Friday Wrap-Up

Hey hey hey, it’s 5PM on a Friday and we’re just getting you your beer news now? What gives? Well, as much as we love beer and talking about beer and writing thousands of words about beer on the weekly, Real Life™ sometimes can’t be denied and you, dear reader, end up having to wait a few extra hours for your beer news. We also know that we weren’t quite able to get everything into the post this week that we knew about; we’ll do our best to cover all those bases next week! Or maybe the week after!! By Christmas we’ll be caught up FOR SURE.

If you’re thinking a trip to PEI is in order, or if you’re in PEI and wanted to make a little getaway to Borden-Carleton, we highly recommend dropping in for a visit to Lone Oak. Ok, sure, we’d recommend that at any time, really, but this weekend they have three new beers available on tap – one that is a returning favourite, and two that are just outright brand new. Let’s get right into all three, shall we?

The first newbie is S’well, a 4.4% ABV Brett Lager. The base beer is a Lager brewed with Pilsner malt from Shoreline Malting, and hopped with noble hops. A two-year-old barrel-aged Brett beer was blended in (at about 15% volume) to give the final brew a nice hit of funk, with the whole thing getting a final dry-hop with the always-lovely New Zealand variety, Nelson Sauvin.  

Next up is one of those beers that is conveniently named in a way that really gets to the heart of the beer… Belgian Table Beer with Marquette Grapes. Another easy-drinker at just 3.8%, it has a grist of PEI Pilsner, spelt, and wheat. Hopped with Mistral, a French variety, the beer was aged on Marquette grapes locally-harvested from Carmody Cove Vineyards (Marshfield). Dry, effervescent, with plenty of citrus and sweet fruit character throughout, this and S’well are both available on tap only, at the brewery.

Finally, returning to local taps (and cans, in the near future) is Boat Traffic, a Foeder-aged Oatmeal Stout that has been tweaked slightly, since its last release. With a little less roast and a little more chocolate than last time, this 5% ABV brew was aged in oak from PEI’s own New World Foeders. Sporting a full body, some roast character, and “notes of chocolate and undertones of coconut and vanilla from the oak”, you’re not going to want to wait on picking some of this up when you can, as it’ll be just perfect for sipping on a hot Christmas morning this year!

Last week we wrote a mini-essay about North Brewing because they had so many things going on. We even took a minute to poke fun at 2 Crows for being outdone. HAHAHA. BOY ARE WE DUMB. Seems like the gang at 2C has been up to further collaborative shenanigans with a couple of Ontario breweries and now we have to type it up so you know what to get excited to drink.

First up is fermented beverage nerd alert (we are beer nerds after all). There’s a product new to the market out of New Zealand that they call “Phantasm” and it’s a powdered Sauvignon Blanc grape derivative that happens to be very rich in thiols. “But ACBB,” you say, “that sounds like a wine thing.” Well, yes, Sauvignon Blanc is grapes, but thiols are one of the (naturally occurring) chemicals that give hops (and grapes, and cannabis) their fun fruity aromatics. So what do you think 2C did when they got their hands on some of this stuff? They put it into some beer! They also had some L’Acadie grapes available from their friends at PEI’s Carmody Cove Vineyard, where the team traveled to pick about 500lbs and put it through carbonic maceration, before pressing it (thanks to a hand from Sourwood Cider’s press) and fermenting with wine yeast. The result of that went into the beer too! But what beer? Well, back to the beer brewing part, they collaborated with Ayr, Ontario’s Willibald Farm Brewery (‘member them from the Stillwell takeover a few weeks ago?) to make a super pillowy IPA from Pilsner and Golden Promise malts, raw wheat, and Golden Naked Oats, a lot of mash hops, and some late kettle hopping with Bru-1, Hallertau Blanc, and the aforementioned Phantasm. Once fermentation was complete, they hit it with intense amounts of Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and more (MOAR!) Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin. When you consider that Hallertau Blanc and Nelson are two of the hops known for their “wine-iness” you can imagine that this is an IPA that fairly reeks of that character: “grapey, [with lots of] gooseberry, citrus, and tropical punch vibes.” Cans of this one, known as L’Acadie Draw will be available to the general public tomorrow, Saturday, November 27th, at noon!

So that’s this week. Next week comes another collaboration that 2C put together with Beerlab from London, ON. Billed as a “Saison/Lager hybrid,” Molten Mirrors sees the ester profile of a Saison married to the dry crisp finish of a lager, with the overall drinkability of both styles well represented. Made from local barley, some rice, a little spelt, and hopped in a restrained fashion with “modern Continental” varieties Saphir and Huell Melon, it was fermented fairly warm with their house Saison yeast which, if you’re familiar with the properties of various yeast strains, is going to give you a rather estery and somewhat phenolic (spicy) character, but it’s not likely to be what you’d call “dry.” So then the beer was chilled down to the sort of temperature that lager yeast likes (10ºC-ish) and it was krausened, which is basically the German way of saying, “we added some more actively fermenting beer to it.” That beer was a smaller volume of the same beer, but one that had been fermenting with a nice clean German lager yeast. After giving the result time to completely ferment out, the temperature was dropped again, this time to long-term lagering temperatures, where it stayed a full 8 weeks. The result is crisp and dry, with some saison spice and fruitiness. This one will be on sale to the general public next Thursday, December 2nd at Noon, but newsletter subscribers will already have received an email with a special code allowing them to get it early by ordering online for delivery or pickup. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to get access to new beers from 2C before everyone else does, you’d best be signing up right here.

Those of you who remember a little show called The Raccoons, raise your hands. Haha, you people are old! For the rest of you, this beloved Canadian animated show debuted in 1985, and was about the exploits of several raccoons in the wilderness and their run-ins with a local greedy industrialist, uh, aardvark… wait, what was the point of that show, again? Either way, it was truly loved there for awhile (even if it IS still difficult to get this news story out of your head, from long after the show ended), and Propeller has teamed up with their EQUALLY-beloved Propeller Arcade for a collaboration beer brewed in honour of this Canadian treasure. The beer is named Run With Us (go ahead, hum it, we won’t judge), a 4.8% “Watermelon and Cherry Sour”. Fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Lactic Magic – a wild, sour yeast strain – the beer has flavours and aromas of, yes, watermelon and cherry, complemented by some tartness. This refreshing brew is on tap exclusively at Propeller Arcade, with 500 mL bottles also available at all three Prop Shops (and online home delivery). 

We’re used to seeing collaborations between North Brewing and Benjamin Bridge; these beers have covered a wide range of styles, and sometimes some of the releases are brewed again, so that we have another chance to experience them with some light changes. This week, they’ve brought back Musqué DIPA, an 8% DIPA that is re-fermented with Chardonnay Musqué grapes from BB. This year’s batch also features some more hop varieties than last time, with Vic Secret being joined by Galaxy, Callista, and Enigma. Expect lots of tropical fruit qualities, balanced by a “delicate acidity” thanks to the grape skins. You can grab some bottles at all of the North locations (remember, there’s three of them now!); save some for Christmas gifts, and some for drinking all by your lonesome!

It’s a big weekend in Chester, as the Chester Village Christmas weekend kicks off over the next three days, Tanner Brewing has a few things on the go. On Friday, they’re releasing their annual barrel reserve beer in store on Friday. The brewery got some fresh barrels from Ironworks and this will be a taproom release on Friday and available all weekend. This year it’s Oak Aged Porter with Berries releasing in Chester and available for delivery. They used their usual recipe for their hour Porter but fermented on black currant and blueberry puree. After fermentation, they used the fresh Ironwork dark rum barrels to age through the fall and summer. Ths beer, available in 500ml bottles is 6.2% ABV and 25 IBU. They’ll also have Cove FM on-site Friday evening with Trip Hazard broadcasting in the taproom. On Sunday, their usual friends from The Old Black Forest little German restaurant will be doing a pop-up for a nice Sunday dinner. 

As Cape Breton and the Northern part of Nova Scotia still recover from the storm earlier this week, Breton Brewing is hoping to bring some Caper pride to the region. Partnering with Cape Breton University, CBU Lager is a light and crisp lager in honour of the whole CBU alumni and family. A portion of the sales from each beer is donated towards student programs and scholarships at the university. At 4.0% and 20 IBU this is crispy and refreshing and available in 473ml cans. Today (Friday) may be the last day you have to get this delivered or online, otherwise, you’ll have to check the brewery and also the Pit Lounge on CBU campus. 

Breton has another limited release available now with their first offering from their holiday lineup, Transatlantic IPA is a blend of English and American IPAs, trying to balance the malt and hop flavours, yeast flavours and bitterness for a full bodied, delicious ale. Using English ale yeast and a complimenting hop aroma, this clocks in at 5.8% and 50 IBU. This is available now in 473ml cans and pints in the taproom, but also home delivery via the online Breton shop. 

Bannerman Brewing just keeps on pumping out the new beers, with this week’s release moving away from the hoppy stuff with Rise or Shine, a Coffee Bock. Taking the standard Bock – a dark, strong Lager – and adding lots of coffee to it sounds like a perfect match to us! Speaking of the coffee, its Heritage, the signature roast from Pilot Coffee Roasters, and it’s giving Rise and Shine “notes of toffee, honey, chocolate, and coffee”, all complemented by a lovely, full body. You can find it on tap and in cans at Bannerman, very soon. 

Back in Halifax, Garrison has a very cool release for the holiday season. If you’re a fan of the classic chocolate minty, chocolatey and delicious After Eight chocolate mint thins, the team at Garrison is brewing you, After Dark, a mint chocolate porter! Using natural mint additions, real chocolate powder and cocoa nibs, you should already have a (delicious) expectation of how this should taste like! Using a malt blend of Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate and Crystal, Magnum hops join the party to balance it all out. This should be a perfect balance of dark chocolate sweetness, slight bitterness and mint freshness and bite. At 5.0% and 18 IBU this beer is available now in 473ml cans at the Oxford taproom and the seaport Garrison HQ, and check out their website for delivery right to your door!

In the wonderful world of cider, Sourwood has a delightful-sounding beverage out now, that you may want to seriously consider adding to your large assortment of beers for the weekend. Juicehoney is a cider aged on Cabernet Franc skins for three months, and was then packaged (in June, 2020!) with raw honey. Naturally carbonated and weighing in at 6.6%, they’re billing this beauty as a pure lactic acid experience: “Think Warhead candies and smooth creamed honey at a rave” was how they started the description… that should give you an idea, no? Only one way to see for yourself, so drop by Sourwood this weekend and grab some cans!

The fine Dieppe folks at CAVOK are hitting us with Reduced Visibility, a brand new New England IPA. Bringing a nice aroma of pineapple and floral notes, leading into a delicious flavour of tangerine, lime and mango with a bit of spice on the finish. With a base of Foggy London yeast to bring it all together and keeping the smooth mouthfeel, a hop profile of Azacca and Idaho 7 to bring the 6.0% IPA to fruition. Available on tap and in 473ml cans at the brewery, this will also be available at ANBL locations across the region. 

We’ve got a treat from Mount Pearl’s Storm Brewing, as they have Newfoundland & Labrador IPA (NLIPA) available now. A bright, bitter and dry-hopped IPA, strongly features homegrown hops from Storm’s our hopyard, they’re calling them Veva hops. Bringing subtle floral, and vibrant pine, citrus aroma and flavor. Bright, bitter and brilliant, this is available in 650ml bottlesat 5.5% this is available at Caine’s, Hallidays, Needs on Miltary and Urban Market.  

Whether it’s an actual Black Friday special or not, you can’t deny a good deal, especially when it comes to beer. Greenwich’s own Delta Force Brewing has got such a deal with the Oak Trio 3-pack, allowing you to grab a 500 mL bottle of each of three of their newest barrel-aged brews for $25 (that’s a savings of $5). Included in this little package is Barrel-Aged Wessex, an English Barleywine that was aged in a mixed culture barrel; Operation Forge!, a Stock Ale that was brewed with invert sugar and aged in a fresh barrel with Brett; and Quercus, a mixed-fermentation, barrel-aged “Super Saison”. Send your order requests to deltaforcebrewing@gmail.com to set up your delivery in the HRM.

Here’s your quick hits on the way out the door!

Grimross’s Abbey Dubbel is making its annual return to Fredericton residents (and across NB, as well) this week. This 7.2% Belgian Dubbel, featuring “strong dark fruit and intense brown sugar flavours” arrives just in time for the holidays, and is available in cans and on tap across the province, and directly at the brewery.

In the Annapolis region of Nova Scotia, Lunn’s Mill has a familiar beer available, SOMA, is a Single Malt and Single Hop IPA, full of juice and double-dry hopped. Using Mosaic hops and Maris Otter as the malt, this is a flavour bomb at 6.6% and 82 IBU. This is available in cans directly from the brewery. 

Tusket Falls is back with one of the tastiest treats you can imagine, as Once Blind, Now I See Clearly is back on tap. This is a Czech-style Pilsner lagered for 90 days and back and tasting better than ever. Crisp with Saaz hops and perfectly balanced at 5.0%, this is available on their side pull tap for that nice, pillowy and soft texture in both their brewery taproom as well as their Halifax location on Gottingen.

One last thing before we send you off this week. Kyle and Tony of 902 BrewCast have released not one, but two episodes this week, as they dig into their fridges and cellars to enjoy some recent, and not-so-recent, beers from North Brewing and Bad Apple Brewhouse. Grab the episodes in your favourite podcatcher, or direct from the website. Congratulations on 5 years, fellas! Here’s to another five! 😘

Good afternoon, beer fans… everyone sick of Christmas music yet? Great, just making sure we’re all on the same page! As usual, there’s lots going on in the wonderful world of Atlantic Canada beer this week, with lots of new brews from all four corners of our region hitting taps and shelves, just itching to be sipped, guzzled, etc. (was about to start thinking hard of other synonyms to go along with these but it’s already getting kind of late in the day as it is), so let’s dive right into it, shall we?

Normally when we’ve got a huge slew of news from a single brewery, that brewery is 2 Crows, but although they do have something on the go this week (of course they do; see below), this week’s belles of the ball are the lovely folks from North Brewing, who have clearly been saving up to make a big ol’ splash with a new location and accompanying celebratory release, a triple-collaboration release, and a “standard” special release all happening this weekend!!

First up, we mentioned months ago that North had secured a spot to make their return to the right light West side of the Harbour after beginning their existence near North (natch) and Agricola Streets in North End Halifax. That new location is seeing a soft opening this weekend (today, in fact!!) at 501 Timberlea Village Parkway beginning at noon. The space will be retail-only for now, but rest assured there’s a taproom and kitchen under construction that they’re hoping will be ready just after the holidays (we’ll definitely keep you posted on that). You can head on over this afternoon and grab a celebratory cupcake from Delectable Desserts as you load up on your favorite North packaged beer, cider, and seltzer offerings (no growler fills until they’ve got taps in place, of course) as well as merch. They’re planning to be open noon – 8 on the daily for the foreseeable. One of North’s slogans is, “Cheers your neighbour,” we love that they seem to be on a mission to keep making new neighbours to cheers.

Of course, if you’re going to open a new retail location, it makes sense to give the people something new to come and get. Enter Timberbock, a smooth, dark, and malty German lager with plenty of nutty and caramel character. The North team has been itching to make a bock for some time and this fall opening seemed like a great time for it. Fermented with the Escarpment Labs Isar Lager strain, and lagered for two full months, this 6.2% ABV beer is ideal for the cooler weather; maybe grab a couple to enjoy after raking leaves this weekend? As you would and should expect, if you’re closer to one of North’s other retail locations, Battery Park or Cole Harbour, you can get it there too!

Next up is the “triple collaboration” that’s been quite a while in the making. Several years ago, North’s Rozina brewed Neighbours Saison with Jill from Compass Distilling (back when they were neighbours across the intersection of North and Agricola). That beer was then distilled by compass to produce Neighbours Whiskey, now on sale at Compass. Meanwhile, North brewed up a replica batch of the original saison, using wheat, spelt and oats along with a boutique yeast strain to produce a 5.0% ABV beer that they’ve packaged in cans. If that wasn’t enough, Compass also kindly took possession of some of North’s Midnight strong dark Belgian ale, which they socked away in a Neighbours whiskey barrel for a while. The result is being called Midnight Neighbours of course! We’re a day late to tell you about the release party that took place at Battery Park last night, but you can still try a flight of all three products at North’s Tasting Room on Portland Street, at Compass’ tasting room on Agricola St. Meanwhile, the beers will be available at North locations and the whiskey, should you want a bottle, from Compass.

Last but not least in North news, if you’re a fan of the brewery you already know that they love to leverage their friendly relationship with Benjamin Bridge winery and release delightful hybrid liquids for your drinking pleasure. One of those that has previously been released is Blanc, a grisette refermented on some of BB’s Sauvignon Blanc grapes. That one is back and available at North retail locations and for online orders; even better, and as always, $0.50 from each can of this one sold will be donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.

For you Moncton beer drinkers that have been itching for more Tire Shack in your lives, we have some very good news! The brewery received approval from the city earlier this week, ok’ing their re-zoning plans for an expansion. Sure, this means more beer and space in general, but most importantly it means Tire Shack can finally begin work on their barrel-aging program, which they’ve been passionate about starting for some time. It’s a ways away, naturally, but it IS something to look forward to! We should also mention that the Moncton Chamber of Commerce has awarded Tire Shack with their Small Business of the Year award, so congrats to them on that as well!

Oh, don’t worry, we wouldn’t leave without also bringing some beer news from Tire Shack for the weekend. They’re re-releasing two brews today, the first being their Peanut Butter Porter (sometimes known as PBP). A 6.2% ABV Porter featuring an addition of close to 20 kg of real peanut butter, it’s perfect for those of you who crave some of that delicious spreadable in your alcoholic beverages (maybe just don’t go kissing anyone with a severe allergy directly after, mmmkay?). Second is Roman Road, a 5.5% ABV Italian Pilsner dry-hopped with Spalt Spalter and Czech Saaz, giving a crisp and refreshing beer with plenty of noble hop presence. You’ll be able to find both beers on tap and (hopefully) in cans sometime today at the brewery.

What do you get when you put two birds on ice? Don’t answer that. But 2 Crows is doing an event in support of 4 curlers, as there is a draught-only release and event in support of Team Daigle, a senior women’s curling team kicking off their season in hope’s to get to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (we assume everyone in Atlantic Canada is familiar with this right? It’s Canada’s national women’s curling championship!). On November 25th, the brewery will release Come Around, a tropical and juicy pale ale, loaded with Galaxy and Citra hops. This beer will only be available in kegs and features the first use at 2 Crows of Verdant, a newer, juicy-friendly yeast strain to complement the tropical and juicy flavours from the hop combination. To get your hands on this first release and to support Team Daigle with their year long travel and expenses, you can buy a $20 ticket to the event which covers your first beer and gets you entered into a draw for a slew of door prizes! Hit the 2C website shop under “events” to purchase your ticket in advance. 

Moving over to PEI, Upstreet is releasing a brand new hoppy beer, one that they plan on keeping in their regular line-up throughout the coming winter months. Blue Meanie is a Blueberry Double IPA that was brewed with lots of blueberry juice, and hopped with both Mosaic and Lemondrop varieties. A definite sipper at 8% ABV (well, try to, anyway), the beer is tasting “tart and semi-sweet, with loads of juicy pineapple, blueberry, and lemon flavour”. While you’ll be able to find cans of this one at PEILCC stores in the very near future, the official launch party will be happening at Upstreet tomorrow, November 20th, with live music from Kailee McGuire from 8-9 pm, trivia with Jesse & Jeff from 9-10:30 pm, and more tunes with DJ Whaleskin directly after that, until 11:30 pm. Of course there’ll be plenty of Blue Meanie pouring on tap, and we can only assume cans to takeaway as well. Now, whether this beer was named after the wrestler, or those creepy buggers from Yellow Submarine… we leave that to you to decide.

More PEI news with Village Green with two new beers, both of the hoppy persuasion (if you’re into that sorta thing). Let’s start on the lighter side of things with Strata Pale Ale, an easy-drinking 5.3% APA hopped entirely with, yes, Strata. With descriptors including “strawberry, passion fruit, grapefruit, and dank,” Strata does appear to be an ideal candidate for a single-hop brew, at least on paper! It’s up to you brave Islanders, however, to make your way to VG to decide for sure. And while you’re there, guess you might as well sample their OTHER newbie, a 6.9% IPA they’re calling DUH IPA. Don’t overthink the name, they simply hopped it with some no-brainer hop varieties – Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy – giving a delicious beverage that is “peachy, danky, and citrusy.” Available on tap and in cans!

If you like your hoppy beers with a little more of the “wild” in them, let’s briefly chat about the newest brew from Tanner & Co. Brux IPA was fermented with Saccharomyces brux-like Trois, a strain that isn’t technically wild (like Brett, for example), yet has “wild-like” qualities to it, helping produce beers that can be quite dry and slightly tart. These are the exact qualities that Brux IPA imparts, and with a generous dry-hopping of both Mosaic and Motueka, you can expect citrus and tropical notes to go with it (which sounds like a perfect combination to us!). Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, you can find bottles of this one at the brewery and taproom right now.

What if you’re feeling more in the mood for a low alcohol, non-hoppy brew for a change? Antigonish’s Candid Brewing has you covered with Temperance, a 3.5% ABV English Brown Ale. This isn’t your typical English Brown, however, as it has some lactose added to give it a touch of extra sweetness, as well as boosting the body somewhat (not a bad idea with a 3.5% beer!). It also features organic Earl Grey tea (HOT!) from World Tea House, to make you feel even more that you’ve travelled over the pond for a cuppa with some old relatives… see, feeling transported already and haven’t even tried the beer! Available on tap and in cans, drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

In Newfoundland, Bannerman has teamed up with local advocacy for the music community MusicNL, to design and brew a new beer to help kick off Music Celebration Week in the province, taking place from Nov 29th to Dec 5th. The beer, Music and Friends, is described simply as an American Pale Ale hopped with Strata and Nelson Sauvin (we’re going to assume plenty of lovely, tropical fruit aromas and flavours in the beer). Available at the brewery and select NLC stores today, so you can start to prep for the festival a little early!

Bannerman has more than one rabbit up their sleeve this week, as they’re also launching a new hoppy wonder at the brewery today. If you’re a fan of not just hops, but high ABVs as well, Obscure Reference may just be the beer for you! It’s a Triple IPA (10%!) that was dry-hopped with multiple additions of the ever-popular (to most of us, anyway) Mosaic variety. Expect juiciness, fruitiness, and likely a little bit of warmth as this one heads down into your stomach. Available in cans only; look for it to hopefully pop up on tap sometime later next week.

Sticking on the Rock, let’s move over to Landwash, who are re-releasing one beer and launching a brand new one this weekend. The returning favourite is Tidepool Pilsner, a 5% German Pilsner that undergoes an extended period of cold conditioning (Lagering!) after a cool fermentation with Escarpment Lab’s Isar Lager yeast strain. Refreshing and crisp, it’s just what you need after a long, hard day of dealing with family work. We can now do a complete 180 and move to their newest beer, Cozy Partridgeberry. Designed by head brewer Alex as a tribute to his Nan’s Partridgeberry Pie (which you can find at Twinlingate’s Cozy Tea Room and Bakery during their open season), the malt additions were crafted to mimic pie crust. Lactose powder was also added to the boil, along with Mosaic and Barbe Rouge hops. The completed beer was then conditioned on local Partridgeberries, resulting in a brew that is “very berry, but not too sweet”. Both beers are available at the brewery right now, in cans and on tap; look for them to start travelling to other outlets soon. 

And in Bay Roberts, Baccalieu Trail Brewing have collaborated with the province’s CBN T’Railway, a non-profit group formed to help open and rehabilitate the former railway bed of Conception Bay North. The hard work from these fine folks has led to the 140 km of T’Railway becoming a “vibrant, ecological, and safe route for recreational traffic”. As for the beer that the non-profit and brewery have created, Trail Minder’s Ale is a West Coast Pale Ale brewed with a malt bill containing small amounts of light Caramel and Oat malts, and hopped with Comet, Nugget, Hallertau Blanc, and Eureka. Fermented with a clean American strain, the beer is very dry, “with layers of tropical fruit, but also some classic West Coast pine character”, all followed by a restrained bitterness. You can grab cans at the brewery over the weekend, with $1 from every can being donated to CBN T’Railway to support their continued efforts.  

Would you believe that this year will mark Big Spruce Brewing’s NINTH Home Brew Challenge? While you ponder what that means about how long you’ve been drinking Big Spruce, we’ll tell you that this year’s competition has been announced and it’s a boozy doozy. A style beloved by many beer geeks but relatively uncommon in these parts is the Belgian Dubbel: falling under the category of Trappist Ales, which have been historically brewed in monasteries by Trappist monks, Dubbel is a deep coppery color with plenty of rich malt flavor, some fruity and/or dried fruity ester character, and a light alcoholic heat. Usually coming in around the high 6es for ABV, one of the key aspects of a good one is the fairly dry finish. Warming and comforting, without being cloyingly sweet, a Dubbel may just be the perfect “cold evening in front of the fire” beer and we are certainly excited to think that there will be another one released for us to try coming out of this competition.

About the competition itself, once again Big Spruce has partnered with Escarpment Labs to even the playing field with respect to yeast availability, bringing in plenty of pouches of St. Remy Abbey Ale yeast for prospective competitors (but folks are absolutely welcome to use whatever other yeast they choose to procure). Those interested in competing in this year’s challenge should send an email Real Soon Now™ to jeremy@bigspruce.ca. It costs $25 to enter, and if nothing else entrants are guaranteed a competition t-shirt, quality scoresheets per BJCP practices, and an invite to the gala. Entries must be received by February 5th, 2022 (drop off points to be confirmed), with the judging and gala taking place (with all due and necessary COVID protocols in place and as Provincial restrictions allow) from 4 – 6 PM on February 6th at The Wooden Monkey’s Dartmouth location. That’s not a long time for a style like this, so get your emails out if you’re looking to participate!!

As they’ve done several times over the past few years, members of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia have come together to brew a special beer in celebration of Craft Beer in NS and to generate revenue for #nscraftbeer initiatives. This year they did so with the sponsorship of supplier Brew Culture, a relatively new player in the local market, but who are certainly making themselves known through collaborative efforts. Together We Brew is a 5.0% lagered ale that was dry hopped with new school Continental hop Callista, one that marries some noble character with more modern fruity notes. Look for it at NSLC locations throughout the province, but don’t wait too long as this is a limited edition product.

A couple of Beery Birthdays in the region this weekend, but first:

A reminder of the Friday/Saturday tap takeover starting at Bar Brewdock today. In East Duck St. John’s, Dildo Brewing Co is teaming up with Borden-Carleton PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing to take over the 24 taps. Look for plenty of new beers from both breweries debuting this weekend, as well as the fine folks at Crumb & Pickle taking over the kitchen with burger, dips, schnitzel and more, all vegan and veggie friendly. More details in last week’s post, plus Social Media.

What do you think of when we say “the mecca of craft beer in Atlantic Canada?” If your answer isn’t Stillwell and if you’re reading this and you haven’t made friends with new humans or sampled new beers and new tastes at any of Stillwell’s various locations over the last few years, we would be surprised. (Heck, even one of us got married at the Stillwell Beergarden) Our beloved beer bar turns EIGHT YEARS OLD (!!) this month and they’re celebrating on Saturday November 20th, at Barrington Street HQ starting at Noon. Celebrating as they normally do with birthday cake (heeeey, free cake!), special bottle pours from places we can’t even mention (on and off-menu in true beer nerd fashion), and lots of featured kegs from breweries such as Willibald, Les Grands Bois, Godspeed, Dieu du Ciel, Crooked Stave, Stillwell Brewing, Bannerman and a few more! Also, Joe will be serving up special kitchen treats as well all day. This is free and fun and no advance reservations are required. 

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing turns the big 0-5 this weekend, and they’re inviting you to the brewery to celebrate Saturday, November 20th. Expect raffles, beer, games, beer, snacks, and beer! They’ll also have Elizabeth Nelson kicking off some live music at 5 pm, followed by Saving Sweet Polly at 7 pm. If you bring in a non-perishable food item for the KV Food Basket (no expired peas, we’re onto you!), you get a ballot for a chance to win an “epic prize”. Our guess is a ride on a stuffed black bear with owner/brewer Esty… let’s hope!

And a few last items to whet your appetite for whetting your whistle:

Always keeping us beer folk satisfied in store and online for delivery, Bishop’s Cellar is getting some goodies from Toronto’s own Bellwoods in store this Saturday. Two variants of Jelly King (their delicious dry-hopped fruited, everyday-drinking fruited sour) along with “drink now or cellar for later” options Vines Gamay and Barn Owl 25. Here’s a quick overview of the four releases:

  • Jelly King Cranberry & Tangerine is the base Jelly King conditioned on a bunch of cranberries and tangerine puree coming in at 5.6%. 
  • Jelly King Pomegranate & Lime is the base Jelly King conditioned on real pomegranate and lime at 5.6%.
  • Vines: Gamay is a 2020 wild ale release. Vines is a series of oak aged wild ales that celebrates wine grapes in all manifestations.This 8.0% blend was inoculated with the wild yeast from 2019 red grape skins, aged for a year in oak, and refermented on 2020 Niagara Gamay skins. 
  • Barn Owl 25 is a Foedre Aged Imperial Stout. This spent 2 years in secondary fermentation in new American oak and is 13.2%. 

These are all 500ml bottles and available Saturday November 25th at 10am. 

Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing has a new Black IPA out, in memory of their former team member, Bob Allen, the brewery’s first hire. Infinity is a 7.2% ABV take on the style that is dry-hopped exclusively with Chinook. You can find it now at the brewery and tomorrow at the Annapolis Royal farmers market.  

New Ross’ Bulwark Cider is teaming up with the SPCA to raise money for furry friends in need of homes. They’ve made Applsecco Rose Cider which was released at NSLC locations earlier this week. Think a combo of cider and red wine characteristics with tartness, dark fruit flavours and some gentle tannins from the Marechal Foch wine used. $2 from every bottle will be donated to the Burnside SPCA location to help stray and abused animals. Win, win.

We’ll leave you with the always welcomed news of re-releases from Unfiltered Brewing. First up is their 7.5% ABV DIPA, Fist of God. If you’re looking for something a bit more sessionable, check out Lifesaver, their 4.25% ABV blueberry sour. Both are now available in cans and for fills at the brewery, and on tap next door at Charm School.

Happy Friday beer and cider drinkers of Atlantic Canada. We’ve reached the mid-point of November, which means you’re about to start hearing way more Boney M. on the radio and the holiday-themed beverages will be rolling out of tanks across the region. And while we certainly have a few big, wintery beers to tell you about, you’ll be comforted to know that your favourite producers are still bringing you new IPAs, sours, ciders and sessionable ales as well. Holiday-creep also means that way-too-early Black Friday sales are everywhere, which is a perfect excuse for us to remind you to buy local this holiday season. Gift cards, glassware, swag, a year-long subscription to ACBB, or just some good ol’ fashioned fermented beverages from your favourite producers all make perfect gifts. Your support helps to ensure that they can keep giving you the good stuff, and we’ll keep telling you about it every Friday.

Let’s start off with some news from the smaller producers in our region! O’Creek Brewing based in Dieppe, New Brunswick, leads us off with a banger of a beer in bottles. While known near and far for their love (and great execution) of New England IPAs, as the weather turns a bit chillier, sometimes you need something else in your glass! Enter Coffee Island, a brand new release that spent time in their oak foeder, built for them by New World Foeders on Prince Edward Island. The base Imperial Stout was aged in wood for about 9 months, before a cold-brew concoction was added shortly before bottling. This was not any old coffee, however, as these beans were aged in bourbon barrels before roasting, courtesy of Matera Brasseurs in Montreal. Notes of oak, roast, bourbon and coffee come together in this 10.4% ABV sipper, and will be available shortly at several ANBL locations, as well as the Picaroons Roundhouse Brewtique.

Located in Colby Village, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, you’ll find another small producer serving their local community, Hardisty Brewing. Their latest release is honouring the region’s, and their own, heritage, with a spot-on name, Heritage Rye IPA. Recognizing and reflecting on Acadian roots, as well as a history of brewing in their family, they have slightly tweaked their motto “Inspired by Community” to “Inspirée par la famille”. This 6.0% ABV beer showcases the spicy and ester character of the Rye malt used in the base beer, and follows through with enough bitterness (to the tune of 48 IBU) to balance everything out. Heritage Rye will be available this weekend in Hardisty’s Winter Special, a mixed 8-pack of beer perfect for the cooler weather. And to keep your noggin warm as well as your belly, a Hardisty Brew toque is included! The Winter Special is now available for purchase on Hardisty’s website, where they have also launched their special Dartmouth-wide shipping. On Thursday November 18 and December 16, residents in Dartmouth will be able to take part in the fun that until now only folks in Cole Harbour have been able to enjoy: Hardisty Brew right to your door! Fear not, CH folks, your usual weekly deliveries are still happening. 🙂 And if you’re not lucky enough to live on the Darkside, Heritage Rye will be on the shelves at Harvest Wines in the next week or so, joining a few other Hardisty offerings..

Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has some things on the go, starting, of course, with a new beer. Judas is a Belgian Blonde Ale, a refreshing and easy-drinking pale yellow beer with esters of plum and pear, that they’ve balanced with sweet malt and a low but still very present bitterness. Coming in at 5% ABV and 35 IBU, expect more character and body than you’d find in a pale lager, but still a fairly crisp finish. Grab it at the brewery today. You can also now order online for next day delivery or, if you’re not local to NS, nationwide shipping. Details are available on their website. And if you’d like to learn a little bit more about the brewery, owner/brewer Glen O’Keefe sat down with Tony and Kyle from the 902BrewCast (‘member them?) for their first brewery episode in over a year and that episode is online for your listening pleasure! Get it from the source or find it through your favorite podcast app. Meanwhile, if you’re like us and you’ve busted your 902BC glass, they’ve got them available again for $10; message them via Instagram to arrange.

We’re a little late to the party on this one, but Port Rexton Brewing put out a new release in their Continuum series of hazy IPAs last week. This one, however, veers away from the “hot” hops generally used in this style and takes a flyer on a couple of Continental hops largely unknown on these shores. Styrian Dragon is a Slovenian hop developed over the last number of years by the Slovenian Institute of Hop Research and Brewing in Žalec, and is known as an aroma (late-addition) hop with notes of floral citrus, grapefruit, lemon, berries, rose, and tropical fruit. Malling, on the other hand, has been around for a long time, a descendant of English hops that were imported to Austria to rebuild their hop industry after disease and the Second World War decimated it. Named for a village in Kent, where a Mr. Golding lived, it’s known for minty and peppery notes. Together these hops provide the latest Continuum with aromas of gummy candy, flavors of citrus and berries, and some minty character. It’s 5.9% ABV and is the first in the series to be packaged in cans; get it at the brewery and the St. John’s retail shop now and look for it on tap at PR tap accounts and retailers.

In nearly beer news this week, Upstreet out of Charlottetown has released a new entry under their Libra brand of non-alcoholic beers, Libra Stout. Tasting like “a light iced-mochaccino” it brings the typical characters of coffee and chocolate while being low calorie. This one was a trial batch so only available at Upstreet locations, but they’ve already hinted that they’ll be making more in the future. Which brings us to Libra Pilsner, which this week is graduating from a similar trial release back in the summer to wider distribution at Sobeys and other retail partners. Crisp and slightly malty, it’s also got some floral notes from the use of traditional Saaz hops.

Upstreet is still making not-just-nearly beer as well, and they’ve got a new IPA coming soon to replace Black Tie on the shelves of PEILLC for the Fall/Winter season. Blue Meanie marries the flavor of blueberries (thanks to blueberry concentrate) with bright Lemondrop and dank/fruity Mosaic hops, all carried by a decidedly colder-season ABV of 8%. Tart, semi-sweet, with pineapple, blueberry, and lemon notes prominent, it boasts 30 IBUs of balancing bitterness. Look for this one starting next week.

Longtime fans of Halifax’s Good Robot may remember the time they took their Mississippi Goddam American Barleywine and put it in bourbon barrels for six months, kicking off their barrel program with a bang. That was four-ish years ago now, but those who have been waiting with bated breath for the next BA beer from GR can finally heave a sigh of relief. Barrel Aged Tom is what happened when they took their stalwart Tom Waits for No One American stout and sat it in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels for 6 months. Still bringing the coffee and chocolate notes of the regular version, the barrel adds some smoky oak and sweetness to the mix. Of course, the residual spirit bumped the ABV a little, taking it from 7.9% to more like 10.5%, which no doubt also adds a little (more) alcohol warmth to the mix. Released on Wednesday in 650 mL bottles with a swank metallic label, you might want to invite a friend or two to come on up to the house to share it. Or, y’know, accept an invitation to the blues, explore the bottom of the world, and wind up sleeping on the cold cold ground with the rain dogs. Get it at the brewery or order it online for delivery.

Over in Dartmouth, Lake City Cider is making sure you’re ready for the coming season, both holiday and meteorologically speaking. Spice Up Your Life, re-released today, isn’t a paean to the Spice Girls (well, it could also be that), but mostly the self-describing name of their latest offering. Featuring your favorite winter spices, namely cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg, along with some dried orange peel, this off-dry cider comes in at 6.8% ABV and has been packaged in 750 mL bottles. Look for it at the cidery or order online for pickup or delivery.

Back across the harbour to Halifax, where Propeller Brewing is continuing to lean firmly into the “dark beers for the dark months” model. We told you last week about the return of their London Porter, which we were a little early on (sorry folks!), but it turns out there’s more than one reason for the return of that beer. First, people like it and want to drink it; second, because the fine folks at the brewery took a portion of the batch and created another beer with it. Wild Cherry Porter is out today and sees that very London Porter treated to some time in the tank with wild cherries. Still 5% and still boasting plenty of chocolate and coffee character from roasted malts, the cherries add some sweetness and richness along with the flavor you’d expect. A bit of a treat for a cold day or sock a couple away for the impending holiday season. Available in 4-packs of cans for ordering from their website; you should be able to get singles in person at the Prop shops, and we suspect you’ll see it pop up at some tap accounts for draught pours as well. It’s also available in singles on the holiday rack at select NSLC locations throughout the Province.

And keep an eye out for the London Porter itself; here’s what we wrote last week about it before redacting it in shame: “Also returning is Propeller’s London Porter, another flavourful dark beer, emphasizing the chocolate over the roast (though roast is still present), on a drier finish. These characteristics, as well as the 5.0% ABV, put it soundly in the “traditional” style for a porter, close to that of an iconic London brewery that has been brewing it for decades, carried on the historic style. On tap at Propeller locations now and cans coming soon, this beer will see distribution during the remainder of Fall and into Winter.”

For those looking for something even darker, richer, and stronger, it’s that time of year again when we see the return of what might be considered the granddaddy of big beers in our region: Revolution Russian Imperial Stout. Although it doesn’t come in those awesome 500 mL slope-shouldered bottles anymore, it still has all the intense chocolate, dark fruit, and coffee flavors you remember along with a balancing bitterness and a slightly warm alcohol finish. Weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV and 60 IBU, you’ll find it starting today at the Prop shops and available for online ordering in four-packs of 473 mL cans, and in singles from select NSLC locations, with some tap accounts pouring it as well.

We won’t fault you for thinking that maybe you were going to get through a week without having to head down to 2 Crows and grab yet another tasty release. But if you did, once again you thought wrong. Frequenters of the tap room will know Tessa, their tasting room manager and social media coordinator. Well now you can add beer designer to the list, as this week’s release is Tessa’s brainchild. As Tessa is one of the biggest proponents of sours in the building, it’s natural that this one started in mid-2019 with the standard 2C golden sour as a base, this one fermented and conditioned long and slow in the barrels used for the Megadregs project of several years ago, taking on a complex sour character with a hint of coconut. From there, the goal was to develop lemon and lavender characters; the lemon was relatively straightforward, with a small amount of fresh lemon juice added to barrel to complement the already present lemony and floral vibe created during fermentation. But the lavender was a bit of a more difficult ask, as nobody wants a soapy character to their beer. Thanks to some advice from the fine folks at Meander River Brewery, the gang learned that the lavender stems and flowers can be boiled in a small amount of water to draw out a nuttier lavender character. This water was added along with a hit of fresh lemon zest shortly before bottling, and the beer bottle conditioned for several months. The result is a 5.5% ABV beer, sour and complex, but also bright and spritzy, where the lavender is layered and subtle and the lemon provides some extra zip. You’ll find it available today in 375 mL bottles at the brewery and available via online orders for pickup or delivery as well. If you grab some, take a minute to appreciate the lovely label, also designed by Tessa, and for a triple play of Tessa-ness, maybe check out her recently released EP on Spotify too!!

If you’re in the mood for something a bit richer this weekend, check out Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House for the release of their new Double Chocolate Stout. This small batch brew was made with copious amounts of Chocolate Malt and 2 pounds of cocoa powder, for good measure. Coming in at 26 IBUS and an approachable 6.8% ABV, it showcases notes of chocolate and roasted coffee beans. Head to the taproom in Lower Sackville ASAP if you want to try it, with only two kegs being available before it’s gone.

What to drink this weekend, and where? We’ve got you covered!

A reminder that tomorrow, November 13th, Copper Bottom Brewing in Montague is marking their 4th Anniversary, complete with live music all day (noon til 9 PM), food specials by their resident food truck, The Pizza Box, plus $5 pints and beer slushies! And launching is Birthday Beer 4, a 5.6% Mango IPA. Dry-hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe, along with plenty of mango puree to really dial up the tropical fruit flavour, it will be available on draught and in cans in-house and online.

While in Montague tomorrow, you can also pop by Bogside Brewing, who is launching a new look to their Lighthorse Lagered Ale. From 12 – 9 PM, visitors will enjoy staff-priced pints of Lighthorse (just $5!), with performances by the PEI Regiment Band from 1 – 3 PM, Blizzard Goat Band 3:30 – 5:30, and Carter MacLellan closes out the evening from 6:30 on. This collaborative brew with the PEI Light Horse Regiment was first released in October 2019, and part of tomorrow’s pint and can sales will be donated to the Last Post Fund.

Newfoundlanders, your next two weeks are shaping up to be busy!

First off, Quidi Vidi Brewery has teamed up with Basho Restaurant to release the latest version of their Bog and Barrens beer, Yuzu Rice Lager. Launching next week, this beer was designed to pair perfectly with Tak Ishiwa’s cuisine at this local Japanese restaurant. So what better way to celebrate than with a pairing dinner? On November 16 and 17, Ishiwa will be bringing a 5-course pairing menu to the QV gut to showcase how well food and beer go together. While Tuesday’s event is sold out, tickets are available for Wednesday’s dinner, and available on the QV website. And keep your eyes peeled for the beer to be released in cans in the next few days!

In East Duck, Bar Brewdock is hosting an interprovincial tape takeover next week that is so big it needs two days to contain! Next Friday and Saturday, Nov 19 and 20, the fine folks from PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing are skipping the causeway and flying straight into St. John’s, pouring a full dozen of their beers. From core brands like South Shore Sour and Fixed Link Pils, as well as special and one-off releases like Blueprint and Otis, there will be plenty for folks to try. If you’re like us and know that Brewdock actually has 24 draught lines (!!), you may be wondering, “Hey, what else might I see on tap that weekend?”. Well, we can spill that joining LOB on tap for the weekend is none other than Dildo Brewing Co. With fresh releases like the DO-X Italian Pilsner, Lassie Brown Ale, to the classic I’se Da Bye PA, Dildo is sure to show up and please everyone who pops in for the swally. An event this big could use some epic food to pair, so Crumb & Pickle are taking over the kitchen! Sandwiches and more, plants are what’s for dinner on Duckworth from 12 – 9 PM Friday and Saturday! No tickets necessary, just show up early and show up often, to drink the best from our two Atlantic Canadian island provinces.

And rounding out the great events occurring this month in Newfoundland is the return of the 12 Beers of Christmas. Hosted at the St. John’s Farmers Market on November 26 and 27, while the Saturday show is sold out, there are still a few tickets for Friday’s event. Despite the name, there are waaaaay more than 12 beers pouring, with a great combination of Newfoundland and Labrador breweries, as well as those from outside of the region. Look out for the first time in Nfld history to see Boombox Brewing from Vancouver, and New Level from Calgary pouring in the province. Grab your tickets now before you’re left out in the cold!

A few more quick hits today…

Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing has a new iteration of their Velvet Fog milkshake IPA available this week. With vanilla and lactose as usual given the sweetness and body the style is known for, the fruiting this time is pineapple and mango. 6.0% ABV and available from the source.

Speaking of hazebombs, one of Quebec’s finest purveyors of that style, who collaborated with Trailway last year, is Lagabiere from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Why are we telling you this? Because the beer saints at Bishop’s Cellar have managed to bring in four beers from Lagabiere that, rumor has it, will be available tomorrow: Ta Meilleure IPA, Ta Plus Meilleure DIPA, Ta Valeur Sour IPA, and Nice ‘n Hazy APA. We recommend you move fast on these, as we suspect they won’t last long.

Over on Beer Advocate, a member of the beer exchange group known as CanBIF (Canada Beer-it-Forward) has set up an arrangement to encourage charitable giving this month. In short, if you make a $100 donation to a local (to you) charity of your choice and provide proof of same to the organizer, you will be entered in a draw for a box of lovely beers from participating breweries (mostly Ontario, local to the organizer, near as we can tell, though if you’re a brewer reading this and want to take part, we can help make that happen!). Entries must be received by November 27th, with a random draw taking place on November 28th. Full details, along with info about participating breweries, is available in this BA post. While donating to local charities is always rad, it’s especially so at this time of year, and maybe you win some beer too.

Foghorn Brewing Co.has seen the return of their Undercover Hop New England Pale Ale out this week, restocking their can and draught inventory. Each batch of this series will be brewed using an unnamed experimental hop variety, this one being HBC 586 from Yakima Valley Hops. The description from the hop producer suggests lots of fruit flavours including mango, guava and citrus. Coming in at 6% ABV, Undercover Hop is available now in cans and on tap.

Further south in Rothesay, Long Bay is releasing Brew Number 22 in their Ex-Beeriment series. For this one, Long Bay set out to create a sessionable ale with just enough hop character and bitterness to keep things interesting. Consisting of Golden Promise and Maris Otter malts, and the exclusive use of Eclipse hops, the hoppy session ale came in at 4% ABV and 25 IBUs. Find it on tap at the Long Bay taproom now.