Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

All posts tagged Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

As sometimes happens with nearly 200 breweries and ciderhouses in the region, a few things fall between the cracks. Wel, that happened last week as we were touting the awesome beers and brew days that happened in celebration of International Women’s Day. Let’s get you up to speed with a few more releases and brew days that happened across the region Monday:

The women of Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing came together in late February to design and brew Shine!, an American Pale Ale. Using the Pink Boots hop blend of Ahtanum, Cashmere, Citra, Loral, and Sabro, the beer features massive citrus and tropical notes, but low on bitterness. With a clean, light body with a silky mouthfeel, the beer also has a touch of herbal notes poking through as well. The Pink Boots blend supports scholarships and educational efforts to increase numbers and improve representation of women in the beer sector, and Upstreet is also making donations locally to the PEI Association of Newcomers to Canada, in support of their Women’s Group. You can grab Shine! on tap and in cans at the brewery taproom and Craft Beer Corner, and check out the IWD 2021 playlist DJ Grace put together so you can rock out to some awesome tunes at home enjoying the beer. Shine On!

In Downtown Dartmouth, two women of New Scotland Brewing designed, brewed, and released Divine, now on draught at their taproom. Already heavily involved in the brewing process since the brewery opened in 2018, Jan Gillespie teamed up with newer member of NSBC, Charlie Parent, to bring to life this Session IPA. Dry-hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Sabro, tropical notes of pineapple and a hint of coconut dance on the palate. Taking this 4.0% ABV beer to the next level are additions of dragon fruit and hibiscus flower, for a bright orange hue and even more tropical fruit. Currently on tap at their spot at 91 Alderney Drive, there should be some kegs in the wild around HRM soon.

And in “coming soon” IWD brews, Annapolis Brewing Company hosted an official Pink Boots Brew Day, inviting women from Church Brewing, Lunn’s Mill, and Sea Level to their brewery in Annapolis Royal. Using the Pink Boots Hop Blend, they put together a stronger New England IPA, big on flavour but low on bitterness. We’ll have the full details when the beer is released later this month, of course!

Same for the crew at Brasseux d’la Cote, who invited in three other Acadian Peninsula breweries and MTB group Sirènes en Cavale in to brew a beer made with barley grown and malted on the Acadian Peninsula thanks to the new facilities at Distillerie Fils du Roy, who also participated in the brew day along with Houblon-Pêcheur and Brasserie Retro.

Avaloners (Avalonians?) looking to celebrate the move down to Level 4 can check out Bannerman Brewing Co. for their new pilsner, Casual Acquaintance. Their take of the German-stule of pilsner features Saaz and Ella hops that lend grassy, herbal and fruity notes. Coming in at 5% ABV, you can find it now in 16 oz cans and for growler fills at the brewery, and cans may be making it to some of the better beer stores around the peninsula too!

The joyful droids at Good Robot are releasing a crisp beer this week that is true to the Halifax water, true to their roots, and is a lovely release for our warming weather. Introducing the Ten Thousand Pound Pilsner is a 4.5% ABV Czech Pilsner, which should be very true to style due to the Halifax water profile being so similar to that of Pilsen, Czech Republic. Hopped with Perle and achieving 31 IBU, this should have a classic floral taste with a mild cracker sweetness with a crisp and palate cleansing mouthfeel. Pick this one up today from the retail shop or order online. And they’re pleased to announce that as of today, their taproom has reopened with everything you’d expect from the Robie Street space. Starting this weekend, they’ll be doing a small brunch as well for all future weekends. 

Never a stranger to new releases, Brunswick Street’s brewery, 2 Crows, brings a new release available now. Starflight is an oak fermented saison at 4.4% ABV and 28 IBU. Brewed last July with a base of Shoreline Pilsner malt and hopped with Sterling and Bramling Cross, it was then dry hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and Sterling. After 6 months it came out of a large oak foedre and was allowed to naturally carbonate and can condition for 4 more months before being ready to release to the public. Pick this one up from the taproom or order online for shipping all over the country. 

Back on the sunny shores of the Island, PEI Brewing Company is releasing a beer to help ease us into the warmer weather (it’s coming, right?). Gahan’s Beacon Blonde Ale comes in at 4.5% ABV and is lightly hopped to the tune of 12 IBUs. Expect a medium to high carbonation level, a crisp mouthfeel and some light sweetness in the finish. Beacon is available now in 4 packs of 355 mL cans at PEI BC’s three Charlottetown-area locations with wider distribution through PEI LC and ANBL coming soon. 

We’ve got a fun one from one of the hidden gems of the NS beer scene: Lunn’s Mill is releasing a saison this week. Le Domaine is a strong 8.2% saison that is fruity, spicy with a smooth caramel finish. Brewed with Pilsner, Munich, wheat and rye malt. Fermented with Escarpment Labs Old World Saison blend, this has a slightly floral aroma with a touch of a boozy finish. This one is available now in the taproom for pints and growlers. This will be released in cans in coming weeks. 

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery has a new hazy IPA out this weekend with the release of Expat. This is a double dry hopped version of the style, made exclusively with Eclipse hops from Australia. Look for a hazy, yellow appearance and big citrusy aromas of mandarin and oranges on the nose, along with some pine notes. Expat comes in at a reasonably sessionable 6% ABV. Cans, fills and pints are available at the Portland Street taproom today with a release through the NSLC by the end of March. 

Let’s head to Fredericton next for another hazy IPA from, you guessed it, Trailway Brewing. For it’s newest release, Trailway teamed up with Toronto innovators, Blood Brothers Brewing. The two breweries collaborated virtually to design Whales All Day Double IPA. Coming in at 8.5%, this DIPA features Citra, Sabro, and the experimental hop HBC 630. Look for lots of tropical notes, with Sabro’s signature coconut profile, along with mango, tangerine, stone fruit, vanilla and bubblegum. You can find it now in cans and on tap at the brewery, or for delivery via their webstore

We’ve got another release this weekend that will be soon packaged for distribution, but this one is from the Homebrew Competition winner, Tim Gregory. Famous for his other Big Spruce canned staple, Tim’s American IPA which won the inaugural Competition in 2013, Tim comes back with Das Schmeckt Gut!, a Sticke Altbier at 6.7%. This delicious beer style has a nice copper appearance with a great balance of malt and hop bitterness. Available now on tap in Nyanza, this has been released in 650ml bottles and will be available online, with other keg accounts confirmed at Battery Park and Hopyard

In a normal year this would be a post chock full of news and brews about St. Patrick’s Day (or Paddy’s Day, but please not St. Paddy’s Day, and absolutely-goddamn-not St. Patty’s Day). Such are the times upon us, however, that one of Halifax’s most notorious nights of celebration won’t be nearly as messy as in “normal” years. For those of us who walk downtown that means not having to remember to be extra observant of where we step the next morning, but it’s certainly a downer for those of Irish descent (or “Irish for the day,” in many cases) that they won’t be able to get their big drink on this coming Wednesday night. Bless ‘em, our local Irish Pubs are doing the responsible thing and not making a big deal of it, with The Old Triangle and Durty Nelly’s going so far as to be closed that night. Because these folks are losing what is traditionally an excellent night of business, Propeller Brewing is stepping up to help them out a little by giving away 7 gift packs, each containing a 4-pack of Prop’s seasonal Irish Red (in the form of a gift card) plus a $50 gift card to a local Irish Pub (Durty Nelly’s, The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, Seamus David’s Pub, Jamieson’s Irish Pub, Celtic Corner, Finbar’s Irish Pub, Finbar’s Portland Hills). To enter all you’ve got to do is like the Ig or Fb post, follow Propeller on that platform, and cheers a friend in the post’s comments.  You have until 11:59 PM on Monday, March 15th, to enter; winners will be determined via random draw and announced on Paddy’s Day (Wednesday, March 17th). And whether you win or not, or in Halifax or not, do keep your local Irish-flavoured watering hole in mind over the coming weeks; like everyone else in the food service and hospitality industry, they could use some help right now. And speaking of the contest’s sponsor Propeller, they have just reduced the order size needed to qualify for free delivery in HRM. That means you can have a flat of their Prime Lager delivered to your home for just $40! Peep their online shop for that and other options. Delivery is just $5 if under the threshold.

In other seasonally-tinted news, we told you a couple of weeks back about Lake City Cider’s new Kombucha/Cider blend, Green Ginger Cider, well this week they’re offering that up as a package with two 750 mL bottles and a 16oz Lake City stein from which to drink them for $35, a $5 savings. If you can’t get your St. Patrick’s Day on downtown, might as well sip some cider in style at home.

Big congratulations to Paddy’s Brewpub who are celebrating their 20th Anniversary at their Wolfville location, with a 5-day Ceilidh from now until St Patrick’s Day! Live music each evening at 7 or 8 PM, and a special Irish menu includes Boxty, Irish Cream Bash Cheesecake, and of course a proper Irish Red Ale. More details on their Facebook page.

Your weekly reminder of fresh, hoppy goodness at Unfiltered Brewing. This week, you can find the return of the infamous Double Orange Ale, a 7.5% DIPA. Cans are available now on North Street. 

In the job hunt news, the season is picking up and so are some jobs in a fun industry. In Sydney, Breton Brewing is growing and have two positions they’re currently looking to fill. Both seasonal positions, they’re looking for an Assistant Brewer and a Packaging Assistant. Check out the link here to apply and the deadline to apply is Friday March 26th. 

As they prepare for the busy spring and summer season, Sussex Ale Works is bringing on a Craft Beer Adventure Guide to their team. Probably the coolest job title we’ve heard of (except maybe professional beer and cheese taster, anyone hiring?), as their guide you’ll be working in the taproom serving up pints to visitors, telling the stories behind the beers, and making the overall SAW experience a great one for those popping in, or staying for a session. After you read through the above posting, apply here!

Rounding out the jobs today is back where we started, Upstreet Brewing in Charlottetown PEI. They are looking for an Account Manager to join their team, working with retail and licensee customers to keep them up to date on the latest and greatest releases, and seek out new spots to carry Upstreet on the Island, as well as across the Maritimes. If you love beer, and love helping sell it, this is the job for you! Check out the full job description here, and apply right meow!

It kinda feels like one of those Fridays that doesn’t feel like a Friday, y’know? Maybe it’s because this was the week of Blue Monday (cue New Order), but more probably it’s the dead of winter and there’s some weather in the region and COVID is still a thing. Or maybe the internationally auspicious events in the US this week haven’t completely sunk in yet, although ACBB are all extremely happy about a potential return to something like normalcy down there. So whether you’re toasting to another week of winter gone, or a new administration for our nearest neighbours, or whatever else brings you joy, see below for some notes on some of the beers that our region’s breweries have for you this week and how you can get them!

Those of you in the HRM were most likely at 2 Crows last weekend, picking up your share of their latest brews. We hope you don’t mind making a return trip, as there’s a couple more hitting their shelves today, a newbie and a returning fave. The new beer is Soft Fruits, a beer that makes good use of a brewing technique that has been gaining steam over the last few years. When sour beers are conditioned on fruit and then packaged, there is still quite often a good amount of character remaining in what’s left behind. In this specific case, we’re talking about the raspberry and blackcurrant used in last year’s Zap and Zop, fruited Berliner Weisses. The leftover fruit was transferred to a stainless tank, along with a pitch of malolactic bacteria to soften the acidity of the fruit. While all this sounds wonderful, of course we need BEER to go on there, right? So, they added a low-ABV Lager (brewed with Shoreline Pilsner malt, and flaked rice) onto the fruit, where it underwent a second fermentation (remember, the fruit also had the yeast from the barrel cultures) and seven months of conditioning before bottling. Super drinkable at just 3.8% ABV, this unique beer is “surprisingly clean and bright, with a subdued fruit character and incredible soft acidity”. Very limited supply, so best to grab some while you can. 

And if you like your IPAs Brett-y and extra fruity, there’s a supply of fresh cans (and pints!) of Brettango, 2C’s Brett IPA w/ mango. With a tweaked water chemistry, increased dry-hopping (Citra and Mandarina Bavaria), and a small addition of orange zest in this year’s batch (along with the maybe-pushing-it amount of 420 lbs of mango), this 7.9% ABV brew is plenty tropical, citrusy, and juicy for your needs, along with “a nice little pineapple funk” thanks to the blend of Brettanomyces strains used for fermentation. And keep your eyes peeled here next week for even more releases… The 2C Crew has big plans for what is normally their anniversary party and release, and while things may be a little less “let’s get together and drink” this year, does not mean they’ve done any less work behind the scenes.

Let’s pop over to the Rock for the next announcement, where we hope you were able to shovel your way from your bed to your beer fridge this morning! Quidi Vidi Brewery has released the third installment of their Newfermenters X QV mixed 4-pack this week. This annual competition sees amateur brewers from across Newfoundland and Labrador putting together some epic beers and sharing with their fellow enthusiasts in a massive bottle share and judging event. The all-new mixed pack features:

  • Brothers Scuff, a 4.5% ABV Session IPA from Ben Hussey
  • Lost in Time, a 5.5% Roggenbier from Mark Courish
  • Darkstar, a 6% Coffee Extra Special Bitter by Ralph Pike
  • Sabby Sour, a 4.2% Sour Kveik by Jordan Blake

The mixed pack is available today from QV’s new Hops Shop at 16 Harbour View Ave, and at NLCs and the better convenience stores next week. (Home deliveries are on pause for the time being, but will be returning soon)

And congratulations to the Quidi Vidi family who are celebrating 25 years in business, having opened in 1996. The beer landscape in Newfoundland was quite different back then (all over the country, really!), so while their 1892 Traditional Ale may have been a bit of a shock to the light-lager-drinking public back then, they have stuck it out through thick and thin, and are rocking along in the 2020’s. From one independently-owned brewery to just-under 20, things are looking great in the Newfoundland and Labrador beer scene.

Speaking of Homebrew Competitions, big congratulations to Halifax’s Tim Gregory, who took home Gold in the Eighth Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Competition. From 25 entries, his Sticke Alt recipe and beer grabbed the judges’ attention for its take on the “secret” version of the classic German style. You’ll be able to drink the winner yourself later in the year, once Gregory heads up (down? I can never remember…) to Nyanza and takes part in the brewing of a large batch suitable for distribution. And yes, this “Tim” is the same from the very first Home Brew Competition that brought us Tim’s (Dirty) American IPA, clearly he knows what he’s doing! 

Oh, and speaking of judging, for those looking to get into the homebrewing or judging game in Atlantic Canada, the Brewnosers Homebrew Club will be hosting Tasting and Written exams for the BJCP in the Spring and Summer. If you are looking to start, continue, or elevate your beer brewing and/or enjoyment, the Beer Judge Certification Program, and the studying and tasting sessions surrounding it, are a great way to go. Check out the thread on the Brewnosers, and sign up there or fire us an email to get on the list! While usually self-directed, drinking and filling out scoresheets with pals (even remotely) helps to keep the enthusiasm up!

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention that Big Spruce also has a couple of returning brewskies for your drinking pleasure. The first is The Hour of Sour, their 6.2% ABV mixed-fermentation raspberry sour. Conditioned on organic raspberries, the brewery likes to describe it as the “cool, grownup cousin of The Silver Tart”. With all sorts of complex flavours and aromas (including watermelon candy, bumbleberry pie, citrus, and funk, to name a few of the descriptors) to go along with the raspberry, it may be just what you need to break out of the winter blues. If hops are more your thing, the delicious-but-not-fun-to-pronounce Brobdingnagian Mosaic DIPA is also back. A big beer at 8.5% ABV, it’s exclusively hopped with the wonderful Mosaic, and boasts “arousing aromas of ripe peaches, apricots, and sticky marmalade”. You can grab both at the Sprucetique while quantities last.

Not to fret if you’re over in St. John’s, reading about DIPAs… your own Bannerman Brewing has actually just released a brand-spanking-new DIPA of their own. After Hours was brewed with lots of wheat malt and toasted wheat flakes, and hopped very heavily with Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy. Notes of “stone fruit, pineapple, and white grape” abound, and the body is full and creamy thanks to all of that wheat. At 8% ABV, just be sure to imbibe carefully! You can drop by the brewery for growlers of this one right now; no cans yet, but it sounds like they hope to have those out at some point soon.

Continuing on the DIPA train, let’s move over to New Scotland Brewing, whose latest beer may have just the hazy, hoppy goodness you’re looking for in the Dartmouth area. Tough Chit is brewed with a grist made with a majority of… can you guess? That’s right, Chit malt, how did you know? Usually used to boost a beer’s body and improve head retention, the chit likely also contributed to the heavy haziness in this brew… especially considering that a higher-than-normal percentage of the grist incorporated it. With heavy late additions of Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops, this 7.5% ABV DIPA has flavours and aromas of “mango, honeydew melon, and pineapple”, along with some dank notes. Available today at the brewery in pints and cans, you may see a few kegs pop up at better beer locations in the area. 

Finally – did we miss a memo or something? – Unfiltered also has a DIPA that just became available at Charm School yesterday. It’s a returning favourite, Here it Comes…, a 7.5% ABV DIPA hopped entirely with Chinook. Available for pours, growlers, and cans just in time for the weekend. 

Making sure we hear a little bit from beleaguered New Brunswick today (hang in there folks!) is Trailway Brewing, who are happy to say that they’ve got cans of their collaboration brew with Lagabière out of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, on the shelves. Originally brewed at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020, De L’Autre Boutte to Here is a 7% ABV Double Dry-hopped IPA brewed with Citra, Simcoe, and Motueka at rates that even Trailway themselves describe as “incredibly high.” The massive level of hops along with extra time cold conditioning results in a very drinkable and soft beer familiar to those who’ve had IPAs from Lagabière before, with zesty citrus, plenty of tropical fruit, and a dank and piney hop backbone. Only available in these parts from Trailway themselves (as far as we know right now), submit an online order for contactless curbside pickup or for shipping anywhere in the Maritimes or Ontario.

A few events on the go, plus a couple more things we want to leave you with today. Happy Friday!

Borden-Carleton PEI’s Lone Oak Brewery is also celebrating their anniversary this month, marking their first year around the sun next week with lots of what they do best: great beer, and hosting amazing artists and serving up excellent food. Two ticketed musical events are on the go from 2 – 6 and 7 – 11 PM, with details available here (and grab your tickets via email here). We’ll have the scoop on the food and beer for you next week, natch!

A quick update to last week’s call out of the Moncton Craft Beer Week. Due to the *ahem* goings ons in the province, it has been pushed back by a month, to March 22 – 27. However, those folks who were eying up the Extreme Homebrew competition are advised that the submission date is still the same, with beers due by Feb 22nd, drop off at the Tide & Boar.

For those who like to consume beery-things with their ears as well as their mouths, Beer.Diversity.’s Ren Navarro has launched a podcast Ren Likes to Talk. The first two episodes are available now, one of which is with North Brewing’s Co-Founder and -Owner Rozina Darvesh! Grab those episodes and subscribe today! (In case you strike out by searching by the name, try including ”Liquid Culture Podcast Network”, or just add it via this direct RSS link: http://liquidculturenet.com/category/ren-likes-to-talk/feed/ [we got you!] )

Copper Bottom is looking to add to its growing production team, specifically someone to operate the canning line and support other production duties in the brewery. If you have a passion for great beer (of course you do, you’re reading this blog!) and are interested in working in picturesque Montague, check out their posting here

Happy day-before-Halloween! Just kidding; you’re not really into that stuff, are you? Look, if you’re old enough to drink beer, you’re old enough to not get excited about a “holiday” where you’re encouraged to dress up and hand out free candy to a bunch of kids you don’t even know and… wait, where were we going with this? Oh right, this is a blog about beer in Atlantic Canada so here’s some more beer news for you. And you might need some beer to survive this weekend, and/or this coming Tuesday (and the goat rodeo that will very possibly ensue). Enjoy!

Bedford’s Topside Brewing kicked off a new series of beers last week, dubbed Around the World in 30 Beers. This ambitious project sees them highlighting indigenous and historic beer styles from across the world, showcasing the many flavours available in the malt, hops, yeast, and water profiles found universally, as well as native plants or ingredients special to those regions. The first in the series is Outlaw, a 5.4% Kottbusser, an historic German style. From Topside, “As the Reinheitsgebot spread from Bavaria through the rest of the region in the late 1800s, the style was outlawed because it was brewed with Oats, Honey and Molasses. We chose this as the first beer of the series because to set a tone for the various styles that people may not have tried or may never have heard of and it’s a lot of fun.” So, now that you know about it, how can you get your hands on it? As this is a small batch from this nano-brewery, it is only available as part of their Grab a Growler program. Head to the website for the full details, but the short version is, if you live in the Bedford area, you can sign up for growler delivery weekend afternoons, meaning you don’t even have to leave home to drink around the world!

And in Coming Soon news from Topside, they will be featuring their Rollin’ the Dice IPA on tap at Finbar’s Irish Pub in Bedford for a special event on Remembrance Day, November 11th. Named after the team motto of EOD3, roto 1-10 in Afghanistan, who suffered a catastrophic attack on May 3rd, 2010, when they were targeted after disposing of an IED, with Craig Blake killed and Chris Downey wounded that day. Rollin’ the Dice features a blend of unconventional malts, continuous hopping throughout, and a yeast strain not typical of the style. The event at Finbars on the 11th will be a way for the community to come together to enjoy great food, beer, and the company of others to reflect and remember sacrifice in times of war.

Hardisty Brewing is another nano-brewery in the region, located in the Colby Village area of the HRM. Delivery of their canned product is available in that community, as well as the occasional draught taps in Dartmouth. The latest beer delivered to Battery Park is their brand-new Stoked Pilsner. The 5.8% ABV beer has a healthy 31 IBU, but certainly deviates from the traditional, featuring the addition of crushed Juniper Berries and Coriander during the conditioning phase, inspired by their love of the botanicals found in gin. Also making an appearance at Battery Park now/soon is their Block Party Pale Ale, a 4.5% ABV SMaSH beer named after the parties in the Hardisty area so often fueled by beer brewed right on the street. For those fortunate enough to live nearby, be sure to reach out to them to place your order for any/all of their six beers currently available in cans: Heritage Rye IPA, Dark Confessions Smoked Porter, Island Gold APA, and Homestead Imperial IPA join the Stoked and Block Party.

The fine folks in Dieppe are hot off a sell-out of their latest beer, so CAVOK Brewing is back with another new release. Côte Magnétique is a wild ale that was fermented on grape skins and tailings from Magnetic Hill Winery. Pitched with a blend of Saison yeast and Brettanomyces, expect this 4.6% beer with an IBU of 8 to be easy drinking with a great flavour profile. This is currently available at the brewery and while you’re there, they will be doing an Oyster pop-up from 5-7pm on Friday October 30th with Little Shemogue Oyster Company

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is bringing back a small batch favourite on a bigger scale today, to avoid anyone missing out. Earl Grey Pale Ale is a 5.5% ABV English Pale Ale, featuring Idaho 7 and Citra hops, to complement the citrus and floral aromatics of black tea and bergamot orange that arose from generous additions of Earl Grey tea. Choosing Cookie and Red malts in the grist helped to provide some complexity there, too, giving a “tea and biscuits” feel. Available now at the 3 Propeller retail locations (Gottingen, Quinpool, and WIndmill) in cans, and on tap at the two Halifax taprooms.

And for those of us who have been enjoying the Propeller Arcade as a way to have a Prop pint in an awesome space, you’ll love what comes next! In addition to the 8 pinball machines, and the same number of cabinet games in their current space, a full complement of carnival-style and ball games are now installed in an expanded area just a few steps away. And these games actually dispense tickets, which can be redeemed for prizes like erasers, Popeye Candy Sticks (aka Cigarettes for those of old enough to remember those), and even retro gaming systems if you save up enough tickets! By taking over more room in the space below the Gottingen Street retail and taproom location, more seating has been added to the brewing floor, with a half-dozen picnic tables now available for solo or bubble seating, so you can safely sip in between rounds of Medusa Pinball, Area 51 or Skee Ball. As always, masks on when you’re playing (beer is best enjoyed in the sitdown area), wash/sanitize your hands often, wipe the games down before/after use, and have fun! The Prop Arcade is open from 4 until 10 PM or later, Thursday through Sunday.

Speaking of returning favourites…we’ll go down the street to Tidehouse for their latest release. After a very long sabbatical, Hey Abbot! is available and ready for purchase. The folks on Salter Street are gearing up for their 4 year anniversary in December, and this re-release is the 2nd beer in their “best of” series. Hey Abbot! is a Belgian Tripel that comes in at 9.0% but like most proper Tripels, does not taste strongly of alcohol. The beer gives hints of banana and clove, followed by some light spicy notes and a bit of white pepper if you dig deep enough. Look for this new release to drop today at 2 PM, available exclusively in cans at the brewery.

We’ve got a bit of info on the not one, not two, but *three* new beers hitting New Scotland Brewing’s taps tomorrow. The first one is this year’s iteration of Heads Will Roll, a Halloween-themed Red IPA. Featuring late-addition hops (to the tune of 55 IBUs), this 6.6% ABV beer is slightly more malt-centric on the palate, but with definite pine and citrus notes coming through as well. Next up is an “American Rye Ale” named Kitsch & Sync, a “mellow and drinkable” 4.7% ABV, 22 IBUs brew. Hopped with Willamette and Centennial, it has a balance of sweet and earthy flavours. Finally, they also have a small batch of C’est Bon, a 5.3% ABV, 25 IBUs Saison that is “fruity, spicy, and dry”. As mentioned, all three will be pouring at the brewery’s taproom by tomorrow, as well as at select licensees.

Fans of Hampton Brewing Co. will be happy to hear that the brewery has finally announced that, after contract brewing at other locations since opening (including Loyalist City and Hammond River), they have broken ground on their own location in Hampton. The plan is to have a taproom and patio area along with the brewery, which will be located at Fire Fly Recreation Campground, just outside of Hampton at 64 Robertson Rd. Of course it’ll be many months before the project is complete, but naturally they’re quite excited about having a set location and plan in place! In the meantime, you can still find their beers on tap at several bars and restaurants around NB, including Peppers Pub, Britt’s Uptown, Peddlers Creek, Station 33 Cafe, The Joyce Pub, Gridiron Brewing and Grass Roots Grill.

While on the topic of expansions (not a phrase we would expect to be typing during a pandemic, but hey, it’s beer!), Spindrift Brewing has announced that they will be opening a new taproom and beer store in Antigonish. The Spindrift Oak Manor will be located at 271 Main St., with the plans to open sometime in early 2021. The brewhouse will be small, at only 1 BBL (~120 L), with several fermentors of the same size; this will allow the brewery to experiment with new and exciting beers that will be exclusive to Oak Manor. Of course, they’ll also regularly have the flagship Burnside-brewed Spindrift beers available on tap for pints and growler fills, along with cans and Spindrift merch for takeaway. As for the taproom itself, the plan is to have lots of small group seating, as well as some larger communal tables, all in a comfortable, cozy setting that locals should be happy to think of as their home away from home. And if you live in the Antigonish area (or would love to have an excuse to move there!), the brewery is currently looking for someone to manage Oak Manor; if interested, check out the details here.

In this week’s events, it’s time to declare outdoor beer drinking season officially closed (we guess, if we have to…*grumble*), and who says you can’t have a (COVID protocol compliant, socially distanced) Beer Fest in 2020? Not us!

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end… warm weather, hugging complete strangers in the middle of the sidewalk (that used to be a thing, right?), and the Stillwell Beer Garden. That’s right, tomorrow, October 31st is the last day for outdoor beers, tacos, ice cream, etc. That means you have only two more days to take advantage of their final week blowout, which includes $5 pricing for most pints, $5 cans of North hard seltzer and TrailWay Patio, hot chocolate (with bourbon or without!), and, of course, cornhole. 

Also tomorrow, Old Road BBQ is following suit and shutting down their patio for the season. Luckily, they’re going out with a party! Willie Stratton (2019 Music Nova Scotia’s “Entertainer of the Year”) will be headlining a socially-distanced music event at Old Road’s location in Truro (190 Industrial Ave.), and you know that there’ll be puh-lenty of delicious BBQ available on site as well. You can grab your ticket ($11.62) from the event link above; there’s also a two-ticket-plus-hotel-room option you may want to consider!

The Cox & Palmer Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest For United Way is happening next weekend. Looking quite different than in years past, the celebration of local beer is holding a pair of in-person events, while encouraging attendees to go virtual for the rest. Next Friday, November 6th, there will be a 5 course Brew Dinner at the recently opened Monk10 Taproom in downtown Moncton. And then next morning, Monk10 will host the Brewmasters’ Breakfast at 10 AM. Tickets for both events can be found at the above website. For those fortunate enough to grab tickets for the Brew Fest in a Box (sales end at noon today), you’ll be able to take part in all aspects of the virtual Fest. Your ticket will get you 4 beers from the participating breweries, as well as ingredients to prepare some paired dishes, so you can tune in and drink along! Bubble up and grab 4 tickets to try all 16 available! The Brew Fest in a Box Live Q & A will allow you to chat with brewers from around the region too, recreating some more of the fun from ACCBF years past.

And furthering the charitable aspect of the Fest is the Silent Auction which is on now. Benefitting the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern NB, breweries from the region have donated swag, growler fills, gift cards, and everything in between, perfect to complete your collection. The auction closes next Sunday, November 8th, and it looks like there are some great deals to be had right now!

We’re finishing off with two notices for our Homebrewing readers, don’t sleep on either of them! If you’re looking to getting into homebrewing, check out the Brewnosers or Newfermenters, both very active groups.

Today is the last day to sign up and deliver your beer to take part in the Maritime Home Brew Challenge by Gahan. Follow that link to register yourself, and then pop down to your local Gahan to deliver your West Coast and/or North East IPA, grab your t-shirt, and you’re in it to win it! Judging will be taking place next weekend, with the Awards being announced the following weekend. With thousands of dollars in prizes up for grabs, great feedback coming your way from BJCP-certified judges, there’s really no reason not to enter!

Big Spruce has announced the details of its 8th annual Home Brew Challenge. This year, home brewers from across the region are being challenged to create their best version of a Sticke Altbier, a variant of the BJCP 2008 category 7C Düsseldorf Altbier. As always, ingredients are left to the creative minds of the brewers, but for those looking for yeast, Big Spruce will arrange for pickup or delivery of Escarpment Yeast Lab’s Koslch Style Ale. Entry fees are $25 per submission, with the beers due for drop-off by January 15, 2021 (leaving plenty of time for lagering!) at a TBD location. Email jeremy@bigspruce.ca for an entry form or more details, or check out the event’s Facebook page. Unlike previous competitions, this year’s winners will be announced virtually, but T-shirts and other swag will be available to all who participate! The top 3 judge beers will be announced, and per tradition, the winner will be invited to Nyanza to brew their beer on the 7 BBL system.