Black is Beautiful

All posts tagged Black is Beautiful

Bubble bobble, it’s time for our weekly hobble! Terrible jokes aside, we’re all looking forward to the reestablishment of the Atlantic Bubble in a month. There have been many tasty treats through our great region and we’re happy to have it coincide with the warmer weather (those in Nova Scotia ignore that part). Hope is in the air and beer news is down below!

After a pop-up retail tease in the fall, Spryfield’s brewery, Serpent Brewing, is opening on a permanent basis this weekend. Located at 16 Dentith Rd, the taproom and retail spot is located just off Sussex Street under the Canadian Tire (and next door to the future home of Mary Brown’s Chicken). While they received some less-than-great news that their taproom permits have been delayed due to a hand-off from the NSLC to Alcohol and Gaming (thanks NS gummint!), there is beer in kegs and bottles so they are opening their retail store for take-away Saturday at noon, and Sunday at 2 PM. Next week and going forward, they are open Wednesdays 2 – 8 PM, Thursdays through Saturdays 12 – 10 PM, and Sundays 2 – 8 PM. Their 5 BBL (600 litre) brewhouse has been working overtime to prepare the 7 Belgian-inspired beers available on draught and in bottles. Those who visited the pop-up in 2020 have already had a chance to try their Patey’s Bier, their 4.6% ABV Singel/Patersbier, Eden, their 6.0% ABV Belgian IPA, and White Mountain Witbier, coming in at 5.5% ABV. These three are available to go in bottles as well as growler fills (and pints soon enough). Add to that Medusa, a 7.4% ABV Dubbel, and 33, their 8.0% ABV Tripel, completing the trifecta of Monastic beers. Both of these, as well as The Bite cider are available in bottles this weekend.

Serpent’s first Founders Club release is also available, this one being a taproom exclusive due to its limited nature… Chocolate Lake Chili Porter was brewed with Rob, one of the early adopters to their Beer Creation Experience, allowing members to conceive the beer, help with the brew day, and even work with their designer on the label artwork. While all of those memberships for the 2021 edition have been snapped up, there are still some spots in their Brew Club, the 24 month membership which provides you with a Serpent growler and your choice of a growler fill, two bottles, or two pints per month, discounts on growler fills on Thursdays, a t-shirt, 2 beer glasses, and vouchers for 4 pints and 4 flights to be used personally or shared with friends. Details on this can be found on their website. Look for more Beer Experience releases in the coming months, as well as plenty more Belgian-, and non-Belgian-, inspired brews to be pouring. Keep an eye on their social media (Fb/Ig/Tw), and we’ll be sure to give you lots of fun information about their taproom once it opens in a few weeks. 

In more opening news, Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has finally opened their doors this week, after months of delays due to the COVID pandemic. However, they soldiered on and have had a very successful launch just in time for Moncton Craft Beer Week (more on that below). While owner Chad Steeves began brewing on a small kit in the basement of the Tide & Boar Gastropub at 700 Main Street, they have graduated to a much larger brewhouse down the road at 1355 Main Street. Their attitude has not changed, however, concentrating on modern hazy New England IPAs such as Uncut Hops, Special Blend #10, Pow Pillow Rakau, as well as their Sour Otis line of fruited sours. This expanded capacity has allowed them to offer cans to go on a permanent basis, in addition to being enjoyed at their space. The taproom is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 4 PM (until 11 or later), features a full kitchen (open from 4 – 10 PM during the week and from noon to 10 PM Saturdays), and the Duo Cafe is open 7 AM – 1:30 PM Mon – Fri (can also buy retail beer during those hours). Congratulations to Steeves and family on the opening!

And in coming soon “new” brewery news, the fine folks near Fundy, Alma’s finest, Holy Whale is the second New Brunswick brewery to purchase a bowling alley! The owners have taken possession of the Parklane Bowling Alley at 28 Biggs Drive in Riverview, New Brunswick. Not too far from their beer garden location, the lanes are located about 70km from their spot in Alma. They will be starting renovations shortly and aiming to have a beer garden and lanes open in August. For the Parklane fans, fear not, the lanes will definitely remain the focal point of the space, with the beer hall taking over other space in the building. They’ll also be moving their pilot system from Alma for on-location brewing, so you can expect some fun beers to come from there. Beer and bowling, yes please! Throughout the process of idea to realization, the Holy Whale gang have had a number of people help them, none more than the TrailWay Brewing crew who successfully opened The Drome in Fredericton a couple of years back, but keep an eye on their Facebook for further details and their full list of shout outs. Their Beer Hall down the way at 391 Coverdale Road in Riverview will remain open during the construction.

Big Spruce Brewing has released a brand new and important beer this week, as part of Black is Beautiful, a world-wide collaboration to raise awareness of the injustices that People of Colour face daily. Breweries take part to lift up, empower, and give real (aka monetary) support to Black organizations to continue the fight. Big Spruce has has pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds of their release to the The African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, whose member groups work in the province to see that African Nova Scotians have a voice in the planning of, and access to, improved community services, health care, and reform of the justice system. Big Spruce’s version of Black is Beautiful is a Whiskey Barrel Aged Foreign Extra Stout coming in at 6.9% ABV. Beginning life as a bold black beer featuring dominant notes of chocolate and roast coffee, the barrel aging process brings vanilla, red fruit-like cherry, and a lovely whiskey nose. The beer finishes dry and with a touch of bitterness, and leaves you wanting more. Available in cans from their retail shop in Nyanza and online for delivery in Nova Scotia and beyond, several restaurants and bars across Nova Scotia have also taken kegs to help expand the reach (including Bar Stillwell, Battery Park, Bitten Moon Pub in Glace Bay, Grand Banker in Lunenburg, Maritime Express in Kentville, Nook and Cranny in Truro, and The Townhouse in Antigonish). Be sure to grab some cans or pints to support this important initiative!

It’s been a few weeks since its initial release, but for those who’ve yet to come across it, Boxing Rock has a new Best Bitter available called Perfect Pint. This 4.3% ABV take on the style features Maris Otter and crystal malts, and is hopped with the classic English Goldings hop. Expect some fruity esters, with caramel and stone fruit coming through on the palate. Perfect Pint is available now in 491 mL cans through Boxing Rock’s sales channels, including their Local Source Market location. 

Moving on to a slightly larger rock, Landwash Brewery is releasing the first beer in its new Limited Series, with Cuslett. This IPA pays homage to the west coast version of the style with a malty backbone and hefty bitterness. Named after the village along the Cape Shore of the Avalon, Cuslett comes in at 7.0% ABV and is available now in cans for pick-up at the brewery in Mount Pearl, as well as the better corner stores in the region.

Joining Cuslett is Landwash Dark, a pitch-black Lager reminiscent of the Schwarzbier style, featuring plenty of chocolate and dark malt character, but with a crisp and dry finish, setting it apart from stouts and porters. This 5.0% ABV beer lets the malts shine through, giving the hops a rest for another day… With the current Level 4 restrictions on the Avalon, their taproom remains closed, but the retail side is still able to sell fresh cans to go, and check out your local corner store too!

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has something new for those who both like their hoppy beer and who also are trying to satisfy their craving for hops without getting into big and heavy IPA territory. Taking the notion of “Session IPA” almost to an extreme, or at least as far as we’ve seen it taken around these parts, Micro IPA weighs in at a paltry 2.8% ABV. That said, it still manages to be hazy and full-bodied, and, of course, hoppy! Featuring Nelson Sauvin and Idaho 7 hop varieties for aroma and flavor notes of “mango, gooseberry, and stone fruit, with a subtle backdrop of black tea and spice,” this one was a small batch on their Quinpool pilot system, so quantities are limited. Available in 500 mL bottles from all Prop Shops and through online ordering for pickup or home delivery.

And meanwhile, with COVID restrictions starting to ease up a little more (but please, let’s keep up with the mask-wearing and social distancing where appropriate!), the Prop gang is happy to announce the return of Community Cask Nights. Twice a month at their old school tap room location on Gottingen Street, you’ll find a special cask tapped on Friday evenings starting at 5 PM with proceeds going to a local charity. Check it out today, when you’ll find a cask of their S’Mores Imperial Dessert Stout (a special treat, as cans of that one are sold out) with Marshmallow Fluff. This one will be pouring in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Halifax Dartmouth.

Truro Brewing Co has a new release this Friday straight out of the Hub! Released in collaboration with nearby Mountain Meadworks, Ostara is a Saison-style Braggot (a beer and mead blend). Brewed with Shoreline Malting pale malt, honey, and juniper berries, it is the second collaboration between the two companies and should please all types of drinkers, bringing flavours of spice, honey, banana and juniper. Coming in at 7.6% ABV, it’s available in 650 mL bottles today directly from the brewery, and this weekend from Mountain Meadworks’ table at the Truro Farmers Market as well as the online Truro and New Glasgow Farmers Markets.

Delta Force Brewing is back with its fourth release, featuring some returning favorites, new twists on previous releases, and some brand new beers for their fans to try.
First up is a fun two-pack that provides the opportunity to compare and contrast two different strains of Kveik yeast in the same base beer. Operation Assay is an American-style pale ale coming in at 4.6% and 4.9% ABV for the two strains. These versions feature the Ebbegarden and Voss strains of the yeast. We recommend finding a pal and opening both bottles at once for a side-by-side.
Staying with pale ales, Operation Jolt combines three loves of many a beer drinker – hops, coffee and funk! This 4.9% APA with Brett also features an addition of brewed coffee.
Next up, we have Baurenhofschuppen with Brett. This one started life as a Märzen, which appropriately enough is German for March Beer, but was also fermented with Brett to a final ABV of 6.6%. Expect the bready malt notes you’d usually find in a Märzen, with a funky finish from the Brett.
We also see a new twist on Wessex, the barleywine from their third release. Wessex with Brett is, you guessed it, a version of their original barleywine with an addition of Brett to add some funk that compliments the rich malt notes.
This release also sees the return of their ‘traditional farmshed ale’ Anderlect. This Trappist single-style beer is available as a two pack the features vintages 1 and 2, or as single bottles of the second release. Finally, Mean Time, their English Bitter with Brett, also makes a return. Like Anderlect, you can choose a two-pack of multiple vintages or singles of the newest release.
All beers are available for weekend deliveries within 1 hour of HRM. Contact the boys at deltaforcebrewing@gmail.com to place an order or for more info, and to be added to the mailing list and be the first to learn of when new beers are available. 

Today’s weather got you craving a rich, warming stout? Look no further than Tatamagouche Brewing’s release of Solitude, a 12.6 ABV% cognac barrel aged imperial stout. This one starts with a base of Horton Ridge Pale malt and Munich malt, with smaller additions of chocolate wheat and Caraaroma malt. To balance the sweetness from the big malt bill, Centennial hop bittering additions were added to the tune of 70 IBUs. For more sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel, lactose was used during the boil, with the final addition of Cholaca liquid cacao once fermentation was complete. The beer then spent 10 months in cognac barrels before packaging. Expect big chocolate notes, dark fruit and a notable barrel character, all balanced nicely by the higher bitterness. Solitude is available now in 500 ml bottles and also found its way into a few kegs (including one being tapped in the Tata taproom at some point in the upcoming week). If you’re looking to grab a bottle in the HRM, they should be available at Bishop’s Cellar shortly. 

New from the South Shore of Nova Scotia this week, Home Port is a pale ale that is available now from Shipwright Brewing Company. This hazy pale ale has a grain bill of Shoreline Pale, Munich and Weyermann Dark Wheat was hopped in the kettle with Citra and Loral, and dry hopped with Idaho 7. Fermented with their house Kölsch yeast, it has a great profile and should be crisp, stone-fruity and showing some great bitterness at 5.2% and 45 IBU. Only be available on tap at the brewery and for growler fills and crowlers to go. 

It may not be very Summer- (or even Spring-) like out there today in the HRM, but Cole Harbour’s North Brewing is (re-)releasing a beer that should put you in mind of better weather: Sparrow Pilsner, their classic German-style lager, is available again now at the tap room, Battery Park, and online for pickup or delivery orders. Joining it is a new package for their Strollin’ Down Baldwin Street New Zealand Grisette, now available in 6-pack 355 ml cans, perfect for one or two of the 3.0% ABV refreshers at the end of the day.

Rounding out the news this week is New Scotland Brewing in Dartmouth, who have put together a special brew for a special cause. Those familiar with New Scotland may know that they have a particular connection with Multiple Sclerosis and that they’ve released exclusive products in the past with the goal of raising $10,000 for the MS Society of Canada. This year on the brewery side they’ve brewed up a special batch of beer they’re calling All Together, an easy-drinking red ale with a graham-crackery malt character and fruit-forward hop presence from Amarillo and Galaxy hops. You’ll find this available in 4-packs at the taproom and online for pickup, local delivery, or shipping. And on the apparel side, they’ve got brand new Red Lion t-shirts and hoodies available from their online store. Says New Scotland co-founder Kevin Saccary, who brewed this beer with Mike Gillespie in February and who himself was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago, “In Atlantic Canada, we rank higher than anywhere else in the world with over 7,000 diagnosed cases. Tremendous progress is being made – and we want to keep the momentum going in the right direction. We really do believe that we can make a difference in understanding, awareness, compassion and quality of life for those affected.” We don’t know about you, but we certainly appreciate the opportunity to support a noble cause, and when that can involve beer, even better! And congratulations to the other Saccary brother, Scott, who was part of Team Nova Scotia at the 2021 Brier Cup in Calgary earlier this month!

Late addition to the blog is a new one from TrailWay that has us looking forward to spring, but available now… Brewed for JH Sports, the region’s first indoor golf center, perfect for keeping on your game while the fairways and greens take a break, Mully is a 4.0% ABV light beer brewed to be super crisp and refreshing, and perfect for a sip in between holes. On tap exclusively at JH Sports for now, it will soon be in cans, featuring a label sporting a local golf course, so you’ll be able to Take a Mully at local courses once they start opening this spring. 

The Moncton Craft Beer Week is happening March 22 – 27, with more than a dozen breweries, restaurants, and bars getting in on the fun. There are events happening all over the GMA, with the Moncton Craft Brewery Passport debuting Monday, and running all year long. CAVOK, Flying Boats, Gahan House Hub City, Holy Whale, Pump House, Tide and Boar, and Tire Shack Brewing are all taking part in this initiative, with visitors getting a stamp after they grab a pint at these taprooms, and a full passport earning an entry to win a massive prize pack. Monday evening, drop by CAVOK to Meet the Nano Brewers in the area, with the folks behind Acadie-Broue, Chockpish, Grand Monk, and O’Creek Brewing on hand with their beers pouring. Tuesday’s Yoga and Beer event at Holy Whale is sold out, but that’ll be a great chance to check out either the Mac n Cheese n Beer Restaurant Crawl or the Moncton Craft Beer Tap Takeover at The Furnace Room, both of which are running the entire week. Wednesday is busy with a Halo Donuts pop-up at Tire Shack Brewing, and then Beer Geek Trivia that evening at The Furnace Room (sadly, due to COVID restrictions, acbbchris will not be able to host this, but did send along some questions for the capable crew!). Wednesday also marks the start of the Moncton Craft Beer Tasting Menu at Clos, which runs until Saturday (RSVP here). Thursday sees another fun event with a Beer and Cheesecake pairing at Flying Boats, who are having Cheesecake Garage pop up in their space that evening. Friday is a comedy and beer evening at Pink Flamingos, Craft Beers and Laughing Tears, with the Winter Beer Garden kicking off at Euston Park earlier that day. The Beer Garden continues Saturday, which also marks Open Brewery Day, with buses taking visitors to the breweries and taprooms in the Greater Moncton Area. It is also made for hopheads at Tide & Boar Gastropub is hosting an All IPA Tap Takeover starting at noon. As you can see, there’s something for everyone who’s into beer, so be sure to check their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more details and take part in one or more events to celebrate the great things brewing in Moncton!

Another few job postings for you this week, breweries and beer bars looking to round out their crews for the spring and summer.

The fine people at Truro Brewing Company are looking to hire a few taproom servers for the summer. These are part time positions and no prior experience or beer expertise is required. If you’re interested please email your resume to TruroBrewCo@gmail.com

In other seasonal staffing news, Dildo Brewing is hiring kitchen Staff, taproom Servers, cashiers, and host and hostess roles. Big stuff! Included in there are cashier roles for the St. John’s store. If you’re Interested, please email your resume to dildobrewingcompany@gmail.com and specify the location you are applying to.

HopYard Hali is looking for more Front of House staff at their Gottingen Street location, perfect for the beer enthusiast, or someone interested in learning more. Fire them an email at hopyardhalifax@gmail.com with your resume to learn more and apply!

And finally today, massive congratulations to Shekara Grant on being named to the first Board of Directors of Pink Boots Society Canada! You will recognize Shekara’s name as one of the founders of the Change is Brewing Collective, who have done several beer and cider collaborations in Nova Scotia, partnering to inspire and increase representation of the BIPOC community in the industry. She is also part of the Road to 100 Initiative, led by Black Beer Chick Eugenia Brown to increase representation of Women of Colour in beer. Follow Shekara as she continues to disrupt the current beer industry, opening doors and breaking down barriers. Congratulations again, Shekara!

 

Have you heard of the second wave? Will you ride the wave like an undercover cop pretending to be a surfer? Have you reached your point break breaking point as cases rise? The Atlantic beer scene keeps rolling along and many of our friends have kept home delivery going strong. We wish you nothing but safety, tasty beers and merry cheers as we roll into the holiday season. Stay alert (like the COVID alert app) and stay safe!

This long awaited release from Tatamagouche is finally here, adding to the global lineup of this cultural beer. Black is Beautiful (9.5%) is their take on the Weathered Souls recipe shared around the world, as other breweries have done. Our friends at Tata used Crisp Pale Malt and Horton Ridge Pale Malt for the base with oats, C-120 malt for some dark caramel malt, chocolate wheat and rye with roasted barley and a pinch of lactose. This malty beauty was bittered to 75 IBU and with Nugget and Cascade hops.
As with all of the Black is Beautiful releases, a local initiative will benefit from the sales. All proceeds will be donated to the Tatamagouche Centre to be used for bursaries and scholarships, supporting equality and inclusion. For over 60 years the Tatamagouche Center has been a meeting place for those who care deeply about spirituality, leadership, and social justice. Each year they offer over 10 programs, which cover areas such as congregational life, spirituality, community growth and development, transformational learning, social justice, youth and family, and retreats. Available now in 500ml bottles at Tatabrew HQ on Main Street in Tatamagouche, via their online store and in the city at Bishop’s Cellar real soon. Kegs in the Tata tap room will be available as well as a few licensees in HRM. Many have tried this already (including us!) at Stillwell and the Stillwell Freehouse. It is smooth and has a beautiful balance with the bittering hops. Keep an eye out for this over the winter months, support a good cause, and you may even see it on Nitro taps, too!

Straight out of Hanwell, we missed one from last week! If you’ve followed Niche (like we have), you may be aware of Hop Altered, a Northeast American Pale Ale (NEAPA!) that changes their hop schedule in the recipe. Back for a third iteration, this beer sticks with the flaked wheat and oats and Escarpment Labs’ Foggy London yeast, but goes tropical fruity with Galaxy hops in the kettle and dry-hopped with Citra and Nelson. These are 3 tasty hops that should bring a nice balance of dank, haze and citrus to this 5.2% pale ale. This will be available on draft at the usual Fredericton accounts, along with Stillwell in Halifax. 

Over in PEI, Upstreet has two new beers, both being released on the same day. First up is the latest entry in their Million Acres series of barrel aged brews, Million Acres Yuzu Farmhouse Ale. A Saison that was hopped with Kazbek and Sorachi Ace, and conditioned on yuzu (a citrus fruit of East Asian origin), it spent about 2 & ½ months in the barrel before bottling; the shorter time (compared to “usual” barrel aging) was to allow the Saison yeast character shine through. The beer is pale yellow, with aromas of “candied orange peel, hay, and farmyard goodness” and flavours of grapefruit and lemon zest, with a bit of oak and tannins coming through as well. It’s 7% ABV, and available only in 500 mL bottles at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner.

Next up is a new beer in another ongoing series, but hops instead of Farmhouse. You guessed it, it’s the latest Neon Friday, Neon Friday 3.04 NEIPA. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, wheat, and oats, they hopped it heavily with plenty of varieties: Sabro, Cashmere, Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot. Hazy, golden, and bursting with big aromas of “peach, coconut, tropical fruit, and dehydrated strawberries,” along with lots of stone fruit on the palate, you can find this 6.5% ABV hop bomb on tap at all Upstreet locations, as well as in cans at their Charlottetown taproom and the CBC (no, not the news organization).

Coupla new brews coming out of Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing the last couple of weeks. Let’s start with the hoppy one, just for a change (:D). Hot Sky is the brewery’s latest American IPA, which was hopped almost exclusively with Eclipse. An Australian variety that used to be known as the less-catchy name of HPA 016 (BOR-ing!), it’s giving this particular 6.6% ABV beer notes of “sweet citrus fruits, candied orange, peach juice, papaya, Juicy Fruit gum, and pine needles”, according to TW. It’s currently available both on tap and in cans at the brewery.

And in a move away from the world of hops, TW released their newest German-style beer late last week, Alternate Side. Brewed in the Altbier style, it was fermented cool with an Ale yeast, which is traditional for the style. Exhibiting lots of malt character (specifically “honey, caramel, and multigrain toast”), it’s balanced by a firm hop bitterness, while remaining dry in the finish. Balance is key for a beer like this, not to mention drinkability; at 4.5% ABV, it sounds like TW may have hit the nail on the head. This one is only on tap at the brewery, in their 0.5 L mugs, so you’ve got to visit to try it!

Halifax’s Tidehouse has a new beer in cans available for takeaway starting today; continuing their look back at their first four years of beers, it’s a re-release, but it’s been such a long time since it was originally brewed, it’s bordering new-beer territory! The beer is El-Galaxarillo, a 7.5% ABV New England IPA that was first released way back in October, 2017, for pints and growlers at the TH taproom. Many of you may be able to look at the beer’s name and surmise what hops they went with, but just in case you’re not that hop-geeky, the varieties are El Dorado, Galaxy, and Amarillo. With a heavy amount used in the whirlpool, and multiple dry-hop additions, it’s exhibiting plenty of stone fruit, orange, and grapefruit notes in the aroma and flavour. Available in cans to grab and go today at Tidehouse, starting at 2 PM. 

Winter technically isn’t here yet, but that wouldn’t stop some breweries from getting their winter seasonals ready for release, would it? Hells, no! And really, it’s basically cold enough most of these November days/nights to warrant sipping on some stouts, barleywines, et al. In an answer to our needs, the people at Spindrift Brewing have conjured up their newest winter seasonal, Seeker Espresso Stout. Featuring additions of cocoa, toasted coconut, cinnamon bark, and – yes – espresso, it’s a complex brew with “bold flavours reminiscent of a holiday dessert”, with a silky, smooth mouthfeel. Weighing in at 6.9% ABV, you can grab some right now at the brewery in the form of pints and growlers, with cans rumoured to be hitting shelves very soon.

Experimentation is still the name of the game at Tanner & Co. with the release of their latest beer, Kuhlmann. With a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malts, along with a touch of Rye, the wort was fermented on 100 lbs of Lucie Kuhlmann grape skins from Planters Ridge Winery out of Port Williams. No yeast was pitched in the making of this beer – all of the fermentation took place from the wild yeasts naturally occurring on the grape skins. The final 7% ABV beer has “youthful grape-forward notes of blackberry, cherry, and black currant”, and can be found at the brewery on tap and in bottles, as well as on their online store (which will unlock the secret of Friday delivery in the Bridgewater to Halifax stretch of the province, if ordered before midnight Thursday).

Continuing to surpass the high bar set by their award-winning German styles, Montague PEI’s Bogside Brewing is releasing the Gladiator Doppelbock tomorrow, Saturday November 21st. This beer is truly a meeting of the minds between German-trained Head Brewer Mark Patriquin, and Island Hop Company’s Josh Mayich. Using a Mayich family recipe for Doppelbock, and their own family farm grown hops, this beer is just about as authentic as it gets outside of Munich. Heavy use of Vienna and Munich Type 2 malts, as well as a decoction mash step, bring out some lovely rich caramel notes and full mouthfeel. The use of IHC Hallertau Tradition in the beer was used to target the flavour of traditional Doppelbocks, and it underwent a controlled aging process to bring out those characteristics. Beer science and history incoming! Historical brews of this style were done a couple of months after hop harvest, due to availability of resources, and during that time a light oxidation of the hops would change the aromatic compounds (those terpenes you’ve heard so much about) ever so slightly. Mayich performed the same steps, monitoring the results often, before halting it and locking in the character. Added late in the boil, allowed more of the woody, tobacco, floral, and light citrus to stay in the final beer. A low and slow lagering over the course of two months rounded out the beer to where it stands now. Available on tap and in cans tomorrow, the release party from 2 – 5 PM will feature live music, and even a pairing of schnitzel from Thatchers Eatery kitchen onsite. Get thee to Montague tomorrow, or make an order for delivery!

It’s getting to be *that* time of year, when husbands, wives, partners, and kids struggle to find a meaningful and useful gift for loved ones. Well, if that special someone in your life loves beer, maybe we can lighten the load a little bit. Here’s a round-up of some Holiday and Gift Boxes we’ve spotted. Have we missed one? Let us know! Hit us up on twitter or instagram or via email.

In Shelburne, Boxing Rock is releasing a very-limited number of the Brewmance Box this December. A gift box that includes thirteen beers (4 x Unobtainium, 4 x Vicar’s Cross, one Temptation, and four of either IPA, Sour, or Puck Off!, your choice), it also includes a Boxing Rock toque, drinking game, and spice mix (with recipes). You can purchase yours here for $89; if you sign up for a subscription, you’ll receive a different Brewmance Box every three months for a year, and save 10% on each Box. Free local pickup or delivery in the HRM (at Local Source Market) or Shelburne area, with $15 shipping elsewhere in NS. 

North Brewing is very rarely outdone in these parts, whether that’s for quality, style, or grace, and their Holiday Beer Box is no exception – there’s a lot going on here. Non-beer wise, you’ll find a North Brewing Holiday Card and an exclusive-to-the-box 20 OZ ceramic stein with a North Snowflake design in yellow or blue. Beer-wise, there’s a can each of local favorites Lawrencetown Surf session ale, Rosy Berry saison, Pleasant Disposition IPA, Alloy Champagne IPA, Cole Harbour Red, Little Beast lagered ale, and a can of their Cranberry Clementine Seltzer as well. Where things get extra delightful is with the holiday beers and seasonals, including one brewed specifically for, and not available outside, the box. First up, a couple of returning beers that exemplify both North’s penchant for experimentation with grapes and grape skins as well as their relationship with local winery Benjamin Bridge. Blanc is a 4.5% ABV beer in the Grisette style (think “baby saison”) made with Sauvignon Blanc grape skins. Musqué is a burlier beer, an 8% ABV Double IPA made with Chardonnay Musqué grapes. From there are three very special beers not made before:

  • Cinnamon Bun and Stack o’ Pancakes are both 9% ABV “Holiday Stouts” based off the same recipe (no actual Cinnamon Buns or Pancakes were harmed in the brewing of these beers). Cinnamon Bun was given treatment with a generous dose of cinnamon bark along with vanilla and salt. Stack o’ Pancakes was fermented with “many” buckets of Nova Scotia maple syrup, which was allowed to ferment out completely to prevent a cloyingly sweet result, along with vanilla and salt as well. 
  • Down Time is at the opposite end of the spectrum from those two, an Altbier that comes in at 4% ABV. Brewed specifically for this box and not available outside of it, it’s apparently something they’ve been wanting to brew for a long time and will be an extra special treat for those who grab a box.

On sale as of yesterday (earlier for newsletter subscribers), 300 of these are being assembled and they’re selling for $89.95 (tax-in). They will be available for pickup on December 1st, but they also qualify for free shipping in North’s local delivery area but not quite free shipping within the Maritimes or Nationally (although you could always add a few things to your order, such as a second Holiday Beer Box to get to the respective $100 or $150 minimums). Wrapped in custom North Brewing holiday wrapping paper, they’ll even write a special note for you if you indicate that your purchase is a gift. There’s a good chance, we think, that these will sell out fairly quickly, so if you’re interested (and why wouldn’t you be?!) best act soon! But if the box isn’t your thing, look for all of its contents (except the steins and the Altbier) available separately via North’s online store or at the brewery. The Stack o’ Pancakes is out today and the Cinnamon Bun is coming soon, as are the Musqué and Blanc (the latter two will see a $0.50 donation per can to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust); we’ll do our best to let you know when those are all available.

Bathurst’s 13 Barrels Brewing is getting in on the fun as well, with a, you guessed it, 13 days of Christmas Advent Calendar box. Pre-orders are open now at the brewery until December 5th, with the pickup scheduled for December 9 – 12. In addition to the baker’s (brewer’s?) dozen of beers inside (some of these thirteen will be exclusively available in this box), look for some mystery gifts as well! Message 13B on social media to place your order, and then fall asleep with visions of a sugar plum gose dancing in your head. And once it’s all over, return your box in good condition and they’ll give you a bonus 14th beer!

If cider is more your speed, Lake City Cider has you covered! They have a handful of gift boxes all ready to rock, some feature just the cider in the “Spice Up Your Life” or “Mixed Three Pack”, or go all out with the Holiday and Fan packs featuring blankets, stemless glassware, tote bags, and much more! Check out their online shop and grab them today!

Brightwood Brewery in Dartmouth is also thinking of your hard-to-buy-for friends and family, with a Gift Box set ready to pick up and share in a hurry. A six-pack of Beer is complemented by a 16oz Brightwood Glass and Canvas Tote Bag. Pick from some curated options for selecting the beers (whether your giftee is into Hops, Malt, or something a bit more seasonal allowing you to grab the Christmas on Portland Street Raspberry Porter), or you can opt pick exactly the six beers you’d like if you visit their shop!

If a surprise every day of December leading up to Christmas sounds more up your alley, the Harvest Wines/RockHead/WestSide group has brought back the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown, which features 23 beers and ciders from across the Maritimes, plus a free glass to enjoy them in. The identity of the beers is secret until you open them up, and you can expect several exclusive Countdown-only bevvies, but peep the box’s website for a sneak peek at which breweries and cider producers took part! Available now in store and online if you can’t wait the two additional weeks until December 1st (or want to get them chilling ASAP).

What about gifting your beau/belle a membership in the hottest club to ever hit the shores of Spryfield? Serpent Brewing has re-jigged their Membership Clubs so that you can get in on the ground floor even easier. The benefits will start once their opening-real-soon Taproom is complete, but here’s a sneak peek: As a member of the Brew Club, every month for the next two years you’ll enjoy a free growler fill or two bottles or two pints, plus $3 off growler fills every Thursday, a Serpent shirt and a pair of glasses, plus vouchers for a handful of free pints and flights to use or share with friends. How about gifting them a full Beer Creation Experience? This will allow them to work with Head Honcho Glen O’Keefe to formulate a brand new beer recipe, work with Serpent to name and design the label, sample it throughout the brewing and maturation process, and get the first case of the finished product! And if you are feeling especially generous, gift them both as part of the Founders Club. More details and how to sign up are on their website, but don’t delay as there are only a limited number of the memberships available!

OK, enough of those “Future Holiday Boxes”, let’s get you up to speed with the events happening in our region this weekend!. It just so happens to be a little Hali-centric this time ‘round, but we know there’ll be great beer on tap no matter where you find yourself!

Propeller’s Gottingen Taproom continues their Community Cask this evening, once again highlighting and supporting a community group that inspires and improves the community. November’s recipient is Ecology Action Centre to benefit the Green Avengers Team, a group of 16 dedicated individuals who are running in this year’s Blue Nose Marathon to raise funds for the Ecology Action Centre. So, help support EAC while enjoying a pint! What can you expect in your glass, when the cask is tapped at 5 PM this evening? It’s a sneak peek of a big release coming in December, with a rum-soaked-oak-stave-conditioned Mocha Oatmeal Stout! The base 5.5% ABV beer already showcases tons of locally roasted coffee, tempered by the smooth character of the addition of oats in the malt bill, and the rum and oak are sure to bump this up to a truly special beer. Real Fake Meats will be onsite with Donair Egg Rolls (vegan, natch) for a fun pairing.

Tomorrow, Saturday November 21st, Brunswick Street’s 2 Crows Brewing will be putting a few of their favourite beers back on tap for a “Hey, it’s Saturday, let’s have a pint” event they’ve dubbed “Some of the Good Ones”. Plenty of fun collabs done with the likes of Change is Brewing Collective (Good News), Bannerman Brewing and Lightfoot & Wolfville (Vinello), Orono Brewing Company (Deux II), Kilter Brewing (Lil’ Miguel), plus a great variety of fresh & hoppy (Perfect Situation) and wild (Old & New). The doors open at noon, and you’ll also have the chance to grab the amazing fried chicken sandwiches, pastries, and more from Buttered Bliss, onsite from 12 – 4 PM (or earlier, most likely, if they sell out).

The Stillwell Freehouse at 2534 Agricola celebrates its First Anniversary next Saturday, November 28th, and they will be stacking the taps and casks with killer beer and cider options from the region, and beyond. Chef Graeme will continue to work his magic in the kitchen, preparing some lovely complementing dishes… Or will the beer be complementing the food? I’d say both are true! Open noon til 1 AM, no reservations required, just show up with an empty stomach!

A few more things to tell you about this week before you’re dismissed. Don’t forget to wash your hands and wear your mask, things are getting a bit hairy out there again!

Gahan is jumping on the holiday dessert beer wagon (or should we say sleigh?) with the rerelease of Shortest Day. Their take on a milk stout is spiced with nutmeg to get those holiday feels going. Expect notes of vanilla to go along with the spice. Coming in at 4.5%, you can find cans of Shortest Day on the Island at PEI Brewing Company, the Gahan Beer Store, and look for it next week at PEI Liquor locations and Gahan’s other outlets across the Maritimes. 

Keeping on trend, Garrison is also re-releasing one of its holiday seasonals with All Lit Up making its return. This 7.0% ABV spiced ale features Cascade hops and is available in single cans or in their Holiday Mingler 4-Pack. You’ll also find Stay The Blazes Home Ale back in stock, this time only at the Oxford Taproom and Seaport locations (or for home delivery). As before, a portion of sales will go to support Feed Nova Scotia. 

Brand new IPA from Good Robot available just in time for your Friday drinking needs! SpaceTime NaviGator is a 6% ABV brew hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fruity and tropical, no doubt, you can find it at the bar for pints and takeaway cans, and online.

Back in Fredericton, Grimross is adding to its Maritime Series with Maritime Wheat Ale. Expect classic Belgian witbier flavours of clove and fruit, and a slightly cloudy appearance (can swirl anyone?). As an added bonus, this 5% ABV beer features 100% Maritime ingredients from two excellent local supplies, Shoreline Malting and Island Hop Company. Grab some today on tap or to-go in cans.

Hardisty Brewing Co. has expanded its reach beyond the Colby Village area of Dartmouth. Look for cans of their BlockParty SMaSH pale ale at Harvest Wines in Dartmouth, starting today. And they are now in rotation at Battery Park in downtown Dartmouth, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled to their IG page for the latest updates. 

Crossing the harbour, check out North Street’s Unfiltered Brewing for the release of Riddle of Steel. This 7.0% ABV IPA is back in cans and on tap next door at Charm School. 

New Scotland Brewing has released Tough Chit, a DIPA brewed with – we assume – some Chit in the grist, and bigly-hopped with late additions of Mosaic and Idaho 7, as well as a large dry-hop. Slightly sweet, with flavours and aromas of “mango, honeydew, and peach”, it weighs in at 7.5% ABV and 40 IBUs. You can find it on tap at the taproom this weekend.

Let’s end on a new beer from Quidi Vidi Brewing, for those who need a whole buncha hops in their lives (isn’t that all of us?). Simply named Imperial IPA, this small batch release is an 8.7% ABV blast of citrus, orange, and pine on the nose, along with a serious bitterness and just a touch of warmth on the finish. Fans of Calm Tom will certainly dig this one. You can grab it at their Hop Shop in QV Village, or their Home Delivery happening Friday and Saturday. More details on their website. And look for a rebrand on the line of sours QV put out this summer, now dubbed the Sofa Sour Series. The first to be released under this moniker is the Pineapple Sour Sour, a re-brew of their July debut. Other sours getting the facelift will feature passion fruit, peach & raspberry, and strawberry & guava, on shelves and out for delivery in the coming months.

Happy Friday Thursday everyone! Surprise! We’ve got a full dance card this evening and tomorrow, and rather than leave you thirsty and no clue what to drink on the last weekend of August, we figured we’d hit you up a day early. Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates for all of the new beers to be enjoyed as we take on the Bubble by boat, foot, or bike, with an awesome local beer in hand. Here’s the heads up to no fewer than a dozen new beers and ciders  to enjoy from around the Atlantic provinces. Cheers!

Let’s start off the week with a beer project whose purpose and benefits are becoming even more poignant daily. The Black Is Beautiful Beer Collaboration was started by Marcus Baskerville of San Antonio’s Weathered Souls Brewing, as a way to elevate the voices of, and lend real financial support to, groups working to identify, overcome, and remove, racial injustice. Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax is the second Nova Scotian brewery to release Black is Beautiful (Propeller Brewing’s draught-only release sold out in record time!), and the first to package it in cans. Tidehouse has gone all out, as they are wont to do, putting together a massive 11.0% ABV Imperial Stout. Featuring a full roast base, the addition of coffee, dark chocolate, and a touch of lactose, for a supremely flavourful and enjoyable beer to be enjoyed with friends. They did not do this all on their own, of course, with frenemies 2 Crows Brewing lending a hand to can the 25 flats of beer, and The Printing House Canada for providing the handsome labels at cost. That help means that more money can go towards Tidehouse’s chosen charity, Game Changers 902. This collective has been busy for months hosting rallies and community events in Nova Scotia, and the financial assistance from the project will allow them to continue this vital work of speaking truth to power, and to all of us. Black Lives Matter. You can lend your support by picking up Black is Beautiful from 2 PM tomorrow, until they’re sold out. And while you’re there, grab the brand new Undertow IPA. Using Horton Ridge Malt Pale malt, with Vienna and Acid malt to complete the grist, this 6.6% ABV is hopped with Azacca, Huell Melon, and Pacific Gem, resulting in some lovely tropical notes of mango and stone fruit. While they may have been caught in the undertow of COVID, it looks like the Tidehouse crew is keeping their heads above water and continue to push the envelope in the NS beer scene.

Downtown Dartmouth is buzzing with new beers these days, so let’s head across the bridge next! New Scotland Brewing is serving up a fresh new beer with a fresh new hop rarely seen in these parts, Pahto. Highland Light is just 3.7% ABV, but packs plenty of flavour into its small package. Inspired by the German Leichtbier, known as a style taking the “Light American Lager” back to the Old World, using high quality ingredients. Pahto is a high Alpha hop known to exhibit plenty of Noble hop characteristics, with its sole addition in the whirlpool enough to give a bit of bitterness, and great herbal, floral, and earthy goodness. This is the latest of New Scotland’s series of beers fermented with the KRISPY Kveik strain from Escarpment Labs, and when kept cool (this was fermented at 13 Celsius), it mimics a lager strain with less fruity esters and the beer is crispy and crushable. You don’t have to take our word for it, grab your own cans of Highland Light at the brewery on Alderney Drive, or for home delivery in HRM (and shipping elsewhere) at their Online Shop. And while you’re there (in person or virtually), pick up cans of their Britecider, a 6.1% ABV off-dry cider made with local apples, and dry-hopped with Centennial hops from Fundy Hops. The hops and apple come together in a fun way to add a citrus accent to the apple base, in a bright and crisp package.

The release of Lone Oak’s newest beer was originally scheduled for next week, but they’re so excited about it (and so are we!), that they bumped it up to THIS Friday. Otis is an Oat Grisette brewed with barley and, yes, a generous amount of oats. Fermented with the brewery’s house yeast culture, it was aged for six months in their oak foeder and is finally ready for your enjoyment. Coming in at a sessionable 3.6% ABV, the beer has “notes of lemon zest, hay, and mild oak”, and finishes nice and dry. Grisette is somehow still an overlooked and underappreciated style, but its popularity is slowly growing, so let’s all continue to buy those great examples that are available! Otis is conveniently going to be available in 355 mL cans, perfect for you to take on those last few camping weekends, trips to the beach, etc. that we’ve got left (sob). Find it at the brewery tomorrow, where you can stock up on plenty of it to last you through Labour Day weekend.

Tatamagouche Brewing is debuting a trio of beers this week; two are returning favourites, the other a brand new release. Mussed Up is a 7.9% ABV Double IPA, featuring heavy additions of Enigma and Hallertau Blanc hops for a solid bitterness as well as tropical notes. Petite Milo grape must was added after two days (during active fermentation), imparting so much great grape and wine-like character in there as well, for a unique combination. Next up is Amrita, the Brett IPA first brewed with legendary (aka old, but still hip!) homebrewer Mark McKay. A combination of a beer fermented with a combination of Vermont Ale and Brett D yeasts, aged on a ton of passion fruit and mango, and then dry-hopped with El Dorado and Azacca, give this 6.2% ABV hybrid a ton of character.

Elixir Krispy Kveik is the newbie beer (newbier?), taking its inspiration from a trip to the hop fields of Alsace, France. Walking through fields of Elixir and Mistral, the terroir of this old world wine region shines through in the hops, with floral and fruity character, a new twist on the Noble hops of the Continent. Fermented with that new favourite Kveik strain spotted elsewhere in this post, KRISPY, for a fairly quick turnaround low-ester beer. Both Mussed Up and Elixir are available on draught at the brewery now, and will be in cans very soon, with bottles of Amrita available now. Online store too!

And for those looking to begin or continue their career in the brewing arts and science, Tata is hiring a Cellar Hand to join their team. While the brewer makes the wort, and hands it off to the yeast to make beer, those working in the cellar ensure that product stays clean and happy all the way to your glass. Cleaning (so much cleaning!), transferring beer, kegging and canning, and a thousand jobs in between. A great job for those who do not (yet) have any formal brewing training, but want to be critical in its production. Check out their job listing to learn more and how to apply!

If sour and hops combined are your thang, we recommend a trip over to Dartmouth to visit Brightwood Brewery. They’re pouring their latest beer, Horizon Line, a 5.5% ABV Sour IPA that they hopped with large additions of Chinook and Centennial. Two hop varieties that have been around for awhile, but still pack a punch when used in the right beer. In addition to the fruity character added by the hops – not to mention the tartness from the kettle sour process – they added lime zest from limes provided by Maria’s Pantry, to bump up the citrus notes. Available right now at the taproom for pints and growlers, cans should be following in the very near future (and may even be grabbable right now!).

Fans of Tanner & Co. may have noticed that there’s been a bit of a lapse with new beers from the brewery for the past several weeks; they’ve been working hard to make sure they’ve got their regular beers in stock, but have managed to slip in a new recipe in there, so you’re in luck! Kveik DIPA kind of gives itself away with its name – it’s a Double IPA that they fermented with a Kveik strain, specifically, the Norwegian Hornindal strain. Particularly fond of very high fermentation temperatures, it’s well known for its propensity to show off huge tropical aromas and flavours. But it’s a DIPA, so of course you also have to complement the yeast by a massive hopping schedule… in this case, Tanner went with Mosaic, Motueka, Amarillo and Citra (to 65 IBUs). So now you really know this is going to be a tropical beast, and a pretty boozy one (8.0% ABV) at that! Available right now at the brewery on tap and in bottles.

A little ways down the road from Tanner, you’ll find Shipwright Brewing in Lunenburg, NS. As you know if you’ve been following along, they’ve been experimenting this summer with Kveik-fermented beers using various strains of that yeasty beastie in various styles of beer. Submitted for your drinking pleasure this time is Ship’s Biscuit IPA, a 6.2% ABV 60 IBU West Coast IPA x Kveik hybrid. Featured in the grist were Golden Promise, CaraBelge, and Amber malts, with a portion of flaked barley in the mix as well. Hopped and dry hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe, it was then fermented on Escarpment’s KRISPY kveik strain at elevated temperatures to encourage some ester formation. The result is a beer with a soft mouthfeel, plenty of notes of honey, grapefruit and pineapple, and a pithy bitter finish consistent with a WCIPA. Look for it at the brewery Tuesday to Sunday with cans available for takeout on Mondays from the Grand Banker next door.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing has been celebrating their Fifth Anniversary with Five releases over the past two months, and today’s release marks the final in the series. Whipper Snipper Pilsner is 4.8% ABV beer meant to be light and supremely drinkable, while incorporating some great flavour and aromatics. Start with Superior Canadian Pilsner malt, add in a pleasant 32 IBU from New Zealand-grown Wakatu hops, and let sit for a month-long lagering period, and Voila! Clean and crisp, cans of Whipper Snipper are for sale at the brewery and CBRM delivery now, with HRM home delivery late next week (in addition to cans at the Harvest/RockHead/WestSide trio of private stores too).

Breton also teamed up with the team at the Cabot Resort in Inverness recently, to release a special beer fit for the links. Cabot Ale is a 4.0% ABV, 24 IBU Kolsch, also known as lagered ale. WIth a light a clean malt base, lightly hopped with Huell Melon for just a touch of fruity esters, it’s a refresher that you can grab only at the Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs courses, as well as on tap at the restaurants on the Resort, Panorama and the Public House.

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing let us know this week that just because we haven’t heard from them in a little while doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy; in fact they’ve been so busy keeping the beer moving that they haven’t had time to write to tell us what those beers have been! Props to the folks in Moncton and environs for helping a new brewery stay vital through the craziness that has been their first year of operations, and kudos to the team for making beer that keeps people coming back for more! We’ve also been told that they’ve got a couple new tanks on the way that should relieve some of the pressure on the brewery while ensuring that their fans do not go thirsty. This weekend they’ll have two beers released, one a returning favourite and the other a variation on a beer they’ve made before. First is Full Service, their citrusy DIPA coming in at 7.5% ABV; this was one of the first beers they ever released and always one of their most popular. Second is their Raspberry Sour, which we think is a slight twist on the Black Raspberry Sour from late last year. Kettle soured before having 40 kg of raspberries added, it’s 6.0% ABV, bright and super fruity. Look for both of these beers on tap at the brewery now and in cans starting tomorrow at noon. And if you’re planning to visit the brewery tomorrow, maybe give a thought to stopping by around 4 PM as they’ll be doing their first ever cask beer! Part of what’s intended to be a regular thing, this will be a single 20 L cask of American Pale Ale that was conditioned in the cask on celery seed and rose petals. Wondering what that’ll taste like? So are they!! Stop in for a pint and some cans to go and find out.

Annapolis Cider in Wolfville has released their latest Something Different this week, branching into a lovely combination of fruit and spice, with Sour Cherry and Lemon Thyme. An infusion of lemon thyme was made with their dry-fermented cider, and then blended with fresh-pressed juice from locally-grown sour cherries and apples. Some of the first apples of the 2020 harvest were used in this cider, coming through with bright notes on the palate. Working together with the cherry and lemon, a full bouquet of fruit varietals are on display. As with all of their Something Different releases, a local charity will be benefiting from our hard work (drinking), with the Wolfville Area Food Bank being the recipient of $0.50 from each refill of this cider expression.

In Western Newfoundland, in the town of Port-au-Port, you’ll find Secret Cove Brewing. And at Secret Cove Brewing this weekend you’ll find a couple of new beers! Score Points is a sour beer weighing in at lovely and light, thirst-quenching 4.0% ABV and featuring passion fruit and Mango. Score Points is based around the idea that with sports beginning to start up again you might need to score some points with someone in your life in order to watch the game or get out for a skate with the gang. And what better way to do so than by treating them to a little tropical love in the form of a crushable sour beer? Loaded with fruit, a grist of wheat and Pilsner malt make for a solid base with a slight sweetness and a subtly dry finish. This one is a limited run, so grab some cans now while you, uh… can? (editor’s note: Ugh.) The other release this week is a new brewing of a beer they developed with Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi: The Rice is Right, a “hybrid session IPA” at 4.8% ABV. Brewed to pair well with all things sushi, this light and sessionable ale uses gelatinized rice to create a crispy and dry beer with a soft mouthfeel that accentuates the use of a bit of Sorachi Ace hops, the only hop cultivar native to Japan. This one’s also available at the brewery only at this time, for pints in house and fills and cans to go.

Continuing the episode releases from their Island Jaunt in July, the 902BrewCast have released their interview with John, Trent, and Jansen of Shoreline Malting. Go behind the scenes of how that grain got in your glass (hint, it starts before it’s even in the ground!), and what being a local grower of wheat, barley, and other grains means to the local breweries, and how they turn that into the malt the local producers are lapping up. You can find it in your latest podcast feed, or check it out directly here!

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has tapped their version of Isolation Nation, the Canada-wide collaboration made with 100% Canadian-grown Sasquatch hops and Rahr Pale malt, courtesy of Hops Connect and BSG Canada. In true Esty form, he bumped up the provided hops with even more of his own Sasquatch hops! This 5.0% ABV Pale Ale is full of flavour, and proceeds from the sales are going to the United Way, as part of Foghorn’s membership in the Quarter Club, where they have pledged to be part of a group to raise $250,000 over a five-year period, going towards mental health research and supporting victims of domestic violence. Kudos and Cheers! And while you’re breaking your isolation, grab cans of the latest in their Sour Series, with the Grapefruit version fresh off the canning line. Lightly hopped to let the citrus shine through, look for more from the series to include Cherry, as well as a Dry-Hopped version, and one more TBD.

This week saw the First Quarter numbers from the NSLC released, and there’s some eye-opening statistics therein. While we’re not party to the full report, the “highlights” tell quite a tale. (Note: comparisons to follow are for the same quarter last year, not the previous quarter) For the period from April 1 to June 28, a 6.8% increase in earnings was reported, with Beverage Alcohol in particular being up 5% — overall positive news for a business that sells stuff — but there are a couple of things that bear mentioning, and probably rumination and discussion if you’re a fan of the local beer scene.

First, overall beer sales were down 4.4% to $67.4m (from $70.4m). That’s a big drop (~$3m). But sales of Nova Scotia Craft Beer were up 0.1% to $4.8m. This doesn’t tell us that all craft breweries did well during the closures associated with the pandemic, but that enough of them did well enough to not lose a ton of sales overall. We think that’s a positive statement for the overall health of the craft market in the Province and the ability of our producers to be nimble in a changing marketplace, although we think it’s super important to note that it’s almost certainly the case that some breweries did really really well while others got hit pretty hard. Suffice to say, we’re happy to hear this because there’s a possibility that people are drinking more craft beer and drinking less mass-produced macro beers from huge multinational companies who employ far fewer people in our Province, and the proceeds from which leave our borders with a quickness. Keep supporting local, folks, these are the breweries creating jobs in our communities in addition to making tasty liquids for us to consume! 

The next number that’s interesting is the rise in “ready to drink” sales, which more than doubled to $7.2m (115.7% increase). Remember that this category includes ciders, wine coolers, and the new darling of the North American alcohol industry, vodka sodas/hard seltzers. So if you’re wondering why so many breweries are branching into the world of fruit “flavoured” fizzy water, there’s your answer. We don’t generally love them ourselves, but note the numbers there: ready-to-drink went from less than craft beer to much more than craft beer. Grabbing a piece of that market might help any erosive effect it has on your existing market, which is already highly-competitive.

Lastly, we think it’s super important to note the biggest decline on the page: Licensee sales were down close to 90%. This is your bars, your restaurants, and pubs. We don’t know too many industries that can sustain a 90% drop in sales. Obviously during the full lockdown going to restaurants was not an option, but now that things are opening up a little bit we highly encourage you to try to send some support in the direction of those places you value, because there’s a really good chance a lot of them are going through some very hard times right now. We have our favorites and you have yours, and yes, we’re fully aware that a lot of people are experiencing budget crunches at home themselves; but if you’ve got the means and opportunity to get out for a nice meal and/or a couple of drinks in the coming weeks and months, or to order takeout and a couple beers from your favorite local, we highly encourage you to do so.

We’ve got plenty of events to tell you about this week, with some requiring a bit of manual labour, or your hiking shoes, or just your drinking caps!

In Nyanza, Big Spruce Brewing is ready to harvest their hops, and they need your help! Drop by the brewery anytime this weekend and give them a hand to get those hops off the bines so they can put them into your beer! A few hours of work will earn you some liquid assistance and snacks from their food truck. And worry not, you don’t have to work for your beer, they still accept ha’pennies and farthings too! 😉 And while you’re there, keep your peepers open for a brand new limited release from their continued bottle series. Le Trou Normand is a Calvados Brandy barrel-aged beer, a Biere de Garde. This 10.1% ABV whopper comes in a lovely 330 mL bottle, so grab a few to enjoy now and when the weather turns cool(er).

On the opposite end of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is holding a Highway 101 vs. Highway 103 Beer Battle this weekend. Celebrating the part of the world where those two roads meet, Heritage has invited breweries from along both to bring a new or existing beer to the event and team up with their compatriots to reign supreme. The beers will be pouring from Friday afternoon until they’re tapped out, with the winners announced Saturday evening. Drinkers will know a bit about the style of each beer, but the origin and brewery will be hidden until after voting is done. Speaking of, you’ll be enjoying beers from Annapolis Brewing, Boxing Rock, Church Brewing, Firkinstein Brewing, Lunns Mill Beer Co, Roof Hound Brewing, Rudders Brew Pub, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewing, and Sea Level Brewing. Stop in either evening to enjoy live music from 8 PM too, and help crown a winner!

Are you a fan of the hazy, hoppy beers, kids? If you are, you’ve no doubt heard of Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing, who for the past couple of years have been banging out the soft and juicy New England/Northeastern IPAs for getting on six years now. And in that six years they’ve branched out quite a bit beyond the beers you may know them best for, including a beer brewed specifically for the bowling alley they bought a couple of years back! If you’re in Halifax and find you can’t get their beers as often as you’d like, though, this weekend is an excellent opportunity to rectify that: Saturday afternoon starting at noon you’ll find 10 taps of Trailway pouring at the Stillwell Beer Garden! Come on down and try some old favorites that have been around since the early days, and some new hotness as well:

  • Candlepin Kölsch (4.5%) 
  • Beyond Reality Raspberry Wheat (4%)
  • El Generico Sour (Blackberry & lime 4.5%) 
  • Dump Run Saves Summer Ale (fruit ale with Mango, passionfruit & peach 4%)
  • Luster Session IPA (4%) 
  • Rype Pale Ale (w/ Rye) (5%)
  • Hu Jon Hops IPA (6.6%) 
  • Seeing Citra IPA (6%)
  • Velvet Fog Milkshake IPA (w/ lactose, raspberry & lime 6.5%)
  • Ooz Double IPA (8%)

If that makes you happy and helps you plan your Saturday afternoon, then great! If it makes you sad because you have responsibilities or plans that cannot be changed, we remind you that Trailway recently started shipping to all four Atlantic Provinces as well as Ontario. Check out their website for more details!

Saturday is a busy day in the North End of Halifax too, as two breweries are hosting vendors in their taprooms. Propeller’s Gottingen Street spot is taking part in TakingBLKGottingen’s second event, hosting the Family Over Fame apparel company Saturday 12 – 5 PM. With shirts, masks, hoodies, bandanas and much more, start your stroll along the Gottingen with a pint and a peruse. Check that first link for full details on the other locations taking part.

And down on Brunswick Street, 2 Crows is hosting their first Local Makers Market, 10 AM – 2 PM Saturday and Sunday. They are hosting makers, growers, crafters, clothing, and food folks, so be sure to swing by and peruse the offerings with a beer in hand! They’ll be running these for the next few weekends, so be sure to stop in!

The Ladies Beer League is kicking off their Go Take a Hike! series next Wednesday at 6 PM with a walk through Dartmouth. Physically distanced hiking starts out from Alderney Landing and will go along some groomed trails and sidewalks, at whatever pace you feel comfortable. And then refresh at Battery Park on Ochterloney! The hikes are free, but please grab a ticket ahead of time so they know how many are coming, and ensure all health protocols are followed. Look for more hikes out of town as well, coming up on the 13th (Taylor Head), 19th (Moose Mountain), and 27th (Tatamagouche). More info here!

Let’s end the week’s post with two news items that caught our eye and are signs of the great things happening in the region’s beer scene.

Dartmouth’s North Brewing has launched the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship, to encourage, promote, and elevate the underrepresented individuals in the brewing industry. Comprising two parts, there is a $1500 scholarship for those in a university or college program in a field that is related to the brewing or hospitality industry, awarded for each year of their program. As well, the successful candidate will have guaranteed employment in the brewery, taproom, or retail shop throughout their education. Applications are now open until the end of October, and there are so many more exciting details on North’s site, so we highly encourage interested students, or those already in the industry looking to make some positive waves, check it out!

And congratulations to the folks behind Lunn’s Mill Beer who have taken over the iconic End of the Line Pub in Bridgetown, and will be opening The Station this fall. Investing in the local economy in this way is a leap of faith, but a testament to the growing fans of craft beer across our region. Well done folks, looking forward to a pint of fresh ale and some great food in a few months!