Hell Bay Brewing

All posts tagged Hell Bay Brewing

We’ve got another full complement of beer and cider news for you today, showing the resiliency of the producers to power through these difficult times, and continue to bring us the good stuff. In case you missed it, we did a Profile with the cats from Delta Force Brewing yesterday, trying to uncover just a bit about them and their beer. They launched their beers yesterday, heading out for delivery today/this weekend, so if you get in touch right away, you may be able to catch them before they disappear back into the night!

More updates to our Delivery/curbside pickup options for breweries and cideries in the region, as Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth has re-opened (with beer and take and bake food options available), and Truro Brewing Co is trying out curb-side pickup for the first time this week (order in advance online for best results). As always, if we’ve missed something, or just want to chat, get in touch via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too). Take care of yourselves! ?

We’ve got all of the detailed info on 2 Crows latest collaboration, a “Lagered wild ale w/ Riesling piquette”, Vinello. That mini-description right there is already begging for explanation, so don’t worry, we’ve got you covered (thanks to 2C, of course)! Waaaay back in mid-November – you know, about 6 years ago when shaking hands wasn’t weird? – the 2C peoples travelled to the Annapolis Valley to pay a visit to Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards. Of course they didn’t just drop in to say hello, and ended up leaving with a ton (just about literally) of freshly-pressed Riesling pomace (that pulpy residue leftover after the grapes have been crushed and the juice collected). This pomace was taken back to the 2C brewery and set in their blending tank with water to cover; after a week or so, this liquid had started fermenting with its native yeast. This method, which originated in France, produces a beverage known as piquette… basically a low-alcohol wine. Now that they had this part of the project raring to go, they called on Dave and Phil from St. Johns’ Bannerman Brewing to come over and brew up some wort; specifically, a base of Pilsner malt from Shoreline Malting, along with Spelt and raw wheat. The wort was transferred into one of the 2C oak foedres, along with a pitch of Mad Fermentationist Saison yeast from Bootleg Biology, and the actively-fermenting piquette. After 3 months of development, the beer was transferred to stainless and krausened with actively-fermenting Lager, dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin, and lagered for six weeks. The final 4.9% ABV beer was packaged in cans, and is tasting “floral, earthy, with a lively acidity and a ton of complexity”. Check out 2C for more info on how to get your hands on some cans this weekend.

Let’s hop across the border (beer is essential services, right?) to New Brunswick, and more specifically Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing. They’ve got a handful of beers pouring these days, so let’s get you up to speed! First up is their Raspberry Milk Stout, a 5.5% ABV milk stout, meaning lactose (aka milk sugar) was added to the brew for a touch of non-fermentable sweetness. The addition of raspberry puree during the conditioning phase completes the picture, for a beer reminiscent of a raspberry chocolate coffee cake. Switching to Sours, O’Creek has Berry Mango Sour out currently as well, a 5.0% ABV fruited sour with plenty of lovely tropical fruit character with a tart kick. A return to the hops for them is IPAdemic, a 6.8% ABV Milkshake IPA, featuring heavy handed use of hops, for a tropical note, bumped up with the addition of coconut to the conditioning beer before packaging.

O’Creek also has two beers in completely new styles for them, coming in the next little while. We figure we’d get you all excited for them now, however… The first is Bock, their take on the traditional malt-driven German style. This 5.8% ABV version pours with a dark-brown body and a creamy head. Hop bitterness helps to balance the malt sweetness of the lager. And finally from O’C this week, is their first release in bottles, Beach Fire. This big boozy fella (10% ABV) is a Smoked Barleywine, taking advantage of the absolute beast of a yeast Kveik, to ensure the beer was nice and tasty without finishing too sweet. All of these are available at their neighbour CAVOK Brewing, who are open 3 – 8 PM daily for take-away, or GMA delivery. And, who have a full complement of their own beers pouring and available too!

From one Nanobrewery to another, let’s return to Nova Scotia, where Hardisty Brewing in Colby Village has released their first foray into Imperial IPA territory. Emperor’s New Clothes weighs in at 7.0% ABV, and features a heavy dose of Centennial hops for bittering, to the tune of 61 IBUs, and finished off with Amarillo to complete the picture. Right now, the only way for a Hardisty fix is to be fortunate to live in their Colby Village delivery area (if you don’t currently live there, there are 20 houses for sale there as of today), with more options coming once the current situation eases.

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has a new beer to try to help you deal with the madness of self-isolation. Based on the idea that peanut butter is an “eat it anytime” kind of food, they’ve put some into a “drink it anytime” kind of beer. PBP is a peanut butter porter weighing in at 6.2% ABV that’s perfect for having a beer when you don’t even know what time it is. With subtle chocolate flavors from the grist mingling with nutty goodness, expect a smooth and slightly creamy easy drinking beer. Available in cans for delivery along with a bunch of other Tire Shack goodness. Check their social media (Fb/Ig) for appropriate details on getting yourself some!

There’s still some new beers hitting the taps at Good Robot… of course, these will have to be enjoyed in the form of growler fills, likely in your own home, but hey, you can use your imagination and pretend you’re drinking them with friends at the taproom, maybe? This week they have two brand new beers, including Wilson Brown Ale, a 5.2% ABV Brown Ale (!) with notes of “dates, raisins, plums, and brown sugar”, and Blanket Fort IPA, which is 6.9% ABV and “medium-bodied, dank, and resinous”. Both beers are gluten-reduced as always, and join the FrontLiner Golden Ale we told you about last week, which is still available in short supply.

Our friends at Quidi Vidi have a couple of tasty new brews for those of you in their area this weekend. First up is a beer that is near and dear to head brewer Einar Holtet, an Altbier named Rhinegold. This is a recipe that Einar has been brewing since his younger years, when he learned to brew from his father (likely at an age that was just a wee bit earlier than 19!). This is the first time this beer has been brewed at Quidi Vidi, so that the rest of us can officially give it a try. Brewed with a variety of malts including 2-row, Pilsner, Carastan, Melanoidin, Red-X, Chit, and Dark Munich, it was hopped with Magnum, Perle, and Tradition. It comes in at an easy-drinking 5% ABV, and can be ordered online through QV now; it can also be found at select NLCs and convenience stores. While putting together your online order, keep their other newbie in mind, Pineapple Sour. A kettle sour with a grist of 2-row, Wheat malt, Maris Otter and Acid malt, it was hopped lightly with Cluster and features an addition of pineapple puree. At 5.6% ABV, expect some light tartness to complement all of that pineapple character. This one may also make its way to NLC stores next week, but it’s going fast so you’re best off buying it at the source.

If you’re starting to crave a well-crafted Kölsch (we don’t blame you, it is that time of year!), Stillwell Brewing has some exciting news for you! They’ve just canned (yes, their first cans!) Kompakt, a “Kölsch-style ale” brewed with Pilsner from Shoreline Malting. Hopped with Hallertau Mittelfrüh and fermented with Kölsch Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs, the beer was lagered for 2 months before packaging. Everything you want in a Kölsch, it’s tasting “clean, fresh, bitter, slightly fruity, and bready” with excellent foam and lacing (so make sure you pour this one into a glass). Cans of this 5% ABV beauty can be picked up at the brewery (back of 2015 Gottingen) today between 3-4:30pm; send them a DM after you’ve placed your order online so they can put it together and get it to you, contactless style. They’ll also be delivering tomorrow, so that’s an option, too! And while we’re too late to help you out this week, keep your eyes peeled to Bar Stillwell‘s Social Media (Instagram especially) for their return to being able to serve you some tasty food again. Yesterday and today saw Diner burgers, Tokyo fries, etc, etc, being available for curbside pickup, and we imagine the same will be happening next week as well. Plus you can add beer, wine, and cider from their Corner Store to accompany.

Tidehouse will be resuming their curbside pickup option for tomorrow (details on their social media), and they’ve got their popular Hibiscus City (a Gose w/ lime and hibiscus) available, along with two brand new beers. If you’re leaning towards the malty side of things this weekend, they’d like to introduce you to Albert, a “strong Amber ale” that was moderately-hopped with Idaho 7. Weighing in at 7% ABV, expect “deep stone fruit and light pine, backed by a touch of sweetness”. But maybe you’re more in a fruity, hoppy mood? They’ve got you covered there, as well, with Dry the Rain, an “Imperial Milkshake Sour”. Featuring additions of raspberry, blackberry, lactose, and vanilla, it’s 6.8% ABV and has lots of raspberry and vanilla character, with additional sweetness from the lactose. 

Halifax’s Chain Yard has introduced some new shipping deals for online ordering (free shipping for orders over $75 in NS, and free Canada-wide for orders over $150), and even have a couple of new products to help celebrate. First up is Pie Hard 2, a fusion of house-made cranberry and raspberry wine with a “select apple blend”. Coming in at a hefty 7.6% ABV, it was double-fermented and oaked, giving a “lightly sour taste with a burst of berry cider”; available in cans. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, they have 750 mL bottles of Eper Öak (Strawberry), an 8.6% ABV blend of house-made strawberry wine double-fermented with Northern Spy apple juice. Aged in Hungarian oak for six months before bottling, the final cider is off-dry with notes of strawberry, leather, toffee, fig, and spice. Also keep in mind that if you’re in the HRM, they’ll deliver to your door for free with orders over $40 (check out their website for specifics).

Halifax’s Garrison has a bunch of stuff for us all this week with the results of their 2020 Home Brew-Off and a couple of new beers. Firstly, the competition winners as announced on Facebook last night: congratulations go out to homebrewers Dan McAloney (Honourable Mention), The Bràthair Brewing Collective (3rd Place), Julien Belliveau (2nd Place), and the big winner, Trevor Armstrong. The style this year was New England IPA, an difficult one, particularly for homebrewers, and with 57 entries, taking top prize is a serious achievement. Based on past years, look for Trevor’s beer to be brewed in early 2021 for release in Spring.

Meanwhile, in Garrison beer news, both of their new offerings this week are riffs on the IPA style. First up is one they’re calling Relax!!! a very limited seasonal only available in 473 mL cans at Garrison retail locations (Seaport and Oxford) and for home delivery. Described as “aggressively relaxing,” it was built on a base of Pilsner, Dark Munich and Honey malts, with Citra and Mandarina Bavaria comprising the hop side.The bend in the road comes with the addition of ginger and turmeric, a little bit of yin to the hoppy yang. Expect a balanced beer at 6.0% ABV and 32 IBU, with flavors of ginger and turmeric of course, but also caramel and orange, and a spicy bitterness on the finish.

Also new this week is the latest in Garrison’s Hop Trip series of IPAs: Citrus White IPA. Coming in at 5.5% ABV and 26 IBU, like all “white” IPAs this one is driven by the use of a Belgian yeast strain, which brings a bit of bubblegum and possibly a little bit of spiciness to an otherwise citrusy brew. Simple on the grist side, with just 2-row, wheat, and oat malts, the hops are a blend of Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria, and Citra, which along with the addition of orange peel give this beer a citrus kick in addition to some tropical flavors. This one is available in a novel 4×355 mL can format. You can check out one or both of these new beers via your usual means for acquiring Garrison products. And stay tuned, as we have reason to believe there’s another new IPA coming from Garrison soon, a sibling to their ever-popular Juicy IPA.

Back to cider, briefly, where Lake City has the latest iteration in their Alpha Series of hopped ciders. Alpha 4.0 features both El Dorado and Chinook hop varieties, lending some pineapple, citrus, and pine character to the base cider. Check out their delivery details for info on how to give this one a try.

We have some details on the latest from New Scotland Brewing, a Zwickelbier named Alderney Dry. Think of it as an unfiltered Helles, and the smaller brother to Kellerbier. Named after the street they’re located on in Dartmouth, the beer is a 4.9% ABV, easy-drinking Lager that has been available on tap at the brewery for a while, but is now in cans and available to a wider audience. If you act *right now* you may be able to catch their cutoff for Friday delivery, otherwise head to the brewery 11 – 7 PM daily to grab a few.

We’ve got a handful of fruity-adjunct beers (and not) for you today as well, so let’s work our way into those…

Let’s start with Propeller, who have released what will be this year’s summer seasonal, Lime Lite. A Light Lager (4.5% ABV, to be exact) infused with fresh lime (and lemon, apparently), it’s thirst-quenching and refreshing, with “bright citrus aromas and flavours”. Cans are currently at Propeller and some of the private liquor stores in Halifax, and should be hitting NSLC stores very soon.

Going in another direction for a summer refresher are Shelburne’s Boxing Rock who are releasing their The Shandy this week. For those not in the know, a shandy is the British version of a radler, where beer meets fruit juice for a light and hydrating summer cooler. In this case, BR went with the tried and true lemonade (their own), but a bit of a twist by blending it with their cranberry-laden kettle sour Over the Top. The result is a 2.5% ABV quaffer that’s light and tart and perfect for après mow (assuming summer comes eventually). Available 6-packs of cans through their online ordering platform.

And lastly, Hell Bay in Liverpool has decided to hop on the hard seltzer train with Mangoberry and Margarita flavors now available. The former features a blend of 100% unsweetened mango, blueberry and cranberry, while the latter is, we believe, lime and bit of salt. At 5% ABV and 0 IBU, we’re not sure how much, if any, beer character they boast, but if you’re looking for something fruity and don’t care whether it’s beery, these sound like just the thing. Available for growler fills only (with appropriate social distancing and sanitary protocols) from the brewery.

That’s it for the beer and cider and seltzer talk for today, but before we leave you…

In case you haven’t gotten enough beer talk in today, may we recommend some more? The fine fellas over at the 902 BrewCast released a new episode earlier this week, their April Tasting one. They drank, and chatted about, a couple of new releases (North Brewing’s Goin’ Down the Road Helles and Roof Hound’s Gimme a Hint <1% ABV Pale Ale), plus whatever else is grinding their gears this time.

And after a little hiatus, the Newfoundland Beer Podcast has come back in full force, with 4 episodes released in the last month, looking into Food and Beer pairing, kegerator maintenance, the connection of beer and sport, and more!

We trust that everybody’s now comfortably back at work after the holidays, rested and refreshed and ready for whatever winter can dole out (residents of Northern NS, Cape Breton and Newfoundland may have already been well-tested on that front, but we trust we’ll all get our share before the season’s over). And a big shout out to all of those doing that whole Dry January thing; you’re now a third of the way to insanity success! For the rest of you, we’ve got plenty of news as always about new breweries, new beers, and all the other news we could gather.

Let’s kick off this week’s news with another opening in our region, New Maritime Beer. After launching their brand with a pair of beers this summer, they are now ready to welcome folks to their taproom at 55 Newcastle Blvd in Miramichi. The taproom is opening Saturday at 1 PM (until 11 or later if the party is still rockin’!), and open daily going forward (except for Mondays). They will be pouring an American Pale Ale, IPA, and Stout, brewed elsewhere while they complete the installation and commision of their brewhouse. The new equipment was manufactured by Saint John’s Copper Leaf Brewing Equipment, an 1800 litre brewhouse, and should be in full force next month. The 90 seat taproom features plenty of cozy touches like a fireplace, and plenty of comfortable seating. While they do not yet have food onsite, you can feel free to bring or order your own in. Keep an eye here, and on their Social Media (Fb/IG) for news of new releases (we’ve already heard tell of Juicy and West Coast IPAs, as well as more Pale Ales, Stouts, and Session IPAs coming down the pipeline once they are fully open).

Sea Level Brewing at Millstone Harvest Brewhouse in Sheffield Mills has a brand new release on the taps (and coming soon to cans) these days. A Light in the Dark is a 4.0% ABV Kolsch Ale, the latest of their beer releases to use barley grown at their farm, and malted at nearby Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Opting for a light-coloured and sessionable beer at a time many seasonals are going dark and heavy, there is still plenty going on in the glass. The beer also features Cascade grown at the farm, complemented by Glacier grown by Fundy Hops. The beer is available now on draught at the Brewhouse (for onsite enjoyment or to go), with growlers, and soon cans, at their Port Williams location as well.

Speaking of Horton Ridge, they have a new beer available this week as well. When you’re a combination malt house/brewery and you’re looking to use up a previous crop of grain, you build a beer around it! That’s exactly what they’ve done with The Ridge Rosé, a Farmhouse-inspired Pale Ale. The grist was made up mostly of Queens Pale Malt, a variety of barley developed in PEI that gives an earthy malt profile, which works well in Farmhouse styles, according to Horton Ridge. Also brewed with a touch of Rye malt, and hopped with Saaz, the goal was to brew a base beer that would provide a good amount of malt character, yet also allow the secondary ingredient to shine through – in this beer, Muscat grape skins from Benjamin Bridge and Luckett Vineyards. After aging on the skins for close to two months, the 5% ABV beer has taken on tart, fruity flavours, as well as a subtle maltiness. It’s pouring on tap at the brewery, where you can also pick up some cans to take home.

Last summer, Off Track Brewing released a pilot batch of Boatload of Nerve, an experimental DIPA. Availability was obviously quite limited, and the beer went over very well, so luckily for us they’ve scaled it up and brewed a full batch! Hopped with a blend of El Dorado and Mosaic, this 8% ABV, 95 IBUs DIPA sports “notes of pear and mango, with a slight hint of pine”, as well as a touch of herbal/earthy character. Slightly hazy, it’s only available on tap… however, future batches MAY be bottled if the demand is there. For now, your best bet to find it is at the brewery .

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a new release out this week, sure to satisfy the hop lover on your list (in addition to yourself, of course!). The latest in their Hop Trip series, Southern Hemisphere IPA is 6.0% ABV, and while it is 30 IBU on paper, the hops are certainly the star of the show. Using loads of Galaxy, Topaz, and Vic Secret, three Australian-grown hops. Intense aromatics of passion fruit, melon, grapefruit, and pineapple come through thanks to the generous use of hops throughout. The beer is available on draught for samples, pints, and growler fills at their brewery at the Seaport, as well as the Oxford Taproom, with cans available at those locations as well as a few NSLC and private stores. And for the month of January, all sales/donations through Popcorn with a Purpose, a charitable endeavour at the Oxford where popcorn sales are donated, will be going towards the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Friendly alert for those of you in or around Liverpool NS: local brewery Hell Bay has just released Barrel-Aged Brown Ale, a 9.5% ABV Brown that was aged for six months in Bourbon and rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery. Featuring a “rich, brown malt body with distinctive rum flavour”, it’s sure to pack a punch with that high ABV, despite the alcohol character being nicely hidden. Bottles are limited, so don’t wait to pick up a couple, as no doubt they’ll age in your cellar perfectly!

Something new and hoppy fresh out of 2 Crows this week, a 5.4% ABV, 31 IBUs New England IPA named Merida. Hopped very heavily with Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon, and experimental hop Bru-1, you can expect plenty of juiciness in this one, along with “Tang, pineapple, stone fruit, and cantaloupe vibes”. Available on tap and in cans right now at the brewery. And hey, even more good news – while there, why not grab some cans of the latest batch of Waltz, their German Pilsner? This batch was tweaked slightly, as the beer was brewed with 100% PEI grown-and-malted Shoreline Malting Pils malt. They’ve played with the dry-hopping technique as well, making this iteration “extra bright”, with more floral and lemon notes than usual.

Hanging nearby Rothesay, NB this weekend? Pop on over to the Hammond River taproom, where they’ve tapped a brand new experimental beer. Another entry in the brewery’s Dry-Hopped series, Dry Hopped Sour (Sorachi Ace). The base beer is a Berliner Weisse, kettle-soured with HR’s house Lactobacillus strain. This particular batch was dry-hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace from local Moose Mountain Hop Farm, giving the beer plenty of lemon notes in the aroma and flavour, to complement the tartness in the finish. And hey, if you can’t get to Rothesay, you should be able to find it on tap at The Joyce in Fredericton. And at only 3.5% ABV, you can have a couple and not feel too guilty!

If you’re feeling more cidery this weekend (is that a thing? It should be!), Annapolis Cider Company has you covered. They’ve launched the latest in their Something Different series, a sparkling cider and wine blend named Harvest Rosé. Marechal Foch (a hybrid French red wine grape) was locally harvested, with the juice co-fermented with fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice. This dry, cider-wine blend was then FURTHER blended with small batch, dry Gravenstein ciders which were prepared by the Annapolis Cider retail staff, fermented using four different yeast strains. Still following along ok? Great! Finally, fresh-pressed Geneva Crab apple juice, a “red-fleshed apple variety”, was added to finish it all off. The result? An “elegant, off-dry rosé cider with bright acidity, and notes of red berries and fresh apples”. It comes in at 7.2% ABV, and $0.50 from each refillable bottle purchases will go towards Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing isn’t slowing down one bit as we’ve moved into 2020, and they’ve got two new beers pouring at their taproom to prove it. The first is Captain’s Orders Hopfenweizen, their take on the hoppy Hefeweizen style. Brewed with a 50/50 blend of German Pale and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Magnum and Hallertau Blanc in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Fermented with a Weizen strain, the 6.5% ABV beer was then lightly dry-hopped with Amarillo. It’s showing classic Weizen aromas of banana and clove, along with some citrus thanks to the dry-hop addition. Medium-bodied and refreshing, it’s a great reminder of why this style shouldn’t only be brewed during warmer seasons! The next brew is Cross Island Common, a “modern take” on the California Common style. The malt bill includes Munich, Vienna, English Cara and Flaked Barley, with Perle hops going in the boil (to the tune of 30 IBUs). Dry-hopped with Eureka, the 5.5% ABV brew is exhibiting “herbaceous, hop-forward aromatics, with a candied orange undertone that leads to a palate of red berry fruits and toffee”. Finishing bitter and crisp, it joins the several other beers currently on tap at Shipwright. 

And in more Lunenburg brewery news, Saltbox Brewing will be opening a taproom and pilot brewery in the town this summer, under the moniker Lightship Beer and Cider. Located at 93 Tannery Road, the brewery and taproom will have an unobstructed view of Lunenburg Harbour from its place on the point. While the building design is still being finalized, we can tell you that it will feature indoor seating for 50 people, and a large deck with space for four times that number. A 2 BBL (230 litre) pilot brewhouse will be onsite, focusing on traditional German and other European styles, as an ode to the countries of origin of the early settlers in the region. In addition to those, a complement of beer from Saltbox’s main brewery in Mahone Bay will also be available on tap. The brewery space will also house some foeders which are perfect for long-term aging of some special brews. While the details of the kitchen and food offerings are still being ironed out, there will certainly be tasty offerings to pair with the beers pouring. We’ll keep you up to date on Lightship’s progress over the next months, and you can sign up to learn more on their website.

And in “a brewery we haven’t spoken about in a little while” news, we have some updates for you thirsty New Brunswickers looking for more beer (and info) regarding Valonray Brewing in the Shediac River area. Just over a year ago, they switched focus from clean European- (mostly Belgian-) inspired beers to those with mixed cultures and taking much longer to produce, and therefore their regular debuts stopped. The first of that line was Rouge Provision, a 5.0% ABV light-coloured beer first fermented with a clean ale yeast strain (familiar friend US-05), but underwent a secondary (and tertiary, etc, etc) ferm with a pitch of both Escarpment Labs’ Belgian sour blend, as well as a house culture of other Brett and Lacto strains built up onsite. The beer spent twelve months in a second-use Bourbon American Oak barrel, and then 6 months conditioning in the bottle. Available exclusively at the Picaroons shops in Fredericton and Saint John, we believe there are still a few bottles left on the shelves there. Bottles of their previous releases may still be available at your local ANBL locations. Future releases by Valonray are in the barrel and bottle now, as they continue their exploration of the Flanders Red Ale style. 

Don’t go waiting until Tuesday to wander over to Good Robot for a taste of their latest Beta Brew, as they’ll be closed for a staff day. However, they will be releasing Alternative Roots, their latest BB, on Sunday, January 12th. This one is billed as a Fruit Beer, with beet chiffonade added at the end of the boil, giving the final beer a “wild pink colour and a deep, earthy aroma”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs, drop in at the end of the weekend for your taste.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting an event with Toronto’s Burdock Brewery tomorrow, Jan 11th, at their Barrington Street location. Featuring 3 draught offerings, and more than a dozen canned and bottled brews available as well, there will be something to satisfy everyone’s palate. And as is routine for Stilly, they will have some special menu items on the go, including Mac & Cheese Arancini. The featured beers are available from opening at noon tomorrow, and around until… well, we’re not exactly sure, so your best bet is to visit earlier in the day!

If you instead find yourself 260km Northwest of Halifax tomorrow, may we suggest dropping into Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub for their own takeover/feature, where they are showcasing the beers of Alberta. The Alberta Craft Beer Tap Takeover will have beers from more than a half-dozen breweries across the province, including Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Blindman, Brewsters, Grizzly Paw, New Level, and Troubled Monk

HopYard’s original location in Charlottetown, PEI, is hosting a Battle of the PEI Breweries 2020 event over the course of the next couple of months that will see eight breweries compete for Island supremacy, with the champion being crowned at the Finale on Thursday, February 20th. But to get to that point there first needs to be a tournament, and that tournament started last night as recent ACBA Brewery of the Year Bogside Brewing squared off against PEI’s OG brewery, PEI Brewing Co, with Bogside pulling out a slim victory by 9 glasses. The next 3 Thursdays will see the remaining battles in the first round, with Moth Lane taking on Copper Bottom on January 16th, Lone Oak battling Evermoore on January 23rd, and Barnone taking on Upstreet on January 30th. The two Thursdays after that (February 6th and 13th) will be the two semi-finals before the final showdown a week later. So whether you’re local to Charlottetown or just find yourself on the Island on a Thursday night over the next six weeks, HopYard will be an excellent place for a fun night of drinking beer and voting with your tastebuds.

And speaking of PEI beer and Lone Oak in particular, the brewery and taproom have been open for a little while now, but they haven’t had themselves a proper party to make it all official-like. That will change on Saturday, January 25th, starting at 4 PM when they’ll be hosting a big Grand Opening celebration. One musical act, Max Koughan and The Poets has been confirmed, with two more surprise musical headliners to be announced the evening of. Cover charge will be $20 per person at the door, and the beer will also be flowing, of course. So make your plans to be in Borden-Carleton in two week’s time (but we’ll very likely give you a reminder nudge the day before).

And we leave you, as always, with a few brief beery mentions:

Firkenstein Brewing has a new brew joining their regular tap lineup – Chili & SubLime (6%) is “light and refreshing, with a bit of zest, along with just a hint of chili spice”.

Flying Boats may still be pouring Black Currant Blonde Ale at their taproom; this latest one-keg-only Brewer’s Test Recipe is brewed with local black currants.

Iron Rock Brewing has a pilot batch available exclusively at their taproom – Farmer’s Junction Red Saison is their Railbender Red fermented with Old World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Caramel and toffee notes abound, along with spice and herbal character; only two kegs available, so get in, quickly!

Team TataBrew has released Triple Beam Lagerbier, a 6% ABV Lager dry-hopped with Cascade and Aramis. Easy-drinking and crisp, you can find it at homebase in Tatamagouche, and we hear that it’s been spotted at the Stillwell Freehouse as well!

Well, Christmas is right around the corner, so you know what that means: oodles of new releases from breweries, followed by a brief hiatus as everyone takes a much-needed break. That break translates to one for us as well, so this is your last read of the ACBB for 2019 (holds Chris away from the computer). We highly recommend you check out your favorite breweries’ social media pages over the holiday season before venturing out on a beer run; hours are likely to be highly variable over the next week or two, so plan ahead!
And as we close out our seventh year of the blog, we’d like to thank all of you readers, and the rest of the beer community, for letting us tell your stories. And when we hit the ground running in 2020, look for plenty more tales of new breweries, beers, events, and the people behind your favourite beverages. 

Another group of chaps sharing the stories behind the beer of our region is the 902 BrewCast. They’ve released their December Tasting Episode, and last one of the year, this morning. Our own acbbchris managed to sneak on for a taste of PEI, with beer from Bogside Brewing and brand-new Lone Oak, as well as Gahan House Port City in Saint John. Topics from favourite beers of the year, to what they’re looking forward to in 2020 (and how to get it), plus a healthy dose of shoutouts and callbacks, naturally! Grab the episode today for your commute home, or while you brave the stores this weekend, to drown out the 1000th playing of All I Want For Christmas

We’re not pulling any punches for the first beer of the day, let’s jump in and embrace the season! St. John’s Bannerman Brewing released Yuletide last weekend, and we think it would be a perfect beer for sharing with turkey dinner. A 5.0% ABV kettle sour with Pils and Wheat malts, it was conditioned on loads of cranberry, raspberry, and cherry purees, for a tart, fruity, and lightly savoury beer that complements and cuts through meat and potatoes and all the fixings. Grab it on tap at the brewery now!

The Big Spruce gang up in Nyanza is out to make sure you’ve got plenty of options for beers for the holidays with two new ones out this week. First up is Mele Kveikimaka, an IPA which features the Ebbgarden strain of Kveik, considered by some to increase the perception of bitterness, which should be perfect for the style. Hazy and rich, with a lovely head, this one no doubt features tons of hops and comes in at a pretty stiff 7.4% ABV. Also on the go is a new wine-influenced beer (seems all the cool kids are doing that these days) called Saviour Complex. Aged in a grape pomace barrel, this one is nominally a sour, but also features Brettanomyces. With sourness, funk, pomace, and barrel character all competing for palate space, we suspect this one lives up the the word “complex” in its name. At 7.2% ABV you probably didn’t want to slam this one down anyway. Neither of these beers is scheduled to be packaged, so you’ll have to make your way to one of the fine establishments serving them on draught. For Mele Kveikimaka, that’ll be Battery Park, Hopyard Halifax, Studio East, Boardroom Cafe, and Maritime Express. Saviour Complex will be found at Battery Park and Maritime Express. And if you contact them *right now* you may still be able to get on their Holiday Home Delivery to HRM tomorrow. Check out the FB Event for availability details, and then call them at 902-295-ALES!

On the West side of PEI in Ellerslie, Moth Lane Brewing has a brand new beer they’re excited for folks to know about, and for which they’ve gone all out on the pouring side. Na Zdravi is a Czech-style Pilsner named for the Czech version of the phrase “Cheers!” Expect this one to be clean and slightly sweet, with a pronounced, but not overwhelming bitterness and plenty of biscuity and bready character. It’s pouring from traditional side-pour taps imported from the Czech Republic and into traditional glassware for a maximally continental experience. Even better, the beer will also be pouring down the road in Tyne Valley at Backwoods Burger just as soon as they get their matching side-pour tap installed!

From one Island to another, let’s head East to Cormack, Newfoundland, where Crooked Feeder calls home. They are pouring a new Hefeweizen (German-style Wheat), featuring Newfoundland-grown wheat. Grown on Rideout’s Farm, just a few kilometres from the brewery, this is one of the first times grain from the province has been used in beer. Ausrittweizen (German for “rideout heat”) is a 5.0% ABV hazy beer, featuring loads of banana and bubblegum character thanks to the yeast chosen, and is pouring now at the brewery, as well as their Gastropub in Corner Brook.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing is knee-deep into their Christmas Countdown right now, where they’ve had daily specials on everything from beer to merchandise. Day one, however, marked the launch of their newest barrel-aged beer, Chocolate Whiskey Stout. Aged for over a year in Glenora whisky barrels with cocoa and coffee, this 7% ABV dark brew is exhibiting a blend of whisky, chocolate and coffee, with notes of oak. Smooth and warming, the entire batch was bottled, and there was only a limited amount – 500 – available when they released it. If you haven’t grabbed yours yet, we wouldn’t recommend waiting much longer. And keep an eye on their IG account for the latest news and specials.

Not to be slowed down by the holidays, North Brewing has a trifecta of beers out for you to fill your stockings with. The first two are new iterations of their Strong Dark Belgian (Glenora Barrel Aged), one inspired by Figgy Pudding (brewed with figs, dates, and vanilla), and one by Speculaas Cookies (brewed with fresh ginger and the brewery’s special Speculaas spice blend). Both come from the original base beer, which was aged in four Glenora barrels for more than two years, before blending. This is a big beer – at 10+% ABV – the perfect style for sipping while watching your kids open their presents (kids wait to open gifts after cocktail hour, right?). The third beer is a barrel-aged version of their Grisette, Blanc. Fermented on Sauvignon Blanc grape skins from Benjamin Bridge, and aged in a wine barrel for 11 months, it was then bottled and allowed to condition naturally. Lots of “funky barrel character” in this refreshing beer, the perfect counterpart to those Strong Dark Belgians you’ll be picking up. All three are available in bottles at your most-convenient North location.

Newfoundland’s Port Rexton Brewing has a couple of new beers of their own. The first is this year’s edition of their annual Tibb’s the Saison, a Saison fermented with Fruit Bomb Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. With aromas of cinnamon, banana and clove, you can expect “notes of spice and black pepper” to follow on the palate; it weighs in at 6.6% ABV. Next up is the newest hoppy entry in their Continuum series, Continuum – Happy HoliHaze. This iteration was hopped with lots of varieties, including Hallertau Blanc, Columbus and Galaxy, accompanied by Citra and Simcoe. Lots of juiciness and haziness in this 5.9% ABV IPA, with stone fruit character and “light herbal and pith notes”. Both of these newbies are available for growler fills at the retail shop in St. John’s, and growlers and pints at the taproom starting today. And hey, they’ve just canned a fresh batch of Mixed Opportunity, their mixed-ferm Saison, so you can take home some of those as well. And if you visit the brewery taproom on Tibb’s Eve (that’s Monday the 23rd), you’ll have a chance to try their first ever casked beer, Blue Steel with orange peel and hibiscus! Tapped when they open at 6 PM, and won’t last long, as there’s only 40 litres!

TrailWay is launching the latest iteration of Beans, their Oatmeal Coffee Stout, today when they open. Espresso Beans was brewed with a large amount of espresso beans from Fredericton’s Mill Town Roasters. The roast used was selected to complement their chocolate-forward base beer, with more beans being used than in previous Beans releases. They also boosted the ABV of the beer slightly to 6.8%, in order to give it more body and flavour. If you’re dropping by the brewery to pick up some cans/growlers, they’ve also re-released their Stormy Weather American IPA, hopped heavily with Vic Secret and other “supporting” hop varieties, giving lots of citrus and pineapple in the beer; also on tap and in cans. Today is a great time, by the way, to pick up your TW beers for the weekend/holidays, as half of all pint sales sold today will be donated to the Fredericton Homeless Shelter… so, stay for a pour, why dontcha?

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has launched not one, not two, but three new beers today, sure to satisfy thirsty folks out and about in the city today. Crimson Thunder is a Barley Wine, weighing in at 9.0% ABV, and features a balancing act between light alcohol warmth and malt sweetness, as well as light dried fruit character perfect for enjoying in front of the fire.Speaking of warming… Face Melter is a 10.5% ABV Wee Heavy, taking the malt base up a few notches for light sweetness, bold caramel flavours, but without any hot alcohol burn. Sounds like this will fuel many a story over the holidays! And the third release is Waffle Sauce is a “Maple Butter Tart ESB”, a Canadian twist on this English standard. The 4.7% ABV Extra Special Bitter features addition of maple syrup, rum, and vanilla, making the beer a great bevvie to warm up, or accompany your flapjacks or waffles tomorrow morning. All three are pouring at the brewery currently, with Crimson Thunder and Face Malter available to go in retro stubbie bottles, and Waffle Sauce being canned and available later on the weekend.

We always like to hear about our local breweries working together on things, and this week two downtown Dartmouth breweries have stepped up with some news in that vein for the holidays. Brightwood Brewery and New Scotland Brewing have collaborated on a new Triple IPA they’re calling Eraserhead (after the notoriously feel-good holiday movie we’re sure). At 10.5% ABV you might want to sit down to drink it, but it’s got a hop onslaught to match the booze factor, with Chinook for bittering and then “crazy amounts” of Centennial, Columbus, and the YCH Hops 2019 Pink Boots Blend of Loral, Mosaic, Simcoe, Sabro, and Glacier. Look for an explosion of juicy and citrusy hop flavors, and some stone fruit in there as well. This one will be on tap at both breweries as of this evening, some kegs will go out to other locations around the HRM, and cans will be available as of tomorrow.

And New Scotland also has a pair of their own beers on tap at the brewery on Alderney Drive, available today. Blunderbuss 1839 is an ode to the home of IPAs, Burton-on-Trent in England, famed for their water profile and generous use of hops. Using a historical recipe, and “Burtonizing” the brew water (lots of minerals and salts like Calcium, Bicarbonate, and Sulfate), they’ve achieved a 6.0% ABV brew with well over 100 IBU of bitterness. Choosing UK floor malts and a long boil allow the malt to provide a sturdy backbone to support the hops. The second release is a return of Slowburn, a Chocolate and Chili Porter, featuring chilies grown in Annapolis Valley. Added both in the kettle, as well as twice during the conditioning phase, the heat grows throughout the drinking, as the notes of chocolate and vanilla give way to a pleasant spicing level. Both Blunderbuss 1839 and Slowburn are on tap at the brewery now, and should be available at licensees elsewhere in HRM (but sorry, no cans!).

Down the 101 in Wolfville, Church Brewing continues to favour European styles, as is their wont. This time out is a Dubbel they’re calling The Luxury. On one hand, it’s a traditional style brewed by Trappist monks, on the other, boy is there a lot of variation in that style, ranging from pale to dark, 10 – 30 IBU, and 4 – 12(!)% ABV. This one rests on the darker side, smack dab in the middle for IBU at 21, and i hearty, but not insane 7.0% ABV. Leveraging a pile of Franco-Belge continental malts along with some Munich malt from Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, Belgian Candi sugar was also added to enrich the color and mouthfeel. Overall chestnut in colour with some coppery highlights, it’s got a dense off-white head on the pour. Aroma- and flavour-wise, expect yeast character in the form of clove-y phenols paired with deep sweet flavours of caramelized sugar and dark fruit. A dry finish leaves a clean impression. Look for this one for sure on tap at the brewery, and we’ve been told to expect it to be canned as well, so there’s some potential for this one to be available in the city over the holidays..

Not to let something like Christmas Eve slow them down, Good Robot is still releasing a Beta Brew next Tuesday. A Black IPA they’ve named The Night Before… Black IPA, it was hopped with Chinook, Amarillo, and a bit of Citra. With a malt profile that focuses on dark chocolate, the hops provide a bright, fruity characteristics to this dry beer. Weighing in at 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, it was brewed with Krista Collier-Jarvis. And if you come back on Boxing Day, you’ll find The New Original Kentucky Common (4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs) back on tap.

Propeller has brought back Baltic Porter, their 6.7% ABV take on the eponymous style. Fermented with a Lager strain, the full-bodied beer has aromas of “dark roasted coffee, burnt caramel, with hints of raisin and vanilla”. It’s available as of today, on tap now at the Gottingen Street taproom. Pair it with a bottle of last year’s version aged in barrels, which was released late last month. Also, today’s cask beer (tapped at 5 PM at their Gottingen taproom) is Schwarzbier with vanilla, and next week’s will be Porter with chocolate and clementine zest. And they’ve teamed up with Compass Distillers on Agricola Street to bring you the latest in their Windmill Craft Cocktails family, Rhumb Line. Using Compass’ Spiced Rhumb, and a blend of cola with a hint of lime, they’ve constructed a tasty Cuba Libre perfect for wherever your next travel takes you. Available at the brewery and distillery retail shops, as well as Liquid Assets at the Halifax Airport.

Late addition to the blog today (sorry!), is the full release of 2 Crows‘ Tinto, their Flanders Red inspired beer that was first released for Stillwell’s Sixth Anniversary party in November. Using a complex malt bill, and lightly hopped with EKG, the beer has been 18 months in the making. Check for the full details in our previous post, to wet your whistle for bottles at the brewery tomorrow at noon. And in the meantime, you can enjoy Graduation, a 5.5% ABV mango and raspberry sour ale brewed in 2018 by the Prud’homme beer sommelier course attended by many in the NS Craft Brewery community, including 2C’s own Kelly Huizink. Light malt bill, just a touch of Nelson Sauvin and Enigma ops, before fermentation by kveik yeast and then soured in the fermenter with a blend of LactobaccillusFurther fermenting was done with a blend of bugs from favourite beers from around the world, before the addition of fresh mangoes and raspberries. Natural carbonation by champagne yeast in the keg, and now available on tap. We’d say that earns the crew an A+! Grab Graduation only on tap at the brewery now, no bottles or cans of this one!

Lots on the go this weekend to keep you out of trouble!

As a reminder and follow-up to our piece earlier this month, Sober Island Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 22462 Highway 7 in Sheet Harbour. Seating for 50, kiddos welcome, and those in the Sheet Harbour area can pick up their own specialized growler to show off to friends and visitors. Drop by today 4 – 9 PM, Saturday 2 – 8 PM, and Sunday 2 – 7 PM, before they take a break for Christmas. Congratulations to the SIBC family!

Corner Brook’s Bootleg Brewing is hosting Deer Lake’s newly-opened Rough Waters Brewing with a Rough Waters Brewing Pop-Up today, starting at 7 pm. All four of the brewery’s flagship beers will be available, including Selkie (American Wheat), Scallywag (American IPA), Signaler (American Porter), and Sou’Wester (Kettle Sour).  While they’re currently only packaging in bottles, Bootleg will be serving the beers in full pints, half pints, and 5 oz tasting glasses. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for sale, and the Rough Waters crew will be on-site to chat beer! And for those thirsty for Rough Waters on the East Coast, we highly recommend getting into Toslow this weekend for your fix. We’ve also heard they may have a keg from a new/not-yet-fully-open West Coast brewery pouring, but it won’t last long!

Picaroons and the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest are hosting a Christmas Cask Event at their Roundhouse location Sunday afternoon, 1 – 5 PM. Your ticket gets you in the door, a sampling glass to keep, and pours from the almost 20 casks pouring. In addition to the host brewery, try casks from Big Tide, Flying Boats, Foghorn, Garrison, Grimross, Maybee, PEI Brewing, Upstreet, as well as Pollen Angels and Red Rover. Wear your favourite Ugly Sweater for a chance at a prize. This may be the first time to check out the collaborative beer from Pics and the FCBF, Double Vision Imperial IPA, out now (soon?) in cans.

Both the Charlottetown and Halifax HopYard locations will be holding an Alberta beer tap takeover event directly after Christmas, starting Thursday, December 26th and running into the weekend. With breweries like Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Grizzly Paw, Outcast, and Troubled Monk participating, there will surely be something for every taste. And in true HY fashion, special food items will be available during the event. Specifically, the Halifax location will have an Alberta-themed menu, while in Charlottetown, local chef Nigel Thompson of Sneaky Cheats will be hosting a pop-up. Stay tuned to HY’s social media for updates on the breweries/beers as they become available.

Upstreet will be continuing their New Year’s Day annual partying with The 2020 Kickoff, happening – of course – Wednesday, January 1st. The all-day event (starting at noon) will be jam-picked with activities, including live bands, beer cocktails, happy hour pricing for the entire day, and a special brunch menu from 11am-3pm (as well as tacos and pizza-by-the-slice from 3pm-10pm). As always, it’s free to attend, and the beer will be flowing like wine, so drop by and help ring in 2020!

Some quick newsbites before we sign off today…

Hell Bay has teamed up with a “guest brewer” – Johnny Oickle – to brew Johnny O’s IPA, a 6.8% ABV, 70 IBUs brew with “citrusy hop flavours upfront, finishing with a bitter bite”. Available now at the brewery.

Hanwell’s Niche Brewing have brought back their Belgian Tripel this week, Day Tripper. Light in colour, and finishing quite dry, it hides a pleasant 8.0% ABV in its spicy and fruity finished product, thanks to an iconic Belgian yeast. Kegs have been delivered to Capital Region licensees, including The Joyce and Ringo’s Bar & Grill, with a few more spots sure to be pouring it over the weekend.

Route 19 Brewing is pouring Cranberry Pine Winter Ale, a lightly-hopped, 5% ABV brew with aromas of citrus and flavours of, yes, cranberry and pine. Lightly bitter in the finish, it’s available on tap and in cans at the brewery in Inverness. 

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back a favorite DIPA for the Holidays, Fist of God is available now for fills and in cans as well as on tap at Charm School next door. You’ll also find 12 Years to Zion, Inducement, Sour Motherfucker, Hoppy Fingers, Exile on North Street, and Flat Black Jesus in cans, but you might not want to wait to long on some or all of those as you’ll likely not be the only one stocking up on hoppy goodness. Also, Unfiltered has very proactively put up their holiday hours on social media, so as alluded to in our intro today, you can’t say you weren’t warned!!

And finally this week, we’ve seen that the much-anticipated Painted Boat Beer Company now has product to sell. Produced at their Stellarton location at 230 Foord Street, which they share with Nova Scotia Spirit Company, and where they’ll be opening a taproom in the new year. PBBC launched at the New Glasgow Farmers’ Market earlier this week, and promise to pop-up at the Seaport Market tomorrow, but beyond that, we can’t help you! If you happen to know anything, drop us a line!