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Last Christmas,
We gave you a post
But the very next week,
There was nothing to read.

This year,
So you can drink beer,
We’ve blogged about something special. 

-fin-

We’re starting off festive this week with Village Green, because of the green, with the most news heading into the winter break. They have a bunch of new beers and a membership program!

Of course, we’ll start with the beer, where we have a trio of new beers released last weekend, including Extra Pale Ale, with a grain bill of Pilsner and 2-Row malt with a bit of wheat, floor malted via Island Malt House. We get a touch of German Perle hops with German Ale yeast! This sounds like a winner for drinkability with 4.5% ABV and 20 IBU. You can get this in cans! Staying on the session train, we get Bitter, a 3.9% crusher, with English malt, Maris Otter and some other Crystal and roasted malts, balanced with East Kent Goldings hops. This one is in growlers only and 3.9% ABV and 30 IBU. Last but not least in the holiday trio, Sabro Pale, bringing that lovely citrus, tropical and a touch of coconut from Sabro hops. This single hop star has Island Malt House 2-Row and Pilsner malt with “heaps of flaked oats”. This should be a tasty, strong pale ale coming in at 6% and 50 IBU and it’s also available in cans from the brewery. Check out their social media and site linked above for their latest hours, and peep their Insta page as they have two new beers hitting the taps at open today, Red Ale and Wheat IPA. They’re open 4 – 7 PM today (12 – 5 Saturday and 2 – 5 Sunday), with their pals at Holy Fox Food Truck open 12 – 8 PM; if you’re from the area it sounds like your evening plans might be sorted now!

Other big news from Modern Brewer’s Village Green this week is the launch of their Draught Beer Appreciation Society! This is their lifetime membership program for beer nerds/enthusiasts/supporters to get some sweet members-only deals on gift cards and mugs, as well as regular discounts and early access to beer releases. Check out their social media for the full details on the $99 deal. Also, the logo is pretty great. 

The unapologetic crew at Unfiltered Brewing is back with a banger. If you were a fan of their Lifesaver sour, they’re back with another kettle sour that they think you’ll love even more. Violet Beauregard is a kettle soured wheat ale that was refermented on 460lbs of red and black currants, cherries and wild blueberries. It’s tart and full of flavour coming in at 4.2% ABV. Pick it up from the brewery or their online shop for delivery along with a bunch more of your favorite hop-hammered brews.

You can’t celebrate the holidays without cake (or, at least, you probably SHOULDN’T), so luckily for those of you in Newfoundland, Landwash has brought back their Cake Tray just in time for days leading up to Christmas. Dubbed a “Cherry Cake Pale Ale”, it’s an APA that was brewed with lactose and cherry puree. Finished off with a light dry hop, it comes in at 7% ABV and mimics “the flavours of creamy pale Cherry Cake”. Who knew that “pastry pale ales” was a thing! <shakes fist at 2020 yet again> They also have a freshly-canned batch of That Much Ocean NEIPA, so you might as well stock up on everything.

Down Yarmouth way, Heritage Brewing is the gift that just keeps giving! They have a few re-releases this week, which we would all happily take as gifts this holiday season. First up, their Naughty or Nice Christmas Porter is back. This is a full and flavourful porter with lactose, cocoa and orange peel, and generous additions of chocolate. What does Terry’s know about Chocolate and Orange? Probably something. This treat comes in at 7% ABV and 32 IBU. 

The other re-release is a simple recipe with a delicious hop. Citra Session IPA showcases Citra hops in a lighter, drinkable style with heavy aromas of an IPA and the drinkability of a pale ale at 5% and 45 IBU. Both of these are only available at the brewery, check it out and their growler deliveries every Wednesday, too!

Niche Brewing is marking the release of their third batch of Evolution this week, with the first bottles available at the York Street ANBL in Fredericton, with more LCs and fellow breweries following soon. As a reminder, Evo is their 6.8% Chardonnay Barrel-aged Saison, fermented with their house blend of Sacch and Brett strains of yeasts, no added fruit, but still brimming with flavour and funk, and a touch of complementing oak. As it is coming from a single barrel, there’s only so many bottles out there, so if you spot them, grab them! Will make a fine cellar dweller too, as it continues to develop over time. Also out right now, to draught accounts, are fresh batches of Pineapple Persuasion (4.2% kettle sour, fermented with Brett, with tons of pineapple puree and a touch of lactose) and Single Origin (5.0% sweet stout with single origin coffee), available at purveyors of fine beer in Fredericton, and soon in Saint John and Moncton as well.

In other Niche News, they are holding a fundraising raffle in support of Black Lives Matter Fredericton, who are developing a resource website for the province’s teachers to more easily incorporate Black History of New Brunswick into their curriculum. Other initiatives include the formation of a scholarship for Black students at UNB and STU, more on both is available BLMF’s website. Your $10 ticket (or 3 for $20) has you in for a chance to win one of every bottled brand Niche has produced in the past 3 years (many no longer for sale and will not be returning), including the latest Evolution, Golden Flair (batch 2), Quintessential Dark Sour, Bridget Rhubarb Sour, Pau Hana Fruited Sour, and After the Storm Dark Sour with Cherries. All 6 bottles, plus an appropriate Niche glass to drink them in, can be yours by sending an EMT to nichebrewing@gmail.com (be sure to also send them a message or email to confirm they have a way to contact you). You have until the end of the month to enter!

If Shipwright is wrong, we don’t wanna be right. In another small batch series release, South Shore’s Shipwright Brewing brings the new stuff with The Bounty Chocolate Coconut Stout. Bounty chocolate bars are delicious and stouts are ripe for the season, so settle into this milk stout with toasted coconut additions. With a grain bill of English pale, coffee, chocolate wheat, crystal, aromatic and spelt malt, and an addition of lactose in the boil, this beer comes off smooth, nutty and satisfying. Get it in crowlers and pints (on Nitro!) at the brewery and Grand Banker. 7.2%, 25 IBU. 

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has been releasing some small batch beers recently, under the Beta Beers moniker, and have two more on their shelves for your weekend enjoyment. The caveat is, they’re not telling the public (or us!) too much about the beers, as they’d love to hear your unbiased input! The Ultra Light Lager is a 4.0% ABV crisp and brite lager, with just 10 IBU of bitterness, and a low-cal option at only 90 kcal (and 3 grams of carbs) per 355 mL can. And its lightly-fruited sibling is the Blueberry Ultra Light, which sports a lovely purple hue from the addition of blueberries in the batch. Both are available in 4-packs for $10, and feature a QR code asking for your feedback on the beer. Fill out the survey for a chance to win some Upstreet $$$, too — win/win! Both are available at their online shop for daily delivery in the GCA (Greater Charlottetown Area), curbside pickup, or Island-wide delivery in 1-2 days. Or, if you pop into their Allen Street location (to eat in or take with you), you can grab one of the many styles of pizza on offer, including the Margherita, Canadian, and Sweet Pig (think of Garlic Fingers taken to another level).

Two returning favourites hitting shelves just in time to stuff your stockings (or your bellies) from our pals/acquaintances at 2 Crows Brewing! Let’s start on the romantic (?) side of things with I Love You, a Brett Saison. With a portion of the beer soured with Lactobacillus, before blending with the rest of the beer, it was fermented with the brewery’s house Saison culture and a Brett strain from The Yeast Bay. Once complete, an addition of dried lemon verbena from World Tea House was chucked in, as well as a dry-hop addition of Huell Melon, to complement the herbal and funky notes.

Next is Terry, a tequila barrel aged sour with blueberries. If we didn’t have you with that succinct description, let’s dive a little deeper! Brewed in early 2019 and aged in three different tequila barrels (with a bunch of different yeast and bacteria cultures) for 16 months, all three beers were blended and conditioned on over 500 lbs of blueberries from Terry’s Berries in PEI (which had already undergone their own carbonic maceration, where the juices naturally ferment within the skin of the berry) for eight weeks. Bottled and conditioned further for 2 more months, it’s now ready, just like the baby Jesus! Just in time for Christmas, we mean; calm down! Lots of “blueberry juice and tequila earthiness” in the aroma, with tannins and tartness on the palate… also like the baby Jesus! Grab both beers at the brewery ASAP.

If you were around for Tire Shack’s 1-year anniversary celebrations a little while back, you may have been lucky enough to try their Golden Latte, which was a Blonde Ale brewed with lactose and vanilla, and lagered on coffee beans. It was a smaller test batch, and it didn’t last long. Thanks to its popularity with those who tried it, however, the brew crew has gone ahead and whipped up another batch, this time to the tune of 30 hL. Teaming up with Epoch Chemistry Coffee House again (their local coffee roasters), the batch is packed with over 30 kg of Brazilian coffee beans, along with lots of lactose and vanilla. Creamy and clear, with lots of coffee aroma and flavour, it still comes in at a drinkable 5% ABV… and this time around will be available in cans! Also pouring on tap, you can drop by the brewery today to get your fix. 

The folks at Truro Brewing have teamed up with Amherst’s Trider’s for a collaboration beer named Up in Smoke. If you guessed that this was a smoked beer of some type, you’d be correct; specifically, it’s a Rauchbier, a.k.a. a German Smoked Lager. Specific details are light, but we can confirm that Beechwood smoked malt was used in the grist to give the beer its smoky aromas and flavours, and it was fermented “slow and cool” with a Lager strain to give it a clean finish. You can grab it on tap and in 500 mL bottles at both breweries, starting today.

Back in PEI, the team at Bogside Brewing is releasing the perfect beer to get you through this holiday season, a 10% ABV barrel-aged porter. Nellie J. is named in honour of the Nellie J. Banks, one of the last rum runner vessels in Atlantic Canada, ultimately caught by authorities in 1938. The beer spent time in Carribean rum barrels, adding notes of vanilla and subtle smoke, to compliment the rich chocolatey malt notes from the base porter. Check out Bogside’s web store for info on Island deliveries and Maritime-wide shipping. 

No in-person events on the horizon, for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s going on!

There are no events to tell you about this week as we head into the holidays, but keep your eye out for a great beer-related fundraiser happening this weekend. The fine people at the Ladies Beer League and Good Robot are teaming up with Dartmouth’s Jampy Furniture and East Coast Specialty Hardwoods in the sale of this year’s Good Robot holiday ornament. Check out Good Robot’s web store on Saturday to scoop up one of the 15 available. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, with each of the four participating organizations also kindly matching the total sales from the ornaments in the form of a donation.

In case our short introduction was a little cryptic, today’s post is the last before Christmas, and may be the last before we bid 2020 adieu. It was a crazy year from start to finish, and while many (all the?) things have changed in the last 12 months, one thing that hasn’t is that being kind to yourself and others is paramount. Please continue to do so, considering others, and always drink good beer.

Some very big news in the region’s beer scene this week as we have now seen our first major sale of an independent brewery. Pump House, one of the longest running brands in Atlantic Canada is changing hands. The brewery got its start in 1999 as a brewpub in Moncton, in the same “first wave” with Provincial neighbours Picaroons, Nova Scotia’s Garrison and Propeller, PEI’s Murphy’s Brewing Company (now PEIBC/Gahan), and Newfoundland’s Quidi Vidi, among others. While all of those breweries have seen change and growth over the subsequent 20-odd years, and have seen some changes in ownership, there has not been a public sale of one of our OG breweries (that we know of) until now. This is definitely a good news story for the industry: Pump House doing quite well for themselves (Crafty Radler is a major brand in our region and beyond), so this isn’t a liquidation sale of a struggling operation; it also should be acknowledged that the buyer is NOT “big beer” — members of the new ownership group do have roots in the macro side of the industry, but to this point it is an independent group purchasing an independent business and we dearly hope it stays that way! For more of the details on the sale, check your favorite “real” news sources; our take is that it’s a sign of a maturing industry and an overall positive. We’d also like to say Congratulations to Shaun Fraser, whose beer journey began in the 1980s and who built a fixture of the Atlantic Canada Beer Scene. Cheers!

Lots of folks were no doubt happy to hear this week that the NSLC has put out a tender for proposals on “Beverage Alcohol Home Delivery Services.” While we certainly think that there are good reasons to do so given the ongoing COVID-19 situation and it being the 21st century and all, because this is the NSLC we’re a little short on faith that it will be done in a way that does more good than harm. As we are all acutely aware, breweries across the region have been allowed, over the past six or seven months, to deliver beer directly to the doors of customers. In addition, bars and restaurants, with some additional restrictions (e.g., license type, food purchase), have also been allowed to sell alcohol for consumption on other premises. We’re not so much worried that those arrangements will go away if the NSLC does implement their own delivery model; what we’re definitely afraid of, though, is the in their well-established tradition, they will implement their model in such a way that it undercuts or disincentivizes consumers from purchasing from small businesses. The NSLC banks revenue on every last drop of beverage alcohol purchased in Nova Scotia regardless of whether it had literally anything to do with its procurement, production, storage, or distribution. We call on our Government to ensure that if a delivery model is adopted by the NSLC that it does so without negatively affecting the direct-to-consumer sales that are buoying the independent beverage alcohol industry and possibly keeping some of our very much struggling restaurant scene afloat. We call on all our readers who have the means to do so to continue to support their local producers in as direct a fashion as possible.

We leave you with some important reading about local groups working to improve representation in our brewing scene, through collaboration, education, and having a grand time doing it. We’re speaking of course about the Change is Brewing Collective, who have since the summer released beer and cider collaborations with Good Robot, North Brewing, 2 Crows, and most recently, Lake CIty Cider. We encourage you to read more about them, and their outreach within the brewing community as well as those not yet familiar, we encourage you to read this article by Victoria Walton in the most recent Coast, Bottling a solution. And congratulations to Vanessa, who is the recipient of North Brewing’s first Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship!