Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

All posts tagged Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge

Good afternoon, beer fans… everyone sick of Christmas music yet? Great, just making sure we’re all on the same page! As usual, there’s lots going on in the wonderful world of Atlantic Canada beer this week, with lots of new brews from all four corners of our region hitting taps and shelves, just itching to be sipped, guzzled, etc. (was about to start thinking hard of other synonyms to go along with these but it’s already getting kind of late in the day as it is), so let’s dive right into it, shall we?

Normally when we’ve got a huge slew of news from a single brewery, that brewery is 2 Crows, but although they do have something on the go this week (of course they do; see below), this week’s belles of the ball are the lovely folks from North Brewing, who have clearly been saving up to make a big ol’ splash with a new location and accompanying celebratory release, a triple-collaboration release, and a “standard” special release all happening this weekend!!

First up, we mentioned months ago that North had secured a spot to make their return to the right light West side of the Harbour after beginning their existence near North (natch) and Agricola Streets in North End Halifax. That new location is seeing a soft opening this weekend (today, in fact!!) at 501 Timberlea Village Parkway beginning at noon. The space will be retail-only for now, but rest assured there’s a taproom and kitchen under construction that they’re hoping will be ready just after the holidays (we’ll definitely keep you posted on that). You can head on over this afternoon and grab a celebratory cupcake from Delectable Desserts as you load up on your favorite North packaged beer, cider, and seltzer offerings (no growler fills until they’ve got taps in place, of course) as well as merch. They’re planning to be open noon – 8 on the daily for the foreseeable. One of North’s slogans is, “Cheers your neighbour,” we love that they seem to be on a mission to keep making new neighbours to cheers.

Of course, if you’re going to open a new retail location, it makes sense to give the people something new to come and get. Enter Timberbock, a smooth, dark, and malty German lager with plenty of nutty and caramel character. The North team has been itching to make a bock for some time and this fall opening seemed like a great time for it. Fermented with the Escarpment Labs Isar Lager strain, and lagered for two full months, this 6.2% ABV beer is ideal for the cooler weather; maybe grab a couple to enjoy after raking leaves this weekend? As you would and should expect, if you’re closer to one of North’s other retail locations, Battery Park or Cole Harbour, you can get it there too!

Next up is the “triple collaboration” that’s been quite a while in the making. Several years ago, North’s Rozina brewed Neighbours Saison with Jill from Compass Distilling (back when they were neighbours across the intersection of North and Agricola). That beer was then distilled by compass to produce Neighbours Whiskey, now on sale at Compass. Meanwhile, North brewed up a replica batch of the original saison, using wheat, spelt and oats along with a boutique yeast strain to produce a 5.0% ABV beer that they’ve packaged in cans. If that wasn’t enough, Compass also kindly took possession of some of North’s Midnight strong dark Belgian ale, which they socked away in a Neighbours whiskey barrel for a while. The result is being called Midnight Neighbours of course! We’re a day late to tell you about the release party that took place at Battery Park last night, but you can still try a flight of all three products at North’s Tasting Room on Portland Street, at Compass’ tasting room on Agricola St. Meanwhile, the beers will be available at North locations and the whiskey, should you want a bottle, from Compass.

Last but not least in North news, if you’re a fan of the brewery you already know that they love to leverage their friendly relationship with Benjamin Bridge winery and release delightful hybrid liquids for your drinking pleasure. One of those that has previously been released is Blanc, a grisette refermented on some of BB’s Sauvignon Blanc grapes. That one is back and available at North retail locations and for online orders; even better, and as always, $0.50 from each can of this one sold will be donated to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.

For you Moncton beer drinkers that have been itching for more Tire Shack in your lives, we have some very good news! The brewery received approval from the city earlier this week, ok’ing their re-zoning plans for an expansion. Sure, this means more beer and space in general, but most importantly it means Tire Shack can finally begin work on their barrel-aging program, which they’ve been passionate about starting for some time. It’s a ways away, naturally, but it IS something to look forward to! We should also mention that the Moncton Chamber of Commerce has awarded Tire Shack with their Small Business of the Year award, so congrats to them on that as well!

Oh, don’t worry, we wouldn’t leave without also bringing some beer news from Tire Shack for the weekend. They’re re-releasing two brews today, the first being their Peanut Butter Porter (sometimes known as PBP). A 6.2% ABV Porter featuring an addition of close to 20 kg of real peanut butter, it’s perfect for those of you who crave some of that delicious spreadable in your alcoholic beverages (maybe just don’t go kissing anyone with a severe allergy directly after, mmmkay?). Second is Roman Road, a 5.5% ABV Italian Pilsner dry-hopped with Spalt Spalter and Czech Saaz, giving a crisp and refreshing beer with plenty of noble hop presence. You’ll be able to find both beers on tap and (hopefully) in cans sometime today at the brewery.

What do you get when you put two birds on ice? Don’t answer that. But 2 Crows is doing an event in support of 4 curlers, as there is a draught-only release and event in support of Team Daigle, a senior women’s curling team kicking off their season in hope’s to get to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (we assume everyone in Atlantic Canada is familiar with this right? It’s Canada’s national women’s curling championship!). On November 25th, the brewery will release Come Around, a tropical and juicy pale ale, loaded with Galaxy and Citra hops. This beer will only be available in kegs and features the first use at 2 Crows of Verdant, a newer, juicy-friendly yeast strain to complement the tropical and juicy flavours from the hop combination. To get your hands on this first release and to support Team Daigle with their year long travel and expenses, you can buy a $20 ticket to the event which covers your first beer and gets you entered into a draw for a slew of door prizes! Hit the 2C website shop under “events” to purchase your ticket in advance. 

Moving over to PEI, Upstreet is releasing a brand new hoppy beer, one that they plan on keeping in their regular line-up throughout the coming winter months. Blue Meanie is a Blueberry Double IPA that was brewed with lots of blueberry juice, and hopped with both Mosaic and Lemondrop varieties. A definite sipper at 8% ABV (well, try to, anyway), the beer is tasting “tart and semi-sweet, with loads of juicy pineapple, blueberry, and lemon flavour”. While you’ll be able to find cans of this one at PEILCC stores in the very near future, the official launch party will be happening at Upstreet tomorrow, November 20th, with live music from Kailee McGuire from 8-9 pm, trivia with Jesse & Jeff from 9-10:30 pm, and more tunes with DJ Whaleskin directly after that, until 11:30 pm. Of course there’ll be plenty of Blue Meanie pouring on tap, and we can only assume cans to takeaway as well. Now, whether this beer was named after the wrestler, or those creepy buggers from Yellow Submarine… we leave that to you to decide.

More PEI news with Village Green with two new beers, both of the hoppy persuasion (if you’re into that sorta thing). Let’s start on the lighter side of things with Strata Pale Ale, an easy-drinking 5.3% APA hopped entirely with, yes, Strata. With descriptors including “strawberry, passion fruit, grapefruit, and dank,” Strata does appear to be an ideal candidate for a single-hop brew, at least on paper! It’s up to you brave Islanders, however, to make your way to VG to decide for sure. And while you’re there, guess you might as well sample their OTHER newbie, a 6.9% IPA they’re calling DUH IPA. Don’t overthink the name, they simply hopped it with some no-brainer hop varieties – Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy – giving a delicious beverage that is “peachy, danky, and citrusy.” Available on tap and in cans!

If you like your hoppy beers with a little more of the “wild” in them, let’s briefly chat about the newest brew from Tanner & Co. Brux IPA was fermented with Saccharomyces brux-like Trois, a strain that isn’t technically wild (like Brett, for example), yet has “wild-like” qualities to it, helping produce beers that can be quite dry and slightly tart. These are the exact qualities that Brux IPA imparts, and with a generous dry-hopping of both Mosaic and Motueka, you can expect citrus and tropical notes to go with it (which sounds like a perfect combination to us!). Weighing in at 6.5% ABV, you can find bottles of this one at the brewery and taproom right now.

What if you’re feeling more in the mood for a low alcohol, non-hoppy brew for a change? Antigonish’s Candid Brewing has you covered with Temperance, a 3.5% ABV English Brown Ale. This isn’t your typical English Brown, however, as it has some lactose added to give it a touch of extra sweetness, as well as boosting the body somewhat (not a bad idea with a 3.5% beer!). It also features organic Earl Grey tea (HOT!) from World Tea House, to make you feel even more that you’ve travelled over the pond for a cuppa with some old relatives… see, feeling transported already and haven’t even tried the beer! Available on tap and in cans, drop by the brewery for a taste this weekend.

In Newfoundland, Bannerman has teamed up with local advocacy for the music community MusicNL, to design and brew a new beer to help kick off Music Celebration Week in the province, taking place from Nov 29th to Dec 5th. The beer, Music and Friends, is described simply as an American Pale Ale hopped with Strata and Nelson Sauvin (we’re going to assume plenty of lovely, tropical fruit aromas and flavours in the beer). Available at the brewery and select NLC stores today, so you can start to prep for the festival a little early!

Bannerman has more than one rabbit up their sleeve this week, as they’re also launching a new hoppy wonder at the brewery today. If you’re a fan of not just hops, but high ABVs as well, Obscure Reference may just be the beer for you! It’s a Triple IPA (10%!) that was dry-hopped with multiple additions of the ever-popular (to most of us, anyway) Mosaic variety. Expect juiciness, fruitiness, and likely a little bit of warmth as this one heads down into your stomach. Available in cans only; look for it to hopefully pop up on tap sometime later next week.

Sticking on the Rock, let’s move over to Landwash, who are re-releasing one beer and launching a brand new one this weekend. The returning favourite is Tidepool Pilsner, a 5% German Pilsner that undergoes an extended period of cold conditioning (Lagering!) after a cool fermentation with Escarpment Lab’s Isar Lager yeast strain. Refreshing and crisp, it’s just what you need after a long, hard day of dealing with family work. We can now do a complete 180 and move to their newest beer, Cozy Partridgeberry. Designed by head brewer Alex as a tribute to his Nan’s Partridgeberry Pie (which you can find at Twinlingate’s Cozy Tea Room and Bakery during their open season), the malt additions were crafted to mimic pie crust. Lactose powder was also added to the boil, along with Mosaic and Barbe Rouge hops. The completed beer was then conditioned on local Partridgeberries, resulting in a brew that is “very berry, but not too sweet”. Both beers are available at the brewery right now, in cans and on tap; look for them to start travelling to other outlets soon. 

And in Bay Roberts, Baccalieu Trail Brewing have collaborated with the province’s CBN T’Railway, a non-profit group formed to help open and rehabilitate the former railway bed of Conception Bay North. The hard work from these fine folks has led to the 140 km of T’Railway becoming a “vibrant, ecological, and safe route for recreational traffic”. As for the beer that the non-profit and brewery have created, Trail Minder’s Ale is a West Coast Pale Ale brewed with a malt bill containing small amounts of light Caramel and Oat malts, and hopped with Comet, Nugget, Hallertau Blanc, and Eureka. Fermented with a clean American strain, the beer is very dry, “with layers of tropical fruit, but also some classic West Coast pine character”, all followed by a restrained bitterness. You can grab cans at the brewery over the weekend, with $1 from every can being donated to CBN T’Railway to support their continued efforts.  

Would you believe that this year will mark Big Spruce Brewing’s NINTH Home Brew Challenge? While you ponder what that means about how long you’ve been drinking Big Spruce, we’ll tell you that this year’s competition has been announced and it’s a boozy doozy. A style beloved by many beer geeks but relatively uncommon in these parts is the Belgian Dubbel: falling under the category of Trappist Ales, which have been historically brewed in monasteries by Trappist monks, Dubbel is a deep coppery color with plenty of rich malt flavor, some fruity and/or dried fruity ester character, and a light alcoholic heat. Usually coming in around the high 6es for ABV, one of the key aspects of a good one is the fairly dry finish. Warming and comforting, without being cloyingly sweet, a Dubbel may just be the perfect “cold evening in front of the fire” beer and we are certainly excited to think that there will be another one released for us to try coming out of this competition.

About the competition itself, once again Big Spruce has partnered with Escarpment Labs to even the playing field with respect to yeast availability, bringing in plenty of pouches of St. Remy Abbey Ale yeast for prospective competitors (but folks are absolutely welcome to use whatever other yeast they choose to procure). Those interested in competing in this year’s challenge should send an email Real Soon Now™ to jeremy@bigspruce.ca. It costs $25 to enter, and if nothing else entrants are guaranteed a competition t-shirt, quality scoresheets per BJCP practices, and an invite to the gala. Entries must be received by February 5th, 2022 (drop off points to be confirmed), with the judging and gala taking place (with all due and necessary COVID protocols in place and as Provincial restrictions allow) from 4 – 6 PM on February 6th at The Wooden Monkey’s Dartmouth location. That’s not a long time for a style like this, so get your emails out if you’re looking to participate!!

As they’ve done several times over the past few years, members of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia have come together to brew a special beer in celebration of Craft Beer in NS and to generate revenue for #nscraftbeer initiatives. This year they did so with the sponsorship of supplier Brew Culture, a relatively new player in the local market, but who are certainly making themselves known through collaborative efforts. Together We Brew is a 5.0% lagered ale that was dry hopped with new school Continental hop Callista, one that marries some noble character with more modern fruity notes. Look for it at NSLC locations throughout the province, but don’t wait too long as this is a limited edition product.

A couple of Beery Birthdays in the region this weekend, but first:

A reminder of the Friday/Saturday tap takeover starting at Bar Brewdock today. In East Duck St. John’s, Dildo Brewing Co is teaming up with Borden-Carleton PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing to take over the 24 taps. Look for plenty of new beers from both breweries debuting this weekend, as well as the fine folks at Crumb & Pickle taking over the kitchen with burger, dips, schnitzel and more, all vegan and veggie friendly. More details in last week’s post, plus Social Media.

What do you think of when we say “the mecca of craft beer in Atlantic Canada?” If your answer isn’t Stillwell and if you’re reading this and you haven’t made friends with new humans or sampled new beers and new tastes at any of Stillwell’s various locations over the last few years, we would be surprised. (Heck, even one of us got married at the Stillwell Beergarden) Our beloved beer bar turns EIGHT YEARS OLD (!!) this month and they’re celebrating on Saturday November 20th, at Barrington Street HQ starting at Noon. Celebrating as they normally do with birthday cake (heeeey, free cake!), special bottle pours from places we can’t even mention (on and off-menu in true beer nerd fashion), and lots of featured kegs from breweries such as Willibald, Les Grands Bois, Godspeed, Dieu du Ciel, Crooked Stave, Stillwell Brewing, Bannerman and a few more! Also, Joe will be serving up special kitchen treats as well all day. This is free and fun and no advance reservations are required. 

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing turns the big 0-5 this weekend, and they’re inviting you to the brewery to celebrate Saturday, November 20th. Expect raffles, beer, games, beer, snacks, and beer! They’ll also have Elizabeth Nelson kicking off some live music at 5 pm, followed by Saving Sweet Polly at 7 pm. If you bring in a non-perishable food item for the KV Food Basket (no expired peas, we’re onto you!), you get a ballot for a chance to win an “epic prize”. Our guess is a ride on a stuffed black bear with owner/brewer Esty… let’s hope!

And a few last items to whet your appetite for whetting your whistle:

Always keeping us beer folk satisfied in store and online for delivery, Bishop’s Cellar is getting some goodies from Toronto’s own Bellwoods in store this Saturday. Two variants of Jelly King (their delicious dry-hopped fruited, everyday-drinking fruited sour) along with “drink now or cellar for later” options Vines Gamay and Barn Owl 25. Here’s a quick overview of the four releases:

  • Jelly King Cranberry & Tangerine is the base Jelly King conditioned on a bunch of cranberries and tangerine puree coming in at 5.6%. 
  • Jelly King Pomegranate & Lime is the base Jelly King conditioned on real pomegranate and lime at 5.6%.
  • Vines: Gamay is a 2020 wild ale release. Vines is a series of oak aged wild ales that celebrates wine grapes in all manifestations.This 8.0% blend was inoculated with the wild yeast from 2019 red grape skins, aged for a year in oak, and refermented on 2020 Niagara Gamay skins. 
  • Barn Owl 25 is a Foedre Aged Imperial Stout. This spent 2 years in secondary fermentation in new American oak and is 13.2%. 

These are all 500ml bottles and available Saturday November 25th at 10am. 

Smiths Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing has a new Black IPA out, in memory of their former team member, Bob Allen, the brewery’s first hire. Infinity is a 7.2% ABV take on the style that is dry-hopped exclusively with Chinook. You can find it now at the brewery and tomorrow at the Annapolis Royal farmers market.  

New Ross’ Bulwark Cider is teaming up with the SPCA to raise money for furry friends in need of homes. They’ve made Applsecco Rose Cider which was released at NSLC locations earlier this week. Think a combo of cider and red wine characteristics with tartness, dark fruit flavours and some gentle tannins from the Marechal Foch wine used. $2 from every bottle will be donated to the Burnside SPCA location to help stray and abused animals. Win, win.

We’ll leave you with the always welcomed news of re-releases from Unfiltered Brewing. First up is their 7.5% ABV DIPA, Fist of God. If you’re looking for something a bit more sessionable, check out Lifesaver, their 4.25% ABV blueberry sour. Both are now available in cans and for fills at the brewery, and on tap next door at Charm School.

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