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Happy end of January! For some of the region, this was the first time we’ve seen significant snowfall, for others, it just piled on. Wind and rain throughout the area was de rigueur, and we’re pretty sure we can expect the same weird mix in February as well. Thankfully, the region’s cideries and breweries have been keeping busy inside, giving us plenty to warm us up this time of year. Let’s start off with two big anniversaries being celebrated this weekend…

When North Brewing (known as Bridge Brewing at the time) opened their doors January 25, 2013, Rozina, Josh, and Peter were so busy with keeping up with demand that the idea of a Grand Opening fell to the wayside. 10 years later, they have moved from their original Agricola Street location to Cole Harbour, and opened a second location in Timberlea (in addition to the retail shop at Battery Park in downtown Dartmouth). And they are taking a beat to finally have that Grand Opening they deserve, in beer form! Grand Opening Saison began life back in September 2022, when they brewed a pale-coloured wort, and initiated fermentation with a mixed culture of yeast, Lactobacillus bacteria, and Brettanomyces yeast. Balancing the acidity and aromatics in a blended beer is a fine line that North has trod before, allowing both sides to shine through without either overpowering the other. After an extended 3 month fermentation period, the beer was bottled (and kegged) just before Christmas, and allowed to naturally carbonate and condition since. This 4.9% Saison is available for purchase at all of their retail locations and on-line shop now, look for orange and apricot, ginger and pepper in the glass and on the nose, with a full mouthfeel yet dry-finish on the palate.

Celebrate with the North crew at both their Portland Street and Timberlea locations until Saturday. Happy Hour runs 3 – 6 PM, there are door prize drawings today and tomorrow at 5, 6, and 7 PM, and they have special items on the menu for the fun, including a Pani Puri Party Platter (perfect pretty puff pastries), braised lamb poutine, and even a birthday cake cookie to top it off! Leveraging their foray into spirits, they are also serving up cocktails made with their Kaleidoscope Vodka, as well as their North X Compass Distillers Neighbours Whisky. Congratulations to the North family on 10 great years, and here’s to at least 10 more!

A newer kid on the block is also celebrating their anniversary this weekend, with Brunswick Street’s 2 Crows Brewing celebrating the sixth anniversary of their opening, January 28, 2017. And to celebrate this milestone, they are releasing six beers tomorrow! Talk about overachievers (and/or beer blogger haters)! The first four of the group are all related, so let’s start there… In Fall 2022, the 2C Brew Crew decided to throw caution to the wind, and go all out for a massive stout. Achieving a nearly 10% beer is no small feat, and they chose to use a reiterative mash to do that. In short, instead of sending the wort (sweet and sugary water) from the mash tun directly to the kettle, as most normal breweries would do (boring!), they instead sent it on to a second mash, to bump up the fermentable sugar level even more! The mash consisted of Maris Otter, Vienna, flaked oats, honey malt, and 6 various caramel and roast malts for colour, depth, and complexity. We can only imagine the stickiness experienced that day, and the lucky buggers who had to clean it up after. And the craziness continues, as to increase the sugar level, as well as encourage some deeper flavours, they boiled the wort for 20 hours! Whoa! During that time, they used Columbus and Bramling Cross to keep it from being too cloying, before fermenting with a robust yeast from Imperial. Post-fermentation, they just packaged the beer, and here we are… Not! Wanting the spread the madness even further, they split the batch into four, in order to explore four unique flavour profiles:

  • Mambo No. 1 is the original 9.7% base Double/Chocolate/Imperial Stout: smooth, full mouthfeel, and full of chocolate, and hints of roast and liquorice.
  • Mambo No. 2 was conditioned in the tank with a (metric?) shit ton of cocoa, as well as marshmallows and Graham crackers. Think S’mores in a glass, with all the fun things that come along with that.
  • Mambo No. 3 was also conditioned on cocoa, but in the spirit of “EVEN MOAR” saw even more toasted coconut in the tank. Chocolate and coconut, we’re thinking Bounty bars or classic choco-coconut balls.
  • Mambo No. 4 may be the most out-there of them all, as in addition to getting the cocoa treatment, this beauty saw the addition of coffee directly to the tank, as well as maple syrup. Chocolate chip pancakes with a cup of joe, natch.

Cans of the Mambos will be available tomorrow (Saturday) at noon in the taproom, or for delivery from their online shop, and are sold in a responsibly-sized 4x355ml variety four-pack. (FYI, subscribers to their newsletter were able to order and receive these a day early!)

Just when you think the 2 Crows would be taking their foot off the gas, they accelerate, and are releasing another wild and economically irresponsible beer, Squeezie. If you’ve heard the term Smoothie Sour, this is it. If you haven’t, strap in! Starting with a pale wort (grist of Pilsner, Golden Promise, and wheat), it was fermented with an acid-producing yeast to give a slightly acidic character. After fermentation was complete, the high alcohol beer was blended with an equal part of fruit puree, something that you would see at your local juicery or smoothie-ery… mango and banana in near-equal parts, with hints of passion fruit and coconut cream making up the rest. After thoroughly combining the beer and puree, the new concoction was carbonated and canned, and immediately sent through a pasteurization step to stop any (dangerous!) further fermentation in the can. Thick, juicy, a touch acidic from both the fruit and beer, and just begging for a shot of wheatgrass (resist that urge). Tall cans of  the 5% Squeezie will be available online and at the retail shop tomorrow during the celebrations.

Rounding out the half-dozen weekend releases is the return of 2C’s massive Triple IPA, Space Words. Triple the hops, triple the booze, six* times the fun! Right around 10% ABV, this beer was dry-hopped during and post-fermentation four times with Galaxy, Eclipse, and a hint of Comet (all space words, get it?), leading to a super aromatic, bold, and juicy big IPA. Also available on tap and in tall cans this weekend, it’s also joined by the latest of their Hop Water series, this one being Mojito. At 0.0% ABV, no need to worry about over-imbibing this beauty, which features lime zest and mint leaves, and a refreshing zip to clear the palate. This one is available to everyone today!

Lastly, let’s talk about 2 Crows’ party tomorrow. Open and available from noon, the folks from Coda Ramen (FKA Water and Bone) will be doing a slurpy pop-up in their space, with a couple of different ramen choices available along with some accompanying dishes. There’s only so much broth that can be transported, so this means you’ll want to get there early to avoid disappointment. And for those on the later shift (or arrive early then come back), there’s the return of Rock at the Brewery. From 7 PM til close, hear some wicked tunes from Touched, Norc, and Customer Service, to accompany your stout, smoothie sour, and TIPA imbibing. And speaking of stouts, Sunday from noon will be a Stout take-over, with seven in-house brewed stouts complemented by a trio from brewery friends: North Brewing will join Borden’s Lone Oak Brewing and Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing on the draught list. For those not stout-savvy, plenty of other options by the bottle and can pour will be available. Phew, what a weekend!

* or is it nine? Can we get a math ruling here?

Staying with (in?) the dark, Trailway also has a brand new release that’s available now. Sundae Best is a Chocolate Vanilla Soft-Serve Stout. This is a deep and dark but sweet stout with milk sugar (lactose) added, along with vanilla. It boasts a dominant chocolate flavour, but the beer remains soft and balanced, with just the right ABV richness ABV at 6.5%. It is available in cans now directly from the brewery in Fredericton. 

From the dark of winter to dreaming of summer days, Bannerman has teamed up with their friends and cohabitants NAMJIM for their second collaboration. Dubbed Beach Comber, it’s an IPA and features Thai tea dust, which is a mix of thai spices and Ceylon black tea. In what they’re already calling a staff favourite, this sweet, bold and juicy IPA uses Pilsner malt, toasted rice, and milk sugar in addition to a huge dry-hop of Sabro and Eclipse hops. It was then conditioned on the Thai tea dust and came out at 7% ABV. Medium-bodied, it brings some subtle flavours of citrus, coconut, cardamom and cinnamon; it’s available now directly from the brewery.

It’s been a bit of a delay to winter here, but if you’re up near Port Rexton, Newfoundland, generally, and Clarenville specifically, the White Hills Ski Resort is opening this weekend! Thankfully, the Port Rexton Brewing crew has a new brew for après ski. Golden Ale is a 4% crisp, clean, and balanced post-ski/board/work/anytime crusher. This will be available on tap or in cans at the Tips Up Lounge inside of White Hills, Port Rexton’s shops, on their website, and in distribution Newfoundland-wide next week wherever on the Rock you buy craft beer. 

In addition to the breweries celebrating anniversaries this weekend, you’ll want to head to Dartmouth tomorrow, here’s why:

Lake City Cider is in the heart of Dartmouth’s Downtown, and, in fact, their taproom is right in the centre of the action for Saturday’s Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival Street Party! Portland Street is going car-free 12 – 5 PM, and there will be fun for all with ice carving, games, princesses, and more. Plus, nip into Lake City to grab a cup of hot cider (both alcoholic and non- so the kids can experience the delight of warm cider too), try their new cider cocktails like the Apple Spice, and maybe even grab a sweet dessert, as Antoinette’s Cheesecakes will be there with dipped cheesecakes from 12 PM until they sell out.

We’ll leave you with two final releases and a few events that fall under the “coming later” category

Up in the winter wonderland of Northern NB, Edmunston’s Microbrasserie Ateepic has a new wheat ale out. Wheatpecker comes in at 5% ABV and is infused with orange and raspberry. Grab it on tap now at the brewery. 

It’s still winter and Propeller is keeping things dark too; this week they’re releasing a new batch of their Mocha Oatmeal Stout, this one extra smooth and creamy owing to being packaged “on Nitro”. This oatmeal stout is 5.5% and brewed with chocolate and locally roasted coffee. Warm and sweet notes of brown sugar, milk chocolate and fresh espresso are all present in aroma and flavour of this 5.5% beer, which is nicely balanced at 28 IBU. It is available in cans at the three Prop Shops, for ordering on their website, and at private stores in Halifax. 

This next event is still a few weeks away, but given that it’s an annual favourite on the beer nerd calendar, we thought we’d remind you that February 18 is Péché Day. Every year, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! rolls out kegs featuring variants of its legendary Péché Mortel imperial coffee stout, with distribution hitting a limited number of better beer bars around the world. As in previous years, Halifax’s Stillwell and Moncton’s Tide and Boar have been selected to participate in the event. We’ll have more details closer to the 18th, but we know this year’s variants will include Péché Latte, Péché Mortel Stout Mexicain, Péché Mortel Bourbon 2022 and a special coffee edition with beans from Mystique Café.

In beer venue news, we have a teaser from our friends in (on?) PEI: Lone Oak Brewing started as the beloved brewpub and brewery in Borden-Carleton’s Gateway Village. Since then, they’ve opened a second brewpub and retail location just outside of Charlottetown. In 2023, they’re taking their game to the centre of the PEI tourism universe and opening Lone Oak Beer Garden in Cavendish! More info to come, but it’s time to get excited if you’ll be hitting PEI’s north shore this summer (paging D.F.). 

One last thing before we let you go… One of the Banished Brewing family is having a tough time, and they are looking to support their own, and give you a chance to do the same. Thacker, pup of Head Brewer Duncan Tennant, is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, that just underwent surgery to correct Intervertebral Disc Disease. He is on the mend now, with a successful recovery expected. In order to help with the (significant) bills, Banished is holding a fundraiser to pay for the surgery, and enter you into a random draw. Check out their GFM here, and every donation you make can go towards an entry into the draw. More on Thacker here!

It’s the most wonderful time for a beer! This week saw much of the Maritimes experiencing its first winter storm. Luckily, our wonderful local producers of fermented beverages continue to pump out tasty new ones to help keep us hydrated during all of the shovelling and cozy inside while we wait for the storms to pass. A friendly reminder that lots of breweries across the region are continuing to offer special holiday discounts in their online stores, along with seasonal gift packs featuring new brews, merch and other goodies. Be sure to keep them at the top of your list as you finish up your shopping over the next few days. A quick logistics note from the ACBB Head Office: with the festive season fully in swing, we’ll be taking a break from publishing next Friday, December 23, with December 30 being a tentative “Go”, but that may change. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Instagram account where we’ll continue to share new releases and other happenings. Happy Festivus to the Rest of Us, and read on for this week’s beer, mead and cider news. 

Congratulations to Microbrasserie Ateepic in Edmundston on now having their own beer available! The Ateepic taproom, located at the Fraser Edmundston Golf Club at 570 Rue Victoria, has been open since May, serving up 20 craft beer from across the province, and now has flexed the capabilities of their Specific Mechanical 1200 litre (10 BBL) brewhouse, and released four of their own beers. Available on draught for in-house or growler enjoyment are Little Gear Pale Ale, Big Gear IPA, Pin Noir Oatmeal Stout, and Party Kolsch, joining the Northwestern NB collab NOir Dessert Stout that Ateepic took part in with Brasseurs du Petit-Sault, Grand Falls Brewing, and Microbrasserie Novum Boreas. While hours may change slightly during the next few weeks due to the Holidays, currently they are open Wednesday 4 – 8 PM, Thursday and Friday 1 – 9 PM, Saturday 1 – 8 PM, and 1 – 5 PM Sunday. Keep an eye on their Fb and Ig pages as they announce new beers or changes in hours. Felicitations encore to Hubert and the Ateepic team!

As all our longtime readers know, the AC Beer Blog’s interest in beer doesn’t end with commercial products, we’re big supporters of the Homebrew scene as well! And with the post-COVID world opening up again we’re starting to see one of our favorite things come back: homebrew competitions. We’re happy to report that after a year off, the 4th Annual Maritime Atlantic Homebrew Challenge (Presented by Gahan House) is back! But first, in the name of unfinished business, is the release of the winner of the 3rd annual competition, held back in late fall of 2020. Hazy McHazeface, a 6.5% Hazy IPA designed by competition winner Trevor McLean, will be available soon (if not already) at all Gahan locations (except Harbourview in St. John’s) packaged in cans, but also on tap by times. Featuring flaked oats for a creamy mouthfeel and tonnes of tropical fruit aromas and flavours thanks to generous post-boil and dry hop additions, it still maintains a clean finish.

If you’re a homebrewer and you’d like to be like Trevor and see your beer brewed for limited release, the 2023 competition is your big chance. As is somewhat traditional for this competition, you’ll be able to enter one of two styles: German Pilsner and Altbier. Both German in origin, and both delicious at their best, the Pilsner sees light and crackery malt profile, a firm hop presence, and a crisp dry finish thanks to lager yeast and a cool conditioning period. At the other end of the spectrum is the Altbier, or “old beer”, not as in “stale” but as in, “the beer that we used to make before we discovered modern malting, lager yeast, and cold conditioning.” Although it’s also on the hoppier side for a Continental beer, malt is still the star of the show, both in terms of flavour and aroma and the deep red color that is a hallmark of the style. The deadline to submit your beer is March 3, 2023, which gives plenty of time to brew and condition either style. The entry fee is $30 payable through Eventbrite. Entries can be dropped off at any of the Gahan locations in the region. Judging will take place in a central location and an announcement of the winning beer will be made shortly thereafter. If you have questions for the organizers you can email them at homebrewchallenge@gahan.ca. Good luck to all who enter!

We mentioned one winner last week, but we now have the full list of Atlantic Canadian winners in the 2022 Canadian Brewers Choice Awards, presented by Brewers Journal Canada. Foghorn Brewing’s Head Brewer Andrew Estabrooks won over the judges with his nomination package to take home Brewer of the Year. In addition to winning Brewery of the Year, Tire Shack Brewing’s own Henrique Soares was shortlisted for Young Brewer of the Year. And New Beer of the Year went to Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing, for Classic Maritime Dry Stout. Congratulations to the breweries and brewers!

And now onto the new beer news, starting in Lower Sackville’s own Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse. If you’re trimming the tree, or watching a yule log burn, it’s always nice to have some liquid accompaniment in your glass. One of those could be their Vanilla Bourbon Christmas Stout. Weighing in at a hefty 7.6% ABV, the notes of vanilla and roast and light bourbon all meld together like a warm beer sweater, a favourite for those of us who enjoy imbibing during this time of year. Joining it is Merry Ryesolution Christmas Ale, the 9.4% ABV bigger sister, featuring rye malt that imparts a natural spiciness to the full-bodied ale. Rye-solution is available in bottles only, while the Bourbon Stout is a draught only release, both available in limited quantities to enjoy at the brewery or to take away.

From the wilds of Spryfield comes a beer with a label that is both wild and refined. Serpent Brewing’s Elementary is an oatmeal stout that arrives on the stronger side at 6% ABV. Chewy, yet still roasty and dry with an assertive bitterness, it was dry hopped with Amarillo to provide a subtle orange marmalade finish. It’s been pouring on the taps since yesterday for pints and growler fills, but you should see bottles in the fridge in the coming days.

Heading down the South Shore of NS to Lunenburg, we find Shipwright Brewing has a new beer pouring for pints to stay or crowler and growler fills to go. Cross Island Common is named for the eponymous island in the approach to Lunenburg Bay. It follows the tradition of the California Common (a.k.a. “Steam Beer”) style with spicy and woody Northern Brewer hops taking center stage on top of a toasty, slightly sweet malt base built with pale, Munich, caramel, biscuit, and chocolate malts. Highly carbonated, with a medium almost creamy mouthfeel, this one is an easy drinking 5% ABV and 30 IBU.

Back up to the North Shore of the province we find that Tatamagouche Brewing has a trio of re-releases available just in time for the holidays. First up is Eventide Vienna Lager, a 4.8% ABV amber lager that’s like a hug in a can. Brewed with all German ingredients, it’s medium-bodied with a crisp finish and flavours and aromas of lightly toasted honey oat bread. Second we have Tata’s wintertime post-activity beer, Apres. A cream ale at 4.5% ABV, it’s designed to be super-easy drinking after clearing the driveway or a day on the slopes or the local pond. And last is Ketch, their Berlinerweiße. Only 3.1% ABV, with the classic bright acidity and subtle funk that the style is known for, expect it to provide a tasty low alcohol option and/or a pleasant way to reset your palate after a bunch of heavier seasonals. Look for all of these to be available for order on the website in coming days or, if you’re in the area, at the brewery; we suspect some cans and kegs will also reach distro in the HRM at the very least.

Speaking of re-releases, in the HRM Unfiltered Brewing has a Christmas miracle on the go in the form of Sparkling Motherfucker, a 4.0% low-calorie (4.5g carbs) beer containing sodium, chloride, and potassium electrolytes. Sound like a sports drink? WELL IT’S NOT. Also gluten-reduced (<10ppm), you’ll find it in 473ml cans at the brewery, perfect for stuffing into stockings or pouring down your throat in an effort to tolerate friends, family, and the holidays in general.

Back in Paradise, Mauzy is releasing the last bottling from its 2021 season. Humbled In Love, is a 6.4% ABV blend of mead and cider . The mead portion features a spontaneous fermentation of Brown’s Family Farm Blueberries and Baccalieu Trail Honey. This was blended (30% mead, 70% cider) with Mauzy’s blend of spontaneously fermented feral and Golden Hornet Crab apples, with the resulting liquid being conditioned on freshly picked white rose petals. Expect lots of blueberry notes, baked berries and a bright acidity. Only 10 cases are available so don’t delay if you’re interested. 

Sticking with blended ciders, next up is Frontenac Gris + Ida Red, from Halifax’s Sourwood. This blend of Front Gris grapes and hand-picked organic apples showcases the complexity that can be achieved when the worlds or cider and fruit wine combine. Bottles of the 9.0% ABV Frontenac Gris + Ida Red are available now at the taproom or through their online store. 

We mentioned Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing above, but they also are celebrating the release of three beers this week in their John Street taproom. Bumbleberry Sour is a sour with a blend of berries reminiscent of the pies or “crisps” of the same name. Cranberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, as well as cherry and pomegranate all went into this 6.0% beer, to amp up the fruit to both complement and enhance the tart base beer. Continuing the long-running series is Hip Hop Vol 8 – Sabro Double IPA. Sabro used throughout the process of this 8.0% beer means it is overflowing with coconut, lychee, with a touch of citrus. And returning to the taps and shelves is Roman Road Italian Pilsner. Crisp and effervescent, Tire Shack’s version has just a touch of hops. If you pop into the taproom Saturday at noon, People for Animal Wellbeing will be onsite to take pictures of your pets to fundraise for their important activities, and selling tickets for The Big Draw for PAW too!

Speaking of our animal friends, PEI Brewing is helping out the PEI Humane Society with the release of Loyalty Brew, a 4.5% Blonde Ale. This limited edition beer is available at the PEIBC Taproom and the Gahan Beer Store in Atlantic Superstore, with $1 from each can going to the shelter supporting lost, homeless, and abandoned animals.

A few short things before we leave you…

Sydney’s Breton Brewing has released Bah Humbug Holiday Bitter, a 4.7% British Bitter featuring Old World/Noble hops lending citrus, berry, floral, and spicy notes, all on a smooth caramel base. Available now at the brewery in cans and on draught.

Candid Brewing in Antigonish released a couple of new beer after we posted last week, so let’s get you up to date… Space Coyote is a 7.5 % Double/Imperial IPA, featuring loads of Comet and Galaxy hops (get it?), ready to shoot you to the moon and beyond. Mango, pineapple, and guava tropical notes and complemented by a solid dank character. And in another vein completely is the 5.2% Golden Pig, a Czech Pilsner. Featuring Saaz hops, GP underwent a six week lagering process, keeping it crisp, clean, and easy drinking. Cans of both beers are available at their taproom on College Street.

Rounding out this week’s news is Good Robot’s latest release, Late Night Milk Stout. In case you were wondering what to leave out for Santa next weekend, perhaps this will fit the bill. At 5.0% ABV, this stout features a lovely addition of lactose (aka milk sugar) to soften any harsh notes, and leave a little bit of residual sweetness in the can. Available at the Robie Street location, and the now-open Elmsdale retail shop. A note on the latter, as they celebrate with a Grand Opening there tomorrow. Open 12 – 8 PM, all beer and merch is 10% off, and there are quirky prizes to be won for those who visit. At 1 PM, there is even a tour of their facility planned, grab your free tickets here. We’ll soon be sharing some info on a tour for those unable to make it tomorrow, so keep your January 21 free if you’d like to hit up a tour in the New Year.

The cold weather is finally here, so let’s gather ‘round to read about beer. The nights are dark and shorter, so pour yourself a porter. We’ve got lots of news about local brews, so don’t linger any longer!

Exciting news on the West Coast of Newfoundland, as Pasadena’s Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has announced a big upgrade to their system. Opening six years ago with a 50 litre Sabco BrewMagic system, they have upgraded in a big way to a steam-fired three vessel capable of more than 1000 litres per batch. Drop by Thursday through Saturday to grab cans from their fridges as well as merch or kegs for your next get-together. One of those cans is the brand new charitable release, For Ukraine With Love. Brewed with 100% Ukrainian-developed and -grown hops, Promin and Zagrava, this light Euro Lager allows them to shine through with a light resinous character. Sold at the brewery and making its way Island-wide in the coming weeks, $6.00 of the $10.00 price tag is being donated to the Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter of the Association For New Canadians. Be sure to pick up a can or two to support this worthy cause!

Good Robot is back with another Goodwill Beer release and earlier this week, United Way IPA was released in collaboration with and in support of United Way Halifax. United Way Halifax has a few campaigns kicking off this week to help support the housing crisis, as United Way is a donor-funded organization that is always advocating and helping those in need of housing.The beer itself is an approachable IPA that is a blend of citrus, sweet and wheat, thanks to the hop bill of Comet, Idaho 7 and Lemondrop. 50 cents from every beer sold in the taproom or anywhere, goes directly towards United Way Halifax. You can get this one in cans or on tap at Robie Street, or order online for delivery.

Limestone Beverages, a group of Bahamian-Haligonian folks sharing the love of their homeland, have a pair of new beers available now. They are hosting a tasting (and more!) event at East Coast Conch restaurant Sunday to showcase the releases, both alcoholic and non-, with some food pairings and live music to accompany. Pina Colada Wheat Ale is a 5.0% ABV with mild pineapple notes, with a creamy coconut rum-like mouthfeel, which will have you transported to the Caribbean with the waves lapping at your toes. Paired with Beef Sliders in coconut buns topped with mango and bacon jam.. East Coast Flamingo is a 4.8% Watermelon and Kiwi Ale, with plenty of the named ingredients on the nose and palate, enhanced by hibiscus flower for a lovely pink hue and floral character. ECC is pairing a Snapper Taco with this drink. For those looking for great fruit character without the alcohol, Limestone also makes Switchas, the Bahamian lime-ade. The name comes from the fact that the drink is both sour and sweet, switching up your brain as to what it’s tasting! There will be Lime and NS Blueberry Switcha pouring as well. And to really top Sunday evening, Limestone will have some Junkanoo performances, with live music and dance, so be sure to visit!

Strap in for a trio of Trailway releases, as they’ve got two holiday releases and one returning collaboration all available now. Earlier this week, Hu Jon Holiday is their classic Hu Jon Hops recipe with some extra piney hops and spruce tip additions. This is a much more piney and resinous version of their flagship IPA and is 6.6%. It’s available now at the brewery, select ANBL stores and will be available at Harvest Wines in Halifax this weekend or early next week. 

Second up from their holiday release is Facts, an American Barelywine. This 11.9% banger brings the deep, rich flavours of caramel, dried fruit, toffee and nice rich malt character with that right hop balance. This is releasing in a sensible 355ml can format, available now at the brewery, and *may* be seen a little further afield.

Finally, a collaboration with Lagabière rounds off Trailway’s release news. De L’autre Boutte to Here is a Double Dry Hopped IPA that is absolutely packed with Citra, Simcoe and Motueka. This is very bright with citrus zest flavours and a powerful punch of tropical fruit and dank pine. This nice 7% release is available now in kegs and cans as well.

All of these three releases can also be ordered online for delivery or pick-up. 

All aboard the mead train! Tanner & Co Brewing has a pair of sparkling mead releases new this week. First up, Barrel Fermented Sparkling Mead is their house sparking mead with some citrus rind and cinnamon added during the boil and then put into French oak barrels. This one fermented outside through the wacky Nova Scotia weather and returned back to stainless for carbonation. The result is a 6.8% sparkling mead and is packaged in 500ml bottles. 

Second on the mead train is a new release that follows in the footsteps of one of their beers. Muscat Sauvage Sparkling Mead uses Muscat grape skins from Grand Pré Winery and the same yeast as their Sauvage Saison beer. Local honey was used from Little Bee Farm to keep it all within the province. This is a nice and dry finishing brew and the grape skins add a great flavour and aroma to the mead. This one comes in at 5.6% and sounds very drinkable. 

Both of these meads are available at the brewery and taproom and available for delivery through their online store. 

Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has a new release out this week, another in their foray into the lager style. This 6.0% Amber Lager features a mix of Munich malts (Cara and Light, in addition to the standard Munich malt), offering a touch of colour and a hint of toast and roast notes. The German lager yeast used keeps it clean and crisp without any sweetness, balancing with the ever-so-light hop profile. Available on draught and in cans now at their spot on Sussex, just behind Canadian Tire/beside Mary Brown’s.

Out today is a beer celebrating the special relationship the province of Nova Scotia has with the city of Boston. Thankful for the massive support the city offered after the Halifax Explosion, since 1971 the province has been sending down the city’s Christmas Tree, harvested from somewhere in Nova Scotia. This year’s tree hails from Christmas Island, and is stopping in Halifax before it continues its journey South. The third year of From Nova Scotia With Love is out today, a collaboration between Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing and Boston’s Harpoon Brewery. This year’s release is Whiskey Barrel Aged Fat Archie Molasses Cookie Imperial Stout… Featuring spruce tips, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, this 11.0% beast of a beer is a melding of flavours that will have you looking for another sip! Cans are available at the brewery now, should be heading to some better beer bars in the province, and on their online shop for delivery or shipping real soon.

Sticking in Nova Scotia, Tusket Falls Brewing is releasing Next Phaze, a Hazy IPA. This is packed with hops and a big tropical punch in each sip. Featuring a hop blend of Rikawa and Cryo Mosaic , and that magical Phantasm as an adjunct addition (extracted from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, bringing mega thiol freedom!), this brings the big tropical notes with some pine, citrus and a creamy bitterness. This is 6.4% and available at both brewery locations, online and will be headed to the NSLC at some point.

Smokehouse Nano Brewery in Berwick is celebrating the town’s centennial with a release showcasing their appreciation and pride in their home. Centennial Pale Ale is a 5.0% ABV light and refreshing pale ale, which features, not surprisingly, Centennial hops! With a label featuring the Greetings From Berwick 100th Year Mural recently unveiled in town, cans are available at their taproom location, and will also be for sale at this evening’s Valley Wildcats home game!

Edmundston’s Petit-Sault recently hosted three Northwest New Brunswick breweries for a dark and dangerous collaboration in their brewhouse, which was released this week. NOir is an 8.5% ABV Pastry Stout, made with chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup. Folks from Grand Falls Brewing, Novum Boreas in Saint-Quentin, and the soon-to-open Microbrasserie Ateepic in Edmundston all took part in the fun, and will have the beer available at their taproom/retail shops, with limited selections making it to ANBL stores as well.

Spindrift Brewing has a nice release for the colder weather. Goldilocks is a Nitro Oatmeal Stout, bringing some nice roast, smoke, cocoa, and high drinkability to the style at 4.8%. Working with Craft Coast Canning and their Nitro dropped, so definitely pour this one into a glass and get that nice cascade effect. This smokey oatmeal stout has a lovely malt bill of Superior Pilsen, Carafa III, Chocolate Malt, Flaked Oats, Golden Naked Oats and Honey Oat Malt. Balanced up with Warrior hops up to 25 IBU, this is a full stout that deserves a full pour! This beer is available now at the brewery in Dartmouth and should be available over the weekend in Antigonish.

Spindrift also has a returning favourite, in what could be its last hurrah. Hurricane IPA is their West Coast IPA that’s coming out in a nice smaller 6 x 355ml format. This is available now at the brewery in Dartmouth and will be in Antigonish next week. 

Last month we told you about a brewery hosting their first homebrew competition, and this week we get to tell you that another brewery is hosting their TENTH annual* competition. Those who’ve taken part in the past know that Big Spruce’s Home Brew Challenge has been one of the most fun comps to both participate in and to judge and we suspect that this year will be no exception. Throwing it back to the competition’s first year, they’re calling for brewers to assemble and brew their best IPA across all BJCP 2021 IPA Categories: 21A American IPA, 21B Specialty IPA, 21C Hazy IPA, 22A Double IPA and X2 IPA Argenta (we’re guessing the inclusion of that last one may have been a clerical error unless someone’s got a line on Argentinian hops). That also includes all of the sub-categories of 21B, so Belgian IPA, Black IPA, Brown IPA, Brut IPA, Red IPA, Rye IPA, and White IPA (insert Forrest Gump shrimp GIF here). Key to note, however, is that there will not be separate judging of sub-styles: all entries will be judged side-by-side in a true winner-take-all Hollywood blockbuster-style shootout, just with hops being the weapon of choice. The winner, as always, will see their winning recipe brewed on Big Spruce’s 7BBL pilot system and distributed throughout the region. Two runners up (2nd and 3rd) will receive a swag/merch and beer box. All participants will be invited to the gala on February 5th, 2023, at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth for the big announcement. You can find additional details in this Ig post, and you can express your interest in competing (or ask additional questions) by emailing info@bigspruce.ca

* There might have been a year missing there for COVID; we can’t remember 😬

We already told you about the 2 Crows SCOOPS event and release, happening tonight from 5 – 11 PM (Stout pours and Ice Cream Floats!, with live music from 8 PM), but let us not skip over the fact that they have a beer on the other end of the spectrum pouring this week, and will still be available tonight… Zig is a Berliner Weisse style beer, think light and tart, this one has seen the addition of prickly pear to the batch. Those who remember Zip, Zap, Zop, and Zoup will see this fit in nicely to the family. On tap only as it is a small batch, but it may pair/contrast nicely with the SCOOPS you’re going to try.

Don’t forget to get out to your local brewery, cidery, or good bar this weekend. We’ve entered the slow season, and they can use all the support we can throw at them! We already told you about Copper Bottom’s Fifth Anniversary, and accompanying beer last week, here are a few other spots to visit if you’re in HRM…

Garrison Brewing’s Oxford Taproom, located at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford Streets in Halifax, is celebrating its Third Anniversary this weekend. They’ve got loads of beer specials, releases, and pop-ups planned for the entire weekend, including gluten-free empanadas from Verano tonight, handpies from Humble Pie tomorrow. Saturday late morning, The Oxford will host a yoga session, followed Sunday by a pop-up shop with local artist Peter Roth, and the evening is capped by stand-up comedy hosted by Dan Hendricken. Plus beer and coffee specials all weekend! It’s all too much to share here, so check this IG post for all the fun details! One of those beers is the return of their winter seasonal, All Lit Up. This 7.0% Winter Warmer Strong Ale was lightly spiced and features more of cinnamon, clove, raisins, and even some apricot, on top of the rich malt caramel flavour. Available on tap and in cans at their retails spaces now, it will also be at both private and provincial stores very soon.

The BrewHQ Retail Store is holding their Grand Opening this Saturday, November 19th. Located at 80 Thornhill Drive, this beer-making-centric store has tons (literally!) of ingredients, equipment for homebrewers of all sizes (and even small commercial outfits), as well as a few other draws that make them unique in the region (if not the world!). First and foremost is the fact that they have two house-brewed beers available on tap, allowing folks browsing the store something to sip on while they shop. Brewed on their 350 litre (3 BBL) system, they are concentrating on English Real Ale styles, working with naturally-carbonated beers, and handpump faucets to deliver the beer. Pouring right now are Extra Special Bitter and Traditional Mild. And if you like what you have in-store, you can even get a growler or PET bottle fill to take home. Enhancing the taproom feel is a full complement of pinball and Arcade machines (on Free Play all day during the party!), hotdogs and sausages and popcorn and soda while you browse and chat beer and brewing with the staff. Speaking of brewing, there will be a Grainfather Brew School happening tomorrow, an example of the weekly classes held at BrewHQ. For those interested in getting into the Homebrewing hobby, the Grainfather allows folks to do a full Grain brew (for ultimate control over the recipe, unlike pre-fabbed wort or the “kit and kilo” of years ago). Those who visit can enter in some door prizes (including the chance to win a Grainfather!!), and there are pop-up events happening throughout the day. What a way to spend your Saturday, for those already brewing at home, looking to learn more about the hobby, or just wanting another spot to enjoy a pint while playing pinball!

The good beer events continue into Sunday, as Barrington Street’s Bar Stillwell celebrates its Ninth Anniversary of slinging the good stuff. Look for special beers from the cellar (think Stilly Brewing Preach v.2018), freshies from south of the border (a Fruited Sour DIPA from Hudson Valley Brewing), and of course some great Belgian sours (Hof Ten Dormaal anyone?). As always, the food will be off the hook, and bumped up even more as Chef Joe Martin is putting an Italian-American spin on the menu, bringing some Saucy Meatball Sandwiches to reality, along with the usual hits from behind the protective cage. Plus birthday cake! Open from noon til midnight Nov 20, so plenty of time to enjoy, so we suggest pacing yourself. 

Details are light on this one, but clear your calendar for Saturday November 26th, as Dartmouth’s Battery Park is hosting a complete Tap Takeover from Tatamagouche Brewing. 17 taps a-flowing means a few originals from back in the day, some recent hits, and at least a couple of brand new releases! We hope to have even more info for yas next week!

A couple more things before we let you go this weekend…

It has been a year since Barnone Brewery in Rose Valley re-opened their barn under new management. Dozens of brews and Growler Nights and events have taken place over the course of the last twelve months. Due to the colder weather, they are closing the barn for winter, aiming for re-opening in early March. However Barn One fans, fear not, as plenty of spots on the island are carrying their beer, including HopYard, Abbiato, Olde Dublin, Pilot House, Red Shores, Olde Triangle, 511 West, and plenty more. Just ask at your favourite watering hole, and if they don’t already have it on tap, insist they bring in a keg!

Bathurst’s Four Rivers Brewing has a returning seasonal back this week, available on draught and in cans across the province’s liquor stores. Pa Rum Pum Pomander is perhaps a departure from the dark and roasty seasonals other breweries have put out, as this is a festive New England IPA featuring loads of citrus and just a touch of clove character. Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel, and a 6.0% ABV may just make this a favourite of Old Saint Nick next month!

We close out this week’s blog with a salute to our Beer-Pals-In-Arms at 902 BrewCast, whose podcast explored the world of Atlantic Canadian (and beyond) beer, cider, and mead, over the past 6 years, recording more than 150 episodes. Tony, Kyle, and Phil were there in 2016 before 2 Crows Brewing opened their doors (starting the joke of a 902BC Curse…), put IPAs through a torture test to see how they held up in various extreme environments, and became one with the land in PEI as they drove through barley fields… They’ve decided to say so long to the podcast, but you know that won’t mean the end of their love for all things fermented, so you’ll be seeing them at beer-y events and releases in the future. Download “Tomorrow” right now and crack a beer to drink with your friends.