Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

All posts tagged Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

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.

We here at the ACBeerBlog do our best on a weekly basis to pump up the good things happening in our beer scene here in Atlantic Canada and generally try to do so in a way that is free of any bias. But sometimes things happen that bear comment and those comments cannot be made in the opinion-free vacuum that we generally try to inhabit. The recent controversy around the “Dirty Blonde” marketing from Nine Locks is one of those times. We would like to state unequivocally both as a blog and as three people who love this industry and the community that surrounds it, that we fully support all the folks who have brought this issue to light and who have stood up against misogyny and sexism. While only those involved know their own intentions with regards to the marketing campaign, we firmly believe that when folks speak up to say that they not only feel that it encourages and enables bad behavior, but have experienced it, that in turn those who are in a position to do something about it would do well to listen and, hopefully, act. We’re glad that the marketing campaign was changed. We’re disappointed that there are so many out there who feel that since they weren’t affected that nobody else was or since they didn’t care, nobody else should. We’re both flabbergasted and sad that this has led to “counter attacks” on the people and breweries who bravely took a stand on the issue. We know that our scene and the beer industry both locally and worldwide have a ways to go towards being inclusive and supportive of everyone. Nothing will get better if nobody says anything; we cannot improve if nobody listens when people speak up. A wise person once said, “It’s not about the beer, it’s about the beer.” People don’t get together to talk about beer, beer gets people together to talk. We’d like to think that means all people and that beer can be an enabler for social awareness and polite, but meaningful conversations, especially about difficult topics. We’re always happy to have a beer and chat with folks about how we feel about things; try us sometime.

ICYMI, Prince Edward Island is getting a little more beery today! Lone Oak Brewing is opening their taproom and retail space in Borden-Carleton at 4 PM this afternoon. Located at 103 Abegwait Blvd in the Gateway Village, you can make Lone Oak your first and last stop when visiting or venturing from the Island. We had a sneak peek of their space and chat with Spencer Gallant, so check out our Profile with Lone Oak Brewing now! And after tonight’s opening, keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the taproom hours and where you may be able to find their beer beyond their doors. Congratulations again Lone Oak Team!

From one new Island Brewery to another, a reminder that Newfoundland’s newest brewery, Rough Waters Brewing, has opened their doors in Deer Lake. Located at 83 Wights Road (a stone’s throw from the junction of Trans Canada and Hwy 430), their beer is available at their retail spot by the bottle only, with their taproom opening in the spring. And for those with tickets to the Newfoundland Craft Beer Fest’s East Coast edition of the 12 Beers of Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy their beer this weekend! And great news, there are still some available! Keep up to date with Rough Waters’ retail store hours via Instagram.

Let’s stick on the Rock for another new beer, and in fact a whole new world, from Port Rexton Brewing. Ever since co-owner and head brewer Alicia MacDonald was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple of years ago, she has been searching, scheming, and doing trials with gluten-free grains and malts, to better serve other (former) beer drinkers in the same situation. After testing liquid malts of different gluten-free grains such sorgum and rice, the entire PRBC Brew Crew has lent their expertise in crafting their first gluten-free release. Aptly named Fox Island* Fog, it is a 4.3% ABV Hazy IPA made with gluten-free ingredients, including pale buckwheat and millet malts, as well as Vienna-style kilned millet, flaked oats, and flaked quinoa. With plenty of Citra, Simcoe, and Columbus added throughout, you’d never miss the gluten that has skipped this beer, with the orange and mango aroma layered on top of a piney bitterness up front. This release was brewed on their new Gluten-Free pilot system (ie, no gluten-containing malts have ever touched any of the equipment), and you can expect many more to come (we hear the next one will be decidedly darker!). Given then small batch size, Fox Island Fog is only available at the brewery (open today and tomorrow 4 PM – 10 PM) and their retail shop on Torbay Road in St. John’s from noon tomorrow.
* Fox Island is visible from Port Rexton Brewing’s taproom, features on their logo, and is not really an island! The best that folks can tell is that the name is a bastardization of Faux Island, as in False Island… The more you know! 

If you happen to be in Halifax this weekend, be sure to drop by 2 Crows, where they’ll be releasing their latest barrel-aged beer, Bellini. This one is a blend, starting with some unhopped wort that was fermented warm with Ebbengarden Kveik, and dry-hopped during active fermentation with Citra. The beer was then blended with some sour barrel-aged beer and conditioned on 200 kg of peaches (Never Again, my ass!) for nine weeks. Before packaging, it blended once again, with a foedre sour beer to increase the tartness. It weighs in at just 4.7% ABV, and is tasting “bright, lightly tart, and peachy”. You can pick up some bottles at the brewery starting tomorrow. And stay a while and enjoy the grilled cheese and sandy (and hopefully donuts!) pop-up from 2C pals Buttered Bliss.

Back to Newfoundland, where St. John’s YellowBelly celebrated a big milestone – the release of their 1500th brew – last week. Founder’s Reserve Stout, which the brewery has brewed in honour of their loyal customers – Founders, if you will – who have helped support the brewpub over the years. Brewed with a grist that contains multiple dark malts (Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, and Chocolate Malt), there was also some lactose powder added in the boil to bring a touch of sweetness to help balance all of that roasted character. With a smooth mouthfeel thanks to the addition of Malted Oats, some cacao was also added to bump up the chocolate presence. Coming in at 6.5% ABV, it’s available on tap and in 1 L bottles at YB; bottles should also be popping up at NLC stores any day (minute??) now.

If you’re looking for a beer with a taste of summer, Crooked Feeder has you covered with their latest small batch, Good Vibrations. This is a 5% ABV Strawberry Rhubarb Gose brewed with real fruit from local farm Mark’s Market. The strawberry comes through prominently in the aroma, with a mild presence on the palate; the rhubarb and salt follow subtly in the finish, along with a dry tartness. If you want to try this one at the brewery’s taproom, you’ll only be able to get it in a flight, as they’re trying to ensure that everyone has a chance for a taste. 

Those of you looking for your next hoppy fix from Propeller after drinking multiple cans of Galaxy may be happy with today’s news: the brewery has their first Triple IPA on tap for this weekend. Simply named Triple India Pale Ale, it was heavily hopped with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin, giving this beer “intense tropical fruit flavours and aromas”. It’s hazy and packing a punch at 9.9% ABV, and finishes “aggressively bitter” (90+ IBUs). Only available on tap, at the brewery’s taproom, for pints and flights; no growlers, sorry! And hey, if you’re there later today, might as well still around for tonight’s cask, Sure Thing!, which is Cascade dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Falconer’s Flight. Finally, to celebrate Black Friday today, the brewery is offering two of their popular dark beers for a special deal – you can buy a 650 mL bottle of Russian Imperial Stout and a 330 mL bottle of Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter for $10.

Two hoppy brews hitting shelves at TrailWay today, one of which is a brand new American IPA they’ve named Slippery Mind. This 6% ABV hazy IPA was hopped with American Mosaic and Australian Topaz, giving the beer a “big, overripe fruit character with a firm spice and pine backbone”. And returning is their hoppy Amber, Good Aura. Fruity and dank, and 7% ABV, a donation is made to the SPCA every time this beer is brewed. Both of these beers are available in both cans and on tap, starting today. 

Another bottle release from Tidehouse this week, a beer that they brewed with Tony Wight (aka Tony Important… I’m sure there’s a story there!) of 902 BrewCast “fame”. Cherry Important is a Saison that was brewed with cherries (at roughly 5 kg/100 L) picked from a cherry tree in Tony’s yard. The cherries were added in two stages; the first as whole, pitted cherries about one week into fermentation, and the second as puree at the third week. Some hibiscus was added to boost the red colour and tartness, and a touch of lemon zest was thrown in as well. The result is bright and tart, with definite Saison notes coming through. Bottles (340 mL and 750 mL) of this 7% ABV brew are available starting at 2 pm today, with a limit of two per person.

There’s a new beer coming out from Nackawic’s Big Axe, their first in quite some time. Black Forest Porter was hopped with English varieties to provide some earthiness in the aroma, and “a heaping pile” of Chaga mushrooms to offer some unique flavours. With some mild roastiness and a bit of caramel character, it’s 5.8% ABV and 32 IBUs. You’ll likely see it on tap at some of your favourite Big Axe accounts (as well as at their brewery, of course), and it’s also available in bottles. Bonus points when you pick up a bottle if you can quickly spout your favourite Forrest Gump quote! 😉

This past Sunday at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, 32 beers made with the Voss Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs were poured, smelled, sampled, and judged in the name of finding the winner of the 7th annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge (Kveik the East!). Styles ranged from IPA to Stout and more, with a couple of entries reaching pretty far afield to styles such as Gose and Pilsner (yes, really!). With honorable mentions to David Pepper (sorry for the typo earlier!), for being bold enough to brew that lager, Chill Pils, and Jamie MacEachern and Sandy Smoliak for Sandy’s Last Call, a NEIPA with a hop aroma that damn near knocked the judges over, the top three beers were as follows: 3rd place to Andrew Beaton for his APA End of Shift, 2nd to previous winner Ian Wheatley for his NE IPA Simcoe Slaughter, and the grand champion (AGAIN?!) was Brian Harvey, whose Santa Voss/ Kviek Kringle Winter Warmer with Vanilla Bean and Orange Peel. We understand that the winning beer has already been brewed at the Spruce HQ, so you might reasonably expect to see it for sale come next month. Congratulations especially to the winners, but also to all those who entered and thanks to Jeremy and the Big Spruce team for putting on a great event as always.

Only one event to mention today, but it’s a big’un and important if you’re planning on going to FCBF this year:

It’s that time of year again… time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. While the VIP tickets are undoubtedly sold out already (they go in under a minute, usually, and tickets went on sale at 11 am this morning), there should be other tickets still available for sale. However, they also sell out quickly, so don’t wait (you can purchase yours here)! This is the first year that a full Friday session with 60 breweries will take place, so you’ve got an extra option in addition to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions. There’s also going to be another conference happening for the couple days leading up to the weekend, so those of you who are in the industry or looking to get into it, keep this open as an option. And we’ll be doing our insanely-popular* ACBB Trivia Night at the Joyce on the Thursday before, so you’ve got that going for you, too!
* your opinion will likely vary

And a few last items to inform your Friday afternoon beer-buying:

Garrison has put Tesoro – an Italian Pilsner – on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations; it is also available in cans to take home.

If you’ve been missing the weekly Good Robot Beta Brews, we can confirm that they’re officially back as of next Tuesday, December 3rd with The Absolute Unit. This 8.9% ABV, 23 IBUs Belgian Tripel was brewed by Amy and Amber, and features the addition of lemon zest.

Grimross Brewing has brought back their Apres Lager for the season, but due to a “friendly” little poke from another brewery in Canada, the beer has been renamed King’s Horn Vienna Lager. Still the same beer with a “toasty malt backbone, amber colour, restrained bitterness and some background earthy hop tones”, it’s available now on tap at the brewery and licensees, with cans following sometime in early 2020. 

Hammond River has a brand new beer pouring at their Rothesay taproom, Coffee & Coconut Oatmeal Brown Ale. Brewed with locally-roasted coffee beans and coconut, it comes in at 7.4% ABV and 29 IBUs; drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

Moderation is back from Niche Brewing, a 5.9% ABV passion fruit Milkshake IPA hopped with American and Australian hops, bolstered with lactose, and conditioned on vanilla and passion fruit puree. At all ANBL growler stations as of yesterday, there will also be kegs hitting Halifax (Auction House and Stillwell) and the usual New Brunswick pubs. If you spill it on your pants at the bar your cab driver will hate you on the shameful ride home; don’t ask us how we know, just get it in your mouth instead.

Welcome to October 2019! While the temperature has dropped across the region, that’s only spurred on activity from our brewers. We’ve got plenty of great news from around the horn today, including two important openings happening this week in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Let’s get to it!

Let’s kick things off with Roof Hound Brewing, whose brewery and taproom are located just outside of Digby. With the acquisition of a new space in the heart of Kingston, they are expanding their operations east along the 101 Highway, bringing great beer and food to the folks in the Greenwood area. The new spot features a full kitchen, with the same diversity of offerings that fueled the Digby location, with nachos, burgers, tacos, and loaded fries on the menu. Beer-wise, the location features twelve taps of Roof Hound goodness, along with a full retail of bottles and growler fills. RHK (Roof Hound Kingston) will also be the site of their new barrel program, with beer aging in red and white wine barrels in the facility (and spirit barrels coming later). The first beer going into these barrels is a Brett and Sacch pale beer, which will sit for a spell before release. There is no brewhouse onsite, as the wort will be prepared in Digby and brought to Kingston for fermentation. Speaking of Digby, that location is closed this week as it undergoes a facelift, and will re-open next week with a new menu, with the much-anticipated return of pizza! During Fall and Winter, RHD will be open Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 PM. Roof Hound Kingston is located at 573 Main Street in the village, and is open daily 11:30 – 8 PM (closing at 9 PM on Friday and Saturday). Congratulations Roof Hound team!

Further East in the Annapolis Valley, you’ll find that the town of Sheffield Mills, famous for its Eagle Watch held every winter, now has a year-round attraction to entice visitors off the highway. Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing, which opened in 2007, is now expanding 10 minutes up the road to 9146 Hwy 221, between Sheffield Mills and Canning. This new location is the Millstone Harvest Brewhouse, the province’s first estate brewery, with 22 acres of malting barley (yielding 38 tonnes of grain), as well as hops grown on-site. They are brewing on a 24 hectolitre brewhouse (20 barrel), which is coming online shortly, and including cider in their offerings in the future as well. Millstone Harvest features a taproom with twelve taps, and a retail space fully stocked with the canned offerings. While there is no kitchen onsite, there are some snacks available, and local food delivery or BYOF is encouraged. And fear not, their Port Williams location will remain open, featuring their retail spot with the full complement of canned and growler offerings, and the home of their Pilot brewery to experiment with new recipes and ingredients. Millstone Harvest is open this weekend for soft opening “Happy Hours”, 3 – 6 PM today, and 2 – 6 PM Saturday, and we encourage you to visit their new spot to check out their location and see their plans for the future!

Miramichi’s Timber Ship Brewing has been up and running since early this year, and now that the busy months of summer are behind us, they’re releasing their first seasonal since July. “Gourd”on’s Wharf Autumn Ale was named after the local Gordon’s Wharf, and as you may have guessed from the name, is a Pumpkin Ale. A toasty, malt-forward brew that features additions of pumpkin, as well as cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice late in the boil, it comes in at 5.8% ABV and 20 IBUs. You can find it on tap now at the Apero Lounge in Miramichi. 

If you like fruit IPAs, Big Spruce’s newest beer, Hopsitality, is the beer for you! This 7% ABV American IPA was hopped with El Dorado, Mosaic, and Nugget, and has an addition of organic pineapple juice concentrate. The colour of “ripe mango”, the beer has a strong aroma of pineapple (of course!), as well as “mango, fuzzy peaches and warm pine”. Moderately bitter in the finish, the flavour is strong with more pineapple, in addition to some grapefruit. But that’s not all from BS this week, as they’ve also released It Gose Without Saying, a Citra dry-hopped Gose. Tart, and with a light salinity, this 4.2% ABV Gose has aromas of “fresh cut lemon zest and ocean air, with meringue-like foam and the taste of fresh lemon curd”, according to the brewery. Both beers are available on tap at the brewery, and most-likely some of your favourite Big Spruce accounts as well. Finally, there’s a fresh batch of their NEIPA, Death Cookies, available, so you can hit some of that up, too!

We are also thrilled to announce the details of this year’s Home Brew-Off, the seventh year Big Spruce has hosted their homebrewing competition. This year’s theme is Kveik The East!, with the competition open to all beer styles, but they must be fermented with Kviek Voss yeast, provided by Escarpment Yeast Labs. Registration is now open, and you can get the ball rolling by emailing for an entry form, and to find out the details on where to pick up the yeast. Entries must be received by November 22nd, with the judging and awards ceremony taking place at Wooden Monkey Dartmouth November 24th. As always, the winning brewer will be invited to scale up their recipe for release at the Eat. Drink. Local. Event in January 2020. Best of luck to all entrants!

PEI’s Upstreet recently hosted Summerside native Tanya Davis for a three-week stint as their artist in residence where she produced a new collection of text-based work with a theme of “Climate/Change.” While we missed the boat last week in telling you about the Artist Talk she did at the Upstreet Taproom in Charlottetown, we’re not too late to tell you about the beer that the brewery released in concert with that work. Climate/Change is a bright and tropical IPA that “pairs well with existential questions.” Featuring notes of citrus and stone fruit, this 6% ABV and 40 IBU golden-coloured brew is refreshing and juicy. As of last week it was available at the Taproom, Craft Beer Corner, and at the Pour Authority in Founders’ Hall in Charlottetown. Hopefully that’s still the case for those who haven’t had a chance to try it yet!

Staying on the Island, Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a few new beers available in their taproom and retail space. Pitcher in the Rye is a 5.4% ABV Roggenbier, a German style known for its healthy use of rye malt in the grist. Working as a complement to their Wheat Kings County Hefeweizen, Pitcher uses a Weissbier yeast style to bring out banana and clove character, with the rye (making up a third of the grist) enhances that spicy flavour on the palate. Available on draught now, and cans shortly, it can be found at better beer bars around the island. And debuting more recently is a Double IPA brewed up as a collaboration with Tatamagouche co-owner Matt Kenny. Bogside’s Mark Patriquin began his brewing career at TataBrew, which later saw him attending VLB Berlin, and working for Central City and Four Winds in British Columbia, before returning home to the Maritimes. Celebrating that return is Holiday Island, an 8.3% ABV, 83 IBU DIPA, featuring loads of Galaxy and Mosaic for a taste of the Southern Hemisphere right here in Canada. It is available on tap in Montague and Charlottetown, with cans coming post-haste to their retail shop. May’sell pop by for a feed, drink, and grab some bacon and cans to go this weekend! 

And in “Coming Soon” news from Bogside, very soon will be Bogside’s first foray into cider, using their own crusher and press to see the whole process go down from fruit to glass. Next weekend should see the release of their newest beer, a Champagne/Brut IPA hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon, which we’ll tell you more about next week. And keep your eyes on their social media for news of another beer that is just a couple of weeks from release. Lighthorse Lagered Ale is brewed in the classic Kolsch style, and is being released October 19th in celebration of the PEI Light Horse Regiment, the first on the island. $1 from each pint sold will go towards the Last Post Fund, and there will be plenty of fun to be had from 4 PM on the 19th, so be sure to drop by! 

Two of Nova Scotia’s highest-regarded breweries, North and Tatamagouche Brewing, have teamed up to brew a beer for those of you not quite ready to let go of summer, yet. Cool Melon, a Watermelon Kolsch,  is a light, easy-drinking 4.5% ABV beer that incorporated over 800 lbs of pulped watermelons (oddly, that doesn’t sound like a fun job to us!), and was hopped with Huell Melon. They’ve packaged this one in cans, which you’ll be able to find at both North shops starting today, and at TataBrew as well (word is they also have it on draught, there). This won’t be the last North/Tata collab you’ll be seeing; keep your eyes open for some fun blending and aging projects in the future!

Sticking with TataBrew, they’ve actually got a couple of new beers of their own launching this week. One is a traditional Lager brewed to squeak in to officially make it during Oktoberfest, Daybreak Kellerbier. Literally translating to “cellar beer”, Tata’s take on this ancient style (many speculate it originated in the Middle Ages) is a 4.8% beer that has “an intense gold to ripe mango colour”, with malty aromas of “sweet scone,  biscuit, white bread, and toast”. All of this malty goodness translates over to the flavour, along with hints of woodiness and grassy herbal notes, with a little lingering bitterness in the finish. Tata also has Haskap Berliner Weisse for us, a 4.3% ABV Berliner with an addition of organic Haskap berries from Sweet Earth Farms. Hazy and mauve-coloured, expect “bursts of blueberry and tart cranberry” to go with flavours of wheat in this crisp, sour, refreshing beer. 

There’s been a very odd lack of new release from 2 Crows over the past several weeks… but don’t worry, turns out they’re still alive! And we can prove it, with details of their latest beer, Old & New. The brewery’s newest Wild Saison, it was brewed with a 50:50 blend of Wheat and Pilsner malt from PEI’s Shoreline Malting. Hopped in the boil (to 20 IBUs) with Citra, Enigma, and Hallertau Blanc, the wort was open-fermented (a first for 2 Crows!) in one of their foedres, with a blend of house Saison cultures (along with some yeast they grew up from a recently-opened Brett beer from the US). Conditioned for four months, the beer was finally dry-hopped with Galaxy, Loral, Azacca and Tradition, and then packaged in cans where it was allowed to carbonate naturally. The final product is 5.4% ABV, and is tasting “super bright and lemony, with a pithy bitterness, a bit of new world tropical (mandarin orange, guava) notes and a great herbal backbone”. Sounds great to us! In addition to being available in cans at the brewery, they’ll also have it pouring on tap. 

Back to Oktoberfest beers with Brightwood’s latest, Siegestor. Their take on the Märzen style, it was brewed with a grist made up of Pilsner, Biscuit, Amber, and cherry wood Smoked malt. Hopped with Hallertau and Bramling Cross, this amber-coloured Lager has a good amount of bready character on the nose and palate, with “a hint of smoke” from the smoked malt addition. It finishes clean and crisp, and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It’s currently pouring at the brewery for pints and growlers, and should be available in cans sometime next week as well.

Church Brewing has a brand new beer hitting the taps and shelves of their Wolfville taproom and retail shop today, their first containing fruit. Til Death Do Us Tart is a 5.9% ABV Framboise, namely a Pale Belgian Ale with raspberries. Using a clean Belgian yeast, the tart character of the beer is all thanks to the large addition of fruit. Restrained use of Magnum and Perle lend a light earthy and spicy note, complementing the yeast character, and taking a backseat to the raspberries. It is available today (and all weekend!) in both cans and crowlers at their retail shop adjacent to the brewery. And keep your eyes peeled for Saltwater Joys, a 4.4% ABV Gose, brewed with Pink Himalayan Salt and coriander, and fermented with Voss Kveik yeast after a partial souring with Lactobacillus. It will be released next Friday, the 11th, at the taproom for flights and pints to enjoy onsite, and cans and crowlers to take away.

Let’s head back into HRM to Propeller, where they are launching just the second beer in their very limited bottle release series. Today’s release is Farmhouse Saison, a Saison that was fermented with a blend of yeast strains: a Saison yeast, and two Brettanomyces strains (B. anomalus and B. bruxellensis). The beer was aged in red wine barrels for 8 months before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Conditioned in the bottle, it’s exhibiting aromas and flavours of fruity esters, spice, and tropical characteristics thanks to the Brett strains. There are only 280 bottles available, so there will be a 3 bottle per person limit. They go on sale today at both Prop stores, so don’t wait to pick yours up! Keep in mind that this type of beer will age and evolve beautifully, so you may want to grab more than a single. As an aside, tonight’s cask night beer is Porter w/ Coffee and Chocolate

Over in Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing has yet another new iteration of their Milkshake IPA, Velvet Fog, releasing at the brewery today. Those of you who are big fans of banana will be excited for this one, as it features an addition of close to 300 lbs of banana puree. They also threw in 25 lbs of toasted coconut, as well as the usual additions of lactose powder and pure vanilla extract. “But what about the hops?”, you may be asking (rightfully so, this IS TrailWay, after all). One of the newest, popular varieties out there, Sabro, was used to help bump the coconut character. The final result is a beer with huge banana aroma, and coconut and vanilla lurking in the background. They also wanted to make it clear that this beer is not hazy/murky like other Velvet Fogs* (see what we did there?), with “the banana addition aiding in flocculation tremendously”. You can find your cans, growlers, and pints of this 6.5% ABV brew at the taproom!

* For the record, Mel Tormé, the original Velvet Fog, was neither hazy, nor murky.

With fall in full swing and bigger, the bigger, darker beers are starting to make their appearance in the region. Cue Halifax’s Garrison Brewing who have once again brought back their Grand Baltic Porter, a beer they’ve released on a pretty consistent basis for quite a few years now. Big and burly, at 8.5% ABV, it’s got enough bitterness (37 IBU or so) to balance the rich and malty sweetness. With plenty of dark fruit, molasses and caramel, you should find it quite smooth thanks to the use of lager yeast, which is typical for the style. Find it in bottles at the brewery and, we expect other places where you normally get your Garrison fix. We’ve also had word that there’s a barrel-aged version of this one afoot, we’ll get the details of that to you once we have them.

Over in Good Robot land, they’ve got the latest in their Creature Feature series, Creature Feature VII – The Storm Beer. Luckily, it was actually brewed BEFORE Dorian hit, but the power was knocked out shortly after, meaning the beer/wort was left without temperature control during fermentation. Temps did get a little high, allowing the yeast to produce some “ripe fruitiness”. It was then dry-hopped with Rakau to give even more tropical character; look for this one – 5.3% ABV, 50 IBUs – on tap now. And we can fill you in on next week’s beer, Go Kart Jack Ass. A Scottish Ale brewed with some Scottish friends, it’s amber-coloured, with “low, subtly-spicy hop character, and a slight honey aroma”; 4.8% ABV, 19 IBUs.

Lots of beery events going on in the next couple of weeks in the region, with a pretty big emphasis on tomorrow! Check ’em out:

One of New Brunswick’s oldest and largest breweries (of the craft era, anyway), Picaroons, is starting a new fall tradition with their first annual Cst Robb Costello Memorial Oktoberfest. Festivities will kick off tomorrow, Saturday, October 5th, at noon, with a Fun Walk/Run to raise funds for the Cst Robb Costello Memorial Fund, a charity set up in his name to provide scholarships within the community and support both ongoing Police training and first responder families in crisis. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already it’s too late to sign up for the run event and there is no registration available at the event. But it’s NOT too late to support the cause and have some fun by purchasing tickets for the Oktoberfest celebration being put on by Picaroons. Hosted at the brewery in Fredericton, going from 2 – 6 PM tomorrow, tickets for the event itself are $30 (plus fees) and are available online through Eventbrite. While you’re purchasing, you’ll also have the opportunity to donate $20 or $50 (or an amount of your choosing) to the memorial fund. Your ticket gets you a commemorative stein, 2 beers and a sausage, with addition food and beer available for purchase on site. Pics has also brewed up a special batch for the event that they’ve canned with Craft Coast Canning, entitled Cst. Robb Costello Memorial Oktoberfest, a 5.7% fest-style lager. You can rest assured that beer will be pouring all afternoon, but given the packaging, we’d expect it will also be available for purchase at Pics locations and, hopefully, elsewhere.

PEI Brewing Company is holding their inaugural Okto-beer-feast event this weekend, putting their own spin on the traditional German event. The celebrations begin today with a “beer stein hoppy hour”, German-inspired food stations, food demonstrations, live entertainment and activities. It also marks the release of their newest seasonal, Scarlet Race Helles Lager, which attendees will be the first to try. Tomorrow’s event continues with happy hour, food trucks in the parking lot, photo booths, and more. There are games and competitions on the go throughout, with gift cards up for grabs! The weekend culminates in a live concert by Hoolerado at 9 PM. Tickets for the event are $10, or $15 for a “Beer Lovers Ticket”, which includes the first fill of your 32oz beer stein. Grab your tickets here!

If you’re in Halifax and itching to get your Oktoberfest this weekend, don’t worry, Garrison has you covered. Das Big Party takes place tomorrow, Saturday, October 5, at their Seaport Hall facility near the Halifax Seaport Market, which will be transformed into a Bavarian Biergarten. A family-friendly event, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be lots of beer. Admission is free to all and they’ll have live music starting with oompah music from 2 – 5 PM and followed by Kids Losing Sleep and Rain Over St. Ambrose starting at 6 PM as well as food for purchase from Asado Wood Fired Grill.

And Halifax’s Stillwell ain’t gonna let no dangling crane ruin their annual Oktoberfest celebrations! While this year’s event obviously can’t happen at the Beergarden location, it will still go on at Stillwell HQ on Barrington St. tomorrow, October 5th. The all-day, no-tickets-necessary party will feature steins of some of the finest Lagers and Lager-like beers available locally and beyond. But of COURSE it’s not going to stop just at beer… expect oompah music, and special food items from their wonderful kitchen, including currywurst and fries, schnitzel sandwiches, and pretzel bites with mustard and cheese sauce. It all starts at noon!

If you’re in the Annapolis Royal area this weekend and looking for a party, we’ve got one for ya! Annapolis Brewing is celebrating their 2nd Anniversary tomorrow, October 5th, and they want you to drop by to join in on the fun. The party starts at 3 pm – of course there will be plenty of beer flowing (with a free glass per person for the first 100 pints sold), in addition to axe throwing from 3-5 pm, and live music by Callehan from 8-11 pm. 

If you’re in Moncton on Sunday, October 6, you’ve got the opportunity to attend an Oktoberfest event that’s maybe a little different from the traditional big lederhosen-laden bash. Euston Park Social, New Brunswick’s newest Beer Garden, is hosting noted food, drink, and travel writer Evan Rail for a guided tasting of 6 beers and 6 Oktoberfest-style food pairings from Euston Park’s chefs, Gene Cormier and Manny Brison. Beers will be courtesy of New Brunswick breweries Grand Monk, Flying Boats, Holy Whale, Brasseux d’la Cote, CAVOK, and O’Creek Brewing. Tickets are $55 (plus fees) and can be purchased online through EventBrite up until tomorrow.

The Ladies Beer League of Halifax is putting on an event bringing together crafting and beer for a good cause. In concert with Kind Krafts and Garrison Brewing, and benefiting the Prescott Group, Crafty Fall Bevvy on October 10th from 8 PM to 10 PM at Garrison’s Seaport Hall will give you the chance to make some handmade cards, leather coasters, and/or bracelets while you socialize and sip some of your Garrison favorites. Admission is free and all crafting materials are provided. At the end of the session you’ll have the choice of purchasing your coasters and bracelets or donating them to be sold by Kind Krafts to benefit the Prescott Group, their charity of the season. Prescott Group operates vocational, personal development and employment programs for individuals with an intellectual disability. A worthy cause indeed. Check out the event page to sign up for your ticket (again, free, but a limited number of spaces are available).

And a few last quick mentions before we leave you to your Friday afternoon:

Chain Yard Cider is putting a call out for any apples that you may have (sexy or gross, doesn’t matter!), which they would like to use to brew a special “community cider”; a portion of the proceeds from this cider will go to Feed Nova Scotia. If you’re interested in participating, drop them a message on Facebook or email info@chainyardcider.com, and they’ll take it from there! 

Heritage Brewing has a new beer this week, Strawberry Rhubarb Kettle Sour, a 5% ABV kettle sour that was conditioned on strawberries and rhubarb (you probably guessed that!). Tart and refreshing, you can find it on tap now at the brewery. 

Hill Top Hops has released Harvest Ale (5% ABV), a wet-hopped beer for the season and de rigueur, we think for a brewery with its own hopyard; available at the brewery.

Niche Brewing in Hanwell has brought back the beer that launched them two years ago, and one that makes a frequent appearance on their brew schedule. Single Origin is a 5.0% ABV Coffee Sweet Stout, featuring Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans, as well as lactose power for a light sweetness. Find it at better beer bars in New Brunswick.

Think Brewing has rebrewed their American IPA, Train of Thought, but upped it to a DIPA that is bigger in both ABV (9.3%) and hops. Heavily dry-hopped with a dose of El Dorado and several other American varieties, it has tropical fruit, resin, and pineapple on the nose. Look for it at your usual Think tap accounts; it’s also on at the growler station at the York St. ANBL in Fredericton. 

York County Cider has released the latest in their bottled Seasonal Reserve line; Apple Pie (8.2%) was aged for three months in Cape Breton whisky barrels and has notes of “apple, oak, whisky, cinnamon, and vanilla”. You can find 750 mL bottles at various ANBL stores in NB, and it’s also on tap at York County’s taproom in Fredericton.