Happy Friday everyone! We hope you’ve had a great week and are ready to celebrate another weekend with a variety of beer, cider, and mead from your local producers. We’ve got plenty of news on big changes from two breweries in Nova Scotia, new beer and Pride in Port Rexton, some great events later in the month for those in HRM, and of course a few things to sip and savour at home or in your favourite watering hole before then. And a reminder that this weekend’s Seaport Beerfest is happening rain or shine, so be sure to coordinate the colour of your umbrella with that of your drinking boots! With 300+ products from across the region and beyond, there will be more than enough to satisfy your cravings. Cheers!
This weekend is Port Rexton Pride, with a full gamut of events happening in town, with crafting fun and the kick-off BBQ this afternoon at the arena, and of course Port Rexton Brewery will be hosting plenty of events all weekend. To celebrate the event, they have once again teamed up with Queer Beer NL, a group of queer homebrewers in St. John’s, to bring you Experimental Phase. This is truly a hybrid of two styles, with the hop aroma and flavour of a New England IPA with the malty profile of a Red Ale. Citrus and stone fruit on the nose, followed by a touch of caramel or even gingerbread, in a low bitterness, 5.5% ABV, package. It’s pouring at the brewery now, and will be available everywhere you grab Port Rexton in the coming weeks, so be sure to check it out and support PR Pride!
Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery has released their Summer Break Wheat, just in time to finish out the hottest part of the summer, and give teachers one last moment of respite before the bells start ringing for another year. This 5.3% ABV beer uses a Kolsch-style yeast for a clean fermentation with a touch of subtle banana fruitiness to the bright orange peel finish. Perle hops lend a touch of mint, pine, and spice to the overall effect, and is available on tap and in cans at the brewery and at Bishop’s Cellar.
Down in Lunenburg, Shipwright is releasing Sea Legs, a Belgian influenced take on a Brut IPA. This one starts with a grain bill of Pale, Munich, CaraBelge and Abbey malts, before seeing additions of Citra and Lemondrop hops. The team then pitched Escarpment’s Ardenne Belgian yeast, which fermented the beer to be quite dry with an ABV of 9.5%. Despite the high ABV, the dryness and low bitterness (16 IBUs), this one is sneakily easy drinking. The combo of the hops and Belgian yeast give floral aromas and fruity esters. Grab it today in Downtown Lunenburg.
Across the way in Wolfville, Annapolis Cider is releasing the latest in their Something Different series with Bouquet Rosé. This one saw 4(!) separate ferments come together, including a lilac co-ferment, a cyser (mead/cider hybrid) that uses magnolias and dandelions, and a blueberry wine. The result is a spring bloom in a glass, with notes of lilac, flowers, blueberries and nectarines. Refillable bottles are available at the cidery now, with $0.50 of every sale supporting The Mudley Fund, which helps to remove financial barriers for children and youth in the Town of Wolfville who are seeking to engage with their community.
Two big events to tell you about coming at the end of the month.
Our friends at Change is Brewing Collective are partnering with Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia to bring you a Summer Beer Bus Tour on Sunday August 27. Teaming up with Taste Halifax Food & Beer Tours, this tour begins at the Africville Park with a walking tour of the area, before continuing on to North Brewing (CIB’s collaborators on Deep Rooted), Propeller Brewing (Wabanaki Soda), and on to Garrison Brewing (future plans, perhaps?). There will be charcuterie boxes from a local Black-owned business, plus prizes too! Tickets are on sale now, with early bird pricing available. Don’t miss out on this great learning and drinking opportunity. Learn more here.
And just a couple of days later, on August 29, Change is Brewing is hosting a screening of One Pint at a Time, an award-winning documentary highlighting the stories of Black-owned breweries and brewers as they make their mark in the US beer market. Co-hosted by Boxing Rock (of Back to Birchtown Stock Ale), the screening will be held at Hopyard Halifax on Gottingen Street, featuring food pairing and the launch of a Triple Collaborative Beer between the three groups. Tickets are pay what you can to support Change is Brewing’s initiatives around the local industry. More information here.
A few more things before we let you go…
Coming back just in time for the Dragon Boat festivities at Octagon Pond in Paradise next weekend is Banished Brewing’s Paddles Up! Sour. Inspired by and brewed with the Avalon Dragons, a group of Breast Cancer Survivors who race in the Paradise SunSplash Paddle every year, this Raspberry and Hibiscus Fruited Sour is brimming with flavour and sports a lovely pink hue. Fifty cents from each can goes towards the team, so drink up!
In returning beer news, Big Spruce has a couple of releases this week, with the Blursday 6.6% Hazy IPA hitting the draught lines and shelves this week. Think tropical fruit, with mango, papaya, and lychee. Joining it is Kolsch Encounters, their 5.6% Lagered Ale hybrid beer, with a delicate malt character and a crisp and dry finish. Look for it on tap and in cans as well.
The King of Citra is back from Unfiltered… Double Orange Ale, aka DOA, is their 7.5% ABV Double IPA, brimming to the edge with Citra hops throughout, for serious citrus vibes and solid bitterness. Pints and cans to go from Charm School and the brewery next door on North Street!
Let’s finish off this week with news from two Nova Scotia breweries where there have been some big changes recently!
On Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, fans of Sober Island Brewing will be seeing some new faces working the taps these days, as owner and founder Rebecca Atkinson has passed the reins over to new owners Nancy and Steve Giles. Since opening the brewery in 2016, Atkinson has helped to make Sheet Harbour a destination for beer lovers from across the country, and is now turning her focus to other endeavours. The Giles’ will continue the great work, keeping the brewery taproom and Musquodoboit Harbour Beer Garden bustling and busy with events, and Brewer Tim MacLeod will continue brewing the same beers that he has for years, including the recently released Eastern Shore Barley Wine, an 11.7% ABV beast of a beer. Congratulations to Rebecca and the Gileses on the transition!
Residents of Lower Sackville will soon see big changes at their local brewery at 111 Cobequid Road, Ol’ Biddy’s is undergoing a name change. Since the sale of the brewery in April, there have been major renovations in the taproom and improved patio front and centre to the building. There is another big transition happening now, as they are changing their name to a locally inspired one, Great Roads Brewing. The website and social media pages are still in flux, but the Great Roads name is inspired by the nearby Fultz House Museum, with the Fultz House sitting at the intersection of the important roads leading from Halifax and Dartmouth to Windsor and Truro. Visitors to the brewery can get a sneak peak of the new branding by grabbing their newly canned Blueberry Wheat Ale. Many of the same folks who have been at the brewery for years continue on, including Brewer Rob, who has been making the beer for 3 years, learning under founder and former owner Keith Forbes. We’re excited to hear of the new and upcoming changes, and will continue to share the latest news from Lower Sackville’s brewery!