generally refers to fruited meads (although there’s even more terminology for particular fruits), and currently they’re coming out in a wine-like 8 – 12% ABV. Their current lineup of available products includes Hopped Crabapple, Strawberry, Mixed Berry, Hopped Mixed Berry Beet, and Cherry, but they’ve also had Mountain Ash and a Pomegranate is said to be in the works! You can read more about the brewery in this Saltwire article, or stay tuned to this space where we hope to continue to cover new and interesting products coming from Horns of Odin. Skol!

Amazingly, we’ve got even more mead news for you this week, as Mountain Meadworks has teamed up with Compass Distillers in Halifax on a special collaboration brew that takes mead making to the Nth degree with the assistance of distillation. The starting point was a Mountain Meadworks mead that was sent to Compass to be distilled with a variety of Nova Scotia botanicals, including juniper, spruce tips, yarrow, and chanterelle mushrooms. The result was then used to fortify a new mead that had itself been infused with rhubarb, lemongrass, and spruce tips. The result is “a complex and harmonious drink” that comes in at an ABV of 7.5% and features a variety of flavor and aroma notes including citrus, juniper, and rhubarb. They’ve called this beverage Ouroboros, after an ancient symbol dating back to the Egyptians, but also found in many other traditions including Norse, Hindu, and Mesoamerican, among others. Usually a snake (or a dragon!) swallowing its own tail, it is sometimes also depicted as two (or more!) creatures swallowing each others’ tails in a loop. Intended to reference eternal renewal and how things may change form and yet never disappear, we think this is a poetic name for a very intriguing mead. To get it you’ll want to check out their Facebook page to see whether they might be at a farmers market in your area any time soon or to contact them to place an order.

An annual fall release from Trailway has been their Rascal Imperial Stout. Sadly, the beer’s namesake, a very good doggo, passed away this year. In a fitting tribute to a brewery dog, TW took their existing recipe and made it even more awesomer: after making the base beer, they aged it in Heaven Hill bourbon barrel for 7 months! Ode to Rascal was barrel aged with coffee from Milltown Roasters and some vanilla. This beer is full, complex and filled with notes of oak, dark chocolate, and espresso with a sweet vanilla finish. This 8% ABV tasty treat is only available from the brewery (no shipping options) and is only in 500ml bottles. 

In other news from Trailway, they’re hiring a full time marketing and digital content manager. Check out the complete job posting on Career Beacon

The new releases keep coming from Tatamagouche Brewing and they continue to draw inspiration from across the Atlantic, this time with an English Bitter. Haywain is a 5.3% ABV take on the style that starts with Horton Ridge pale malt, Caramel 60 and CaraAroma.  Bramling Cross and EKG hops were used to the tune of 37 IBUS, with some non-traditional late and whirlpool additions to amp up the aroma. There are a variety of ways to try out this beer, but we suggest trying to track this down on cask for the optimal drinking experience. Pins have been sent to the Stillwell Freehouse. You can also find it at other Tata tap accounts and at the brewery in cans and for fills.

Your visits to the Saint John City Market are about to get even better! Uncorked Tours opened their tasting room and meeting space in the market last year, with a patio and dedicated entrance at the corner of Germain and North Market streets. They’ve just announced they will be releasing their own branded Howlers (0.95 litre growlers) next month, and kicking off their Growler program. After coming in and enjoying a sample flight or pint, visitors can fill a growler of their favourite beer for enjoyment at home. Pair that with some fresh produce, cheese, or cured meats from one of the other Market vendors, and you’ve got yourself a perfect afternoon or evening in! In addition to the sweet howler designed by Owner and Tasting Room Manager Nathalie Nadeau, featuring their doggos Penny and Ruby, visitors can bring their own clean 0.95 or 1.89 litre (32 and 64 oz) growlers to fill. And if you’re in a pinch, they have 1 litre plastic containers to fill too. Pre-order your howler now for its first fill March 17th, or if you can’t wait that long, pop by next week for a fill of your own vessel.

To Moncton! To The Shack! Tire Shack Brewing has a few new goodies for those of you in the area. First up, their Hip Hop Series returns with its fifth iteration, each of which showcases a Double IPA that’s massively dry hopped with a single hop variety. Hip Hop Series: Volume 5 showcases Cashmere, a hop that brings great flavours of melon, peach, lemon, lime and a hint of coconut. It comes in at 8% ABV but the smooth drinkability makes it very (dangerously) crushable. This is available for cans, pints and growlers from the taproom today.

Also out this week, they are bringing the spice to the taproom releasing Mango-Habanero Sour, a 3.5% ABV fruity sour with a touch of heat. This one is only available for pints and growler fills at the taproom. 

Staying near Moncton, Flying Boats Brewing is releasing Red Cap, a Peanut Butter Stout. This was a taproom favourite that is now coming out in 473ml cans. Using as its base an English-style double oatmeal stout, it adds the natural peanut butter flavour in the final stages of fermentation. With a strong peanut butter aroma and notes of chocolate, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.8% ABV. Find it at select ANBL locations and the brewery; enjoy it while it lasts!

The City of Lakes’ own Lake City Cider brings a few pieces of news this week. Cardi P is a cider with Nova Scotia plums house-fermented to a rich wine and then blended with a selection of Nova Scotia apples before being rested with cardamom spice. This cider is 6.8% ABV and available in 750ml bottles from the brewery or online for delivery today. 

Also releasing this week is Green Ginger, a cider collaboration with Pop Culture Brew Co. This cider release is a blend of their Darkside Dry cider and the Ginger Kombucha from Pop Culture. This will have flavours of fresh apple with some floral notes and slight ginger spice on the finish. It is also available in 750ml bottles and is a 5.5% ABV blend available only from Lake City’s Dartmouth shop.

Back to a Nova Scotian cider for our next release, as Halifax’s Sourwood Cider has a funky new apple/wine hybrid available this week. And when the perfect name appears, why fight it? Hence, Hybrid, a blend of apples from a 100-year old Golden Delicious that underwent a 4-week maceration period, along with Marquette grapes picked from a vineyard on the Northumberland Strait that underwent an 8-week maceration period before pressing. Neither ferment saw any external yeast added, it was all thanks to the wild beasties already living on the fruits. After blending, a small amount of actively fermenting Northern Spy juice was added to allow a natural carbonation in the bottle. Only 50 cases of this special 10% ABV cider and wine hybrid were produced, so best make your way to their retail/taproom today to secure yours!

Over to Newfoundland, as we continue our journey across the region, for a re-release of a favourite beer, but with a new name and label to support an important cause. Port Rexton Brewing has teamed up with St. John’s Toslow for a few years now, producing a collaborative Sea Buckthorn Sour celebrating the downtown cafe/good beer bar. For this release, however, their efforts have shifted to supporting a group looking to make major changes in the food security of Newfoundlanders. Food First NL works with communities in Newfoundland and Labrador to improve access to affordable, healthy, and culturally-appropriate food. $2.00 from each can of Hold Fast will be going to Food First, with the goal to raise over $5,000. And of course a special release deserves a special label, which was designed by talented local artist Jenna-Wade. You can do your part by grabbing the beer from PRBC’s St. John’s Retail Shop, or at the Foodex in Port Rexton, this weekend, with more locations in between receiving deliveries in the next couple of weeks. You can also donate directly to a food bank or support group in your local region, check out their partners here (also the same list if you are experiencing food insecurity yourself). 

Staple of the rock, Quidi Vidi Brewing brings a new release to their Brewers’ Original series. Nathan’s Kveik Pale Ale is a dry-hopped pale ale with great flavours of honeydew melon and pineapple. Balanced, with a nice graham cracker malt flavour, it is fruity and easy drinking at 5.5% ABV. Available in 473ml cans from the brewery and online, it’s available today.

And speaking of Newfoundland Craft Breweries, their taprooms are currently closed due to the province being in COVID Level 5 (aka, now in the “Restore the Arse” phase), but that does *not* mean they aren’t able to get some tasty beverages in your hands!

  • Bannerman Brewing has recently commissioned a high-speed 16oz/473ml canning machine, meaning they won’t be running out of offerings any time soon. Hit up this page for curbside pickup options.
  • Landwash Brewery is also doing curbside pickup, and have been delivering to many locations on the Avalon. Check their Distro map to find a spot near you!
  • Baccalieu Trail has a pair of newbies on their virtual shelves this week, with Ediacaran Fuse NEIPA and Love Potion 709, a mixed-ferm champagne-inspired Brut ale both available at their retail as well as Marie’s Mini Marts in the area.

In Coming Soon news, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing is closing in on the completion of their tap room located at 16 Dentith Road, which features plenty of seating, a dozen taps, a stage for live music, and a Mary Brown’s Chicken opening soon next door! To keep the beer a-flowin’, they are looking to hire both Full- and Part-Time Servers to round out their team. Beer knowledge, or willing and interested in learning some, is a major plus, as is being able to work on your feet to keep everyone happy in a soon-to-be-busy spot. The full details of the positions is on their website, and you can fire off your cover letter and resume to Matt@Serpentbrewing.com before the end of the weekend. 

A couple of rare in-person events to mention this week along with a more typically 2021 virtual one!

Modern Brewer’s Village Green is taking over the taps at HopYard Charlottetown today, showcasing 9 fresh and fun beers from the small brewery in downtown Cornwall. The taplist includes favourites found on tap already, like the Sabro Pale Ale and Bitter, as well as plenty of new beauties like NorCal Pale Ale, Dark Mild, and Lagered Ale, and will even mark the debut of the brand new New Zealand Pale Ale. As the name implies, this 5.0% Pale Ale features hops from the land of the kiwis, namely Nelson Sauvin and Motueka. This brew won’t be available in Cornwall until next week, even! On the “what to eat to pair with your beer” tip, HopYard has debuted the “Hola Amigo” menu this week – check out this post for the latest food options! And with just one keg of each offering on tap at the ‘Yard, you’re well advised to head there sooner rather than later!

We told you about this event last week, but a quick reminder about Belgianfest 2021 at Stillwell HQ this Saturday and Sunday. From noon til 10:00 PM both days, Stilly will be pouring some classic and rare Belgian treats with a great mix of kegs and bottles. The team in the kitchen will also be pushing out some Belgian dishes. Check out Stillwell’s social channels for more info.  If you happen to drop in on Saturday you may even see a few of your favorite intrepid bloggers.

For something a little different, tune into a free public lecture from the Nova Scotia Institute of Science this Monday, March 1st. Dr. Gordon McOuat, Director of the History of Science and Technology Program at University of King’s College, will be presenting The Science and Culture of Beer. From McOuat, “This talk will explore those key moments in the long relationship between beer, civilization, and science”. The full details of how to tune in are on their website, so grab a can or bottle of your favourite beer from your local brewery, and get your beer learnin’ on!

And a last few items for your perusal before you get on with your day:

If you’re more in the mood for cider this weekend, head to Truro Brewing Company to check out Cide Hustle. Using freshly pressed juice from Stirling Farms in Greenwich, Cide Hustle comes in at 6.0% ABV, features a hazy appearance and a semi-dry body. Find it on tap at the brewery on Inglis Place today. 

St. Patrick’s Day is mere weeks away, which can only mean one thing – the return of the Irish seasonals! Propeller is first out of the gate with their Irish Red Ale. Their take on the style comes in at a sessionable 5% ABV and combines roasty malt notes with an earthy hop character. Look for it through Propeller’s online store and three taproom locations this weekend.

Fans of good beer in the environs of Windsor, NS, have reason to cheer this week, as the Schoolhouse Brewing taproom is back after a COVID-related hiatus. Look for new things coming out of both the brewery and the kitchen as they get back to business, including a new Russian Imperial Stout on tap that will be benefiting their local food bank. 

Over at Unfiltered, Fist of God is making its return. This 8% DIPA is available now on North Street in cans and via fills if you have Unfiltered glass to exchange.

Well THAT month ended better than it started, at least in our opinion. Whether you’re talking about our region, where NL, NS, and PEI continue their strong stand against COVID and NB seems to be turning the corner, or internationally where there seems to be a whiff of sanity wafting northward from below the 49th parallel, we think there’s definitely some reasons to celebrate the end of the first month of 2021*. And luckily, our producers in the region are stepping up, several of them with reasons to celebrate of their own (like the staff at 2 Crows who are probably ready to sleep for the first time in…*checks calendar*…a month or so). Read on for all the news we could find, formulate, and fit this week in beer and brewery news!

* Don’t get us wrong, everything’s still screwed (especially the climate and wealth distribution!!) it just feels a little less screwed than it was.

Let’s start with the first of two breweries celebrating an anniversary in a big way this weekend. Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carlton, the Gateway to Prince Edward Island, has a full weekend of fun scheduled as they mark their first year in business. But first, let’s tell you about the 3 (three!) special beers debuting this Saturday to mark the celebration! 

  • Rouge is a 7.0% farmhouse ale, which began with a grain bill made exclusively from Island Malt House Pilsner, Oats, and Rye, first fermented with Lone Oak’s house culture of yeasts and other bugs, before the addition of PEI-grown Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (juice, skin, seeds and all), which melded together for 10 weeks. Oh, and all of this took place in their PEI-built (thanks to New World Foeders) Foeder! This aromatic, juicy, yet dry beer was packaged in 500 ml bottles and kegs to condition and naturally carbonate.
  • Modest is a “Tiny Pale Ale”, coming in at a crushable 3.5%, when you want all the hops flavour, but not necessarily the booze… With a base of PEI Pilsner and Oats, and enhanced with Flaked Wheat and Rice, the hops are allowed to shine through and punch above their weight class. El Dorado, Columbus, and Simcoe are there in the flavour and aroma, bursting from the 355 ml can. Available on draught as well (both versions were naturally carbed in the can/keg).
  • Golden Hour is an ambitious one, we reckon… This Double IPA was fermented solely with Brettanomyces in a pair of oak barrels, and heavily hopped with El Dorado, Simcoe, Centennial, and Mosaic. And while it is a hefty 8.0%, the melding of the wood, yeast, and hops have it much more quaffable than that number may show. All three of these characters come through with notes of stone fruit and candied pineapple esters, along with some oak tannins and a twinge of red wine. Also naturally conditioned, it is coming in 355 ml cans and kegs.

These three are only available at the brewery for on-site and retail sales, and if there’s any left after the weekend, may be available online. Sounds like a great excuse to visit this weekend!

Onto the events: This evening is a double-header of the always fun and head-scratching Trivia with Spencer and Dan from 7 – 9 PM, followed up with live music from Dave Woodside 9 – 11 PM. Best to call ahead to RSVP your bubble table (902 729 2228). Saturday is a full afternoon and evening of live music from Grass Mountain Hobos (2 – 6 PM) and The Love Junkies (7 – 11 PM). While both of those shows are sold out, their retail will remain open for your can and growler fills. And the fun continues Sunday with a matinee show with Roland Beaulieu featuring Keelin Wedge (1 – 4 PM, RSVP to ensure a spot). For those looking to fill their bellies as well as their ears, The Abby is open all weekend (11:30 AM until 9PM), and will be featuring a few extra fun things on the menu to mark the occasion. Congratulations to the Lone Oak Crew on surviving and thriving in the decade that was 2020!

Some of you may be sorry to hear that this weekend is the last of the “Anniversary Month” releases from 2 Crows, which we get, because there’s been a wide variety of tasty beers to enjoy throughout a usually-dreary month… but don’t blame us at all for having a bit of a happy-happy feeling to go along with that! Because, well, you know, writing about all of them takes time! That being said, we tip our hats to their hard work and initiative, and “happily” are here to fill you in on the re-releases and new beers you can find this weekend.

First up… hops, hops, and more hops. And even more hops. That’s right, four different New England IPAs will be available at the brewery starting today, and we think you’re going to want to get your lupulin-enriched hands on all of them. Three of these brews are returning favourites, all of which are the same base beer (brewed with Golden Promise, Wheat, Flaked Oats, and Carafoam), hopped in the mash and first wort with Columbus, and an addition of Simcoe and Huell Melon in the hopback. It’s the dry-hopping that sets them all apart: Perfect Recreation features Vic Secret, Simcoe, and Citra; Second Situation has Huell Melon, Azacca, and Citra; and Another Iteration goes with Vic Secret, Enigma, and Huell Melon. All three of these beers are big on various tropical and/or stone fruits, with very little bitterness. The fourth beer, Cause for Celebration, is new, and is similar to the first three in all but the dry-hop, with this 6.1% ABV entry featuring Enigma, Monroe, and Citra. Expect “massive dark jammy berry notes, along with mango, pinot gris, and strawberry”. All four will be available in cans. Dying to grab some on tap, you say? Well, hold off on that though, we’ll come back to it!

For those of you not as hop-inclined (also, for those of you who love variety!), not to worry, 2C naturally has some sour and funky goodies for you that will be released on Saturday. You may recall Deux II – a collab with Maine’s Orono Brewing (remember Maine? sigh) that came out for last year’s anniversary – a foedre-aged sour brewed with local cherries that was, we don’t mind saying, an extremely tasty beverage. Luckily, they tucked away some kegs from last year and have re-packaged that beer into 355 mL cans. There’s not many, granted, but they’re still showing off lots of cherry flavour and Jolly Rancher character, as well as “a bit of marzipan and cinnamon as it warms” to go with the funk. 

That’s not all… 2C also has a brand new funky Saison called Wish You Were Here (lawsuit pending). Brewed as an “in spirit” collaboration with their buddies from Ontario’s Block Three Brewing, the grist has lots of rye and raw wheat, and the wort was hopped heavily with Celia and Hallertau Mittelfrueh (to 60 IBUs) to give some herbal notes. Fermented with a blend of house cultures, the 4.6% ABV beer was canned and allowed to carbonate naturally… and carbonated it is! Cautioned by the brewery that the beer is lively, it’s also tasting “funky, earthy, bitter, and floral”… just be sure to refrigerate your cans appropriately, and have a glass nearby when opening. 

Now, moving on to this weekend’s events with 2 Crows – because of this whole pandemic thing that appears to be holding on (who knew?), a big party at the brewery is a no-go. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few ideas up their sleeves! Remember those IPAs we mentioned way up there? Well, you WILL be able to try them on tap, if you’re lucky – Stillwell HQ will be pouring one keg of each NEIPA on Saturday. Yes, just ONE keg, so you won’t have long to get in there to try them. They’ll also be tapping Thunderdome, a golden sour with lime leaves that is a previous collab with Small Pony Barrel Works, as well as a keg of the aforementioned Deux II.

On Sunday, Battery Park will be hosting this year’s interpretation of the brewery’s annual Sour Sunday. Lots of delicious sour beers that have made appearances over the last year; for a full tap list, keep an eye on 2C and BP’s social media stories.

Finally, of course the 2 Crows taproom will still be pouring lots of beers over the weekend, including special old foedre releases, sours, the usual favourites, and side pours of Waltz from their brand new swing faucet.

That’s it, that’s all, there ain’t no more (Islanders in their 40s may get that reference). Happy anniversary 2 Crows peoples! We love you all and we never want to do that again.

Sackville’s only brewery, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse, continues to make a go of things in spite of COVID craziness, and they’re quite happy to have announced recently that you can now find one of their flagship brands, Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red at select NSLC stores, largely in the HRM. If you’re looking for more than that offering, you can, as always, order their full slate of available brews online direct from the source for curbside pickup via their web store. Meanwhile, in the taproom, they’re serving up a full slate of beers on tap for socially distanced pints, or packaged to go. Their new Winter hours start February 1st, and will see them open Monday to Wednesday from 4 – 8 PM, Thursday to Saturday from 12 PM – 8 PM, and Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM. They’re also starting a “Beer of the Week” where every week the feature beer will be $1.00 off for pints and $5.00 for growler fills. The first of these is Biddy Light, their 4.5% ABV, 9 IBU take on what an “everyday beer” should be. Follow the brewery on their socials (Tw, Fb, Ig) for information on future features.

Ol’ Biddy’s also has a couple of new beers that bear mentioning. First up is their second pilot batch of Kicked in the Hops, this time a “double small batch.” Aiming to be what brewer Keith Forbes loves in a West Coast-style double IPA, you can expect it to be crisp while packing a pronounced bitterness and aromas and flavors of pine, grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV, you’ll find it on tap for pints and growler fills as of February 1st; but act fast, the previous batch sold out quickly and many missed out. And on the already available front, Sackville Smash Blonde has been on the taps for a week or so now. A clean and crisp, easy-drinking ale, it follows the SMaSH regimen of one malt (2-row) and one hop (Huell Melon). Look for light aromas and flavors of melon on top of a slightly grainy sweet base. Grab it at the taproom for pints and/or fills to go.

Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza Cape Breton has us dreaming of a time back when travel was not restricted, and one might be paged in the airport as you rush from one flight to another. Blue Courtesy Phone is a 7.0% New England IPA hopped solely, and generously, with Sabro hops, known for big tropical notes of pineapple, coconut, passion fruit, and citrus. The beer delivers that in spades, so close your eyes and dream of the beach while you sip on a pint. Available on draught only, you can pop by the brewery in Nyanza for a pint or fill, with kegs being delivered in HRM to Battery Park, Stillwell, and Little Oak.

We’ll head to Yarmouth next for a taste of Belgium. Heritage Brewing Co. is releasing the third beer in its lambic-style series with Funky Blackberry Lambic. The 7.5% ABV beer started with a mix of lighter malts and wheat before undergoing primary fermentation with a Belgian ale strain. It was then aged on blackberries with a mix of Brett, Lacto and Pedio built up from a few mystery Belgian beers. Expect some funk and acidity from the mixed pitch and a light blackberry flavor. Find it on tap (and only on tap) today at Heritage’s Main Street taproom. 

Sticking in Nova Scotia, Garrison Brewing is releasing an offshoot to one of their core beers with Tall Ship Light. At 4.0% it is their lightest beer ever. With no adjuncts involved, we get a light ale pouring pale yellow with a refreshingly light body and mild hop aroma. This will be available only in 12 packs of 355ml cans. Releasing today at the private shops and both Garrison locations, NSLC, ANBL and PEI Liquor will stock theirs later in February. 

Truro Brewing Company is back with their first release in a few weeks with an ode to an icon. Notorious RPA is a Rye Pale Ale that will be sure to pack a punch thanks to some of the spicy notes from the Rye. Throw on your dissent collars and enjoy a beer packed with Chinook hops, which will add piney notes and a bit of spice to go along with grapefruit notes. At 5.2%, this Pale Ale is available on tap only for pints and growler fills. 

West of St. John’s lies Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South, where a new and fresh dark brew is pouring exclusively on tap. The Renown is being billed as an Imperial Porter, and while stated as to be on the “lighter side” of Imperial at 6.7% ABV, is probably still up there enough to provide a little extra warmth in your tummy crap-factory! The brewery notes that this beer was inspired by some of their favourite Baltic Porters; however, they fermented it with Ale yeast, as would be used in a “typical” Porter. With a variety of specialty malts in the grist, look for “a nutty aroma with a caramel, toffee taste, and smooth chocolate finish”. If you like your beers rich and sweet, this is the one for you. Limited quantities are available, so head over to the Ninepenny taproom for a taste.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has pulled a team of taproom staff together to help design and brew a new beer, as well as assist in all the steps up to and including the packaging of said beer. That beer is Apricodabra, a 4.3% ABV kettle sour with apricots. With a noticeable-but-not-enamel-stripping sourness, and some pleasant apricot character, it’s being released on tap and in cans at the brewery today, and you’ll find it pouring at some other fine establishments in the area. If you’re dropping by for some, keep in mind that they’ve also got a couple of variety 12-packs for sale; each box contains four cans of three different Signature Series and Small Batch Series beers. The Hoppy & Bitter Box includes Kilted IPA, St. Andrew’s Cross XPA, and Rampant Lion NEIPA, while the Light & Crisp Box will give you Lockdown Lager, Alderney Dry Lager, and Bonnie Lagered Ale

New Brunswick’s Broue du Païen is keeping up their home deliveries to the Bouctouche, Saint-Antoine, Notre-Dame and Cocagne areas on Fridays, as well as the Greater Moncton Area and Shediac on Saturday afternoons. Just in time for weekend deliveries, they’ve got a brand new beer available to add to your orders. Hop Salad Hazy IPA is a 5.8% ABV, 45 IBUs American IPA that has “a mix of tropical fruit flavours and aroma, with a smooth bitterness that is not overwhelming”. They’re keeping the hop varieties used a secret for now, guess you’ll just have to try it and make a guess! Check out their social media for more delivery details. 

Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has a new product on the go for cider lovers this week, although maybe not exactly cider lovers… Perry & Rose is not a cider, but a perry (same idea, different fruit) that started with the juice of 100% Nova Scotia cold snap pears. Once fermented it was blended with a rose petal wine, resulting in an elegant sipper where pear is definitely the feature, but the rose provides and enhanced aroma and complexity. Packaged in the 750 mL bottle format and coming in at 5.6% ABV, you can order it for same day delivery (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat, $35 minimum) or pickup through their online shop.

A few more news bits and bites before we sign off today, plus a job opening to consider…

Fredericton’s 3Flip Brewing is releasing their oatmeal stout, Oat Cold, in cans for the first time. Available on tap only over the last two years, you’ll now be able to find it at ANBL locations or through 3Flip’s online store. While you’re at it, you can wish 3Flip a happy second anniversary by ordering some of their favourites, re-released this week to celebrate the occasion.

Halifax’s Stillwell Brewing has a new batch of their Kompact Kolsch-style beer out in the world this week. A draught-only release, this batch underwent a 3-hour long boil of the wort, leading to a rounder and fuller malt character, thanks to the caramelization, Maillard, and other reactions, changing the nature of the sugars and other carbohydrates in the liquid. Chemistry aside, it’s tasting great and helps to better balance the hop levels that Stilly will sometimes employ. Look for it on tap at Stillwell HQ and the Stillwell Freehouse right…. meow!

Tatamagouche Brewing has a new batch of their award-winning Baltic Porter, Two Rivers, just making its return. Originally part of the brewery’s Giant Beer series, it is indeed just that! Fermented with a Lager yeast strain and cold-conditioned to allow all of those rich, roasty flavours to meld, it weighs in at 8% ABV and is tasting very smooth, despite all that alcohol. One of the perfect winter sipping beers, you can grab bottles of it at the brewery, or make an order for delivery.

Tire Shack has brought back Roman Road, their dry-hopped Pilsner that features a hefty dose of Tettnang and Spalt varieties, giving this 5.5% ABV beer floral and spice aromas. Finishing crisp and smooth, it’s available in cans only (for now), and should be hitting the brewery’s shelves early this afternoon, just in time for the weekend. 

Propeller Brewing has a couple of non-beer/non-modern-beer items out now/coming soon to tell you about. Their Void Sparkling Water with Galaxy has been re-upped at their shops and online, a new batch that they’re saying is even better than the first. No alcohol or calories, and while you wouldn’t be fooled that it’s beer, it’s still refreshing as all get out, and get you in the ballpark when you’re looking for a little *something* more than just water. And as a celebration to International Gruit Day on Monday, February 1st, they will be once again dipping their toes into that ancient style. Named after the herb mixture used to bitter beer before glorious hops were used extensively, we aren’t exactly sure which blend will be used, but common ones include bog myrtle, and Propeller’s previous Gruit collab with Beau’s also featured NS-grown sumac. Keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the full details!

Just one job posting to tell you about this week, but it’s kind of a big deal… The Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia is looking for a new Executive Director. This position answers to the Board of CBANS, but does not necessarily have to be someone coming from a CBANS or other brewery position. Key things to keep in mind are a sincere love and belief in local beer and producers, improving the situation both legislatively through government lobbying, and marketing-wise, which includes helping new/potential breweries in the province. For those serious about learning more, check out the posting for this part-time but permanent position, averaging about 20-25 hours a week, for a salary of $45,000. Perfect for those who want to work from home, too! We’re looking forward to what fresh blood in this position can do to revitalize CBANS and the entire beer landscape in the province, as the biggest collected voice for breweries in the province, it does have an impact on all producers (and ultimately drinkers too).