We are getting back into the swing of things with another post on time! As we are back to our regularly scheduled programming, this is an exciting time of year as we start to see anniversaries, seasonal releases and holiday excitement fill the air. Speaking of anniversaries, check out our post from earlier this week highlighting the incredible Bar Stillwell opening 10 years ago, where we shared the taplist for the two day event. These blog boys have spent more time at Stillwell (all locations!) than we could count and everyone in the region is happy to have them showcase drinks from near and far. Of course, there is always news from all across Atlantic Canada, so take a read through our updates below and as always, cheers!
Of course you’ll find Stillwell Brewing Co beer pouring at the Bar Stillwell birthday party today and tomorrow, and in addition to some regulars and some rarities, that also includes a brand new release. Born from inspiration gained during brewer CPR’s trip to Czechia in 2022, Stillwell 13º is a Czech-style dark lager. While you may be familiar with the German take on the dark lager style, known as schwarzbier, the Czech, properly called tmavé pivo (“dark beer”) isn’t even that common in its home country, making up only about 3.5% of Czech beer production these days. Not unlike the difference between German and Czech Pilsners, the Czech version is rounder on the palate, with more malt body and some sweetness to balance the back-end roasty notes. At its best, featuring a big and creamy head of foam, it invites both careful consideration and eager enjoyment, somehow managing to be both chewy and rich as well as dry and crisp at the same time. Does Stillwell 13º live up to that? We think so, but now you can judge for yourself. Check it out at the party this weekend at HQ, from the Lukr side-pull taps (always a different experience) at the Stillwell Freehouse and the Brewery on Kempt Rd, and now in cans to go as well. Speaking of cans, if you’re down at the brewery you’re also going to find Stillwell Pale Ale is now (finally!) available in cans as well!
Another brewery on tap at Stillwell HQ this weekend will be 2 Crows, who will be debuting/sneak peeking at least two new beers on Barrington Street. Debuting at noon today is an as-of-yet-unnamed new IPA (ask Josh for the name when you pop in), in the juicy and hazy vein of the series kicked off by Perfect Situation back in 2018. Wheat and Oats help to keep a lovely smooth mouthfeel, as does capturing the carbon dioxide given off during fermentation using a spunding technique. That base beer is a fluffy pillow to allow the hops to shine through, mainly Columbus added during the mash and early boil, then Citra, Hallertau Blanc, and Nelson Sauvin added as the wort was cooled post-boil, with more Citra and then Rakau added during active fermentation. Speaking of, a blend of Verdant Thiol Libre yeasts were used, the latter unlocking the much sought-after biotransformation of the hop aromatics to give super-tropical notes. Pop by this afternoon to avoid disappointment!
As the initial kegs are kicked at Stilly, one of the next to be tapped is a sneak peek at one of 2 Crows’ anniversary beer, officially coming in early 2024. Alright Alright Alright is a follow-up to their OK OK OK, the Fruited Farmhouse beer released last year, featuring NS Sea Salt from the folks at OK Sea Salt. Once again, this year’s version spent plenty of time in a foedre, allowing those funky and tart notes from their house cultures to work their magic. Massive amounts of raspberry purée, complemented by freshly zested and juices limes, plus the aforementioned OK Salt, round of the flavour before packaging for natural carbonation in the can and keg. You’ll be the first to try it at Stilly this weekend, so keep an eye on their and 2C’s social media for the bat signal.
Never slowing down, the 2 Crows Brew Crew have once again traded places with their Front of House staff for the second of their Brewed by Servers, Served by Brewers release. Tonight at 6PM in the 2 Crows taproom, Everett, Miles, and Jeremy will be pouring up Brother Jiles, a Cranberry and Orange Hefeweizen, the recipe designed and brewed in October by Declan, Leandra, Esmé, and Tessa. The small batch of this light, zesty, and juicy beer is only available on tap, and probably will not last all evening, so be sure to drop by to give those brewery recluses a fun time. 🙂
2 Crows teamed up with their pals at Banished Brewing in Paradise Newfoundland, for a pair of collaboration beers, with 2C’s half hitting the taps this weekend. Home & Home is the absolutely fitting name for the beer on both sides of the water, with a base of barley, wheat and oats, and layers upon layers of hops. With the Halifax version seeing additions of Columbus, Citra, Hallertau Blanc, and Nelson Sauvin before fermentation, with more of the same early- and post-fermentation with the same hops (plus Enigma). As they are wont to do, the brewing team at 2 Crows pulled in another Nova Scotia producer for an added level of complexity and flavour, as they collected freshly-pressed red wine skins from Annapolis Valley’s Lightfoot & Wolfville, and rehydrated them to create a piquette. Blending that into the beer offers a bit more fermentable sugar for natural carbonation just before packaging. Big notes of red fruit, blackberry, and of course grapey goodness, with the big hop aromatics to match. Home & Home is available now on tap and in cans on Brunswick Street, and the 2 Crows Crew is also celebrating with a Launch Party at The BG Halifax, the waterfront beer garden at Summit Plaza tomorrow. Front 12 – 5 PM, there will be samples flowing during their Sip & Shop market, plus treats from Vandal Doughnuts.
More on the story of Home & Home, is the great collaboration between Banished’s long time label collaborator Paul G Hammond and 2 Crows’ pal Alex MacAskill of Midnight Oil, who themselves collaborated on the labels for the releases in Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia. The folks behind the marketing and social media have also banded together, and you’ll see plenty of fun posts coming from Tessa and Jason in the coming days. Banished’s release will be coming next week, with their Home staying in the straight Hazy IPA style with citrus, tropical, and stone fruit flavour profile from the hops used throughout. It must be hazy season in Paradise, as H&H will join the recently released Makes Sense and Occasionally Hazy IPAs, for an all-out hoppy good time.
Cole Harbour’s North Brewing has made a name for themselves in social and community involvement over the years they’ve been in operation and this week they continue their work in that vein. Not surprisingly, there’s a beer to talk about, as they’re releasing All-In, a (very) light beer at 3% ABV. A limited release, it was brewed in collaboration with United Dartmouth Football Club (UDFC) as part of their event entitled, of course, “ALL-IN” that runs this weekend and features Canadian Olympic soccer gold medalist Erin McLeod. W-Inspire was started by UDFC as a full-day conference in Nova Scotia with a vision to empower female leaders in sports. ALL-IN is the latest event in its evolution into a, “platform for women and gender-diverse individuals in soccer to connect, learn, and inspire one another.” North has pledged $0.50 from each can of the refreshing All-In beer sold to UDFC to help continue the W-Inspire program; you can grab it at all North locations or order online. You can read more about this weekend’s event at UDFC’s site.
Small but mighty Shipwright Brewing Co in Lunenburg, NS, punches above their weight again this week with a brace of new releases. Up first is Rye’T Aweigh, a “session rye ale” that marries a slightly sweet rye malt profile with an array of modern hop varieties, namely Topaz, Ella, and Loral, which bring citrus (lime), melon (honeydew), and tropical (papaya) notes. With a coppery red color, it’s lovely to look at and at 4.6% you may find it tasted like another. Also available is the latest American IPA from Shipwright, one they’re calling Shore Thing. Golden Promise malt is the bulk of the malt side of this one, with some Vienna added as well. The hops are stalwart Citra and modern continental variety Huell Melon. Fermented with their house Kölsch yeast, this one definitely brings the citra character, but with some sweet melon notes for balance. A firm bitterness of 56 IBU keeps things in check and it weighs in at 6.9% ABV. Both of these beers are available on tap for pints and crowlers to go at the brewery, and expect them both to be available at the Shipwright Taproom as well, where you can pair it with your favourite pizza.
Despite the shared UK roots across the Atlantic region, it’s pretty safe to say that only Newfoundland & Labrador keeps alive the tradition of mummering. It can, in fact, be argued that NL is the modern home of the tradition such as it stands in the world today. More intense than caroling, and with plenty of room to get fun and/or weird, it’s mostly a means to have a good time and be sociable with one’s neighbours, whether they be next door or a ways down the road, and possibly while wearing your underclothes on the outside. To celebrate the grand tradition, Quidi Vidi is releasing Mummer’s Cream Ale, a simple and easy-drinking brew that, at 5.3% ABV, should allow you to have a couple without getting yourself into too much trouble. You can grab it at the brewery or at select NLC’s and convenience stores next week to celebrate the 15th annual Mummer’s Festival which starts next Saturday. You’ll also be able to enjoy it at Quidi Vidi for their costume party on December 1st, right in the middle of the festival; grab your tickets on the brewery website.
In cider news, Lake City Cider of Dartmouth continues to put out releases targeted at the holiday season, and with our friends south of the 49th parallel heading into their big turkey weekend next week, it’s the perfect time for Cranberry Cider. Made with cranberries from Terra Beata Farms, this 6.8% rosé cider is a perfect accompaniment to turkey dinner and/or pumpkin pie. Find it in cans in their shop on Portland Street and at some of the private stores in Halifax as well, or order it for delivery within the HRM or shipping to the rest of the country.
Of the major beer families of the world, the ones that seem to be found the least in these parts over the last few years are the B’s: the British and the Belgians. Despite three breweries having opened in the region specifically targeting Belgian styles, none managed to make that work, so we’re left with the occasional singel, dubbel, or tripel, plus whatever saisons are around and the occasional long-term sour. On the British side, sure, we’ve got some porters about, but especially since the demise of Granite Brewing, the great traditions of Bitter and Mild are not terribly well-represented (though we nod to Tatamagouche and Sober Island, who’ve done both). Enter Propeller Brewing in Halifax, who recently brought back their London Porter, we note, and who are now releasing Dark Mild. True to the style, this is a small beer, at only 3.5% ABV, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s low on flavor. Plenty of roasted malt flavours marry with balancing sweeter notes of toffee, caramel, and dark fruit. Easy-drinking and with a deep mahogany color, you’ll find it packaged in 473ml cans at all the Prop Shops as well as the private stores in Halifax that don’t start with ‘B’.
Why yes, there are events happening outside of Halifax this weekend! Truro Brewing is throwing it way back this Saturday with a Medieval Renaissance. The day will feature vendors and friends featuring handmade goods and services. The music will be folk and Celtic themed and you’ll be encouraged to dress in theme to partake in the ale and mead at the brewery. This is an all ages event and is free to enter!
And in Annapolis Royal, Annapolis Brewing is hosting the 2023 Cask in the Sticks event. With eight breweries from across the province bringing forward their wares in this traditional serving format, you’ll be able to enjoy traditional as well as innovative offerings from Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, East Coast Cider, Horton Ridge, Lunn’s Mill, Roof Hound, Schoolhouse, Sober Island, Tatamagouche. The event starts at 7 PM tomorrow, so grab your ticket today to avoid missing out!
The Cole Harbour brewery, Hardisty Brewing, is moving to a new home on 958 Cole Harbour Rd, to have their own space open to the public in a little strip mall. They’re in the last stages of construction, having moved their brewing equipment this week, and are gearing up their food offering, consisting of charcuterie boards and other snacks. Stay tuned here and to their socials for the latest updates, but we are excited to have the nano-brewery get a little bit bigger!
Now into the returning beer section! Unfiltered is proud to bring back the wonderfully named RSMA! Of course, cheekily named in jest of Nova Scotia’s lovely provincial Retail Sales Markup Allocation, this is a big Double IPA single hopped with Mosaic for tropical flavours and backed with 2-row and cara-pils malt. It’s 7.5% and should be just as delicious as you remember. It’s available now directly from the brewery and on tap at their Charm School next door.
While snow and skiing will be coming soon, so will Martock IPA from Schoolhouse Brewing. Previously known as Private Session, this is a West Coast Session IPA featuring a combination of juicy, citrus, grapefruit and a light haze. This 5.3% IPA should be available next week at the brewery at NSLCs in the Valley area of Nova Scotia. And of course you’ll be able to get it at Ski Martock when they open up for the season.
Staying with the theme of returning brews from Nova Scotia breweries, Big Spruce brings back One Hundred. This is a 100% local to Nova Scotia beer with the yeast, malt and hops all originating from the home province of Anne Murray. This is a wild ale thanks to the wild yeast strain from Big Spruce’s certified organic farm in Nyanza. The beer itself is 4.9% and has wonderful floral and sweet candy aromas, backed with a light, effervescent and well carbonated feel. This is available now in cans from the brewery, home delivery or shipping Canada-wide, and watch for it around private shops in HRM.
‘Tis the season for one of our favourite styles as Garrison Brewing is bringing back All Lit Up, a Winter Warmer (or Festive Strong Ale as it says on the can) that brings the warm flavours for the cold season. The beer is lightly spiced with notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, clove and strawberry jam, but is predominantly a rich caramel flavour with a warm finish. The malt bill brings together Pale, Munich, Caramel and Chocolate malts with Brewer’s Gold hops bringing the low bitterness at 20 IBU. It’s 7% so it’s still drinkable and a nice slow sipper. This will be at all of the private shops in HRM and provincial stores in Newfoundland, PEI and Nova Scotia.
If you’re in the mood for a tasty treat anytime of the year, let’s remember that it’s always Lager Season. Tatamagouche Brewing has a returning beer that’s back in cans and kegs. Arvo is a Helles Lager with traditional German Pilsner malt with a bit of hops to balance it out and keep it bready, spicy and floral. Arvo is 4.6% and available now!