Big Spruce Brewing

All posts tagged Big Spruce Brewing

Happy Friday everyone! We hope it’s been a good week for all of you, and we doubly hope you will be able to (responsibly) enjoy your work parties, friend get-togethers, or taking in the cheer of the season this weekend, rather than contending with the malls and traffic to buy gifts. If your loved ones are anything like us, they’ll appreciate a selection of beers from around the region, so be sure to check out the many breweries offering shipping across the region, or pop into your local good beer store for one- stop shopping!

Happy Fourth Anniversary to Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery! They’ve been out there on Commonwealth Ave, making and slinging the good stuff since 2018, bringing locally-made beer to their local community. And to celebrate their accomplishments over those four years, they have released Develop or Perish Belgian Double (Dubbel). Staying true to the original style by using some darker malts as well as dark-coloured Candi sugar, they also were sure to use a Belgian yeast to enhance the toast and lightly sweet notes with some banana and clove on the nose, ending in a rich finish. The 6.3% beer is available on tap and in cans now, with the latter sporting a quote from Joey Smallwood upon which the beer name was based. Much like Smallwood, Landwash is looking both back on their progress, and forward to what they will become, so be sure to be part of that future and pop out to their spot, open Wednesday through Sunday.

Landwash’s recent co-conspirators on Ursa Minor Session IPA and Ursa Major Session Double IPAs, Port Rexton Brewing has a new beer celebrating the season. Tibbs the Saison is their annual ode to the cooler months, a Belgian Saison where the yeast shines through, with notes of bubble gum, cinnamon, clove, and banana, with a hint of pepper spiciness on the palate. At 6.6%, it has a bit of a warming quality, exactly what you need for this time of year! It’s available now at the brewery, and their St. John’s Retail Shop, at the local convenience stores, and at their Online Store, which has recently begun offering Canada-wide shipping! Available across the nation, except Newfoundland for some reason, now is the time to order if you are looking to receive the beer in time for Tibbs Eve. And you can even get those two new PRBC-LB collabs included in the box.

Hot off the heels of their takeover at Battery Park, Tatamagouche Brewery has a special new beer available in cans this weekend. Old Fangled is a very special take on their Darling English mild, over a year in the making. Taking a couple hundred litres of the base beer, it was transferred to a Cognac Barrel, and a healthy pitch of Brett Lambicus yeast and bacteria blend from Escarpment Labs, where the beasties were allowed to chew away for a full 10 months. During that time, thanks to both the additional fermentation of complex sugars, as well as some residual cognac in the barrel, the beer’s level rose from 3.6% to 6.0% ABV. With that bump in potency comes a leveling up in complexity as well, with notes of cherry, date, chocolate, and light acidity as well. The beer was allowed to condition in 355ml cans to develop a natural carbonation, and they are available now at the brewery, and from the brewery’s webshop, too. And hey, if you act quickly, you can take advantage of free Canada-wide shipping this weekend!

We’ve got a few nuggets of holiday cheer coming out of Sydney, Cape Breton. Breton Brewing has a wonderful holiday release that gets you right in the mood for winter. Fireside, a Belgian Dubbel is a rich, malty treat showcasing St. Remy Belgian yeast and a mix of European specialty malts. This is hopped to balance, but overall brings sweet toffee notes and a delicious malt body with some fruity esters in a 6.6% package.  Also, the can design is fun and festive and one of their best yet. This one is available now from the taproom and online. 

Another special release from Breton is a collaboration that is even more limited. A collaboration with PRO Skates (in Halifax) sees the two companies teaming up to raise funds for Feed Nova Scotia. The beer is a limited edition can design of Black Angus IPA. There is a launch even on Saturday December 10th from 1pm-5pm. There are a few cans available at the Sydney brewery as well. $2 from every can sold will go to Feed NS. At the launch event there will be samples and t-shirts! The t-shirts are also a collaborative design and $5 from every t-shirt sale will also go to Feed NS. 

To round out the Breton tri-fecta of news, the fine folks are hiring in Sydney and Halifax. They need a part-time delivery driver in Halifax and a full-time brewer and cellar hand in Sydney. Check out their careers page to apply.

Back on the mainland, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has two new releases out this week. You may recall their previous release of Forbidden Fruit, a blueberry Belgian blonde. Well, it turns out they bought way too many blueberries and their blunder is paying off for their thirsty patrons. The remaining berries have been put to use in Blueberry King, a 5.3% ABV fruited sour. This one starts with a grain bill of wheat, oats and pilsner malt. It then saw an extended fermentation of about 3 months of the blueberries (nothing quick about this sour). This is a small batch release, so is only available for pints at the taproom. Next up is An Ode to Sabro, an IPA that showcases the tropical and coconut-forward Sabro hop, with some Perle also added for bittering. This one will be available for pints and growler fills. Both sound like great options to enjoy alongside Serpent’s new taproom food offerings. 

Next up are two great newsbites from Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing. First, a new release, to get you into the holiday spirit, Candy Cane Stout. Expect notes of peppermint and chocolate in this 5.5% holiday sipper, and could even be used as a complement to a cream liqueur… And you can celebrate along with Tire Shack, as they have just won Brewery of the Year in the 2022 Canadian Brewers Choice Awards! Hosted by Brewers Journal Canada, the contest was judged by an independent group of industry folk, based on nominations of the brewery’s business wins and plans for the future. Congratulations to Jerica, Alan, Henry, and the rest of the team!

In downtown Halifax, Gahan House Nova Centre has been somewhat quietly pushing out some fun stuff to augment their standard PEIBC offerings. The latest of these, from brewer Ryan Shirtliff, is one that’s been a little while in the making. Taking advantage of one of the on-site foeders and the microflora contained within, as well as bottle- and keg-conditioning, Table Beer features bright acidity, fruity tart cherry and plum notes, and a sherry and oak finish that remains smooth. Six months in the barrel yielded lots of complexity in a quaffable 3.9% ABV package. Even better, taking advantage of the other Gahan locations, the joy has been spread out around the region, with this one available at all Gahan House locations (Port City in Saint John, Riverside in Fredericton, Hub City in Moncton, and the OG Gahan Pub in Charlottetown), as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom and the Gahan Beer Store!

Down the South Shore, Tanner Brewing is releasing Blended Chai Milk Stout. Coming in at 9.0% ABV,  this is a milk stout of the imperial variety, sure to keep you warm during the chilly, damp nights we’ve been having. The batch of beer was split on brew day, with half of it spending 6 months in rum barrels from Ironworks Distillery, and the other half fermented on chai tea from Tea Brewery. The result is a complex sipper that is now out in 500 ml bottles and also on tap at their downtown Chester taproom.

Trailway is releasing a new version of a beer we last saw about two years ago, An Anomaly. Originally brewed in the NEIPA style, this iteration is more akin to an American Pale ale, using a non-house yeast to produce a fruitier ester profile. This time around it showcases a combination of hops, Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy, that lead to lots of tropical fruit notes, berries and a touch of dankness. Cans of the 5% ABV IPA are available now at the brewery. 

Paradise NL’s, Mauzy Cider has a new release this week, another one showcasing local ingredients from the 2021 harvest. This is All Paradise features Strawberries from Lester’s Farm in St. John’s, honey from Baccalieu Trail Honey, along with Burin “Feral” Apple Pomace and Montmorency cherries. The strawberries were allowed to spontaneously ferment into a wine, and blended with Take Me Away Piquette to the tune of 4.2% ABV, before a dose of unfermented apple juice for bottle conditioning and carbonation. As such, you’ll want to chill well and open cautiously when it’s time! So, how can you get your hands on a bottle? Fire up the Sonoma and head out to Paradise, specifically at Banished Brewing’s location on Maverick Place, and you can secure your order ahead of time through their webshop.

Big Spruce is re-releasing a few of their greatest hits from 2022 this weekend. First up is Україна, a 4.9% Ukrainian Pilsner featuring the Zlato Polissya hop. Staying sessionable, they’ll also have their 4.9% English Pub Ale, Hoom Is Where the Heart Is available again. This one uses Challenger, Goldings and Fuggles hops, all grown on-site in the Big Spruce hopyard. Cans of both are available now at the brewery, in their online store, and through Bishops Cellar. 

If you find yourself, like many people, a little cash-strapped in this inflation-affected holiday season, Halifax’s (or is it Elmsdale’s now?) Good Robot Brewing has gone out of their way to try to help you have a little beery cheer on a budget. The Recession Special 8-pack is what it says on the tin(s): 8 beers for a measly $16.79. You’ll get two each Recession Special Red and Recession Special Blonde along with four Recession Special IPA. The Red is described as, “slightly nutty with a hint of dark fruit and caramel,” the blonde, “wheaty, slight citrus and low on hops,” and the IPA, “honey, stone fruit and grapefruit.” Sounds like right in the wheelhouse for those styles to us, and at an extremely affordable price. Just remember these are only available in 8-packs, and only at Good Robot locations, on Robie Street in Halifax and Industrial Way in Elmsdale. And if you are interested in being part of their new brewery in Elmsdale, or have a go in their taproom kitchen in Halifax, check out their job postings!

The denizens of West Bedford and/or commuters along Larry Uteck are no doubt aware, but other folks in the HRM may not be, that there’s a new beer bar up and running in the plaza on Bloom Lane by the roundabout. Featuring 35 taps of mostly Maritime-brewed beer & cider, along with wine and spirits of course, The Village Taphouse is intended to be, “a community hangout where we can celebrate our Canadian Spirit with the drinks we love.” Sounds like a noble cause to us! Wolfville’s Church Brewing is eager to help celebrate the new place, and have collaborated to produce Village Pillage, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, non-filtered, that is pleasantly fruity and spiced with coriander, bittered to 45 IBU with Tomahawk and finished with a hint of noble Saaz hops. What’s “strong” about it? Wellll, you best plan to bring a DD or your bus pass with you because this one comes in at a hefty 10.9% ABV. Only available at the Taphouse and in a very limited supply at Church, it’s one more reason to check out this new spot for pints!

We’ve got some news from the downtown Halifax private liquor store just in time for the weekend, as they’ve got some new releases in the fridges and shelves. Bishop’s Cellar has a fresh local beer delivery in stock and a big Belgian order just landed as well, with all of these treats launching today! While not all of these beers are new to Bishop’s, some of the pricing on the Belgian lambics is better than you may remember, so make sure you check out their website to order online. Or, just pop right down if you can and explore IRL.

Here’s the local list which sees a few new to Halifax beers.
Serpent –  Long Lake Pilsner
Tatamagouche –  Collusion Double IPA & Old Fangled Barrel Aged Mild Ale
Big SpruceYkpaïha Ukrainian Pilsner

Next up is 5 releases from Belgium’s de Ranke

  • Guldenberg 330ml
  • Noir de Dottignies 330ml
  • XX-Bitter 330ml
  • XXX-Bitter 750ml (variation of XX-bitter, with an additional 50% more hops)
  • Cuvee de Ranke 750ml

Another five releases are available from 3 Fonteinen as well and there are a lot of cases available.
Belgian treats, aplenty!

  • Oude Gueuze 375ml
  • Golden Blend 375ml
  • Intens Rood 375ml
  • Oude Gueuze 1500ml (only 18 magnums available)
  • Oude Kriek 750ml

And a returning favourite, the Belgian powerhouse Delirium’s Delirium Tremens 5L Mini Keg is available so you can share as much of the tasty Strong Blond Ale with whomever you wish!

Just one event on the radar this weekend, be sure to send others along if you know of/see them!

One of Atlantic Canada’s better beer bars, Battery Park, is celebrating its seventh anniversary this weekend, and they’re throwing a party on Saturday (December 10th) to celebrate. Drop by for great beers from Nova Scotia’s best breweries and cideries, free cupcakes, and plenty of brewery giveaways throughout the day. Happy Anniversary to Battery Park from your friends at ACBB.

Last couple of newsbites this week before we let you go…

In a bit of interesting news, Graystone Brewing has announced the re-branding of their flagship Patagonia beers, after a request from an extremely well-known US-based clothing company. No stranger to trademark issues (remember when the brewery opened as Gray Stone, or when they were caught up in this boner?), Patagonia Outdoor Clothing Company reached out to them in 2021 asking them to stop using the “Patagonia” moniker. While another company entirely owns the “Patagonia” trademark for beer in the US, the clothing maker has been brewing since 2016 and more recently released a collaboration beer with Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware, and that could have been the prompt to reach out to Graystone. A possible name change has been planned on for quite a while, as Graystone owner Wes Ward acknowledges in this CBC interview, and Patagonia “worked with and supported” them in the transition. The new branding is available now, and will replace stock at ANBL and other stores in the coming weeks.

And finally this week, the Canadian Craft Brewers Association has announced that New Brunswick’s Christine Comeau is now their Executive Director. Formerly with Craft Alcohol NB, Comeau brings with her plenty of experience in the brewing and marketing spaces, and recently co-chaired the Canada Beer Cup. The CCBA is the national association to which provincial and territorial brewery associations are members, and advocates for modernizing the federal excise tax, promoting the Independent Craft Brewery seal, compliance with the upcoming CFIA labeling requirements. We’re most excited for improvement in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies in the industry, and Codes of Conduct for breweries, events, and festivals for beer, and will be reaching out to Comeau for more on both important topics.

Happy December, y’all! Bit of disappointment as our Men’s team has exited the World Cup this week, but at least we will not have to wait another 36 years to cheer on Les Rouges, as the Women’s World Cup is in Australia and New Zealand in 2023, and then the men’s team co-hosts with Mexico and USA in 2026. Grab a beer and read along to see all of the new releases the breweries from across all four Atlantic provinces have for us this week.

Good Robot Brewing continues to flex the versatility of their new Elmsdale brewing location, complete with mash filter and expanded fermenting capacity, with plenty more new beers rolling off the line. B.F.Hef. (aka Best Friends Foreverweizen) is the latest, their foray into the German Hefeweizen Wheat Beer style. Featuring loads of wheat in the malt bill, the 4.8% beer also uses a specific Ale yeast to give off a pleasant blend of citrus and clove aromatics, with a hint of banana on the nose. Mandarina Bavaria hops enhance that citrus aroma even further. Cans are available at their original Robie Street location, as well as their newly-opened retail shop at the Elmsdale facility. Open Wed – Sun from noon (10 AM on the weekend), visitors to 14 Industrial Way will be able to purchase from the entire GRBC portfolio in can and growler fill, as well as their branded merch.

And good news for those looking to continue or start their career in beer, as Good Robot is hiring! They are looking for help both in their Elmsdale brewery and beyond, as they beef up their Brew Crew as well as those who help sell the resulting beer. They are looking to fill the following positions: a Shift Brewer, expected to have at least a couple of years professional brewing experience, a Junior Brewer (no pro experience necessary, but that’s definitely an asset), as well as a Sales Rep in the HRM/Nova Scotia region. Check out their job postings here.

Trailway has been busy this fall as well, and have a quartet of new releases available at their Main Street Fredericton location, and for local and AtlCan- & Ont-wide delivery from their website. Returning to the taps and shelves is their Beans Coffee Oatmeal Stout, a 6.8% stout brewed with a batch of freshly roasted Winter Solstice beans from their pals at Mill Town Roasters. For our coffee nerd brethren, WS is a blend dark roast blend of beans from Sumatra, Peru, and Columbia, with notes of bitter chocolate, molasses, and a warming spiciness, pairing perfectly with the beer’s malt-derived roast and full mouthfeel from the oats. Available on tap and in cans now, they have also leveraged the capabilities of Craft Coast Canning to package a Nitro version of the beer! Lower carbonation, but that means a little shake and a hard pour from height into a glass will show off a lovely cascading action as the beer settles. Due to the special nature of this version, Nitro Beans is a can-only release, but still orderable online.

Trailway has another pair of beer ready to purchase now… Merry Very is returning again for the cooler months. This is a 5.0% White Chocolate-Orange Stout… Think big chocolate, roast, coffee, a hint of citrus, but in a pale colour, something your buddy Terry would really enjoy! Locally kilned cacao nibs from McGuire Chocolate enhance the malt’s chocolate flavour, with the citrus brightening and contrasting the dark character, with a touch of vanilla. On tap and in cans now.

And finally, a debut beer from Trailway, Event Horizon. A massive 11.0% ABV imperial stout, with strong caramel, coffee, and chocolate notes, it also spent time in a 15-year Glen Breton Single Malt Whisky barrel, picking up strong vanilla and whisky notes to complement. Obviously a bit warming at 11.0% ABV, and as it’s available in 500ml bottles, we suggest grabbing a couple for sharing with friends and families a few times over the coming winter.

Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyons Brook has a new beer on tap, on their shelves, and for delivery, this week. Misty Morning is an aggressively-late-hopped New England IPA, absolutely brimming with tropical notes of passion fruit, citrus, and peach. All that Galaxy and Citra used late in the brewday, as well as in the tanks after the fact, mean this 6.0% beer is not bitter, but rather has a smooth mouthfeel. Their online shop has free delivery within Nova Scotia and beyond, just need to hit a very reasonable minimum value.

A pair of beers from Sydney’s Breton Brewing this week. First released is the return of an old favourite, their take on the German Kölsch. A beer where drinkability and enjoyment are top of mind, these are fermented with an ale yeast, but usually at cooler-than-normal temps, to keep the fruity esters at bay, before a long nap at even cooler temps for a conditioning/cleanup rest. At 4.0% ABV, this is low enough to pair well with appetizers, main course, or even dessert.

And debuting later in the week was Champagne IPA, wherein Breton brewed a light-bodied beer (with some rice in the grist), and used an American Ale yeast, coupled with an enzyme to extract every last bit of sugar from the wort, to finish with a bone-dry beer. Mix in the Ariana and Mosaic hops in great volume, and you’ve got a solid bitterness as well as aroma. Look for both of these limited releases in cans, on draught, and for delivery now!

Fresh off their win of the Hopyard Battle of the Breweries, Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing is bringing back a blast from the past today, complete with a party to help celebrate! Charlie is an English-style Brown Ale, and despite being only 4.5% ABV, is brimming with malt-derived toast, biscuit, caramel, and nuttiness. To celebrate its release on draught and in festive 355ml cans, they are hosting Loaf & Ladle Food Truck serving up comfort food from 2 until 8 PM this afternoon, Craig Fair on the piano from 6 – 8 PM, and keeping the patio nice and toasty warm. Pull that Ugly Sweater from the closet and make a night of it!

In Halifax on Brunswick Street, 2 Crows has brought out the latest entry in their now long-running series of irresponsibly-hopped hazy IPAs (fun(?) party game: try to name all the previous ones!). Permanent Vacation is described as having been “absolutely saturated” with Talus, and Vic Secret hops, but with a touch of Galaxy as well. So a little bit of “the Pacific Northwest battles Australia in a tropical fruit stand, but Australia brought backup.” Expect a smooth and creamy presentation with plenty of sweetness, leading with notes of pineapple (canned), overripe mango, and a bit of coconut. Given that there’s Talus in there we’d expect a bit of the dankness as well, but you’ll have to try this 6.1% juice bomb for yourself to confirm. The 2C gang did point out that this is a smaller batch than previous entries, so if you’re a fan of the series and/or hoppy hazies in general, you’ll want to get your orders in!

On Main Street in Fredericton, NB, Half Cut Brewing has a new IPA of their own out, a double IPA, really. Continuing their trend of “juicy beers with weird f’n names” is Deep Pockets IPA. Described as being “like that uncle who never grew up,” this one’s a heavy hitter, arriving at 8% ABV and 40 IBU. You’ll find it in cans at the brewery and (soon, if not already) on the shelves of an ANBL store near you.

As is their wont, Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin, NS, continues to bring beers in styles that aren’t terribly common in these parts. This week they’ve got a twist on the German style, Rauchbier. Pronounced “rowsh-beer” rather than “rock-beer”, it is traditionally made with a very large portion (up to 100%, even) of smoked malt in the grist. This can often lead to folks who are not big fans of smoke to find the beer “too smoky” so Tanner took their foot off the gas on this one and aimed for a more mellow presentation. To ensure there would still be plenty of complexity, they then took advantage of their oenological bent to age this one in oak wine barrels for a few months. The result is a 6% ABV beer that no doubt has plenty of smoke, but also some tannins and acidity for balance. Look for it packaged in bottles at both of Tanner’s locations and online for delivery.

Fans of both dessert and beer have reason to celebrate in Halifax this week as Propeller Brewing has released a beer that ticks both boxes this week. Nanaimo Imperial Dessert Stout is a pretty self-explanatory name, we think, but if you’re somehow not in the know about the classic Canadian dessert, we’d better provide some detail anyway. Built on a base of cocoa and coconut, with a layer of vanilla custard and a topping of milk chocolate, Nanaimo bars are one of the great bake sale traditions from coast to coast. Propeller’s beer version aims to hit all of those notes and meld them together with a roasty, but still sweet imperial stout. With all of that going on and it coming in at 10%, this rich and creamy number has “danger” written all over it. Grab it now directly from the source at your favourite Prop Shop, or look for it at Bishop’s Cellar or the other private stores in Metro.

Half Cocked in North Grant has a pair of returning favourites now pouring at their taproom, and in cans for the first time. Braeside Bitter showcases their English side, with lightly-coloured malt bringing out notes of biscuit and caramel, with a blend of hops showcasing lemon, tea, and honey, to complete the experience. 5.5% ABV. The Darkest One is of another category entirely, a big brash American Stout, blasting the nose with dark chocolate, and filling the palate with roast, finishing with some bitterness on the back end. 355 ml cans for this one as well, only at the brewery. Why not drop by tomorrow, December 3rd, for Holiday Market on the 245, which they are co-hosting with Teasdale Apothecary from 3 – 6 PM. And after the vendors have packed up, there will be live music from Leeboy!

Spryfield’s own Serpent Brewing has a new beer out for the festive season with a release that reflects their continued quest to bring the best of Belgian styles to Dentith Road and environs. Described as a Belgian Golden Strong Christmas Spiced Ale, it’s got a much more compact (and fun) name: Jurassic Jesus. Although it weighs in at a hefty 7.5%, it’s deceptively easy to drink, with subtle malt undertones beneath a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg spice. Cookie and caramel along with some fruity ester notes from the yeast complete the picture, as there’s little to no hop presence detected or expected in a style like this. On tap tomorrow at the brewery, you’ll also be able to grab it in 375ml bottles to go. And if you do visit, don’t forget that Spryfood, their in-house kitchen, is now up and running at full bore.

Smiths Cove is deep in the Annapolis Valley, not too far from the ferry to Saint John, so quite accessible for people in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. And their very own Lazy Bear Brewing has a new beer on tap and in bottles this week, a big bold beer ready to be enjoyed around a cozy fire. Assassination of a Wise Man is a 10.0% Barleywine, with rich caramel notes shining through, balanced with just-enough hops to keep it from being too sweet. Finished with molasses, some dark notes of raisin, with a lighter vanilla hint also coming through on the nose. The bottles were sealed with wax, minimizing any oxygen from sneaking in during their (possible) long cellaring period. We suggest grabbing a couple, one to enjoy now, and one later, if you happen to miss it on tap. Not overly bitter, on draught and in bottles at Smiths Cove, keep your eyes peeled to their social media for availability beyond their location, but a visit out there is a great idea, during their Thursday night taproom evenings (and maybe by appointment if you reach out early enough)!

You can tell winter is coming, as Big Spruce is holding the release party for their annual Barrel-aged Imperial Stout this weekend. Battery Park will be the gracious hosts of the two variants of the 2022 edition, as well as sharing kegs dating all the way back to 2018. However, there is a major, and welcome, change in the beer name and design this year, that we’re excited to tell you about. Kobzar Imperial Stout, is named in honour of writer Taras Schevchenko, considered to be the father of modern Ukrainian literature, with profound effects on the language and culture of his home country. Banned and exiled from Ukraine due in part to his push for Ukrainian independence, still inspiring Ukrainians more than 150 years after his death. Kobzar is both a collection of poems written by Schevchenko, and the nickname given to him, meaning “bard” in Ukrainian. Kobzar the beer will be familiar to long-time Big Spruce fans, with massive coffee and dark chocolate notes with a touch of hop bitterness to balance. This year’s releases were aged in two distinctly different barrels, imparting plenty of the character of its previous residents. Jamaican Rum Kobzar and Glenora Whisky Kobzar both clock in at 11.0%, and in a change, will be available in cans this year! Making them a little easier to stack in the basement cellar, we suspect… You can enjoy the first tastes of Kobzar tomorrow at Battery Park from 11:30 AM, where they will be pouring both 2022 versions of the beer, as well as four previous releases of Ra Ra Rasputin, including 2021 Tawny Port, 2019 Cognac, 2019 Peach Brandy, and 2018 Glenora Whisky. Cans of Kobzar (as well as a few bottles of previous releases) are available at their shop in Nyanza, on their website for delivery and shipping, Bishop’s Cellar, with the 2022 Jamaican Rum Kobzar available in cans at Bar Stillwell and Stillwell Freehouse.

There’s not only breweries getting into the festive season, Tapestry Beer Bar in Lr Sackville is filling their dance card with a range of events this month. Tomorrow, Dec 3 at 5 – 9 PM, they are hosting a Christmas Market with their nextdoor neighbours Apartment 3 Espresso Bar. On Dec 8, they are hosting a Beer & Cheese Pairing with Smith & Hartlen Fine Cheese (grab your tickets ahead of time). There are plenty more events leading up to a Bar Olympics on Dec 31, check this page for more details!

Just a few more notes before we let you go this week….

Antigonish’s Candid Brewing has a new release today, which will be complemented by at least a couple more before the weekend is done. With 3 weeks out until the official celebration on December 23rd, they’re debuting Festivus IPA. A 6.5% ABV with plenty of late-addition Barbe Rouge and Belma hops, offset with a touch of lactose, drive a few of these into you before the Airing of Grievances or Feats of Strength.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing has a new beer on tap and for crowler fills late this week.Their first Cold IPA, they’ve named it the appropriately punny Thawless Victory. A hefty 6.5% ABV and respectable 35 IBUs, look for it on tap at their tiny taproom, and maybe downstairs at the Grand Banker too!

We’re ending this week with a bit of sad news, hopefully not a “Goodbye” but a “See You Later”, from Delta Force Brewing. The always elusive crew, brewing out of an undisclosed location in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, has announced that they are closing out Phase 1, Alpha Team if you will, of the brewery. As they say, opening a “farm shed brewery at the beginning of the brewery was a bold move”, and they have pushed through with 30 different releases over the past couple of years. To toast the possibility of Phase 2, they are holding a sale on their remaining stock, so we encourage you to grab a case and enjoy them this month. Cheers fellas!!

The cold weather is finally here, so let’s gather ‘round to read about beer. The nights are dark and shorter, so pour yourself a porter. We’ve got lots of news about local brews, so don’t linger any longer!

Exciting news on the West Coast of Newfoundland, as Pasadena’s Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has announced a big upgrade to their system. Opening six years ago with a 50 litre Sabco BrewMagic system, they have upgraded in a big way to a steam-fired three vessel capable of more than 1000 litres per batch. Drop by Thursday through Saturday to grab cans from their fridges as well as merch or kegs for your next get-together. One of those cans is the brand new charitable release, For Ukraine With Love. Brewed with 100% Ukrainian-developed and -grown hops, Promin and Zagrava, this light Euro Lager allows them to shine through with a light resinous character. Sold at the brewery and making its way Island-wide in the coming weeks, $6.00 of the $10.00 price tag is being donated to the Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter of the Association For New Canadians. Be sure to pick up a can or two to support this worthy cause!

Good Robot is back with another Goodwill Beer release and earlier this week, United Way IPA was released in collaboration with and in support of United Way Halifax. United Way Halifax has a few campaigns kicking off this week to help support the housing crisis, as United Way is a donor-funded organization that is always advocating and helping those in need of housing.The beer itself is an approachable IPA that is a blend of citrus, sweet and wheat, thanks to the hop bill of Comet, Idaho 7 and Lemondrop. 50 cents from every beer sold in the taproom or anywhere, goes directly towards United Way Halifax. You can get this one in cans or on tap at Robie Street, or order online for delivery.

Limestone Beverages, a group of Bahamian-Haligonian folks sharing the love of their homeland, have a pair of new beers available now. They are hosting a tasting (and more!) event at East Coast Conch restaurant Sunday to showcase the releases, both alcoholic and non-, with some food pairings and live music to accompany. Pina Colada Wheat Ale is a 5.0% ABV with mild pineapple notes, with a creamy coconut rum-like mouthfeel, which will have you transported to the Caribbean with the waves lapping at your toes. Paired with Beef Sliders in coconut buns topped with mango and bacon jam.. East Coast Flamingo is a 4.8% Watermelon and Kiwi Ale, with plenty of the named ingredients on the nose and palate, enhanced by hibiscus flower for a lovely pink hue and floral character. ECC is pairing a Snapper Taco with this drink. For those looking for great fruit character without the alcohol, Limestone also makes Switchas, the Bahamian lime-ade. The name comes from the fact that the drink is both sour and sweet, switching up your brain as to what it’s tasting! There will be Lime and NS Blueberry Switcha pouring as well. And to really top Sunday evening, Limestone will have some Junkanoo performances, with live music and dance, so be sure to visit!

Strap in for a trio of Trailway releases, as they’ve got two holiday releases and one returning collaboration all available now. Earlier this week, Hu Jon Holiday is their classic Hu Jon Hops recipe with some extra piney hops and spruce tip additions. This is a much more piney and resinous version of their flagship IPA and is 6.6%. It’s available now at the brewery, select ANBL stores and will be available at Harvest Wines in Halifax this weekend or early next week. 

Second up from their holiday release is Facts, an American Barelywine. This 11.9% banger brings the deep, rich flavours of caramel, dried fruit, toffee and nice rich malt character with that right hop balance. This is releasing in a sensible 355ml can format, available now at the brewery, and *may* be seen a little further afield.

Finally, a collaboration with Lagabière rounds off Trailway’s release news. De L’autre Boutte to Here is a Double Dry Hopped IPA that is absolutely packed with Citra, Simcoe and Motueka. This is very bright with citrus zest flavours and a powerful punch of tropical fruit and dank pine. This nice 7% release is available now in kegs and cans as well.

All of these three releases can also be ordered online for delivery or pick-up. 

All aboard the mead train! Tanner & Co Brewing has a pair of sparkling mead releases new this week. First up, Barrel Fermented Sparkling Mead is their house sparking mead with some citrus rind and cinnamon added during the boil and then put into French oak barrels. This one fermented outside through the wacky Nova Scotia weather and returned back to stainless for carbonation. The result is a 6.8% sparkling mead and is packaged in 500ml bottles. 

Second on the mead train is a new release that follows in the footsteps of one of their beers. Muscat Sauvage Sparkling Mead uses Muscat grape skins from Grand Pré Winery and the same yeast as their Sauvage Saison beer. Local honey was used from Little Bee Farm to keep it all within the province. This is a nice and dry finishing brew and the grape skins add a great flavour and aroma to the mead. This one comes in at 5.6% and sounds very drinkable. 

Both of these meads are available at the brewery and taproom and available for delivery through their online store. 

Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has a new release out this week, another in their foray into the lager style. This 6.0% Amber Lager features a mix of Munich malts (Cara and Light, in addition to the standard Munich malt), offering a touch of colour and a hint of toast and roast notes. The German lager yeast used keeps it clean and crisp without any sweetness, balancing with the ever-so-light hop profile. Available on draught and in cans now at their spot on Sussex, just behind Canadian Tire/beside Mary Brown’s.

Out today is a beer celebrating the special relationship the province of Nova Scotia has with the city of Boston. Thankful for the massive support the city offered after the Halifax Explosion, since 1971 the province has been sending down the city’s Christmas Tree, harvested from somewhere in Nova Scotia. This year’s tree hails from Christmas Island, and is stopping in Halifax before it continues its journey South. The third year of From Nova Scotia With Love is out today, a collaboration between Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing and Boston’s Harpoon Brewery. This year’s release is Whiskey Barrel Aged Fat Archie Molasses Cookie Imperial Stout… Featuring spruce tips, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, this 11.0% beast of a beer is a melding of flavours that will have you looking for another sip! Cans are available at the brewery now, should be heading to some better beer bars in the province, and on their online shop for delivery or shipping real soon.

Sticking in Nova Scotia, Tusket Falls Brewing is releasing Next Phaze, a Hazy IPA. This is packed with hops and a big tropical punch in each sip. Featuring a hop blend of Rikawa and Cryo Mosaic , and that magical Phantasm as an adjunct addition (extracted from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, bringing mega thiol freedom!), this brings the big tropical notes with some pine, citrus and a creamy bitterness. This is 6.4% and available at both brewery locations, online and will be headed to the NSLC at some point.

Smokehouse Nano Brewery in Berwick is celebrating the town’s centennial with a release showcasing their appreciation and pride in their home. Centennial Pale Ale is a 5.0% ABV light and refreshing pale ale, which features, not surprisingly, Centennial hops! With a label featuring the Greetings From Berwick 100th Year Mural recently unveiled in town, cans are available at their taproom location, and will also be for sale at this evening’s Valley Wildcats home game!

Edmundston’s Petit-Sault recently hosted three Northwest New Brunswick breweries for a dark and dangerous collaboration in their brewhouse, which was released this week. NOir is an 8.5% ABV Pastry Stout, made with chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup. Folks from Grand Falls Brewing, Novum Boreas in Saint-Quentin, and the soon-to-open Microbrasserie Ateepic in Edmundston all took part in the fun, and will have the beer available at their taproom/retail shops, with limited selections making it to ANBL stores as well.

Spindrift Brewing has a nice release for the colder weather. Goldilocks is a Nitro Oatmeal Stout, bringing some nice roast, smoke, cocoa, and high drinkability to the style at 4.8%. Working with Craft Coast Canning and their Nitro dropped, so definitely pour this one into a glass and get that nice cascade effect. This smokey oatmeal stout has a lovely malt bill of Superior Pilsen, Carafa III, Chocolate Malt, Flaked Oats, Golden Naked Oats and Honey Oat Malt. Balanced up with Warrior hops up to 25 IBU, this is a full stout that deserves a full pour! This beer is available now at the brewery in Dartmouth and should be available over the weekend in Antigonish.

Spindrift also has a returning favourite, in what could be its last hurrah. Hurricane IPA is their West Coast IPA that’s coming out in a nice smaller 6 x 355ml format. This is available now at the brewery in Dartmouth and will be in Antigonish next week. 

Last month we told you about a brewery hosting their first homebrew competition, and this week we get to tell you that another brewery is hosting their TENTH annual* competition. Those who’ve taken part in the past know that Big Spruce’s Home Brew Challenge has been one of the most fun comps to both participate in and to judge and we suspect that this year will be no exception. Throwing it back to the competition’s first year, they’re calling for brewers to assemble and brew their best IPA across all BJCP 2021 IPA Categories: 21A American IPA, 21B Specialty IPA, 21C Hazy IPA, 22A Double IPA and X2 IPA Argenta (we’re guessing the inclusion of that last one may have been a clerical error unless someone’s got a line on Argentinian hops). That also includes all of the sub-categories of 21B, so Belgian IPA, Black IPA, Brown IPA, Brut IPA, Red IPA, Rye IPA, and White IPA (insert Forrest Gump shrimp GIF here). Key to note, however, is that there will not be separate judging of sub-styles: all entries will be judged side-by-side in a true winner-take-all Hollywood blockbuster-style shootout, just with hops being the weapon of choice. The winner, as always, will see their winning recipe brewed on Big Spruce’s 7BBL pilot system and distributed throughout the region. Two runners up (2nd and 3rd) will receive a swag/merch and beer box. All participants will be invited to the gala on February 5th, 2023, at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth for the big announcement. You can find additional details in this Ig post, and you can express your interest in competing (or ask additional questions) by emailing info@bigspruce.ca

* There might have been a year missing there for COVID; we can’t remember 😬

We already told you about the 2 Crows SCOOPS event and release, happening tonight from 5 – 11 PM (Stout pours and Ice Cream Floats!, with live music from 8 PM), but let us not skip over the fact that they have a beer on the other end of the spectrum pouring this week, and will still be available tonight… Zig is a Berliner Weisse style beer, think light and tart, this one has seen the addition of prickly pear to the batch. Those who remember Zip, Zap, Zop, and Zoup will see this fit in nicely to the family. On tap only as it is a small batch, but it may pair/contrast nicely with the SCOOPS you’re going to try.

Don’t forget to get out to your local brewery, cidery, or good bar this weekend. We’ve entered the slow season, and they can use all the support we can throw at them! We already told you about Copper Bottom’s Fifth Anniversary, and accompanying beer last week, here are a few other spots to visit if you’re in HRM…

Garrison Brewing’s Oxford Taproom, located at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford Streets in Halifax, is celebrating its Third Anniversary this weekend. They’ve got loads of beer specials, releases, and pop-ups planned for the entire weekend, including gluten-free empanadas from Verano tonight, handpies from Humble Pie tomorrow. Saturday late morning, The Oxford will host a yoga session, followed Sunday by a pop-up shop with local artist Peter Roth, and the evening is capped by stand-up comedy hosted by Dan Hendricken. Plus beer and coffee specials all weekend! It’s all too much to share here, so check this IG post for all the fun details! One of those beers is the return of their winter seasonal, All Lit Up. This 7.0% Winter Warmer Strong Ale was lightly spiced and features more of cinnamon, clove, raisins, and even some apricot, on top of the rich malt caramel flavour. Available on tap and in cans at their retails spaces now, it will also be at both private and provincial stores very soon.

The BrewHQ Retail Store is holding their Grand Opening this Saturday, November 19th. Located at 80 Thornhill Drive, this beer-making-centric store has tons (literally!) of ingredients, equipment for homebrewers of all sizes (and even small commercial outfits), as well as a few other draws that make them unique in the region (if not the world!). First and foremost is the fact that they have two house-brewed beers available on tap, allowing folks browsing the store something to sip on while they shop. Brewed on their 350 litre (3 BBL) system, they are concentrating on English Real Ale styles, working with naturally-carbonated beers, and handpump faucets to deliver the beer. Pouring right now are Extra Special Bitter and Traditional Mild. And if you like what you have in-store, you can even get a growler or PET bottle fill to take home. Enhancing the taproom feel is a full complement of pinball and Arcade machines (on Free Play all day during the party!), hotdogs and sausages and popcorn and soda while you browse and chat beer and brewing with the staff. Speaking of brewing, there will be a Grainfather Brew School happening tomorrow, an example of the weekly classes held at BrewHQ. For those interested in getting into the Homebrewing hobby, the Grainfather allows folks to do a full Grain brew (for ultimate control over the recipe, unlike pre-fabbed wort or the “kit and kilo” of years ago). Those who visit can enter in some door prizes (including the chance to win a Grainfather!!), and there are pop-up events happening throughout the day. What a way to spend your Saturday, for those already brewing at home, looking to learn more about the hobby, or just wanting another spot to enjoy a pint while playing pinball!

The good beer events continue into Sunday, as Barrington Street’s Bar Stillwell celebrates its Ninth Anniversary of slinging the good stuff. Look for special beers from the cellar (think Stilly Brewing Preach v.2018), freshies from south of the border (a Fruited Sour DIPA from Hudson Valley Brewing), and of course some great Belgian sours (Hof Ten Dormaal anyone?). As always, the food will be off the hook, and bumped up even more as Chef Joe Martin is putting an Italian-American spin on the menu, bringing some Saucy Meatball Sandwiches to reality, along with the usual hits from behind the protective cage. Plus birthday cake! Open from noon til midnight Nov 20, so plenty of time to enjoy, so we suggest pacing yourself. 

Details are light on this one, but clear your calendar for Saturday November 26th, as Dartmouth’s Battery Park is hosting a complete Tap Takeover from Tatamagouche Brewing. 17 taps a-flowing means a few originals from back in the day, some recent hits, and at least a couple of brand new releases! We hope to have even more info for yas next week!

A couple more things before we let you go this weekend…

It has been a year since Barnone Brewery in Rose Valley re-opened their barn under new management. Dozens of brews and Growler Nights and events have taken place over the course of the last twelve months. Due to the colder weather, they are closing the barn for winter, aiming for re-opening in early March. However Barn One fans, fear not, as plenty of spots on the island are carrying their beer, including HopYard, Abbiato, Olde Dublin, Pilot House, Red Shores, Olde Triangle, 511 West, and plenty more. Just ask at your favourite watering hole, and if they don’t already have it on tap, insist they bring in a keg!

Bathurst’s Four Rivers Brewing has a returning seasonal back this week, available on draught and in cans across the province’s liquor stores. Pa Rum Pum Pomander is perhaps a departure from the dark and roasty seasonals other breweries have put out, as this is a festive New England IPA featuring loads of citrus and just a touch of clove character. Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel, and a 6.0% ABV may just make this a favourite of Old Saint Nick next month!

We close out this week’s blog with a salute to our Beer-Pals-In-Arms at 902 BrewCast, whose podcast explored the world of Atlantic Canadian (and beyond) beer, cider, and mead, over the past 6 years, recording more than 150 episodes. Tony, Kyle, and Phil were there in 2016 before 2 Crows Brewing opened their doors (starting the joke of a 902BC Curse…), put IPAs through a torture test to see how they held up in various extreme environments, and became one with the land in PEI as they drove through barley fields… They’ve decided to say so long to the podcast, but you know that won’t mean the end of their love for all things fermented, so you’ll be seeing them at beer-y events and releases in the future. Download “Tomorrow” right now and crack a beer to drink with your friends.