How do you like this heat and humidity folks?! Are you sticky and icky and sweaty gross? You’ll forgive us for being predictable if we suggest that the best treatment (‘cause there’s no antidote) for weather like this is beer and cider. Luckily there are plenty of new releases and re-releases on the go at our region’s breweries to keep your tastebuds interested and your weather-induced discomfort minimized. We encourage you to check out your favourite brewery’s facilities this weekend, whether that be in air-conditioned comfort, enjoying sunshine on a patio (your results may vary depending on your location), or commiserating regarding the lack thereof. Hey, at least you’ll have beer!
Starting with the week off, we start with some cultural news out of Halifax as the 40th Africville reunion kicks off on Friday July 21st and lasts for a week. While you can check out all the events here (it’s for everyone!), North Brewing and the Change is Brewing Collective is re-releasing Deep Rooted, a brown ale in celebration of Africville. The ale itself is inspired by the molasses and brown sugar used by black elders in the brewing process back in the day. This one is 5.7% and will be available at the reunion tonight, and at North Brewing now. Every can sold will contribute to the Africville Museum and Change is Brewing. Stay tuned for more CiBC news, as they are going to be busy in August, too!
As part of the Come Home to Wabush celebrations this weekend, Iron Rock Brewing has released a special beer to commemorate the town’s history and future. 1967 Inc Blackberry and Blueberry Sour marks the year the Town of Wabush was incorporated, and features the abundant local fruit growing around town. At 4.5% ABV, it’s light and refreshing and a beautiful shade of pink, and shares the story of the town to all who will see it. Come Home has a special place for Brian and Dave Hurley of Iron Rock, commemorated on the can, “In loving memory of our Aunt Roma Hawco and each dedicated resident who built our community. – Come Home to Wabush 2023. From the earth, we prosper.” Grab it at the brewery on tap and in cans, as well as at many of the events happening during the week’s festivities.
There is no question one of the very interesting recent style trends in North American Craft Beer is the Light Lager. Whether you think they’re a sad acknowledgement that craft beer has to compete on macro beer’s terms, whether you cite them as a craft victory for showing that “light lager” doesn’t have to mean ‘insipid’, or whether you just know that a light lager is the perfect, “Can we just drink some fuckin’ beer,” beer, Big Spruce is the latest brewery to have you covered. Camp Spruce will happily accompany you from your après lawnmowing sluice at the garden hose, through grilling up dinner at the BBQ, all the way to dousing the campfire and crawling into your tent. At an even 4%, it’s going to be crisp and clean and go down with a smoothness. Packaged in 473ml cans, you can grab a few (or a flat!) from the brewery or order for delivery.
Returning out of Miramichi’s Timber Ship Brewing, Scruples SMaSH is a limited-time can release named after an old Opera House in Miramichi. The 3rd floor of the Opera House had a bar named “Scruples” and this beer is in honour of that. Brewed with Maris Otter malt and Azacca hops, this is meant to mimic the pineapple flavour of it’s house cocktail, the Grog. This is 5.6% and 40 IBU. Grab this one from the brewery today.
Veering away from the seasonable summer crushers that dominate the scene at this time of year, Halifax’s Propeller has something completely different on the go this week. Wild Ale is, well, a wild ale, fermented with a less cultivated, and thus less predictable, strain of yeast. Presenting a base crisp and bready malt character, you’ll find layers of flavor in the form of ripe orchard fruits, a decided tartness, and some funky and earthy notes. As it was barrel aged, you’ll no doubt detect some tannins and maybe a hint of sweetness as well. Reasonably light, at 4.7% ABV, this will be one to savor and consider. Bottled in 500ml bottles, you can grab one at any of the four Prop Shops (including the newly opened Bedford location, which is now open for sitdown pints!) or at Bishop’s Cellar.
Nova Scotia has some badass tourist destinations and one of them is Fortress Louisbourg National Historic Site. But the magic of its restoration would be incomplete without the life that is breathed in by the historical recreators and the other folks of the Fortress of Louisbourg Association. Sydney’s Breton Brewing knows this well and has teamed up once again with the Association to produce another batch of Île Royale Saison. Based on a grist of wheat, oats, and rye, and an additional fermentable contribution of molasses, it was fermented with the Ardennes yeast strain for a classic dry French saison character, with notes of spice and hints of fruit. Fairly light, at 4.8% ABV, it’s available in cans from the taproom and home delivery in CBRM (home delivery in HRM next week), you can also find it pouring on draught at the La Taverne Storehouse at the historic site itself.
Chef Stephen Barrett, aka Seasoned Plate, is the chef friend to breweries and cideries across the region, has teamed up with Antigonish’s Candid Brewing to bring us Sun Kissed Strawberry Saison. Available now on tap and in cans at the brewery, this 5.5% ABV beer started life as a spicy and fruity saison, thanks to the Belle Saison yeast from Lallemand, before a healthy dose of Strawberry purée was added. Be sure to check out SP’s continuing Pints & Plates series, where each week he pairs a unique recipe with a Nova Scotian beer and brewery. This week’s feature is Spiced Chicken and Hummus with Off Track’s Universal Soldier Kolsch.
Hot off the heels of last weekend’s Big Axe Craft Beer Festival, Big Axe Brewery has still managed to pump out a new release. Brewed, “in honor of our Troops who serve and have served,” Green Eyed Pale balances malty character with hop-derived elements of candied orange aromas and fresh fruit and citrus pith flavors. When sweet malt meets citrus and a firm bitterness it sounds like a classic American Pale Ale to us! This 4.8% ABV beauty is pouring on draught or available in cans to go at the BAB taproom, and you’ll also be able to find it on tap at various local restaurants.
Straight out of Rothesay (that’s in New Brunswick), Hammond River Brewing has a few returning beers with a couple of lagers. Seeng Light is a 4% lager featuring Basmati rice and Seeng Strong is a 7.2% lager with more malty notes. Pick these up from the brewery now.
Heading up to Newfoundland, to Paradise, no less, we find Banished Brewing has a new batch of Out the Gate pouring, the first since last year, and one of the brewery’s first recipes. An Abbey Ale, sans abbey or monks, it manages to carry on the stylistic tradition of malt flavors paired with candy and bubblegum notes. Falling neatly into the “Singel” category, at 5.3%, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a simple beer; in fact at that ABV we figure there’s an opportunity to contemplate the complexity that happens when malt, hops, and especially Belgian yeast strains get together and make magic. This one’s on tap at the brewery and packaged in cans for both the Banished retail shop and wider distribution in the area.
Staying on the Rock, we have plenty of news from Port Rexton Brewing Company who are celebrating seven years in operation this weekend! With their Birthday Bash happening tomorrow, they are releasing 7 Cherry IPA. The 5.8% ABV IPA has a medium bitterness and clean character, that doesn’t get in the way of the cherry flavour and aroma. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery Saturday, and across the island starting next week. We’ve got the full rundown on the Bash in last week’s post (hourly rotating tap all day!), with even more details on the Lawnya Vawnya Concert, Screen Printing, and plenty of food options, on their Insta page. The fun kicks off at noon and goes all day/night!
You won’t have to wait, however, for a returning summer favourite this week in the form of Port Rexton’s fruited ale, Flight of the Mango. Packed with mango purée and sweetened with lactose, this one is bright orange and hazy with a full mouthfeel, and plenty of mango aroma and flavor. Weighing in at just 5% ABV, despite the sweetness you can expect it to be quite crushable. Grab some cans or a growler fill to go from the PR taproom, or sit and contemplate a pint (or maybe pints). It will also see wider distribution to the usual Port Rexton retailers in the coming weeks.
OG Ales, of Magaguadavic, NB, is continuing to bring new beers to pair with their dome experience on Magaguadavic Lake. Out this week is Overcast, a session IPA at 4.4%, that brings a light and refreshing mouthfeel paired with luscious tropical hop flavors of pineapple, mango, and passionfruit all of which are balanced by a firm bitterness courtesy of some Chinook hops from nearby Lakeview Hops. Although that one is only pouring in the taproom, their Solstice red IPA, 5.5% ABV and with a west coast vibe, sounds like it’s been reworked a little and is not only available on-site but is also packaged in cans and headed to the ANBL.
A new one out of Fredericton’s Trailway is a collaboration release with Toronto’s Blood Brothers Brewing. This one actually came out with its first release two years ago, but they’re back with another iteration. Whales All Day is an 8.5% Double IPA packed with Riwaka, Mosaic and Sabro hops. It’s got huge notes of pineapple, stone fruit and grapefruit. This is available at the Fredericton and Saint John’s tap rooms. And check their job listings for your chance to become part of the Trailway family, whether it’s in the brewhouse, selling their beer, or helping to tell people all about it! More info here, and send in your resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dildo Brewing has teamed up with Piatto Pizzeria to craft an Italian Pilsner, which has hit their taps and shelves today! Brewed to complement the pizza and cuisine available at Piatto, the herbal and citrus hop notes shine come through for a balance to the acidity from the tomato sauce on the pies. This beer is rolling out to NLCs and C-stores over the weekend, and will make a great evening in as part of a takeaway bundle coming soon to Maries stores too!
We’ve already told you about the events happening this weekend at Port Rexton, 2 Crows, and the Stillwell Freehouse & Beergarden this weekend, so be sure to check out last week’s post for the full scoop.
Half Cocked Brewing is celebrating their Sixth Anniversary in North Grant tomorrow, July 22nd, with a good old-fashioned Hootenanny! Opening at noon, they’ll have plenty of great food options from The Crafty Cooks, including fish tacos, cheddar sausages, and pulled pork sandwiches. And of course, you need great music at any party, so from 3 PM, their stage will be full with The Ceilidhmen, The J-Walkers, and Shane Arsenault. Plus a dozen beer options a-flowing, including a couple of new beers to wet your whistle. If you’re not able to be there, we feel bad for you! Congratulations to the Half Cocked Team!
We’re getting you ready for the return of the largest festival of next month, Halifax’s Seaport Beer and Fizz Festival. Plus we’re going to give you a chance to win your way in!!
Atlantic Canada’s largest celebration of Beer, Cider, Soda, RTD, and Seltzer is back again in three short weeks! Halifax Seaport Cider & Beerfest is returning to the Halifax Waterfront for its fifteenth year Thursday August 10 through Saturday the 12th. Fingers crossed for great weather, as it will be outside, but we can tell you the most excellent news that they have been able to return to an all-inclusive ticket price, thanks to some fierce negotiations with NS Alcohol and Gaming. While the finalized list hasn’t yet been finalized, we know there will be more than eighty producers and hundreds of different beers, ciders, seltzers, sodas, and everything in between, representing Atlantic producers (yes, four breweries from Newfoundland will be pouring: Bannerman, Ninepenny, Port Rexton, and Quidi Vidi), as well as those from across the country and our neighbours to the South in Maine (Baxter Brewing, Lone Pine, Mason’s, Portland Zoo, and Sebago). Now spanning three days, with the Thursday evening session being perfect for those who’d like to start their weekend *just a little bit earlier*. We’re happy to provide a note to your employer, should you need it!
Ticket pricing for the sessions are quite reasonable, with advance tickets for Thursday night being only $35 (+ fees & taxes), and Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening only $45+. If you’re the kind of person who likes a bit of extra time on the floor to chat with the brewers, or maybe hit the special brews that may run out a bit early, VIP tickets are available for every session for only $20 more, allowing you entry an hour early and a special glass to keep! Find all of the details at the Seaport Beerfest website.
We want to help get you in the door, so we will be running a contest on Instagram to win your way into the VIP Session on Thursday! All we ask is that you put up a post, reel, or story of a beer or cider you’ve enjoyed recently, and tag us (@ACBeerBlog), Seaport Beerfest (@SeaportBeerfest). We’ll have more info on our IG page, plus plenty of ideas to get you started! The contest will be open until 11:59 PM July 27, and we’ll announce the winner of the pair of VIP tickets to Thursday’s session in next week’s blog post.
We end this week with tragic news from Inverness that Dallas Lewis, Brewmaster of Route 19 Brewing, passed away. An employee since the beginning, and publicly credited by Route 19 with brewing, “every single batch of beer we ever made,” he was a valued teammate and community member. Brewing is a tough job and it is a special person who can turn it into a fulfilling career. Though we didn’t know him personally, he was a part of the greater Atlantic Canada beer community and we’ll be raising a glass to Dallas; we humbly suggest you consider doing the same. We also note that there is a GoFundMe that has been set up in Dallas’ name to benefit his family.