Local Connections Halifax

All posts tagged Local Connections Halifax

Happy Friday everyone! Lots of news this week, so let’s get right to it…

• Leading us off today is a story from Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing: they have filed suit against the NSLC, arguing that the “Retail Mark-Up Sales Allocation” the Crown Corporation is unconstitutional. When Unfiltered’s lawyers consulted the legislation to learn more about the mark-up, none could be found, and the NSLC has been unable to provide documents outlining the details. The $0.50/litre mark-up is applied to all NS-made beer that is sold or given away, whether or not it hits any NSLC retail stores. Unfiltered is claiming that the mark-up is in fact a tax, and that the NSLC is not legislated to collect it. They are requesting reimbursement for the more than $25,000 paid to the NSLC over the last 13 months, and that the mark-up be declared unconstitutional. This case has wide-reaching implications, as all of the more than 35 breweries in the province have been paying this fee for years, and would amount to many millions of dollars that could be at dispute. From the NSLC’s own spokesperson, $954,000 was collected in 2015, of which $50,000 was provided to the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia (the association of 25 member breweries, but Unfiltered is not one of them). The scheduling of the suit is to be decided in early September, and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with all of the news. The CBC has a good summary of the details of the suit.

• In new beer news, Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing has dropped a new take on their fruit wheat beer this week: Haskap Wheat. With a similar base as their Raspberry Wheat, this beer features 40 kilos of locally-grown Haskap berries added after fermentation. The resultant beer is a hazy purple colour, with notes of blueberry, raspberry, and cranberry, on a pleasant wheat base. A very drinkable 4.3% ABV and 20 IBUs Wheat beer. And speaking of drinkable, their South Pacific-hopped Pale Ale D’under is back again, weighing in at 5.5% ABV and approximately 40 IBUs from late addition hops. Lots of tropical aromas come through from the hops, without a big bitter blast.

Propeller Brewing has released their latest One Hit Wonder this week, and their Brewmaster apparently had a one-track mind when it came to this recipe! 1 Hop IPA is a 6.6% ABV and 56 IBUs beer, featuring nothing but Mandarina Bavaria for the hopping. As the name implies, this hop was developed in Germany, at the Hop Research Institute in Hüll, and is among the recent wave of aromatic hops (higher oil content) coming from Europe. The orange and citrus notes of the hop shine through on top of the robust body and significant bitterness. As with all of their OHW releases, this is only available in draft, or for growler fills at their two brewery locations. And while you’re at the brewery, be sure to check out Prop’s first can release. They have started with their flagship IPA, with cans now available at their retail locations, and will soon be rolling out to the private stores and NSLC shelves.

 • Gahan House Halifax has a few new beers on tap currently, and a brand new beer hitting the taps next week. Now on tap are: Maritime Brine, a 3.8% Gose with a light acidity and salt character, along with pleasant lemon character, with just enough hops (less than 10 IBUs) to keep it balanced; The Barberrian (which made its cask debut at the Seaport Beer Festival), a 5.0% ABV Red Ale aged on dried barberries and cherries, for a bright fruit flavour and aroma; Summer House Beer, a 4.0% Hefeweizen dry-hopped with Mt Hood for a hoppy-aromatic take on the style; and Crosscurrent, their 5.5% ABV American Pale Ale with El Dorado and Simcoe. On tap for next week is Night Vision, a 6.2% American Porter, using Magnum and Mt Hood hops (to about 30 IBUs), featuring “chocolate and graham cracker notes” as a nice contrast to their roast-forward Stout, according to Brewmaster Kyle Jeppesen. Be sure to follow along with his adventures on Instagram, to keep up-to-date on his brew days and what’s coming up on the waterfront. In fact, Jeppesen just brewed a Sahti, his take on the traditional Finnish brew, featuring locally-harvest juniper branches used in the mash, and a large percentage of rye malt.

North Brewing is releasing a special beer collaboration brew today, Lawrencetown Blonde. This 4.5% ABV beer features 2-Row and Wheat malts, and lightly hopped with Cascade and Saaz to about 20 IBUs. Surfing friends of the brewery, Ian Jackson and Dean Petty (of Anchored Coffee) were also part of the brewday, label design, and recipe development. Ten litres of Ethiopian Yukro cold brew was added to the final beer, courtesy of Anchored, for a light roastiness to complement the peach, citrus, and light ginger aromas. And a nod to the surfers was a little but of Lawrencetown Beach sea water too! Ian’s wife Jill (of Jill+Jack Paper) designed the label, on the bottles which are available on both Agricola and Ochterloney today.

Yellowbelly Brewpub in St John’s has released a new beer this week, Southern Shore Foggy Porter. This deep-ruby-coloured porter features a big roast character, notes of toast and smoke, and dry finish, thanks to the large percentage of roasted barley used in the recipe. Dry-hopped with Brewer’s GoldCascade, and Mosaic to enhance the nose with a touch of spice and fruit. This beer is Brewmaster Liam Mckenna’s tribute to “the finest sort of folks down the Shore who endure weather like no others, [and] will warm the cockles.” The 5.8% ABV, 45 IBUs, beer is on tap at the brewpub now, and may not make it into bottles, so best to drop by for a pint today!

• Garrison Brewing has brought back their popular Honey Lavender Ale today. The 6.5% ABV beer features lavender harvested from Meander River Farms, and its aroma is a pleasant partner to the malt and light honey character. Honey from Shubenacadie’s G.G. Smeltzer & Son helped to bump up the alcohol a bit, aiding the Maritime Malt and Wheat, and does offer a sweet aftertaste. A small dose of Citra hops helps to offset the beer at a light 16 IBUs. Bottles are now available at the brewery and private stores in HRM.

• Nyanza’s Big Spruce has brought back their kettle-soured IPA this week, JAC the SIPA. Featuring loads of AmarilloCitra, and Simcoe hops added during a whirlpool after flame-out, this 6.0% ABV beer features a big aromatic blast of hops with a medium 54 IBUs. The acidic nature of the beer gives a pleasant refreshing sharp character, on a hot afternoon.

Picaroons will be pouring a special beer this weekend, to celebrate The Tragically Hip‘s final concert (and Canada-wide phenomenon). The Tragically Hop’d Pale Ale is a 4.5% ABV Pale Ale with “silly” amounts of some special hops: Galaxy, Saphir, Summit, TopazVic Secret, and Warrior, to 40 IBUs. The beer will be pouring exclusively at the “Fully Completely in the Square” event in Fredericton’s Officer Square, at the Brewtique, and at the General Store in Saint John tomorrow, August 20th.

Speaking of events, there are a whole bunch of them on our radar in the coming weeks. You can check out our Calendar of Events Page for the full listing, and subscribe to it by clicking here. And feel free to let us know about the neat events that we may have missed! We love to hear from you at ACBeerBlog@gmail.com.

• Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing will be opening their retail location August 20 for growler and merchandise sales, 10-4. They will be selling their Dark Cream Ale, a flavourful 4.7% golden orange ale featuring notes of biscuit and toast and their IPA, a 5.4% dry-hopped hoppy ale, featuring notes of melon and strawberry. As they are still awaiting their 12 hl brewhouse to come online (much of it was delivered this week!), they will be concentrating on to-go sales, in both their own, or customer-provided (clean), grunters and growlers. Their current schedule is to be open for take away sales for the next few Saturdays until their launch at the end of September.

• The Upstreet Block Party is returning for its second year on Saturday, August 20th. Featuring plenty of activities, live music, food, and tours at the brewery from 12 pm on, they’ll also be unveiling a new “super-sized beer garden”! As the sun goes down, the party will move into the taproom at about 8 pm for more music (from two local DJs), food, and beer. Admission is free, just drop in anytime to join in the fun!

• On August 26th Quebec Belgian-inspired brewery Unibroue is sending their Beer Sommelier (and Certified Cicerone®) Sylvain Bouchard to The Port, NSLC’s new flagship location at 5485 Clyde Street. He will be helping to launch the release of the 6-litre 17 Grand Reserve Belgian Strong, with a food and beer tasting with several of their products (including Éphémère Apple, Blonde de Chambly, La Fin du Monde, Maudite, in addition to the 17) . There are only 32 bottles of this special beer, in a format best suited for sharing at a wedding or other celebration, and those in attendance will have the first chance at trying and purchasing them. There are only 30 tickets available to the 7-8:30pm event (on sale at The Port now), and we are holding a contest for your chance to win a pair of them! Post a picture to our Facebook page, and/or tag us and @Unibroue on Twitter or Instagram, with a picture your favourite beer and food pairing, and we will announce the winner in our Weekly Wrap-Up next Friday morning.

•  On August 26 & 27, Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting a tap takeover from Portland Maine’s Liquid Riot Bottling Co. Owned by the awesome beer-focused team behind Novare Res Bier Cafe, Liquid Riot brews a wide variety of beers and spirits on the Portland waterfront, and is bringing a great selection to Halifax. The fun starts Friday night at 6pm on Barrington, with a dozen sours, porters, wheats, and IPAs taking over the taps at the Mothership, and continues Saturday from noon at the Beer Garden on Spring Garden, with ten taps of LR goodness (five of which are exclusive to the BG). There are no tickets required for the fun, and there are only single kegs of many of the beers, so be sure and drop by early to avoid disappointment! Check out their Facebook Event page for the full line-up, because it’s too long and awesome to post it all here.

• On September 16th, Garrison and Local Connections Halifax are hosting Hops ‘n’ Brats, as part of Halifax Oktoberfest. From 6:30 to 11, they will be hosting a handful of NS breweries at the Salter Street parking lot, slinging beers and pairing them with a ton of locally-produced sausages. Your entry fee includes your first 8 samples, a token to take part in the beer-centric games, and a souvenir glass. New this year is the ability to trade 3 tickets for a full pour of your favourite brew. There will be a dozen breweries in attendance, including: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Garrison, Meander River, and Spindrift. Tickets are just $24+tax, and are available now.

• September 17th is the main event for Halifax Oktoberfest, with the party kicking off at 11am with traditional German food, music and games, with the evening session kicking off at 6pm with more food, dancing, and Garrison beer a-plenty. The Swell Guys and Die Brew-misters Oompah Bands will be providing music, and Scanway Catering will be serving up lots of sausages, spaetzle and schnitzel, as well as two whole roasted pigs. From 11AM to 5PM the event will be all-ages, admission is $5/adults and free for children. In the evening, the fun continues as a 19+ event with dancing, food, and games. An evening pass can be purchased for $16 which includes entry and one Garrison beer, or a $20 entry that also includes a commemorative Oktoberfest Halifax Stein. Full details are available here, and tickets are on sale now.

Wow, another big week! A few more notes that came in after our deadline:

Gahan Pub Charlottetown have brought back Summer in New Zealand, the NZ-hopped beer with grains of paradise and a touch of lemon and lime zest, the winning recipe by Ryan Palmer in last year’s Gahan Homebrew Challenge.
– Congratulations to Breton Brewing on brewing their 100th batch of beer! They celebrated by…. brewing! More Stirling Hefeweizen coming soon.
Hell Bay has brought a pair of favourites this week, with the O.P.A Oat Pale Ale and R.I.P. (A) IPA.
– After last weekend’s very successful launch, Beckwith Road Brewery has delivered their Campfire Amber at the Tide & Boar in Moncton, and will be going on tap very shortly.
– You can once again pick up Shiretown Beer at the ANBL! Drop by the Dalhousie and Charlo locations to grab bottles of their Blonde Du Quai, Siren’s T’ale and Big Brown Ale.

Apologies for the late posting this week, *someone* decided to take the week off, again! 😉

Good morning! Looks like there’s some hot weather coming our way for this weekend… what better way to cool off than with news about our favourite beverage?

• Last weekend, PEI’s Upstreet Craft Brewing had a special visitor: Emily Tipton, Boxing Rock‘s co-owner and Beer Engineer. Tipton and Upstreet brewmaster Mike Hogan brewed their first collaboration beer on Upstreet’s system, a SMaSH IPL (single-malt and single hop India Pale Lager) named Rumble in the Alley: Round 1. Featuring a grist of 100% Maritime malt, and hopped entirely with Amarillo to 50 IBUs, it was fermented with Upstreet’s house Pilsner yeast and should clock in at about 6% ABV. Islanders can expect to see this one become available before the end of August; look for a couple of kegs to also pop up in Halifax sometime in the future. This should be just the first of many collaborations between these two breweries; they already have a history of working together, including when the Upstreet crew visited Boxing Rock last winter, and ended up lending a hand to help brew Cinnamon Spin.

• The hop plants at Sunset Heights Meadery are growing strong, and owner/brewer John Way already has plans for them! He’s brewed up a single 120 L batch of mead, which will be separated into eight 15 L “mini-batches”, each of which will be wet-hopped with a different variety (including Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Fuggles, Galena, Magnum, Nugget, and Willamette). These small batches will be bottled and sold as 8-packs (200 mL per bottle), allowing the consumer to sample each type. If you’re attending the Autumn Mead Release Party on October 24th (there are only a few tickets left), you’ll have guaranteed access to purchase one set; leftovers – if any – will be available via their soon-to-go-live online store.

• The itinerary has been finalized for the next trip from New Brunswick Beer Tours, which will be held on Saturday, October 17th. The River Valley Tour is actually a rehash of their first highly-successful tour last fall, and includes stops at Petit-Sault in Edmundston, Railcar in Florenceville-Bristol, and Big Axe in Nackawic. The tour bus leaves the King Street Ale House in Fredericton at 9 am, and should return around 6 pm later that day. Beer samples from all three breweries are included, as well as many sampling opportunities on the bus itself, and a box lunch. Tickets are now available;  an early-bird price of $88 (taxes and fee included) will apply until September 1st.

• After opening just a couple of weeks ago, Unfiltered Brewing is releasing their first seasonal today at noon. Daytimer is a kettle-soured Berliner Weisse that has been dry-hopped with plenty of Mosaic, a variety well-known for providing high levels of tropical fruitiness. Combined with the natural tartness of this style and it’s high drinkability at 3.4% ABV, Haligonians should be looking at the perfect beer for hot-weather consumption. And drop by Unfiltered anytime after 3pm today to pair your growler with a dog from the T-Dogs hotdog stand.

• Speaking of dogs (and T-Dogs specifically), details are being released for this year’s Sausage Fest, put on by the Local Connections Halifax crew. A preview of the event is happening tomorrow, during Sausage Fest Roadshow on the pedestrian-only (on the weekend) Argyle Street. T-Dogs will be there to serve up some pizza- and donair-dogs; many other community groups and vendors will be attending as well. Sausage Fest begins in earnest Sept 19th, with a day-time Sausage Throwdown, and an evening Sausage O’ The Night event, with both events hosting at least nine NS breweries and a half-dozen restaurants with their sausage creations. In fact, several breweries will be releasing special brews for the week: Boxing Rock is releasing Kerfuffle APA, a dry-hopped malt-balanced Pale Ale; Bulwark will have Hopped Citrus Cider, an apple cider featuring Cascade and Comet hops; Garrison is releasing Hammerschlagen Brau, a Marzen; and Propeller will be bringing Wind Swell Wheat, a Cascade-hopped American Pale Wheat beer. And on Friday, Sept 25th, the waterfront will host a Hops & Brats event to kick off Halifax Oktoberfest, with many NS breweries in attendance to share their beers to pair with different German fare. And just a note, LCH’s Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration is returning January 14th at the Marriott Harbourfront, and Early Bird tickets are on sale now.

• AND, speaking of Dogs, Dawgs, and Dogg, the folks at Good Robot are hosting a Hair of the Dog event Sunday. Grab your puppy(ies) and drop by after 11am for a dog spa treatment by the folks at All 4 Paws Pet Services; while there, enjoy a custom-made T-Dogs hot dog, grab a pint of GR beer, and listen to some Snoop Dogg. $20 will get you a dog wash, hot dog, and 12oz beer (the music is free). $2 from each combo package will be going to ElderDog Canada. While on-site, grab a taste of their Goseface Killah Gose v1.1, dubbed Sour Soul, which was brewed using more acidulated malt than the first release, for an additional acidic character. And with their Tap Room slated to open this fall, they are now taking applications for servers and bartenders, so be sure to bug Josh while you’re there!

• The Celtic Oktoberfest is returning on October 24th for their second year in Port Hawkesbury. A “celebration of local food, music, and beer”, attendees can expect plenty of all three, with the four hour event featuring beer from ten different Nova Scotia breweries, food from ten Cape Breton restaurants, and live music from many local musicians. So far, Big Spruce, Breton Brewing, Boxing Rock, Garrison, and Hell Bay are confirmed to be pouring, with others likely being announced soon. Tickets are now on sale, with early-bird pricing at $50 (+ fee) available until September 1st.

• The folks from North Brewing and Brooklyn Warehouse have announced plans for their new spot in Dartmouth. Battery Park beer bar & eatery will open in October at 62 Ochterloney Drive in Dartmouth. In addition to the bar and restaurant, it will feature a brewing system on-site, with North’s current 5 BBL (600 litre) brewhouse making the trip across the bridge. Beers brewed in Dartmouth will be special brews available only at Battery Park, or for growler fills at the brewery shop. In its place at North’s Agricola St location, a new 10 BBL (1200 litre) steam-fired system will be commissioned. This brew-house from DME will incorporate a boiler capable of burning biodiesel, taking a big step towards North’s plan of reducing their environmental footprint. As part of the launch of this new endeavour, Battery Park is running a crowdfunding campaign.

Stillwell Beer Bar will be hosting an exciting pair of out-of-province breweries September 1st. Brasserie Dunham from Quebec’s Eastern Townships and Jester King from just outside of Austin, TX, are two breweries at the forefront of innovative recipes and techniques, both with extensive barrel- and mixed-fermentation beers in their roster. They recently brewed up a collaboration beer, and are meeting again in Quebec for another brew day and the release celebration. Part of the celebration will include a brewers’ visit to Stillwell, where the two breweries will be taking over the taps, as well as bringing a load of bottles. Tickets for the event go on sale today at noon, and will offer first sips of the beers in a 6-8pm session, after which the doors will be open to all. A warning that many of the beers will be in short supply, and some will almost certainly run our during the initial early session. For more information on the breweries and which beers will be pouring, check out Stillwell’s Blog.

• The Maritime Hop Growers Co-op are hosting Open Hop Yard Days this month, giving NS beer enthusiasts a chance to check out a few of the farms growing hops in the province. For the next three Sundays, from 1-4pm, folks can visit Breton Fields, High Tide, Meander River, Wallace Ridge, Wentworth Creek, and Wysmykal Farm hop farms to learn about the process of growing hops, as well as the business of hop growing. For those already growing hops, or looking to start, there is an information session presented by Perennia August 19th in Aylesford, with information on best practices for harvesting and drying hops. With many of the members in attendance, it will be a great opportunity to talk about the opportunities available. The Co-op has been around since 2009, and has 15 farm members (ten in NS, three in NB, and two in PEI). Those interested in more information on joining the Co-op, growing hops as a hobby, or buying hops, should check out their Facebook page.

• YellowBelly Brewery in St John’s has released a new IPA this week, Deep South. Hopped to 60 IBUs with varieties from the Southern Hemisphere (specifically, Pacific Gem from New Zealand and Mosaic from Australia), the beer comes across as “dry and bitter, with serious overtones of lychee and grapefruit”, according to the brewery. YellowBelly decided to ferment this IPA with an American ale yeast, as opposed to their British house strain, which should allow the fruity hop characteristics to shine through even more. It weighs in at a manageable 6% ABV; get down to the brewpub to give it a try!

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend, and keep cool with some good, local beer! Garrison Brewing’s Honey Lavender is back for another year. This 6.3% ABV ale features loads of lavender from Meander River Farms, and honey from Cosman & Whidden; it’s available in 650 mL bottles at the brewery. Stubborn Goat Gastropub has added grunters to their repertoire. This new ability to offer 0.95 litre pours is a continuation of their “social dining” concept, encouraging groups to share a few glasses of several different craft beer options during their meal. Breton Brewing ‏is looking to hire some folks in their retail space, as well as for delivery and assistant brewer positions. Contact them for details. Finally, Picaroons is starting to see some of their new brewery equipment coming in, with the arrival of several new tanks this week in Fredericton. Stay tuned for more updates…

Happy Friday! As we enter the busy month of December, the breweries in Atlantic Canada are firing on all cylinders, as there is lots of beer news this week. Let’s get started…

Big Tide has a new brew on tap at the brewpub: Gasworks Chocolate Honey Wheat was brewed for an event at the Saint John Free Public Library, “Beethoven, Books and Beer”. Brewer Wendy Papadopoulos was aiming to brew a beer that was “light and dark”, and warming and refreshing at the same time. So, she added honey to a light wheat ale base to hopefully give a creamier mouthfeel, and also added both Chocolate and Carafa malts to darken the beer and give some roastiness to the flavor. The IBUs are on the lower end, to keep the malt characters upfront. It clocks in at 5.5% ABV; get down to try it, as it won’t be around for long! They’ve also got another new beer in the works just in time for the holidays, Santa’s Chocolate Porter. More on that one, soon!

Pump House has re-released their own take on the Winter Warmer style… a style which is becoming more and more popular for these colder months. Nor’Easter Winter Warmer is a strong ale at 7.5% ABV, and malty sweet, as the style calls for. The brewers spice the beer with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and lightly hop it to only 20 IBUs. It’s currently on tap at the brewpub in Moncton, and is also available for growler fills at the Dieppe ANBL store this week.

• Along with their first DIPA, 8 Cord, the PEI Brewing Co. also released another new beer yesterday! Ice Boat is the brewery’s Sydney Street Stout that has been aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels for three months (the barrels were rinsed before adding the beer, to temper the alcohol flavor and enhance the softening effects of the oak, according to head brewer Chris Long). Packaged in a limited number – 1000 – of 750 mL, wax-dipped bottles (they assure us the wax is easier to remove than in their Transmitter Stout!), it’s currently available at the brewery, and should hit PEILCC stores sometime next week. We also mentioned a Doppelbock last week; that beer has currently been put on hold, but don’t worry, they still plan on brewing it soon!

• In cider news, Red Rover has just released their newest product, Jingleberry. A semi-dry cider coming in at 7% ABV, it has wild blueberries added during the brewing process to give some tartness in the flavors. And if you’re looking to take home some Red Rover cider in a larger container than their usual 1 L flagons, they now have 5 L “Kitchen Party Kegs” for sale… they’re $64 (taxes included) and are refillable; available for purchase at the Ciderhouse. You can also find their products on tap at Sam Snead’s and Ten Resto in Fredericton, joining several other accounts in the city.

• With Christmas around the corner, it’s good news for Picaroons fans… they’re about ready to start their 12 Beers of Christmas! Starting next Friday, December 12th, they will be releasing a new holiday-themed beer every day at 4:00 pm (noon on Sundays) for 12 days, in growler form at the Brewtique. Like last year, there will be a 2 growler limit per person, and the day’s beer won’t be announced until noon on that day (through Facebook and Twitter). There may be a couple of brand new beers, according to the brewery; most will be re-releases of favorites over the last couple of years. These beers always go quickly, so if you want to grab some, make sure to show up early!

• If you don’t have plans for Saturday, Dec. 20th, we have a great idea for you! Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault is having a tap-takeover at Resto-Bar Le Deck in Edmundston. All 8 taps will be dedicated to Petit-Sault beers, four of which will be “One-Hit Wonders” that have never been released before! These new beers include La Dictée (IPA), La Winding Eddy (Vanilla Bourbon Porter), La Kedgwick (Lager), and La Mud Lake (Brown Ale). It all starts at 7:00 pm; admission is free.

• Tickets for the 2015 Saint John Beerfest are now on sale! The event will be held on Saturday, April 11th from 7:30 – 9:30 pm; general admission tickets are $60, with VIP tickets – which allow you entry to the festival half an hour early, and access to “limited quantity beer, food, and entertainment” are $70. We’ll have some more details on the breweries, beers, and food and entertainment options closer to the date.

Propeller Brewing Co is at it again! They are releasing the second in their four-beer Lambic-style beer series in a couple of weeks. Their Blackberry beer will be released December 22nd at both the Dartmouth and Halifax breweries. This beer started out from the same batch of wort and young beer as the Framboise (and the two other beers to come), and then blackberries were added for a unique Nova Scotia twist on this Senne Valley traditional style. And much like their Framboise release in August, they will be holding a special event at Bar Stillwell on Saturday, December 20th. Beginning at noon, patrons can enjoy the new beer by the glass or bottle before it hits the shelves to the general public Monday morning. No tickets are necessary to drop by and enjoy the beer, and those who do will have the opportunity to sign up for a guaranteed bottle to be purchased at the Gottingen St location Sunday the 21st.

• Another busy week for Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza, NS. Last weekend, the Second Annual Homebrew Competition judging took place, and Eric Gauthier’s American Wheat was crowned the best in show! Through stiff competition, Eric’s beer rose to the top, and he will be joining the Big Spruce crew for a brewday in a couple of weeks. His beer will then be released for the first time at the Local Connections Craft Beer and Local Food Celebration at the Halifax Club, January 15, 2015 (sorry, tickets are sold out, but you can sign up to the Wait List). Congratulations Eric, and finalists Keith and Jimmy! Last year’s Homebrew Competition winning beer, Tim’s Dirty American IPA, has made a return to the brewery and tap accounts this week, so be sure to grab it when you see it.

• And in more Big Spruce news, they are releasing a new beer today, an Imperial IPA, brewed with 100% imported German malts. Crazy Ivan weighs in at 8.2% and 108 IBUs, thanks to several different American hops. Due to the wicked amount of hops in the boil, the yield for this Bad Boy is quite low, at just over 500 litres, so don’t delay, and grab this insane beer today. And this is a warning to be on the lookout for Hoppuccino version 2, brewed this week. This version featured a special blend from Just Us! Coffee Roasters, roasted especially for this brew. The beer has more coffee added, and a lower ABV, so the flavour profile will really allow this new coffee blend to shine through.

Boxing Rock Brewing Co has brought back their very popular U-889 Russian Imperial Stout, just in time for the colder days ahead. Weighing in at 8.89% ABV and 65 IBUs, this dark beer features a full body, and significant roast and chocolate character, benefitting from additions of organic, fair trade coffee from Just Us! and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for a complex flavour and aroma profile. Available in 650 ml bottles at the private beer stores in HRM, at the Halifax Seaport Market both Friday (for the next three weeks) and Saturday, and at select bars on the South Shore and HRM.

Tatamagouche Brewing Co had a busy week, with a beer re-release, a new beer style on the horizon, and some visitors to the brewery. They have re-released their Dreadnot IBA (India Black Ale) in 650 ml bottles (for the first time), as well as on tap around the province, and in growlers at the brewery. More details on the beer are available here. Details are light, but we spotted the Tata Crew adding some oysters to a new brew that will debut in early 2015, an Oyster Stout. We’ll be sure to pass along the specs when available, but we can say that it features both local Malagash hops and oysters. And the crew from Stubborn Goat Gastropub paid a visit to the brewery to help out with a collaboration that will be released in early 2015 as well. More details on that beer soon.

• And while we don’t yet have all of the details on Tata’s upcoming festive ale, we do have more information on the Holiday Brunch launch event, being held at Stillwell December 12th, put on in partnership with the Ladies Beer League. Chef Graeme Ruppel has prepared three special menu items for the event, Frittata, Strata and Purgatorio (full details at the link above). Tickets for the noon event are $25, which gets you a glass of the Tata holiday beer and food beginning at noon, before the standard 4pm Sunday opening time. Tickets are available online, and will sell out this weekend, so act fast!

• The North Brewing crew were working their new bottling system hard again this week, busy packaging their Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian. Aged in barrels from Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton for two months, the base beer features dark candy sugar and a long boil for dark fruit flavors and a full mouthfeel, that is only enhanced by the vanilla and whisky flavours and aromas picked up from the barrels. Available in 650 ml bottles at the brewery beginning today.

• Local glassware printer Jym Line received a shoutout in the Herald this week. Chances are good that if you’ve filled a growler, or drunk a beer from a logoed glass from a local brewery, you were using a Jym Line product. Check out the article for more insight into this local business.

• As drinkers, we include local beer in our diet, to support our vibrant community of local breweries. In turn, these breweries are increasing their use of local ingredients, grown or harvested in our region. Hop harvest season is a flurry of activity with breweries teaming up with local hop growers to share the best our land has to offer. Other ingredients just as critical to beer production are the grains and malt. While there are local grain producers, there are no commercial malting facilities in the Maritime Provinces. Though the barley for Maritime Malt is grown in our region, it is malted in Quebec. Enter Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Co, a new malt house, located in the Annapolis Valley, NS. President Alan Stewart has been growing certified organic produce in Nova Scotia for over 25 years, so is well aware of the unique character of the land and climate of this region. He wants to bring that passion to begin producing malt and grain for local breweries, distilleries, and homebrewers. To further his knowledge on the art and science of malting, Stewart trained at the Canadian Malt Barley Technical Centre in Winnipeg, completing the Malt Academy course. Plans are in place for the first malting to take place during the 2015 season, including three varieties of rye grown on-site. To involve the wider local community in this new venture, Horton Ridge has launched a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (or CEDIF). Stewart is holding an information session December 11, 2014, at the Wolfville Farmers Market, to learn more about the Malt House plans, and the CEDIF details. If interested in attending, be sure to RSVP. We wish Horton Ridge success, and look forward to tasting beers brewed with their malt soon!

• “The best laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry” … Garrison Brewing Company was to be releasing their much anticipated Spruce Beer today, but sadly some bottling line issues has delayed the release until next week. However, we’ll give you the details today, to get you in the mood. It was all hands on deck for over a dozen staff, family and friends of the brewery who visited Meander River Farm and Brewery, to harvest spruce and fir tips and boughs three weeks ago. A bit of snow fell as they collected the tips, making it all the more magical. Pale, dark crystal, roasted malt, and oat flakes were used in the mash, with Crosby’s Molasses from Saint John, NB added to the wort for additional body, aroma, and fermentable sugars, aiding the beer to reach the 7.5% ABV. To complement the aroma from the nearly 40 bags of boughs used, Citra hops brought the bitterness up to 25 IBUs. This year’s brew will be packaged in 650 ml bottles, just the right size for sharing with your favourite elf. And good news for beer drinkers, the distribution of the beer has now expanded into both New Brunswick and PEI, and will be sent to Manitoba and Alberta, as well. The Spruce Beer goes on sale at the brewery next Friday, the 12th, at 9am. We can also share that some of this year’s Spruce Beer will be aged in barrels that previously held Ironworks Distillery Rum, and that last year’s Barrel Aged Spruce Beer will be released before the New Year.

• May 11-17, 2015 will be the inaugural Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week! The Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia is hosting this week-long celebration of beer made in the Bluenose province. Events include Open Brewery Day, Tap Takeovers, Beer Dinners and more, capped off by the flagship event Saturday May 16th, the Full House Craft Beer Fest. The Fest will see beer poured by all members of the Association, all under one roof for the first time. There are two sessions of the fest, being held at the Olympic Community Centre, 12-3pm and 4-7pm. Tickets are now available at the Early Bird price of $22, which gets you in the door, a take-home glass, and your first 12 beer samples. After that, samples are only $1. This format allows for a more relaxed environment, without people rushing and overindulging, in the hopes of “getting their money’s worth” of a higher ticket price. Reasonably-priced food options will be available onsite, as well as musical entertainment and a pop-up shop with merchandise from the Association members. Grab your ticket now to avoid disappointment! We will be sharing details of the other NS Craft Beer Week events as they are released, but from what we’ve heard so far, we can assure you that there will be events across the province, and for beer lovers of all stripes.

Wow! Just when you think beer news is slowing down a bit, you get a week like this. Have a fantastic weekend! In addition to all of the new beers mentioned above, Granite Brewery‘s Darkside IPA is now available at their Beer Store for growler fills, so if you’re in Halifax, stop in to pick some up! And there’s some other new beers on the horizon that we weren’t able to get info on for this week… Big Axe has Chocolate Mint Stout and Wrath of Putin Imperial Pale Ale, both of which will be on tap at 540 Kitchen & Bar soon; BarNone announced that they’ve just brewed a Sweet Stout, La Vaca Loca; and Yellowbelly has their latest seasonal, Root Cellar, on tap now, with bottles following shortly. If you haven’t bought your tickets for the 2015 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, don’t wait any longer… VIP tickets are gone, and general admission tickets are already over 50% sold out! Hell Bay has received a new 12 hL horizontal fermenter that will become their new (and bigger) mash tun, so expect more production from them in the near future. Finally, a big congratulations to Cam and Jenn at Schoolhouse Brewery, who welcomed the newest addition to the family/brewery – baby Claire – on Monday!