We’re officially a month into fall, although you might not know it with the weather in most of the region over the last couple of weeks, and our breweries seem to have firmly turned the corner from traditional end-of-summer burnout to finding a second (third? seventh?) wind and stomping into the leaf pile with fun new liquids for all of us to enjoy, especially so-called “cooler weather styles.” With all four Atlantic Provinces now requiring patrons of indoor public spaces to be vaccinated, we remind you to make sure your documentation is in order before heading out for a pint and to above all, please have patience with (often understaffed) restaurants and bars as they continue to navigate a bunch of new processes and procedures that they never asked for, but have no choice but to participate in. In HRM especially, as we come to the end of burger week, remember that it’s been extra crazy here and maybe some additional patience (and generous tips!) are in order. And with that, here’s what you need to know about this week’s new beers and upcoming beery events.
Although the news hasn’t been super regular coming out of North Brewing in Dartmouth over the past few months, that doesn’t mean things haven’t been going on! An Insta update this week shows lots of progress on their new Halifax-side-of-the-harbour location in Timberlea, fuelling hopes that folks can be buying beer there before the holidays and making it a destination for a sitdown pint in the new year. Meanwhile, at their primary facility, they’re settling into fall and continuing to put out interesting beers – two weeks ago we told you about the Coco Pony and Beernana releases (which we’ve heard blend quite nicely together) – like this week’s new one, Chai Wala Stout. Partnering with Aman Dosanj of Paisley Notebook and, more appropriate to our purposes, small batch spice blend purveyor Edible Adventures, this one does what it says on the tin, pairing warm and comforting chai spices with a deep and dark malty beverage. Starting on the malt side with healthy doses of oats for mouthfeel, chocolate malt for color and roastiness, and lactose for some residual sweetness, the first dose of chai was added in the kettle during the boil (not unlike making tea), with a second extraction taking place on the cold side. As you might imagine, the result is a “rich, spiced stout, reminiscent of a sweet cup of masala chai.” You can find it in cans to go (and pints to stay!) at North’s Portland Street location and Battery Park, or for online ordering. And if you go to the source, and you find yourself thinking, “I’d like to have some of this spice blend that’s not already in beer,” you can buy pouches of this limited release blend at the brewery.
Truro Brewing Company has released a new Hazy Pale Ale this week, and are taking part in the world-wide Brave Noise Beer collaboration. In May 2021, Brienne Allan of Notch Brewing in Salem, MA, shared her story of descrimination and misogyny while working in the beer industry, and asked other women in beer to share their own. This launched wave after wave of people sharing their experiences, and ignited a flame to call out bad actors in the industry, and make beer safer and more welcoming to all, including women, LGBTQIA, and non-binary individuals. The Women of the Bevolution, Allan (who has since left Notch to pursue other endeavours), and Notch are hosting the collaboration to continue the momentum, and make real changes by encouraging breweries around the world to brew the beer, promote the movement, and donate funds to groups supporting related organizations. TBC’s Brave Noise Beer is a 4.5% ABV Hazy Pale Ale, featuring a base of Pils malt, with Oats to bump up the mouthfeel, with Sabro and Mosaic hops added late in the boil and whirlpool to contribute more aroma and flavour than bitterness. Bottles of Brave Noise are available now on Inglis Street in Truro, where it can also be found on tap for pints. TBC is donating proceeds from this beer to The Lotus Centre, a non-profit resource for women in Truro, offering counselling, programming, clothing, hygiene products, and much more, all free to their clients. While they are the first brewery in the region to take part in collaboration, we hope they are not the last! Interested breweries can sign up at the link above, it’s not too late!
Up in Port Rexton, the eponymously named brewery has a new beer released last weekend to celebrate friends and long time PR tap account, Adelaide Oyster House in St. John’s, who are celebrating their 7th birthday. It’s a Vibe is a mango guava wheat beer, super fruit-forward and decidedly crushable. Containing both mango and guava, of course, it gets an additional citrusy tropical boost from a small dry hop of Galaxy and Azacca hops. Finishing dry and coming in at a very quaffable 4.5% ABV, it’s the kind of beer one might expect could pair very nicely with oysters. Look for it packaged in cans at both of Port Rexton’s locations (HQ and the St. John’s Retail shop), and on tap at PR and Adelaide, of course.
Fully loaded with a new release this week is Antigonish’s Half Cocked Brewing with Braeside Bitter. Named after the once famed Antigonish bowling alley, “Braeside Lanes”, the bowling alley not only lends its name to this Bitter style ale, but the wood from lane 2 was donated to the brewery to create their bar top. It sounds like it’s going to permanently join the lineup at Half Cocked as this classic style is always a crowd-pleaser, whether you’re in England or Antigonish. Using all English ingredients to stay true to style, they just had to tweak their local water a bit to get what they were looking for. Bringing traditional flavours of a biscuit and caramel malt body, you’ll get notes of honey, lemon and tea based on their hop blend. This is available now on tap and for growler fills at the brewery.
Always keeping us on our toes (and wishing that we could get there and try their beer!) Secret Cove Brewing is releasing Scoff, a 3% table beer. As always, they keep with Newfoundland and Labrador themes and pride with their releases, staying true to their terroir, values and traditions. Made for gathering and doing things themselves, this beer welcomes all in a true East Coast spirit. This table beer is brewed with a variety of English hops bringing herbal and earthy notes, pairing with Vienna, rye and flaked barley in the grain bill. There is a lot in here for “just a 3% beer” to pair nicely with all your fall Newfoundland traditions of Jiggs dinner, deer, moose and game season. This is available in 473 mL cans from the brewery today and will likely make its way at various locations across the island in the coming weeks.
From the Lake City (Dartmouth), Lake City Cider has a new release in their Vine Series with Strawberry Pinot Grigio Sparkling Cider. In this series, they use their normal base of Nova Scotia apples for cider, but infuse wine elements from different grapes and sometimes fruit additions. In this release, the apples are complemented with Niagara Pinot Grigio grapes and local Nova Scotia strawberries. The result is a light and refreshing sparkling cider pairing well with many different foods. It’s available now in 355 mL cans and is 9%. You can find this at the cidery or online, and they deliver 7 days a week!
Staying in Dartmouth, New Scotland Brewing is embracing the fall weather by releasing Old Buzzard, a dry Irish Stout. This is a traditional dry Irish Stout with a bit of a twist (we’d expect nothing less from these brewers!) in the addition of locally roasted organic coffee and organic cacao nibs to enhance the flavour. Light in the mouth, dark in the glass, with lovely coffee and chocolate sweetness, it’s a lovely ale for the time of year. A special shout-out to Scott, a co-founder of the brewery (Mike is another founder and Head Brewer), who brewed this beer alongside the production team. It’s been awhile since Scott has been in the brewhouse, so definitely give him a shout-out if and when you try this one on tap. This beer is a very sessionable 3.7% and is available starting today (Friday) only on tap at their Downtown D-town brewery.
Halifax beer drinkers have been spoiled with another great taproom addition, the Gottingen Street location of Tusket Falls Brewing Co. This week sees the release of Predictable Chaos, available in cans and for pints now. This 7.1% beer is being called a Blackberry Cinnamon Sour Crunch (queue the BJCP style writers scratching their heads). The kettle sour features additions of blackberries, cinnamon, vanilla bean and their in-house baked granola, which in our books, also makes this a perfectly acceptable breakfast beer. And for those on the South Shore, their brewery location is also carrying the Chaos.
Over on the Island (Prince Edward Island, that is), Modern Brewer’s Village Green in Cornwall has a brand new IPA to tickle your tastebuds and satisfy your hop cravings. Coastal avoids the great IPA beef of the 2010s by being “not quite East Coast, not quite West Coast, but definitely wet.” Leveraging classic citrussy Cascade, pithy, piney and resinous Chinook, and stone fruity and slightly tropical Amarillo, it’s got a classic aroma and moderate bitterness in a 6.1% ABV package. It’s already on tap for pints and in cans to go at the tap room in Cornwall; and if you decide to head down and try it or grab some to go, maybe give a thought to trying/grabbing some of their super-sessionable, eminently quaffable 3% Dark Mild.
In other Village Green new, they’re looking for part time bartenders. VG’s beertender/assistant brewer/tastemaker Mark Misener is heading to the Big Smoke to work at Bar Volo, and so there are big shoes to be filled! “Celebrating inclusion and diversity in both people and beer”, all are welcome to start or continue their beer career, by reaching out via email. And Misener will be pouring his last beers in Cornwall next Friday, so be sure to pop by for a visit before then to see him off!
Some Moncton news from a brewery that always has updates for our readers, Tire Shack Brewing has a new beer release and a food event on Sunday. First up, the beer! We’ve had a few white stout releases over the last few months and Tire Shack is joining the fray, releasing Lavender-Chocolate White Stout today! At 5%, this is a white stout featuring both a flavour pop and smoothness from a mix of lavender and chocolate additions. Don’t let the appearance fool you, as this isn’t a classically dark stout, but it tastes like it could be! A limited release as it was brewed on their pilot system, it is only available for pints and growlers at the brewery. Come try it out on Sunday when they’ll be hosting Birria Dave’s at 1pm for Mexican street tacos. Last time they hosted this pop-up event, all the tacos sold out in 90 minutes!
A friendly reminder that Halifax’s Stillwell Freehouse is hosting a tap takeover by Microbrasserie Les Grands Bois tomorrow. More details on the tap list and fun are available in last week’s post, and their IG page. And keep your calendar free for next Saturday, October 30th, as Stillwell on Barrington hosts Willibald Farm Distillery & Brewery from Ayr, Ontario, bringing a full dozen taps of beer, ranging from lagers to sours, stouts to Triple IPAs, with the folks from Willibald in the house to chat all things beer. We hear there will be some special food coming out of the kitchen too, so come both thirsty *and* hungry!
Those who have attended one of the many Craft Draught Showdown events at the Carleton in Halifax over the past few years know that they’re a great way to not only sample a bunch of tasty beers and enjoy some excellent food but to also have some fun in the process. So whether you’ve been and are looking to go again or haven’t and are excited to try it, you should be aware that these events are back, with one of the HRM’s newest breweries, Serpent Brewing out of Spryfield, taking on one of the oldest craft breweries in the city (and the province, and the region, really), Propeller Brewing on Wednesday, October 27th at 7 PM. As always, five food courses from chef Mathias Probst will be paired with a 4oz pour of a beer from each brewery. Patrons will vote for the most successful pairing with each course, with a winner declared at the end of the night. Tickets are $75, which includes tip but not HST ($86.25 all in) and, conveniently, can be ordered online. Seating is limited, as always, so we’d recommend getting your tickets soon if you want to attend this one!
We have a couple of quick hits from Dieppe before we dismiss you for the week. Be sure to visit your fave local good beer bar, restaurant, or brewery this weekend, to help them keep the great stuff pouring!
Up first is Flying Boats Brewing with Evil Lover, an 8% ABV Double IPA from their Test Pilot Series. This one features large hop additions for bittering (82 IBUs), and also during the whirlpool and dry hop to amp up the aromas of citrus, berries and apricots. Cans of Evil Lover are available now at the Dieppe taproom and through their online store.
We’ll leave you with a new kettle sour from CAVOK Brewing. Long Weekend is a low bitterness and sessionable take on the style, with only 6 IBUs and 4.7% ABV. It’s available now in cans and on tap for pints or growler fills.