Happy Friday the 13th, folks! And your luck is decidedly good today, as we’ve got a full complement of new beer and cider to hit you with! Eat, drink, be merry, keep your stick on the ice, and be kind to each other.

Great news for fans of spirit barrel-enhanced beer, there is a new brewery open that is right up your alley! Rackhouse Brewing Company has launched their first beer, a stout aged in a Corn Whiskey Barrel from Moonshine Creek in Waterville-Carleton, NB. Named after the traditional storage facility for barrels, this features prominently in their plans. Rather than concentrating on the brewing aspect, Rackhouse will be all about the post-fermentation conditioning and packaging of beer at their facility. Their first beer was brewed at Big Axe in Nackawic, where it is currently on tap, and may be found elsewhere soon. Look for notes of tart cherry from the 100-day barrel-aging process, along with chocolate and a hint of coffee from the underlying beer in this 8.5% BA stout. We hope to share a full Profile of Rackhouse as they develop more projects, including opening their space in Waterville-Carleton. Congratulations!

Keeping in the barrelled beer vein, Deer Lake’s Rough Waters Brewing has brought back High Tide. This time around, they have taken a light-bodied Saison, with great fruit and pepper notes, and aged it in a freshly-emptied Rum Barrel from Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton. Look for oak, vanilla, and complexity as you enjoy this 7.5% ABV beer. Look for the beautifully appointed cork and cage bottle in NLC and Ultramars in Deer Lake and Corner Brook, and on the Avalon in the next week.

Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Co has the latest in their Something Different series this week, Cosmic Peach. This 4.7% cider features a base of Golden Russet and Cox Orange Pippin juices, fermented with a specialty yeast enhancing the tropical notes, and taken to the next level by the use of hops during fermentation too. Dosed with AV Peach juice that went through a cryo-extraction process to concentrate the flavour, this cider is out of this world! As always, the Something Different has a charitable component, with $0.50 of each bottle refill going to Ducks Unlimited Canada in Atlantic Canada, working to restore and protect the region’s wetlands for both the benefit of both animals and humans, for habitat as well as mitigating the effects of Climate Change.

Our friends in the East end of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Bannerman Brewing Co., have a new one out this week, a classic IPA variant that’s very much gone by the wayside in the modern haze craze. Mind’s Eye is a rye IPA, which means it contains a substantial portion of rye (malted, in this case) in the grist. Beer lore suggests that this lends a somewhat “spicy” character, which has been thrown into question by recent taste experiments, but regardless, it definitely gives a different character to the malt side of the beer that many people find pleasing. Also featured in this one is Golden Promise malt, a heritage Scottish variety that gives a slight sweetness, and some oats, which amplify the body a little more. Paired with dank and piney Simcoe, citrussy Centennial, and stone fruit/berry Mosaic on the hop side, you can paint a pretty good picture of how this one tastes in your mind’s eye. And if you can’t, or you need to verify, head on down to the brewery to grab one on tap or in cans to go!

Microbreasserie Ateepic at the Edmundston Golf Course has a new beer available on tap for pints and growlers, Pin Blanc. This 5.3% White Stout features coffee from Brûlerie Du Vieux Poste in Edmundston and cacao nibs, along with a touch of vanilla and lactose to complete the “Milk Stout” character. If you closed your eyes, you’d never know the beer is pale in colour! Pop by their spot from 4 PM to enjoy!

A quick hit from the North Shore this week, as Tatamagouche Brewing has brought back their First Light Czech Pilsner. At 4.8%, this beauty is packed with Noble hops and fermented with a Czech yeast, both of which help to keep it as authentic as possible. And upping that even more is the use of natural carbonation technique, harnessing those yeast farts in the can/keg/glass, for a smooth and fine level of fizziness. Grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery and around the province.

Speaking of Pilsners, 2 Crows on Brunswick Street in Halifax has a brand new one on the go themselves. Dubbed a “West Coast Pilsner,” whatever that means*, it’s a collaboration with their buds at Woodcutter’s Blanket Bar & Brewery in *checks notes* Whitehorse, YT!! Lonely Land was built on a malt base of Shoreline Malting Pilsner and wheat malts, which were put through the 2C low-oxygen multi-step mash regimen. Hops were added along the way, starting in the mash and continuing through the kettle and hopback with Saphir and Centennial. Fermentation featured Escarpment Labs’ Isar lager strain in a slow and low fashion before it was dry hopped with more Centennial along with Cashmere and Nelson Sauvin. Carbonation was largely provided through spunding and the beer was lagered for 10 weeks before packaging. Basically they pulled out all the stops and did all the things on this one and they’re pretty sure it all shows in the final product! Due to some snafus during packaging, cans of this 5.4% ABV delight are quite limited, so you’re going to want to grab some real quick now at the brewery or Bishops Cellar or your other favourite private store in the HRM. On the other hand, there are apparently quite a few kegs to go around, so hopefully you’ll keep seeing this one pop up in various places in the city and beyond!

* According to the brewery it apparently means, “lending the crisp + clean flavours of our favourite German pilsners with the hop aromatics of West Coast IPAs.” Whatever that means.

To finish this week off, a friendly reminder about our contest that closes in 5 days! If you want to join our tour of GR’s new Elmsdale Brewery/Packaging Facility/Warehouse/Battle Station post a picture/story/reel on social media of a favourite local beer/cider/mead you’ve enjoyed in 2022 or 2023, and be sure to tag us in it and use the hashtag #ElmsdaleTour. And if you’re not the social media kind, no problem, just fire us an email, fire us a text, or send us a telegram to let us know you’re interested! We’ll be drawing a whole buncha names on Jan 18 at 6 PM, so your chances are pretty good!

Happy New Year! How many times did you say that this week, going back to work and exchanging pleasantries with friends and families? As we all get back to post-Holiday life, take some time to rest and recover from the vacation time! Kick those feet up, grab something local, enter our contest and check out some quick hits about Atlantic breweries below.

Spryfield’s finest kicks off the news this week with Serpent Brewing releasing Winter Wit. This is a tweak on their White Mountain Witbier, but brings Chamomile to the party, joining witbier yeast and wheat malt. There are some classic witbier flavours with orange, coriander and a bit of banana. This is only available at the brewery on tap for pints and growlers. It’s 5.5% and available now. 

Staying in Halifax and in the theme of only being on-tap, Propeller Brewing has Peach and Yuzu Fruited Ale releasing today. This is a pilot brew, so it is quite limited in availability. This 5.0% Pale has some obvious additions of peach and yuzu, bringing a nice citrus and stonefruit combo in a refreshing beer. It’s available at all 3 Prop Shops for pints and growlers today. And as always (even if we forget to mention it), they will be pouring a special Cask from the bartop of their Gottingen Street taproom this evening, allowing the brewers to flex their creative muscles, doing something a little different than usual. Tapped at 6 PM every Friday, this is available for in-house enjoyment only, until sell-out. Tonight’s cask is their Passion Fruit Sour, with additions of vanilla and lactose, for that full on milkshake character.

Hopping on the 102 and headed toward The Hub of Nova Scotia, lands us at Truro Brewing Company and a returning release. Willow Street Wheat is back on tap at the brewery and this is a light, refreshing, approachable ale at 4.8%. It features Amarillo hops and is on tap now and is a core beer that is usually in cans as well. 

Yellowbelly Brewery has a winter seasonal release available at the brewery and at many NLC stores. Winter Solstice is a New England IPA that features the ABV to keep you warm this winter and the flavour to refresh you, all at the same time! This is 7% and available in 473ml cans.  

Staying in Newfoundland, Landwash has a four-banger of sours out now. Joining their original Newfoundland sea-salted sour, Brackish, two more Brackish varieties and another sour join the lineup. First up, Ruby Line is a fruited sour, featuring Raspberry and Lime, clocking in at 4.5% The first Brackish variant is Brackish with Tangerine, featuring the original beer conditioned on tangerines. The second is Brackish with Pineapple, going through the same fruited conditioning stage, but with Pineapple. All 3 of the Brackish line comes in at the same 4.8% ABV, but very different flavours. You can get a trio of the Brack Pack (clever), or grab them all in a four-pack or singles, everywhere you normally find Landwash.  

In the beer-adjacent category, Atlantic Business Magazine published the first annual Best Places to Work in Atlantic Canada. Featuring some bigger and smaller companies, one brewery stands out on the list. Upstreet Brewing is the only company on PEI of the 20 companies named and we’d like to raise a glass to our friends! Check out the full list of recipients here

Looking to brew? Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is hiring a new Brewer to work alongside their head brewer. Take a look at the job details at the link here and apply in person at the brewery or send your resume and cover letter to info@maybeebrew.com 

You may have noticed in the news this week that a familiar spot in Halifax has some new plans. Good Robot will be opening up another location across from the Halifax Commons at North Park and Cornwallis. This space may be familiar to you craft beer fans, but the Robots are looking for input from the community as a whole, so check out the article here from The Coast to read more about it and what the space should become. 

And speaking of Good Robot, this is a friendly reminder about our contest that closes in 12 days! If you want a tour of their Elmsdale Brewery on Saturday, January 21, keep on reading. To enter,  post a picture/story/reel on social media of a favourite local beer/cider/mead you’ve enjoyed in 2022 or 2023, and be sure to tag us in it and use the hashtag #ElmsdaleTour. And if you’re not the social media kind, no problem, just fire us an email, send us a text, or release a carrier pigeon to let us know you’re interested! (We’d like to post/re-post to show what our readers are drinking, hope that’s OK) We’ll be drawing a whole buncha names Jan 18 at 6 PM, so your chances are good to take part! Looking forward to meeting you there!

Well, you’ve done it! You survived another year! This is our 51st post of 2022, and 812th published since our launch in January 2012. Not bad for 10 years, eh? We hope you’ve enjoyed reading and learning along with us as we’ve tracked the Atlantic Canadian Beer, Cider, and Mead landscape, from the early days with fewer than 40 producers in the region, to today where our region boasts more than 300! There’s always something local and great to drink when you’re traveling in the Atlantic provinces, so we hope your 2023 brings the ability to do that for you all! We’ll be here, churning out the latest info on new breweries, cideries, beer, and events, to guide you along the way!

We’re kicking off the blog with a few releases from before Christmas, but we know are still around…

Celebrating their Fourth Anniversary mid-month, Port-Au-Port’s Secret Cove Brewing released their ode to the largest bird to grace Newfoundland and Labrador, with a beer of fitting proportions. The Great Auk is a 10% Triple IPA, featuring both a massive flavour and aroma from the hops and extra malt in the beer. The eponymous bird was rendered extinct in the region in the 17th century, though there is a widely accepted sighting noted in 1852 on the Grand Banks. The Great Auk the beer is alive and well, and available on tap at the brewery, and in cans at retailers across Newfoundland. Happy Fourth Anniversary Secret Cove!

Sticking to Newfoundland, Baccalieu Trail Brewing is celebrating the light show in Port de Grave with Christmas in the Harbour. This 4.0% beer is a light American lager, infused with just a touch of peppermint. May even pass as a candy-cane lager. The boats should still be lit up when you read this, so grab a four-pack from the brewery or your local beer shop, and head out Highway 72 to see the show!

From one island to another, PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing teamed up with their pals at Hopyard Beer Bar, and released Lil’ Hoppy. The first in what we expect to be a series, the partners are playing around with different hop varieties and techniques. For V1, they used loads of locally-grown Cascade hops during a mash hop phase, and waited until fermentation had died down to add Sultana and Nelson Sauvin, locking in that aroma. Look for notes of pineapple, citrus, and maybe even a touch of Sauv Blanc grape too. On tap at HopYard C’town and both Lone Oak locations, as well as in cans to take-away.

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a trio of new releases on tap these days, including a pair of small batch beers that are exclusive to The Oxford Taproom location on Quinpool. Krampus is the first of these, a 6.2% Black IPA, featuring the very aromatic Bravo, Simcoe, Zythos, and Mosaic, for a melding of citrus, pine, with chocolate and roast. And celebrating the location itself is Oxford Pale, a 5.5% Pale Ale, with Bravo, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Comet hops blended for some citrus and tropical notes of pineapple and mandarin orange. They’re open today for pints and retail, with tomorrow being a cafe and retail kinda day…

Embracing the season entirely is the release of Garrison’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wintervention. The 2022 edition of this familiar friend is 11.5%, and whose base Imperial Stout beer spent time hanging out in bourbon barrels before release in the share-worthy 650 ml format. Chocolate, roast, dark fruit meld with the vanilla, toffee, oak, and hint of booze from its temporary home. Bottles are available exclusively at the Seaport and Oxford locations, as well as through their website for local delivery.

One of our favorite trends of the last year or so has been more releases of lower-ABV English bitters. Although beers like Hell Bay’s English Ale, Sober Island’s Beachstone Bitter, Foghorn’s Esty’s Special Bitter, and Lunn’s Mill’s Pub Ale are core brands and longtime stalwarts, this year has seen all sorts of new bitters, including some from breweries you might not expect. In 2022 we saw, amongst others, the releases of Stillwell’s Best Bitter, Trailway’s Chancy’s Pub Ale, and, more recently, Tatamagouche’s Flintshire. Who knows, maybe part of the reason for this is the introduction of proper cask ale at places like the Stillwell Freehouse, or maybe folks are just looking for the next big thing after hopbombs, hazebombs, and crispybois, but regardless, as shared owners of a beer engine, we’re here for it! Anyways, that’s a bit of a long-winded introduction to the release of Proper Pub Ale from Montague’s Bogside Brewing. Coming in at a very quaffable 4.5% ABV and 25 IBU, you can safely expect a classic smooth taste profile with notes of toffee. Look for it on tap and in cans to go at the brewery.

Speaking of PEI and traditional English styles, Cornwall’s Village Green (by Modern Brewer) has two new beers for us this weekend and the first fits that description quite nicely. Often even lower in ABV than bitter, but just as suitable for the hand pumps, dark mild is one of the most sessionable beers ever. VG’s Dark Mild hits all the right notes, with toasty malt flavors, some subtle cherry esters, and a clean finish, all in a “tastes like another, and maybe another after that” 3% ABV package. Also being released is Altbier, also a very traditional style, but the German tradition rather than the English. A contrast to the lagers that came later, the “alt” in “altbier” means “old” as in “the beer we used to make.” Using bottom-fermenting ale yeast and not generally undergoing a lagering period, these are darker, more full-bodied beers, with some fruity esters and a decent bitterness from Northern Brewer hops balancing toasty sweet malt notes. Comforting on a cold day, but still not overly boozy, this one comes in at 4.9%. Both of these beers are available at the tap room for pints or in cans to go!

Continuing to find new and interesting ways to pump hops into beer are Propeller Brewing, who are releasing another new IPA today, this one not just full of lupulin, but lots of other fun things as well. Piña Colada IPA features Sabro, known for some serious coconut vibes, and Azacca, which tends to impart mango, papaya, and other tropical notes. These two together make a perfect combination, along with some actual coconut, vanilla bean, and lactose, to give the vibes of many people’s favorite umbrella drink. So you may be stuck in Atlantic Canada instead of having your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand in warmer climes, but you can at least crack one of these, sit back, and dream. Look for it as of today at all Prop Shops, online for home delivery, and at the private stores in the HRM as well. And speaking of the Prop Shops, we’ve been advised that Propeller has officially broken ground on their “coming in 2023” Bedford Highway location that was announced earlier in the year. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of that construction in the new year!

There’s a busy weekend shaping up in HRM, let’s get you in the know so you can take part in the fun.

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary in January is North Brewing, who have come a long way from their small beginnings on Agricola Street (opening as Bridge Brewing on January 23rd, 2013). And to kick off the fun is a New Year’s Eve Tap Takeover at Battery Park on Ochterloney in Dartmouth. From 11:30 tomorrow, Cole Harbour’s Finest will be pouring from the 20 draught lines behind the bar, featuring some old and new favourite beer, ciders, and vodka sodas. In the mix are a pair of new IPAs released this month. Teaming up with the Battery Park team, and a favourite customer of theirs, they have released Hazy Dave’s Juice-tastrophy. This 6.7% New England IPA is a scaling up of a recipe by Dave Wilcox, which is hoppy, hazy, juicy, and not at all a catastrophe. “It’s selling great”, says the brewery, and is available on tap and in cans at North Brewing’s retail and taproom locations for now, until it’s all gone!

Coming tomorrow at the North taprooms and Battery Park event is The Longest Night, another IPA, but different altogether. A Triple IPA, at 10.0% ABV, the big base of Pilsner malt is enhanced with Oats and Wheat for body, head retention, and foam stability. Hopping-wise, the Brew Crew opted for new-to-them Calypso and Talus for citrus aroma and flavour, complementing the Amarillo and Summit, familiar to fans of HiFi. Onlya touch of haze, the hops come through on the nose and flavour, but are not overpowering or bitter. On tap and in responsibly-sized 355ml cans.

More on their NYE event, is that a three course Prix Fixe menu option will be available after 5 PM, which comes complete with pairing North beer with what the BP kitchen has whipped up. Fans of their burgers will be happy to know that their full menu will also be available during that time. Check here for the details on the meal, and this post for the full taplist. Congrats to the North Crew on 10 years!

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Halifax is The Stillwell Freehouse, who are hosting a pre-party Tap Feature by BC’s Dageraad Brewing. Frequent award-winners for the Belgian/Abbey style beers, they have sent along 8 to be enjoyed on draught tomorrow. Look for a Lacto-fermented Dubbel, a Tripel, both a clean and mixed culture fermented Quads (as well as one aged in a Rum barrel), and going off-brand with a Hazy IPA. They’ll be the only Stilly location open Dec 31, as HQ gears up for…

Bar Stillwell on Barrington is hosting a Levee January 1st, with a tap feature from Brasserie Dunham. Starting at 2 PM, there are a half dozen from Dunham on tap, including the Simplexite Pils collab with de Ranke, Biere de Table, Sierra Yakima New England Pale Ale (with Boreale). And from the kitchen, folks will be able to enjoy breakfast sandos, cheesesteak fries, and dunkaroos for dessert! (Note that the Freehouse is closed Jan 1 and both locations are closed Jan 2)

To celebrate the opening of their Elmsdale Brewery, Good Robot is going to be hosting an ACBB (aka, Nerdy) tour of their new facilities in the New Year. On January 21st, you, us, and a dozen other folks looking to learn more about Good Robot’s state-of-the-art brewhouse and gear will be given a tour by the folks who work so tirelessly behind the scenes. There is no cost to the event, but we do need you to win your way onto the guest list! To do that, post a picture/story/reel on social media of a favourite local beer/cider/mead you’ve enjoyed in the past twelve months, and be sure to tag us in it and use the hashtag #ElmsdaleTour. And if you’re not the SM kind, no problem, just fire us an email, send us a text, or release a carrier pigeon to let us know you’re interested! (We’d like to post/re-post to show what our readers are drinking, hope that’s OK) We’ll be drawing a whole buncha names Jan 18 at 6 PM, so your chances are good to take part! Looking forward to meeting you there!

And there you have it, our last post of 2022! Enjoy responsibly this weekend, be sure to check that your favourite brewery or bar is actually open before heading in (and whether they recommend reservations), and we’ll see you next Friday!