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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
* 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.