Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia

All posts tagged Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia

Well THAT month ended better than it started, at least in our opinion. Whether you’re talking about our region, where NL, NS, and PEI continue their strong stand against COVID and NB seems to be turning the corner, or internationally where there seems to be a whiff of sanity wafting northward from below the 49th parallel, we think there’s definitely some reasons to celebrate the end of the first month of 2021*. And luckily, our producers in the region are stepping up, several of them with reasons to celebrate of their own (like the staff at 2 Crows who are probably ready to sleep for the first time in…*checks calendar*…a month or so). Read on for all the news we could find, formulate, and fit this week in beer and brewery news!

* Don’t get us wrong, everything’s still screwed (especially the climate and wealth distribution!!) it just feels a little less screwed than it was.

Let’s start with the first of two breweries celebrating an anniversary in a big way this weekend. Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carlton, the Gateway to Prince Edward Island, has a full weekend of fun scheduled as they mark their first year in business. But first, let’s tell you about the 3 (three!) special beers debuting this Saturday to mark the celebration! 

  • Rouge is a 7.0% farmhouse ale, which began with a grain bill made exclusively from Island Malt House Pilsner, Oats, and Rye, first fermented with Lone Oak’s house culture of yeasts and other bugs, before the addition of PEI-grown Lucie Kuhlmann grapes (juice, skin, seeds and all), which melded together for 10 weeks. Oh, and all of this took place in their PEI-built (thanks to New World Foeders) Foeder! This aromatic, juicy, yet dry beer was packaged in 500 ml bottles and kegs to condition and naturally carbonate.
  • Modest is a “Tiny Pale Ale”, coming in at a crushable 3.5%, when you want all the hops flavour, but not necessarily the booze… With a base of PEI Pilsner and Oats, and enhanced with Flaked Wheat and Rice, the hops are allowed to shine through and punch above their weight class. El Dorado, Columbus, and Simcoe are there in the flavour and aroma, bursting from the 355 ml can. Available on draught as well (both versions were naturally carbed in the can/keg).
  • Golden Hour is an ambitious one, we reckon… This Double IPA was fermented solely with Brettanomyces in a pair of oak barrels, and heavily hopped with El Dorado, Simcoe, Centennial, and Mosaic. And while it is a hefty 8.0%, the melding of the wood, yeast, and hops have it much more quaffable than that number may show. All three of these characters come through with notes of stone fruit and candied pineapple esters, along with some oak tannins and a twinge of red wine. Also naturally conditioned, it is coming in 355 ml cans and kegs.

These three are only available at the brewery for on-site and retail sales, and if there’s any left after the weekend, may be available online. Sounds like a great excuse to visit this weekend!

Onto the events: This evening is a double-header of the always fun and head-scratching Trivia with Spencer and Dan from 7 – 9 PM, followed up with live music from Dave Woodside 9 – 11 PM. Best to call ahead to RSVP your bubble table (902 729 2228). Saturday is a full afternoon and evening of live music from Grass Mountain Hobos (2 – 6 PM) and The Love Junkies (7 – 11 PM). While both of those shows are sold out, their retail will remain open for your can and growler fills. And the fun continues Sunday with a matinee show with Roland Beaulieu featuring Keelin Wedge (1 – 4 PM, RSVP to ensure a spot). For those looking to fill their bellies as well as their ears, The Abby is open all weekend (11:30 AM until 9PM), and will be featuring a few extra fun things on the menu to mark the occasion. Congratulations to the Lone Oak Crew on surviving and thriving in the decade that was 2020!

Some of you may be sorry to hear that this weekend is the last of the “Anniversary Month” releases from 2 Crows, which we get, because there’s been a wide variety of tasty beers to enjoy throughout a usually-dreary month… but don’t blame us at all for having a bit of a happy-happy feeling to go along with that! Because, well, you know, writing about all of them takes time! That being said, we tip our hats to their hard work and initiative, and “happily” are here to fill you in on the re-releases and new beers you can find this weekend.

First up… hops, hops, and more hops. And even more hops. That’s right, four different New England IPAs will be available at the brewery starting today, and we think you’re going to want to get your lupulin-enriched hands on all of them. Three of these brews are returning favourites, all of which are the same base beer (brewed with Golden Promise, Wheat, Flaked Oats, and Carafoam), hopped in the mash and first wort with Columbus, and an addition of Simcoe and Huell Melon in the hopback. It’s the dry-hopping that sets them all apart: Perfect Recreation features Vic Secret, Simcoe, and Citra; Second Situation has Huell Melon, Azacca, and Citra; and Another Iteration goes with Vic Secret, Enigma, and Huell Melon. All three of these beers are big on various tropical and/or stone fruits, with very little bitterness. The fourth beer, Cause for Celebration, is new, and is similar to the first three in all but the dry-hop, with this 6.1% ABV entry featuring Enigma, Monroe, and Citra. Expect “massive dark jammy berry notes, along with mango, pinot gris, and strawberry”. All four will be available in cans. Dying to grab some on tap, you say? Well, hold off on that though, we’ll come back to it!

For those of you not as hop-inclined (also, for those of you who love variety!), not to worry, 2C naturally has some sour and funky goodies for you that will be released on Saturday. You may recall Deux II – a collab with Maine’s Orono Brewing (remember Maine? sigh) that came out for last year’s anniversary – a foedre-aged sour brewed with local cherries that was, we don’t mind saying, an extremely tasty beverage. Luckily, they tucked away some kegs from last year and have re-packaged that beer into 355 mL cans. There’s not many, granted, but they’re still showing off lots of cherry flavour and Jolly Rancher character, as well as “a bit of marzipan and cinnamon as it warms” to go with the funk. 

That’s not all… 2C also has a brand new funky Saison called Wish You Were Here (lawsuit pending). Brewed as an “in spirit” collaboration with their buddies from Ontario’s Block Three Brewing, the grist has lots of rye and raw wheat, and the wort was hopped heavily with Celia and Hallertau Mittelfrueh (to 60 IBUs) to give some herbal notes. Fermented with a blend of house cultures, the 4.6% ABV beer was canned and allowed to carbonate naturally… and carbonated it is! Cautioned by the brewery that the beer is lively, it’s also tasting “funky, earthy, bitter, and floral”… just be sure to refrigerate your cans appropriately, and have a glass nearby when opening. 

Now, moving on to this weekend’s events with 2 Crows – because of this whole pandemic thing that appears to be holding on (who knew?), a big party at the brewery is a no-go. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few ideas up their sleeves! Remember those IPAs we mentioned way up there? Well, you WILL be able to try them on tap, if you’re lucky – Stillwell HQ will be pouring one keg of each NEIPA on Saturday. Yes, just ONE keg, so you won’t have long to get in there to try them. They’ll also be tapping Thunderdome, a golden sour with lime leaves that is a previous collab with Small Pony Barrel Works, as well as a keg of the aforementioned Deux II.

On Sunday, Battery Park will be hosting this year’s interpretation of the brewery’s annual Sour Sunday. Lots of delicious sour beers that have made appearances over the last year; for a full tap list, keep an eye on 2C and BP’s social media stories.

Finally, of course the 2 Crows taproom will still be pouring lots of beers over the weekend, including special old foedre releases, sours, the usual favourites, and side pours of Waltz from their brand new swing faucet.

That’s it, that’s all, there ain’t no more (Islanders in their 40s may get that reference). Happy anniversary 2 Crows peoples! We love you all and we never want to do that again.

Sackville’s only brewery, Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse, continues to make a go of things in spite of COVID craziness, and they’re quite happy to have announced recently that you can now find one of their flagship brands, Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red at select NSLC stores, largely in the HRM. If you’re looking for more than that offering, you can, as always, order their full slate of available brews online direct from the source for curbside pickup via their web store. Meanwhile, in the taproom, they’re serving up a full slate of beers on tap for socially distanced pints, or packaged to go. Their new Winter hours start February 1st, and will see them open Monday to Wednesday from 4 – 8 PM, Thursday to Saturday from 12 PM – 8 PM, and Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM. They’re also starting a “Beer of the Week” where every week the feature beer will be $1.00 off for pints and $5.00 for growler fills. The first of these is Biddy Light, their 4.5% ABV, 9 IBU take on what an “everyday beer” should be. Follow the brewery on their socials (Tw, Fb, Ig) for information on future features.

Ol’ Biddy’s also has a couple of new beers that bear mentioning. First up is their second pilot batch of Kicked in the Hops, this time a “double small batch.” Aiming to be what brewer Keith Forbes loves in a West Coast-style double IPA, you can expect it to be crisp while packing a pronounced bitterness and aromas and flavors of pine, grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV, you’ll find it on tap for pints and growler fills as of February 1st; but act fast, the previous batch sold out quickly and many missed out. And on the already available front, Sackville Smash Blonde has been on the taps for a week or so now. A clean and crisp, easy-drinking ale, it follows the SMaSH regimen of one malt (2-row) and one hop (Huell Melon). Look for light aromas and flavors of melon on top of a slightly grainy sweet base. Grab it at the taproom for pints and/or fills to go.

Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza Cape Breton has us dreaming of a time back when travel was not restricted, and one might be paged in the airport as you rush from one flight to another. Blue Courtesy Phone is a 7.0% New England IPA hopped solely, and generously, with Sabro hops, known for big tropical notes of pineapple, coconut, passion fruit, and citrus. The beer delivers that in spades, so close your eyes and dream of the beach while you sip on a pint. Available on draught only, you can pop by the brewery in Nyanza for a pint or fill, with kegs being delivered in HRM to Battery Park, Stillwell, and Little Oak.

We’ll head to Yarmouth next for a taste of Belgium. Heritage Brewing Co. is releasing the third beer in its lambic-style series with Funky Blackberry Lambic. The 7.5% ABV beer started with a mix of lighter malts and wheat before undergoing primary fermentation with a Belgian ale strain. It was then aged on blackberries with a mix of Brett, Lacto and Pedio built up from a few mystery Belgian beers. Expect some funk and acidity from the mixed pitch and a light blackberry flavor. Find it on tap (and only on tap) today at Heritage’s Main Street taproom. 

Sticking in Nova Scotia, Garrison Brewing is releasing an offshoot to one of their core beers with Tall Ship Light. At 4.0% it is their lightest beer ever. With no adjuncts involved, we get a light ale pouring pale yellow with a refreshingly light body and mild hop aroma. This will be available only in 12 packs of 355ml cans. Releasing today at the private shops and both Garrison locations, NSLC, ANBL and PEI Liquor will stock theirs later in February. 

Truro Brewing Company is back with their first release in a few weeks with an ode to an icon. Notorious RPA is a Rye Pale Ale that will be sure to pack a punch thanks to some of the spicy notes from the Rye. Throw on your dissent collars and enjoy a beer packed with Chinook hops, which will add piney notes and a bit of spice to go along with grapefruit notes. At 5.2%, this Pale Ale is available on tap only for pints and growler fills. 

West of St. John’s lies Ninepenny Brewing in Conception Bay South, where a new and fresh dark brew is pouring exclusively on tap. The Renown is being billed as an Imperial Porter, and while stated as to be on the “lighter side” of Imperial at 6.7% ABV, is probably still up there enough to provide a little extra warmth in your tummy crap-factory! The brewery notes that this beer was inspired by some of their favourite Baltic Porters; however, they fermented it with Ale yeast, as would be used in a “typical” Porter. With a variety of specialty malts in the grist, look for “a nutty aroma with a caramel, toffee taste, and smooth chocolate finish”. If you like your beers rich and sweet, this is the one for you. Limited quantities are available, so head over to the Ninepenny taproom for a taste.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has pulled a team of taproom staff together to help design and brew a new beer, as well as assist in all the steps up to and including the packaging of said beer. That beer is Apricodabra, a 4.3% ABV kettle sour with apricots. With a noticeable-but-not-enamel-stripping sourness, and some pleasant apricot character, it’s being released on tap and in cans at the brewery today, and you’ll find it pouring at some other fine establishments in the area. If you’re dropping by for some, keep in mind that they’ve also got a couple of variety 12-packs for sale; each box contains four cans of three different Signature Series and Small Batch Series beers. The Hoppy & Bitter Box includes Kilted IPA, St. Andrew’s Cross XPA, and Rampant Lion NEIPA, while the Light & Crisp Box will give you Lockdown Lager, Alderney Dry Lager, and Bonnie Lagered Ale

New Brunswick’s Broue du Païen is keeping up their home deliveries to the Bouctouche, Saint-Antoine, Notre-Dame and Cocagne areas on Fridays, as well as the Greater Moncton Area and Shediac on Saturday afternoons. Just in time for weekend deliveries, they’ve got a brand new beer available to add to your orders. Hop Salad Hazy IPA is a 5.8% ABV, 45 IBUs American IPA that has “a mix of tropical fruit flavours and aroma, with a smooth bitterness that is not overwhelming”. They’re keeping the hop varieties used a secret for now, guess you’ll just have to try it and make a guess! Check out their social media for more delivery details. 

Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has a new product on the go for cider lovers this week, although maybe not exactly cider lovers… Perry & Rose is not a cider, but a perry (same idea, different fruit) that started with the juice of 100% Nova Scotia cold snap pears. Once fermented it was blended with a rose petal wine, resulting in an elegant sipper where pear is definitely the feature, but the rose provides and enhanced aroma and complexity. Packaged in the 750 mL bottle format and coming in at 5.6% ABV, you can order it for same day delivery (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat, $35 minimum) or pickup through their online shop.

A few more news bits and bites before we sign off today, plus a job opening to consider…

Fredericton’s 3Flip Brewing is releasing their oatmeal stout, Oat Cold, in cans for the first time. Available on tap only over the last two years, you’ll now be able to find it at ANBL locations or through 3Flip’s online store. While you’re at it, you can wish 3Flip a happy second anniversary by ordering some of their favourites, re-released this week to celebrate the occasion.

Halifax’s Stillwell Brewing has a new batch of their Kompact Kolsch-style beer out in the world this week. A draught-only release, this batch underwent a 3-hour long boil of the wort, leading to a rounder and fuller malt character, thanks to the caramelization, Maillard, and other reactions, changing the nature of the sugars and other carbohydrates in the liquid. Chemistry aside, it’s tasting great and helps to better balance the hop levels that Stilly will sometimes employ. Look for it on tap at Stillwell HQ and the Stillwell Freehouse right…. meow!

Tatamagouche Brewing has a new batch of their award-winning Baltic Porter, Two Rivers, just making its return. Originally part of the brewery’s Giant Beer series, it is indeed just that! Fermented with a Lager yeast strain and cold-conditioned to allow all of those rich, roasty flavours to meld, it weighs in at 8% ABV and is tasting very smooth, despite all that alcohol. One of the perfect winter sipping beers, you can grab bottles of it at the brewery, or make an order for delivery.

Tire Shack has brought back Roman Road, their dry-hopped Pilsner that features a hefty dose of Tettnang and Spalt varieties, giving this 5.5% ABV beer floral and spice aromas. Finishing crisp and smooth, it’s available in cans only (for now), and should be hitting the brewery’s shelves early this afternoon, just in time for the weekend. 

Propeller Brewing has a couple of non-beer/non-modern-beer items out now/coming soon to tell you about. Their Void Sparkling Water with Galaxy has been re-upped at their shops and online, a new batch that they’re saying is even better than the first. No alcohol or calories, and while you wouldn’t be fooled that it’s beer, it’s still refreshing as all get out, and get you in the ballpark when you’re looking for a little *something* more than just water. And as a celebration to International Gruit Day on Monday, February 1st, they will be once again dipping their toes into that ancient style. Named after the herb mixture used to bitter beer before glorious hops were used extensively, we aren’t exactly sure which blend will be used, but common ones include bog myrtle, and Propeller’s previous Gruit collab with Beau’s also featured NS-grown sumac. Keep an eye on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the full details!

Just one job posting to tell you about this week, but it’s kind of a big deal… The Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia is looking for a new Executive Director. This position answers to the Board of CBANS, but does not necessarily have to be someone coming from a CBANS or other brewery position. Key things to keep in mind are a sincere love and belief in local beer and producers, improving the situation both legislatively through government lobbying, and marketing-wise, which includes helping new/potential breweries in the province. For those serious about learning more, check out the posting for this part-time but permanent position, averaging about 20-25 hours a week, for a salary of $45,000. Perfect for those who want to work from home, too! We’re looking forward to what fresh blood in this position can do to revitalize CBANS and the entire beer landscape in the province, as the biggest collected voice for breweries in the province, it does have an impact on all producers (and ultimately drinkers too).

 

Happy Friday, everyone! We’re closing in on the end of October, and the weather has definitely turned chilly in the region. And snow in Labrador, but that’s to be expected in July, too! 😉 A full case of beer news for you today, so let us tarry no further and get you up to speed!

Do you like your hoppy beers with a low amount of alcohol? And by low, we mean… in the non-alcoholic range? If you do, Upstreet has just the beer for you! Libra North Cape Pale Ale is golden-coloured APA lightly hopped (both in the whirlpool and dry-hop) with Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe, that weighs in at… 0.4% ABV. Yes, 0.4%! They insist it has been fully fermented with a “regular beer yeast”, but that’s all they’re willing to divulge. Either way, they’re hoping the ultra-low ABV won’t scare you away from enjoying a hop-flavoured beverage! It’s available at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown, and should be pouring at the BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth next week. You may even see it in some of the Halifax private stores, as well. And seeing as it’s non-alcoholic, it can be ordered for Canada-wide delivery through the brand’s website, DrinkLibra.ca

The Pride of Hanwell never stops churning out the good stuff, as Niche has a new draft release this week and a bottle release coming soon. First up, Sabro Sour Session IPA, is a sour Session IPA dry-hopped with only Sabro (well that was anticlimactic). This beer comes through with those nice Sabro coconut notes (coconotes) along with lots of citrus flavour coming through with some tartness. Coming in at 4.4%, this easy-drinking and refreshing ale will be at the usual local accounts in New Brunswick this week. 

As for their newest bottle release, Pau Hana, (Hawaiian for “end of the work day”) Niche delivers a barrel aged fruited Saison with time on its side. Pau Hana was fermented with a blend of Sacch and Brett strains and aged in a freshly-emptied Chardonnay barrel for over a year. The beer then went back to stainless for several more months on pineapple and pink guava puree. The flavours here should be oaky, dry, funky, with tons of fruit (especially guava). Pau Hana comes in at 5.8% and is marked for release next week for bottles going out next week around Fredericton and Moncton. We’ll be sure to get the details for the blog next week so you can get your paws on this tasty treat. 

For those of you in Nova Scotia who don’t live in the center of the universe, aka the HRM, you’ll be happy to hear that your hard workers at Good Robot are now shipping beer province-wide. Just make sure to have your order in by 3 pm, and it’ll ship out the next day (weekends excluded, of course). Orders need to be placed in multiples of 12 cans, and you’ll need your ID on delivery to prove you’re legally able to consume sweet, sweet beer. And what better way to christen your first order than with a new beer? Well, more good news then, as their latest, Sour Cherry Camacho, is available for purchase this weekend. This one is a “Sour Cherry Marzen” (!) brewed with a healthy portion of Vienna malt in the grist, as well as a blend of three forms of cherry: puree, extract, and juice. It comes in at 6% and features, as you might have guessed, a lot of cherry presence, along with some biscuity, bready notes. 

Brand-spanking-new Double IPA from Big Spruce coming your way! Fou D’Amour is an 8% ABV hazy wonder hopped entirely with Barbe Rouge, a fairly new French variety that gives the beer a big blast of “ripe strawberry, ruby grapefruit, and kumquat”. With a soft mouthfeel and tons of aroma, it should be just the hoppy ticket to get you through your weekend. You can find it on tap and in 650 mL bottles at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, and of course you’ll very likely see it at some of your favourite watering holes near the brewery, as well as in the HRM.

If you love beer and live in St. John’s, you’ve probably been pretty happy with all of the one-offs that Quidi Vidi has been releasing lately… and we don’t blame you, you lucky dogs! This weekend they’ve got yet another one, Citra Lager. An easy-drinking Lager hopped with Citra, it has a “bright citrus aroma and a light-bodied flavour, with a mild, bitter finish”. Available at the brewery’s Hops Shop, it can also be found at NLCs and convenience stores across Newfoundland, once deliveries are completed. 

Newly-opened Serpent Brewing in Halifax is only a few weeks old, but they’ve already got their fourth product available for purchase! Notice we say “product” and not “beer”, because, well… it’s not a beer. It’s a cider they’ve named The Bite. Made from a mix of juice from three different apple varieties from the Annapolis Valley, it was fermented in two separate vessels, with two different yeasts (one of which is a Belgian strain). Blended back together once fermentation was complete, the final, semi-dry 5.0% cider has “a subtle, rustic quality, while retaining the delicate flavour of the apples”. It’s available in 500 mL bottles, and can be purchased directly at the brewery, or online for pickup or local delivery.

Our friends at North Brewing have a bright, new beer for you to share (or hoard, we won’t judge) this weekend – Rosy Berry Saison was fermented with the Old World Saison yeast strain from Escarpment Labs, with additions of local blackberries and raspberries from Noggins Corner Farm Market. Dark orange in colour, with “notes of berry, melon, and grapefruit, with a pleasant, peppery Saison finish”, it sounds like just the beverage for this time of year. It’s launching today for purchase at both retail shops, as well as online; it’ll also be on tap at Battery Park.

Let’s return to hops (because, really, that’s still where a lot of beers go these days) with Landwash Brewery, who have a new iteration of their super-hoppy Double IPA, Dream Island. This batch features multiple additions of both Sabro and Bru-1, loading the aromas and flavours with “notes of macerated peaches, ripe mangos, and juicy oranges”. Weighing in around 8% ABV, you can grab it at the brewery right now (on tap and in cans), or arrange an order online for pickup.

Corner Brook’s Boomstick Brewing is celebrating the holiest of beer celebrations with their own Oktoberfest tomorrow. Their sister Best Coast Restaurant is converting into a beer tent for the day, complete with plenty of decorations and ambiance, in addition to the necessary music, food (brats, kraut, pretzels, mustard, and lots more!), and of course a beer worthy of celebration. Just like at Wiesn, the mayor will be tapping the first keg! The Boomstick Crew has chosen a modern Marzen, along the lines of a Helles style. The best way to take part in the fun is to book a table with your Bubble Buddies, for one of the three seatings (1 – 4 PM, 5 – 8 PM, and 9 PM – midnight). Call 709-388-0144 to RSVP. And if you can’t make it, no shame, the beer will be canned and available to others this weekend as well!

There are a bunch of great events happening this weekend, so if you’re so inclined, we encourage you to get out and get some local beer into you, safely, of course!

We’ve got three events for our Prince Edward pals to get you up and out of the house this weekend:

HopYard in downtown Charlottetown is hosting the European-inspired Grimross Brewing to take over their taps today and tomorrow. Nine taps will be pouring, with a great mix of their Belgian Cheval D’or, German Kings Horn, Brunswick Pils, and Oktoberfest, as well as the Maritime Cream Ale and Pale Ale. Plus a few more treats for you to discover!

Montague’s Bogside Brewing is holding their Oktobeer Fest Saturday afternoon 2 – 5 PM, with live music, pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, as well as a full complement of their German beers a-flowing. And if you do opt for those, you’ll get them at a sweet discount! Check out their Instagram for more details.

We already chatted about Upstreet a bit earlier with their new Libra release, but also wanted to highlight that their Gravedigger Ghost Tours are on this weekend and next. In collaboration with the Confederation Centre, attendees start from the Yacht Club at 7:30 PM, and are guided by the Gravedigger himself through downtown Charlottetown hearing stories of unsolved murders, ghostly haunting, and executions. You’ll end up at Upstreet’s taproom where the eponymous beer, and a bunch more, can be used to calm your nerves. The tours run Oct 23 and 24, and again on Oct 29 and 30, grab your tickets here!

In Halifax, 2 Crows and the Change is Brewing Collective releasing the Good News Raspberry and Mango Berliner Weisse tomorrow, with full details on the beer available in last week’s post. There is a full day of fun kicking off the release, starting with a BIPOC Maker’s Market in the taproom from noon til 4 PM. Pints can be enjoyed on the patio during that time, so come by to check out the craft, design, and food offerings and stay for the Good News! From 4 – 6 PM, the taproom opens up, and Hibiscus Specialty Foods will be sticking around for more snacks. At 6 PM, the Change is Brewing Collective, joined by board members of the Africville Museum, will give an address. And at 7 PM, Deidre Lee will present spoken word poetry. A full day for a great cause!

Just a few more bites rounding out the news this week!

After a brief hiatus from in-person episodes, the 902 BrewCast fellas made the trip to 111 Cobequid Rd in Lower Sackville, to visit Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse. There they spoke with owners Keith and Chris to learn the origin of the brewery name, what it’s like openings brewery in the middle of a pandemic, and plenty of teases on what’s on the horizon from OBB. Grab the episode today to laugh and learn!

We teased it last week, but now it’s a reality! Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is bringing back some of their favourite releases from the past four years (wow, it’s been that long?). First up in the celebratory series is King Friday. If you don’t remember this one, you could be forgiven…. It’s a 9.5% ABV Wheat Wine! It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood when you can get your hands on this malt-driven beer that features plenty of sweet warmth, but with lovely bread crust and biscuit character in your glass. Available in small quantities (as with all Tidehouse releases!), you’ll want to get down to Salter Street from 2 PM today (and tomorrow, if it lasts that long!) to take a ride on the magic trolley.

Tire Shack Brewing has brought back their crowd-favourite Waffle Sauce, an Extra Special Bitter that contains an “excessive amount” of maple syrup, combined with a “great pastry flavour from the malt bill”, all in an easy-drinking 5% ABV package. Available right now at the brewery’s taproom in Moncton.

Bedford’s newest brewery, Topside, is already bringing out some new beers, expanding their “dive roster” with a couple of English (or at least English-derived) styles. One is a Golden Ale with a lovely coppery color that comes in at 5% ABV and that they’re calling Ridgevale, the other an Oatmeal Stout with Cacao nibs at a very respectable 4.3% ABV. Not on tap anywhere in the city just yet, the best way to beer success is through their Grab a Growler program available to those in Bedford, with the details available on their website.

And finally, just a note that you may have seen some news regarding the CBANS this week, with several member breweries leaving the organization (Huddle / The Coast). While there may have been one recent incident that served as the “last straw” for the breweries have left the organization, both public statements on social media and things we’ve heard more privately have suggested that for many breweries, CBANS no longer represents their best interests in terms of business, community, or social responsibility. There have been whispers of another industry group forming, and we’ll have more on that when we can share.

serpent brewing logo

For the first time, the community of Spryfield has a brewery of their own. Serpent Brewing has moved into their space at the Spryfield Shopping Centre. While owner and brewer Glen O’Keefe and crew are putting the finishing touches on their retail and taproom space, the first of their Belgian-inspired beers are now available for pickup and local delivery. We caught up with Glen to learn more about his journey into brewing, Serpent Brewing’s history, and their plans for their location.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Port Saunders, Newfoundland, and spent my teen years in Corner Brook. I showed up in Halifax with the prog rock band Oceanic and stayed for the beer. [ed note: Listening to Trappist in the background while writing this up was pretty freaking rad, check it out]

How did you get into the world of beer?
Music was my first passion, homebrewing was something I took up in my attempt to have a hobby that didn’t completely consume my life. I don’t do hobbies anymore.

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
After sharpening up my homebrew skills for a few years, I began serving some of my efforts at weddings and even our band’s album release. Seeing a large group of people enjoying my beer really did it for me in a similar way to performing in our band… I was looking for an out from construction as that was getting tired, and commercial brewing is easy right?

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
Our logo represents the beautiful harmony that’s found in harnessing of the chaotic nature of Belgian brewing: once you put that yeast in, you step away and go back to being a janitor – they are now in control. There’s something about that alchemical process that inspires all of us when it comes to brewing and that’s what the brewery is based around.

Serpent Bottles

Tell us about Serpent’s initial releases!
To start, we are offering up three of our flagship beers that we will be doing in our greatest volumes.

  • White Mountain is a 5.5% Witbier or wheat beer. It’s truly an explosion of orange peel flavor and aroma with the subtle hint of coriander at the back.
  • Patey’s Bier is our 4.6% Belgian single, my grandfather Theo Patey often home brewed as did many people from my hometown, so renaming the patersbier somehow had to be done. Our Belgian single is a pretty standard easy drinking ale, the Miller Lite of Belgium if you will. Brewed with yeast from the Westmalle trappist monastery, however brewed with a desire for drinkability on the Canadian side.
  • Eden is for our beer hop lovers, a beautiful 6.0% Belgian IPA brewed with half spicy hops from over there and citrusy hops from here. A Belgian tuxedo over an American dress. Although it’s got Belgian in the name, this beer drinks mostly like a regular NEIPA with a subtle spice hint on the back.

How can folks try your beer?
We will begin distribution to local bars/restaurants shortly, but in the meantime, 500 mL bottles are available now for curbside pickup and delivery at our space. Ordering details are on our website. Once our 60-seat taproom is open, we will operate under the standard hospitality license which allows us to serve our own product at our location (pints, flights, and growlers). We will also have a cider license and plan to do some mead.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
Steve Crane from The Church Brewing has been like a brewing brother to me and acted officially as my mentor. Mike Gillespie from New Scotland seems to always there to answer an email, Keith Forbes from Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse has been very helpful. The Brewnosers homebrew club of course is where I’ve learned so much.

Where do you hope to see Serpent Brewing in the next few years?
If I can get beer flowing back to NL, establish Belgian beers as the drinkable and approachable beers that people are missing out on, and develop an extensive barrel program I would be pretty happy.

Serpent Brewhouse

Let’s get nerdy! Let’s talk about your brewery equipment.
The 3 vessel brewhouse is a 600 litre (5 BBL) capacity system from Tiantai. With it, I expect to be able to pump out 500 hl annually.

Care to share some info on your brewing history?
I started brewing in Spryfield 10 years ago, my first batch was a Leffe clone. I dabbled mostly in IPAs and malty German beers before getting back into trying to master Belgian styles. No commercial brewing experience up until opening my own place. I’ve placed in a competition here and there and won my category at the Stillwell Open.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Belgians of course, but ultimately the customer will dictate where we head with beer styles. I love to brew everything and am very experimental by nature, so people should expect a wide variety of beers pretty continuously. Even a pumpkin spiced Tripel at some point.

How about favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
The Belgian Single has to be my favourite, it’s so simple but it’s such a fine line between a work of art and a terrible homebrew. It’s really a yeast derived beer which is where my heart is.

Serpent Delivery Orders

Thanks very much to Glen for the insight into Serpent Brewing! Keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages for news of the next releases and taproom opening. In the meantime, you can pop by their spot to grab some beer Monday to Friday, 12 – 2 and 4 – 6 PM. Located behind Canadian Tire, the easiest way to access their location is off Sussex Street just below Herring Cove Road. Online ordering is also available, for either pickup (a notice will be sent once ready) or local delivery (Tuesday and Thursday). Congratulations on the launch!