It’s been another busy week, as patios and Beer Gardens are beginning to close for the year (last chance for Stillwell BG is Saturday, weather-willing), darker beers are coming back in full force, and the never-stopping (not that we’d want it to) release of well-made IPAs continues unabated. Join us for a summary of almost two dozen releases from across our four Atlantic provinces! (Ed note: We’re gonna need a beer after this!)
Let us start with a duo of big IPAs from two breweries in Moncton, both hitting the taps and shelves today. First up is O’Creek Brewing once again flexing their hazy muscles with the release of Take On Me. Using a yeast that helps to keep all that hoppy goodness in suspension and closer to your nose, this beer was hopped late, and often, with the tremendous trio of Nelson Sauvin, Vic Secret, and the new HBC 586 (more on that in a moment). Massive tropical and citrus aromatics here, in a tidy 7.5% ABV package. And, speaking of packages, this freshly-canned beer is available today at their brewery on Barker in Moncton, as well as on tap there, and soon at better beer bars in the province.
Tire Shack, currently undergoing an incredible expansion of their facilities on John Street, is also releasing a great big hazy IPA today, telling the world that just because it’s getting a little cooler, there’s no need to let go of the tropical flavours just yet! They are continuing their Hip Hop Series, their ongoing exploration of flavour profiles from a showcased hop. Today’s release is Hip Hop Volume 9: HBC 586. A still-experimental hop from the Hop Breeding Company, HBC 586 is a stone fruit paradise, with mango, lychee, guava, and some orangey citrus in the mix. Beer nerds and home brewers, more info here. Sounds great in your breakfast smoothie, eh? Well, pop by Tire Shack today to grab some cans to try that tomorrow morning! And at only 8.0% ABV, it’s a fine substitution for a mimosa anyway. (Ed note: we are not responsible for anything that happens post-brunch if you substitute an 8% IPA for a mimosa)
Up the road in Fredericton, Trailway has a new delight for you with the introduction of Sunny B. You may remember their previous Sunny C, a step up the alphabet (and a step up in ABV) from the classic orange drink popular with the youths across North America. This iteration is still a small sour, at 3.5% ABV, and swaps orange for blueberry. Juicy and crushable, think of it like a blueberry mimosa, perfect for accompanying brunch or to give you a fruity kick to ward off the doldrums of a rainy and cool Fall day. Grab it in cans at either of their Fredericton or Saint John taprooms.
Continuing the trend of breweries whose names begin with the letter ‘T’, we have Tusket Falls, who have a sour of their own out this week that they’re calling Long Way Around. The latest in their series of “sour smoothies,” this one saw a dry hop of Citra and Strata for major citrus and dank hop aromas, an infusion of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries for a fruity punch, and lactose and Madagascar vanilla beans to sweeten and smooth it all out, balancing the Lactobacillus-driven sourness. A touch of sea salt puts the finishing touch on this one, which comes in at 6.5% ABV and is available now from the brewery or at their spot in North End Halifax.
Off the mainland and up to the Rock we find Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl with something new and hoppy for us this week. Dog Park is a 4.5% ABV session IPA, but rather than the little hazies that have abounded in our region and across the continent over the past few years, this one instead leans into the classic West Coast profile. With malt notes of biscuit and toffee, and citrus, dank, and slightly spicy hop character, this one would be perfect to slide into a Yeti Colster® for sneaky sips while your pup pulls zoomies at the local off leash area. There are three can designs available, all featuring very good girls and boys owned by members of the Landwash Team; collect ‘em all! Find this one in cans and on tap at the brewery, with distribution to come at all the usual places you find their beer.
Now we head back down South, but to another island of note in our region, Cape Breton, where in scenic Nyanza, Big Spruce has a new one and a returning engagement. First up is Buntàta, a collaboration brew with a primary ingredient that might take you by surprise. It’s no secret that CB has one of the largest Gaelic-speaking populations outside Europe and the local Gaelic Business Initiative worked together with the Spruce team to come up with a beer to celebrate their culture. A “Gaelic Potato Ale” this one leaned on starches from farm-grown red, purple, and white potatoes, paired up with Big Spruce’s own Centennial and Mount Hood hops for an earthy and vibrant brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy thanks to the potatoes, but there’s still some malty caramel sweetness and subtle hop bitterness as well. More in the mainstream is the other release from BS this week, Alors on Danse, this one on its second go around. A hazy double IPA coming in at 7.1%, it leverages the Thiol Libre yeast from Escarpment Labs to help bring out lots of tropical flavors like gooseberry and passionfruit. Grab either (or both!) of these brews at the brewery and, no doubt, at other places where you tend to find Big Spruce beers.
Moving west to the Antigonish area, we find North Grant’s Half Cocked Brewing also has a new release, a hybrid of French and Belgian saisons. Old Barn Saison is bone dry, thanks to the hungry yeast that consumed all of the tasty sugar from the mash. It has also imparted some lovely pepper and citrus notes, further enhanced by the Saaz hops used throughout the boil. Refreshing, complex, a touch acidic…definitely a complex beer that warrants your further investigation! Grab Old Barn on tap this weekend, maybe while you pop in for brunch at The Crafty Cooks, who are setting up a buffet inside the brewery, 10 AM – 1 PM Sunday.
In cider news, Annapolis Cider in Wolfville, NS, has a new entry in their Something Different series. Melon Margarita sees the marriage of literal truckloads of watermelon goodness with honeycrisp apple juice, a bit of cucumber, for a vegetal smokiness, and some lime for that tart zip that says, “margarita.” Finished with fresh honeycrsip and watermelon juice, the result is sweet, yet tart, and very refreshing, at 5.2%. As with all ciders in the Something Different series, $0.50 of every fill goes to a charity and this time around it’s Shelter Movers Nova Scotia, a volunteer organization that helps individuals and families fleeing abuse.
Back up to Newfoundland, we find Banished Brewing in Paradise bringing the Hallowe’en goods with the return of their Skelephone IPA. Although they tried to do the same thing this year as last year, using blue spirulina to impart an eerie green hue, this year it’s less green than ever. Same recipe, same techniques, different result; they tried blending in the spirulina three times and each time it dissolved and then precipitated back out. We agree with the Banished team that’s a suitably sinister situation for this 5% seasonal. Fortunately, the spirulina is flavor-neutral and the beer tastes just fine, the glow in the dark can is still rad AF, and it is what it is, b’y. Find it on tap at the brewery and at retailers who tend to stock Banished beer.
Speaking of Banished, our friends at Bishop’s Cellar on the Halifax Waterfront have made an effort to bring some of their offerings to Nova Scotia beer fans. Available today in the store and for online orders are An Elaborate Series of Mirrors (American Lager, 5%), Mustard Pickles (Triple IPA collab with Lone Oak, 10.5%!), Clockin’ Out (Red Ale, 5.2%) and their flagship hazy Space Puffin (NEIPA, 6%). You may also see that last one appear at some of the other private stores in the city, but you’ll have to stick to Bishop’s for the others. A reminder that shipping is free on to addresses in NS on orders over $150 and quite reasonable on orders less than that, and they’ve also got a new Express Delivery Service (2 hours within select postal codes within the HRM, 12 noon – 8 PM Thu/Fri/Sat). They’ve also got a fall sale in progress across most of their product lines, so we ask, “What are you waiting for?”
A big birthday party this weekend in Labrador, and a workshop in Halifax coming up early next week.
Labrador’s Iron Rock Brewing is celebrating their Fourth Anniversary this week, with events all weekend, as well as a new beer, one with quite a history, to celebrate their accomplishment. First brewed by Dave Hurley as part of the Newfermenters Homebrew Club Advent Calendar in 2017, it took a little bit of help from his brother Brian to be delivered to the distribution point in St. John’s in time for the bottle share. And now, six years later, Dave is still the one brewing (albeit on a much bigger scale!), and Brian is helping with the Island logistics (and plenty more!). Orange Daydream Milkshake IPA is the beer, and marks batch number 261 on their system in Lab City. The 6.0% ABV beer is loaded with Equinox, Azacca, and Citra, and further bumped up with sweet orange zest, and a bit of lactose and house-made vanilla extract for that creamsicle mouthfeel. On tap now, with cans coming to the brewery, and beyond, in the next little while.
The Fourth Anniversary Fun continues this weekend with a full schedule, including Trivia tonight at 7:30, Beer Yoga tomorrow at 1 PM, and live music tomorrow night at 9 PM, courtesy of The Sun Dogs. Congratulations to the Hurley boys and the whole Iron Rock Family!
We’ve got an event put on by Prince’s Trust to tell you about this week and this one is put on with the Change is Brewing Collective. Prince’s Trust has been an organization based out of the UK (back when King Charles was the Prince of Wales) to fund opportunities for youth from disadvantaged communities in finding new opportunities and connections, and learning new skills in hopes of finding career paths and exploring new industries. The Prince’s Trust Canadian branch is featuring a Halifax workshop on Monday, October 16th, to discuss brewing industry opportunities and all of the jobs involved from brewing, marketing, supply chain, and warehousing. Giovanni and O’Neil from Change is Brewing will be giving a talk and then diving into a hands-on workshop. This is all free if you’re between 18 and 30 and can be in the North End of Halifax from 6:30 PM until 8:30 PM. You’ll need to register at the link here to attend.
Staying on the job train, Tatamagouche Brewing is hiring part-time and full-time positions as a taproom associate. You have three ways to apply here if you live nearby and want the job: drop off your resume in person at the brewery, email, or via Indeed. Be sure to check the Indeed posting for even more details.
Lots of quick mentions to end the post today, from further news about a new taproom to lots of re-releases around the region:
The news keeps coming out of 2 Crows and their new location (Oxford and Cork in Halifax, the old 4Cats Art Studio, if you didn’t read last week’s post). As we mentioned last week they’ve posted for a General Manager for the food and taproom and this week we get news that it’s Yeah Yeahs Pizza as the food partner! Moving from their Barrington Street location, they will be headed from the downtown to the West End for the 50-seat taproom location. This is a big newsbite and an awesome partnership and location. Yeah Yeahs should be closing their Barrington location at the end of the month, so check out the 2 Crows and Yeah Yeahs socials for more updates.
If you’re near Perth-Andover in New Brunswick, the do-it-all (brewery, coffee roastery, music venue and more) Tobique River Trading Company has a new brew on tap. Oktober Brown Ale is available now at the brewery for pints and growler fills. It’s 5% and is malt forward but balanced out with some nice hop bitterness.
As it truly is the fall harvest, we’re rolling right into Stout Season and North Brewing is bringing back Let the Good Times Roll, a 6% Golden Stout. The beer brings the comfortable warmth of a stout with some chocolate and coffee flavours, but with a golden coloured body from the light-on-roast malt bill. This is available now in cans from all three of North’s locations and online for home delivery and shipping.
Sticking with another returning seasonal for Stout Season, Schoolhouse Brewery is bringing back Staffroom Stout, a collaboration with T.A.N. Coffee, their Windsor neighbours. Using cold-brewed organic coffee from T.A.N, this coffee stout has refreshing flavours of espresso and chocolate that is refreshing and flavourful. It’s 5.5% and available in cans from the brewery for a limited time.
Kicking off a trio of Newfoundland beer news, Bannerman Brewing kicks us off with their seasonal release of Dressed to Kill. Just like the first time it was released it’s a fruited sour ale with additions of raspberries and blackberries. A dry-hopping of Mosaic then brings a lovely initial aroma to join the berry flavours. The 6% beer is available now on tap and in cans from the brewery.
Another Halloween-themed Newfoundland release comes to us from Port Rexton Brewing. Back with a seasonal dark beer release, Chasing Moon is a Dark NEIPA. A style that we haven’t seen too much of, the beer takes all those tropical and stone fruit flavours and aromas, and pairs them with a dark colour and slightly roasty profile with the use of dark malts. At 6.2% there is a lot of flavour in the juicy, smooth, slightly bitter and highly drinkable brew. Pick this up now at both Port Rexton locations, Marie’s and everywhere else around the island for distribution next week.
Finishing off the Newfoundland trio, Quidi Vidi Brewery is teaming up with the (amazing) St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival for a new release to mark the occasion. Director’s Cut is a 4.8% American Pilsener that’s been canned and is available now, though the actual festival runs from October 17th until the 21st.
Copper Bottom Brewing out of Montague, PEI is embracing the darkness as they bring back Eclipse, a Black IPA. This 6.5% IPA brings notes of citrus, pine, stone fruit and a slightly roasty body thanks to the dark roasted and coffee notes from the malt. The hop bill for this brings out those aforementioned flavours from Simcoe, Galaxy and Cascade and it comes in at 50 IBU. This returns on Saturday in cans and on tap along with some special and food music at the brewery.
We’ll leave you this week, for the second week in a row, with some unfortunate news. Hammond River Brewing in Rothesay, NB, announced this week that they are permanently closing their doors. The first brewery to open in the Kennebecasis Valley, in fall of 2013, HR started very small, with a 1 BBL system in the basement of original brewer/owner Shane Steeves. That system was eventually replaced by something much larger and a brewery and taproom in town. They’d seen an ownership change in the last few years, but still seemed to be a going concern in the region. We’re sure they will be missed by lovers of craft beer in the KV. We remind you again that this is an extremely tough time for the industry and people continuing to support their favorite locals is likely to be a determining factor in brewery survival.