Boxing Rock Brewing

All posts tagged Boxing Rock Brewing

Long Weekend in the Maritimes, woohoo! That may mean your favourite brewery, restaurant, bar, or retail shop is closed Monday, so please reach out before you visit. Better yet, stock up now and spend the day in your jammies enjoying the best of the region. Here are a few suggestions for what to have in your glass…

Let’s begin today’s post some sad news, hitting close to home. Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, has announced that they have brewed and packaged their last beer and will be closing. We understand there are many factors leading to the decision, and both Rob and Shawn will certainly be a part of the New Brunswick beer scene forever, having started as avid homebrewers over a decade ago, taking the leap into opening a brewery with an impressive variety of releases, and ending on their own terms. As some may know, Shawn has also been one of the authors of this blog, and we’re reflecting on the great writing and contributions he’s made to the Atlantic Canadian beer scene over the past 8 years (!!), using his voice to help promote others in the same space as Niche. And though we’re very disappointed, we must acknowledge that Shawn has retired from the blog as well. Thanks brother, we look forward to sharing a beer together again when it’s safe.

Some thoughts from each of us…

“I remember the first time I had Niche was at The Joyce in early 2018. All I had to read was “Brett Table Beer” and I was sold on Something Different. It was only a few months later their beers showed up more and more at Stillwell and then in the fall they had an excellent tap takeover at Stillwell. I’ve been lucky to have spent some time with Shawn and the region is lucky to have had this brewery’s funky, sour and aged treats for many years. I’ll cherish my cellared Niche beers for years to come. To the cool kids!” – Damian

“When I heard that Shawn Meek was planning to open a brewery, my first thought was “who’s that?”… little did I know that Niche would become such an innovative and delicious presence in the Atlantic Canada beer scene. I’ll miss seeing the Allagash of Hanwell on the wall at Stillwell, and the bottles smuggled in from New Brunswick by he who shall not be named. All the best Shawn and cheers to what’s next.” – Devon

“Even before I was press-ganged into the blog, I was aware of Shawn’s brewing prowess thanks to his personal blog and his homebrew comp triumphs. When I heard that he was starting a brewery it seemed natural for someone so passionate and capable to take the next step. How he continued to be a family man, work a full time job and also write damn near half this blog most weeks I will never know. But I’m awfully thankful for it. I’m also thankful for so many fine beers of a quality and variety that many breweries much bigger and more established have trouble matching. I’ll miss hearing about what’s coming out of Hanwell before everyone else, but I hope we can continue to butt heads, kibitz (at Chris’ expense, when possible), and also share a beer or two when the stars align (Orval, maybe?). – Aaron

“Shawn, I can’t remember exactly when or where we met, but I’m glad we did! GDAH or FCBF, right? It’s been a wild ride, and what I do remember is the fun we’ve had together with a beer in our hand (or not!), shooting the shit, and fixing the (beer) world. Thanks for saying “Yes” when I called in the big guns to partner up for the blog, and still being crazy enough to write it while juggling everything on the go in the real world. While there may not be much more Niche coming our way, this just means the homebrew will be flowing freely soon, right? 😉😜 Looking forward to sharing another pint with you again soon, brother!” – Chris

OK, enough feeling down on ourselves…. For those of you fortunate enough to live in the Capital Region (and beyond), check out your local ANBL or Brewery Agency Store to ensure you grab bottles of Niche’s releases before they are gone (like gone, gone). Plus Niche draught is still pouring at a few spots in the region, including The Joyce, Bar Stillwell, and better beer establishments in between.

Let’s kick off the new beer news of the week with a pair that were a long time in the making, from the small town of Montague, PEI. Copper Bottom Brewing is debuting the first in their foray into barrel-fermented and -aged farmhouse ales, both brewed mid-2020, and allowed to develop plenty of character over the past 6 months.

First up is Thicket, a 5.0% Wild Ale with Blackberries. Starting from an uncomplicated malt bill of Vienna and Pilsner Malts, with some Raw Wheat and Spelt added to give the little beasties something to chew on over time, the wort saw just a small addition of Centennial hops used at the end of the boil. The hops are not the star of this show, however, with a blend of yeasts in the “tart saison” family pitched as the wort was added to a pair of white wine barrels. The yeast was allowed to do its thing over the next three months in the barrels, before being moved to a stainless conditioning tank, where a healthy serving of wild blackberries were added. A second fermentation and conditioning took place over the next two months, before the beer was bottled still, and allowed to carbonate naturally in glass. Bright, tart, and complex, with the blackberries lending a touch of sweetness to the final package.

Patina is the second release out today, and while it started with the same base wort, it was fermented with a blend of yeast blends, with Brett Sour and Saison yeasts and other beasts coming together to dutifully chew away at the sugars. Fermented directly in a pair of Pinot Grigio barrels, the beer was allowed to sit for 6 months, before packaging and allowed to finish in the bottle. This 4.8% beer is lively, funky, bright, and features just a touch of oak.

Both beers are available in the taproom and retail today, as well as for delivery through their online shop. Those in the area are seriously recommended to drop by this evening to try the two new beers, as well as take part in the pop-up by roving pizza empire Dough Boy Industries. In the taproom from 5 PM this evening, there will be 13” pies and garlies available for ordering, as well as live music from Joce Reyome. Arriving early and/or reserving a table (902-361-2337) are the best ways to avoid disappointment. Keep an eye on other events at Copper Bottom through their Events page, where they have all of their weekly Saturday and Sunday shows listed, as well as special events, including Ashley Condon’s concert March 6th, and Garrett Mason on the 20th.

Let’s head North East to Deer Lake, Newfoundland, to our friends at Rough Waters Brewing. While their brewery retail spot is currently closed (thanks COVID!), that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to put out some great beers to the province’s beer stores. Backcountry Saison is out in the wild now, just aching to be taken on an adventure in nearby Gros Morne National Park. Featuring 2-Row, Wheat, and Vienna malts, it was lightly hopped with Centennial and East Kent Golding, before being fermented with an iconic Saison yeast, lending plenty of spice and spritz to the beer. Enhancing those characteristics were additions of coriander and orange peel at the end of the boil. 6.9% with a dry finish, keep an eye out for this one! Also hitting the shelves of the Marie’s Mini Marts and other good beer shops reeeeeal soon is Plum Pint. Those in Western may recognize the name from a local spot, but anyone can enjoy this 5.0% Wheat Beer, which features an addition of plum puree post-fermentation. Smooth and fruity, tasty all way round!

Back on the mainland, Truro Brewing Company is releasing Dark Necessities. This 10% ABV Imperial Stout was aged in a “Bourbin-ish” barrel from nearby North River’s Raging Crow Distillery. Expect big, rich chocolate notes, some coffee and a smooth bourbon character in the finish. Packaged in 650 ml bottles, you can find it today at the brewery, onsite at Raging Crow and tomorrow (Saturday) at the Truro Farmers Market. Beer drinkers of Truro, consider your Valentine’s Day plans resolved. 

In other TBC news, the brewery is holding a contest to name a new Double IPA that they are planning to release at the end of February to coincide with their first anniversary. Send your most creative idea (a nod to something local would help) via DM on their social channels or to trurobrewco@gmail.com by February 25. The winner will be announced the next day, with a $50 TBC gift card and t-shirt up for grabs. 

Big Spruce is giving us ‘an early taste of summer’ (apparently they are ignoring the long-range forecast for Nyanza) with the release of Day 6. This 6.4% offering is a co-fermented blueberry sour with Brettanomyces. Expect a deep purple colour with upfront flavours of tart blueberries and lemonade, followed by some comforting notes of chamomile tea and blueberry jam. We’re told that kegs are heading to Battery Park and Primal in the city. 650 ml bottles should be available in the webstore tomorrow. And as always, you can find Day 6 on tap at the source in sunny Nyanza.

If you’re like us and enjoy the occasional hop explosion taking over all of your senses, 2 Crows is here with their first take on the aggressive style. Space Words brings the hops. At 10.1% like other Triple IPAs we’ve seen around the region, this one comes in at 70 IBU and is loaded with Galaxy, Eclipse and Comet hops. Onto the nerdy details! This ale was brewed with a base of German Pilsner malt, flaked wheat, and Golden Promise, with sucrose added to the boil to boost the ABV. Next up, this was hopped judiciously in hopback with Galaxy and Comet. This was fermented with a blend of juice-forward hazy yeasts, as well as a unique nectar specialist yeast Metschnikowia reukaufii (from the brewery – “This yeast was initially harvested from flowers in the Berkeley Hills of California, and is thought to have evolved to make flowers smell better for pollinators by altering nectar compounds like glycosides”). Think Bio-transformation in a big, big way! This IPA was quadruple dry hopped with the three featured hops and is the juiciest, boldest and hoppiest beer to date from the Brunswick Street brewers. This beer is available now in 473ml cans and you can have it delivered right to your door ordering directly from the brewery to get this as fresh as possible!

Nanobrewery O’Creek has a pair of new beers in the wild these days, on tap at several spots in the GMA. First up is The Flyer, a 6.8% NEIPA, using Talus, Citra, Centennial, and Amarillo hops to blast your senses with full on orange, tangerine, and citrus character, yet with a smooth mouthfeel. Named after one of the fastest boats used in the rum trade in Kent County, best get yourself to CAVOK or Tide & Boar for a pint before she’s gone! Also keep an eye out for Outback IPA, a 6.2% all Aussie hop-bomb, featuring Galaxy, Enigma, and Vic Secret. Dank and tropical, this can also be found on tap at CAVOK.

A blog favourite from the 2019 Stillwell Open returns again from Propeller. Sabro is a flavourful Double IPA packed with intense tropical hops. With a flavour packed with Sabro hops, you’ll get some passionfruit, pineapple and coconut. This is a hazy favourite clocking in at 65 IBU and 7.5% ABV. Available in 473ml cans at both Prop shops today, online too, and will be hitting the private stores in HRM next week.

Did you know that Trailway Brewing, Fredericton, NB’s pied pipers of hazy hopjuice, have been tickling your tastebuds with lupulin-laden delights for six years now? Well if you didn’t, then now you do! With things being what they are pandemic-wise they’re not planning anything huge to mark the occasion, but they’d be happy to see you and the gang from your 10-person bubble visit the taproom to celebrate with some pints, or just you picking up some cans to toast them with at home. And they’ve got plenty of options for you in both cases, including at least four very fresh batches, to wit:

  • Beans, their oatmeal stout with coffee and, fittingly, a keg of which was the first keg sale Tw made (to The Joyce, of course!), is back on tap and in cans.
  • Voyager, a very soft 8% ABV DIPA that they haven’t brewed in quite some time, and featuring two of the juiciest hops known to humankind: Citra and Galaxy, is available once again, this time in a double dry hopped version!
  • Green Island, which sees two fairly new hop varieties, Idaho 7 and Cashmere join forces to bring out juicy berry and pineapple characters in a hazy 6% ABV package.
  • Box Theories, another DIPA at 8% ABV, this one with new hop hotness Strata combining with old and busted (but we still love it*) Mosaic for a bright and tropical, yet still soft and juicy, flavor experience.

And if there’s anyone out there reading this in Quebec who’s a fan of Trailway and has noticed their beers in La Belle Province, you very well might be seeing the three IPAs listed above at your local dep or wherever you’ve been finding it before.

* Except Chris. But he’s weird in other ways too. Happy Birthday buddy!

The good folks at Tatamagouche Brewing are bringing out a big bodied banger for Valentine’s Day with a nice twist on their Russian Imperial Stout. They took their original RIS recipe, added some chocolate wheat and then it was racked into Bourbon barrels from two different barrels. With the addition of chocolate wheat to this release, nice rich, roasty and chocolate flavours come through with a touch of coconut. This 650ml bottle release is 10.3% and is available now. Get this directly from the brewery’s online shop, as they ship across the nation!

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing is, like everyone else, very happy to see that Moncton is finally out of the red phase, COVID restriction-wise, and in particular they’re excited to start helping to hook you up with some of the beer they’ve been stockpiling a little during the increased protocols. Fans of the brewery will no doubt be happy to know that Parts N Labour, their 6% ABV New England IPA, is back, this time featuring a different variety of hops, namely: Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe. “A true haze bomb,” you can expect to see (and experience) the effects of biotransformation due to dry-hopping during primary fermentation. This one is already available at the brewery for pints and fills, and, canning gods willing, also in cans later this afternoon!

Meanwhile, there’s also two smaller batches done on the pilot system available for enjoyment at the taproom (and very possibly fills to go). Their Belgian Quad is a rebrew, this time with their own house made Belgian Candi Sugar. And a new one, Peanut Butter Pastry Stout, which is described as “dessert in a glass” and features a healthy dose of lactose, is expected to be on tap starting today.

Down in the Annapolis Valley, or at least at the head (tail?) of it, lies Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, home of both a local malting operation and its eponymous brewery and taproom. Just in time for Valentines Day they’ve got a couple of special editions available that have been in the works for a while. First is their Barreled Bar Dog, a barrel-aged variation of their Bar Dog stout. But instead of the typical bourbon or whisky barrel treatment, this one had a stay in a red wine barrel from Valley neighbours Luckett Vineyards. At 6.6% ABV this one maintains the roasty malt and chocolate character of the non-BA version, but adds some dark fruit character. Second is Brunch, which might put you in mind of something light and fruity, but if it didn you’d be very, very wrong. Taking its name from a special ingredient, it’s an American Barleywine weighing in at a hefty 10.6% ABV. Featuring some maple sweetness from pure maple syrup sourced from their neighbours at Hutchinson Acres as well as a smokey bacon finish that we’re not going to speculate on how they accomplished, but maaaybe if you’re vegetarian or vegan you’ll want to ask some questions before purchasing. At 10.6% ABV we don’t really recommend having more than one of these with brunch unless you’re planning an afternoon nap. We don’t know about whether they’ve got either of these on tap, but we can tell you for sure that they’re available for purchase in 375 mL bottles!

If you’ve kept an eye on local craft beer social media as of late, you may have noticed the fine folks from the Change is Brewing Collective took a trip down Shelburne way. In addition to visiting the Black Loyalist Heritage Center, they took a visit to Boxing Rock to brew a beer! Brewed on February 4th, get ready for the release of Back to Birchtown Old Stock Ale. A 6% ale that could be reminiscent of a warmer, sweet caramel of a winter warmer. The inspiration from this ale comes from traditional Birchtown brewing ingredients of raisins, brown sugar and molasses. 

This beer is actually releasing at the end of the month in 650ml bottles, but you have the opportunity to order a limited edition package with a collaboration mask and admission to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre for future use, all for $26. The label will also be designed with Change is Brewing and likely the mask as well. 100% of the proceeds from this beer and this package will be donated to the Change Is Brewing Collective and the Black Loyalist Heritage Society. Pre-order at the link here.

A trio of short beer blasts to finish your assigned reading for today!

The fine folks at Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool are releasing a new canned beer, Sea Sea Salted Chocolate Porter. Details on the beer are scarce at the moment, but we do know that you’ll soon be able to find this 6.0% ABV offering at NSLC locations and on tap at the brewery.

Port au Port, NL’s Secret Cove has a new beer out this week, what they’re calling a “small beer with lots of character”. Chesterfield Road may only be 4.8% ABV, but this Session IPA still packs plenty of oomph in the can, thanks to lots of late addition of Mosaic and Cashmere hops. Tropical, citrus, beery, and pine, without the headache tomorrow morning! Their first Island-wide release, check out your local good beer shop to grab some, and of course on tap for pints and growlers at the taproom too!

Heading back south, Tusket Falls Brewing Company is releasing the latest in its experimental beer series with Raspberry Milkshake IPA. This one features Citra and Mosaic hops, with a base malt of chit malt.  The milkshake aspect comes from the addition of lactose sugar, followed by conditioning on Madagascar vanilla beans and raspberry puree. Expect notes of raspberry candies and some citrusy hop notes from this 7.5% ABV offering. Check it out at their taproom today. 

 

Oh hey, it’s February already! Or should that be, “it’s February, FINALLY?” Depending on which side of that you come down on, we think it calls for a celebratory and/or therapeutic beer! And wouldn’t you know it, our breweries and cideries in the region are all ready to bring some new (or perhaps just new to you) libations this week. We’ve got a little bit from every province this week, but we’ll start it off in New Brunswick, who seem to have mostly turned the corner on the latest wave of COVID restrictions and are largely back to threat level orange.

A bit of news out of Hanwell’s finest (no offence to the golf course!), Niche Brewing is here with a tasty new release and a fresh batch of a not-so-old favourite. First up, not to be outdone by the massive New England IPAs from last week, On My Way is a hoppy beer out today! This New England IPA is hopped with two of our favourite hops, Galaxy and Citra. Added late in the boil and in the whirlpool, we also get a massive addition of Citra after fermentation for some delectable dry hopping with that lovely amazing aroma. This 6.5% NEIPA brings delicious citrus and grapefruit notes on the palate and orange notes through the flavour and aroma. This will be available in kegs at some of the main Niche establishments (The Joyce, Uncorked, Cask & Kettle and Peppers Pub). And for those lucky enough to be within Bar Stillwell’s reach, they’ve got In Other Words NEAPA with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Sabro pouring now!

Secondly, the tasty barrel-aged tropical fruit saison is back! A new batch of Pau Hana will be released over the next week, with a few tweaks from the original release. This Chardonnay barrel-aged beer keeps the same barrel with the same house culture, but instead of pink-guava and pineapple, this batch was conditioned on passionfruit puree. The first one was 5.8% and 500ml bottles of this will be at ANBL stores and some other places around Fredericton/Sussex/Saint John. 

Chester’s Tanner & Co. is expanding their hours again, which is very good news for you thirsty beer lovers in the area! Their taproom will now be open Wednesday to Sunday, and they have a brand new beer available to celebrate, and it’s their first kettle sour brewed on a large scale. Simply named Sour IPA, it was brewed with Maris Otter, Vienna, and Munich malts, along with a small amount of wheat and oats to help build up the body. After souring, the wort was hopped with several additions of an experimental South African variety, KJA2/436 (someone get this hop a real name, STAT!). While the hop may not exactly be music to your ears, it’s giving this beer lovely aromas and flavours of “lemon zest, papaya, cantaloupe and gooseberries, as well as grapefruit rind and a bit of rosewater.” Sounds nice, no? Bottles are available now at the taproom, and can be ordered online as well (order before midnight Thursday for a Friday delivery, between Bridgewater and Halifax).

Not to be outdone on the fruited sour IPA front, Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s has brought one of their own out this week that they’re describing as, “a big, bold glass of juice.” Early Morning started with plenty of dry-hopped Citra and Sabro for those orange-y citrus and tropical coconut vibes, it also features lots of mango and pomegranate as well as a touch of lactose to ensure some balancing body. Part of a balanced breakfast*, it sounds like this one was pretty popular, with the cans selling out rather quickly, but there’s still a chance you’ll find this one available at the brewery for pints on site and growler fills for your drinking elsewhere needs. And if you’re intrigued but missed this batch, do let the brewery know you hope they make another!

* Depending on your definitions of both “balanced” and “breakfast” but also we’re absolutely not judging anyone.

Moving back into New England IPA territory, O’Creek Brewing has a new brew of their favourite style hitting taps this weekend. Outback IPA is your classic O’Creek beer, a super hazy, yellow-coloured beer with a whole whack of tropical and dank flavours thanks to multiple additions of Australian varieties, including Galaxy, Enigma, and Vic Secret. The grist of 2-row, wheat malt, flaked oats and Carapils keeps the hops front and centre where they belong, with the bitterness being quite low thanks to the hop additions being concentrated in the whirlpool and dry-hop. It weighs in at 6.2% ABV, and can be found first at Fredericton’s The Joyce Pub this weekend. 

Over at Lunn’s Mill, they’ve brought back a beverage that we haven’t seen in over a year, and this time it’s available in cans! It’s a Double IPA they’ve named 2×4, and it was brewed with “a sturdy base” that includes some rye malt, for those of you who are craving a bit of that spicy character that the malt can sometimes impart in a beer (paging Tony Important!). Double-dry-hopped with hefty amounts of four different varieties, you’ll notice notes of “resin, orange pith, tropical fruit, and pine” to go along with the big, 8% ABV. You can find it pouring for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom in Lawrencetown, and as mentioned it’s also available in cans for takeaway. 

Flip-flopping back to New Brunswick, where Long Bay Brewing continues their trend of one-off beer releases with Maiden Voyage, their latest. Brewed with a grist made up of Pilsner malt and flaked wheat, it features a large addition of Strata hops in the whirlpool. Lots of bright hop flavours come through with this beer, with their goal being to create a beer that was a “thin-bodied, easy to drink New England style Pale Ale”. It comes in at 5.7% ABV, on the higher end for a Pale Ale, and about 40 IBUs. Grab it on tap at Long Bay’s taproom; it’ll also be pouring at a number of bars and restaurants across the province over the weekend. 

Winter is finally here (maybe?) and we all love our tasty stouts, don’t we? Maybe not, but if you are among those who do, our friends at Propeller have delivered some supply for that demand with S’Mores Imperial Dessert Stout. This limited edition Imperial Stout features roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla beans and lactose to bring that s’mores flavour of sweet, toasty and chocolate treats. This one comes in cans (and at 9% ABV) and is available today at the Prop Shops, in addition to the local HRM private stores.

We also have more info on Propeller’s gruit we teased last week, now that it has been released (and we believe still available). In the grand tradition of historic beers it forgoes hops in place of herbs and botanicals to offer a balance to the malt sweetness, Gruit Ale features sweet fern (foraged by Production Manager Aeneas in Hubbards) and bog myrtle primarily, which lend an earthy aroma, as well as herbal spicy notes and a touch of bitterness. An addition of rose hips imparts some berry esters on the nose. And while a touch of hops were used in the beer for boil stability, the botanicals are certainly the star of the show. The 5.0% brew is available in all three Prop Shops (and online for delivery) in 500 mL bottles.

And big congratulations to the Propeller Arcade who celebrated (safely) their Second Anniversary last weekend. Their recent expansion continues to grow as they bring in more ticket-dispensing games in the second bar area, as well as cycling through more than twenty pinball and cabinet arcade games new and old. 

Tusket Falls Brewing has released a new experimental beer on tap at the brewery, Pina Colada Gose. We’re pretty sure you know what to expect from this one from the name, but hey, we’ll tell you anyway! Or, more accurately, the brewery will: “An initial blast of toasted coconut on the nose, followed by ripe pineapple and citrusy lime”… <checks pina colada info sheet>… yep, checks out. It also has a tartness to it, naturally, which balances the tropical character quite nicely. Pretty big beer, especially for a Gose, at 7.5% ABV, so approach it accordingly! 

Two all-weekend events to tell you about, from sibling HopYard bars in Charlottetown (on Charlottetown? I can never remember) and Halifax: firstly, continuing their first anniversary celebrations from last week, Borden-Carleton’s Lone Oak Brewing has taken over the taps at HopYard Charlottetown, with 9 beers and 1 cider of theirs a-flowin’. Their pals from the Wheelhouse in Georgetown are doing a food pop-up in the space this evening, 4 – 10 PM, with Trivia with Dan & Spencer starting at 8 PM. Due to COVID restrictions, making a reso (902-367-2599) is the way to go… And at HopYard Halifax, they are welcoming a pair of producers from Wolfville to take over their taps starting today. Covering the beer bases is Church Brewing, who are bringing a handful of their flavourful beers, reinvigorated under new Head Brewer Steve Crane. Fellow Main Street business Annapolis Cider Company are also bringing their A (for Apple) game, with a bevy of bevvies available for enjoyment all weekend long. (Give them a shout to book your table too! 902-444-2467)

A few more newsbites and important links to check out before we leave you today. Hope you have a SUPER weekend!

A quick shout out to Annapolis Royal, where the local theatre is celebrating their 100th year. Annapolis Brewing has released a 4-pack of King’s Theatre Centennial Cream Ale in honour of the great milestone. Available only in 4 packs directly from the brewery, $3 from every 4-pack is donated directly to the theatre.

As teased last week, Ol’ Biddy’s has brought back Kicked in the Hops, a 7.7% ABV, heavily-hopped DIPA that has “intense hop flavours with aromas of pine, and tropical and citrus fruits.” Available on tap only, you can find it right now at the brewery for pints and growlers. 

We reported last week that Tatamagouche Brewing had re-released Baltic Porter, originally from their Giant Beer Series. This week, they’re following up with another favourite from the series, Russian Imperial Stout. Dark, rich, and roasty, with flavours of chocolate and coffee, it is indeed big at 8.5% ABV. Perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s night, and a beer style that will age beautifully, grab your bottles at the brewery today.

We leave you today with news from our friends Change is Brewing Collective, who made the trip down the South Shore to Shelburne this week, brewing a collaborative beer at Boxing Rock Brewing. While details on that release are a closely guarded secret until its debut Feb 27, we wanted to highlight another important reason for their trip. The Collective is supporting BIPOC South Shore in their work to create a Retreat and Learning Centre to be located in Birchtown. Incorporating 8 acres of forest, waterfront, and trails, it also includes a stone wall and house foundations likely belonging to original Black settlers of the area, whose history dates back more than 200 years. The Centre will host retreats and learning workshops, classes, and events, led by, and for, BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities. You can learn more and take part by contributing to their GoFundMe fundraising effort.

Good day, sweet world! As we travel down the path of the Holiday season, the beer releases are coming in strong and fast, much like all of the news below! As our Atlantic provinces do our best to combat the spread of the virus, we must stay diligent by staying home and still supporting local businesses and breweries. Make sure you check out your old favourites and new shops and restaurants for pick-up and delivery options as we all do our part to stop the spread of the virus and spread the cheers! Onto what you’re really here for… the news!

Let’s start you off with some good news from our pals in Hanwell, New Brunswick, Niche Brewing. They are dropping another in their line of “infrequent and always special” bottle releases, After the Storm. Quite the fitting name given the world’s state of affairs, and the beer inside rises to the occasion, naturally. Starting with primary fermentation in a freshly-emptied Chardonnay barrel, this Dark Sour featured the use of Lactobacillus, and then fermentation with their house culture with Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces that they’ve been using for the past 3 years. After developing in the barrel for a year and a half (!!), it was moved to a stainless tank and loads of tart cherry puree was added, and allowed to meld for another few months before bottling and conditioning was complete. Dark fruit, chocolate, oak, and more, all in a 5.5% tart beer, ready for us to enjoy this season. In addition to a select few ANBL locations in the Capital (York Street) and Moncton area, After the Storm will also be at the Picaroons Crafted NB Drinks Market this Sunday, and at Maybee Brewing and CAVOK Brewing in their to-go fridges as well.

Heading 2 hours East of Hanwell, just before you hit the Acadian Coast, you will encounter Saint-Antoine/Saint Anthony. There you will find the newest brewery to open in the region, Twin Harbour Brewing. They are operating at 18 Des Bouleaux Ave in the town, and will be open for growler sales today 5 – 9 PM, and Saturday, 2 – 5 PM. So, what can you expect when you roll up to Twin Harbour? As it is a private residence, park in their driveway and head for the side door, bringing you right into the 120 litre (1 BBL) brewhouse. Please, masks on and respect social distancing, and wait until all other customers have left. Payment can be via Cash or EMT or their new gift certificates, perfect for slipping in a holiday card. OK, enough of that stuff, what beer do they have available?? Their locally-themed beers include Bo-Soleil Pale Ale (5.0%), Côte d’Or Blonde (5.0%), Cape Enragée West Coast IPA, and two fruited beers, the Raspberry Wheat (4.3%) and Blueberry Ale (4.5%). All beers are available in their own 1L Twin Harbour growlers, and they will also fill your own 1L and 2L clean growlers as well. We hope to have lots more on their beer and the people behind Twin Harbour next week, and wish them a great and busy weekend! Salut!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has recently launched a collaboration beer that is near and dear to their hearts, in appreciation of a gesture from long ago. Ok, enough with the teasing! Most residents of Nova Scotia know that after the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the city of Boston was a big help in getting the city and its residents back on their feet. As a thank you, Halifax has sent a very large (“the biggest and best” – D. Trump) Christmas tree to the city of Boston every year since 1971. Hence, From Nova Scotia With Love, a “Whiskey Barrel Aged Abbey Ale” brewed in a “Home and Home” collaboration with Boston’s Harpoon Brewery. Brewed with a grist containing a portion of oak and cherry wood smoked malts, they decided to throw in a small addition of spruce tips, and aged the beer in Glenora Single Malt Whiskey barrels from Cape Breton. Packaged in 650 mL bottles, the 8% ABV beer is “both layered and complex, with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, wood smoke, and caramel”, as well as a bit of warmth from the whiskey. Proceeds from this beer will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s Tema Grant, “a non-profit dedicated to supporting the mental health of first responders, frontline workers, and allied health professionals making unprecedented sacrifices in these difficult times”. Grab your bottles at the Sprucetique, or order online for delivery all over!

If you’re wanting to hear even more about the project and more fun details on the beer, may we suggest you check out the 902 BrewCast Podcast, as their most recent episode features an interview with Jeremy White from Big Spruce Brewing. During the episode, Kyle and Tony also chat with the fine folks at North Brewing about their Holiday Box and other recent releases, and drink their way through some new and old favourite Nova Scotian beers. The 902 fellas are also running a contest on their instagram page, so be sure to order some beer and tag them in the post. And congratulations to (former?) co-host Phil Church who has launched his professional photography business, find out more here.

The other interview during that most recent episode was with Allan of Bedford’s Off Track Brewing, who have released two Bourbon Barrel-Aged beers this week, both available now for pick up or delivery. First up is the Barrel-Aged version of their Crash Course IPA, which spent 6 months in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel, before being moved to a conditioning tank for an extra dry-hopping dose of Mosaic, before a low and slow keg conditioning for the past 4 months, before bottling this 9.4% beast. And a brand new recipe is the Choc-Full Chocolate Stout, a roasty-chocolately stout that was aged for 11 months in a Woodford Reserve barrel, picking up a touch of booze and plenty of vanilla and wood character, before bottling. This 9.2% beaut is available in 500 ml bottles, just like the BBA Crash Course, and both are available for delivery in their region (Hammonds Plains/Bedford/Sackville/Fall River), as well as at the brewery at 275 Rocky Lake Drive during their current retail hours, Thursday and Friday 3 – 7 PM, and Saturday 12 – 4 PM.

Let’s head North, waaaaay North, to Lab City, to tell you about the newest release from Iron Rock Brewing. In November, Nardia McGrath (most recently of Landwash Brewery) took over their brewhouse for a couple of weeks, and along with Assistant Brewer Cindy, developed Cat’s Away IPA. Using a light-coloured base malt of 2-Row, Wheat, Flaked Oats and touch of Crystal 60, the beer featured a ton of Cascade and Citra in the boil, before a round of dry-hopping with Cascade, Citra, and Mosaic. This 6.0% Deadly beer is available in the taproom and to take-away now, so grab some when you pop by for this evening’s Trivia at 7:30 PM, or tomorrow evening’s Open Mic. And for those not in Lab City, check their website for delivery, which they’re offering Canada-wide!

Big things are happening in Rothesay this week as Long Bay Brewery releases its first canned product, Double-Dragon Fly-PA. This 8% ABV New England style DIPA features Sabro, Citra and Mosaic hops, showcasing tropical notes including mango, coconut and tangerine. The team at Long Bay used two different yeast strains and a blend of English and Canadian malts. The beer was cold conditioned for a week before packaging the features the hazy appearance you’ve come to expect from the New England style. Cans are available in 355 ml (more big beers in small cans, please!) and are available now at the brewery, with pints and growler fills also an option. If you can’t make it to Rothesay, look for cans to start popping up on ANBL shelves in the coming days and weeks. Double-Dragon Fly-PA is being launched as part of Long Bay’s core brands, which means you’ll soon be able to enjoy it all year long. In other Long Bay news, construction continues on their taproom expansion with the wall officially coming down to join the current taproom with the neighboring space. Stay tuned to Long Bay’s social channels as they work towards opening the new space during the holiday season.

Have you been stuck in your province? Is the PEI ferry operating? (seriously, we don’t know!) Well, if you’ve been missing some boat traffic if your life Lone Oak is back to fill your waters. Boat Traffic 2.0 is here. The initial release was back in January, as a smooth Oatmeal Stout oak-aged in a new, locally-made foedre. Version 2.0 is here with a big body, chocolate and coconut flavours with undertones of roast and vanilla. The brewery’s first dark beer is back again at 5.0% and 27IBU and is definitely a style to keep stocked in your fridge. Cans are now available in their taproom for pick-up or online for delivery (perfect for anyone stuck quarantining in their hotel room in Charlottetown and needing a bit of a pick-me-up, for example….).

From one island to another, we skip down to Sydney for a pair of new releases from Breton Brewing. The first early christmas gift is a Kolsch, aptly named … Kolsch! A 4.0% true to style, light and refreshing lager, keep it crispy and get some of this delicious style. Staying with the German styles, we get another lager with a very underrated style, as Breton brings us Dunkel, a traditional Munich style Dark Lager. This baby was brewed with Munich and Chocolate malt, well hopped for balance and brings lots of roasty, toasty, caramel notes all come together in a 5.0% gem. Both releases are available now at the brewery, online for home delivery in the CBRM & HRM, and shipping throughout the rest of the province. 

Follow the trail, all the way to Trailway, where in Fredericton we get some new South African hops in Mt. Passion, a new IPA release. Mt (Mount) Passion, 6%, is brewed with Southern Passion and Experimental XJA2/436 hop varieties that are meant to bring out a flavour profile of bright zesty lemon and lime, passionfruit, pineapple, and guava. Southern Passion is a South African bred aroma hop whose pedigree is a diploid seedling originating from a Saaz and Hallertauer crossing. XJA2/436 is a bittering hop with an aroma profile of bergamot citrus, dried lemon zest, candied papaya, ripe cantaloupe, gooseberries, and resin. These are probably the first time these hops have been used in the region and it’s worth a try to expand your flavour profile. It’s currently available in cans at the brewery with shipping options online and will be available on tap for pints and fills later. 

Our friends at 2 Crows have taken a respite from hoppy beers and mixed-fermentation ales to bring us their latest, Hibernaculum, an “Old Barleywine Ale”. This beauty was a l-o-o-o-ng time in the making, as it was brewed almost *three* years ago! The style and recipe research were completed by local beer aficionado Matt McNair, who helped convince the brewery to  brew the beer as two separate concoctions: an Old Ale, and a Barleywine. Both of these were brewed in the traditional English style, with a large portion of Maris Otter in both grists, East Kent Golding hops in the boil, and fermented with a dry English Ale yeast strain. Also, the Old Ale featured an addition of homemade brewer’s caramel, to really help bump up the flavour complexity. After a year of conditioning separately, the beers were blended, along with a pitch of Brett C (oops, did we say a break from mixed-ferm beers? Oh well!). After another year, the final beer was bottled and allowed to condition until now, for a grand total of close to three years. It’s a huge beer at 11.9% ABV (!), and is tasting “rich, bold, and warming”, with notes of leather, dried fruit, treacle and sherry. This is the quintessential sipping-by-the-fire beer, or in front of your Christmas tree, or at your breakfast table with cereal… we won’t judge! Ok, maybe we will a little for that last one. There is an extremely-limited number of bottles available (about 200), so be sure to grab some ASAP… rest assured this is a beer that will cellar wonderfully. Available now!

Yesterday, December 10th, was National Lager Day, and Sea Level Brewing decided to celebrate with the release of their latest Small Batch beer, Schwarzbier. This Dark German Lager is a style that has become increasingly popular over the years, with quite a few local breweries creating their own take on the style. Sea Level’s version is easy-drinking at just 4.2% ABV, and has “a hint of smokiness, chocolate and molasses, and a subtle floral aroma” thanks to an unusual-for-the-style dry hop of Crystal from Fundy Hops. Finishing clean and crisp, you can find it in cans and on tap at the Millstone Harvest Brewhouse.

Tanner squeezes in a Thursday release, with Saison III.  “Best described as a saison IPA hybrid”. The Chester faithful used pilsner, Vienna, Munich and oats and fermented the beer with French saison yeast. This was generously hopped throughout with Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Lemondrop. Coming in at 7.0% and 40 IBU, “a combination of slightly spicy fruit forward yeast character & dryness, with the exotic fruit from the hop varieties. Complex aromas of citrus and tropical fruit give way to a dry palate that balances with the light malt backbone.” Order online for delivery (deliveries go out Friday!) or pop by to grab 500ml bottles if you can. And there looks to be beer in a new format available shortly, so peep their online store for more details on that over the next few days.

The beery Christmas gifts just keep on comin’, with Propeller bringing us another two for you lucky Haligonians, both of which the brewery refers to as “special bottles a long time in the making”. Sounds like the perfect gifts to us! No, seriously, TO us, for those of you looking for a way to thank us for all of our hard work! What’s that, just get to the beers, you say? FINE. The first is Dark Saison, which was brewed in October, 2019 and aged in a single Bourbon barrel (the very same that kicked off the brewery’s barrel program!). Fermented with a blend of clean Saison yeast and Brettanomyces strains, the beer spent 11 months in the barrel before packaging. Weighing in at 8.0% ABV, the final beer is rich and dark, with “notes of figs, dark fruit, and classic Brett earthiness and funk”, as well as some Bourbon and oak, of course! 

Continuing on this little trend of dark, funky beers, the next release is the return of Brett Porter. This one they refer to as a “classic London Style Porter”, that was initially fermented with a British Ale yeast, and then transferred to oak barrels for a secondary fermentation with Brett C. Aged for over nine months, the 6.4% ABV beer was then bottled and exhibit “layers of rich, roasted malt” to go with the mild Brett characteristics. Both beers are available today for sale in the Prop Shops, and can also be ordered online for home delivery

Just a couple quick hits before we leave you this week. Stay safe and drink well, friends!

Down in Shelburne, Boxing Rock is back with a re-release from a few years ago. Rauch Star is a rauchbier, aka a smoked lager. This beer is smooth, malty and full of old-world flavour. The style may not be for everyone, but we encourage you to try it!. True to it’s Bamberg roots, this beer is brewed with Pilsner and roasted malts and just the right amount of German beech-smoked malt. 6.2% ABV and available in 473ml cans at the brewery, private stores in HRM, and in the December 8th slot in the Maritime Craft Beer Advent Calendar. 

If you could use some Holiday cheer, or Good News (a 2 Crows/Change is Brewing Collective release), North Brewing, along with their community, and along with the Change Is Brewing Collective, have raised $14,037.25 with the sales of the Cherry Brook Wheat. Keep an eye out for further releases on how you can support the collective, like the Lake City Cider Forest Glory release out, too. 

In some other celebratory news, Tire Shack out of Moncton has no beer releases this week, but there’s still something to be excited about. This brewery should be on the radar for many of you already with their latest releases, but they picked up a few medals at The US Open Beer Championship held in Ohio. They won Gold in the ‘Fruit Gose’ category for our Lime Margarita Gose . This was a beer that was released this past summer that was hugely popular. They also won Bronze in the ‘Coconut’ category for their Coco Loco. This was a Vanilla-Coconut Porter that sold quickly in the Moncton area. Both of these winners will be coming back into production, so keep an eye out. Check out the full results and medal winners here

Our friends in St. John’s have a few pieces of news to carry us home this week. Bannerman gives us seasonal re-release, Yuletide, is a jammy, delicious, tart 5% ale brewed with Pilsner and wheat malts, then conditioned on huge amounts of cranberry, raspberry and cherry puree. Get this in cans or on tap at the brewery. Also this Sunday, they’re hosting a Holiday Edition of the St. John’s Music Merch Fair. The lineup includes many merchants of clothing and or music, including Tim Baker, Hey Rosetta! Duane Andrews and more. Check it out from 11am-5pm at the brewery on Sunday. Check out the event here