Gahan Atlantic Home Brew Challenge

All posts tagged Gahan Atlantic Home Brew Challenge

Here we are most of the way through February and it feels a little like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. With both the big sportsball game and everyone’s (least?) favourite Hallmark holiday firmly in the rearview mirror, a three-day weekend coming up for many, it feels like maybe we’re on our way to surviving another winter (unless you’re in Cape Breton, maybe, where they’re probably on the fence about that). Pull up a chair, grab yourself a pint, pat yourself on the back, and read on for all the news we could find in Atlantic Canadian Beer for this week.

We’ll start this week on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where Tanner & Co Brewing in Chester Basin has been quite busy of late. Two weeks ago we told you about their new Best Bitter, made with a new malt (the Maris Otter-esque “The Otter Guys” from the folks at Horton Ridge). Last week it was their new dark and creamy Oatmeal Stout. This week they match those two with a brace of new releases. Up first is Hazy Belgian IPA, which marries the yeast-driven aromas of a Belgian ale with the juicy hop presence and haze of an NEIPA. Coming in at 6.8% ABV, you can safely expect Tanner’s usual care and attention to finding a balance between these two bold characters. This one is 6.8% ABV and 60 IBU and has been canned, but the labels were storm-delayed until yesterday; hopefully it’ll be available later today, but it could be a little later this weekend. On the other end of the spectrum from a hoppy beer intended to be consumed young is their other new release, a dark beer that’s already been hanging around for six months. Tanner’s stalwart Porter has been around for over five years now and features plenty of dark malt character with roasty chocolate and coffee notes balanced against sweeter caramel and malt flavors in a 5.7% package. Last fall, 100 liters or so from a batch of that Porter was fed into a Hungarian oak barrel from Grand Pré Winery that was previously used to age apple brandy. This week that beer came out of the barrel so that it can be enjoyed. What will six months in oak, no doubt with a touch of apple brandy, do to a Porter? The only way to find out is to try it!

That brings us neatly to our last piece of Tanner news, that they will be featured from open ‘til close tomorrow at Battery Park in Dartmouth for a tap takeover. Tanner has one of the broadest oeuvres of any brewery in the region and their full range will be on display. Foch saison fermented on grape skins, German styles, British styles, Belgian styles, and meads will all be represented. This will also be the first opportunity to try the barrel aged Porter (although some will also be canned for release, possibly as early as next week). A full tap list can be found here. Hope to see you there!

Labrador’s Iron Rock Brewing has a returning beer out this week, the annual seasonal they call Banishment. An oat stout that’s been aged in Bourbon barrels, giving the chocolatey notes of the base beer a boost with vanilla and oak, it’s quite smooth, maintaining plenty of body and roast character, and weighing in at 6.0% ABV and 32 IBU. This year’s batch has been crafted in honour of the 2024 running of Cain’s Quest, the world’s longest snowmobile endurance race that covers more than 3,000km around some of the world’s toughest Northern terrain. This year’s race kicks off on March 3rd with 37 teams set to compete. Maybe some of them will relax with a Banishment at the end of it all… we know the spectators will definitely be enjoying a few to keep warm!

Lone Oak of Borden-Carleton, PEI, is coming in hot this week with a brand Double IPA, Elysium. Sneakily debuting at their Battle of the Breweries at Hopyard Beer Bar earlier this month, this 9.1% ABV beast is now available to everyone everywhere all at once. While the yeast is not always the star of the show when it comes to IPAs, it’s definitely worth noting here, as this beer was fermented with the experimental Elysium by yeast darlings Escarpment Labs. Developed in their Guelph facility to promote pineapple aromatics and flavour, that was only enhanced at Lone Oak by their use of Sultana hops as the major addition, to keep the tropical vibes going. On tap and in cans at their four locations across the island (Borden Taproom, Milky Way Brewpub and Cold Beer Store, and Stratford Fox Meadow). If you’re interested in more about Escarpment’s yeast offerings, including Elysium, its new “sister” yeast, Pomona, and how they can help create standout IPAs, check out their latest blog post.

Moncton’s O’Creek Brewing put out a cheeky one earlier this week just in time for Valentine’s Day. HibisKiss is a pale ale low in bitterness at 15 IBU and light on hop character in order to make room for flavors of lemon and hibiscus. Featuring a gorgeous red color, it’s described by the brewery as, “romance in a glass.” But if that’s not your speed and you’re looking for something a little hoppier, check out their Riwaka Loral Hazy Pale Ale. Riwaka is a New Zealand hop variety known for imparting heavy tropical and passion fruit vibes, and Loral is a recently developed American hop that brings citrus and floral character with some peppery spice and some herbal notes. Paired together in a 5%, 25 IBU and very hazy package, we suspect it will be a winner with the hop head crowd. Our best understanding is that both of these beers are draught-only at the taproom, at least for now.

The burgeoning trend towards non-alcoholic options in beer has been progressing nicely for the last couple of years, with some local breweries having strong entries in the segment already. It seems only fitting that the local cideries join the party and recently Halifax’s Chain Yard became the second that we’re aware of. Anytime is a non-alcoholic cider that, like all CY ciders, starts with 100% Nova Scotian apples. All the way down in true NA territory at 0.5% ABV, it’s refreshing and balanced, featuring notes of ripe apple and honey balanced by hints of light citrus and floral overtones. Find it at the tap room for now, but hopefully soon at other places where you find your non-alcoholic options.

One of the other trends that the global beer world has seen in the last while, but that hasn’t had a whole lot of local representation is the “low-carb” offering. Dominated by industrial breweries with equipment that isn’t generally accessible in the craft brewing space, we know of only a couple entries in the category from Canada. Them? Notsomuch with the “craft.” Their parent companies? Notsomuch with the Canadian. Enter Good Robot Brewing, boldly going where very few other craft breweries anywhere have gone. Ultra Light is…ultra…light? A measly three grams of carbs per serving and 4% ABV, but without compromising on flavor, this one is coming out of their state of the art facility in Elmsdale where truly impressive things are possible. You can grab it in 355ml tall cans (the “svelte” ones, natch) at the tap room or order it for home delivery now, or you can wait for it to appear at the NSLC once they’ve got their packaging sorted out.

In addition to the Tanner Tap Takeover at Battery Park tomorrow, there’s some other events coming up shortly.

Eagle-eyed social media savants may have noticed a month or two back some Insta clips featuring the brewers of Tatamagouche Brewing and 2 Crows spending some time with the team at PEI’s Lone Oak (eventually, once everyone had their breakfast and stuff). The result of that collaboration is now ready to share. Taking some cues from an all-world beer, Taras Boulba by Brussels’ Brasserie de la Senne, this beer features the use of three yeast strains: Foggy London by Escarpment Labs, a French Saison blend to finish and dry the beer out, and the White Labs product Metschnikowia reukaufii, a yeast that has evolved to specialize in consuming nectar, but which also provides enhanced aroma and modulated bitterness in malt co-fermentations. Hopped generously with three Alsatian varieties, Aramis, Mistral, and Barbe Rouge, it saw additions in the mash, the kettle, the whirlpool, and a dry hop as well. Finishing at 5.5%, and somewhat hazy, it’s almost certainly a beer without too many analogues in the region. Bière d’Amis hits the taps next Thursday for the first time amidst a tap takeover featuring all three breweries at HopYard in Charlottetown on Thursday, February 22nd. Three beers from each brewery plus the collab will be on offer, and folks from all three will be in attendance as well. This event is the perfect kick-off to what will almost certainly be a fun- and beer-filled weekend for PEI Beer Fest.

Wait, did we say, “PEI Beer Fest?” We sure did! This year’s event will go down at the Delta Prince Edward by Marriott next weekend and will feature three sessions, one on Friday evening, one Saturday afternoon, and one Saturday evening. For general admission, evening sessions are three hours, Saturday afternoon is two and a half but there are VIP tickets available offering a start time 30 minutes earlier and a take-home souvenir glass. There are also, appropriately, Designated Driver tickets available to ensure that folks can plan a team effort in getting home safely. Some twenty-five producers across beer, cider, and ready-to-drink spaces will be represented. There will be live music and local food pairings as well. Tickets are still available for all sessions, although VIP for Saturday evening is now sold out. You can find out more about the fest, the breweries that will be represented, and find links to purchase tickets at the PEI Beer Festival Official Website.

A few more things before we sign off this week. Thanks, as always for reading!

In Big Spruce news, on the heels of the judging of their 11th annual Home Brew Challenge (results next weekend!) is the re-release of last year’s winning beer, Alex Hunt’s Under the Mountain, a cascadian dark ale (aka “Black IPA”) at 6.8% and packed with Chinook, Simcoe, and Centennial hops. Grab it from the source now, and we suspect other places where you find Big Spruce in the coming weeks.

Heading down the 104 we get to Truro, NS, where Truro Brewing Company has their annual collab with Port Rexton Brewing back on the go. Quiet Company is a Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine tipping the scales at a hefty 9% and packaged in 650ml bombers, you’ll probably want to take this one on sitting down. Rich and boozy, there’s plenty of malt there to sip quietly, perhaps by a warm fire with the best of friends. Also available by the pint at the tap room.

Continuing down that very same highway, we reach New Brunswick, and then Dieppe in particular, where CAVOK has a new twist on a hazy style this week. Soleil  is a New England-style hazy pale ale aged with Brettanomyces in an oak foeder. Hops and brett can go together beautifully in our opinion, and the oak should provide some lovely tannic contrast. Check out this 4.8% ABV number for yourself at the source.

Up in St. John’s, NL, Bannerman has their cold IPA back on tap and in cans. Negative Space is brewed and hopped like an IPA, but fermented and conditioned like a lager, giving a crisp and clean finish beneath a generous hop character. Cascade, Centennial, and Citra, make sure you’re getting your classic West Coast hop character in this 6.0% beer.

!!Attention all Atlantic Canadian Homebrewers!! You are just a couple of weeks out from the deadline for the Fifth Annual Atlantic Homebrew Challenge, your chance at hundreds of dollars in prizes, and seeing your beer being brewed and distributed by Gahan Beer across the region. This year’s beer styles are Best Bitter and Spice, Herb, and Vegetable, so you truly do have time to brew one or both styles in time for judging later in March. Visit the website above for all of the details on styles, rules, and be sure to drop off your beer before March 2nd at your local Gahan pub!

And we’ll finish the week back in Halifax with a bit of a PSA. 2 Crows is recalling cans of one of their anniversary beers, Alright Alright Alright due to some issues with can liners. If you’ve got some on hand you’re advised to empty and dispose of them, but also to reach out to eric@2crowsbrewing.com to arrange a refund or replacement with an alternative product. Kudos to the 2C gang for doing the right thing for their customers in response to a quality issue.

Happy 2024! We hope you were able to find a bit of relaxation and community these past few weeks, whether it be with (or away from) family, friends, pets, nature, or alone with a great book, podcast, or however you felt most at ease. We were fortunate to do a combination of all of those, and are thankful for each other and for you, our faithful readers. We missed a few new releases while we were away, and we’ll of course miss others in the future, so don’t be shy about letting us know some great cider and beer news that’s happening in your neck of the woods. The best way is via email, but you can also DM or tag us on Instagram to get our attention. This week’s post is short and sweet, as we, and the breweries, ease their way into the New Year. As always, please support local when and if you’re able, especially during these traditionally slower months for producers and restaurants and bars. Support in moderation, of course!

Just before year-end, Hardisty Brewing opened their taproom in Cole Harbour, Dartmouth. Graduating from production at their home nearby, Char and Laura have brought in Amber to complete the brewing team on their expanded equipment in the new space. 230 litre batches are now possible, thanks to the equipment they picked up from Truro Brewing Company’s own recent expansion. The Hardisty taproom is fully equipped with a half-dozen taps, and an extensive selection of meat and cheese to build your own CHARcuterie board (sorry, couldn’t resist!), and a full retail shop for your take-away needs. Keep an eye on Hardisty’s website and social media for updates, and pop by their location at 958 Cole Harbour Rd, Tuesday to Saturday, from noon til 8 PM. Congratulations again!

A little bit of a change this week, as we highlight some non-alcoholic products from the region, as we know many of you (and us) are taking a little breather from booze in January. You’re already aware of the Libra line produced by Upstreet Craft Brewing, and we were introduced to NOMAD Pilsner, and more recently Witbier, “brewed” by the fine folks at Tatamagouche Brewing. This week saw the launch of another in the region, Instead, produced for Garrison Brewing. For sale now from their shops, and soon at private stores in HRM, the Blonde and IPA are both flavourful, crisp, and clean, you’ll never even notice there’s no alcohol!

For those looking for a bevvie with another flavour profile, don’t forget about Lake City Cider’s line of non-alcoholic ciders, which happen to be on sale this week!

And if you’re looking for a bit more in both alcohol or character, Trailway Brewing’s Hu Jon Hops Ultra will fit the bill! At just 1.5% ABV, it’s chock-full of hops, and raring to go!

If you are someone who is already an experienced homebrewer, or one of the lucky group of folks gifted a kit or equipment over the Holidays, let us tell you about a couple brewing competitions that you can enter, to receive some honest feedback and guidance on improving your craft. Or win fabulous prizes; that could happen too!

Prince Edward Island’s Gahan House is once again sponsoring the Atlantic Home Brew Challenge, which is open to amateur brewers in any of the four Atlantic Provinces. Celebrating their presence that started in New Brunswick, and has spread to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and most recently Newfoundland and Labrador, Gahan is looking for folks to submit their best Best Bitter, or Spice, Herb, and Vegetable Beer. While you have until March 2nd to drop off the beer to your local Gahan House, we highly recommend signing up today to ensure you do not miss out on the opportunity! The top beers in each category will win cash prizes, with the Best in Show also winning the opportunity and honour of brewing their beer on a big scale! Former winners have gone on to fame and fortune in their own right, and you could be the next to wear the crown! More details are available at the Challenge website above.

Meanwhile, across the Northumberland Strait (or near enough), Nyanza, Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing is hosting the latest in what we believe to be the longest-running homebrew competition in the Maritimes. Now up to the 11th edition, this year’s official title is 11th Annual Homebrew Challenge: Pomona vs Elysium. A face off featuring two brand new (really really brand new, very few commercial breweries have used these) yeast strains from Escarpment Labs, homebrewers are being challenged to make their best IPA. Twenty-five pouches of each strain were available and to date 36 total pouches have been claimed. That means there’s room for fourteen more entrants. A winner for each strain will be crowned and a batch of each winning beer will be brewed on Big Spruce’s pilot system for province-wide distribution. Check the linked official Facebook page for the event for all the details you need!

While our friends at 2 Crows Brewing are enjoying the recent opening of 2 Crows Oxford, their birthday is right around the corner. January 27th will mark their 7th Anniversary with an all day event at the Brunswick Street brewery. There will be 7 new anniversary beers, including collaborations with OK Sea Salt, Yeah Yeah’s Pizza and some returning favourites and a new mystery beer. Food will be served at noon by Luke’s Small Goods and when 8 PM rolls around, it’s time for the beats to drop, as Skunk Motel, Pavel Stroke and June Body will be playing their tunes. As usual, there are no tickets, reservations or cover. Stay tuned to the brewery’s social media for any updates (Sour Sunday anyone?) or changes and we’ll be sure to include a reminder the week of. 

As they have every year for the last half-decade or so, many of the member breweries of CBANS have once again converged to produce a collaborative beer for the year. This year we feel like they’re doing it a little earlier than usual, but we also suspect that’s got to do with the beer and where it’s being brewed. This week saw 30+ folks from 15+ breweries converge on Kempt Road and Stillwell Brewing for this year’s Together We Brew, where they put together a ((possibly double-)decocted, natch) batch of something that’s destined to be called Export Lager. Though it won’t be available until spring, for long-term cold-conditioning reasons, when it is you’ll be able to find it around the province at various breweries, NSLC stores, and private stores as well. Look for our announcement of its availability and tasting notes then! And special thanks to Stillwell Brewing for hosting, Brew Culture, Escarpment Labs, and Shoreline Malting for ingredients support, and (eventually) Hart Printing for the cans!

The rumours of our demise were greatly exaggerated! What rumours , you ask? Well apparently we’re shit at starting rumours too, so nevermind. We’ve probably said this before, but it bears repeating: while there are four of us here at ACBB, we all have lives and jobs and responsibilities and plans, and sometimes we get to Thursday night and we realize that nobody remembered we blog and, well, it ain’t looking so good for tomorrow. Sometimes we manage to pull a post out of our collective arse on Friday morning anyway, but the last two weeks it was simply not to be. Many apologies, full refunds available in the alley out back (mind the rats). This week we’ll try to get you caught up on a little of what we missed previously, but mostly just try to get through this week’s new stuff. Be warned, though, three-quarters of the team is on the road and while you’re left with the wordy fucker (free one-year subscription to whoever guesses successfully), even he has his limits, so pardon the soul of brevity and don’t hold your breath for much wit. 

We’ll also remind you that this weekend Remembrance Day falls on Saturday, so your favorite brewery or taproom may elect to close for some or all of Saturday, on Monday, or not at all. So be sure to check socials before you make your plans. 

We’ll start this week on the South Shore of NS where Tanner & Co. Brewing has two new IPAs on the go, but ironically, “new” may not be the best descriptor for either of them. Though many know that the IPA style began in the UK over a century ago and that extra hops were generally used as a preservative for the long sea voyage to India, there have been few English IPAs of late to even try, not only locally, but around the world. So Tanner has taken up the cause of rectifying that with their aptly-named English IPA, a beer that keeps the classic British herbal and earthy hops moderate, while balancing with a prominent malt presence featuring notes of biscuit, caramel, and toffee. A rich amber colour completes the picture in this 6.5% ABV beer. Meanwhile, Tanner has also taken a much more modern IPA, one featuring Citra, Simcoe, Chinook, and Amarillo hops, local malts, and a yeast strain from Le Labo yeast lab in Quebec and then aged it for several months in oak barrels from Grand Pré Wines. The result is Barrel Aged IPA, a big beer, at 8.1%, that presents a “harmonious blend of hops and oak.” Look for both of these beers in cans from the brewery and the taproom in Chester where you’ll also stand a pretty good chance of finding them on tap. 

Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing has a new IPA this week as well, this one in the modern hazy NEIPA vein, but with a name that’s a callback to the 1970s. While some of you are wondering why anyone would refer to such ancient history, the old farts among us will no doubt have a snicker at The Knights Who Say NEIPA (and its spot-on label). Bursting with citrus, pineapple, mango, and bright orange juice aromas and flavors, they’re calling this one, “a tropical paradise in a glass.” The perfect companion to hunting for a shrubbery (one that looks nice… and not too expensive) or estimating the wingspeed of an unladen sparrow, no doubt. Find this 6.5% and 30 IBU juice bomb in cans at the brewery.

Like many breweries, we suspect even moreso in this region than in others, Mount Pearl, NL’s Landwash Brewery has long fielded questions about why they haven’t had a Red Ale available. Well now the questions can stop, at least for a while. Kicking Leaves is a perfect fall beer, deep amber in color, with notes of caramel, toffee, and a hint of rye. With an ABV of only 4%, it’s also extremely sessionable and you can pack a few for your hike in the crisp and cool fall air. This one is packaged and available only at the brewery this weekend, but headed out to all the usual spots in the coming weeks.

On another Island, Prince Edward that is, Lone Oak has released a brand new American Pale Ale. Although it contains the three most OG “C” hops from the Pacific Northwest of the US, Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook, all of the hops in this brew were local, from Lakeview Hops. Paired with a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malt, though these hop varieties are known more for citrus, pine, and dank notes, the combination, the beer, and no doubt the terroir, have come together to yield a very melony character with some grapefruit and pineapple overtones. Find this smooth and refreshing 5.2% pale ale on tap and in cans to go at the brewery in Borden-Carleton and the Brewpub at Milky Way.

Completing the island trifecta, we have Big Spruce Brewing on Cape Breton Island, who push it to a quadfecta with the name of their new release! Who doesn’t love a brewery collaboration? We know that we sure do; fortunately we have breweries like Big Spruce around who may love a collab even more than most and this week they’ve got a brand new beer that they put together in concert with Truro Brewing. Isle of Lesbos is an ode to lager, and they’re classifying it as a “Greek Pilsner” coming in at 4.2% ABV. While we’re not so much familiar with that particular style, we figure those with a knowledge of Ancient Greek were able to cull it from urns and pottery shards. Regardless, as the weather in this part of the world gets colder and damper, this beer could easily put you in the mind of the sunny and warm Mediterranean. So maybe throw on a toga, grab your lyre, get yourself a 4-pack of this tasty treat from wherever you get your Big Spruce or Truro Brewing, and head down to the Symposium to wax eloquent on your love of beer and Sapphic poetry.

Back to the Rock, where Bannerman Brewing of St. John’s is amongst those breweries embracing the cooler season with darker beers. Ghost Town is a milk stout, which means it’s been dosed with lactose sugar, yielding a creamier mouthfeel and sweeter presentation to balance the usual roasty flavors and aromas of chocolate and other roasty things. Add some hints of caramel and some malt sweetness as well, and you have a smooth sipper that packs a bit of a punch at 6.0% ABV. Look for it pouring on tap or in cans to go from their spot on Duckworth Street.

If you’ve been a craft beer lover in Nova Scotia for a while, you know that each fall, North Brewing partners up with Benjamin Bridge winery to produce a special beer in the saison style that showcases the magic that can happen when beer and wine collide. This year’s base beer began life as a light saison in the fall of 2022 that was co-fermented with freshly-pressed Chardonnay grape juice from BB using the Cerebus yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. It then spent the winter months into 2023 in the tank to age, after which it was naturally carbonated before packaging, which, for the first time, was done in 473ml cans instead of big ol’ 750ml bottles. Why the change? Because the bottles, especially at that size, can be intimidating and a bit of a commitment to someone who doesn’t necessarily know if they’re going to like a saison, let alone a saison/wine hybrid. Hopefully this inspires some folks to try something new! Tasting notes include aromas of lemon, lime, and orange marmalade, with a little bit of saison character and a vinous character from the grapes. Still full-bodied while finishing dry, the bitterness is quite low and it lands at 7.5% ABV. Grab it at any of the North locations you frequent!

Continuing on the long term beer project train are two new entries from Tatamagouche Brewing. First up is Rosaly, a rose hip and lychee sour. After initial fermentation this golden sour was fed into an Italian red wine foeder where it hung out for nearly two years, taking on fruity notes to complement its sour base. Six more months of aging took place on rose hips and lychee fruit, which added berry, citrus and melon notes along with a subtle floral hint. Packaged in short (341ml) cans, you’ll find this 6.1% flavorful sour at the brewery, including online ordering, and no doubt some other places that stock Tata brews. Also recently released is Carmine, the “other” beer that began as that golden sour in the red wine foeder, only instead of lychee and rose hips, this one went onto dragonfruit puree for six months. Picking up more colour than flavour from the fruit, Carmine is closer to its original golden sour character, but you can safely expect some vinous character from the barrel along with a touch of melon and stone fruit. Lighter than the Rosaly at 5.6% ABV, this one has been packaged in a bigger format, 750ml bottles, for convenient sharing. Available at the brewery directly and for online ordering.

Let’s keep the train rolling on barrel aged beers, but this time up the ante. How high? NASH high. Five whole years ago, Unfiltered Brewing’s Greg Nash made an Imperial Brown Ale that was distilled by North End Halifax neighbours Compass Distillers and matured in oak barrels until earlier this year. Unfiltered then took possession of those barrels and filled them with their Twelve Years to Zion DIPA, which matured for eight full months. They then unbunged the barrels and canned the results, which they’ve named Whiskey Beer, a delightful tipple at a hefty 10% ABV, bearing the character of the DIPA, the barrels, and possibly some of that brown ale concoction as well. Find out for yourself as they’ve just packaged a second (and final, we believe) run this week. If you’re wondering what happened to the brown ale distillate, you might check in at Compass, where we’re told they’ve got a new product called Beer Whiskey! If you’re looking for something lighter for balance, you should also know that Unfiltered’s 4% ABV Belinerweiße is back today in cans and on tap at Charm School.

What could be more different than a huge spirit barrel aged DIPA? If you guessed a non-alcoholic (0.4% ABV) cider you win! Lake City Cider in Dartmouth has spun up a lighter alternative to their long-running Christmas-spiced seasonal so that those who are refraining can still drink something with bells on. Non-alcoholic Spice Up Your Life still brings the merry with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and dried orange peel; you’ll find it bottled in 750ml bottles just like its booze-bearing sibling (which is also available now). If you’re not ready for THAT season yet though, fear not. Lake City also has a brand new Peach Cider available with plenty of soft and round peach flavor complementing the familiar apple side of the proceedings. Fairly light, at 5.5%, this one has been packaged in cans.

Candid Brewing in Antigonish has released a new American Pale Ale called Schadenfreude, one of those amazing words from the German language that has both a complex meaning and is terribly fun to say in an over-the-top Teutonic accent. Meaning, “a feeling of pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune,” we’ll let you scope out the branding on your own to get an idea of who they’re poking at. Featuring some modern banger hops in Citra, Loral, and recent belle of the hop ball HBC 586, you’ll find this 5.5% ABV number in cans and most likely on tap at the brewery.

Back up to Newfoundland, we have a three-way collaboration that has produced a brand new and rather interesting beer. Baccalieu Trail Brewing in Bay Roberts put their heads together with Rough Waters Brewing in Deer Lake and then they all collectively smashed skulls with homebrewers and beer lovers @mosaic.wit (who have done other collaborations with Rough Waters and Dildo Brewing as well) to produce Tree Way, a fruited sour IPA. Low on bitterness thanks to no hops at the start of the boil, and with a very restrained dry hop, this one saw the bulk of its dose of Mosaic hops late in the whirlpool, providing big hop notes to interact with açai and curuba (a species of passionfruit) to produce an “explosion of orangey-passionfruit, and a subtle touch of nostalgic fruit roll-up vibes.” This one has been canned, and you should be able to find it at select retail  locations around the Avalon Peninsula. (and, we expect, but have not confirmed, both breweries too!)

Continuing to take advantage of the foeders on hand at their facility in downtown Halifax, Gahan Nova Centre has a new small batch release available this week. Taking a portion of last year’s Foeder Aged Winter Warmer, they added red plums and continued to age the result an additional six months. Still with notes of cherry and sweet desserts, along with some tannins from the barrel, you’ll now find some tartness and plum flavors going on. Packaged in 375ml bottles, Red Plum Winter Warmer is 5.5% and is available not just in Halifax, but around the region from the to-go fridges at Gahan locations in Charlottetown, Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

Speaking of Gahan, you may remember this past spring when we announced the winner of the 4th annual Atlantic Homebrew Challenge presented by Gahan House. That beer, Herr Durstig, a German Pils, was brewed at Gahan Port City in Saint John with winner Al McLeod back in August. It’s being released in cans today across the region at all Gahan locations (the abovementioned plus Gahan Harbourview in St. John’s) and also at the PEI Brewing Company taproom. A sessionable lager at 4.8% ABV, it’s golden in color and crystal clear. With a malt backbone of 100% German Pilsner malt, it features local PEI-grown Tettnang hops, for a primarily floral hop nose with hints of citrus. Grab it in cans at your local Gahan location.

As always, the release of last year’s winning beer coincides with the announcement of this year’s competition. The 5th Annual Atlantic Home Brew Challenge will once again allow for entries under two BJCP styles: 11B Best Bitter and 30A Spice, Herb, and Vegetable. The style guidelines are available on the competition website for perusal and planning purposes; competitors can enter once per style if they’re feeling particularly ambitious. Cash prizes will be awarded for the top 5 in each style as well as for the overall winning beer, which will be brewed for canned release with the team at the winner’s local Gahan location. Entries are due for drop-off by March 2nd, 2024, with judging slated and announcement of the winners slated to take place later in March. If you’ve got other questions, definitely scroll to the bottom of the competition website for the FAQ and, if your question still isn’t answered, send an email to the competition team per the last FAQ entry. Good luck to all who compete!

Would you believe that there’s TWO homebrew competitions to announce this week? What a world we live in!! Big Spruce has announced the latest iteration of what is now the longest-running homebrew competition in the region, the 11th Annual Home Brew Challenge: Pomona vs Elysium. What are Pomona and Elysium, you might ask? Well, one is a city in California, and the other is the afterlife as conceptualized by the ancient Greeks, of course! But seriously, the real answer is even nerdier: they’re new yeast strains from Escarpment Labs. Both are targeted at IPAs, especially those of the hazy variety, with slightly different characteristics. Big Spruce has secured 25 pitches of each strain for a maximum number of entries this year of 50. Entrants may submit ONE beer this year, and may submit their preference for one or the other strain, but once one runs out allocation will be what’s left. Judging and the traditional entrants’ gala will take place at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth on February 4th, 2024. This year there will be two winners: the top beer made with each strain will be produced on the Big Spruce 7BBL pilot system and packaged for retail. Check out the link to the official Facebook page for the competition above for more information.

Here’s a few last quick tidbits to send you on your way for the weekend:

Trailway Brewing in Fredericton has a trio of returning favorites available now. Hu Jon Heavy is Hu Jon Hops, only MOAR. DIPA, 8%, fuller, hoppier. Then there’s a couple darker beers for the season. Beans is on the sweeter side, a 6.8% Oatmeal Coffee Stout featuring freshly roasted beans from Mill Town Roasters. Black Hops (back after a long hiatus) is a black IPA at 7% that balances zesty grapefruit with roasty character. All are available at Trailway locations and for online ordering.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing has a dark number of their own pouring again, Milk & Cookies is a smooth and slightly sweet milk stout with a “tasty hint of chocolate chip cookies.” Packaged in cans at 5.0% for sale at select NSLC locations across the province, it’s also on tap for fills and pints at the brewery.

Not to be outdone in the stout department, Wolfville’s Church Brewing Co has their Forgive Me Father American stout pouting again. Rich and chocolatey, with plenty of roasted malt flavor, it also features cold-steeped coffee from TAN Coffee. Looks like this one hasn’t been packaged (at least not yet) so you’ll have to hit the brewery for a pint.

And rounding things out this week is the biggest of the returning dark beers, Propeller’s Nanaimo Imperial Dessert Stout. Featuring all the flavors of the classic Canadian dessert, it’s a big’un at 10% ABV and in 473ml tall cans, so maybe plan your evening around that. Available at all the Prop shops and scheduled to be part of the NSLC holiday display.