Garrison Brewing

All posts tagged Garrison Brewing

Well, you’ve done it! You survived another year! This is our 51st post of 2022, and 812th published since our launch in January 2012. Not bad for 10 years, eh? We hope you’ve enjoyed reading and learning along with us as we’ve tracked the Atlantic Canadian Beer, Cider, and Mead landscape, from the early days with fewer than 40 producers in the region, to today where our region boasts more than 300! There’s always something local and great to drink when you’re traveling in the Atlantic provinces, so we hope your 2023 brings the ability to do that for you all! We’ll be here, churning out the latest info on new breweries, cideries, beer, and events, to guide you along the way!

We’re kicking off the blog with a few releases from before Christmas, but we know are still around…

Celebrating their Fourth Anniversary mid-month, Port-Au-Port’s Secret Cove Brewing released their ode to the largest bird to grace Newfoundland and Labrador, with a beer of fitting proportions. The Great Auk is a 10% Triple IPA, featuring both a massive flavour and aroma from the hops and extra malt in the beer. The eponymous bird was rendered extinct in the region in the 17th century, though there is a widely accepted sighting noted in 1852 on the Grand Banks. The Great Auk the beer is alive and well, and available on tap at the brewery, and in cans at retailers across Newfoundland. Happy Fourth Anniversary Secret Cove!

Sticking to Newfoundland, Baccalieu Trail Brewing is celebrating the light show in Port de Grave with Christmas in the Harbour. This 4.0% beer is a light American lager, infused with just a touch of peppermint. May even pass as a candy-cane lager. The boats should still be lit up when you read this, so grab a four-pack from the brewery or your local beer shop, and head out Highway 72 to see the show!

From one island to another, PEI’s Lone Oak Brewing teamed up with their pals at Hopyard Beer Bar, and released Lil’ Hoppy. The first in what we expect to be a series, the partners are playing around with different hop varieties and techniques. For V1, they used loads of locally-grown Cascade hops during a mash hop phase, and waited until fermentation had died down to add Sultana and Nelson Sauvin, locking in that aroma. Look for notes of pineapple, citrus, and maybe even a touch of Sauv Blanc grape too. On tap at HopYard C’town and both Lone Oak locations, as well as in cans to take-away.

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a trio of new releases on tap these days, including a pair of small batch beers that are exclusive to The Oxford Taproom location on Quinpool. Krampus is the first of these, a 6.2% Black IPA, featuring the very aromatic Bravo, Simcoe, Zythos, and Mosaic, for a melding of citrus, pine, with chocolate and roast. And celebrating the location itself is Oxford Pale, a 5.5% Pale Ale, with Bravo, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Comet hops blended for some citrus and tropical notes of pineapple and mandarin orange. They’re open today for pints and retail, with tomorrow being a cafe and retail kinda day…

Embracing the season entirely is the release of Garrison’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wintervention. The 2022 edition of this familiar friend is 11.5%, and whose base Imperial Stout beer spent time hanging out in bourbon barrels before release in the share-worthy 650 ml format. Chocolate, roast, dark fruit meld with the vanilla, toffee, oak, and hint of booze from its temporary home. Bottles are available exclusively at the Seaport and Oxford locations, as well as through their website for local delivery.

One of our favorite trends of the last year or so has been more releases of lower-ABV English bitters. Although beers like Hell Bay’s English Ale, Sober Island’s Beachstone Bitter, Foghorn’s Esty’s Special Bitter, and Lunn’s Mill’s Pub Ale are core brands and longtime stalwarts, this year has seen all sorts of new bitters, including some from breweries you might not expect. In 2022 we saw, amongst others, the releases of Stillwell’s Best Bitter, Trailway’s Chancy’s Pub Ale, and, more recently, Tatamagouche’s Flintshire. Who knows, maybe part of the reason for this is the introduction of proper cask ale at places like the Stillwell Freehouse, or maybe folks are just looking for the next big thing after hopbombs, hazebombs, and crispybois, but regardless, as shared owners of a beer engine, we’re here for it! Anyways, that’s a bit of a long-winded introduction to the release of Proper Pub Ale from Montague’s Bogside Brewing. Coming in at a very quaffable 4.5% ABV and 25 IBU, you can safely expect a classic smooth taste profile with notes of toffee. Look for it on tap and in cans to go at the brewery.

Speaking of PEI and traditional English styles, Cornwall’s Village Green (by Modern Brewer) has two new beers for us this weekend and the first fits that description quite nicely. Often even lower in ABV than bitter, but just as suitable for the hand pumps, dark mild is one of the most sessionable beers ever. VG’s Dark Mild hits all the right notes, with toasty malt flavors, some subtle cherry esters, and a clean finish, all in a “tastes like another, and maybe another after that” 3% ABV package. Also being released is Altbier, also a very traditional style, but the German tradition rather than the English. A contrast to the lagers that came later, the “alt” in “altbier” means “old” as in “the beer we used to make.” Using bottom-fermenting ale yeast and not generally undergoing a lagering period, these are darker, more full-bodied beers, with some fruity esters and a decent bitterness from Northern Brewer hops balancing toasty sweet malt notes. Comforting on a cold day, but still not overly boozy, this one comes in at 4.9%. Both of these beers are available at the tap room for pints or in cans to go!

Continuing to find new and interesting ways to pump hops into beer are Propeller Brewing, who are releasing another new IPA today, this one not just full of lupulin, but lots of other fun things as well. Piña Colada IPA features Sabro, known for some serious coconut vibes, and Azacca, which tends to impart mango, papaya, and other tropical notes. These two together make a perfect combination, along with some actual coconut, vanilla bean, and lactose, to give the vibes of many people’s favorite umbrella drink. So you may be stuck in Atlantic Canada instead of having your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand in warmer climes, but you can at least crack one of these, sit back, and dream. Look for it as of today at all Prop Shops, online for home delivery, and at the private stores in the HRM as well. And speaking of the Prop Shops, we’ve been advised that Propeller has officially broken ground on their “coming in 2023” Bedford Highway location that was announced earlier in the year. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of that construction in the new year!

There’s a busy weekend shaping up in HRM, let’s get you in the know so you can take part in the fun.

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary in January is North Brewing, who have come a long way from their small beginnings on Agricola Street (opening as Bridge Brewing on January 23rd, 2013). And to kick off the fun is a New Year’s Eve Tap Takeover at Battery Park on Ochterloney in Dartmouth. From 11:30 tomorrow, Cole Harbour’s Finest will be pouring from the 20 draught lines behind the bar, featuring some old and new favourite beer, ciders, and vodka sodas. In the mix are a pair of new IPAs released this month. Teaming up with the Battery Park team, and a favourite customer of theirs, they have released Hazy Dave’s Juice-tastrophy. This 6.7% New England IPA is a scaling up of a recipe by Dave Wilcox, which is hoppy, hazy, juicy, and not at all a catastrophe. “It’s selling great”, says the brewery, and is available on tap and in cans at North Brewing’s retail and taproom locations for now, until it’s all gone!

Coming tomorrow at the North taprooms and Battery Park event is The Longest Night, another IPA, but different altogether. A Triple IPA, at 10.0% ABV, the big base of Pilsner malt is enhanced with Oats and Wheat for body, head retention, and foam stability. Hopping-wise, the Brew Crew opted for new-to-them Calypso and Talus for citrus aroma and flavour, complementing the Amarillo and Summit, familiar to fans of HiFi. Onlya touch of haze, the hops come through on the nose and flavour, but are not overpowering or bitter. On tap and in responsibly-sized 355ml cans.

More on their NYE event, is that a three course Prix Fixe menu option will be available after 5 PM, which comes complete with pairing North beer with what the BP kitchen has whipped up. Fans of their burgers will be happy to know that their full menu will also be available during that time. Check here for the details on the meal, and this post for the full taplist. Congrats to the North Crew on 10 years!

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Halifax is The Stillwell Freehouse, who are hosting a pre-party Tap Feature by BC’s Dageraad Brewing. Frequent award-winners for the Belgian/Abbey style beers, they have sent along 8 to be enjoyed on draught tomorrow. Look for a Lacto-fermented Dubbel, a Tripel, both a clean and mixed culture fermented Quads (as well as one aged in a Rum barrel), and going off-brand with a Hazy IPA. They’ll be the only Stilly location open Dec 31, as HQ gears up for…

Bar Stillwell on Barrington is hosting a Levee January 1st, with a tap feature from Brasserie Dunham. Starting at 2 PM, there are a half dozen from Dunham on tap, including the Simplexite Pils collab with de Ranke, Biere de Table, Sierra Yakima New England Pale Ale (with Boreale). And from the kitchen, folks will be able to enjoy breakfast sandos, cheesesteak fries, and dunkaroos for dessert! (Note that the Freehouse is closed Jan 1 and both locations are closed Jan 2)

To celebrate the opening of their Elmsdale Brewery, Good Robot is going to be hosting an ACBB (aka, Nerdy) tour of their new facilities in the New Year. On January 21st, you, us, and a dozen other folks looking to learn more about Good Robot’s state-of-the-art brewhouse and gear will be given a tour by the folks who work so tirelessly behind the scenes. There is no cost to the event, but we do need you to win your way onto the guest list! To do that, post a picture/story/reel on social media of a favourite local beer/cider/mead you’ve enjoyed in the past twelve months, and be sure to tag us in it and use the hashtag #ElmsdaleTour. And if you’re not the SM kind, no problem, just fire us an email, send us a text, or release a carrier pigeon to let us know you’re interested! (We’d like to post/re-post to show what our readers are drinking, hope that’s OK) We’ll be drawing a whole buncha names Jan 18 at 6 PM, so your chances are good to take part! Looking forward to meeting you there!

And there you have it, our last post of 2022! Enjoy responsibly this weekend, be sure to check that your favourite brewery or bar is actually open before heading in (and whether they recommend reservations), and we’ll see you next Friday!

We’ve made it to the end of another week and somehow it’s the last Friday of November, which means thousands of Atlantic Canadians will be precariously perched on ladders this weekend, stringing up holiday lights, and cracking a cold one as they step back and admire all of those randomly burnt out bulbs. As our neighbours to the south nurse their Thanksgiving hangovers, you’re likely being bombarded with countless Black Friday emails and posts. Before you buy that 3-in-1 combination air fryer, pasta maker, pizza oven that you’ll probably never use, take a scroll through the latest beer news, and consider directing your hard earned cash towards your favourite producer of fermented beverages instead. Or consider taking advantage of our one-day only ACBB sale where you can snag a one-year subscription to the blog for 50% off!

Let us catch you up on a pair of late-last-week releases that are now available throughout the Avalon craft beer convenience store. The crew from Mount Pearl’s Landwash made the trek out to Port Rexton to brew two beers from just one mash! Let us explain… At the end of the mashing period, the sugary water (wort) is separated from the barley and other malted grain in the mash tun, and transferred to the kettle for the boil. That leftover grain still has some sugary goodness left on it, and a second dose of water can be used to rinse the malt clean, giving rise to the start of another beer! This technique is known as parti-gyle brewing, and has been around for centuries. While the two resultant beers will have the same base grains, due to the concentration of sugars, they will have quite different potential alcohol levels, and can be treated with different intensities of hops and other ingredients.

Ursa Major Double IPA is the first beer to come out of that double-brew, weighing in at a hefty 8.5% ABV. Using loads of late-addition hops (low bitterness, high aroma and flavour), namely Sultana and Amarillo, it features orange, pineapple, and a hint of pine, on a slightly-sweet finish.

Ursa Minor IPA is the parti-gyled beer made from the second runnings of wort, with an ABV of just 3.9%. As it was boiled separately, a different combo of hops could be used in the kettle, in this case Lotus and Azacca, imparting citrus and stone fruit on the palate, with a dry finish.

Both of these stellar-inspired beers are available at Port Rexton and Landwash on tap for pints and growler fills, and distributed to Port Rexton’s St. John’s Retail Shop, as well as their other retail partners.

Staying in Newfoundland, Bannerman has a big weekend ahead with two new releases. First up is Red Eye, a coffee milk stout. To get the most possible coffee character into the beer, the team added coffee during every step in the brewing process, including broken beans in the mash tun, kettle and fermenter. Before packaging, some of the fermented beer was also soaked on more beans overnight, before being added back into the main batch. Combine all of that coffee with the addition of lactose and you’ve basically got your morning pick me up ready to go in beer form. The coffee for this one comes from Cape Coffee Roasters, a new roaster in Cape Broyle. Cans and pours are available now at the brewery with cans also seeing wider distribution through Bannerman’s usual channels. And what goes better with your coffee than a piece of toast with a bit of Nan’s homemade jam? Their next release, Either/Or is a fruited sour that combines big fruit flavour with some slight tartness, just like Nan’s jam. You’ll also find cans and pours of this one at the brewery, with cans seeing wider distribution later this weekend. 

Rolling over to Cape Breton, Sydney’s Breton Brewing has a brand new seasonal release for the holidays with Milk n’ Cookies Stout. Not your average stout, this one has additions of chocolate chip cookies from their friends at Not Just Cakes and lactose sugar to create a sweet, bitter and balanced brew. Easy drinking at 5% this is available on tap or in cans from the brewery and for delivery, and in select NSLCs, too. 

Back to Newfoundland for another round this week, Deer Lake’s Rough Waters Brewing teamed up with the fine folks of The Newfoundland Embassy in St. John’s for their latest release. Ambassador is a 4.7% German Pilsner, as the two teams wanted to maximize easy drinking and super refreshing as they came together. Light-bodied, crisp, clean, and able to pair with whatever you’re eating! Pints are obviously available at the Embassy now, with cans at Urban Market 1919, and wider distro through the NLC soon.

Kentville’s Maritime Express Cider has a pair of new expressions available in their shop. 2020 Sparkling Perry is an all-pear cider, aged on lees in the bottle for two years. This extended aging period in the bottle has allowed it to dry out completely (no residual sugar), and is sparkling for a bubbly rush of candied pear and tropical fruit. Joining it is 2021 Sparkling Sour Berry, their apple cider base co-fermented with raspberries and rose hips, and blended with two-year aged cranberry wine. Allowed to undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle before an extended cellaring period. Also finishing quite dry, the fruit additions lend much to the aroma and impart a tart finish.

Beausoleil Farmstead Cider in Port Williams has a new release this month, Valley Fields. Crisp Valley-grown pears and a field blend of estate-grown Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, and Frontenac Gris grapes, were co-fermented to finish dry, a light carbonation enhances the aromatic and light acidity in the glass. Their tasting room and retail shop at 1469 B Church Street in Port Williams is open 1 – 4 PM Saturday for visitors, or by appointment at other times.

Speaking of Beausoleil, wine- and cider-maker extraordinaire Melanie Eelman has once again lent her knowledge to the folks at Saltbox Brewing on the South Shore, helping them to launch Rosemary. Featuring Annapolis Valley apple cider, blended with a Marquette wine, infused with rosemary, this blend features herbal notes along with ripe apple, field berries, and a touch of spice. This 6.7% hybrid is available in cans at Saltbox and its sibling breweries.

Staying in the cider-verse, Dartmouth’s finest, Lake City Cider, has a brand new release that is winter-inspired. Gingersnap is a spicy and sweet little cider that uses Annapolis Valley apples, freshly pressed ginger root, and a bit of molasses for some balance. The fresh ginger is the star here, bringing you the fragrant nose and bit of refreshing spice like that you’d expect, all in a 7% package. It’s available now from the cidery in 473ml cans and is also available online. 

Rounding out the cider news for this week is the latest from Paradise’s Mauzy Cider. Once again taking advantage of feral and undeveloped apple trees, Devil’s Acid began life during the 2021 harvest. Starting with apples from Burin Bay and Golden Hornet Crabapples from Torbay, these were co-spontaneously-fermented with the skins of Dolgo crabapples, with the combination of crabapple varieties imparting a serious acidity in the glass. This 6.8% cider was bottle conditioned with a touch of apple juice for some carbonation. Like their other releases, look for them online for pickup in Paradise, and at cider, wine, and beer friendly spots around Town.

Staying in Paradise (we’ve got two tickets after all!), if you’re able to, hit up Banished Brewing for their brand new release, a collaboration with Toslow (a cafe, but generally delicious food establishment). Crosstown Cooldown is a Coffee Porter featuring beans from the Montreal roaster Traffic Coffee Co. The result is a highly drinkable, roasty and full beer with a great balance at 5%. This is canned and available now from the brewery and next week it will be hitting retailers.

Also new this week is the final form of the Puffin! If you’ve been following along with the themed releases from Banished, there were 3 previous variations and now the 4-pack is complete. New this week is Intergalactic Puffin, a triple IPA, the clear next step up from the previous Session NEIPA, NEIPA and double NEIPA, and coming in hot at 10% ABV. Very full, juicy, and surprisingly easy drinking for the style and ABV, it features loads of Mosaic during the boil and whirlpool, and was dry-hopped with equal parts Citra and Sabro, enhancing the citrus and tropical notes seen in the rest of the Puffin family. This beer is available now in cans from the brewery and will also hit retailers next week. If you’re looking to get the full vertical of the Puffin releases, you better hurry, as there is only a limited amount of Space Pufflin (Session NEIPA) left. Get your ticket to Paradise, pack your bag and leave tonight!

At the Seaport in Halifax, Garrison Brewing has a brand new release, which we’re already picturing having around for the holidays. Night Mooves is a Coffee Milk Stout that is lower on ABV (at 4.5%) but high on roasted coffee, dark chocolate and a bitter-sweet impression from combination of coffee, roasted malts, and lactose. Here’s the fun part for many of you, let’s look at the ingredients! The malt bill here features pale, munich, caramel & chocolate malts, along with some roasted barley. The hop bill gets balance and backing from the classic German Hallertau and the brew also features additions of lactose and coffee from West Ender Coffee. This one is available in 473ml cans now at both Garrison locations, on the website for delivery, and at Liquid Assets.

Boxing Rock has two new releases that are sure to appeal to fans of stone fruit flavours. Up first is Black and Tan: Stout and Pale. This one is a 5.2% ABV  blend of ​​Patricius, their Irish Stout, and a blonde wheat ale that saw an infusion of apricot, leading to a combo of roasty and stone fruit notes. Next up is Intergalactic, an American Pale Ale. A combination of new-world hops and an infusion of apricot leads to notes of pineapple, grass, and stone fruit. Cans of both are available now through Boxing Rock’s two retail locations and their online store. In other Boxing Rock news, their much revered Double IPA, Vicar’s Cross, is making its final appearance in bomber bottles after almost 10 years and over 1 million bottles sold! This DIPA was one of the first produced in Nova Scotia that was widely available in packaged format and introduced many budding craft beer enthusiasts to the style. To celebrate the retirement of the bombers, Boxing Rock is planning a package that includes a special edition commemorative bottle and a Vicar’s Cross hat. Pre-orders for the package go live on December 6.

Tire Shack Brewing out of Moncton has a brand new release this week, too, and if you’re noticing a theme this week of sweet treat additions to beer, you’re not alone. Scoop! There It Is! is an Apple Pie Ice Cream Beer (not a stout) released with a special ice cream recipe from Lost and Found Ice Cream in Moncton. The beer features a clean malt bill with a clear, amber colour, but features big additions of 100L of fresh ice cream (loaded with whole vanilla beans and cinnamon) and then 125 kilograms of apple pie filling. Both adjuncts were added during fermentation, so expect big flavours to carry through in a clean 5% beer. This is available in pints, cans and growlers directly from the brewery. 

We’ve got a new beer from Nova Scotia’s North Shore Tatamagouche Brewing, plus a way for you to enjoy it in the big city this weekend! Collusion Double IPA started life in the mash tun with a base of Horton Ridge pale and Shoreline Pilsner malts, amped up with malted oats and wheat, and combined with some Chit malt (the last having undergone a very short germination stage, leaving plenty of complex starch and sugar to increase mouthfeel in the final beer). After mashing, this saw a heavy-handed addition of Nugget hops early in the boil for bitterness, with a post-boil addition of a blend of Cascade, Centennial, and Bravo. Really taking this big IPA to the next level of aroma was a one-two punch of Citra and Mosaic oil extract for a big blast of citrus and tropical fruit. For fermentation they used a New England-style ale yeast, playing in the “hazy” realm, while still being eye-appealing. And while the yeastie beasties were working away, more hops were added, including Citra dry hop extract, the first time the Tata crew has played with this product. Collusion is out now, with cans, pints, and growler fills available at the brewery, and for those in HRM, the perfect time to try it may be at the Tatamagouche Tap Takeover at Battery Park Saturday! With 16 draught lines filled with a mix of new releases and old favourites, including a Baltic Porter from 2017(!), and Flintshire Pub Ale on the handpump, there will certainly be something for everyone! Plus door prizes for coming out and saying hi!

HopYard Beer Bar in Charlottetown is hosting the finals of the Battle of the Breweries this weekend, which also happens to be the battle of Montague! Bogside Brewing and Copper Bottom have each put their four best beer, cider, and seltzers forward in a race to finish kegs and sell the most pints until close Saturday. Stop in to show your support, because really, we are all winners in these sorts of competitions!

Sober Island Brewing is holding a Christmas-themed Brewers Dinner next Saturday, December 3rd, at their taproom in Sheet Harbour. A multi-course meal with SIBC beer pairings, all lead by Head Brewer Tim MacLeod. Tickets are available now, and we suggest grabbing them very soon, so that you can secure your choice in one of the courses, a Humble Pie Turkey Dinner or Vegetarian handpie.

A few quick newsbites before we let you go this week…

Moncton’s Happy Craft Brewing has a new release on draught this week, German Altbier. This hybrid of ale- and lager-techniques features the inclusion of kilned malts in the grain bill for a darker colour and a lovely toast and nutty character, with a balancing bitterness. This 5.0% ABV is available now at Happy’s Main Street location.

After a several month hiatus, Lone Oak Brewing has brought back their Boat Traffic Oatmeal Stout. Big and bold roast character is complemented with undertones of chocolate, coconut, and vanilla, thanks to a weeks-long oak-aging step before packaging. It is available on draught and in cans at their Borden-Carleton Taproom, their North River Brewpub, as well as PEILCC locations across the province.

Staying on the Island, PEI Brewing Company has a new seasonal available that they’ve dubbed Hour Delay. A chocolate stout brewed with cocoa and a selection of rich roasted malts to really bump up the chocolate flavor, it’s perfect for cozy nights by the fire as you watch the weather and say a little prayer or two for an hour delay in the morning. Or maybe one to enjoy in a cozy bed in the morning as you enjoy an hour delay? We’re not going to judge! You’ll find this 6% ABV and 30 IBU beer available across the island at the PEI Brewing Company Taproom, Gahan Beer Store, and select PEILCC locations.

Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has announced the launch of their kitchen, with today (Friday) being the first day of operation. The full menu is available here, featuring a trio of different smash burger styles, grilled panini sandwiches, as well as beer & cheese soup, brussel sprouts, and even arancini! It launches at 2 PM this afternoon, check their social media for the full schedule as it is released.

The cold weather is finally here, so let’s gather ‘round to read about beer. The nights are dark and shorter, so pour yourself a porter. We’ve got lots of news about local brews, so don’t linger any longer!

Exciting news on the West Coast of Newfoundland, as Pasadena’s Western Newfoundland Brewing Company has announced a big upgrade to their system. Opening six years ago with a 50 litre Sabco BrewMagic system, they have upgraded in a big way to a steam-fired three vessel capable of more than 1000 litres per batch. Drop by Thursday through Saturday to grab cans from their fridges as well as merch or kegs for your next get-together. One of those cans is the brand new charitable release, For Ukraine With Love. Brewed with 100% Ukrainian-developed and -grown hops, Promin and Zagrava, this light Euro Lager allows them to shine through with a light resinous character. Sold at the brewery and making its way Island-wide in the coming weeks, $6.00 of the $10.00 price tag is being donated to the Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter of the Association For New Canadians. Be sure to pick up a can or two to support this worthy cause!

Good Robot is back with another Goodwill Beer release and earlier this week, United Way IPA was released in collaboration with and in support of United Way Halifax. United Way Halifax has a few campaigns kicking off this week to help support the housing crisis, as United Way is a donor-funded organization that is always advocating and helping those in need of housing.The beer itself is an approachable IPA that is a blend of citrus, sweet and wheat, thanks to the hop bill of Comet, Idaho 7 and Lemondrop. 50 cents from every beer sold in the taproom or anywhere, goes directly towards United Way Halifax. You can get this one in cans or on tap at Robie Street, or order online for delivery.

Limestone Beverages, a group of Bahamian-Haligonian folks sharing the love of their homeland, have a pair of new beers available now. They are hosting a tasting (and more!) event at East Coast Conch restaurant Sunday to showcase the releases, both alcoholic and non-, with some food pairings and live music to accompany. Pina Colada Wheat Ale is a 5.0% ABV with mild pineapple notes, with a creamy coconut rum-like mouthfeel, which will have you transported to the Caribbean with the waves lapping at your toes. Paired with Beef Sliders in coconut buns topped with mango and bacon jam.. East Coast Flamingo is a 4.8% Watermelon and Kiwi Ale, with plenty of the named ingredients on the nose and palate, enhanced by hibiscus flower for a lovely pink hue and floral character. ECC is pairing a Snapper Taco with this drink. For those looking for great fruit character without the alcohol, Limestone also makes Switchas, the Bahamian lime-ade. The name comes from the fact that the drink is both sour and sweet, switching up your brain as to what it’s tasting! There will be Lime and NS Blueberry Switcha pouring as well. And to really top Sunday evening, Limestone will have some Junkanoo performances, with live music and dance, so be sure to visit!

Strap in for a trio of Trailway releases, as they’ve got two holiday releases and one returning collaboration all available now. Earlier this week, Hu Jon Holiday is their classic Hu Jon Hops recipe with some extra piney hops and spruce tip additions. This is a much more piney and resinous version of their flagship IPA and is 6.6%. It’s available now at the brewery, select ANBL stores and will be available at Harvest Wines in Halifax this weekend or early next week. 

Second up from their holiday release is Facts, an American Barelywine. This 11.9% banger brings the deep, rich flavours of caramel, dried fruit, toffee and nice rich malt character with that right hop balance. This is releasing in a sensible 355ml can format, available now at the brewery, and *may* be seen a little further afield.

Finally, a collaboration with Lagabière rounds off Trailway’s release news. De L’autre Boutte to Here is a Double Dry Hopped IPA that is absolutely packed with Citra, Simcoe and Motueka. This is very bright with citrus zest flavours and a powerful punch of tropical fruit and dank pine. This nice 7% release is available now in kegs and cans as well.

All of these three releases can also be ordered online for delivery or pick-up. 

All aboard the mead train! Tanner & Co Brewing has a pair of sparkling mead releases new this week. First up, Barrel Fermented Sparkling Mead is their house sparking mead with some citrus rind and cinnamon added during the boil and then put into French oak barrels. This one fermented outside through the wacky Nova Scotia weather and returned back to stainless for carbonation. The result is a 6.8% sparkling mead and is packaged in 500ml bottles. 

Second on the mead train is a new release that follows in the footsteps of one of their beers. Muscat Sauvage Sparkling Mead uses Muscat grape skins from Grand Pré Winery and the same yeast as their Sauvage Saison beer. Local honey was used from Little Bee Farm to keep it all within the province. This is a nice and dry finishing brew and the grape skins add a great flavour and aroma to the mead. This one comes in at 5.6% and sounds very drinkable. 

Both of these meads are available at the brewery and taproom and available for delivery through their online store. 

Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has a new release out this week, another in their foray into the lager style. This 6.0% Amber Lager features a mix of Munich malts (Cara and Light, in addition to the standard Munich malt), offering a touch of colour and a hint of toast and roast notes. The German lager yeast used keeps it clean and crisp without any sweetness, balancing with the ever-so-light hop profile. Available on draught and in cans now at their spot on Sussex, just behind Canadian Tire/beside Mary Brown’s.

Out today is a beer celebrating the special relationship the province of Nova Scotia has with the city of Boston. Thankful for the massive support the city offered after the Halifax Explosion, since 1971 the province has been sending down the city’s Christmas Tree, harvested from somewhere in Nova Scotia. This year’s tree hails from Christmas Island, and is stopping in Halifax before it continues its journey South. The third year of From Nova Scotia With Love is out today, a collaboration between Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing and Boston’s Harpoon Brewery. This year’s release is Whiskey Barrel Aged Fat Archie Molasses Cookie Imperial Stout… Featuring spruce tips, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, this 11.0% beast of a beer is a melding of flavours that will have you looking for another sip! Cans are available at the brewery now, should be heading to some better beer bars in the province, and on their online shop for delivery or shipping real soon.

Sticking in Nova Scotia, Tusket Falls Brewing is releasing Next Phaze, a Hazy IPA. This is packed with hops and a big tropical punch in each sip. Featuring a hop blend of Rikawa and Cryo Mosaic , and that magical Phantasm as an adjunct addition (extracted from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, bringing mega thiol freedom!), this brings the big tropical notes with some pine, citrus and a creamy bitterness. This is 6.4% and available at both brewery locations, online and will be headed to the NSLC at some point.

Smokehouse Nano Brewery in Berwick is celebrating the town’s centennial with a release showcasing their appreciation and pride in their home. Centennial Pale Ale is a 5.0% ABV light and refreshing pale ale, which features, not surprisingly, Centennial hops! With a label featuring the Greetings From Berwick 100th Year Mural recently unveiled in town, cans are available at their taproom location, and will also be for sale at this evening’s Valley Wildcats home game!

Edmundston’s Petit-Sault recently hosted three Northwest New Brunswick breweries for a dark and dangerous collaboration in their brewhouse, which was released this week. NOir is an 8.5% ABV Pastry Stout, made with chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup. Folks from Grand Falls Brewing, Novum Boreas in Saint-Quentin, and the soon-to-open Microbrasserie Ateepic in Edmundston all took part in the fun, and will have the beer available at their taproom/retail shops, with limited selections making it to ANBL stores as well.

Spindrift Brewing has a nice release for the colder weather. Goldilocks is a Nitro Oatmeal Stout, bringing some nice roast, smoke, cocoa, and high drinkability to the style at 4.8%. Working with Craft Coast Canning and their Nitro dropped, so definitely pour this one into a glass and get that nice cascade effect. This smokey oatmeal stout has a lovely malt bill of Superior Pilsen, Carafa III, Chocolate Malt, Flaked Oats, Golden Naked Oats and Honey Oat Malt. Balanced up with Warrior hops up to 25 IBU, this is a full stout that deserves a full pour! This beer is available now at the brewery in Dartmouth and should be available over the weekend in Antigonish.

Spindrift also has a returning favourite, in what could be its last hurrah. Hurricane IPA is their West Coast IPA that’s coming out in a nice smaller 6 x 355ml format. This is available now at the brewery in Dartmouth and will be in Antigonish next week. 

Last month we told you about a brewery hosting their first homebrew competition, and this week we get to tell you that another brewery is hosting their TENTH annual* competition. Those who’ve taken part in the past know that Big Spruce’s Home Brew Challenge has been one of the most fun comps to both participate in and to judge and we suspect that this year will be no exception. Throwing it back to the competition’s first year, they’re calling for brewers to assemble and brew their best IPA across all BJCP 2021 IPA Categories: 21A American IPA, 21B Specialty IPA, 21C Hazy IPA, 22A Double IPA and X2 IPA Argenta (we’re guessing the inclusion of that last one may have been a clerical error unless someone’s got a line on Argentinian hops). That also includes all of the sub-categories of 21B, so Belgian IPA, Black IPA, Brown IPA, Brut IPA, Red IPA, Rye IPA, and White IPA (insert Forrest Gump shrimp GIF here). Key to note, however, is that there will not be separate judging of sub-styles: all entries will be judged side-by-side in a true winner-take-all Hollywood blockbuster-style shootout, just with hops being the weapon of choice. The winner, as always, will see their winning recipe brewed on Big Spruce’s 7BBL pilot system and distributed throughout the region. Two runners up (2nd and 3rd) will receive a swag/merch and beer box. All participants will be invited to the gala on February 5th, 2023, at the Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth for the big announcement. You can find additional details in this Ig post, and you can express your interest in competing (or ask additional questions) by emailing info@bigspruce.ca

* There might have been a year missing there for COVID; we can’t remember 😬

We already told you about the 2 Crows SCOOPS event and release, happening tonight from 5 – 11 PM (Stout pours and Ice Cream Floats!, with live music from 8 PM), but let us not skip over the fact that they have a beer on the other end of the spectrum pouring this week, and will still be available tonight… Zig is a Berliner Weisse style beer, think light and tart, this one has seen the addition of prickly pear to the batch. Those who remember Zip, Zap, Zop, and Zoup will see this fit in nicely to the family. On tap only as it is a small batch, but it may pair/contrast nicely with the SCOOPS you’re going to try.

Don’t forget to get out to your local brewery, cidery, or good bar this weekend. We’ve entered the slow season, and they can use all the support we can throw at them! We already told you about Copper Bottom’s Fifth Anniversary, and accompanying beer last week, here are a few other spots to visit if you’re in HRM…

Garrison Brewing’s Oxford Taproom, located at the corner of Quinpool and Oxford Streets in Halifax, is celebrating its Third Anniversary this weekend. They’ve got loads of beer specials, releases, and pop-ups planned for the entire weekend, including gluten-free empanadas from Verano tonight, handpies from Humble Pie tomorrow. Saturday late morning, The Oxford will host a yoga session, followed Sunday by a pop-up shop with local artist Peter Roth, and the evening is capped by stand-up comedy hosted by Dan Hendricken. Plus beer and coffee specials all weekend! It’s all too much to share here, so check this IG post for all the fun details! One of those beers is the return of their winter seasonal, All Lit Up. This 7.0% Winter Warmer Strong Ale was lightly spiced and features more of cinnamon, clove, raisins, and even some apricot, on top of the rich malt caramel flavour. Available on tap and in cans at their retails spaces now, it will also be at both private and provincial stores very soon.

The BrewHQ Retail Store is holding their Grand Opening this Saturday, November 19th. Located at 80 Thornhill Drive, this beer-making-centric store has tons (literally!) of ingredients, equipment for homebrewers of all sizes (and even small commercial outfits), as well as a few other draws that make them unique in the region (if not the world!). First and foremost is the fact that they have two house-brewed beers available on tap, allowing folks browsing the store something to sip on while they shop. Brewed on their 350 litre (3 BBL) system, they are concentrating on English Real Ale styles, working with naturally-carbonated beers, and handpump faucets to deliver the beer. Pouring right now are Extra Special Bitter and Traditional Mild. And if you like what you have in-store, you can even get a growler or PET bottle fill to take home. Enhancing the taproom feel is a full complement of pinball and Arcade machines (on Free Play all day during the party!), hotdogs and sausages and popcorn and soda while you browse and chat beer and brewing with the staff. Speaking of brewing, there will be a Grainfather Brew School happening tomorrow, an example of the weekly classes held at BrewHQ. For those interested in getting into the Homebrewing hobby, the Grainfather allows folks to do a full Grain brew (for ultimate control over the recipe, unlike pre-fabbed wort or the “kit and kilo” of years ago). Those who visit can enter in some door prizes (including the chance to win a Grainfather!!), and there are pop-up events happening throughout the day. What a way to spend your Saturday, for those already brewing at home, looking to learn more about the hobby, or just wanting another spot to enjoy a pint while playing pinball!

The good beer events continue into Sunday, as Barrington Street’s Bar Stillwell celebrates its Ninth Anniversary of slinging the good stuff. Look for special beers from the cellar (think Stilly Brewing Preach v.2018), freshies from south of the border (a Fruited Sour DIPA from Hudson Valley Brewing), and of course some great Belgian sours (Hof Ten Dormaal anyone?). As always, the food will be off the hook, and bumped up even more as Chef Joe Martin is putting an Italian-American spin on the menu, bringing some Saucy Meatball Sandwiches to reality, along with the usual hits from behind the protective cage. Plus birthday cake! Open from noon til midnight Nov 20, so plenty of time to enjoy, so we suggest pacing yourself. 

Details are light on this one, but clear your calendar for Saturday November 26th, as Dartmouth’s Battery Park is hosting a complete Tap Takeover from Tatamagouche Brewing. 17 taps a-flowing means a few originals from back in the day, some recent hits, and at least a couple of brand new releases! We hope to have even more info for yas next week!

A couple more things before we let you go this weekend…

It has been a year since Barnone Brewery in Rose Valley re-opened their barn under new management. Dozens of brews and Growler Nights and events have taken place over the course of the last twelve months. Due to the colder weather, they are closing the barn for winter, aiming for re-opening in early March. However Barn One fans, fear not, as plenty of spots on the island are carrying their beer, including HopYard, Abbiato, Olde Dublin, Pilot House, Red Shores, Olde Triangle, 511 West, and plenty more. Just ask at your favourite watering hole, and if they don’t already have it on tap, insist they bring in a keg!

Bathurst’s Four Rivers Brewing has a returning seasonal back this week, available on draught and in cans across the province’s liquor stores. Pa Rum Pum Pomander is perhaps a departure from the dark and roasty seasonals other breweries have put out, as this is a festive New England IPA featuring loads of citrus and just a touch of clove character. Medium bodied, creamy mouthfeel, and a 6.0% ABV may just make this a favourite of Old Saint Nick next month!

We close out this week’s blog with a salute to our Beer-Pals-In-Arms at 902 BrewCast, whose podcast explored the world of Atlantic Canadian (and beyond) beer, cider, and mead, over the past 6 years, recording more than 150 episodes. Tony, Kyle, and Phil were there in 2016 before 2 Crows Brewing opened their doors (starting the joke of a 902BC Curse…), put IPAs through a torture test to see how they held up in various extreme environments, and became one with the land in PEI as they drove through barley fields… They’ve decided to say so long to the podcast, but you know that won’t mean the end of their love for all things fermented, so you’ll be seeing them at beer-y events and releases in the future. Download “Tomorrow” right now and crack a beer to drink with your friends.