Happy Friday beer, cider, and mead fans! It’s getting to be the season of celebration and reflection, as we look back on the ”Year of Beer 2021” that was, and how beer (and life) will look in 2022. Your faithful ACBB authors will be taking a little pause during the next couple weeks to spend with family (growing family, in a couple of our cases!) and friends, and do our own reflecting on what is to come. Here be the last ACBB Friday Wrap-Up of 2021, and we’ll chat again soon!
Delta Force Brewing in Greenwich, Nova Scotia, has a fresh new beer available this week, Bap, a Korean toasted rice lager. Inspired by the Korean scorched sticky rice dish Nurungji, the fellas behind DFB actually toasted their own rice before adding it to the grain bill of this 4.5% ABV lager. The resulting copper lager features a touch of toasting from the process, but still remains refreshing, and the perfect pairing for Korean food, including fried chicken. Grab Bap, and everything from Delta Force, from their online shop, which is featuring a 10% discount for orders of 6+ bottles, or from an increasing number of spots in HRM, including Bishop’s Cellar, The Other Bean, and Pizzatown Cobequid.
Breton Brewing has visions of (sugar) plums dancing through our heads with their latest release, Let’s Jam Plum Sour. Building on their previous Let’s Jam releases, it features loads of plum to complement the acidity from the base beer. Available direct from the brewery and online, as well as in the Maritime Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Back with another release in their rotating IPA Series, 2 Crows Brewing brings out Quiet Contemplation, a juicy, tropical, and lush IPA available now. They use the same malt base as the other IPAs in the series (Golden Promise, wheat, oats and dextrin malt) along with lots of mash hops, some hopback hops and massive amounts of dry-hopping. This one is loaded with Vic Secret and Citra hops and brings a flavours and aromas of mango, mandarin, pineapple and passionfruit in a smooth 6.1% and 44 IBU package. It’s available now, online and in the taproom in 473ml cans.
Cornwall, PEI’s Village Green has two new releases to round out 2021. Weird Clouds 8 is their latest in their IPA series featuring loads of Galaxy, Simcoe and Idaho 7, bringing lots of citrus, peach skin and some nice allium flavour from Simcoe. It’s 6.9% and is available in cans now. Second up is a Winter Warmer, brewed with Charlottetown good beer joint Hopyard. A seasonal favourite, it was brewed with brown sugar and a fine selection of warming spices to bring this dark and tasty style to life at 7.7%. Now available in cans and kegs, it will be pouring at Hopyard on PEI over the holidays.
Port Rexton Brewing is celebrating Tibb’s Eve in style next week, with their taproom open Dec 23rd, 4 – 10 PM. Plenty of fun things planned for the evening (including a cask of their Gluten Free Porter with a ton of orange zest added), so let’s tell you about their annual celebratory beer that accompanies it! Tibbs the Saison is a 5.8% ABV Saison brewed with Fruit Bomb Saison from Escarpment Labs, displaying plenty of fruit and herbal character in a non-adjunct beer. Available now at the brewery, their St. John’s Retail Shop, as well as Urban Market 1919, Maries Mini Marts across the island, and local NLCs.
In the spirit of holiday get-togethers, two of Dartmouth’s breweries partnered up on a couple of beers for the holidays. Brightwood Brewing and New Scotland are releasing Fritz, a West Coast IPA inspired by the “father” of that style, Fritz Maytag (of Anchor Brewing, donchaknow!), and Wallonia Cranberry Farmhouse Ale, inspired by the birthplace of the Belgian Farmhouse Style. Exclusively available in 4-packs (two of each, of course) for an even $20 (tax and deposit included) at both breweries.
Across the Northwest Arm from peninsular Halifax, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing decided to pound out some holiday brews for us all. Up first is Rusty Compass, the latest output of their Beer Creation Experience program. A 5.6% cream ale, it includes flaked corn in the grist to keep the body light and the finish crisp; it’s available in 500ml bottles or for fills and pints at the taproom. Next up is Pilot Boat, a collaboration with local espresso bar/grocery/art gallery Pavia. Nominally a “coffee ESB” it of course contains some coffee, but also a selection of specialty malts specifically selected to create a coffee-like character that could be enhanced by the addition of actual beans in the secondary. Coming in at 5.3% ABV and 33 IBU, you find this one on tap and for fills at Serpent, or in bottles exclusively at Pavia. Lastly but not leastly is Slowrider, Serpent’s latest foray into the New England/hazy IPA realm since Pavo. Somewhat slight, even for the style, at 5.3% ABV and 28 IBU, a little bit of Magnum for bittering gives way to whirlpool additions of Amarillo and Sabro, followed by a huge dose of Sabro in the dry hop. Plenty of high-protein adjuncts paired with the London Fog yeast strain make for a delightfully opaque presentation of hop goodness, but you’ll have to go to the brewery to get it, as it’s not packaged. In non-new release news, Serpent’s Eden is now available on tap at the Armview on the roundabout and White Mountain Witbier is available at Bishop’s Cellar for the first time.
Pulling the opposite trick from a couple weeks ago, we go Spryfield to Sackville (or is that Spryville to Sackfield?) this time, where Ol’ Biddy’s has a small batch coming out next Thursday just in time for your Xmas weekend. Available at the taproom for pints and growler fills only, it’s a bit of a big one, at 7.6% and 22 IBU. Aged on Madagascar vanilla and bourbon, look for big chocolate flavour and a smooth vanilla and bourbon finish. A fine pint to sip on after your shopping is done and you’re ready to relax.
On the Eastern side of PEI, Bogside Brewing has a couple new things this week as well, starting with a beer for a cause: Gimme Shelter is a blonde ale, crisp and refreshing at 5% ABV, and with $6 from every 6-pack sold going to the PEI Humane Society. On the (much!) heavier side is Bourbon Street Barrel Aged Porter, a big ol’ smooth, rich, and velvety concoction matured in Kentucky Bourbon barrels and weighing in at a hefty 10%. On draught at the taproom, but also available in a limited number of bottles to go.
Dildo, NL’s eponymous Dildo Brewing has a collaboration beer out with PEI’s Lone Oak, using their respective Provinces’ favourite root vegetables. Starky Bunch is a 5% lager using PEI Potatoes and Newfoundland turnips to produce 20% of the extract in this well-hopped clean and crisp American Pilsner. This is available in 473ml cans from Dildo now, and we hear Islanders will see it at Lone Oak as well in the coming weeks.
Deep in the Annapolis Valley, Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing has debuted something a little different this week, a gruit! The Descendent uses juniper for flavouring and bitterness, rather than hops, producing a nice light coniferous character. Flexing the versatility of Kveik yeast to ferment just about anything thrown at it, The Descendent is available now at the brewery, as well as at their Market presence this weekend.
Staying in the Valley, where Annapolis Brewing Company has a brand new beer available as well. Left Coast Double IPA is ABC’s first DIPA and they’ve aimed to make it a classic example of the West Coast style. Mashed high to encourage some non-fermentable sugars that in turn lend some extra body, it was bittered with Magnum and hopped in the whirlpool with classic American varieties Amarillo and Centennial. Finished with a “whopping” dry hop of more Centennial, you can expect plenty of pine and citrus from this one, which is available on tap and in cans from the brewery.
Staying in Annapolis Royal, East Coast Cider Company has a new seasonal cider available today. Ambrosia Raspberry Cider is a semi-sweet, semi-dry cider offering using a base of their Ambrosia cider, with raspberry added in for a nice tart and sweet flavour. This 6% offering is available on tap and in cans at the taproom, or available to order online.
Continuing West down the 101 highway, we come to Roof Hound down Digby way where they’ve put together a Chocolate Stout collection for the holidays. All built off the same base beer (we think!), each got a different holiday treatment: Wasted Days will be reminiscent of Peanut Butter Balls, Cinna-Bone will give you your chicken bones fix, Cherry Brandy will get you that liquor-filled cherry bon bons vibe, and the cleverly named 8:05 Mint will make you think of a green box, paper wrappers, and peppermint. Sounds like an awesome chance to share some fun beers with friends and/or family. Or four nights of contemplating a particular beer. You’ll find these in bottles, available as singles, as a Chocolate Stout Collection 4-pack, or as part of Roof Hound’s Holiday Box all on sale at the brewery.
Lots of news out of Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing this week. Firstly, they’re dipping their toes into the big lager market after their success with 10,000lb Pilsner with the release of Good Robot American Lager. Designed to be a “good, honest, cold lager,” at 5% ABV and available in 6-packs, maybe you’ll like it, or maybe it’ll just save you a trip elsewhere to get beer for your non-craftian party guests. Either way that’s a win! GR is also joining the throngs with the availability of Holiday Boxes. Two are available, the “Essential” box with eight GR beers and two pieces of custom GR holiday merch, and the “Deluxe” with eighteen brews and twice the merch content (four pieces). All come with a Holiday Card that they’ll fill out any way you like – GR does the work, you get the credit. And lastly, if you’re heading down there, GR is running a “Swabs for Pints” program to encourage folks to be smart and get tested. You show your evidence of a negative COVID test, either via a pic of your home test result or a text message from the testing program and they’ll sell you a pint at the lowest legal price. Wins for everyone!!
Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing have been happy little beer elves all year long and they’re bringing some holiday cheer with some new and returning releases. Golden Vanilla Latte is a favourite of TS fans, a blonde ale with lots of coffee and vanilla, brewed in collaboration with Epoch Chemistry coffee shop. Using lightly roasted coffee beans with lactose and vanilla, 3,000 litres of beer was aged, giving a vanilla latte flavour in the 5.0% ABV brew. Next up is another canned release, Pear Chai Sour, a sour ale using a tonne of Chai tea and 100 litres of pears. Pitched with Lactobacillus, you’ll get a fruity, sweet and sour notes at 6%. These two beers are available today in cans, growlers and pints at the brewery. Next Wednesday (December 22) there will be a limited release of FaceMelter, a Wee Heavy style beer coming in at 10%. A perfect style for the season, you get some boozy, malty, caramel flavours, but thanks to the use of honey dates in this brew, you’ll get some fruit notes as well. This was first brewed two years ago, but the honey dates are a new addition for 2021. There are only 100 bottles of this, and last time it sold out in one hour; only available at the brewery, of course.
Nyanza’s finest, Big Spruce Brewing, is back with a winter themed release making it’s return. Shrediquette is a New England IPA that is juicy, bold and fruity. Originally released in March 2020, this beer was going to debut at the Vermont Brewers Fest, but sadly, COVID cancelled that plan. This NEIPA is packed with El Dorado hops and uses Ebbegarden Kveik yeast to bring pineapple, guava and mango flavours to the soft and fruity esters from the yeast. This is available now in cans from the brewery and online. Also, like so many other breweries this year, Big Spruce has a special holiday box featuring 12 cans of 6 Big Spruce staples! Featuring 2 each of Kitchen Party, Cereal Killer, Ready Yer Knot Regatta Red, Guava Get Me Some, Tag! You’re It and Silver Tart, you can get this for $50 including free shipping in Canada!
Lake City Cider has a new release for the end of the year, adding to their Vine series of wine and cider mixes. Sparkling Apple Pinot Grigio is the latest release, featuring Pinot Grigio with a bit of freshly pressed Nova Scotian apples for the cider side. It’s light, delicate with notes of apple and pear with a very dry finish. Available in store or online in 750ml bottles at 9.6%.
The news keeps coming out of North Brewing, this week in the form of a brand new one brewed with a shining light in the industry. Ren Navarro of Beer. Diversity. and Do Better. Be Better. is both a beer expert and a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Who better to team up with on a collaboration beer? Pip Pip Cheerio is an English Porter at 4.5% ABV featuring a blend of specialty malts and a fermentation with the Sterling Ale yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. Expect a toasty brew, with nutty overtones and a soupçon of caramel and cherry. Grab it at any of North’s three retail locations or order it online. And
consider giving do give Ren an Instagram follow at Beer Diversity if you don’t already!
Antigonish’s Candid Brewing really wants to do something to ease the mental and emotional load of the negative light cast on their town over the past couple of weeks. What better way to do that than beer and a spirit of giving? Over the holidays when you place an order that qualifies for free local delivery ($50 and up), you’ll find an extra beer in the box when it arrives: a can of their Kanpai rice lager in friendly community spirit with the Antigonish Townhouse. They ask that you “beer it forward” to someone deserving, be it a friend, colleague, or just someone who needs a pick me up. If you take a picture of that paying it forward and share it to social media (tagging Candid, natch), you’ll be entered to win a private tasting for six at the brewery. The draw will be held Christmas Eve at noon, so you’ve got a few days to get this done. So get thee to their brand new online ordering system and order up some beer, including a couple more brand new debuts that have hit the virtual shelves in the last seven days. Especially important for those in the HRM is that they will be doing a run to the big city next Tuesday (Dec 21), so submit your orders before 8 PM Dec 20 to get in on the action. $60 order minimum, and an order over $100 will get you free shipping, so grab a friend or two and get to clicking!
Heading down the road we’ll end our year in beer news in Stellarton, where Backstage Brewing is releasing Fare Thee Well, a Champagne IPA. This is on tap at the brewery now and bottles will be available early next week. Expect an effervescent beer with a dry finish and plenty of hop character.
A couple of events to tell you about coming to a beer bar or podcast near you!
Obviously subject to change according to whatever might happen restrictions-wise in the next couple of weeks, if you’re looking for a beery NYE pre-party by all means head on down to the Stillwell Freehouse, where they’ll be running from 12 to 10PM giving you plenty of time to enjoy one-off kegs, staff favorites, and special snacks before you head on out to do your countdown thing elsewhere.
Whether you’ve got some time off coming up and you’re looking for some things to pique your interest, or you’re looking for some new content to help you get through the commute during this slow time of year, 902BrewCast has you covered. Tune in to their latest episode, recorded yesterday, but coming to a Tuesday near you (we suspect this coming one, December 21st), when they sat down with Lucas Mader from Bishop’s Cellar (Bishop’s Cellar! Bishop’s Cellar! Bishop’s Cellar!) to catch up on what’s in stock, what’s coming soon, and beery plans for the future. Grab it from their website or wait for it to appear in your favourite podcast app.
In a year full of ups and downs, let’s leave you with some happy news today… TAPestry Beer Bar is celebrating 6 months of bringing the best beers of the province to the fine folks in Lr. Sackville. Thousands of pints poured, Flight School Fridays to launch the weekend, and Kaisers subs consumed onsite, and there will be many more of those to come. Pop by their spot at 833 Sackville Drive to support those folks bringing great beer to great people!