Brightwood Brewery

All posts tagged Brightwood Brewery

We’re back! Did you miss us? We missed you! That week of vacation has e-invigorated us to keep spreading the gospel of good local beer, and we even managed to switch our web-hosting provider to something that fits our criteria better (ie, cheaper, seeing as we do this for nothing). So grab a coffee or pint and get back up to speed with the beers goings on (going ons? goings ons?)  in the region.

Happy 7th Anniversary to Shelburne Nova Scotia’s Boxing Rock Brewing! The landscape has certainly changed in the region in the last seven years, with the number of breweries operating in the region increasing 5-fold since their launch in 2013. You missed this week’s cake at their taproom, but the good vibes continue with a brand new release of theirs, Aldeia Portuguese Pilsner. At 5.2% ABV,  this straw coloured clear pilsner is a “modern interpretation of an old world classic style”. Taking its time fermenting at low temperature, this crisp beer features a light dry-hopping of “modern varietals of old world hops” (we’re not exactly sure what that means either 😉). In all seriousness, this ode to Portugal is celebrating the country’s embracing of modernity with human rights and environmentalism, while still maintaining respect for the ancient architecture and traditions. But good news, you don’t have to just read about the beer, you can find out for yourself by dropping into the Boxing Rock Taproom at 218 Water Street in Shelburne for a pint or grab some cans to go! They’ve also let us know about Indigo, a sour beer with blueberries from the Parrsboro region to be released in the next little bit. 5.2% ABV, mildly tart, and showing a lovely bright colour. And they are now introducing a few other neat things on the go, including getting your own Taproom Experience, with several options including a guided tasting and pairing with food, Beer 101, or a look at the barrel aging program. Congratulations to the Boxing Rock team!

So, this is what happens when you take a week off… Jeremy and the crew at 2 Crows in Halifax decide to release three new beers. We really need to get our calendars synced up! 😘 OK, let’s get you up to date with these new beers they’ve got on offer. First released was Dreamworld, a 5.6% ABV foedre Saison. Starting from a base of Shoreline Malting Pilsner, Wheat malt and raw wheat, as well as spelt malt, it was whirlpool (aka, after the boil, but before transferring to the fermenter) hopped with Galaxy and Huell Melon, and underwent primary fermentation in one of their foedres, with a blend of house Brettanomyces cultures. More Galaxy and HM were added during active fermentation (biotransformation galore), and hung out in the foedre for another 4 months. At that point, the beer was dry-hopped yet again, and transferred to cans where it spent the last 7 months carbonating and conditioning. Bright and zesty, with grapefruit on the nose with passion fruit and spiciness, on a juicy base thanks to the adjunct malts. This one is in 473 mL cans now.

A pair of bottles also debuted at 2 Crows late last week, from their barrels prominently displayed in the brewery’s taproom. Monarch is a 5.5% ABV golden sour that spent seven months fermenting in freshly-emptied Pinot Grigio barrels, before a round of Enigma and Bramling Cross hopping just before being bottled back in May. This one definitely has plenty of grapey goodness in the bottle, with the refreshing acidity helping the grape and honeysuckle notes dance and meld. Also debuting was Delight, a 5.6% ABV blended sour with sea buckthorn. This beer is actually a blend of two separate beers, the first beginning life from a 100% heirloom German pilsner malt, aged for a year and a half in Sauvignon Blanc barrels (with a mixed culture of Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus), mixed with a golden sour base beer aged for about a year in neutral (aka, already used a few times) wine barrels. When combined, they received a dose of cold-pressed sea buckthorn juice from New Brunswick, and received a dry-hopping addition of aged Noble hops (think preservation rather than bitterness or aroma), before bottling and conditioning for two months. The fruit’s oils serve to knock out the head retention, but more than make up for it in massive pineapple, fuzzy peaches, and mango character. Both are available for purchase now at the brewery, and online, in 375 mL format. And while you’re checking out their online shop, be sure to grab your raffle ticket for a massive raffle they are holding at this time. Supporting the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, the prize pack is an amazing assortment of 25 unique beer offerings from their cellar, including many historic beers that are long “out-of-print”, as well as sneak peeks at beers yet to be released, worth at least $275 (full bottle and can list available here). You can grab your tickets for the raffle here, with the drawing taking place next Wednesday, July 15th. Enter today, enter often!

There are no areas in the world that haven’t experienced a surge in heartbreak over the past few, difficult months, but Nova Scotia is one area that seems to have received an-even-heavier-than-expected blow. Paying homage to those lives lost in the Canadian Armed Forces Cyclone and Snowbirds crashes that claimed the lives of seven Canadian Armed Forces personnel, Spindrift released NS Love Lager late last week. Described as a 5% ABV, crean, crisp Lager, 100% of the profits of every case sold will go directly to the families of those who were tragically killed in the accidents. The label was designed by Jampy Furniture’s Chris Smith; note that Jampy had previously designed wooden signs with the NS Love logo, with those profits being donated to families of victims of the Portapique mass shooting earlier in the year. Cans are available at the brewery for pick-up, as well as on their online store. 

If you’re a bit overwhelmed with endless releases of hoppy beers, sour beers, big beers, etc., we recommend you head over to Propeller this weekend for a very limited release of Lotus Lager, a “Lagered Ale” inspired by the delicious Kölsch beers of Cologne, Germany. Fermented with an Ale yeast strain at cooler temperatures, as is typical for the style, the brewery added Lotus hops in the boil, providing “a burst of orange, berries, and tropical citrus”, backed by a hint of honey malt flavour. Light, crisp, and refreshing, you can find it on tap for pints at all three Prop stores, as well as in cans (note that growler fills are not available for this one). And in more great news, there’s been a rare sighting of their Sasquatch Pale Ale (this is the first 100% Canadian hop) in cans only at their three retail shops (as well as home delivery), and there’s not much of it, so jump on that while you can. And lastly with the great Prop news, their Quinpool Tap Room location, in The Keep complex, has opened their taps and tables for onsite enjoyment! Open at 10 AM daily (noon Sundays), until 8 PM Mon and Tues, 10 PM Wed, Thurs, and Sun, and 11 PM Fri and Sat.

More Tidehouse cans available this week, as they continue their series of well-received Milkshake IPAs with Big Rent Money. Brewed with malt from Horton Ridge, the beer was hopped with Hammerhead Hops varieties. Cascade, Centennial, and Idaho 7 are the hops in this one, lending a touch of bitterness with a whole heap of fruit character. As always with a Milkshake IPA, it’s not just about hops and vanilla addition, but also the fruit… in this case, plenty of pineapple and mango, as well as orange zest. Thick, creamy, and fruity, cans of this 8.8% ABV beauty are available today at 2 PM at the brewery (and we don’t expect it to last the day), along with a few others, including Sotil 2 (5% ABV Saison with Marquette grape skins), and Two Can Win (7.5% ABV Imperial saison with Loral and Saaz hops). 

Now that Prince Edward Island is open to visitors from the other Atlantic provinces again, most of you will likely be crossing over to the Island via the Confederation Bridge. Conveniently, Lone Oak Brewing is located *right* there when you touch down, so why not stop by their tasting room to have a pint and pick up some growlers/cans? And to celebrate your arrival, they’ve just released a brand new mixed-fermentation Saison, Duet. Brewed with all PEI grain (barley, wheat, and oats from Island Malt House), it was hopped with Saaz and Centennial to 22 IBUs, and fermented with a blend of two strains of Saccharomyces and two of Brettanomyces. Aged for six months in Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc barrels, the final beer is tasting very dry and complex, with some “lemon zest and noble hop characteristics” in the background. Super drinkable at just 4.5% ABV, it’s currently available on tap, and now in 750 mL bottles too! Expect to see other barrel-aged offerings from Lone Oak in the near future, now that the beers have had some time to develop; we’ve heard a rumour that a foedre-aged Grisette could be next!

Elsewhere in PEI, Charlottetown’s Upstreet is keeping local residents hoppy, as they continue to release new entries in their Neon Friday series; maybe not weekly, but pretty darn regular! Today they’re putting out Neon Friday 3.03 DIPA, an 8% ABV beer brewed with Pale and Vienna malts, along with Wheat, Oats and Rye. Hopped with lots of Sabro, Citra and Mosaic, this sandy-gold-coloured beer has aromas and flavours of “toasted coconut, pineapple, and freshly-squeezed orange and clementine”. You can find it on tap and in cans at one of your favourite downtown Upstreet locations. 

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the first of five 5th Birthday beers from Breton Brewing, and this week they’ve released the second in the line-up. Right Some Good is a kettle sour that was dry-hopped with Idaho 7 and Sabro varieties, giving notes of “pineapple, lime zest, and berries”, complemented by the accompanying tartness. Described as full-bodied despite the 4.2% ABV, it’s hazy-gold in colour and quite refreshing. Like all beers in this series, it will be available in a limited quantity; currently, you can grab it at their taproom or have it delivered if you live in the CBRM, and you should be able to see it around Halifax late next week. Stay tuned for their third birthday beer, dropping two weeks!

Between their brewery operations and their taproom, Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing boasts one of the most diverse staffs in our region’s brewing scene and are way, way above the (admittedly low) bar in that regard. They also continue to be behind some of the most inclusive beer-related events in our region. So it’s no surprise that their Brewer, Giovanni Johnson, one of the few BIPOC brewers in Eastern Canada and one of the folks behind the Limestone Group who have repeatedly brought a taste of Bahamian food and culture to the Halifax, is one of the folks behind the newly formed Change Is Brewing Collective, a group of BIPOC Nova Scotians in the food and beverage industry, to benefit BIPOC youth and community groups and to raise awareness of BIPOC issues. The first fruit of this labor is, appropriately, a fruited beer they’re calling Blackberry Freedom. Available starting tomorrow for takeout and in the taproom, this 5.5% ABV pale ale is designed to, “awaken the senses,” according to GR’s own LaMeia Reddick, a founding member of the collective and one of the folks involved in its design. Gio himself says, “This beer was made to honour the black experience. In collaboration with Good Robot we call for unity and justice at this time.” GR has pledged that 50% of the proceeds from this beer will be donated to BIPOC youth and community groups. The press release for Change is Brewing and Blackberry Freedom begins with the phrase, “Black Lives are Essential.” We believe this is a valid and vital position and they’re making it pretty easy to show your support for it through the purchase of this beer (but hopefully we can all find ways to do more). And look for more information about Change is Brewing and what they’re all about in a future post right here.

In other Good Robot beer news, Little Creature, the “Li’l Sister” to their popular Creature Feature series of NEIPAs is back on the go. Smoother than it is bitter, like its older sibling it features the much ballyhooed and also much debated biotransformation process of hopping during active fermentation, but in a more sessionable 4.5% ABV package. Look for it at brewery and taproom as well as online orders for delivery.

Down in Lunenburg, Shipwright Brewing has just tapped Citrus Got Real, a 4.5% ABV kettle sour. Brewed with Pilsner, Wheat, and Acid malts, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus before fermentation. Once complete, they added fresh lime juice and zest, as well as some raw coconut, giving lots of citrus and, naturally, coconut, backed by some “pleasant bready notes and an overall crisp grain profile”. This is the brewery’s first kettle sour, so make sure you get over there for a pint or crowler fill! It should be on tap, soon, at the Grand Banker as well. 

Couple new and interesting beers available this week from Bannerman Brewing in St. John’s; first they’ve got Good Vibes Only, an American Pale Ale with a twist. Hopped with a blend of South African hop varieties, it was fermented with a “Brettanomyces-like” yeast strain (homebrewers out there, name that strain!). Hops and yeast combine to bring notes of tropical and overripe fruit to this 5.5% ABV beer; it’s available on tap for pints and growlers, and in cans, at the brewery. And if kettle sours are more your bag, they’ve got you covered with their other newbie, Punch Drunk Love. Fruited with a mix of raspberry, pink guava, sweet cherry, and pineapple, you can bet that it’s a tart and fruity flavour bomb! Also available on tap, with cans just hitting their shelves today. 

Moving on to Secret Cove, who have re-released their Newfoundland Light & Sour, which they originally launched last summer. This 3.8% ABV take on the Berliner Weisse style has a change this time around – the first iteration featured an addition of locally-foraged marsh berries, but the newest version crams in local rhubarb, partridgeberry, and strawberries. It’s still tart, light, and easy-drinking, but with a different fruit profile than what you may remember from last year, if you were lucky enough to grab some then. Drop by the taproom this weekend for a pour, with cans coming in the near future.

O’Creek Brewing has updated us on two returning favourites of theirs, one beer on tap, and the other back in cans. For draught beer, their Berry Mango Sour IPA – a 4.5% ABV kettle sour hopped with Citra and Sabro, with some Nelson Sauvin in the dry-hop, conditioned on raspberry and mango puree – is back, and currently on tap at Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing (remember, CAVOK lets you take home crowlers of guest taps!). And speaking of CAVOK, O’Creek contract brewed another batch of their Route 117 IPA at the brewery, and it’s now canned and ready to go! Hazy and juicy, it’s 6.5% ABV, and available at CAVOK and several ANBL stores (including Moncton North and Mountain Rd.). 

In brewing, as in the rest of life, timing can be everything. And sometimes you think you’ve got your timing dead on and circumstances seem to conspire against you. Such was the case for Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing, who released a new beer called Hop Altered right in early March, just before the Government told us all to go home and stay there. As a brewery without a retail outlet, this put quite a crimp in Niche’s ability to move beer. When a big part of your oeuvre is hoppy ales best enjoyed fresh, there’s also no real opportunity to “sit on” such beers for later release. The good news is that Niche is here on the other side of the first (and only, we hope) lockdown and they’ve made that beer again, only a little different. Keeping the grist the same as well as the yeast (Escarpment Labs’ Foggy London blend) and the kettle hops (El Dorado and Mosaic), but tweaking the dry hop a little with Mosaic and Citra, the result is a fairly sessionable (5% ABV) hoppy, juicy hazebomb. Or is that a hazy, hoppy juicebomb? You’ll have to decide for yourself. Grab a pint at one of Niche’s tap accounts; we’ve confirmed that they’ve shipped kegs to The Joyce, Peppers Pub, and the Pump House Fill Station, with the balance on its way to Stillwell (which Stillwell? Hopefully all of them!). And if hops aren’t your thing, but you like a nice German Pilsner on a hot summer’s day, check out The Pickle Jar (at the Hilton Garden Inn) in Fredericton, who have laid claim to the last keg of Lanai.

We’ve actually got a pair of events to tell you about today, for the first time in a few minutes!

One of the most consistent and consistently popular series of beer-related events in our region over the last couple years has been the Craft Draught Showdowns at The Carleton in Halifax. Many music lovers know the Carleton as the best place in the city for intimate and respectful concerts by a wide range of Canadian and International acts, but especially since their relaunch a couple years ago, they’ve cemented their reputation as a destination for excellent food and local beer. CDS events pit two breweries and brewmasters against each other, pairing 4oz pours of their creations with five courses from Chef Mathias Probst. The audience votes on whose beer was a better match for each course and a winner is announced at the end of the night. Just under two weeks from now, on July 22nd, the Craft Draught Showdown returns from exile with two local breweries, Brightwood Brewery and Propeller Brewing, head-to-head with a soundtrack to the evening provided by Almasy (Michael Dalton). Spots are extra-limited due to seating restrictions, but we’ve been told that tickets are still available for this one; cost is $65 ($74.75 with HST) and includes gratuity and can be purchased online.

For our Nova Scotia brewery employee readers, we want to be sure you are aware of this important event coming August 10th. Ren Navarro is Beer. Diversity., consulting those in the beer industry on how to improve diversity in hiring practices, community outreach, in-person interactions, and how to make each more welcoming to all. She will be holding a teleseminar August 10th, 1 -3 PM AST (not EST as originally pormoted), “Committing to Diversity in Our Beer Industry”, welcoming any and all members of the Nova Scotia brewing community to take part, from owners, to brewers, to social media folk, to taproom bartenders. This interactive event will include local brewery folks Christopher Reynolds of Stillwell, Nick Ogden of 2 Crows, and Rozina Darvesh of North Brewing helping moderate the two-hour event. Those in the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia may have already seen the notice, but for those breweries not members (or maybe haven’t seen the call yet), you can check out the tickets at the 2 Crows webshop. Because of the extremely limited number, you’ll need to grab a password from one of the moderators above. 

A few more newsbites for you, and we’ll take this time to mention that the Hard Seltzer Invasion continues unabated in our region, with new releases from Good Robot (Grapefruit and Moon Mist [which sold out in minutes] joining Mint Berry, fermented malt, gluten-reduced), North Brewing (Strawberry Rhubarb, blended seltzer, not from fermented malt, and gluten free), and the return of Big Spruce’s Zesty Lime and Red Raspberry Bliss (fermented malt, but filtered to remove malt flavor and gluten). We’d also like to add that you’re not likely to see too many more mentions of hard seltzers in our future blog posts. We absolutely get it, but between beer (our first love), cider, and the occasional mead, along with brewery openings, events (hah! Remember events?!), and job postings, we already have more than enough to write about on a weekly basis. So we’re tapping out and we’ll simply recommend you stay tuned to your favorite breweries’ social media for information about their alcopop offerings. And with that, let’s wrap this up for another week with a couple of quick hits and a job(s) posting:

Dildo Brewing Co. has a new summer beer for those of you in the area – Island Sunrise is a 5.2% ABV “Blood Orange and Mango Ale”. We’re extremely short on details, but rest assured it must have blood orange and mango in it! Available on tap at the brewery, and in cans. Also, the Dildo Outport Heritage Museum, located in the building, is now open for the summer, so you can drop in and enlighten yourself while buying beer!

Last week Moncton’s Grand Monk Artisan Ales dropped a new one off at Euston Park Social. Little Queenie Pale Ale is a lightweight (4.5% ABV) number with plenty of classic American hops: Chinook, Columbus, and Cascade. Described as “citrus, grassy goodness” you’ll find it on tap now at the aforementioned Euston Park, with a few other spots in the area receiving kegs this weekend.

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back their big bad German daddy Hellevator Bock. Featuring German everything (except water, for obvious reasons), it’s on the maltier side for an Unfiltered beer, but still with plenty of Continental hop kick. Get your fills or cans of this 7% ABV Teutonic banger at the brewery from opening today.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has three openings available, but if you’re interested and you haven’t yet applied, your time is limited as the postings close today! First up is a Brewer to operate under the Head Brewer, helping pump out the beer that is the core of their operation. Next is Cellar Person, responsible for the path the beer takes from grain, hops, water, and yeast, to the point where the customer walks it out the door. And lastly, but certainly not leastly, a Warehousing/Packaging Operator who can help make sure that beer packaging is sound and sanitary, ensuring the customer is getting the freshest product possible. Check out the full details of each job posting here and then get your resumes in by email to joel@upstreet.ca. Applicants chosen for an interview will be contacted in the next couple of weeks.

Another massive news week for you today, as breweries continue to do their best in these extremely tough situations. And with your faithful bloggers dealing with a bunch of their own stuff (read: real work), today’s post is a little late. Sorry ‘bout that, but we’re sure you’ll forgive us. 🙂
We’ve added just a few more updates to our Delivery/curbside pickup options for the region this week, including Breton’s foray into HRM delivery. As always, if we’ve missed something, or just want to chat, get in touch via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too). Take care of yourselves! ?

We have some sad news to report this week, as Halifax’s stalwart Granite Brewery has closed their doors. Ginger’s Tavern owner Kevin Keefe opened Granite in 1985, well before microbrew/craft/local independent beer was a thing. So far before, in fact, that Granite Brewery was the first brewpub in North America east of the Rocky Mountains! It was more than ten years until the next small breweries opened their doors in the province, with Garrison and Propeller not appearing until the late 90s. After moving locations in the downtown core, Granite called Stairs Street home for ten years until the building came down due to redevelopment last year, and they shacked up on Gottingen Street with Propeller and Stillwell Brewing. Brewing traditional cask-conditioned English styles, many a pint was enjoyed at Ginger’s, Henry House, and Lion’s Head, and more recently Stillwell’s HQ and Freehouse, and the style and quality of these beers garnered a fiercely loyal following. At their best we don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that beers like their Peculiar, Best Bitter, Best Bitter Special and Ringwood were some of the best traditional English Ales on this side of the Atlantic. But with the mandated closure of restaurants and bars in the past 2 months and Granite’s nature as a non-packaging brewery, their biggest customers were no longer able to sell their beer. Plenty more details, including comments from Kevin are available on the independent news site AllNovaScotia (note: subscription-based).
We’d like to say a big thanks to Kevin Keefe, his family and all his staff over the years for everything they did to bring good beer to our little corner of the world, and wish him a well-deserved retirement. Our scene will be less for having lost Granite; we can hope that another brewery (or breweries) can fill some of the stylistic holes, but we know nobody can truly replace Kevin and his brewery.

We’re starting to see some new beers lately that are named in an appropriate-for-the-time manner, and Lunenburg’s Shipwright’s latest – Laid Up India Pale Lager – is no exception. Brewed with Belgian Pilsner and Biscuit malt, the wort was generously hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc. Lagered for eight weeks, the final beer is showing flavours of “citrus, pineapple, papaya, and herbaceous pine”, with a refreshing crispness in the finish. Coming in at 6.4% ABV and 42 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery in 32 oz crowlers (to-go, of course), as well as daily deliveries in Lunenburg, and Friday deliveries from Bridgewater to Chester, all accessible by a quick phone call (902-634-3300). Check out our delivery details page for more specifics.

Moving west in the province to Lazy Bear, who also have a new beer out this week. Unprecedented Pale is a 5% ABV American Pale Ale that was brewed with a malt bill made up almost entirely of Pilsner malt. Hopped with Columbus in the kettle, it was later dry-hopped with more Columbus, as well as some Southern Cross, a New Zealand variety, to add some citrus character. At 5% ABV and approximately 30 IBUs, it’s available in 500 mL  bottles and growler fills; a portion of the proceeds will go towards the purchase of a tablet for residents of Tideview Terrace, to be used for communication with loved ones. They’ve also got other beers available for local delivery and contactless pick-up, so check out their online shop to decide on your order.

On to Tatamagouche Brewing, where, thankfully for us, they’ve continued to brew up a storm and even have a couple new beers for us this week! First up is a style we all need more of in our lives, Grisette. Skiff is a 3.3% ABV representation of the style was brewed with a Pilsner malt base, along with Oats and Spelt. Hopped in the kettle with Aramis, Saaz, and Callista, it was fermented with Escarpment’s New World Saison (which contains both Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains) in stainless. Dry-hopped with more Callista and Saaz, as well as some Tettnanger, the final beer was conditioned in 500 mL bottles, and has “refreshing aromas of honeysuckle, lychee, and an earthy funk that brings out flavours of honey, mango, and a drying finish”.
Next up in new beer news is First Light Pilsner, a 4.8% ABV, 30 IBUs Czech Pils hopped with plenty of Saaz and Strisselspalt, and fermented with Czech Lager yeast from Escarpment. Expect a crisp, refreshing beer with a healthy amount of earthy/floral hop character; cans can be ordered from Tata’s online store as of today. And while you’re on there, they’ve also got a new batch of their Dusk Schwarzbier, as well as their popular Dekorum, the 2.9% ABV Light Lager, which is one of the newbies on sale at NSLC. Their store is open Mon – Sat 10 AM – 5 PM, but for those not in the Tata’hood, don’t forget about their free shipping/delivery in the Maritimes for orders over $95, and Canada-wide for orders over $150!

On North Street in Halifax, a new beer from Unfiltered is out, this one going a step further than their Hellevator from last year in exploring the maltier side of things. Like way malty. Way way malty. Like, as hoppy as a typical Nash beer is, this one is that malty. Okay, maybe not that far (you’d be spitting barley husks if it were), but definitely a change of pace for a brewery usually known for hammering in the hops. A Doppelbock, a German monastic style that falls under the general description of “bread in a bottle,” Isolator, was also aged on oak for a time, no doubt providing some tannins to balance the sweet nature of the beer. And if none of that was enough to get you interested, Unfiltered is also using this big beer (10% ABV!) to help raise funds for an important organization in our community, Adsum House for Women and Children. One dollar from every can sold will go to this very worthy cause that brings comfort and assistance to folks in their darkest times, and for many of those people the current COVID situation has only made times darker. So whether or not you know you’re a fan of big bready beers, this would be a great chance to try one and support a great cause.

Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is bringing us two brand new hoppy beers during their Salter Street curbside pick up event tomorrow, 12 – 5 PM. Kicking it off is the appropriately named Noon Gun, a little 3.4% ABV beer packed with Vic Secret late in the boil, and bumped up with Ella at both the beginning and end of fermentation (biotransformation, anyone?). Fresh as heck but without the hop burn, hazy and juicy, and in a nice light package, this sounds like a perfect beer for enjoying on a May afternoon lounging on Citadel Hill, sufficiently separated from your neighbour, that is!
And a little bit bigger than NG is For Greg About It! Developed, brewed, and named with their pal Greg in mind, this 7.0% ABV beaut features the deadly combination of Galaxy, Mosaic (added at the very end of the boil), and Citra (added during conditioning). Tropical, dark berry, and pine meld together for a 1 Up by using the “cheat code” in hop combinations.
So, how to get your Tidehouse love? You’ve got a new option this week: call in your order this afternoon between 2 – 5 PM, and then drop by tomorrow 12 – 5 PM for a contactless grab and go. Or, if you prefer, you can call them during the pick up time to order and pay, just give them 15 minutes to put it all together for ya. Either way, 902-407-2550 is your path to success!

Inverness’s Route 19 Brewing recently celebrated their 1st Birthday, and while the official celebrations may be over (and in these current times, were likely less exuberant than they should have been), they’ve still got new beer for us, with this week bringing Supernova, a New England IPA. Double-dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado, it’s a 6% ABV hazy brew with lots of citrus and tropical fruit, a soft mouthfeel, and aromas of pineapple and grapefruit, according to the brewery. You should be able to find it at NSLC stores in Cape Breton now, and it will be available further afield at the private stores and a few more NSLCs in HRM and environs later this month; $0.50 of each can sold in May will be donated to the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund. And while you’re shopping for Route 19, their Dog Daze Passionfruit Sour just hit the shelves of the HRM NSLCs, and is coming soon to the private shops.

With sightings of American juggernaut hard seltzer brand White Claw in Halifax, and no doubt to follow if not already present in the other provinces here in Atlantic Canada, lots of breweries are taking steps to fend off the potential glut of these fruity and super easy-drinking beverages. While our craft providers have managed to hold their own against lots of similar ready-to-drink products in the last couple of years, given the current situation any deterioration in market is going to be dangerous. So it’s not surprising that we’ve started to see breweries enter that market, with examples so far coming from Trailway, North, Good Robot, and Hell Bay, all of which have brewed with grains and then used techniques to keep “beer” flavor low. Enter Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing, who have stepped up the technical side of things by implementing a proprietary nano-filter resulting in something that they are referring to as a UFO: Ultra-filtered, Fermented Organic beverage. Still “beer-based,” starting with 100% Horton Ridge Pale malt and using clean-fermenting yeast, after the filtering process raspberry essence is added and the result is carbonated yielding a super-crisp and clean fruity bevvie coming in right at 5% ABV. Throw a couple ice cubes in the glass and pour some Bliss in and you’ve got yourself a recipe for relaxing in the sun. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, sure, but we’re not into beverage shaming. We are, however, definitely into pointing folks towards a local option where possible, and this certainly fits the bill. And with Jeremy & Co. promising more flavors coming, we’re happy to keep pointing to Bliss and other local products over megacorporate malternatives.

Back to the mainland, and Garrison Brewing, for a big release of their own this week. Playing off their very popular Juicy Double IPA, but easing back on the alcohol a touch, they have brought us Lil’ Juicy. At a still-solid 6.0% ABV, what it may be lacking in booze, it still keeps up with tons of flavour and aroma from generous hopping from a quartet of lovely hops, namely Citra, Comet, Mosaic, and Simcoe. These meld together for tropical notes, reminiscent of citrus, peach, and pineapple on the nose, and OJ, mango, complemented by a touch of malt sweetness on the palate (that’s 2-row and Oat malt in the grist). Nicknamed the “scrappy little brother” of Juicy, it is available now at their Seaport and Oxford retail locations, delivery in HRM and beyond through the brewery directly, and will be at the NSLC and private stores very soon.

Speaking of Garrison, Sydney’s Breton Brewing teamed up with them for their third annual spring collaboration brew. This year’s entry is West Coast Pale Ale, a 5.4% ABV ode to the classic North American style, featuring bold pine, citrus, and fruit flavours thanks to a ton of classic NA hops Cascade and Simcoe. Breton’s Head Brewer Iain Sutherland, a West Coaster himself, took the lead on this brew, which ended up with “an aggressive bitterness”. In addition to brewing partner Garrison’s shops, Breton is carrying it in their own retail shop on Keltic Drive, as well as through their delivery options in both the CBRM, and now, within HRM! Both are next day delivery, Mon – Fri, with a 12 can minimum (and a discount $0.50 per can discount when ordering more than 24!). The full details are available here!

Looks like there should be two new canned beers freshly available at Tusket Falls Brewing for this weekend. They’ve got a classic Czech Pilsner they’ve named Once Blind, Now I See Clearly; brewed with Czech Pilsen malt and hopped entirely with Saaz, it’s 5% ABV and tasting just like a classic Czech Pils should. The other newbie is While You’re Waiting, a “Peach Mint Sour IPA”, a 6.5% ABV kettle sour that we’re betting you can guess a) some of the ingredients in this beer, and b) what it may taste like. This Sour IPA was hopped with Galaxy and Citra, to add lots of tropical notes to the peach character, thanks to the addition of peach puree. Fresh mint was also added as a dry-hop (“dry-mint”?) to complement. Check out their online shop for delivery options if you can’t make it by the brewery.

For those of you in St. John’s looking for an easy-drinking beer, Quidi Vidi has you covered with American Wheat. Featuring a relatively simple grist of 2-row, Vienna, Wheat malt, and Acid malt, it was hopped with Cascade and Lemondrop to add a touch of citrus character to go with the light wheat presence. Pretty sessionable at 4.9% ABV, you can find it now at their retail shop in the city, and at NLC and convenience stores by this coming Monday. 

Moving on to New Brunswick, where Grimross Brewing has just released their first new beer in awhile, Gose German Wheat. Their first take on this German, salted, sour style, they’re calling it an evolution of their Scratch #18: Session Sour, a kettle sour originally released a year ago. This time around, it has the additions of salt and coriander that are typical for the Gose style, all in a 4.5% ABV refreshing package. Available now at the brewery, you can call them for contactless pickup.

While on the topic of Newfoundland, just a quick note that Bannerman has brought back State of Emergency, their 7.2% ABV American IPA that is heavily dry-hopped with Citra, and conditioned on mango puree. Sounds tasty, no? This batch should also be available in the new, “smaller format” cans (read: 750 mL), for those of you looking to reign it in a little bit. Keep an eye on their online store for full pick up details and availability.

Brightwood Brewery has an early summer crusher for you, Mojito Crushable. They’re calling this one a “Kombucha Sour”, as they used the SCOBY probiotic from kombucha to kettle sour the wort, before fermenting it to 4.7% ABV. With an addition of pureed fresh strawberry and mint, it’s got the best of both worlds, if the worlds we’re talking about are fruit and Mojito minty goodness. It’s available as of today, so be sure to grab some for the weekend.

While Good Robot may be taking a hiatus from their Beta Brews, it doesn’t mean we can’t expect to see new releases every now and then from their alpha brewhouse. This week they’re bringing us Infinite Saturday, a 5% ABV Vienna Lager. Not many notes on the recipe, but they’re describing it as a smooth, malty brew, with “honey sweetness, herbs and rye, with a nutty smokiness”. They’d also like to pass on that starting next month, expect to see more cans coming, as they’ve decided to can more varieties of their beer so that it’s a little more accessible to the public. Stay tuned!

Roof Hound in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley has opened their Kingston location for food take-out, to complement their beer offerings. Starting today, and running Thurs – Sat, 2 – 7 PM going forward, call in your order of one of their burgers, sandwiches, or tacos in advance, to pair with their wide variety of beers on offer. Check out the full menu of both food and beer here, and then call 902-765-0102 to get the process started!

And rounding out the news is a late entry from Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing (so you can blame the time of this post on them!), but it sounds like it may have been worth the wait. Their newest beer is a limited batch of a “Brett Pilsner” named Different Kind of Dance. Starting off as a fairly traditional German-style Pilsner, it was hopped with Huell Melon, Saphir, and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast. The beer was lagered for nine weeks, and then took a fairly-traditional 2 Crows turn when they inoculated it with the 261 Brett strain from The Yeast Bay. It was allowed to condition for a further 6 months for this secondary fermentation, and was then bottled and conditioned for 5 *more* months. It’s ready to go now, and is tasting “dry, lemony, and herbal, with classic barnyard funk and a bit of zippy guinep [that’s Spanish lime] and a touch of white grape”. They’d also like to point out that the carbonation is extremely lively, so be sure to chill your bottle for a good 24 hours, and have your glass nearby when opening! Only 400 bottles are available (it’s on the webstore now) so grab ‘em while you can.

May the Fourth (be with you) was a big day in Nova Scotia, as it is the launching day for a new round of products in the NSLC. There were no fewer than 50 new beers and ciders from small independent producers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island hitting the shelves for the first time this month. For a quick hit of what’s new, click these links for beer and cider. While certainly not our favourite retailer and licensing monopoly, their reach and popularity is undeniable, so we’re glad to see more shelf space for local producers, to get more eyes on good products.

As anyone in the region is most certainly aware, it has been an extra-trying week at this end of the country, especially in Nova Scotia. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the unbelievably tragic events of last weekend; to have to deal with this in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis is that much more brutal. We know that we can all endure and survive tribulations like these through sharing strength and supporting our neighbours and we know that that’s what Nova Scotians and Canadians will do. But we absolutely wish there wasn’t a need to do so. 

With that all said, we suspect you didn’t come here to read more about that, but to maybe take your mind off it and think of more pleasant things, like beer. And in that respect, you’re in luck, as there is plenty of news to share with you this week regarding new releases, re-releases, and everything else we could find. Read on; and stay safe!!

We continue to make updates to our delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries in the region, and there were plenty this week! We also took the time to update our full list of breweries and cideries in the region, as well as our Good Beer Map, useful for trip planning when it’s time to get back on the road and support breweries in person. Until then, let them come to you (where possible)! As always, please let us know via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too) if anything is out of date.

Let’s start the week’s news on a happy note in the Hub of Nova Scotia. Truro Brewing Company opened their doors at the end of February, and were therefore hit hard by the current pandemic, being a taproom- and growler-only brewery. After pivoting, they have now brought in a single head canner and established an online store, so they once again have a way to sell to their wares. They launched this week with three brand new offerings, available for local delivery in Truro, as well as through an HRM tomorrow (so get your orders in today!), with shipping available across the province and beyond as well. First up is a special version of their Exit 14 Porter, their 4.6% English Porter, but with this version, was dosed with coffee thanks to their friends at Aroma Maya Coffee. The chocolate and roast malts in the base beer pair perfectly with the freshly-roasted beans added to the brew. Next up is the Old Barns Farmhouse Ale, a 5.0% ABV Saison, modeled after the beer given to farmhands in the Belgian and French fields. Crisp, spicy, fruity, and highly carbonated, it uses the Escarpment Labs Saison Maison yeast to achieve all of these refreshing characteristics. And finally is the Daytripper Session Ale, a 3.9% ABV sessionable ale, with low bitterness, mild flavour, and featuring a nice dose of Amarillo hops at the end of the boil, for aroma and flavour. Take a gander at Truro Brewing Company’s store for the options for delivery in your neck of the woods!.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing released their Bridget Rhubarb Sour last week, which is still available at a couple of the ANBLs in Fredericton and Dieppe, and should be returning to DrinkNB.ca soon, but now they have another beer available to those looking to have Niche on tap at home. Those in Fredericton with kegerators or jockey boxes can order 20 litre kegs of a couple of their beers, including a brand new release, Empty Garden. This 5.4% ABV American Pale ale is hazy, juicy, and full of tropical notes, thanks to the late and dry-hopping with loads of Enigma, Galaxy, and Nelson Sauvin. Helping it out even more was the extra punch of warm fermentation thanks to the Kveik Ebbegarden yeast strain, for more fruity ester goodness. Low bitterness (think mid-20s IBUs) and lots of juiciness, for a great return to the modern NEIPA form for the Niche crew. To order your kegs, get in touch with Niche via email (nichebrewing@gmail.com ), or DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and they’ll share the fine details with you there.

Two brand new releases from 2 Crows this week to help you keep your head up! The first was designed and brewed by Assistant Brewer Miles; Special features a grist of Pilsner, Wheat malt, raw wheat, and a touch of flaked wheat, and was hopped in the boil with aged East Kent Golding, Hallertau Blanc, and Sterling. With an addition of 85 kg of warmed Nova Scotia honey in the hopback, the wort was then transferred to one of their oak foedres, where it was fermented with a blend of the brewery’s house cultures (all sorts of funky stuff in there, we can assure you). Once fermentation was complete, 5 kg of honeycomb were added to bump up the honey notes. The beer continued to age for another four months, and was then transferred back to stainless, primed with fresh honey, and packaged in cans where it was allowed to condition. The final beer, a 4.4% ABV Biere de Miel, is tasting very floral and funky; “dry as a bone, with a soft honeycomb base, subtle petrichor and herbal aromatics.” Check in with 2C to arrange pickup of your cans, or arrange for delivery.

And new to their webstore this morning is Carica, another walk on the wild site from the dual corvid crew… Starting from a complex malt base including Vienna, Wheat, Special Aromatic, Biscuit Malt (from Red Shed Malting), as well as Caramel malts, for a darker-coloured wort. Primary fermentation was done directly in a Port barrel, with a blend of their house yeast and Lactobacillus cultures. After 9 months (!!), 15 kg of dried Mission figs were added to the barrel, soaking up the beer and giving the bugs some more sugar to munch on. After that fermentation was complete, 10 kg of freshly-roasted black walnuts were added for an additional wait time, before packaging in bottles still (flat), and undergoing a final conditioning and carbonation. Phew, that was a mouthful! This dark sour has plenty of jammy fruit notes from the fig and port formerly in the barrel, and “bright and zippy” kick from the yeast and Lacto culture, plus earthiness from the walnuts. As mentioned, this joins Special, and almost a dozen more beers, now available for pickup or delivery Canada-wide, on the 2 Crows webstore.

For fans of Garrison’s Pucker Up series of “flavoured kettle sour” beers, they’ve got a new one out this week, Pucker Up Citrus. Brewed with a simple grist of 2-row and Wheat malt, the soured wort was fermented and then infused with a blend of lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange extract. Also, some green tea, hibiscus and Stevia were added. This 5% ABV brew has no bitterness (no hops!), and is meant to be a refreshing beer with aromas of all four fruit additions, as well as a touch of vanilla, with “bold citrus flavours and a tart finish”. Look for cans and one-way growlers at both Garrison locations (as well as home delivery) starting today; cans will also eventually show up at the NSLC, as well as ANBL and NLC outside the province. 

Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing continues to pursue a market segment not usually targeted by craft breweries with this week’s addition to their Toller family of affordable American-style Lagers. Beer-wise, Toller Gold comes in at 5.0% ABV and 12 IBU, leveraging malted barley and corn on the grist side, and a smattering of Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfrüh for hops to yield a golden-colored, slightly sweet yet still crisp brew. Price-wise, it comes in at about $23 for a 12-pack, which is actually cheaper than many huge multi-national brands that you’re familiar with! Get it now from the brewery or look for it starting May 4th at NSLC locations around the province. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up at certain private stores in Halifax as well. Also, we’ve had word from the brewery that they’re moving their core brands away from single serve to exclusively multi-packs for the foreseeable future; so if you’re big on playing mix ‘n match with Spindrift tallboys you might have to sideline that for a little while.

Fellow Dartmouth spot Brightwood Brewery has launched a new beer this week as well, an ode to the great hops grown in the Maritimes. Backyards is a 4.5% ABV hazy Pale Ale, a zesty and light-bodied beer with great tropical notes from the Centennial, Columbus, and Cashmere hops. The plan for Backyards is to continue to showcase the hop growers of the region, so the hop bill may change with availability, with the ultimate goal being all-NS supplied. This is the first Pale Ale for Brightwood, and are excited to play in that format, with plenty of fun ideas still to come. Cans of Backyards are available for window-pickup at their Portland Street shop, as well as for delivery through their webstore, along with a trio of other beers, including their dry-hopped Pilsner, now renamed to Pillowy Pils. Isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?

Good Robot has brewed up a new beer as a way of showing thanks to all of you working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. Aptly-named FrontLiner, it is a 6.0% Belgian Golden Ale. Taking a bit of a left-turn from traditional is the additional dry-hopping step, helping to expand upon the yeast and malt character, bringing it bright tangerine and peach notes in the aroma. Good Robot is pairing with My Home Apparel, they are donating 50% of all proceeds to the QEII Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which will help purchase necessary medical supplies for patients and healthcare providers. Available in grunters and growlers only, check out their online shop to see how you can order Frontliner, and others, for pickup or delivery.

Recently-opened Hardisty Brewing, in Colby Village, Dartmouth, has a new beer available for ordering this weekend. Rye IPA is a 5.0% ABV India Pale Ale, featuring a nice addition of Rye malt to the bill, for a bit of spicy character, and built with a nice 35 IBUs of bitterness thanks to Northern Brewer and Willamette hops. Rye IPA joins Block Party SMaSH as available for delivery in the Colby Village area, check their website and Instagram for the latest info.

A bit of a return to the norm on the blog this week with our “Newsbites” section returning (aka beers we don’t know enough about or are returning and we think you’d like to know about them)

  • Big Spruce’s Tag You’re It! 2020 edition, is back, featuring, as always, a new can design (this time a righteous Right Whale) and also, as always, brewed to help support the Ocean Tracking Network ($0.50 from every can sold). We’re going to speculate that also, as always always, it’s a tropical juice-bomb in the NE IPA style and that if you’re a fan of hoppy beers it’s worth your time to check it out.
  • Dartmouth’s New Scotland released the latest in their Small Batch Series this week, a 9.5% ABV Double IPA named Pink Boots. Using the Pink Boots hop blend available from Yakima Chief, with some of the proceeds going to support the Pink Boots Society, with the goal to “assist, inspire, and encourage women beer professionals through education”. Berry, fruit, and herbal flavours come through, it’s a classic Double IPA, golden in colour with some nice bitterness. As the name implies, it’s a small batch, so it looks like it may already be sold out, but you can catch a half-dozen more in New Scotland’s online store for pickup or delivery, including another batch of their Fresh Start IPA. Ed note: edited with more info after publishing.
  • North Brewing in Cole Harbour (still feels kinda weird typing that) has a couple of faves returning to the shelves this week. Their Sparrow German-style Pilsner and their Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale. The former is a rather faithful take on a classic European-style, while the latter is definitely more of a modern North American jam. Each has their place but they’re both pretty damn tasty. Hit the brewery up to get yours!
  • Those who love it know that this is the time each year when Propeller in Halifax brings out their tried and true seasonal Irish Red. Previously seen a few weeks ago in a sort of pre-release with a small run of nitro cans, this is a non-nitro version for the traditionalists amongst us. Also of note out of Prop is that not only is their local favorite NE IPA Galaxy available once again, but it has now been promoted to the status of “core brand,” which means you should now be able to find it year round! If you’re a fan of one or both of these beers, you can expect to find them at the brewery now.
  • Lyons Brook’s Uncle Leo’s Brewery has brought back their Odin’s Summer Ale, in the hopes of seeding that idea with Mother Nature. Let’s hope it works! Their Sunburst Pale Ale is also newly available, and these can both be ordered via phone, email, or direct message. Full details here.

A few more notes to close on today, all coincidentally from New Brunswick:

Saint John’s Uncorked Tours is working hard to get their SJ City Market storefront ready before the tourist season begins, whenever that may be, but they certainly have not been slowing down their online presence in the meantime. They have been running great live Virtual Brewery Tours on their Instagram page that we encourage everyone to check out, and there are more than a dozen available for replaying here. They are now offering you a way to taste your way around the city, and province, from home as well. Firstly, they have created a Taste of the City Market “picnic basket”, with cheese, cured meats, breads and other goodies, delivered to your home in Saint John (for now, hopefully expanding the region soon) each Thursday. Order by 8PM Wednesday evening to secure your spot. As well, they are fully embracing the current situation by running some live beer tastings via Facebook Live/Zoom. Saturdays at 8 PM, drink along with Gilliane as she enjoys beers from across the province. They have also teamed up with DrinkNB to make it easier to get those beers in your hand, so don’t be shy and order them now (or in time for next week’s). The Uncorked NB Facebook page is the best way to keep up with everything happening (plenty more we couldn’t fit in here!), so you can still feel connected to the producers in the province. And if you’re able, and appreciate the content, there is a Tip Page that would help out.

The ANBL is attempting to alleviate one of the major pain points with reduced hours and the need for physical distancing at their locations, and is implementing a curbside pickup option for orders. Look here for the full details, but in short, you can now submit an order via phone (1-877-779-7878) or email (e-Commerce@anbl.com) using the product’s catalog number, wait for confirmation, and then pick up in person without needing to enter the store or wait in line.

And finally, the NBCAPA, the New Brunswick Craft Alcohol Producers have selected a new Executive Director. Christine Comeau will be doing advocacy work on behalf of the producers in the province, to increase the awareness of the province’s breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries, to the government (yay!), in the region, and to those looking to visit when it’s safe to do so. Congratulations Christine!