Big Spruce Brewing

All posts tagged Big Spruce Brewing

Happy Friday, everyone! We’re closing in on the end of October, and the weather has definitely turned chilly in the region. And snow in Labrador, but that’s to be expected in July, too! 😉 A full case of beer news for you today, so let us tarry no further and get you up to speed!

Do you like your hoppy beers with a low amount of alcohol? And by low, we mean… in the non-alcoholic range? If you do, Upstreet has just the beer for you! Libra North Cape Pale Ale is golden-coloured APA lightly hopped (both in the whirlpool and dry-hop) with Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe, that weighs in at… 0.4% ABV. Yes, 0.4%! They insist it has been fully fermented with a “regular beer yeast”, but that’s all they’re willing to divulge. Either way, they’re hoping the ultra-low ABV won’t scare you away from enjoying a hop-flavoured beverage! It’s available at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown, and should be pouring at the BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth next week. You may even see it in some of the Halifax private stores, as well. And seeing as it’s non-alcoholic, it can be ordered for Canada-wide delivery through the brand’s website, DrinkLibra.ca

The Pride of Hanwell never stops churning out the good stuff, as Niche has a new draft release this week and a bottle release coming soon. First up, Sabro Sour Session IPA, is a sour Session IPA dry-hopped with only Sabro (well that was anticlimactic). This beer comes through with those nice Sabro coconut notes (coconotes) along with lots of citrus flavour coming through with some tartness. Coming in at 4.4%, this easy-drinking and refreshing ale will be at the usual local accounts in New Brunswick this week. 

As for their newest bottle release, Pau Hana, (Hawaiian for “end of the work day”) Niche delivers a barrel aged fruited Saison with time on its side. Pau Hana was fermented with a blend of Sacch and Brett strains and aged in a freshly-emptied Chardonnay barrel for over a year. The beer then went back to stainless for several more months on pineapple and pink guava puree. The flavours here should be oaky, dry, funky, with tons of fruit (especially guava). Pau Hana comes in at 5.8% and is marked for release next week for bottles going out next week around Fredericton and Moncton. We’ll be sure to get the details for the blog next week so you can get your paws on this tasty treat. 

For those of you in Nova Scotia who don’t live in the center of the universe, aka the HRM, you’ll be happy to hear that your hard workers at Good Robot are now shipping beer province-wide. Just make sure to have your order in by 3 pm, and it’ll ship out the next day (weekends excluded, of course). Orders need to be placed in multiples of 12 cans, and you’ll need your ID on delivery to prove you’re legally able to consume sweet, sweet beer. And what better way to christen your first order than with a new beer? Well, more good news then, as their latest, Sour Cherry Camacho, is available for purchase this weekend. This one is a “Sour Cherry Marzen” (!) brewed with a healthy portion of Vienna malt in the grist, as well as a blend of three forms of cherry: puree, extract, and juice. It comes in at 6% and features, as you might have guessed, a lot of cherry presence, along with some biscuity, bready notes. 

Brand-spanking-new Double IPA from Big Spruce coming your way! Fou D’Amour is an 8% ABV hazy wonder hopped entirely with Barbe Rouge, a fairly new French variety that gives the beer a big blast of “ripe strawberry, ruby grapefruit, and kumquat”. With a soft mouthfeel and tons of aroma, it should be just the hoppy ticket to get you through your weekend. You can find it on tap and in 650 mL bottles at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, and of course you’ll very likely see it at some of your favourite watering holes near the brewery, as well as in the HRM.

If you love beer and live in St. John’s, you’ve probably been pretty happy with all of the one-offs that Quidi Vidi has been releasing lately… and we don’t blame you, you lucky dogs! This weekend they’ve got yet another one, Citra Lager. An easy-drinking Lager hopped with Citra, it has a “bright citrus aroma and a light-bodied flavour, with a mild, bitter finish”. Available at the brewery’s Hops Shop, it can also be found at NLCs and convenience stores across Newfoundland, once deliveries are completed. 

Newly-opened Serpent Brewing in Halifax is only a few weeks old, but they’ve already got their fourth product available for purchase! Notice we say “product” and not “beer”, because, well… it’s not a beer. It’s a cider they’ve named The Bite. Made from a mix of juice from three different apple varieties from the Annapolis Valley, it was fermented in two separate vessels, with two different yeasts (one of which is a Belgian strain). Blended back together once fermentation was complete, the final, semi-dry 5.0% cider has “a subtle, rustic quality, while retaining the delicate flavour of the apples”. It’s available in 500 mL bottles, and can be purchased directly at the brewery, or online for pickup or local delivery.

Our friends at North Brewing have a bright, new beer for you to share (or hoard, we won’t judge) this weekend – Rosy Berry Saison was fermented with the Old World Saison yeast strain from Escarpment Labs, with additions of local blackberries and raspberries from Noggins Corner Farm Market. Dark orange in colour, with “notes of berry, melon, and grapefruit, with a pleasant, peppery Saison finish”, it sounds like just the beverage for this time of year. It’s launching today for purchase at both retail shops, as well as online; it’ll also be on tap at Battery Park.

Let’s return to hops (because, really, that’s still where a lot of beers go these days) with Landwash Brewery, who have a new iteration of their super-hoppy Double IPA, Dream Island. This batch features multiple additions of both Sabro and Bru-1, loading the aromas and flavours with “notes of macerated peaches, ripe mangos, and juicy oranges”. Weighing in around 8% ABV, you can grab it at the brewery right now (on tap and in cans), or arrange an order online for pickup.

Corner Brook’s Boomstick Brewing is celebrating the holiest of beer celebrations with their own Oktoberfest tomorrow. Their sister Best Coast Restaurant is converting into a beer tent for the day, complete with plenty of decorations and ambiance, in addition to the necessary music, food (brats, kraut, pretzels, mustard, and lots more!), and of course a beer worthy of celebration. Just like at Wiesn, the mayor will be tapping the first keg! The Boomstick Crew has chosen a modern Marzen, along the lines of a Helles style. The best way to take part in the fun is to book a table with your Bubble Buddies, for one of the three seatings (1 – 4 PM, 5 – 8 PM, and 9 PM – midnight). Call 709-388-0144 to RSVP. And if you can’t make it, no shame, the beer will be canned and available to others this weekend as well!

There are a bunch of great events happening this weekend, so if you’re so inclined, we encourage you to get out and get some local beer into you, safely, of course!

We’ve got three events for our Prince Edward pals to get you up and out of the house this weekend:

HopYard in downtown Charlottetown is hosting the European-inspired Grimross Brewing to take over their taps today and tomorrow. Nine taps will be pouring, with a great mix of their Belgian Cheval D’or, German Kings Horn, Brunswick Pils, and Oktoberfest, as well as the Maritime Cream Ale and Pale Ale. Plus a few more treats for you to discover!

Montague’s Bogside Brewing is holding their Oktobeer Fest Saturday afternoon 2 – 5 PM, with live music, pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, as well as a full complement of their German beers a-flowing. And if you do opt for those, you’ll get them at a sweet discount! Check out their Instagram for more details.

We already chatted about Upstreet a bit earlier with their new Libra release, but also wanted to highlight that their Gravedigger Ghost Tours are on this weekend and next. In collaboration with the Confederation Centre, attendees start from the Yacht Club at 7:30 PM, and are guided by the Gravedigger himself through downtown Charlottetown hearing stories of unsolved murders, ghostly haunting, and executions. You’ll end up at Upstreet’s taproom where the eponymous beer, and a bunch more, can be used to calm your nerves. The tours run Oct 23 and 24, and again on Oct 29 and 30, grab your tickets here!

In Halifax, 2 Crows and the Change is Brewing Collective releasing the Good News Raspberry and Mango Berliner Weisse tomorrow, with full details on the beer available in last week’s post. There is a full day of fun kicking off the release, starting with a BIPOC Maker’s Market in the taproom from noon til 4 PM. Pints can be enjoyed on the patio during that time, so come by to check out the craft, design, and food offerings and stay for the Good News! From 4 – 6 PM, the taproom opens up, and Hibiscus Specialty Foods will be sticking around for more snacks. At 6 PM, the Change is Brewing Collective, joined by board members of the Africville Museum, will give an address. And at 7 PM, Deidre Lee will present spoken word poetry. A full day for a great cause!

Just a few more bites rounding out the news this week!

After a brief hiatus from in-person episodes, the 902 BrewCast fellas made the trip to 111 Cobequid Rd in Lower Sackville, to visit Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse. There they spoke with owners Keith and Chris to learn the origin of the brewery name, what it’s like openings brewery in the middle of a pandemic, and plenty of teases on what’s on the horizon from OBB. Grab the episode today to laugh and learn!

We teased it last week, but now it’s a reality! Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is bringing back some of their favourite releases from the past four years (wow, it’s been that long?). First up in the celebratory series is King Friday. If you don’t remember this one, you could be forgiven…. It’s a 9.5% ABV Wheat Wine! It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood when you can get your hands on this malt-driven beer that features plenty of sweet warmth, but with lovely bread crust and biscuit character in your glass. Available in small quantities (as with all Tidehouse releases!), you’ll want to get down to Salter Street from 2 PM today (and tomorrow, if it lasts that long!) to take a ride on the magic trolley.

Tire Shack Brewing has brought back their crowd-favourite Waffle Sauce, an Extra Special Bitter that contains an “excessive amount” of maple syrup, combined with a “great pastry flavour from the malt bill”, all in an easy-drinking 5% ABV package. Available right now at the brewery’s taproom in Moncton.

Bedford’s newest brewery, Topside, is already bringing out some new beers, expanding their “dive roster” with a couple of English (or at least English-derived) styles. One is a Golden Ale with a lovely coppery color that comes in at 5% ABV and that they’re calling Ridgevale, the other an Oatmeal Stout with Cacao nibs at a very respectable 4.3% ABV. Not on tap anywhere in the city just yet, the best way to beer success is through their Grab a Growler program available to those in Bedford, with the details available on their website.

And finally, just a note that you may have seen some news regarding the CBANS this week, with several member breweries leaving the organization (Huddle / The Coast). While there may have been one recent incident that served as the “last straw” for the breweries have left the organization, both public statements on social media and things we’ve heard more privately have suggested that for many breweries, CBANS no longer represents their best interests in terms of business, community, or social responsibility. There have been whispers of another industry group forming, and we’ll have more on that when we can share.

Thanksgiving 2020! We made it! A time to (safely) get together with family and friends to celebrate the changing seasons. Whether you’ll be gathered in person, or virtually, we hope you’re able to do so with some great local beer. And if you’re venturing out Sunday and/or Monday, be sure to check that the restaurant, bar, taproom, or brewery is open. As someone who’s been burned by Google Maps hours of operation suggestions a lot recently, always best to call or check social media!

Great news for those in Western New Brunswick, after a few dry years, you now have a local brewery once again! Tobique River Trading Co in Perth-Andover has been open and serving their own coffee for a few months, but have now officially released their first beers. Available now at the brewery in cans and growlers for take home enjoyment, as well as the local ANBL and nearby agency stores. So, what have they put together for you to enjoy? Great question, voice in my head!

  • The Old Highway is their 5.7% flagship, a Blonde ale with a crisp finish.
  • BeechGlen Blonde, a 5.0% “faux blonde”, bordering on a light lager, with very low bitterness.
  • Better on the Tobique, a 6.0% featuring a touch of sweetness from the Honey malt used in the grist, and a complement to all sorts of food dishes.
  • Monquat Citra, a 4.8% light and refreshing pale beer, with a serious citrus dry hop to have you thinking this could even be a radler (but it ain’t).

Pop by their spot at 694 Perth Main Street this weekend for your first tastes, and congratulations to the Tobique crew!

Staying within the bubble (don’t we always?), we head just across the PEI border where we have been treated to many …treats… Lone Oak brings us Sour Outage, a 7.0% golden sour with another throwback to Hurricane Dorian from September 2019. Sour Outage was aged on 700lbs of Cherry Plums that staff, friends and family handpicked from The Grove Orchard shortly before Dorian hit last year. After being aged for a months on the cherries, this sour gives a nod to all of the crews working to restore power to Islanders after one of the most devastating storms to hit the Atlantic. Sour Outage is now on tap for pints at the brewery with bottles-to-go available around October 16th. 

Nyanza’s Big Spruce has big news this week with an entirely new beer, a very seasonal re-release, and the annual return of a regional favorite. First up is the newbie, a style unseen in this region, we believe. If you’re at all familiar with the Alsace region of France, you’ll know that was a hotly contested area between French and Germanic states for hundreds of years and thus has heavy cultural influences from both sides. Those cultural influences obviously include language and food, but more importantly, beer! Just as Alsatians have their own versions of coq au vin (with Riesling, of course) and Sauerkraut (Choucroute), they also have their own take on the classic German Pilsner (although, somewhat ironically, it has been argued that it’s got more Czech roots than German). Generally featuring a little bit of corn, which flies in the face of the German beer purity law, and local Strisselspalt hops, it’s lighter in color and flavor and more bitter than most French beers. Big Spruce has adopted the corn aspect in their Pils d’Alsace, which they sourced from a farm in Cape Breton that dries corn to make their own grits. Crystal clear, with a big white head, the aroma is redolent of herbs, spices, and biscuit, with floral and herbal notes on the palate and a slightly bready body. The crisp finish will no doubt leave you contemplating the similarities and differences between this substyle and it’s German and Bohemian brethren, but also another sip. This one will likely also be a lovely beer for a study in contrast between pale European with amber European lager, and the folks at Big Spruce are happy to help with that too, as they’re also releasing their very seasonal Amärzen Grace. Amber in color, full-bodied, and balanced very much towards the malt side, Märzen is the OG Oktoberfest style which was served at Oktoberfest in Munich up until the 1950s when it was replaced by the lighter golden Helles Oktoberfestbier style. Big Spruce’s version is 6% ABV and has the color of burnt honey, with an ivory-colored head. Look for notes of toffee and brown bread, with dried and candied fruit notes that lead to a slightly sweet aftertaste. We don’t know that this one will be packaged for retail sale, but we don’t doubt that if you find yourself at finer taprooms around the Province in the next couple of weeks you’ll bump into it.

Also coming out of Big Spruce this week is the return of one of the classic big beers in Atlantic Canada. Ra Ra Rasputin was the brewery’s first bottled beer, announced in early 2016, and is now (we think) in its 5th iteration. In keeping with the tradition established in the past couple of years, there’s more than one version available. As always, the classic formulation is a Russian Imperial Stout that was aged in barrels from Glenora Distillery for three months and then cellared for bottle conditioning for another two months before release. We suspect at this point, with the recipe and process well-defined, that it will be consistent with everything you already love about Ra Ra. This year’s alternate version, however, is a horse of a different color. Started last year, it was aged in tawny port barrels for nine full months, hung out in stainless tanks for an additional three, and then was packaged and given the same two month bottle conditioning period. The result is apparently extremely smooth, with only a touch of alcohol on the nose despite the 10.5% ABV. Look for plenty of barrel character, in terms of both vanillins and tannins, with aromas of sweet vanilla, chocolate, fruit, and coffee, and a palate presentation that’s not unlike black forest cake. Even better, if you’re leery of buying a 650 mL bomber of ~10%-ish beer and having it stare at you from your cellar as you wait for just the right night to commit to taking it on, worry not, Big Spruce has heeded the call of beer geeks everywhere to make a big beer a little more bite-sized: both of this year’s Ra Ra variations are available only in 330 mL single-serve bottles. So you’ll be able to have one by the fire on a chilly fall evening and then walk to bed without risking life and limb!

You’ll be able to try both of these Ra Ra Rasputin variations, and probably the Pils d’Alsace and the Amärzen Grace as well, along with a host of other Big Spruce beers (including a collaboration with Chain Yard Cider) tomorrow at Battery Park in Dartmouth. In total, 19 taps of Big Spruce will be pouring along with seven different vintages of RaRa. Social distancing and mask rules apply, of course, but they can’t stop the great beer from flowing! After that, look for bottles and draught at Bishop’s Cellar and Stillwell Beer Bar.

Moncton, the hub city, rises again with a festive release from Tire Shack. Do you like lagers? Duh. Do you like Vienna? You bet your Schnitzel! Let’s throw that together for a Pumpkin Vienna Lager! The Wickerman, brings a taste of pumpkin and pumpkin spices to a drinkable beer, that doesn’t turn you into Peter Pumpkinhead. It clocks in at 5.0% ABV so you can drink it all Thanksgiving long. The beer was dosed with pumpkin puree in the boil as well as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves and it will be available for pints, cans and growlers as of noon Friday from the brewery. Hooray for The Wickerman! 

If you’ve been in and around the craft beer world over the last couple of years, you’ve no doubt run into the concept of a “pastry stout.” These dark beers generally sport a high ABV, a fair amount of residual sweetness, and some flavor components of whatever crazy thing they were made with (cookies, donuts, candy bars, eclairs…). Many versions have, as time has gone on, eschewed actually adding foodstuffs to the mash in favor of creating a flavor profile reminiscent of those foodstuffs, which many consider a more thoughtful and repeatable approach, not to mention usually much easier to clean up at the end of the brewday. And now that sense of innovation continues as someone thought to ask, “does it need to be a stout?” with the answer being, “Maybe? No? Let’s find out!” Enter Newfoundland breweries Landwash and Baccalieu Trail, who are releasing a collaboration they’re calling Lemon Land. Touted as a “Pastry Ale” it was inspired by the tart and bright flavors of lemon meringue pie. Lots of lemon juice, lemon peel, lactose, and vanilla were added to this brew, with the more traditionally beery side leveraging Cashmere and Sorachi Ace hops. Packaged primarily in cans, only 90 cases are available, available at the Landwash retail shop in Mount Pearl. Those feeling draughty can also grab a pint there, or at co-conspiring Baccalieu Trail this weekend. Whether you just love a new and interesting beer, or if you’re not a whiz with pie crust and you’re looking for an alternate Thanksgiving dessert, if you’re local to the brewery you might want to swing by and grab yourself a few.

Coming off their triumphant takeover at The Stillwell Freehouse last weekend, Halifax’s 2 Crows is dropping two new ones this week just in time for your long weekend beer needs. First up is Laurel, which isn’t actually a new release, at least for those who attended the “2 Crows preview party” some 4 years ago before they opened. (Although that may seem like an obscure reference there’s actually a good chance that amongst our dozen or so readers, some were actually at that event…) In classic 2C “rolls right off the tongue” style, this one is a “tart dark saison with plum and bay leaf.” Starting with a base of Pilsner, dark Munich, and caramel Munich, with some chocolate malt for color and character; dark candi sugar was also added in the boil for additional character and, no doubt, to dry the beer out a little. Hops used were Columbus and East Kent Goldings. Half the wort was soured with Lactobacillus Plantarum before joining the other half and a pitch of the 2C house saison culture. Finally, the beer was conditioned on some 760 kg of plums and then “dry hopped” with bay leaves. The result is rich and smooth, somewhat herbaceous, definitely jammy, but also dry. You can expect some saison spice and plenty of dark fruit character as well. Look for this one in cans and on tap at the brewery as of Saturday.

Next up is the latest 2 Crows iteration on a golden sour, similarly simply described, “Tequila barrel-aged sour with cucumber, sea salt, lime, and mint.” Using their usual base of Pilsner, wheat, spelt, oats and special aromatic malts, with a touch of aged hops, this one was obviously aged in tequila barrels, but a bit also spent time in gin barrels. The remarkable part, though, is that the aging process was some 14 months! Post-barrel, a touch of sea salt was added along with 80 cucumbers that were sliced and diced, and the juice and zest of a whole case of limes. This melange spent about 8 weeks conditioning before a dosing with mint, packaging, and a good four months of bottle conditioning. Fresh and zippy, bright and fun, with enough salinity to have you reaching for another sip, this 5.4% ABV beauty they’re calling Shadow Rider is a limited release with only about 750 bottles available on Saturday. You’ll also find it pouring at the taproom as long as the single keg lasts!

Taking a trip to the Darkside (maybe you’ll be doing that too on the long weekend!), New Scotland Brewing is back with a classic and tasty-looking release. A tribute to the wonderful west coast IPA, Kilted takes a traditional approach to the style using some very classic American hops, Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, and Comet, along with newer varieties that have dominated the market in the last few years, Citra and Simcoe. This hop combination creates a very layered and fruity flavour that is well balanced with Golden Promise malt. Kilted is 6.3% ABV and 65 IBU and available Friday in cans, pints and kegs. Rumour has it that Battery Park already has theirs.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing is back on a mixed-fermentation trip with their latest, Southern Accents. Brewed with Pilsner and aromatic malts along with some flaked wheat, it was hopped in the boil and whirlpool with a bit of Citra. Well we do declare, they’ve put Yankee hops in this here Saison! Fermented with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, the result is a funky beer with a touch of sweetness and a bit of a floral presence. You’ll find it at Niche tap accounts including The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Ringo’s Grill, and Stillwell Beer Bar.

A reminder to our homebrewing readers that if you haven’t already brewed your entry for the 2020 Maritime Home Brew Challenge, you need to do that this weekend! Hosted by Gahan, this year’s style categories are encouraging you to take a walk on the hoppier side, with West Coast IPA and New England IPA being the centre of attention. It’s always good to drink these styles fresh, so brewing now will be four weeks until judging. Your $30 entry registration gets you a free t-shirt, entry to the Gala on November 14th at Gahan House Charlottetown, and your chance at more almost $2000 in cash and cards! Plus the priceless prize of bragging rights to the best beer in the Maritimes! Drop off your entry before October 30 at your local Gahan, and good luck! And a heads up that they’re bringing out the big guns for judges this year, including close to a dozen BJCP judges from the region, so expect your feedback to be topnotch. Any questions on that part of it, or any other little thing, hit them up via email.

The Oktoberfests continue this weekend! In addition to Big Spruce’s big event at Battery Park tomorrow, don’t forget that the Stillwell Beergarden is hosting their Oktoberfest tomorrow, featuring the first draught beer from the Valley’s Delta Force Brewing, plus some imported Continental European inspired beauts from Godspeed Brewery in Toronto. Plus Uncorked Tours in Saint John is hosting their own Oktoberfest on the 17th, taking over an extended patio at the Saint John City Farmers’ Market. More on those in last week’s post.

Do you love beer (of course you do!)? Do you love curling? If you answered a resounding “hell yes!” to both questions, then Brightwood Brewery has just the event for you. They’re holding a Sip N’ Spiel Curling & Beer Release tomorrow, October 10th, at the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax. Let’s fill you in on the beer, first. It’s a dry-hopped Pilsner named Bonspiel that was brewed with late hop additions of Barbe Rouge and Idaho 7, and then a dry-hop of more Barbe Rouge. Hazy, bright yellow, with “lots of red and stone fruit flavours” to go with the classic Pilsner crispness, it will be on tap during once the curling portion of the evening is complete, along with seven other Brightwood beers. Speaking of curling, your $20 ticket fee includes two hours of curling and curling lessons (if needed), starting at 6:30 pm. At 8:30, the party moves upstairs to the bar, where they’ll have live music, and as mentioned, beer! Your ticket also includes a sampling of Brightwood beers (probably a flight, by the sounds), but of course you’re free – and encouraged! – to purchase more. Check out the event link above to buy your ticket.

From our friends as Uncorked Tours, comes another event after their Oktoberfest weekend on the 17th, check out the “IPA and Its Variations with Craig Pinhey” where Craig will take attendees through a whirlwind of IPA styles. From Craig, “I plan to have them taste UK style (hard to find!), West Coast, NEIPA, DIPA, and other variations that are available at the time, like maybe Red, Black, White, Belgian, Sour, etc.”. Check out the Facebook event here to get registered for the Saint John event. Tickets are $50 per person for a 90 minute session at the Uncorked Tasting Room and seating is limited!

Sober Island Brewing is planning an event to scratch your cask itch (btw, you should probably get that looked at by a doctor) – Cask in the Sticks is happening at the brewery on Saturday, November 7th. Featuring eight different cask beers (from seven breweries and homebrewer David Pepper), there will be two sessions available for sampling: 1-3 pm and 4-6 pm. Due to social distancing and everything that goes with that, they have set a limit of 60 people per session, so don’t wait to grab your tickets, even though it’s four weeks away. Tickets are $40 each (tax included), and include eight 4 oz pours and an event-branded toque (DD tickets are also available, for $10). In addition to the casks, they’ll have live music, food available for purchase, and even a “Onesie competition” to encourage layering up (the event will be held outside). Our buds from the 902 Brewcast will be roaming around, judging the onesies, with the winner receiving tickets to next year’s event (take this seriously, folks, you know Phil Church will be putting a lot of thought into HIS onesie). You can purchase your tickets by calling the taproom (902-885-2072). And speaking of the 902 Bcast, be sure to check out their October Tasting episode, which dropped Tuesday. Kyle and Tony chat about what’s happened in the world over the past 3 months since their PEI Trip, new additions to the family, and even about beer for a hot minute.

A few more beers and ciders to quench that holiday weekend thirst!

Just in time for the long weekend, CAVOK Brewing Co. is dropping Champion, a wet hopped ale made with hops harvested just 3 kilometers from the brewery on Rue Champion in Dieppe. Grab this limited release on tap at the taproom, or in crowlers or growlers to-go.

Fans of artistic beer cans should check out Quidi Vidi Brewery this weekend for their release of Director’s Cut, a raspberry and blackberry creamsicle sour. The cans for this 5.5% ABV sour feature 31 (!!) different works from female artists across Newfoundland and Labrador. The artwork is part of a collaboration with the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival which runs from October 14-18. Check out their website for more info. Cans of Director’s Cut are available at the QV Hops Shop along with NLCs and convenience stores across the province. And great news for those who’ve been waiting patiently to grab a pint in QV’s taproom, they are hosting their first Kitchen Party in 6 months today! The doors open at 4 PM, and they’re keeping it local: no visitors or those who have had contact with folks off The Rock, Atlantic Bubble be damned! 😉

If you’re looking for something sessionable this weekend, check out Bannerman Brewing Co’s newest release, Comfort Zone. Coming in at 4.5%, the session ale is full bodied thanks to a heavy addition of flaked oats, to complement the Marris Otter and Caramel malts. A dry hop of Mosaic and Simcoe lends notes of peach, apricot and pear. Available at the brewery/taproom/early morning coffee spot on Duckworth Street now. 

Heading north on the island, the team at RagnaRöck is launching the first release in their Hit or Miss series, where tasters will be asked to vote on whether to keep the beer in rotation or set it adrift in the Strait of Belle Isle (ok, we made that part up). Their take on a Cream Ale is light and crisp, and comes in at 5.7% ABV. Find it on-tap now at the taproom in St. Anthony.

Lastly, for those holding out for one last (first? only?) taste of pumpkin-spice season, check out Route 19’s take on the style, Pumpkin Potion. Coming in at a warming 8.5%, this one is available on-tap at the brewpub in Inverness.

There were some updates in growler news this week, with ANBL and Good Robot making changes to their current offerings. ANBL suspended all growler fill stations in March due to the pandemic, but this program will not be returning due to declining sales. Only the flagship location in York Street, Fredericton, will have a growler program available when conditions allow. Check out the full story on CBC here

Meanwhile, Good Robot will no longer be offering growlers for purchase on their online store for delivery. From Good Robot “They are challenging to transport in our pothole-laden town, costly to replace, difficult to fill on demand to keep fresh, and even more difficult to deliver in a timely fashion.” They will still be offering on-site growler fills as usual, so pop by and get your robot fills as you normally would! The last day for growlers online will be October 16th.

Good Robot is also releasing, Crop Top Summer just in time for Thanksgiving. This 4.1% release is  “An amazingly satisfying summertime wheat beer with notes of orange, tangerine and clove.” This is available today at the brewery and available online as well. 

Two late-breaking cider additions to the blog today: Annapolis Cider Co has the latest in their Something Different series out tomorrow, Peach and Basil, a 6.3% sparkling cider, a blend of their dry cider infused with locally-grown basil and fresh pressed Valley peaches. As with all of these releases, each refill see $0.50 go to a local charity, with this batch supporting the Portal Youth Outreach Center, whose goal is to reduce youth experiencing homelessness in the Valley.

And Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has also dabbled in a mixed-fruit blend with Nova Scotia strawberries fermented and steeped along with whole vanilla beans, blended with Valley apples. And then a splash of Blackcurrant wine was added in for a lovely luscious colour and body. Weighing in at 8.5%, cans of Field of Dreams are available in store and online for delivery right now!

We hope the first half of your week was not too disrupted by Teddy’s visit to the region. Thankfully it didn’t have nearly the dramatic effects that had been feared. Let’s celebrate that, and the official arrival of Fall, with a fresh batch of beer news, with more than a dozen debuts across the region coming at you today!

After announcing their presence through their first collaborative release in July, the Change is Brewing Collective is back with another beer release. This time, the group has teamed up with Dartmouth’s North Brewing to bring us The Cherry Brook Wheat. Named after the Cherry Brook community along Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, the beer is a 6.6% ABV Wheat Ale featuring more than 100 kg of crushed cherries from Noggins Farm in the Annapolis Valley. Lightly hopped with El Dorado and Huell Melon, the beer allows the base of flaked and malted wheat, as well as the fresh fruit, to shine through. Sporting a beautiful label designed by Change is Brewing member Jayme-Lynn Gloade, the beer will be available next Tuesday, as part of a launch party at the North Brewing taproom. From 7:30 PM on September 29th, pints and cans will be available to enjoy in the taproom or to go, with other licensees in HRM also coming on board to sell the beer on draught shortly thereafter. The CiB group will be onsite to chat about the beer and their overall goal for better representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour in the beverage and food industry in our region. This release supports two important movements, with 100% of the profits from all can and draught sales going toward The Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia located in Cherry Brook, as well as the CiB Brewing 101 program, where they bring the joy of beer and brewing to those communities who may not have otherwise felt welcomed. Congratulations to Change is Brewing and North on this great release!

While you’d be forgiven for thinking that this time of year is inundated with breweries releasing Pumpkin Ales and Märzens (not that there’s anything wrong with that), there are, of course, plenty of other beer styles that go great with fall weather. One example is another German style, Hefeweizen, which is definitely available in some tents during Wiesn. Sure, you may immediately picture yourself sipping on a fine local example at the peak of summer, but we feel that a delicious, refreshing Weizen is equally as appropriate on a lovely fall day, preferably out on a deck somewhere! Don’t worry, all this waxing poetic has a point – Tatamagouche Brewing has released Acolyte Weissbier, which looks like it could be their first take on the style. Brewed with lots of wheat, naturally, it was hopped lightly to 12 IBUs with Tettnanger and Huell Melon. Fermented with a dry Weizen strain, the 4.5% ABV beer is showing “aromas of pear and banana, backed by subtle clove,” with a refreshing, crisp finish. It’s available on tap at the brewery and local accounts, and they hope to have it in 650 mL bottles by mid-October. And while you’re thinking Tatamagouche and Oktoberfest, while the largest Oktoberfest east of Kitchener has been canceled (as well as the *big* one in Munich), Tata is celebrating on a smaller scale in their taproom. Visitors can enjoy $5 pours all weekend, or opt for the Maß pour (that’s 1 litre!) for $18, and you get to keep the glass! Check their IG for the latest taplist. Prost!

Speaking of styles that go great with fall weather, the team at Big Spruce Brewing has been busy harvesting from their organic hopyard for the annual release of their fresh-hopped harvest pale ale. Major Hop Lips was brewed with the freshest hops possible, added to the kettle within minutes of being picked. This year’s version was brewed with Golding, Chinook, Mt. Hood, Cascade and Centennial hops, leading to floral, apricot and pine notes. Available now for pints and fills at the brewery in Nyanza, be on the lookout for bottles in their online store next week.

Heading southwest, Tanner and Co. Brewing’s newest release is Mystery Hop Ale. The neat story behind this beer starts with Penney Hill Farm, an eighth generation farm outside of Bridgewater, the founders of which originally brought hops with them from Germany. Over time, information about which varietal(s) has been lost, but, lucky for us, the hops have thrived. Tanner hoped to make a beer with the hops last year, but the plans were derailed by Dorian. This year, luck would have it that they were able to harvest just before Teddy made its arrival. Described by the brewery as being reminiscent of a lagered ale with mild hop balance, Mystery Hop Ale comes in at 5.5% ABV, and is available at both of Tanner’s locations, and their online store. While you’re at it, grab a bottle or two of their Belgian Blonde, making its return after a six month hiatus. 

Earlier this year, when things were “normal”, Port Rexton Brewing held a Mystery Homebrew Challenge, where they chose the ingredients, leaving everything else up to those brave enough to participate. The winner of that challenge was homebrewer Ralph Pike with Sour Belgian IPA, a beer whose name tells you most of what you need to know about it! Well, to a point, anyway. While details on this beer are a bit slim, admittedly, it is a kettle sour “backed by notes of citrus rind and tropical fruit”, complemented by a refreshing tartness and finishing with a bit of earthy bitterness. Weighing in at 6.7% ABV, you can find it in cans right now at the brewery’s taproom and their St. John’s retail shop.

The air is crispy and Garrison always delivers leading up to Oktoberfest. First up, their classic Nut Brown is available in cans for the first time. This Garrison classic is rich, dark, malty and clocks in at 5.0% and 22 IBU. Next up, it’s Knuckle Puck Lucky Punk time! Lucky Punk is a Sour IPA back for a limited time in both shops and the NSLC, coming through with some peach, apricot, lemon with a zesty and puckering sour finish. Hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Bru-1, this hybrid IPA is 5.4% and 40 IBU. And back just in time for Oktoberfest is their Weinerful Wheat, their 4.6% German Wheat Ale brewed in collaboration with Jack 92.9, and in support of the NS SPCA, with $0.50 from each can sold going to support wieners, schnauzers, and animals of all origins!

And what better way to enjoy (German) beer than at an Oktoberfest event? Garrison is keeping it waterfront for a 10 day Oktoberfest extravaganza! Garrison will be teamed up with the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden from Sept 25 (today!) until Oct 4th down at the waterfront for the first time. While the beer will be pouring the entire 10 days, the fun really ramps up during their Das Big Party events each Friday and Saturday, with live bands, Oktoberfest food specials and tons o’ fun! No tickets required, so show up in your favourite lederhosen and yell Prost!, and they’ll fire you a beer in no time. Check out the full details on their Facebook event page

Fresh off a Silver Medal from the Canadian Brewing Awards, the good robots from…Good Robot are releasing Friendship Island. Bringing a balanced English Pale Ale character with lime citrus and floral notes, thanks to hopping with Lemon Drop, this 5.5% ABV beer will only be available on draft at the brewery. And if you’re wondering about the name, it’s a reference to a mysterious island off the coast of Chile that is inhabited by extraterrestrial life forms who operate a UFO junkyard. The fine machines at GR are also re-releasing Leave Me Blue (4.5% ABV) and fan favourite Goseface Killah (5% ABV); both are available in cans from the brewery and online!

In Hanwell, NB, the gang at Niche is firmly back in the swing of sending out kegs to those places who are ordering them and this week they’ve got something new for those tap accounts. Red Sails is a 7% ABV Red IPA built on a grist containing a fair portion of specialty malts to provided body, color and some toffee/caramel character. From there, it was hopped with Galaxy and Ekuanot and fermented with the Ebbegarden Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. Finally, it was heavily dry-hopped with more Ekuanot, as well as Mosaic. Expect a juicy brew, a touch dank and not too sweet, despite the dark amber color. You might be surprised to find this one is also hazy, which some might find a little bit odd, but we encourage you to taste it with your mouth, not with your eyes! Look for it soon at The Joyce, Peppers Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and the new Uncorked Tours tasting room at the Saint John City Market.

Fall is also the time of year for the release of wet-hop beers (beers brewed with freshly-picked hops, with “freshly-picked” oftentimes literally meaning within several hours), and Truro Brewing has their own that’s now available to start off your weekend in the best way. This brew is actually a collaboration with local homebrewer Tyler Pearson, who provided the fresh Cascade hops that were used, which they’ve named Fill Yer Boots. A 4.8% ABV American Pale Ale that they’re describing as “mild with herbal hints”, you  can grab it on tap at the brewery. Truro Brewing would also like to pass on that they will soon be holding their first bottle release event, next Friday, October 2nd. They’ve teamed up with Earltown’s Mountain Meadworks to create Siren, a “Tripel-style Braggot” (beer/mead hybrid) that we’ll have full details on for you in next week’s post. But for the sake of planning ahead, we can tell you now that the event will feature door prizes, live music, samples of the braggot, and of course bottles will be available for sale.

St. John’s Bannerman Brewing has brought back a cocktail-inspired beer to their taps and cans today, ready just in time for a liquid lunch (or supper). Mood Improvement is a 5.2% ABV fruited sour, inspired by the Moscow Mule, featuring ginger and lime, and dry-hopped with Motueka. Citrus, spicy, ginger on the nose, yet light and refreshing, Mood Improvement is pouring and ready to take away now, and sure to brighten your weekend!

In case you missed it, we told you about Topside Brewing earlier this week, who debuted on tap at the Birch & Anchor in Birch Cove on the weekend. In addition, Topside has debuted their Grab a Growler program this week, and there is still time to place your order for this weekend! And for those looking to grab a pint at a bar local to the Bedford brewery, Finbars Irish Pub in the Sunnyside Mall at 1595 Bedford Hwy, has their 5 Bells Session IPA now! Named after the line signal that a diver will send to the surface, most commonly meant to signify “I have finished my work.” So once you’ve finished your work today, head on over for this 4.6% ABV, 45 IBU beer, featuring a light hop profile and just a touch of malt base to complement.

In addition to the Oktoberfest celebrations and other events mentioned above, we’ve got one more big deal happening to tell you about this week:

Although on any given day (that they’re open, anyway) you can wander down to 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street in Halifax and find a bunch of delightful liquids that they’ve made, there’s always something special about a tap takeover somewhere else. Even more special is when it’s the first ever takeover at that somewhere else, so everybody is pretty pumped that on Saturday, October 3rd, you will find 2 Crows beer flooding the taps and casks at the Stillwell Freehouse! For those who aren’t aware of the beer industry in the UK, the name “freehouse” is meaningful: it contrasts with a “tied house” where a pub is obligated to buy all or some of its beer from a particular brewery; the public house is “tied” to that brewery as opposed to being “free” to purchase from any breweries whatever. Interestingly, in Nova Scotia (and pretty much the rest of Canada, we believe), that sort of arrangement is illegal, but it’s been described as “one of the most inter‐woven industrial relationships you can identify in the UK.” Pretty interesting, huh? No? Alrighty then, on with the details. The list of offerings has been set and it looks like this:

On tap:

  • Dos Cuervos – Mexican Lager 
  • Waltz – German Pilsner
  • Milosh – Helles Lager
  • Perfect Saturation – IPA
  • Matinee – Tiny Hoppy Pale Ale
  • Fantacity – Dry-hopped Witbier
  • Deux II – Sour with Cherries
  • Run by Night – Grisette with Damson Plums
  • Bedlam Bridge – Double IPA
  • Vinello – Lagered Wild Ale with Riesling Pomace

On cask:

  • Liesse – Cask-conditioned Table Beer
  • Dulwich – Cask-conditioned English Golden Ale
  • Aquifolium – Cask-conditioned Wild Ale
  • Paper Airplanes – Cask-conditioned Brown Ale
  • Keller-Refresh – Cask-conditioned Lager

No tickets are required for this event, and we haven’t seen anything about reservations, so plan your visit accordingly. Remember that COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, bring your mask and don’t be surprised if table service! Otherwise, we think this looks amazing and we hope to see lots of you there celebrating both 2 Crows and the Stillwell Freehouse!