Island Hop Company

All posts tagged Island Hop Company

Happy May Long Weekend, beer pals! While not every brewery can be open and welcoming folks in their taprooms and patios, we do hope you’re able to support them with curbside and delivery purchases. In Nova Scotia, many restaurants and bars are struggling due to being quick to follow government regulations and closing in-person service for everyone’s safety, but inaction and lack of support from the Province could see them suffering permanent losses. Be sure to check in to see if your favorite spot is offering ordering and delivery or curbside pickup and try to support them however you can; it could make the difference between them reopening when this mess is all over and, well, not.

And more universally, there has been a reckoning of late, bringing to the forefront shocking events of harassment and assault directed toward women, non-binary folks, people of colour, and others under-represented in the beer business. Those in positions of power, whether they be brewery owners or management, festival organizers, or patrons in bars, breweries, or at festivals, have been the beneficiaries of a “code of silence,” but we say with some hope that it appears that silence is starting to break thanks to a myriad of people stepping forward to report, support, and amplify. We believe when people tell us what they have experienced, and we support them. We believe that all businesses and organizations in this industry should have guidelines on conduct and safety posted in their establishment and online, so that all can feel safe and free from reprisal in reporting any of these acts. And now is the time for those in the beer (and wider) world to speak out about this topic and take action if witnessing any harassment. We believe that these actions will improve Beer for everyone, allowing more to feel welcome and bring their passion to the industry.

Let’s start the news with a one-two punch of new and returning breweries in the Antigonish area. After closing in early 2020 to complete major renovations in their brewery and taproom, Half Cocked Brewing in North Grant has opened their doors once again. Located 7 minutes north of downtown, Half Cocked is located in a former chicken farm building on Highway 245. Expanding their brewing capacity from 50 litres to 1200, they have fully stocked their fridge, ready for their thirsty fans. They have eight beers currently available for draught sales via growler purchase (either bring your own clean glassware, or you can purchase one of theirs): returning favourites are Pete’s Sake Blonde (4.7%), Darkest One American Stout (6.0%), XPA American Pale Ale (6.0%), and Cock of the Walk Black IPA (6.5%). And debuting this week are Sunrise Session Ale, a 4.4% crushable lawn mower beer; White Whale Pale Ale, at 6.6%, floral, punchy, and dry; Haze Fatigue IPA, a 7.7% bitter and brite IPA with a citrus finish; Wait For It Double IPA, 8.3% well worth the wait! Half Cocked’s retail spot is open 4 – 7 PM from Wednesday – Friday and 12 – 7 PM Saturday and Sunday. When restrictions are lifted, you’ll be able to sit inside or out on their massively expanded taproom and patio, with some special pop-ups and events planned, as well as enjoy pints at the local beer hotspots, including the Townhouse, so keep your eyes peeled here and on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw)! Congratulations to Greg, Matt, and the whole Half Cocked Crew!

Back in the heart of town, Candid Brewing is not quite ready to open their retail location, but they *are* ready to get some beer in your hands! Located at 88 College Street in downtown Antigonish, they are doing a Pop Up today 3 – 6 PM, and again tomorrow 1 – 4 PM, slinging two canned beers curbside. First up is Humdinger a 6.7% West Coast IPA, featuring bold citrus and pine flavour with a full body that balances the bitterness. It is the first of Candid’s five core beers available in the coming weeks. Also available is a collaboration with their pals at Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza, Skeptical Vibes. This 4.9% red lager was cold conditioned before receiving a generous dry-hopping with New Zealand’s Motueka, for a bright citrus nose on a crisp and dry base. Available in cans at both participating breweries, as well as online for delivery and shipping from the Big Spruce store. We’ve heard tell of lots more from Candid, and we’ll be sure to share when we can! Their space will feature a large taproom with plenty of room for bubble distancing and events galore. Those in the area should sign up for their Membership to get early access to the news and releases, plus some slick deals when the taproom and retail are open full-time. Congratulations Bryan and team!

Off to Mount Pearl for another new release, this one from Landwash Brewery. Their first bottle-conditioned beer, Saison Da Pearl is reminiscent of when Brewster Christina Coady was heading up the program at Toronto’s Folly Brewing, where Farmhouse beers were the focus. Now they’re bringing that to Da Pearl! The focus is on the yeast, with the pale malt and muted hops taking the backseat, giving rise to notes of pepper, spice, and even a touch of vanilla, thanks to a warm fermentation allowing the yeast to express itself. That yeast also plays double-duty, after finishing the beer fermentation, a dose of sugar just before bottling brings it back to life, and has the yeast naturally carbonating the packaged Saison. Closing your eyes, you may even be transported to a Wallounian farm after a hard day’s work! This 7.0% 500 mL bottle is available exclusively at the brewery’s retail location (for now, it may be available elsewhere if there’s any left in June).

O’Creek Brewing may be most known for their super hazy, super hoppy IPAs (and with good reason!), but sometimes they like to branch out a bit and play with other beer styles. One beer in particular was brewed back in March, and is finally hitting taps any day now. The beer is Doppelbock, and we’re betting you can probably guess the style! That’s right, this one is a Doppelbock, a high alcohol, dark brown, malty Lager that originated in Germany many years ago. O’Creek’s version was brewed with lots of Munich malt as the base, along with Pils, and Carapils, CaraMunich and Chocolate malt thrown in for colour and character. Hopped with Saaz and East Kent Goldings, it was fermented low and slow with Isar Lager yeast from Escarpment Labs, and allowed to lager for weeks longer. Coming in at 7.6% ABV, it’s sweet and malty, with “hints of dark fruits and light toast”, with very low bitterness. It’s currently on deck at CAVOK and The Joyce, so keep your eyes peeled for when it goes on tap!

Wait wait, don’t worry hopheads, O’Creek has you covered as well! Their latest hop bomb is Elevated, a 7.6% ABV DIPA that is bright, hazy, and flavourful. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Idaho 7, Mosaic, and Centennial, it’s smelling and tasting exactly as you probably expect – tropical and citrusy, with notes of mango and passion fruit. First kegs of that one will be popping up at The Joyce, Euston Park, and Au Bootlegger (if it’s not on tap already).

Camping season is fast-approaching/here – YMMV! – and Boomstick Brewing has thus been inspired to brew a beer that they feel pairs perfectly with the great outdoors: a Session IPA named Gravel Pit. An easy-drinking-yet-flavourful beer hopped with a large amount of Galaxy, it’s got tropical fruit aromas abound, and at just 4.8% ABV, is a great brew to enjoy during or after a hike, campfire, etc. It’s available right now at the brewery’s West St. location in Corner Brook on tap and in cans, and should already be on NLC shelves by now as well. 

Out Port Rexton Brewing way, they have teamed up with Toporama Prints in nearby English Harbour for a beer and art collaboration. An artist-run screen printing and design shop, Toporama has designed a unique piece that melds perfectly with beer, and limited prints of it will be available in posters, t-shirts, and on glassware, as well as adorning cans of a new beer release. Although we don’t know what it’s called yet, coming out today at noon is a 5.3% combo of sour ale and New England IPA, featuring a blast of mango and peach, and everything tropical, with a moderate acidity and light bitterness. A limited run, it’s available exclusively from their taproom in Port Rexton this weekend (maybe elsewhere in the off chance it’s not all gone!). We think planning a visit out is a super-great idea, as Toporama will be setting up their screen printing gear Sunday afternoon and creating tote bags right in the taproom!

After a super-successful launch earlier in the month, Saint Andrews Brewing is back with another new release this weekend, in celebration of Paddlefest 2021. That’s a Paddlin’ is a kölsch-style lagered ale that has been allow to cellar condition for 3 months, allowing the iconic yeast to do its thing and bring together notes of both lager and ale, on a German Pilsner base with plenty of Czech Saaz to balance. Cracker malt character with some spicy hoppiness, all in a spritzy package. It joins Wharfbound Hazy Pale Ale and Herringbone Pub Ale at the Red Herring Pub, where all three will be pouring this weekend. As with all SABC releases, these are quite small, so be sure to show up early (and often) to avoid disappointment!

Heading north up the Acadian Peninsula, four breweries in North-Eastern New Brunswick have collaborated with their own local mountain biking club. Brewed at host Distillerie Fils du Roy, brewers from Brasseux d’la Cote, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur, and Brasserie Retro Brewing were brought together by Mountain Bike Atlantic and local bike clubs. Sirène is the brewery’s take on a Vienna Lager, which they are calling a Vienna Acadienne in a nod to the local barley used to make the beer. Sirène is technically a SMaSH beer as it showcases 100% Vienna malt and Saaz hops. The malt comes from the Fils du Roy maltery in Petit-Paquetville and uses barley grown exclusively on the Acadian Peninsula (hence the Vienna Acadienne). The malt lends a copper red colour and a rich malt character, with notes of caramel, that are complemented by a medium hop bitterness that comes in at 20 IBU. With an ABV of 4.5%, Sirène is plenty sessionable to enjoy after a nice mountain bike ride. The beer is named after the collaborating bike club, Sirènes en Cavale, a women’s mountain biking club on the Acadian Peninsula. Cans are available now through the collaborating breweries and look out for more releases in the series in the coming weeks. 

Continuing the beer and biking collaborations theme is Sussex Ale Works in Southeastern New Brunswick, who teamed up with the neighbours at The Outdoor Elements to brew a beer fit for enjoying after (or while) hitting the local trails. LBS Kölsch is clean and refreshing lagered ale that comes in just shy of 5% ABV. The name is a nod to Local Bike Shop, and Outdoor Elements can’t get much more local as it shares a building with Sussex Ale Works. LBS Kölsch is available this weekend at the taproom on Main Street. 

And would you believe we’re not yet done with the brewery and cycling connections in New Brunswick? In Fredericton, Grimross Brewing is releasing Monkey Business, a Session IPA brewed in collaboration with River Valley Cycling, Mountain Bike Atlantic, and NB Brews. Named after a well-known mountain bike trail in the city (well-known to mountain bikers, anyway!), it’s a light and sessionable 4.5% ABV brew, built on a grist of pale malt and rolled oats, with low bitterness (6 IBU) and plenty of hop aroma (Vic Secret, Mosaic, and Idaho 7), designed to be the perfect cap to a hard session on the trails; but best be sure you’re finished your ride, as it’s likely that the first one will quickly lead to another. If this sounds on-brand for you, you’d best get on your (chromoly) horse, as this is a summer seasonal and once it’s gone, it’s gone! 

In other news out of Grimross, they’ve got another new small batch from their Scratch Series hitting the taps today, and it’s a special one for the brewery. It would seem that some extra microbiology has been going on within the walls at the brewery, as they’ve managed to discover a yeast strain unique to their premises. And what’s a brewery going to do when they discover a new yeast in their brewery? They’re going to brew with it, dammit!! SMaSH House is a single-malt and single-hop (well, sorta) beer using pale malt from Shoreline Malting and the Grimross Hop Blend from  Island Hop Company. Fermented with the aforementioned yeast (name and trademark to be determined, no doubt 😉 ), it has a subtle malt presence and notes of citrus and spice all leading to a crisp finish; perfect for all things summer. Check it out at the brewery today when you’re stocking up for the long weekend.

Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault has a new release in their Epic Series this week, chock full of bright and vibrant fruit. Simply named Ale aux Fraises et aux Framboises, the most learned among us recognize that it features strawberry and raspberry on a smooth and velvety, yet slightly tart base. Cans of the 5.2% beer are available at the Brewtique now, with growler fills next week.

Back in Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing is doing their best to lift the lockdown blues for thirsty beer drinkers, courtesy of a brand new release! Positively Shocking is a new SMaSH DIPA featuring Idaho 7 hops, that follows the same technique of Greg Nash’s other beloved SMaSH DIPAs. Look for piney and tropical notes from the hops with a pithy and bitter finish. Cans and fills of the 7.5% DIPA are available today on North Street. 

New Brew from Baccalieu! Hitting their shelf in Bay Roberts today is Hot Spot, a 5.5% Tropical Smoothie Sour, absolutely chock-full of dragonfruit, passion fruit, and pineapple on a tart base. And kicking it up to the next level is a generous dry-hop of citrus darling Mandarina Bavaria. Cans are available today and all weekend at 1 Conception Bay Highway in Bay Roberts, keep your eyes peeled at the better beer retail spots across the Island to snag yours later.

Inception, Trailway’s ode to the Falconer’s Flight hop blend, is making its return this weekend, this time as a 6.5% DDH IPA. Look for lemon-lime citrus notes, subtle notes of pine and a punch of dank hop character. Cans are available now at the taproom and through Trailway’s online store. 

A few weeks ago we teased a new Belgian Saison from Lone Oak Brewing Co. Lupin comes in at 6.5% and features classic Belgian notes of bubblegum, clove and spice. It is now available in bottles at the taproom in Borden Carleton and for island-wide delivery. 

And in another “reminder of a previous beer”, the 2 Crows Czech Pilsner, Letná, has been released to the masses this week. Available at the brewery in cans for retail, curbside, and delivery now, it is also available at Bishop’s Cellar for the same treatment. Joining the 355 mL can is a branded 500 mL mug, tall enough to be able to give it a proper pour with a couple of inches of tight foam to protect the liquid’s refreshing carbonation. Delivery and curbside pre-ordering is the way to go for this and other 2C orders, given the current restrictions.

Spryfield’s latest addition, Serpent Brewing, has a new beer and a virtual event on the go this long weekend. First up is the beer: Days End is a top-fermented, cold conditioned beer in the style and spirit of the city of Köln in Germany (such beers produced there are properly called Kölsch, of course). A perfect beer to cap a long day of work or to sip on a warm summer patio, it comes in at 4.6% and, we’re sure, has a slightly grainy malt backbone, with a slight fruity presence and a balancing bitterness. They’ll be celebrating the release of this one with a Virtual Tasting Event via Facebook Live tomorrow evening at 7 PM (time subject to change, so keep an eye on that event page). Growler fills and crowlers of this one are available, but bottles are still listed as “coming soon.” So make some plans to grab some Days End and/or some of the other Serpent offerings, and plan to hunker down tomorrow evening to share it virtually with other like-minded folks while learning a little from the team about the beers and how they’re made. 

Spring is in the air in Newfoundland. And at the Northern tip of the island, at the end of Highway 430, you’ll find Saint Anthony, home of RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company. While they’ve been churning out the great beer non-stop since their opening in 2019, they did pause the taproom for the winter to re-configure and add a canning line to the mix. Well, with this unofficially official start to summer, they are looking to welcome folks back in the taproom starting Thursday, May 27. Open Thursday through Saturday from 5 PM til 11 PM (10 PM Thursday), they’ll be pouring a half dozen beers from the taps, plus have a great selection of beers to takeaway in cans. With a summer perfect for domestic/close to home travel, this is the time to get out and see *all* of your home province, so be sure to make all the way North! Located at 223-227 West Street, pop in while exploring L’Anse-Aux-Meadows or Grenfell Museum

And rounding out the news this week is Mirimachi’s New Maritime Beer Company, who are releasing a brand new beer inspired both by a trip to Mount Everest Basecamp by two of the brewery’s owners as well as their experience navigating the difficult waters as a new brewery during this past year’s pandemic craziness. Three Little Birds is named after the Bob Marley song, and if you know it, you’re probably already singing softly to yourself that every little thing gonna be alright. Considered by the brewery to be a New Zealand Pale Ale, owning to the exclusive use of NZ hop varieties Rakau and Motueka, it features aromas and flavors of stone fruit and citrus zest along with some tropical vibes. At 5.5%, it’s pretty light and crushable, and perfect for a carefree summer afternoon on a patio somewhere. Get it now at the brewery, on tap for pints, or to go in growlers or crowlers.

Not a whole lot of events going on in the region, for obvious reasons, and we encourage you to stay home, stay cool, and drink some beer; meanwhile, if you’re an experienced brewer looking for a job in and you’re in the St. John’s area (or willing to go there), check this opportunity out:

Banished Brewing is the brainchild of the folks behind the newly opened and busy as heck Bar Brewdock, in St John’s East Duck area. Banished, however, will be found in a beautiful location in Paradise, and slated to open in 2022. Wanting to start things off running, they are looking to hire an experienced Head Brewer to join and lead the production team. Check out the job posting on their website, and drop them a line if you’re the right person for the job!

Have you heard of the second wave? Will you ride the wave like an undercover cop pretending to be a surfer? Have you reached your point break breaking point as cases rise? The Atlantic beer scene keeps rolling along and many of our friends have kept home delivery going strong. We wish you nothing but safety, tasty beers and merry cheers as we roll into the holiday season. Stay alert (like the COVID alert app) and stay safe!

This long awaited release from Tatamagouche is finally here, adding to the global lineup of this cultural beer. Black is Beautiful (9.5%) is their take on the Weathered Souls recipe shared around the world, as other breweries have done. Our friends at Tata used Crisp Pale Malt and Horton Ridge Pale Malt for the base with oats, C-120 malt for some dark caramel malt, chocolate wheat and rye with roasted barley and a pinch of lactose. This malty beauty was bittered to 75 IBU and with Nugget and Cascade hops.
As with all of the Black is Beautiful releases, a local initiative will benefit from the sales. All proceeds will be donated to the Tatamagouche Centre to be used for bursaries and scholarships, supporting equality and inclusion. For over 60 years the Tatamagouche Center has been a meeting place for those who care deeply about spirituality, leadership, and social justice. Each year they offer over 10 programs, which cover areas such as congregational life, spirituality, community growth and development, transformational learning, social justice, youth and family, and retreats. Available now in 500ml bottles at Tatabrew HQ on Main Street in Tatamagouche, via their online store and in the city at Bishop’s Cellar real soon. Kegs in the Tata tap room will be available as well as a few licensees in HRM. Many have tried this already (including us!) at Stillwell and the Stillwell Freehouse. It is smooth and has a beautiful balance with the bittering hops. Keep an eye out for this over the winter months, support a good cause, and you may even see it on Nitro taps, too!

Straight out of Hanwell, we missed one from last week! If you’ve followed Niche (like we have), you may be aware of Hop Altered, a Northeast American Pale Ale (NEAPA!) that changes their hop schedule in the recipe. Back for a third iteration, this beer sticks with the flaked wheat and oats and Escarpment Labs’ Foggy London yeast, but goes tropical fruity with Galaxy hops in the kettle and dry-hopped with Citra and Nelson. These are 3 tasty hops that should bring a nice balance of dank, haze and citrus to this 5.2% pale ale. This will be available on draft at the usual Fredericton accounts, along with Stillwell in Halifax. 

Over in PEI, Upstreet has two new beers, both being released on the same day. First up is the latest entry in their Million Acres series of barrel aged brews, Million Acres Yuzu Farmhouse Ale. A Saison that was hopped with Kazbek and Sorachi Ace, and conditioned on yuzu (a citrus fruit of East Asian origin), it spent about 2 & ½ months in the barrel before bottling; the shorter time (compared to “usual” barrel aging) was to allow the Saison yeast character shine through. The beer is pale yellow, with aromas of “candied orange peel, hay, and farmyard goodness” and flavours of grapefruit and lemon zest, with a bit of oak and tannins coming through as well. It’s 7% ABV, and available only in 500 mL bottles at the taproom and Craft Beer Corner.

Next up is a new beer in another ongoing series, but hops instead of Farmhouse. You guessed it, it’s the latest Neon Friday, Neon Friday 3.04 NEIPA. Brewed with 2-row, Vienna, wheat, and oats, they hopped it heavily with plenty of varieties: Sabro, Cashmere, Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot. Hazy, golden, and bursting with big aromas of “peach, coconut, tropical fruit, and dehydrated strawberries,” along with lots of stone fruit on the palate, you can find this 6.5% ABV hop bomb on tap at all Upstreet locations, as well as in cans at their Charlottetown taproom and the CBC (no, not the news organization).

Coupla new brews coming out of Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing the last couple of weeks. Let’s start with the hoppy one, just for a change (:D). Hot Sky is the brewery’s latest American IPA, which was hopped almost exclusively with Eclipse. An Australian variety that used to be known as the less-catchy name of HPA 016 (BOR-ing!), it’s giving this particular 6.6% ABV beer notes of “sweet citrus fruits, candied orange, peach juice, papaya, Juicy Fruit gum, and pine needles”, according to TW. It’s currently available both on tap and in cans at the brewery.

And in a move away from the world of hops, TW released their newest German-style beer late last week, Alternate Side. Brewed in the Altbier style, it was fermented cool with an Ale yeast, which is traditional for the style. Exhibiting lots of malt character (specifically “honey, caramel, and multigrain toast”), it’s balanced by a firm hop bitterness, while remaining dry in the finish. Balance is key for a beer like this, not to mention drinkability; at 4.5% ABV, it sounds like TW may have hit the nail on the head. This one is only on tap at the brewery, in their 0.5 L mugs, so you’ve got to visit to try it!

Halifax’s Tidehouse has a new beer in cans available for takeaway starting today; continuing their look back at their first four years of beers, it’s a re-release, but it’s been such a long time since it was originally brewed, it’s bordering new-beer territory! The beer is El-Galaxarillo, a 7.5% ABV New England IPA that was first released way back in October, 2017, for pints and growlers at the TH taproom. Many of you may be able to look at the beer’s name and surmise what hops they went with, but just in case you’re not that hop-geeky, the varieties are El Dorado, Galaxy, and Amarillo. With a heavy amount used in the whirlpool, and multiple dry-hop additions, it’s exhibiting plenty of stone fruit, orange, and grapefruit notes in the aroma and flavour. Available in cans to grab and go today at Tidehouse, starting at 2 PM. 

Winter technically isn’t here yet, but that wouldn’t stop some breweries from getting their winter seasonals ready for release, would it? Hells, no! And really, it’s basically cold enough most of these November days/nights to warrant sipping on some stouts, barleywines, et al. In an answer to our needs, the people at Spindrift Brewing have conjured up their newest winter seasonal, Seeker Espresso Stout. Featuring additions of cocoa, toasted coconut, cinnamon bark, and – yes – espresso, it’s a complex brew with “bold flavours reminiscent of a holiday dessert”, with a silky, smooth mouthfeel. Weighing in at 6.9% ABV, you can grab some right now at the brewery in the form of pints and growlers, with cans rumoured to be hitting shelves very soon.

Experimentation is still the name of the game at Tanner & Co. with the release of their latest beer, Kuhlmann. With a grist of Pilsner and Vienna malts, along with a touch of Rye, the wort was fermented on 100 lbs of Lucie Kuhlmann grape skins from Planters Ridge Winery out of Port Williams. No yeast was pitched in the making of this beer – all of the fermentation took place from the wild yeasts naturally occurring on the grape skins. The final 7% ABV beer has “youthful grape-forward notes of blackberry, cherry, and black currant”, and can be found at the brewery on tap and in bottles, as well as on their online store (which will unlock the secret of Friday delivery in the Bridgewater to Halifax stretch of the province, if ordered before midnight Thursday).

Continuing to surpass the high bar set by their award-winning German styles, Montague PEI’s Bogside Brewing is releasing the Gladiator Doppelbock tomorrow, Saturday November 21st. This beer is truly a meeting of the minds between German-trained Head Brewer Mark Patriquin, and Island Hop Company’s Josh Mayich. Using a Mayich family recipe for Doppelbock, and their own family farm grown hops, this beer is just about as authentic as it gets outside of Munich. Heavy use of Vienna and Munich Type 2 malts, as well as a decoction mash step, bring out some lovely rich caramel notes and full mouthfeel. The use of IHC Hallertau Tradition in the beer was used to target the flavour of traditional Doppelbocks, and it underwent a controlled aging process to bring out those characteristics. Beer science and history incoming! Historical brews of this style were done a couple of months after hop harvest, due to availability of resources, and during that time a light oxidation of the hops would change the aromatic compounds (those terpenes you’ve heard so much about) ever so slightly. Mayich performed the same steps, monitoring the results often, before halting it and locking in the character. Added late in the boil, allowed more of the woody, tobacco, floral, and light citrus to stay in the final beer. A low and slow lagering over the course of two months rounded out the beer to where it stands now. Available on tap and in cans tomorrow, the release party from 2 – 5 PM will feature live music, and even a pairing of schnitzel from Thatchers Eatery kitchen onsite. Get thee to Montague tomorrow, or make an order for delivery!

It’s getting to be *that* time of year, when husbands, wives, partners, and kids struggle to find a meaningful and useful gift for loved ones. Well, if that special someone in your life loves beer, maybe we can lighten the load a little bit. Here’s a round-up of some Holiday and Gift Boxes we’ve spotted. Have we missed one? Let us know! Hit us up on twitter or instagram or via email.

In Shelburne, Boxing Rock is releasing a very-limited number of the Brewmance Box this December. A gift box that includes thirteen beers (4 x Unobtainium, 4 x Vicar’s Cross, one Temptation, and four of either IPA, Sour, or Puck Off!, your choice), it also includes a Boxing Rock toque, drinking game, and spice mix (with recipes). You can purchase yours here for $89; if you sign up for a subscription, you’ll receive a different Brewmance Box every three months for a year, and save 10% on each Box. Free local pickup or delivery in the HRM (at Local Source Market) or Shelburne area, with $15 shipping elsewhere in NS. 

North Brewing is very rarely outdone in these parts, whether that’s for quality, style, or grace, and their Holiday Beer Box is no exception – there’s a lot going on here. Non-beer wise, you’ll find a North Brewing Holiday Card and an exclusive-to-the-box 20 OZ ceramic stein with a North Snowflake design in yellow or blue. Beer-wise, there’s a can each of local favorites Lawrencetown Surf session ale, Rosy Berry saison, Pleasant Disposition IPA, Alloy Champagne IPA, Cole Harbour Red, Little Beast lagered ale, and a can of their Cranberry Clementine Seltzer as well. Where things get extra delightful is with the holiday beers and seasonals, including one brewed specifically for, and not available outside, the box. First up, a couple of returning beers that exemplify both North’s penchant for experimentation with grapes and grape skins as well as their relationship with local winery Benjamin Bridge. Blanc is a 4.5% ABV beer in the Grisette style (think “baby saison”) made with Sauvignon Blanc grape skins. Musqué is a burlier beer, an 8% ABV Double IPA made with Chardonnay Musqué grapes. From there are three very special beers not made before:

  • Cinnamon Bun and Stack o’ Pancakes are both 9% ABV “Holiday Stouts” based off the same recipe (no actual Cinnamon Buns or Pancakes were harmed in the brewing of these beers). Cinnamon Bun was given treatment with a generous dose of cinnamon bark along with vanilla and salt. Stack o’ Pancakes was fermented with “many” buckets of Nova Scotia maple syrup, which was allowed to ferment out completely to prevent a cloyingly sweet result, along with vanilla and salt as well. 
  • Down Time is at the opposite end of the spectrum from those two, an Altbier that comes in at 4% ABV. Brewed specifically for this box and not available outside of it, it’s apparently something they’ve been wanting to brew for a long time and will be an extra special treat for those who grab a box.

On sale as of yesterday (earlier for newsletter subscribers), 300 of these are being assembled and they’re selling for $89.95 (tax-in). They will be available for pickup on December 1st, but they also qualify for free shipping in North’s local delivery area but not quite free shipping within the Maritimes or Nationally (although you could always add a few things to your order, such as a second Holiday Beer Box to get to the respective $100 or $150 minimums). Wrapped in custom North Brewing holiday wrapping paper, they’ll even write a special note for you if you indicate that your purchase is a gift. There’s a good chance, we think, that these will sell out fairly quickly, so if you’re interested (and why wouldn’t you be?!) best act soon! But if the box isn’t your thing, look for all of its contents (except the steins and the Altbier) available separately via North’s online store or at the brewery. The Stack o’ Pancakes is out today and the Cinnamon Bun is coming soon, as are the Musqué and Blanc (the latter two will see a $0.50 donation per can to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust); we’ll do our best to let you know when those are all available.

Bathurst’s 13 Barrels Brewing is getting in on the fun as well, with a, you guessed it, 13 days of Christmas Advent Calendar box. Pre-orders are open now at the brewery until December 5th, with the pickup scheduled for December 9 – 12. In addition to the baker’s (brewer’s?) dozen of beers inside (some of these thirteen will be exclusively available in this box), look for some mystery gifts as well! Message 13B on social media to place your order, and then fall asleep with visions of a sugar plum gose dancing in your head. And once it’s all over, return your box in good condition and they’ll give you a bonus 14th beer!

If cider is more your speed, Lake City Cider has you covered! They have a handful of gift boxes all ready to rock, some feature just the cider in the “Spice Up Your Life” or “Mixed Three Pack”, or go all out with the Holiday and Fan packs featuring blankets, stemless glassware, tote bags, and much more! Check out their online shop and grab them today!

Brightwood Brewery in Dartmouth is also thinking of your hard-to-buy-for friends and family, with a Gift Box set ready to pick up and share in a hurry. A six-pack of Beer is complemented by a 16oz Brightwood Glass and Canvas Tote Bag. Pick from some curated options for selecting the beers (whether your giftee is into Hops, Malt, or something a bit more seasonal allowing you to grab the Christmas on Portland Street Raspberry Porter), or you can opt pick exactly the six beers you’d like if you visit their shop!

If a surprise every day of December leading up to Christmas sounds more up your alley, the Harvest Wines/RockHead/WestSide group has brought back the Maritime Craft Beer Countdown, which features 23 beers and ciders from across the Maritimes, plus a free glass to enjoy them in. The identity of the beers is secret until you open them up, and you can expect several exclusive Countdown-only bevvies, but peep the box’s website for a sneak peek at which breweries and cider producers took part! Available now in store and online if you can’t wait the two additional weeks until December 1st (or want to get them chilling ASAP).

What about gifting your beau/belle a membership in the hottest club to ever hit the shores of Spryfield? Serpent Brewing has re-jigged their Membership Clubs so that you can get in on the ground floor even easier. The benefits will start once their opening-real-soon Taproom is complete, but here’s a sneak peek: As a member of the Brew Club, every month for the next two years you’ll enjoy a free growler fill or two bottles or two pints, plus $3 off growler fills every Thursday, a Serpent shirt and a pair of glasses, plus vouchers for a handful of free pints and flights to use or share with friends. How about gifting them a full Beer Creation Experience? This will allow them to work with Head Honcho Glen O’Keefe to formulate a brand new beer recipe, work with Serpent to name and design the label, sample it throughout the brewing and maturation process, and get the first case of the finished product! And if you are feeling especially generous, gift them both as part of the Founders Club. More details and how to sign up are on their website, but don’t delay as there are only a limited number of the memberships available!

OK, enough of those “Future Holiday Boxes”, let’s get you up to speed with the events happening in our region this weekend!. It just so happens to be a little Hali-centric this time ‘round, but we know there’ll be great beer on tap no matter where you find yourself!

Propeller’s Gottingen Taproom continues their Community Cask this evening, once again highlighting and supporting a community group that inspires and improves the community. November’s recipient is Ecology Action Centre to benefit the Green Avengers Team, a group of 16 dedicated individuals who are running in this year’s Blue Nose Marathon to raise funds for the Ecology Action Centre. So, help support EAC while enjoying a pint! What can you expect in your glass, when the cask is tapped at 5 PM this evening? It’s a sneak peek of a big release coming in December, with a rum-soaked-oak-stave-conditioned Mocha Oatmeal Stout! The base 5.5% ABV beer already showcases tons of locally roasted coffee, tempered by the smooth character of the addition of oats in the malt bill, and the rum and oak are sure to bump this up to a truly special beer. Real Fake Meats will be onsite with Donair Egg Rolls (vegan, natch) for a fun pairing.

Tomorrow, Saturday November 21st, Brunswick Street’s 2 Crows Brewing will be putting a few of their favourite beers back on tap for a “Hey, it’s Saturday, let’s have a pint” event they’ve dubbed “Some of the Good Ones”. Plenty of fun collabs done with the likes of Change is Brewing Collective (Good News), Bannerman Brewing and Lightfoot & Wolfville (Vinello), Orono Brewing Company (Deux II), Kilter Brewing (Lil’ Miguel), plus a great variety of fresh & hoppy (Perfect Situation) and wild (Old & New). The doors open at noon, and you’ll also have the chance to grab the amazing fried chicken sandwiches, pastries, and more from Buttered Bliss, onsite from 12 – 4 PM (or earlier, most likely, if they sell out).

The Stillwell Freehouse at 2534 Agricola celebrates its First Anniversary next Saturday, November 28th, and they will be stacking the taps and casks with killer beer and cider options from the region, and beyond. Chef Graeme will continue to work his magic in the kitchen, preparing some lovely complementing dishes… Or will the beer be complementing the food? I’d say both are true! Open noon til 1 AM, no reservations required, just show up with an empty stomach!

A few more things to tell you about this week before you’re dismissed. Don’t forget to wash your hands and wear your mask, things are getting a bit hairy out there again!

Gahan is jumping on the holiday dessert beer wagon (or should we say sleigh?) with the rerelease of Shortest Day. Their take on a milk stout is spiced with nutmeg to get those holiday feels going. Expect notes of vanilla to go along with the spice. Coming in at 4.5%, you can find cans of Shortest Day on the Island at PEI Brewing Company, the Gahan Beer Store, and look for it next week at PEI Liquor locations and Gahan’s other outlets across the Maritimes. 

Keeping on trend, Garrison is also re-releasing one of its holiday seasonals with All Lit Up making its return. This 7.0% ABV spiced ale features Cascade hops and is available in single cans or in their Holiday Mingler 4-Pack. You’ll also find Stay The Blazes Home Ale back in stock, this time only at the Oxford Taproom and Seaport locations (or for home delivery). As before, a portion of sales will go to support Feed Nova Scotia. 

Brand new IPA from Good Robot available just in time for your Friday drinking needs! SpaceTime NaviGator is a 6% ABV brew hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria. Fruity and tropical, no doubt, you can find it at the bar for pints and takeaway cans, and online.

Back in Fredericton, Grimross is adding to its Maritime Series with Maritime Wheat Ale. Expect classic Belgian witbier flavours of clove and fruit, and a slightly cloudy appearance (can swirl anyone?). As an added bonus, this 5% ABV beer features 100% Maritime ingredients from two excellent local supplies, Shoreline Malting and Island Hop Company. Grab some today on tap or to-go in cans.

Hardisty Brewing Co. has expanded its reach beyond the Colby Village area of Dartmouth. Look for cans of their BlockParty SMaSH pale ale at Harvest Wines in Dartmouth, starting today. And they are now in rotation at Battery Park in downtown Dartmouth, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled to their IG page for the latest updates. 

Crossing the harbour, check out North Street’s Unfiltered Brewing for the release of Riddle of Steel. This 7.0% ABV IPA is back in cans and on tap next door at Charm School. 

New Scotland Brewing has released Tough Chit, a DIPA brewed with – we assume – some Chit in the grist, and bigly-hopped with late additions of Mosaic and Idaho 7, as well as a large dry-hop. Slightly sweet, with flavours and aromas of “mango, honeydew, and peach”, it weighs in at 7.5% ABV and 40 IBUs. You can find it on tap at the taproom this weekend.

Let’s end on a new beer from Quidi Vidi Brewing, for those who need a whole buncha hops in their lives (isn’t that all of us?). Simply named Imperial IPA, this small batch release is an 8.7% ABV blast of citrus, orange, and pine on the nose, along with a serious bitterness and just a touch of warmth on the finish. Fans of Calm Tom will certainly dig this one. You can grab it at their Hop Shop in QV Village, or their Home Delivery happening Friday and Saturday. More details on their website. And look for a rebrand on the line of sours QV put out this summer, now dubbed the Sofa Sour Series. The first to be released under this moniker is the Pineapple Sour Sour, a re-brew of their July debut. Other sours getting the facelift will feature passion fruit, peach & raspberry, and strawberry & guava, on shelves and out for delivery in the coming months.

Well folks, you did it, you survived your first week of school! Whether it be you, your kids, or nieces or nephews, you’ve definitely earned your end-of-week pint. We’ve got loads of new beauties to tell you about today, from all four Atlantic provinces. Big thanks to pinch writers Devon and Damian who helped us fill out this week’s post, else it would be a lot shorter due to work and travel commitments. Let’s start the week off with a shameless plug for our favourite beer podcast, perfect for listening to while you drive to your first beer destination of the weekend…

Island Hop Company‘s Josh Mayich got on the mic with the fine fellas from the 902 BrewCast this week, dropping some serious science on setting up their hop fields in Eastern PEI. If you’re a commercial brewer, homebrewer, or just a lover of beer, the episode is a must-listen! Pair that with the earlier release with John Webster of Shoreline Malting, you’ve got yourself three hours of quality Island Time with the folks behind the ingredients in your favourite local beers! On a related note, Phil Church of the 902 Brew Crew is holding a raffle to finance photography equipment to kick-start his new career path, and you can get your mitts on some very special bottles from the region and beyond by taking part. You have until October 1st to participate, check out these posts for more details.

CAVOK has teamed up with Haut-Shipagan’s Cielo Glamping, on the beautiful Acadian Peninsula, for a local collab featuring lavender harvested from Cielo’s property. The resulting beer, Cielo, is a lavender kettle sour coming in at 4.4% ABV. This thin-bodied sour features a strong acidity, prominent notes of lavender and a dry, clean finish. Stop by CAVOK in Dieppe (or order online) for a pint, growler or crowler; and, keep an eye out for it on tap following the reopening of the Cielo’s Hub, Cielo’s on-site pub/oyster bar.

After a well-deserved break last week, the team at Tidehouse Brewing is back this Friday with a new release they’ve dubbed Pull, a vanilla milkshake sour with what the brewery is calling an “absurd amount of orange zest”. In addition to the vanilla and zest, the beer also features a dose of lactose and, per the usual with Tidehouse, was brewed with 100% Horton Ridge malt. Described as the baby brother to last November’s Milk Trip DIPA, Pull comes in at 4.7% ABV. Hit up the brewery on Salter Street in Halifax for cans today beginning at 2PM and, while you’re there, grab some Hibiscus City, Tidehouse’s hibiscus lime gose, which they’ve warned you might not see again for a little while. 

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has brought back a favourite of their 2019 small batch releases, a style-bending beer perfect for this time of year. Flat White, a “white stout”, that is, a golden coloured ale with all of the roasted coffee and chocolate notes of a stout. Using fresh cold-brewed coffee from local roasters Java Blend, and full-flavoured cacao nibs, the pale-coloured base included flaked oats in the grist to increase mouthfeel and generate a lingering head, much like the crema/foam on top of a well-made espresso drink. This 5.0% ABV beer is available today at all 3 Prop Shops (Windmill, Gottingen, and Quinpool), and will be seen at Harvest Wines, RockHead, and WestSide, as well as The Port by NSLC, in the next little while.

If you find yourself in the St. John’s area this weekend, stop by Bannerman Brewing Co. for a pint of their new frutied pale ale, Last Light. Brewed as a 4.5% APA with a Mosaic dry-hop, the beer was then conditioned on passionfruit and guava to compliment the tropical hops. Available in growlers (Bannerman glass only due to COVID rules), pints, and cans now. Be sure to include a visit in your plans tomorrow, as from noon to 6 PM (and online from 6:30 NDT), local ceramic artists are taking part in a Brewery Cup pop-up exhibition, with drinkware on display and available for purchase. More info through Alexis Templeton’s site.

In other Bannerman news, tickets are now available for Sept 17th and 18th shows at the brewery with singer-songwriter Tim Baker (former Hey Rosetta! bandmate of Bannerman co-founder Phil Maloney). In-person tickets are already sold out, but you can join the waitlist or purchase a ticket for online viewing here

Sticking to the St. John’s area, veteran brewery Quidi Vidi is once again wading into the hazier side of beer with Squeezebox New England IPA. This 6.0% ABV hazy orange beer features a full off-white head, releasing all of the goodness of the fruity hops inside. Nectarine and peach, with a touch of sticky resin, play on top of the creamy smooth body with just a touch of bitterness. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your Friday night gig with the b’ys, or whenever the mood strikes! Available now through their online ordering portal, for either Hop Shop pickup or home delivery in St. John’s and beyond, it will be heading out to NLC and convenience stores next week. If you do opt for pick up or delivery, you can get your hands on a few more recent smaller releases, including the Crooked Amber (a malty sour with notes of dried fruit), Imperial Black Forest (an 8.0% ABV Stout with cacao, cherries, vanilla, and a touch of lactose), or the Strawberry Guava Creamsicle Sour (what more do you want to know? 😉 ). And massive congratulations to QV founder David Fong, who got to start his weekend a little early yesterday, as he celebrated his retirement after 25 years with Quidi Vidi! We’ve got tons of respect for Fong and Co who saw the opportunity for an independent brewery on the island, and weathered many rough patches to be one of the bright lights in the beer industry in the province. Enjoy your retirement, David, the brewery is in good hands! 

Known more recently for their fantastic lager program, Fredericton’s Grimross is venturing into new territory with the release of their first ever West Coast IPA. Grimross’ take on the style features aromas of berry, vanilla, pine and floral notes. Expect flavours of pine and orange rind, leading to a dry finish. Available today, stop by the taproom for pints, fills and cans.

Also in Fredericton, Trailway has a brand new one out that’s like many of their other beers, but also unlike them. Anomaly is an IPA that the brewery says is, “focused on softness and fullness in terms of body and flavor.” That doesn’t sound un-Trailway-like to us, but what does is the use of a different yeast than their usual house strain (an English strain, apparently), and the use of primarily Apollo hops, a variety generally known more for its bittering properties than flavor and aroma. But treated right, it can apparently bring incredible pungent and juicy grapefruity citrus. You can find out for yourself if Trailway hit that mark with this one by picking up cans of this 6.6% ABV beer directly from the brewery or by ordering online (they ship throughout the Atlantic Provinces and to Ontario as well!).

Back to the mainland, the fine folks from Tatamagouche have an exciting new release this week from one of their foeders. The release of Foeder Two Saison, marks their first release from Foeder Two, a larger Italian red wine barrel that’s currently (mostly) filled with Saison. The remaining litres will be moved into barrels for additional aging that will support future releases. For now, today’s release is a 6.1% ABV saison, can-conditioned and a good expression of what we can expect to see down the road from Foeder Two for more tasty treats from Tata in the future.

Moving to Moncton (which is something you don’t hear a lot), Tire Shack has two new casks they are tapping today (Friday) at 4 PM. The first is a stout that they have infused with cinnamon, cloves and star anise. This should be a nice mix of spice and dark malts into a smooth drinking cask ale.  The second cask is a wet hopped pale ale with local hops. It’s loaded with some unique hops and is always nice to see how they come through with some cask pulls. The cask nights at Tire Shack have thus far been well received and they usually don’t last long, so definitely check it out if you’re in the area. We’d also like to take a second to congratulate the gang at Tire Shack on the occasion of their first Anniversary!

Taking a hop, trip and a Jump to Halifax, we’ve got a new iteration of Hop Trip from Garrison to tell you about. This version features Simcoe hops, to bring out some piney notes for the fall season. Showcasing citrus and grassy notes on the nose and some tropical, woody hop flavours, this IPA weighs in at 6.2% ABV and 35 IBU. Grab some cans this weekend at the Garrison retail shops, NSLC and ANBL

Back in New Brunswick, the team at O’Creek Brewing have released two new offerings, just in time for the weekend. First up is Foggy Pale Ale, their take on a New England Pale Ale. Coming in at 5% ABV, expect flavours of pine, citrus and tropical fruit. You can find it on tap this weekend at CAVOK, Tide & Boar and BarBu. Next up is the nanobrewery’s first take on a gose. Coming in at 4.5%, Anything Goes features the traditional additions of salt and coriander, and a refreshing fruity twist thanks to some raspberry purée. Grab a pint while you enjoy the sunny weather this weekend at Euston Park Social or New Maritime Brewing

Our government-mandated cider content this week comes from PEI, a cider that’s the direct result of an event that impacted the entire Atlantic region. Double Hill Cidery is releasing Dorian, a dry, sparkling cider at 5.4%. This cider is a great representation of the local support that many Islanders showed Double Hill by bringing in loads of orchard and backyard apples to help replace the apple crop that the cidery lost due to Hurricane Dorian last September. They rounded this out with their own Dabinett cider apples to get the flavour profile on point. Double Hill said it very well themselves, “By naming it Dorian, we pay homage to the awesome power of nature and to the community spirit of the place we live in, Prince Edward Island.” This one-time delight is only available via their online shop for direct delivery, but be aware, they ship anywhere in Canada!

And finally in terms of releases this week we’re sticking with PEI, where Montague’s Copper Bottom Brewing wins the prize for “shamefully late email of the week.” Described by the brewery as, “inspired by some of the greats from Vermont,” Juno leveraged the now-classic Vermont Ale yeast to produce an NE IPA with a pillowy-soft mouthfeel and notes of pineapple, peach, and tropical citrus. Low in bitterness at 30 IBU and weighing in at 6.5% ABV, the grist was largely PEI-grown 2-row malt and wheat, with some flaked oats added for body. Hit with recent darling of the hop industry Galaxy, and one of the darlings of the mid-2010s hop industry, Amarillo, expect plenty of juicy hop character as is de rigueur for the style. Find it at the brewery today in cans to go or pints to stay, or look for it to arrive in a couple of weeks at PEILCC locations and Bishop’s Cellar (does anyone else’s brain put an echo on that?).

Just one event to tell you about this week, fingers crossed you’re in the Saint John region and able to attend!

Uncorked Tours in the Saint John City Market is celebrating their Grand Opening tomorrow, and we’re all invited! After opening their tasting room in the market last month, they are taking over the entire North Market Street as a pedestrian way/massive patio, so that more folks can attend, and be physically distanced. Starting at 1 PM tomorrow, Jeremiah Clark from Moonshine Creek Distilling will be mixing up tiki-inspired cocktails on the patio, and Caribjam Steel Vibes will be playing sets 1 – 3 and 5 – 7 PM. As for beer, they’re keeping it super-local, celebrating the brewers of Saint John and KV, with Big Tide, Hammond River, Long Bay, Loyalist City, Picaroons General Store on offer. Plus “End of Summer” Buckets of beer from Brasseux d’la Cote! Oh, and local wine too, worry not! Lots of details are available on their FB Events page. Congratulations to Gilliane, Nat, and the whole Uncorked Family!