Well, you’ve done it! You’ve survived another month of wild weather in the region, with snow, rain, wind, rain, snow, and even t-shirt weather for a short blink of the eye. As the weather turns and stays colder, the breweries and ciderhouses continue to change their focus to products with a bit more heft, so keep those eyes peeled for the bottles and cans below, as well as the many others on the shelves and taps in Atlantic Canada this month!
Why not start this week with some cider love? Beausoleil Farmstead Cidery & Vineyard is located on Church Street in Port Williams, a short drive from the centre of town. A small but mighty family team oversees the cider (and wines) coming together, from tree (and vine) to fruit to glass, keeping true to their philosophy of sustainable farming and cellar experimentation. They are celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, and releasing two new blends to mark the occasion. Oak’d is a 6.8% barrel-aged cider made from a blend of Annapolis Valley-grown apples, including McIntosh, Cortland, and Golden Russet. After six months of aging in French oak barrels, it was finished with just a touch of fresh-pressed juice, to bring some soft tannins and hint of acidity to the rich notes of toasted spice and baked apple in the base cider. Taking a different approach for the second new release is Mimosa, Beausoleil’s take on the popular brunch (or anytime!) drink. Starting with base of Chardonnay wine, it was infused with fresh oranges, blended with Annapolis Valley cider, and given a touch of effervescence to enhance the experience. Wine, cider, and citrus never tasted so good! Both Oak’d and Mimosa are available this weekend at their tasting room (open 1 – 4 PM both Saturday and Sunda), as well as their online shop for local delivery.
Dark beer lovers rejoice! Propeller Brewing is continuing their foray into the dark and festive beers with the latest take on their Porter, Chocolate Orange Porter. Building on the full-bodied and roast-filled original, the addition of chocolate and orange makes this a lovely festive beer. Available on tap now at the two Propeller tap rooms, cans are also available at their retail locations, online for local delivery and Canada-wide shipping, as well as the private stores in town and at the airport (including in the Harvest Beer and Cider Advent Calendar, where you’ll be drinking that later today [sorry for the spoiler!]).
Back to cider, as Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider Company has the latest in their Something Different Series this week, Arctic Kiwi Rosé. Locally-grown Arctic Kiwis (think miniature hairless kiwis that are capable of handling the local cooler climate) were juiced and fermented with ACC’s signature dry-fermented base, offering bright tropical notes and a little body. This blend was finished off with fresh-pressed Geneva crab apple juice for a bit of acidity and astringency, as well as the signature rosé colour. Available now at their tasting room on Main Street, each bottle refill of the 6.1% sparkling Arctic Kiwi Rosé sees $0.50 donated to support the Wolfville Area Food Bank.
Sackville, Nova Scotia’s very own brewery, Ol’ Biddy’s, has both brew and news for you this week. On the beer side, Merry Rye-solution is, beyond its tortured name, a re-release of a holiday treat from years past. Featuring plenty of rye for a characteristic spiciness along with some demerara sugar to provide seasonal notes of molasses and toffee, it was bittered to 26 IBU to ensure some balance and has a drying finish. Deep copper in color and weighing in at a burly 9.4% ABV, it’s not to be trifled with; you’ll find it at the brewery, of course, along with select NSLC locations. On the news side, the gang at OB is happy to report that they’re going to be making it easier for you to get their beer this busy season by bringing it directly to you! For the next three Saturdays, starting tomorrow, if you’re within 10km of the brewery, you’ll be able to place an order for local delivery. In addition to the 10km limit, you’ve got to be spending $24 to qualify for $5 delivery or $50 for free delivery (we don’t know about you, but we don’t find it difficult to turn a $25 order into a $50 order when beer is involved!!) You’ll also need to be of appropriate drinking age (19, last we checked) and home, with ID handy to accept the delivery. Your order must be received by 6 PM the Friday before the delivery date to qualify. Look for the new “delivery” option when ordering on their site and follow the prompts! You can also order kegs for delivery, but you’ll need to call them brewery directly and talk to Chris about that. Lastly, if you do decide to drop down to their taproom for a pint or to pick some stuff up, why not bring a donation for Feed Nova Scotia? You’ll be doing needy folks some good and meanwhile enter to win a Weber Kettle BBQ.
From Sackville to Spryfield, where Serpent Brewing is releasing a big holiday brew of their own in the next week. Three Kings is a rum barrel aged beer in the Belgian Dark Strong style. “What’s a Belgian Dark Strong,” you ask? Well, it uses Belgian yeast for characteristic spicy and estery character, it’s dark in color, and b’y, she’s strong, at 11% ABV. Aged in barrels from Compass Distillers, it’s got notes of pepper, dark fruits, wood-aged rum, and plenty of warmth. There are three different labels coming for this, and by all means, collect them all, but we wouldn’t recommend drinking them all in one night. Or even one weekend, really. Check Serpent socials (Ig/Fb/Tw) for more on when this one is released.
Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider is celebrating the season with the return of their collaboration with Change is Brewing Collective. A little refresher on this one, the fine folks of Change is Brewing visited the Portland Street taproom to put together a winter seasonal to perfectly pair with a hearty holiday meal. Enter Forest Glory, a blend of all Nova Scotian apples and cranberries, infused with locally-grown rosemary, thyme, and juniper. Herbaceous and tart, this 6.8% cider is available again for purchase in the retail store as well as online for local delivery or shipping. All proceeds of sales go toward community-lead non profit organizations working to create space and opportunities for the BIPOC community, both in and out of the drinks industry.
It’s a Big Week for Big Spruce, as they have two new releases to tell us, and y’all, about! Building on the popularity of last year’s From Nova Scotia with Love Collaboration with Boston’s Harpoon Brewery, they’ve done it all over again! For anyone not in the know, after the Halifax Explosion, hundreds of support workers from Northeast US came to help with medical treatment and support. In recognition of that, each year the province of Nova Scotia sends down a Christmas tree to the city of Boston. In 2020, Big Spruce and Harpoon came together for an epid Whiskey Barrel Aged Abbey Ale (read more about it here), and they are one-upping themselves this year, with the Bûche de Nöel Imperial Milk Stout. Taking cues from the holiday Yule Log dessert, the beer itself is big and bold, with plenty of rich Belgian chocolate and fresh-roasted coffee, with cacao nibs and a hint of juniper. Oh, and all of that was aged in a Glenora Single Malt Whiskey Barrel! Cans are available at the Sprucetique and online for delivery now, with kegs delivered and pouring now/shortly at Battery Park, HopYard Halifax, and Bar Stillwell!
Returning favourite, and only available on draught, is Fou D’Amour, a Barbe Rouge-solo-hopped Double IPA. Weighing in at a hefty 8.0% and XXX IBU (your guess is as good as ours!), this French-grown hop is known for tropical and citrus notes, think strawberry and grapefruit and kumquat! Built on a hazy and pillowy base, you’ll be able to grab a pint in Nyanza this weekend, and coming soon to Battery Park and Stillwell at any moment.
Heading from one island to another, up on The Rock in Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland (& Labrador!) Landwash Brewery has a hoppy new brew hitting the taps this week. Frozen Coves is a DIPA in their Limited Series that they’ve hopped generously with Bru-1, Ekuanot, and HBC 586 to give this 7.2% banger a fruity punch of peach, pineapple and tangerine. Available at the brewery for pints to stay and in cans to go, it’ll also be showing up at Marie’s Mini Mart locations and NLC over the next week or so. If hops aren’t your thing, and you lean towards the deeper, darker beers, have no fear, Landwash has you covered there too. Cake Tray, 2021 edition, was inspired by the good old classic Newfoundland Snowball, which if you’re not familiar means you ought to expect lots of chocolatey and coconut character. A stout, of course, plenty of dark malts give it color and body and coconut gives it, well, what you’d expect. At 7% it should have a touch of holiday warmth for you as well. Available now at retail, but if you’ve got a few minutes to sit and enjoy one in the taproom you’ll be rewarded by a pour off the nitro tap, which will impart a super-creamy body that you can’t get any other way. You’ll see this one at Marie’s soon as well.
Now is the time to enjoy the fruits of the annual collaboration between North Brewing and Benjamin Bridge Winery. We told you about these a couple weeks ago (did we jump the gun on that? Ooops!) but we’re sure they’re both available now at all North retail locations. Musqué is a big ‘ol double IPA at 8% fermented on Musqué grape skins, of course, and Blanc is a much smaller and more delicate Grisette fermented on Sauvignon Blanc skins. We recommend experiencing both yin and yang by grabbing both of them. Even better, $0.50 from each can sold of both beers goes to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. Meanwhile, North also has two other beers back this week for repeat engagements. Midnight Figgy Pudding is a batch of Midnight, their strong dark Belgian that was split between 4 Glenora Distillery whiskey barrels for over two years before being blended with figs, dates, and vanilla. Be gentle with this one as it’s 10.5% ABV, perfect for an evening by the fire wrapping presents, we’d bet! And if you’re looking for something a little more breakfast-y, Stack o’ Pancakes might have you covered. Nominally a pastry stout (we all agree pancakes are pastry, right? Like, “cake” is right in the name and everything!!) this imperial-strength (9% ABV) beer featured plenty of chocolate malt in the grist for roasty chocolate flavors as well as maple syrup (of course), vanilla, and salt! Grab these two beasts from North the next time you’re there or order for curbside pickup, local delivery, or nation-wide shipping. If you’re a fan of North you may also want to grab one of their Holiday Boxes: 12 North beers (oh, fine, eleven beers and one seltzer), including the exclusive Eisbock, a lovely glass stein from which to enjoy them, and a holiday card and some custom wrapping paper.
Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing has a big and bold beer out today, their first special release from their new brewhouse at 1355 Main Street. In A Beautiful House continues their tradition of massive pastry stouts first started from their 1 BBL brewhouse in their original Gastropub location. Brewed with lactose (aka milk sugar), this 11.9% ABV beer was conditioned on toasted marshmallows and Madagascar vanilla beans, to get all of the sticky sweetness and bold flavours. Only a few flats available at the time of publishing, you’ll want to get down there ASAP to avoid disappointment!
Annapolis Brewing in Annapolis Royal has brought back their Fundy Haze, their house New England IPA. Absolutely overflowing with Galaxy, Sabro, and Mosaic, this hazy beer is juicy, tropical, and ready to go now! And their sister cider company, East Coast Cider Company has released a new perry this week named Pear Cider. Made with locally-grown pears, the perry features delicate floral and fruity notes, with a touch of honey-like sweetness. Available at their taproom on draught and in cans.
Good Robot Brewing is celebrating a mainstay of Enfield, Curly Portables, with their new Curly’s Amber. Building on the legend of woodsman Curly, born in Rawdon Hills in 1895, who went on to invent the triple-bit axe and other fantastical feats, Curly’s features biscuit and caramel malts to balance the light hop bitterness, and made for enjoying a few after splitting and stacking wood. Keep your eyes here and on their IG for more details on Good Robot’s progress in Elmsdale, just down the road from Curly’s. And if you are looking to give back this holiday season, drop off donations for the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre at their Robie Street taproom, full details available in this post. And check out their Holiday Gift Pack for the person who has everything/nothing!
A reminder that both of the recent Ontario Collaborations hosted by 2 Crows in Halifax are now available, the L’Acadie Draw Sauvignon Blanc IPA with Willibald Farm Brewery and Molten Mirrors Saison/Lager hybrid with BeerLab!. And if you need a reminder on what exactly those are, we gave you all the info you need in last week’s post. Also worth your time is that 2C is having a sale on select 355ml cans in their fridge, which means you can get a flat of Matinee, Tiny Dancer, or Dos Cuervos for just $50. Create your own Advent Calendar on the cheap! Deal is available at the taproom, as well as their online shop, which means free HRM delivery!
Dartmouth’s Spindrift has engaged in a bit of a reinvention over the last year or so, as they pivoted from being the “(almost) all lager, (almost) all the time” brewery to a bit more of an industry standard product range where the primary focus is on ales (don’t worry, though, folks, we’re pretty sure your Toller, Toller Gold, and Toller Light aren’t going anywhere). In the process of these moves they’ve also taken the time to reinvent their branding; you may have noticed their slick designs on the shelves and not realized, at least right away, that you were looking at Spindrift offerings (their old branding was pretty iconic too). Anyways, a few of the things they’ve had come out in the last while that you might keep your eyes out for include:
- Horizon Blonde Bitter – a light and approachable beer in the classic style, coming in at 4.3% ABV and 27 IBU, with classic British hopping from Northdown and Challenger and notes of orange, tea, and a touch of stone fruit.
- Grapefruit Spaceship Grapefruit IPA – does what it says on the tin, of course, at 6% ABV, with some very tropical and citrusy hops, namely Galaxy, Comet, and Eureka, boosted by plenty of grapefruit juice, and all balanced with classic West Coast IPA-style sweetness from caramel malt and a blast of bitterness (53 IBU).
- Queen Bee Honey Brown – lots of “honey browns” out there, but this one distinguishes itself by being both properly brown and through the use of actual Canadian honey; expect this 4.8% ABV and 25 IBU easy-drinker to be lighter in body than the appearance would suggest, with notes of coffee, toffee, chocolate, and nuts along with a bit of honey on the finish.
Antigonish powerhouses Candid Brewing and Townhouse Pub have come together for a fun collaboration. Kanpai is a Japanese-style Rice Lager, weighing in at a respectable 4.0% ABV. Light, refreshing, and super-crushable, it has a clean and dry finish, making it the perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes, which is right up the alley of these two neighbouring businesses. Find it on tap now at both locations, with cans dropping mid-month.
Back to Portland Street for a new release from Brightwood Brewery. Shy Guy is a flavoured Gose dreamed up and executed by Assistant Brewer Noah, who took a base of a belgian-yeast-fermented wheat ale, with the addition of blackberry puree, orange peels, and a touch of Himalayan salt. Pouring now in their taproom, cans of Shy Guy should be hitting the shelves any minute now!