Welcome to December in Atlantic Canada, or as we like to call it, Decembeer! Cheesy puns aside, we know that with the turn of the month comes the real ramping up of the holiday season, and breweries are working to get their end-of-year seasonals and special releases out of the tanks and into our eager hands, so we anticipate plenty of new releases to talk about over the next few weeks. We’ve also got a new spot open in New Brunswick and a couple of anniversaries to tell you about this week, so without further ado, let’s get to it!
Felicitations! Artisan Brewing at 66 Roseberry St. in Campbellton is finally serving their own beer! After being open for for over a year, and offering the largest selection of NB-brewed beer in Northern New Brunswick, their long term plan of brewing in-house is now a reality! They have launched their menu with four beers created on their 600 litre DME system: Original Lager, La Blonde a Jo Blonde, North Shore Session IPA, and Buck Fever White. The brewing team brings decades of experience to the table, led by Elise Cornellier Bernier, co-Founder and Head Brewer of A l’abri de la Tempete on Iles-de-la-Madeleine, with Zach O’Kane and Marc LeBlanc in the brewhouse. The taproom shares space with Smoke on the Water BBQ, and features two dozen more taps from their NB brewery pals. Growlers can be filled with your favourite beer, after enjoying a pint onsite.
From Northern NB to Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Tanner & Co Brewing has the latest release as they continue to explore historical styles. Princesse is an historical style from the Netherlands, created in tribute to Anna van Honnover, Princess of Oranje-Nassau in the 1700s. With a base of Horton Ridge Munich malt, the beer uses a combination of coriander, licorice root, and orange peel to deliver very special aromatics and flavour, fit for royalty. Cans and draught of this 4.1% ABV beer are available from both Tanner locations, and cans are available for delivery across the province and beyond.
Port Rexton Brewing is taking a decidedly hazier route this week, as they bring back their Continuum Series. Focussing on hop-forward, often single hop beers, the latest beer of the bunch is Continuum with Zappa Hops. Yes, named after *that* Zappa, these hops are grown exclusively in Washington’s Yakima Valley, but originated several thousand km south growing wild in the mountains of New Mexico. As such, the hop itself is dichotomous, with tropical fruit and fruity pebbles on the nose, yet the flavour leans toward pine and a touch of spice. Used throughout the boil, cooling, and fermentation, the 6.4% ABV beer has a medium-high bitterness to match the malt. Available on tap and in cans at the taproom, in cans at their St. John’s Retail Shop, and at better beer merchants very soon.
It seems in recent months as though more breweries in the region are starting to explore the saison style a bit again after what seemed to be a bit of a lull; and we’re all for it! Bannerman Brewing in St. John’s is the latest to release one, and it’s a doozy. New Perspective was brewed with cardamom and allspice, then conditioned on pear juice to bring a fruity character to match with those spices as well as the characteristic flavour contributions of the saison yeast strain. The result is a 5.0% beer that is complex, but also dry and refreshing. Also brand new from Bannerman is another twist on an established style, concocted with Selina from The Merchant Tavern down the block on Water Street. Hot Take is nominally an IPA, but one that was conditioned on pineapple and Thai chilis, which imparted both a slight fruity sweetness and a bit of spicy heat. You’ll find this super smooth 6.2% beauty on tap exclusively at Bannerman and The Merchant; cans are already available at the brewery and are being released into the wild next week.
Embracing the season is Breton Brewing, who have brought back their Gingerbread Holiday Ale. Based on the London ESB style, this 5.5% beer saw additions of ginger, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg to heighten the experience. If that weren’t enough, they’ve got a new release as well that’s also got “holiday” written all over it. A Munich Dunkel-style lager, with plenty of toasty malt and a lovely dark brown color with deep red overtones, it was infused with chestnut flavor. Sounds to us like a great beer to enjoy by the fire. Chestnut Lager is 5.4%, and it and the Gingerbread Holiday Ale are available at the brewery, and for home delivery and shipping across the province through their online shop.
A quick one-two punch of Blueberry beers returning to the region: Great Roads Brewing in Lower Sackville, NS, has brought back their Blueberry Wheat Ale, a 4.1% light bodied beer with just enough blueberry to get the point across. Meanwhile, in Corner Brook, NL, Boomstick Brewing has brought back Nan’s Puddin’, encompassing all of the goodness of traditional baking, with blueberry, lemon, and vanilla in a tight package. Both spots have their beer on tap and in cans to go!
Our good pal Chef Stephen Barrett at Seasoned Plate continues to highlight the great independent breweries in Nova Scotia through a variety of avenues, including videos, posts, and now, a series of Holiday-themed beer and food pairings. These recipes are ones you can create at home, with Barrett highlighting a brewery and/or beer that will complement or contrast what’s on your plate. With seasonal recipes paired with beers from Yarmouth to Sydney, Chester to Tusket, they will be accessible to all! Keep an eye on SP’s Instagram page for the details as they drop, with the first video featuring Sober Island coming tomorrow!
In Antigonish, NS, Candid Brewing Company is celebrating their community with a benefit beer they’re calling Village. A light lager at 4.0% ABV, $1 from every pint and $2 from every six-pack sold throughout the month of December will be donated to the Antigonish Community Fridge. It’s already on tap at the brewery and will be available in cans to go next week.
Trailway’s Union House Taproom in Saint John took a bit of a hit recently, with an overzealous transport trailer taking out their sign. Apparently the driver missed the No Left Turn sign… Rather than get upset, the Tw Crew has made the most of the situation, and are releasing No Left Turns IPA today, to really drive the point home. As they wanted to match the smashing of their sign with some of equal power, they have released it as a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop), featuring their house Pale malt, and all El Dorado hops throughout, the beer shows citrus, lemon, and tropical vibes. Cans and draught of the 5.6% IPA are available in Fredericton and Saint John now, keep your eyes peeled for them to hit the shelves elsewhere in the province as well.
Last week we mentioned that Sea Level Brewing out of Port Williams, NS, is celebrating their 16th anniversary and the 4th anniversary of their Millstone Harvest Brewhouse location and we’ve got news of a special beer release to toast with at their Anniversary Celebration that’s happening today. Buffalo Bourbon Barrel Blend is an excellent case of “does what it says on the tin” excepting that it’s not actually been canned. A blend of Sea Level’s Port in the Storm Porter and High Street Wee Heavy was pumped into a Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel and left to condition for 13 months. When it came out, it had picked up oak and whisky characters as well as a smoky finish from the barrel to pair with the rich and smooth chocolaty flavours inherent to the beer. Coming in at 7% ABV, it’s only available at the taproom for pints and a very limited run of 118 bottles (sporting a lovely label and wax seal). Head on down and toast the crew to help celebrate their anniversary and maybe grab one for the beer lover on your holiday shopping list (if you’re like us, that beer lover might be you!)
Happy Sixth Birthday to Copper Bottom in Montague! Celebrating tomorrow with live music from 1 PM, there will be an oyster bar onsite, and happy hour pints. One of those could be Birthday Beer 6, an 8.0% Imperial Peanut Butter Stout. Featuring Chocolate Malt, real peanut butter, and milk sugar, this beer features a rich and full bodied mouthfeel, with the flavour of Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Come on out to party with the CB crew, and big congratulations from the ACBB Family!
It’s also that time of year for Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery to celebrate their opening, which happened in December 2018. The Newfoundland Beer Scene has exploded since then, with a handful of openings since then, and a handful more expected by December 2024. In the meantime, let’s get you sorted for the fun in Mount Pearl! Wednesday, December 6th, marks their actual 5th Anniversary, and as such, they are giving everyone a deep discount on their beer, which includes a pair of holi- and birth-day themed debuts. Time Capsule is a Imperial Fruited Sour, absolutely full of puree from grapefruit, lime, mango, orange, and tangerine, and rounded out with some lactose, for a real fruit smoothie/juice box kinda vibe! But sporting an 8.0% tag means this is for adults only (but still fine for weekend breakfast/brunch). Their other new release will be Unrequited Dreams, a 10.0% Mint Chocolate Milkshake Stout. It’s pretty much all there in the name, but let’s give you a little more detail. Featuring cacao nibs from JACOBEAN Craft Chocolate, and vanilla beans, lactose, and peppermint added right in the fermenter, think After Eight, but in liquid form. Cans and draught of both of these will be available Wednesday Dec 6, so hold tight until then! Keep an eye on Landwash’s IG for all of the Anniversary fun next week/end.