Friday Wrap-Up

Another Friday is upon us in Atlantic Canada, and that means all kinds of news from our region’s breweries about new and returning beers, events, and other things. Right about now we’re wishing we had some beer news from Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing and the eponymously-named Tatamagouche Brewing, because if we did we’d be absolutely leading with it. Along with friend of local beer and also the blog, Truro’s Old Road BBQ, these two breweries have found themselves the target of a pretty disgusting online brigading campaign by Internet trolls. Why is this happening, you might ask? Because these businesses stuck their necks out and cancelled an event that they realized made people in their own communities uncomfortable. We don’t believe there was any malice or ill-will in their original plan. We believe that they were helped to see, however, that lack of malice doesn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t problematic. And we also believe, all three of us, that they did the right thing in canceling the event. You can find statements from all three businesses on Instagram and Facebook; we recommend that you read all three. And if your response is to vilify or attempt to hurt these businesses, we suggest you take a minute to think about that. If the only “principled stand” you’re willing to take is one that sides with institutions that have proven to be problematic for BIPOC folks, in a societal climate that we hope, thanks to the brave folks speaking out all over the world, is finally seeing attention paid to these deeply entrenched problems, we think that makes a pretty sad statement. We stand with BIPOC people all over our region. We stand with Big Spruce and Tatamagouche and Old Road. We hope that everyone sees better days ahead.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing’s brewing staff have got their hands on the KRISPY Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs, and they’re kicking off a Kveik beer series with Styrbord, what they’re billing as a “hybrid Lager”. Brewed with a blend of Pilsner and Oat malts, the wort was lightly hopped with Bru-1, and fermented with the growing-in-popularity blend of two Kveik strains. While this yeast is often pitched with the wort temp being quite warm, Shipwright tried going slightly cooler than the low-end of the recommended temperature, which resulted in a slightly-longer fermentation time (but really, not that long). After a brief lagering period, they threw in a dry-hop addition of more Bru-1, as well as some Simcoe. The final 4.4% ABV, 5 IBUs beer is very clean, and showing off flavours of honey, light banana, and melon, along with “subtle Farmhouse notes and classic Lager crispness”. You can find it on tap at Shipwright for pints and crowlers; look for future brews with this yeast in the very near future!

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is back with another bottled creation today, continuing their exploration into sour beers that take a little more time. Throwin’ Blueberries is a 5.5% ABV Sour beer, featuring more than 100 kilos of locally-picked wild blueberries added to the tune of 200 g/L (that’s a lot!). Starting from a pitched yeast and soured with Lacto in stainless, it was conditioned with the fruit for over two and a half months, developing beyond a simple tart character, incorporating the fruits sugars for another round of activity. After completion, the deep purple beer was allowed to bottle (and keg) condition for an additional four months, naturally carbonating and allowing everything to meld together perfectly. 750 ml bottles are available at the brewery today, but in short supply (and only at the brewery, btw), so if this sounds up your alley, we suggest making a break for the Northside today! And for those fortunate enough to live in the area, you can enjoy pints of that draught (as well as 9 other beers) on their patio this weekend! Their pals from Milda’s Pizza will be onsite at 5 PM, to fill that pizza-shaped hole in your tummy/soul.

Couple of new beers coming to you out of Tusket Falls Brewing recently, aiming to satisfy both the hophead and stout lover that reside deep, deep in your soul (well, ok, maybe not that deep). For hops, they’ve got Buy the Ticket… Take the Ride, an 8% ABV Double IPA full of Citra, Chinook, and Galaxy hops. With a full body, moderate bitterness, and lots of lemon and orange flavours to suit your needs. As for the stout, Against Better Judgment is pretty hefty itself (at 7% ABV), and is tasting creamy, full-bodied, with “a subtle vanilla flavour” thanks to the addition of Madagascar vanilla beans during the conditioning phase. Cans of both beers are available now at the brewery, as well as their online store

Speaking of DIPAs, Secret Cove Brewing, straight out of Port au Port, NL, have brought back a local favourite DIPA of theirs, Hop A Ryed In My Dory. If we’re reading this right, the beer is brewed with some Rye malt in the grist, and has plenty of late hop additions (looks like they’re keeping the varieties a secret!). Weighing in at 7.6% ABV, the brewery describes the aroma as containing “mango and citrus, with a sweet apricot finish”… but then they’ve mentioned “images of an overloaded Tall Ship filled with Rye Whiskey in its belly”, so yeah, you can see why we were confused before! Grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery today

And hey, we might as well stay on Newfoundland, since Bannerman is ALSO releasing a DIPA (oh right, it was IPA Day yesterday! It’s all coming together now…), and a brand new beer for them. Cloud City is an 8% ABV brew that was double-dry-hopped with everyone’s favourite (well, one of them, anyway) hop varieties, Galaxy. That equals a trip to Juicy Town, with flavours of “tropical fruit, pineapple, and nectarine”, specifically for this beer. Sounds delicious to us, so we have to recommend that you drop by the brewery to pick some up for the weekend, if you’re in or around St. John’s. Plus you can grab a glass or can of the latest batch of Punch Drunk Love, their kettle sour chock-full of raspberry, pink guava, sweet cherry, and pineapple.

Tidehouse, the tiniest brewery in Halifax, is open today with their latest release, this time pairing up with local flavour-guru Phil Holmans at World Tea House. Using some peach rooibos tea from Phil’s shop, they added it to a lightly-soured ale to create Peachy Fuzzies. 4.5% ABV of tart peachy goodness, kinda like those nickel gummy candies you enjoy(ed)! With an ever-so-subtle hint of tea too (for two?). While today’s release is of only 300 cans (so we suggest getting there today or tomorrow, 2 – 8 PM both days, or until sold out), we understand there are more batches in the works, and new projects with World Tea House coming soon! Tidehouse’s Hibiscus City is also available to take-away in cans today, and maybe even a couple other recent favourites… 

Oh St. John’s, what a strange week it’s been! Rather than playing Regatta Roulette on Tuesday night, and hopefully being able to enjoy another bunch of great local beers on the edge of Quidi Vidi Lake, unfortunately this year’s Royal St. John’s Regatta was canceled. Not canceled, however, was Quidi Vidi Brewery’s Crown and Anchor, the beer brewed in celebration of the event. A 3.9% ABV Light Lager, perfect for enjoying throughout the day, so maybe you can toss a few rubber duckies in the bathtub and cheer them on while enjoying a few bottles or cans? 😉 But in all seriousness, while the cancelation of the event was less than ideal, staying physically distant while socially together is most important in these trying times. Available at the brewery and for delivery, through their Hops Shop.

Crown and Anchor joins a whole bevvy of collaborative and partnership beers on the Quidi Vidi virtual shelves, including the latest with downtown’s Fogtown Barber, this time seeing light as a 4.5% ABV Session Ale. Low alcohol, but with plenty of citrus and tropical goodness from Amarillo and El Dorado, it’s sure to keep you looking and feeling fresh! And celebrating (and supporting) St. John’s Pride is their Gayboil, the newest batch of their popular Dayboil, with $0.50 from each can going direct to the event and educational activities. And teaming up with The Outhouse TV crew, they have released the The Outhouse – Homebrew Session Lager, a 4.0% ABV beer available by the case, and with a dozen unique beer labels of all your favourite characters from the series. And if you opt for curbside pickup at the Hop Shop, you have access to a few more of their small batch beers, including Peach Raspberry Sour, Krispy Lager, and Sour IPA #3, which are all available in limited quantity only at the source.

Keep your heads up for a new beer release at Good Robot next Wednesday, when they’ll be launching Marmalade Forest. A 4.1% ABV Berliner Weisse that they’re calling “slightly sour”, they added a hefty dose of yuzu puree. What IS yuzu, you ask? Well, it’s a citrus fruit that originated in China and is a hybrid of a mandarin orange and ichang pipeda. What’s an ichang pipeda? Look, we don’t have time to Google two different things, you’ll just have to look into that one on your own. Sorry. Oh, and yeah, so check out the beer next week!

In Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, on the north side of the Bay of Fundy, Two Islands Brewing has launched a new batch of their Fundy Fog APA that sees a bit of a departure from previous batches: testing the notion of using some Fermentis SafAle S-33 in a New England style (read: hazy) beer. While this is a strain predominantly used for Belgian styles and thus would tend to show some phenolic character (e.g., clove, pepper) it also is a poor flocculator, which can help make for a hazier appearance. Using a bit of this with a more standard strain is an interesting way to achieve more “fog” in the Fundy Fog. You can be the judge of how well the experiment worked by checking out the beer in and around Parrsboro at the Two Islands tap room, BlackRock Bistro, and Wild Caraway, and in Truro at Blunt Bartender, Bistro on Prince, and Frank & Gino’s.

Let’s finish up with some great news for beer and cider fans in Halifax and Saint John.

Uncorked Tours will undoubtedly be familiar to our readers in New Brunswick, known for boosting the signal of the province’s breweries, cider makers, distilleries, and wineries, through tours in Saint John, as well as further afield. They are celebrating big news in that regard this week, with the opening of their Tasting Room in the Saint John City Market. Open 10 – 8 PM daily (except Sundays, and open later during the Thursday Night Market), the tasting room is fully stocked with 8 taps of rotating local beer and cider (current list is available here), as well as wine and spirits from across the province. The knowledgeable staff are there to help you make the perfect taster or choose the right pint to pair with the food you pick up elsewhere in the market (here’s their list). Congratulations to Gilliane and Nathalie, and be sure to pop in to see their setup real soon! Read even more about the Tasting Room in Huddle.

And in Halifax, Bulwark Cider has opened their Cider House at 1518 Dresden Row. Featuring a fully-stocked retail shop with more than 20 different bottled ciders and fruit wines (can also be enjoyed in-house), their taproom will be launching this coming Tuesday with sixteen taps of Bulwark ciders and guest beer collaborations, available to enjoy onsite or to take-away. Coming soon are charcuterie and bar bite options, live music events, and a special private space upstairs. Their patio looks quite inviting as well! Congratulations Bulwark! Open Tuesday – Sunday from 11 AM – 10 PM, and an hour later Thursday through Saturday. Check their FB page for the latest news.

Have plans for next Saturday yet? If so, cancel them!

Hey hey hey, folks, during these COVID times have you missed the excitement (and comfort!) of heading down to Stillwell HQ for tap takeovers by awesome breweries from our region and beyond? We sure have. Well the good news is that it looks like things are getting back into swing. Differently of course (isn’t everything?!), but still swingy. We had the delightful Brasserie Dunham x Coda Ramen deal a couple weeks ago and now, coming up on Saturday, August 15th, we’ll see the return of Newcastle, Maine’s Oxbow Brewing to the wall. Oxbow has been putting out lovely liquids in the farmhouse and eccentric veins since 2011 and are known for their “loud beer from a quiet place.” Now with locations in Portland and Oxford as well, they’re keeping on with the keeping on. They did their first takeover at Stilly in September of 2017 and another mini-takeover last October. This time there will be 10 taps pouring Oxbow’s creations plus (*we think*) some delightful cans and bottles as well. Here’s where the different part comes in: due to social distancing restrictions, you’re going to have to make a reservation telling them how many folks you’re bringing, what time you’d like to come (the event runs noon to midnight), and how long you plan to stay; direct that information (politely!) via email to sam@barstillwell.com and see what comes back in terms of availability. Also, if that wasn’t enough to entice you, it bears mentioning that there will also be a special food menu from Joe Martin and his team for the event featuring a Coney Island Carnival theme. Hope to see you all there!!

Just a few more things before we unleash you onto the taprooms and patios today!

Boxing Rock’s latest beer is Indigo Blueberry Sour Ale, a 5.4% ABV “mildly tart and fruity” brew that features an addition of fresh blueberries from the Parrsboro region of NS. It should be available at the brewery right now.

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has launched their Sour Series with a dive into a favourite citrus flavours, grapefruit. Featuring a little acidity and a little bitterness and a crisp finish, Grapefruit features plenty of real citrus in the glass, for a refreshing kick. At a quaffable 4.5% ABV, pop by their spot at 47 Clark Road for a pint and/or growler fill this weekend. And a canned version isn’t far off, perfect for toting to the lake or beach!

Heritage Brewing has announced they have a new beer on tap at the brewery, lightly bittered with Amarillo (to 20 IBUs) with a little thrown in at the end of the boil for a bit of tropical citrus aroma, as well. What’s it called? We don’t know! Just head to the taproom and say the ACBB sent you to try a 4.0% ABV new beer, that should work.

Sober Island has a new IPA available on taps and in cans, Wavebreaker. An American IPA with a bit of tangerine in the aroma and flavour, it’s 6.3% and well-balanced. Available at the brewery and for delivery.

Unfiltered has brought back their “Wild Blueberry Sour”, Lifesaver (4.2% ABV); cans and fills at the brewery today.

We hope this week’s post finds you well, as we start the holiday weekend. Plenty of new beers to have delivered to your home this weekend, or if you’re able to venture out safely (masked up!), this is a grand time to visit a few breweries in our region. If you’re so inclined, remember that we’ve got a map listing the breweries and cideries in the region, as well as the craft-centered bars and shops. Check it out here! And remember to keep your designated driver happy at all times, to maximize your imbibing enjoyment. 🙂

Ok, we know for a fact that some of you beer geeks out there have been clamoring for an authentic Mexican Lager to be brewed in Atlantic Canada. Well, here we are smack-dab in the middle of summer (roughly), and 2 Crows has got what we need with their take on a Mexican Lager, Dos Cuervos (vetoed names include Crow-na and Crowdelo). Featuring a low oxygen mash of Pilsner and Chit malt from Shoreline Malting, plus a bit of Vienna and lots of flaked corn, they mash-hopped with Sterling, threw in some more at first wort, and finally went with a late boil addition of Motueka. Fermented nice and cool with a Mexican Lager yeast strain, they actually brewed another half batch and krausened with that one (adding some actively fermenting beer to restart the process and generate carbonation naturally). Finally adding a light dry-hop of more Motueka, they capped the tank, and eventually lowered the temperature slowly, allowing the beer to lager for 8 weeks. The final beer is tasting clean and crisp, with a little lime character thanks to the Motueka. It weighs in at a delightfully sessionable 4% ABV and 17 IBUs; you can find it on tap and in cans at the brewery, starting today.

And good news from 2C in the bakeapple world – they’ve got a brand new batch of Cloud 9 that should be ready in time for the weekend! This 5.2% ABV brew is slightly different from last year’s release, but no doubt equally as delicious. One part light hoppy base beer aged for 18 months in Sauvignon Blanc barrels with a bunch of Brett, Sacch, Lacto and Pedio cultures, another part golden sour base aged for a year in neutral ex-wine barrels, the whole blend was conditioned on the elusive bakeapple (picked by their hardworking friend Paul Smith of Conception Bay South, NL). They’re describing this batch as more wine-like than last year’s, “with smooth apricot and honey notes”. Maybe some of you even held onto a bottle or two from 2019 to compare? If not, it’s still worthwhile grabbing some, of course (try to show a little restraint this time, would ya, and hang onto some?)!

Miramichi’s Timber Ship Brewing did their best to take advantage of the slower sales period during the worst of the pandemic (well, for now, anyway), taking the opportunity to brew a beer style that requires more patience than most of your typical styles. The beer we’re talking about – Looshtauk Helles Lager – is now available on tap around town. Named after a 19th century Tall Ship that carried Irish emigrants to New Brunswick (check out the brewery’s Instagram page for more details on the history of that vessel), the beer was brewed with German-style malts, and hopped with Hallertau Mittelfruh to 18 IBUs. Fermented nice and cool, and lagered for six weeks, it’s 5% ABV and tasting clean and refreshing. You can find it on tap around Miramichi at Vera Kitchen and Bar, Apero Lounge, and possibly still at Mikes Bar and Grill

Looks like Tidehouse Brewing is back open for retail sales this week, (Thursday to Saturday) with several brand new beers available in cans for you to take home for the weekend. We may not have extreme details on these ones, but we definitely have enough to whet your thirst:

  • Turtles All the Way Up – Not to be confused with a previous Tidehouse release, Turtles All the Way Down, this is a 6.6% ABV Saison that was heavily-hopped with Saaz late in the boil, and conditioned on lychee.
  • Yankee Hotel Zulu – Billed by the brewery as a “simple and balanced” 6.3% ABV IPA hopped with Chinook.
  • Drive to the Sun –  Not 100% sure on the style of this one, they’re calling it a “5.2% ABV crusher” that they hopped with Tettnang.

In addition, they still have some cans of Two Can Win, a 7.5% ABV “India Saison” hopped with Loral and Saaz. They’re open 2 – 8 PM, head on over to stock up!

There’s a whole whack of news coming from Lunn’s Mill this week, if you’re looking for a Lawrencetown beer et al. fix. Let’s start with the beer portion of their news, shall we? They’ve got two new ones available in cans at the brewery, starting with a Berliner Weisse named Girl, Hold My Earrings. This one was actually originally brewing for the Brewster Fest in April of 2019, to celebrate women in the beer industry. Brewed with fresh rhubarb and raspberries, it’s a pinkish-red colour and comes in at just 4.3% ABV. Next up is Bang A Uey NEIPA, back again after a brief appearance last summer. This juicy 6.8% ABV NEIPA features “great tropical notes of melon and tangerine”, thanks to fermenting hot with Årset Kveik Blend from Escarpment Labs, and the heavy hop additions throughout the brew process (Bravo early in the boil; Mosaic, Huell Melon, and Mandarina Bavaria in the whirlpool; and dry-hopped with the same trio before packaging). Lovingly named after the driving technique oft-used outside of the brewery due to it being missed by visitors the first time popping in, they tell us proceeds will be going into their “sign fund”. Both beers are also available on tap for pints at the brewery, and we’re hearing reports of them both being available in HRM. In addition to these two beers, Lunn’s Mill has also created their own entry in the growing trend of hop-infused water with Hoppy Water, a non-alcoholic beverage made of carbonated water infused with freshly-squeezed lemon and Mosaic hops. Gluten-free, cans of this one are also available, if you’d like to round out your beer purchase (perfect for your fabulous Designated Driver to sip!).

If you happen to be traveling around Newfoundland this weekend, keep your eyes open for Baccalieu Trail Brewing on the Conception Bay Highway, as they’ve just released their first Double IPA, Loud Crowd. Brewed with late boil additions of Centennial and Chinook, and then dry-hopped with massive amounts of Citra and Mosaic, it’s big on bitterness, as well as juiciness, with “some floral and piney notes” to complement. Available in 500 mL bottles and on tap at the brewery, it’s on the lower end of the scale for a DIPA at 7.5% ABV, but should still be consumed responsibly!⁣

Or maybe you’re driving around beautiful PEI, and plan on traveling through Montague to check out the two craft breweries located there? If so, Bogside Brewing has cans and pints of their latest, Open Saison. With a grist made up of a large percentage of malted wheat, the wort was fermented with a Belgian Saison strain. Dry-hopped with Hersbrucker, expect the classic floral/fruity Saison characteristics, along with “some subtle herbal/orange aromas from the dry-hop”. Slightly tart, with a very dry finish (yet significant body, surprisingly), it’s quite drinkable at just 5% ABV. You can make a trip for the whole family out of it, thanks to the two food providers slinging great food onsite: Famous Peppers has moved from down the street to set up their pizza oven and provide some banging pies, and Thatcher’s Eatery, run by the folks at the Wheelhouse in Georgetown, with killer fried chicken sandwiches and lobster rolls. Open daily from noon, pop by this weekend for a pint and a scoff!

And speaking of Bogside, they were visited recently by both acbbaaron and acbbchris, but before that (possibly even before it was cool) by the motley crew of miscreants known as the 902 BrewCast, who sat down with Bogside’s Dave McGuire and Mark Patriquin for a chat during their (Prince Edward) Island getaway. Listen to it here at their podcast homesite or find it on your favorite podcast platform listed as Episode 82. And look for Episode 83 to drop in the next week or two; we believe they’ve still got some more PEI fun on tap/in the can.

If West Coast IPAs are more your thang, good news from Good Robot – they’ve brought back their Blanket Fort IPA, a classic West Coast IPA that they originally released on tap several months ago. Remember Blanket Fort? Well, it’s back… in can form*. That’s right, they’ve brewed up a fresh batch, with lots of Falconer’s Flight, Cascade, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria hops, and they canned it just so you can enjoy it at home. Wasn’t that sweet (hoppy?) of them? This 6.9% ABV brew has “an erratic mix of bright citrus and West Coast dank”, with some malt backbone to balance (thanks to a grist of Pale Ale, Vienna, and Cara 120 malt). Cans are, of course, available directly at the source… you know, the brewery.

*If you have to click on this, shame.

Parrsboro’s Two Islands Brewing has a new beer on tap this week, calling you to make the visit to their lovely location. Named simply Blueberry Weisse Ale, this 5.3% ABV beer showcases a whole lot of locally-grown and -processed blueberries, on top of a classic wheat beer base. Rich in colour and flavour, it joins a handful of other beers available on tap and in cans at their 169 Main Street location, with the sister Rising Tides Bakery right next door. The brewery is open Friday and Saturday, 1 – 9 PM, and Sunday and Monday, 1 – 6 PM. Look for the beer on tap at Bistro on Prince in Truro, Briny Bay Cafe in Five Islands, and BlackRock Restaurant in Parrsboro.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has a new one out, but just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s not old too! Spooky Saison has been in development for a year now (who do they think they are? 2 Crows? Stillwell Brewing?!) but it’s finally ready to meet you. Soured in the kettle before being fermented on apricots using a blend of Saison and Brettanomyces yeasts, it was then aged in white wine barrels for a full 12 months before packaging. Sour and funky, there’s also plenty of oak presence from the barrels, spicy yeast notes, a stone fruit presence from the apricots, and some white wine character. Despite this complexity and a 6.8% ABV, it still sounds to us like a lovely tipple for a hot summer’s day! And since those kinds of days seem to be in good supply lately, it should provide plenty of opportunity to put that theory to the test. Available today in 750 mL bottles from all three Prop shops as well as for home delivery.

Have you heard? Pilsners are all the rage in the Atlantic Canada beer scene this year after years of being somewhat of an underappreciated style in these parts. On a grander scale, our region is a little ahead of the game in that regard, which is why you may not have actually “heard” anything, but you definitely may have noticed a bunch of crisp and refreshing lagers on the shelves at your favorite brewery or other source of local independent beer. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying them too; we truly believe the overall quality has been stellar! The latest brewery to bring out a Pils is Uncle Leo’s up in Lyon’s Brook, NS. Now if you know Uncle Leo’s you no doubt know that one of their great strengths is traditional German ales like their award-winning Vohs Weizenbier and Altbier and their Ceilidh Kölsch. So you might expect their first entry into the Pilsner market to be in the German style. Well you’d be wrong about that, as they’ve decided to start with a Bohemian Pilsner they’re calling, aptly, Czech Mate. Very traditional, featuring Saaz hops and coming in at 5% ABV, you’ll find it at the brewery now in cans for takeaway or growler swaps or for home delivery via their online store!

Up in Bathurst, Four Rivers Brewing has debuted a new beer, perfect for those hitting the links, or maybe fibbing their score after the fact… Mulligan is a 5.0% ABV Golden Ale, clean, crisp,with a nice malt character and medium mouthfeel. Look for it on tap at the golf course, naturally, and of course at the brewery for pints and growler fills. If you pop into the latter, you’ll be rewarded with the opportunity to pick up their two newly released barrel-aged beers, as there are a few bottles still available (but they won’t last long!). Their first foray into barrel aging, they opted for a stout beer as the base, and chose two very different approaches to the barrels. La Grande Hermine is the stout aged in a Shiraz barrel, allowing the bold character from the wine to give the stout bold grape and lightly tannic character. Eau de Vie saw the stout aged in a Cognac barrel, with notes of vanilla and spirits enhancing the base beer. We suggest picking up a couple of bottles of each and sharing amongst your bubble! 

Miramichi’s New Maritime Beer Company has a couple of new beers pouring in their taproom this weekend, which will also be alive with music and comedy this weekend. First, the beers! Beaubears Chocolate Brown is named after nearby Beaubears Island, and features pleasant chocolate notes enhancing the base Brown Ale. New Maritime was also part of Isolation Nation, a nationwide effort by BSG Canada, Rahr Malting, and Hops Connect, to brew a beer to help out during these difficult times. Using Canadian-grown 2-row and Sasquatch hops, this 5.0% ABV SMaSH will be popping up at a few more breweries in our region over the next little bit, too. The New Maritime taproom will be hopping all weekend long, with DJ L’Arkadien spinning live on the patio tonight 5 – 9 PM, an acoustic set by Dillon Ryan tomorrow 6- 9 PM, and a double-header comedy show Sunday evening at 7 PM with Jimmy MacKinley and Matt Richardson (tickets needed for that one). And we’ve got a Profile with New Maritime coming next week, after our visit earlier this week, so stay tuned to learn more about them!

With COVID-19 ruining all the things, we are sad to report that Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing will not be holding their annual birthday party at Charm School Pub this year. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to celebrate. And because they love us (or at least some of us), part of that celebration is giving us a break on beer this weekend. Tomorrow at the brewery you’ll find $1 off cans, $2 off snarls, and $4 off growlers (glassware is trade-in of Unfiltered-branded jugs only), and they’ve got a full slate of beers on offer including the return of their Mosaic-laden RSMA (Ridiculously Superior Mosaic Ale because to hell with the Provincial liquor “authority” and their stealth taxes). Smooth, tropical, and 7.5% ABV, same as it ever was, which is a good thing.

A few more beers to get you excited for the weekend (is it 5 o’clock yet??)

For those who’ve been missing their fix from Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing, the beers are definitely starting to flow again. Up this week is the return of In Limbo, their light and refreshing 3.8% ABV mixed-ferm Grisette. An excellent showcase of their house culture and a wonderful beer to crush in the sun. Find it in Fredericton at The Joyce, in Saint John at Peppers pub, and in Moncton at the Tide & Boar.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is celebrating Pride PEI with an in-person and online Trivia going down this evening. Kicking off at 7 PM, you can play along online, or reserve your table and move your bubble onto their extended patio. Check out the FB page for more info,and here’s the direct link to reserve a spot. We highly recommend making the trip in, that way you can enjoy the Rainbrew Strawberry Lavender Farmhouse Saison, coloured with the vibrant butterfly pea flower, or the latest batch of their Commons Pilsner, tasting great if we do say so ourselves!

And finally this week, back in Halifax, Garrison Brewing has brought back the modern version of one of their longest-running brews, Razzberry Wheat. Still 4.6% ABV and 12 IBU, still refreshing, and still tasting of raspberries, it’s on tap at Seaport and Oxford Taprooms, in cans, and as part of their “Summer Fun Pack” of four beers (only at their retail locations). And in other Garrison news, sales of their Stay the Blazes Home beer and glassware have managed to raise $28,158 for Feed Nova Scotia!!

Here we are heading into the the last week of July in Atlantic Canada and despite the strangeness brought on by COVID-19, the beer certainly still seems to be flowing, just via some different routes than we’ve been used to in previous years. While it’s still a bit of a complicated undertaking to sit and have a pint in a taproom or beer bar, with so many breweries keeping delivery offerings available, it’s gotten a whole lot easier to get beer to your home. We encourage folks to take advantage of this by maybe putting in an order from a further away brewery that they haven’t tried, maybe even across a Provincial border? Even better, get some friends together and do a few orders from a few breweries and have a little beer tasting party! THE FUN NEVER ENDS!! But seriously, ordering beer helps keep breweries afloat during times when tap room and keg sales are hurting. Ordering for pickup or delivery is convenient, usually quite quick, and a great way to help keep your thirst slaked and our scene surviving.

Sydney, Nova Scotia’s Breton Brewing celebrated their 5th Anniversary at the end of June, and are releasing five new beers to celebrate! The third in the series was released yesterday, joining Shipwreck DIPA and Right Some Good Dry-Hopped Sour. Ol’ Mick’s Grapefruit IPA is a 5.8% ABV American IPA which uses a splash of grapefruit juice to bump up the citrus and pithy character. Homebrewer Mike Morrison helped brew a similar beer with the Breton crew back in 2014, and now the rest of us can enjoy it too! Using malted wheat and oats on top of the base barley to get that soft mouthfeel, bittered in the kettle to about 45 IBU with a blend of American hops, and dry-hopped during active fermentation, Ol’ Mick’s pours like orange juice, with a brilliant colour and solid body. The beer is available at their 364 Keltic Drive taproom and retail shop, as well as online ordering for pickup, next day delivery within the CBRM, Halifax next week, and available province-wide as well (along with the last bit of Right Some Good).

If you’re making a break for the mainland from Sydney, you’ll be well-served to make a quick detour up the Yankee Line Road in Nyanza to Big Spruce Brewing. They are pouring two brand new beers this week, sub-5% ABV, perfect for enjoying in quantity. The first is The Inhaled Affirmative, lovingly named after the Cape Breton practice. This 4.1% ABV is firmly rooted in the Czech tradition, using Pilsner malt, natch, and plenty of Saaz hops for a blend of spicy and herbaceous aromatics on a base of bread and crust. Available on tap at the brewery, and soon at licensees around the province, it will also be on the shelves at Bishop’s Cellar in a cute 330 ml bottle, which means those across Nova Scotia will be able to partake (free shipping province-wide for orders over $150!).

And speaking of a cute beer, the Spruce has released Lilliputian, a Nano IPA weighing in at a very crushable 3.5% ABV. Speaking of “crushable”, we’re not sure how many Lilluputians were crushed in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, but we can assure you they won’t be as tasty as the 6” tall bottles coming this weekend. Despite its diminutive stature, this is a bold expression of pineapple, candied fruit, and more, thanks to the Idaho Gem and Citra hops used in the brew. In addition to the brewery, look for it to be pouring at Battery Park before too long! 

Hanwell’s hometown brewery is bringing back a couple of favourites these days, including one from the archives that’s been months in the making. First up from Niche Brewing is Empty Garden, their 5.4% ABV Kveik-fermented APA, which they had the misfortune of releasing mid-April, when the province was pretty much closed. Their timing this batch is much better, now that most restaurants and bars have re-opened to safely serve customers. Featuring Nelson Sauvin and Enigma hops in the boil, with more of these, plus Galaxy, in a dry-hopping addition, the Ebbegarden strain of Kveik yeast (care of Escarpment Labs) was allowed to play in the wort at a toasty warm temperature, meaning a quick fermentation and lots of fruity character. Kegs of Empty Garden are at The Joyce Pub and 540 Kitchen and Bar in Fredericton, as well as Peppers Pub and Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and at CAVOK Brewing in Moncton, with a couple slipping across the border to Halifax’s Stillwell.

The second returning Niche beer is Golden Flair, their collaborative brew with Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing. First released in April 2019, this is a 5.9% ABV Saison fermented with a blend of the house cultures from both breweries. After primary, the beer was dry-hopped with El Dorado and Ekaunot, and conditioned on apricot puree for a spell, before spending 6 months in a Chardonnay barrel to round out and pick up a touch more character. A natural bottle conditioning interval allowed it to carbonate before release, with everything coming together in a tart, fruity, funky, and dry package. So, enough chatter, how can you grab the beer? They can be found at your local ANBL, with Fredericton’s York Street and the Moncton North locations jumping on the orders right away. If you don’t see it at your shop, see if they’ll order it in, as the managers have plenty of discretion for what is added to the shelves. CAVOK will also be selling some bottles at their taproom next week. For those who’d rather not leave home, DrinkNB will be adding Golden Flair to their roster very soon, check to see if you are within their delivery area! And for those wondering, that Chard barrel has already been filled with another beer, hanging out for a few months before release this fall.

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery recently released a special beer that has been flying off the shelves since it became available. Brewed in honour of Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, who was aboard the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that crashed in April of this year, BMac Hazy IPA is a Session IPA that was hopped with one of the newer experimental varieties, HBC-692. Developed from a hybrid pollination from Sabro and open pollination, HBC-692 has been reported as showing “intense flavours of citrus, flowers, and wood”. Brightwood has confirmed lots of grapefruit flavours throughout BMac, all in a sessionable package. With $1 from each can and 15% of all draught sales going to the MacDonald family, the first run of cans sold out very quickly; luckily, more have been packaged and are now available at the brewery (and on their online shop any minute now, where you can also make a directed donation to the MacDonald family). Drop in quickly to pick up yours, and support a great cause while also being able to enjoy a tasty beer!

Testing your ability (and more importantly, your desire) to throw yourself back into the late 1990s, Secret Cove Brewing tries to pull you back with their latest beer, which they’ve named A Night at the Raspberry (fine, if you’re too young… here). This 4% ABV kettle sour was conditioned on lots of wild raspberries, with two additions – during the latter part of fermentation, and again once fermentation was completed. “Slightly tart and very crushable”, with some pleasant raspberry notes on the nose, you can find it pouring for pints and growlers at the brewery, and it’s also available in cans (some of which are being distributed to several NLC stores in the area).

In more sessionable beer news (summer is great for these low-ABV beers; heck, it’s awesome having them all year long!), Tanner & Co. has their very own to share with you thirsty Chester, NS folks. Hello Session Rye IPA is a 4.5% ABV SIPA brewed with – we feel safe assuming – a portion of Rye malt in the grist. Hopped with Simcoe, Cascade and Mosaic, the beer has aromas and flavours of pineapple, mango, and orange. Easy-drinking and lightly bitter, it’s available for purchase in growlers and bottles at the brewery and the Duke St. taproom. They’re also still doing home deliveries in the area, and are bringing the beer to the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market

In St. John’s, Bannerman Brewing has released their take/twist on an American Blonde Ale with their latest beer, Neon Lights. Brewed with a grist of Pilsner, Pale and Wheat malts, they lightly hopped the wort with Mosaic (not exactly commonplace for a Blonde Ale, but we doubt that anyone is complaining!). The final beer was conditioned on a large amount of lime, lemon, and orange zest, giving this light-bodied brew plenty of fruity flavours to bump up the refreshment factor. Very drinkable at 4.5% ABV, it’s available at the brewery on tap now, and should be in cans either today or over the weekend. 

Just in time for PEI’s 2020 Pride Week, Upstreet is re-releasing their annually-brewed Lavender Saison, Rainbrew. This popular beer is brewed with ingredients that represent the colours of the pride flag: strawberries (red), orange (PEI 2-row and Vienna malt), yellow (yeast), green (Belma hops), blue (water), and purple (lavender). The lavender and strawberries come through lightly in the aroma of this 5.5% ABV bright purple beer (come on, Anne, give it a try!), and this time around it is being released in cans! Drop by Upstreet or Craft Beer Corner to grab yours, so you can celebrate Pride in style. 

Keeping in the fruit-forward vein, there’s a new collaborative brew out from Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider and North Brewing. North’s B.Y.O.B, a light beer with lemon and lime zest, met Lake City’s Cider and blueberry and dark currant wines in a dark alley secondary fermenter and the result is Burst, a 5.3% ABV snakebite. Unlike a standard snakebite, which is a 1:1 blend of beer (usually lager) and cider each poured from the taps and possibly dosed with liqueur or cordial, the co-fermentation on this one could potentially make for a deeper integration of cider and beer flavors. You can be the judge of that; this one is available in cans from both Lake City and North as of this morning.

Bar Stillwell is hosting a 12-tap takeover from Quebec’s Brasserie Dunham tomorrow, July 25th. In addition to tasty, funky, hoppy, fruity, and sour beers, Stilly HQ is also turning over the keys to their kitchen to the fine folks behind CODA Ramen. Previously operating at Water & Bone, CODA has been doing at-home Ramen kits for a few months, and are popping up on Barrington to offer a few options for ramen as well as the necessary accompaniments. Due to physical distancing requirements, seating is being done by reservation only, in 2 hour slots, beginning at noon. Reserve your place at the table by emailing Sam with your party size and preferred arrival time. We hear there may not be many spots available, but maybe ask if there’s a waitlist? 😬

A few beer and cider notes before we call it quits today:

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing has brought back their Dump Run Saves, the 4.0% ABV summer ale, featuring loads of peach, mango, and passion fruit, bumped up just a touch with a subtle El Dorado addition. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery right now!

Also in Freddy Beach, Coastliner Cider has done a major re-branding and introduced several new blends of cider, now in cans,  including the Maritime Original, Raspberry Rose, and Cherry Vanilla. Their full offering is available through DrinkNB, pop over there for satisfaction.

We’ll leave you with a tale of two provinces this week… New Brunswick opening up the ability for small breweries without a Brewers Agency Store license, to sell direct to customers. Details are still trickling out, but opening up avenues for producers to get their product in front of consumers is definitely a step in the right direction. A bit more info here, we’ll have more soon.

On the other hand…. The NSLC has changed the markup structure to aid one industrial brewery. The latest version of the Local Beer Production Policy, available here along with all of the Manufacturers’ Policies, now leads with the following text “To ensure fairness amongst all local beer producers, it is the policy of the Corporation that beer produced within the province by commercial, craft, and nano breweries, shall be subject to the same markup structure.” The problem is, the playing field is never fair when dealing with multi-national, multi-billion-dollar corporations, who have immense buying power, their claws into all aspects of the supply chain (anyone remember the South African hop fiasco a few years back?), and deep pockets to entice/induce sales of their product. It’s almost like the NSLC is thumbing their nose at the Auditor General’s report released last month. We’ll share more on this real soon, but encourage reading the new policies, and a good article and quick CBC bit from this week’s news.