12 beers of christmas

All posts tagged 12 beers of christmas

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.

Wow, it’s December already! Time flies when there’s so much beer news to collect and share across our region! This week’s news is a mix of new and returning beers, some holiday-themed events, and hints of new breweries set to open in the New Year. Crack open that Advent Calendar beer or chocolate, and let’s dive right in.

• We lead off with lots of new beer news from Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing, who actually sent all this info in days ahead of the post going up (we’re still a bit dizzy with shock)! To start off, they have a new brew on tap at their tiny taproom, a Saison named Sylvan Specter. Featuring some noticeable malt flavours thanks to the use of Munich and Melanoiden malts in the grist on top of a base Pale malt, as well as some Wheat malt to boost the mouthfeel, this 4.9% ABV was hopped with Enigma and Saaz at the end of the boil, for “a blend of earthy, fruity, and herbal components”. Fermented with two Saison strains (Farmhouse Ale and French Saison), expect a very dry beer with some spicy phenolics, in addition to the flavours mentioned above.

• Continuing with the rest of the Tidehouse news, they have brewed three other new beers to celebrate the opening of new restaurant aFrite, which opens tomorrow at 1360 Lower Water St. in Halifax. They are the following, with each designed to pair with specific plates: Bishop’s Porter, a 6.2% ABV “Raspberry American Porter”, the raspberry presence is fairly light to pair with aFrite’s sous vide Side of Beef with Frites and Bernaise sauce; Salter Saison, a 5.4% ABV amber-coloured Saison hopped heavily with Perle and Tettnanger featuring lots of herbal notes, to pair with their Donair Gnocchi; and Morris Ale, a 5.3% ABV American Pale Ale hopped with Citra, with fresh lime zest also added, paired with Fried Cauliflower in curry sauce (featuring cilantro, cumin, ghee, and lemon).

Roof Hound has a new Sour that incorporates a different approach to the souring method, compared to previous releases of theirs in this style. They actually made their own yogurt with a bacteria culture used by a local Nova Scotian family for close to 100 years, according to owner/brewer Les Barr. Built up over several weeks in coconut milk, the resulting coconut yogurt (therefore dairy-free) was added directly to the wort to lower the pH (to just barely above 3). Shredded coconut had also been added to the mash, and the whole thing was fermented with a blend of five yeast strains. Named Dooflicker Tropical Brown Sour, the resulting 5.3% ABV beer hits you “with a jaw-cramping mouth pucker, followed by a good remaining body, and a slight chocolate and coconut finish”.

• The crew at Port Rexton Brewing has had a busy fall, and are ready to unveil several new and returning beers this weekend. At this evening’s 12 Beers of Christmas in St. John’s (more details below), they are debuting Rewind Saison, which is a take on their previously-released Mixed Opportunity mixed-fermentation Saison. The Rewind, however, is fermented solely with Sacchromyces yeast (no Brett here), for a different profile. Light-to-medium in body, with a mild sweetness with herbal notes in the flavour, and fruity esters and spicy phenolics on the nose, the beer ends up at 5.5% ABV. If there’s any left after this evening’s event, it will be available tomorrow at the brewery. Speaking of which, for the next four Saturdays (Dec 2, 9, 16, and Tibb’s Eve), the brewery will be open 2-10PM for all of your sample, pint, and growler needs.

• Also available this weekend at the brewery will be a trio of their beers in cans, following their successful, and sold out, release of Blazing Sun NE-DIPA mid-November. Baycation BlondeT-Rex Porter, and Chasing Sun NEIPA will all be available at opening, and the only spot to grab them is at the brewery.

• And debuting next Thursday, December 7, is a fundraising collaboration in support of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium. The beer was brewed with the folks from the Aquarium, as well as Motion Bay Brewing Company, opening next year in Petty Harbour, as well as the folks from Jack AxesOceans & Orchards is a truly Axe-perimental brew, as the base beer (grist of 2 Row, Oats, Honey, Vienna and a touch of Crystal 60 malts) features 50 litres of fresh-pressed apple juice courtesy of Newfoundland Cider Company (debuting their ciders in 2018 as well). The resultant 4.5% ABV graf (that is, beer/cider hybrid) features notes of honey and apple, enhanced by the El Dorado and Huell Melon dry hopping. O&O is debuting at the December 7th event at 7PM at Jack Axes on Water Street, for an evening of throwing axes and sipping on this and other beers, all while benefiting the new aquarium in PH. More details are available at the FB Event page.

• Ashdale Nova Scotia’s Meander River has a new cider available this weekend, in celebration of their expanded production space. Two 2,000 litre fermenters, and one brite tank, all dedicated to cider production, have been added to their brewery, so as not to inhibit their brewing pipeline, and increase their cider availability. The fermenters have already been filled, so stay tuned for those releases in the New Year. In the meantime, the latest release is Perry Noel, a 5.5% ABV perry cider, made with 100% Nova Scotia pears from Davison Farm in Falmouth. A light and dry cider (no back sweetening used), aromas of earthiness and tropical fruit are present on the nose. Available at the brewery today for growler fills, kegs have been delivered to bars and restaurants in Hants County and HRM, so keep an eye out as you make your way around the area.

• And you can learn even more about the brewing and cider plans if you listen to the latest episode of the 902 BrewCast, as the gents visited Alan and Brenda Bailey (and Angus) to learn about their farm, brewery, cider production, and plans for the future. The latest episode can be streamed directly at their site, or downloaded for offline enjoyment.

• Like clockwork, our pals at 2 Crows in Halifax have got a bunch of new beers to tickle your tastebuds this week and next, so let’s get you the details post-haste. Released earlier this week is their latest small batch brew, Shoreline. A 4.6% ABV Pale Ale, with a base of 2 Row and Oat malts, and hopped with Azacca and Huell Melon, before fermentation with a blend of a dozen different strains of Brettanomyces yeasts, before dry-hopping with Vic Secret, and a final keg conditioning with champagne yeast. Phew! The resultant beer is dry, funky, and fruity, with notes of guava, tangerine, and pineapple. As with all of these small batch brews (the Attempted Murder Series name still hasn’t caught on), this one is only available by the glass.

• Tomorrow, 2C is unleashing the latest of their full canned releases, brewed by Jeremy Taylor in collaboration with a fellow former-BC brewer, and current Manitoba brewery owner, Miguel Cloutier, of Kilter Brewing. Firmly in the Milkshake IPA territory, Hawaiian Ivory has a slew of light-coloured malts at its base, including Pilsner, Wheat, Oat, and Honey, along with the heavy dose of lactose and vanilla, iconic for the style. Playing up on the milkshake idea, bananas, dried coconut, lime zest, mango and pineapple purée were added in the boil and conditioning tank. The hops chosen are also quite fruity and tropical, with AzaccaCitraHuell Melon, and Simcoe in the boil, with all but Huell Melon also added in a dry hop for another aromatic blast. Hawaiian Ivory will be available from opening at noon tomorrow, by the glass and can, and in a first, Kilter and 2 Crows fans in Manitoba will be able to purchase this collaboration in Winnipeg later this month.

• And in upcoming beer news, 2C’s Linnea Finnish Imperial Stout will be released next Wednesday, December 6th. Brewed in celebration of Finland’s 100th anniversary Independence Day, the beer incorporates popular flavours from Finnish cuisine, including cardamom and salty liquorice. Taylor lived in Finland for a time, and his brother still lives in the country, raising a family. Linnea is named after Taylor’s niece. Using 95% Finnish-grown and -produced malt from Viking Malt (courtesy of local company Nordic Malz), it features Pale, Oats, Crystal, Chocolate Malts and Roast Barley, with molasses, to 9.1% ABV. Moderately hopped to 60 IBU with Columbus, and Golding (and a touch of Centennial for a light, bright, nose), it features additions of sea salt, liquorice root, star anise and cardamom pods. Drop by the brewery Wednesday to celebrate all things Finnish, and grab a pint to celebrate. And it may even be available to those outside of the province thanks to some holiday-themed boxes many folks have started opening today… Kippis!

• And we’re already behind schedule with today’s publishing, so we do not have time to tell you about the details on the next releases, but rest assured you’ll want to keep an eye out for their next canned release mid-month, as well as the beers they have cooked up for their First Anniversary in January.

• This weekend marks the third straight week of new releases from Stillwell Brewing, with the latest, Gosh, dropping first at Stillwell Beer Bar tomorrow, followed by a bottle release at the brewery on Sunday from 12-4. A pale Farmhouse Ale aged in a red wine barrel, Gosh is described as “bone-dry, with a tropical fruit fermentation character and grippy finish”. Dry-hopped with Mosaic to help boost that tropical fruit character, we’re sure this one will sell out as quickly as the last two, so show up early on Sunday!

• There’s two new beers coming out of TrailWay this week, with the first one being a new winter seasonal. Parallel is a “Session Ale” with a grain bill made up of 100% German Pale malt, and hopped entirely with Mosaic. The brewery describes it as “super-balanced”, with the hop-focus not being quite as strong as in many of their other beers. Indeed sessionable at just 4% ABV, expect a “rather subtle tropical fruitiness with a solid, crackery-malt profile”. It’s available on tap now around Fredericton, as well as in cans (both at the brewery and ANBL stores). The next beer, Good Times in the Fridge, is another hop bomb that released today at noon. A pale-coloured American IPA with minimal bitterness, it was hopped with Galaxy and Motueka. At 6% ABV, cans of this one are available at the brewery only.

• Now that Fredericton’s Bogtrotter is back to full-brewing mode, they’re releasing a brand new beer this week. Cranky Crab Coconut Porter is a 5% dark ale brewed with toasted coconut (added in the mash, boil, and secondary) and chocolate nibs. Also featuring hints of vanilla in the flavour (thanks to the addition of pure extract in secondary), it weighs in at 5% ABV and will soon be available on tap at the James Joyce and Cask and Kettle.

Rockbottom Brewpub on Spring Garden Road in Halifax has a new beer available, an American Wheat that was dosed with raspberries they’re calling Witty Pun. With his feet now firmly under him in RB’s cramped brewing quarters, brewer Ian Kean is starting to exert himself on the beer menu more and though it might not seem “seasonal” in November, this beer is certainly accessible, with a solid wheat presence underlying a lovely raspberry aroma and flavour. Clean American yeast yields an otherwise fairly dry finish to this 5.0% ABV beer, which also sports 12 IBU worth of balancing hop bitterness. As of yesterday, it was available for growler fills and pints at the pub.

Good Robot released a new Alpha Brew, Steambot Willie, earlier this week. With a grist made up of Maris Otter, Amber malt, Carapils, Red X, and Rye, it was hopped with Mt. Hood, Perle, and Magnum to 32 IBUs, and dry-hopped with more Perle, and Tettnang. Fermented with a Mexican Lager yeast strain, think of this one as an Ale-Lager hybrid, similar in a way to a California Common. At 5.5% ABV, and described as an “earthy, malty Lager with a bitter finish”, it’s available on tap now at GR, and will likely pop up around the HRM. And for next Tuesday’s Beta Brew release, we have Alien From Next Door, an American Pale Ale brewed by Kelly C. and Lianne Lessard. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, Red X and Crystal 30, Polaris was used for bittering (to 27 IBUs), with later hop additions including Galaxy and Willamette, and then a dry-hop with more Polaris. And finally, note that cans of GR’s Extra Big ASS Lager and bottles of Barrel-Aged Mississippi Goddamn can now be purchased at the Halifax private liquor stores.

Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House in Lower Sackville continues to round out their line of easy-drinking beers with a light wheat ale they’re calling Orange American Bastard (we’ve no idea what, or who, that name could be referring to). Boasting orange peel, both sweet and bitter varieties, along with coriander, all added late in the boil for a Belgian flair, it was fermented (we think) on an American yeast for a clean ester profile. This 4.7% ABV beer is built on a base of wheat and pale malts with a little bit of Vienna for character. Crisp and clean with a nice mouthfeel, this is, according to brewer Keith Forbes, “a Summer beer heading into Winter.” It’s available now, but only on one of the guest taps at Good Robot on Robie Street in Halifax.

Heritage Brewing has a follow-up to their popular Citra Session IPA, meaning if you like hops, you should have no problem with this one! White Sands Milkshake IPA was brewed with a “touch” of lactose and ample amounts of Ekuanot and Citra hops, giving lots of “fruity, citrusy, and tropical” aromas and flavours. Available now, it comes in at 6.7% ABV and 60 IBUs.

• Darmouth’s Nine Locks Brewing has announced that they have a new brewer working alongside Head Brewer Jake Saunders. Connor MacLeod is originally from Bridgewater, and has studied in the Certified Brewmaster course at the prestigious VLB Berlin. Previously working at Garrison Brewing in Halifax, he brings several years of experience of homebrewing and passion to his commercial work, which started in part thanks to his father, who is also a beer fan. Welcome aboard, Connor! And perhaps to celebrate their new arrival, 9L has brought back their Vanilla Porter, a 5.0% ABV porter with a touch of vanilla for a light sweetness and aromatic meld with the chocolate and dark malt character. Available in cans and growler fills at the brewery today!

• Last weekend was the party and announcement for the Sober Island Brewing Foraged Homebrew Competition, at the brewery in Sheet Harbour. From 15 entries, Andrew Deveaux’s entry Raspberry Beer Eh! took top honours. Brewed with 95% malt from Horton Ridge, Deveaux’s beer featured late-season raspberries foraged from his own backyard added to a Wheat Beer base. Congratulations to Deveaux, and we expect to see a full release of the winning beer once raspberries make their return next year. In the meantime, look for SIBC’s Winter Rye to debut this month.

• Last Sunday saw an excellent turnout at the Dartmouth location of the Wooden Monkey for the 5th Annual Big Spruce Homebrew Challenge. As announced back in September, this competition was wide open style-wise, as it was instead entered around the use of the “Pin Cherry #1” yeast strain harvested from the property of Big Spruce in Nyanza, Cape Breton. This yeast was identified to have somewhat of a Belgian character, in the Trappist vein of being somewhat spicy and phenolic, with a medium flocculation and attenuation. As organized by ACBB’s own Chris McDonald, 39 entries fermented on the yeast were evaluated and scored by 12 judges, with the assistance of 4 stewards, over the course of the afternoon, culminating in a Best of Show round where the 9 favorites were slowly winnowed down to a top 3 with an honorable mention. Top prize went to Justin Clarke’s Split Personality a North American Saison that was fermented with both the Big Spruce yeast and a blend of Brettanomyces strains before being aged on wood chips. The variety of beers entered was vast, with classic Belgian, North American and even English styles competing against more outré beers featuring additional ingredients as varied as lime zest and tomatillo, habanero peppers, pineapple and coconut, peach and sage, and applewood tea. There was even a mead entry from local meadmaker Nancy Hartling that was not able to be accepted into the competition but which was tasted at the gala and turned out very nicely. The overall quality, according to the judges, was top notch, especially considering the range of beers and the fact that not a single brewer had previously used the yeast. Congratulations to all those who entered, and especially those who placed, and many thanks to Jeremy and the team at Big Spruce, and all those involved in helping reach the result. Sláinte. We look forward to tasting Justin’s winning entry when a production batch is brewed sometime in the future. And don’t forget the Big Spruce tap takeover at Battery Park this coming Thursday, November 7th!

• The Murphy Hospitality Group – owners of the PEI Brewing Co. / Gahan House – have announced that they will be opening yet another Gahan House Restaurant & Brewery location, this time in downtown Fredericton. They have purchased Vault 29, a restaurant/bar at 426 Queen St., for the new brewpub, which will have a 120-seat dining room, oyster bar, two seasonal patios, and a 5 bbl (600 L) brewhouse onsite. The plan is for the brewpub to open sometime in the spring, making it the fifth Gahan location (Charlottetown, Halifax, Saint John, and soon-to-open Moncton). The full press-release can be read here.

• As we’ve mentioned previously, the ambitious “East Coast Crafted” was released earlier this week, and is available for purchase at book stores across the region, as well as many of the breweries featured in the book. Learning more about the 80+ breweries in our region, authors Christopher Reynolds and Whitney Moran interviews and visited many of these spots to speak face-to-face with those behind the breweries we talk about weekly. The book also features dozens of photographs by Jessica Emin. Don’t forget that the authors will be celebrating the book with a launch December 9th at Stillwell, with beers from all four Atlantic Provinces pouring, where you can meet the authors and many of the brewery folks featured in the book.

Another weekend full of events for you to enjoy across our region:

• As mentioned above, the 12 Beers of Christmas is taking place this evening in St. John’s. At Club One on New Gower, from 7:30PM, attendees will be greeted with a full glass of beer, plus tokens to enjoy samples of the other 11 onsite. In addition to the debut of Port Rexton’s Rewind, Mill Street YYT is debuting their Crooked Cow Latte Stout, and you will be able to enjoy many beers not otherwise available in the province (Big Spruce Cereal Killer, 2Crows Pollyanna, Upstreet Eighty Bob and White Noize, and Maybee Stone House Tripel. Check this page for the full list of what will be pouring. After you’ve tried them all, you can purchase more tokens for samples or full pours of your favourites. Grab your tickets now, dust off your ugly Christmas sweater, and head out for a party!

• Good news, thirsty Cape Bretoners! The 2nd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening tomorrow, December 2nd, at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney. VIP tickets are sold out, but there are still some general admission tickets available ($55 + tax, each), which gets you entry into the festival at 7-9:30 pm. A special glass and unlimited beer samples are included, and many local breweries will be on hand to pour their creations, and chat beer! Note that Designated Driver tickets ($15 + tax) are also still available; all tickets can be purchased from the event website above.

Tidehouse Brewing is turning one, and are celebrating in style with a Tap Takeover at Tom’s Little Havana next Saturday, December 9th. All eight taps will be dedicated to Tidehouse, which they’ll be filling with some of their best beers brewed over the past year. The fun starts at 5 pm and will continue until close; stay tuned to their event page for a full taplist release next week.

• Christmas is just around the corner, with Boxing Day of course right behind it; if you’re in the Fredericton area, what better way to celebrate Boxing Day than a Boxing Rock Tap Takeover? Being held on Tuesday, December 26th at the King Street Ale House, there’ll be tons of BR beers pouring, starting at 5 pm. You can just show up and pay by the pint, but if you reserve your spot now for $15, you’ll get a flight of beer and a pound of wings. Sounds like a good deal to us! Tickets can be purchased on the event page.

And a couple more returning favourites this week:

– Following last week’s release of Midnight, their Glenora Distillery Barrel-aged Strong Dark Belgian beer, HRM’s North Brewing has teed up the non-barrel version. Dark Sky is available today in 650 mL bottles at both their Halifax and Dartmouth bottle shops.
– And down the road on Gottingen Street, Propeller has a new cask for us this evening, a version of their Double IPA dry hopped with Idaho 7 and Ekuanot hops. They’ll be cracking into that at 5 PM as usual.
Red Rover has brought back their festive Jingleberry Cider, featuring additions of wild blueberry, cardamom, and nutmeg paired with notes of caramel, you’ll find it at the Ciderhouse and ANBL locations around the province.

picaroons_12beersofxmas

Picaroons will be starting its 12 beers of Christmas on Wednesday, December 12th (the first beer will be announced at noon on that day).  A different beer will then be available for growler fills ups at the Brewtique for the following 11 days.

While the list of beers isn’t available, I hear that there will be some old favorites from last year and some new ones added to the mix.  Keep a close eye on the Picaroons facebook page and their Twitter feed ( @picaroons ) for updates on what beers are available and when.