Is your January still dry, or strangely wet due to the weather? Unless you’re in certain parts of Cape Breton, New Brunswick or Newfoundland, it has been a weird weather start to the year with more wind and rain on its way this weekend. Look at us, typical Maritimers, always talking about the weather. Let’s talk about our other favourite thing, beer (and beer adjacent drinks, events, jobs, media, news, etc.)!
We’re kicking off this week’s beer news with an oldie but a goodie. While we’ve been celebrating lots of anniversaries and birthdays of breweries over the last few months, Pump House Brewery is celebrating their 25th year! Officially opened in September of 1999, they’re kicking off year 25 with a new beer. If you used to show up to parties or barbecues with that classic 12 pack of bottles from the NSLC/ANBL/NLC/PEILC, there is no doubt some nostalgia you have for this brewery and their big anniversary. Who doesn’t remember their first Blueberry Ale?! While we can’t believe time flies so quickly, their new beer is a far cry from those early days. Evolution is a Brut IPA that finishes clean and crisp, but still packs a lot of flavour thanks to the hop bill of Warrior, Citra, Simcoe and El Dorado. Packaged in cans, it’s 6% for an approachable beer that should appeal to all of their customers over time. Look for this in all Pump House locations and potentially some other retail locations as it rolls out over the next few weeks.
Last week we highlighted some non-alc options for the people (Dry January or not!) and North Brewing decided to join the party in their own way. More in the category of “low ABV” than “no ABV,” Pocket IPA is an ultra light IPA coming in at 2.5% but still high on flavour and body. This small little buddy is brewed with pale malt, Vienna malt, and oats. For the hops, its single hop star is Mosaic. With low bitterness, medium carbonation, and lots of hop aroma, this is an anytime crusher that can suit a lot of different purposes and activities, and you can put it in your pocket anywhere you go with its 355ml format. It’s available now at all of the North locations and their online store.
The winter months are classically the time for darker beers and their associated roastier flavors and Dildo Brewing is leaning into that by releasing a brace of beers in collaboration with their neighbours around the other side of Trinity Bay, Trinity Coffee Company. First up is Cappuccino Stout, featuring oats in the grist for a smooth mouthfeel to pair with the rich cappuccino taste thanks to an infusion of Trinity coffee beans. At 5.4% you could probably go full Italian style and have one for breakfast! On the other end of the spectrum, at least the color spectrum, we’ve also got White Stout, a beer for those who like “darker” flavors but aren’t into the slight astringency that can come with classic roasty stout ingredients. Coming in at 5.8% ABV, it’s got plenty of classic stout flavor, and an additional coffee kick from Trinity coffee beans. Look for both of these new releases at the Dildo merchandise shop and their Water Street bottle shop as well.
The gang at Breton Brewing in Sydney, NS, is taking some time during these cold months to prepare for the warmer ones to come. In this case that means brewing up some small batches of lager to ensure that when the sunny weather starts to hit they’ve got the ultimate light lager to put in your hand (or your beach cooler or your softball kit bag). While version #1, which was released just before the holidays, is still pouring in the taproom, the new one is ready to go on tap and in a limited number of cans. This time it’s a Mexican lager, which usually implies perhaps a bit of corn adjunct as opposed to the rice often used in the American light lager style. Crisp, light, and clean, and weighing a paltry 4.0% ABV, as you sip you can cast your mind forward to summer and how nice it might be to neck one of these after mowing the back 40.
Continuing with the Mexican theme, but switching from lager to ale, Mount Uniacke’s Party Time Brewing has done up a new recipe called Party at Mexi’s, a 5%, 35 IBU amber ale. Haligonians of a certain age may fondly remember the days when “Party at Mexi’s” was an after work tradition on Spring Garden Road. These days Mexicala Rosa’s have relocated out to Bayers Lake Business Park, but they’re still serving some of the longest-running Californian-style Mexican cuisine in the region, and now they’ll be serving a local beer to go along with it. That’s right, Party Time’s latest has been brewed for Mexi’s themselves and they’re hoping to start serving it tomorrow (Saturday, January 13th)! You may also see it also appear at Mexi’s Moncton location in the future.
Staying in the HRM, downtown on Brunswick Street to be precise, 2 Crows has a new small batch they’ve put together for a special event at the brewery. Sickeningly Sweet was built on a blueberry and lemon sour base with a whole bunch of peaches and Nova Scotia honey added. Sweet, sour, and super fruity, it was developed with local drag star Diana B. Tease as a companion to the Canada’s Drag Race Season 4 Finale viewing party that they hosted last night. If you’re lucky, though, there will still be some of this one pouring at the taproom!
Sea Level Brewing has a new brew that has a fun accompanying video to show the process behind its production. Farmhouse Ale is their latest small batch creation that uses ingredients from their farm (just down the road from their brewery). The beer features hopes indigenous to the area that were discovered by Randy Lawrence who worked with the Harvie family (who purchased Sea Level a few years ago) to continue the use of the hops in Sea Level beer after the sale. These hops were believed to have originated with the Acadian settlers in Sheffield Mills. Additional Centennial hops were used to dial in the right bitterness and flavour. Kveik yeast was used here to bring it all together and stick with the farmhouse style that is hazy with pineapple, tangerine and pine flavours. It’s 4.6% and only available on tap at the brewery. We should note it’s also a small batch as this was the first harvest of the hops after their relocation. Try this one out now and look for it in a larger production in coming years when the hops are producing a larger yield.
A fun contest of sorts out of Boxing Rock is our event of note for the week:
Down Shelburne way, Boxing Rock has a fun contest going on to mark Dry January’s end. To give everyone something to look forward to, they’re hosting a beer recipe contest! The goal is to design a beer that we can look forward to drinking once Dry January runs its course.
Here’s the rub:
- Craft a beer recipe! (This is due 11:59 PM Atlantic Time on Monday January 15th)
- Create a pitch video! (This is due 11:59 PM Atlantic Time on Thursday January 18th)
- Donate what you can to Feed NS. (There is a link on the application form)
If you’re the talented winner, you’ll be invited down for a brew day, given credit on the can, and provided with five cases of the end product to drink, hoard, or share with your beer-loving friends!
Check out all the details at the contest page here.
Lots of places either need folks now or are looking forward to the busier months of the year; if you’re considering working in beer, peep the below for potential possibilities.
If you’re looking for work for your or someone you know, we’ve got some industry jobs in PEI, NS and Fredericton that we’re helping to get the word out!
- Copper Bottom Brewing – Montague, PEI. They’re looking for a full-time Canning Line Operator. Check the link here to apply.
- Saltbox Brewing – Various Locations, NS. Summer Students come get your beer on. It’s only January, but they’re already looking for people to work their Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, Lunenburg and Wolfville locations for retail, packaging and events in the busy season. Check the link here to apply.
- Grimross Brewing – Fredericton, NB. They want a new bartender that can work some daytime hours. If interested, please email resumes to email@example.com.
- Maybee Brewing – Fredericton, NB. These fine Freddy folks are in need of a part-time Taproom Server for 2-3 shifts a week, mostly evenings and weekends. You can apply in person at 559 Wilsey Rd, or email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we’re going to do something a little different (but something we’ll potentially do again), because there A lot of returning beers this week to breweries across the region. Coming off of the busy holiday season, it’s always nice to see what styles and old favourites are returning to the shelves and taps of our favourite breweries. Here we go with a second list!
- Tatamagouche Brewing
- Apres Cream Ale, 4.5%. After taking home a Bronze at the Canadian Brewing Awards, this beer is back in 355ml cans, but now also in a 12 pack box! Grab this in-store or online.
- Dusk Schwarzbier, 4.9%. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen this roasty, coffee and caramel-y dark lager and now it’s back in a smaller 355ml canned format! Available at the brewery and online.
- Sourwood Cider – WABAMO Hopped Session Cider, 4.0%. This crusher is back with a new and improved recipe that is a little lighter in alcohol and acidity. Highly drinkable with citrus and floral flavours and aroma, this is in 355ml cans at Bishop’s Cellar and online from the brewery.
- Bannerman Brewing – Shore Leave Dry-Hopped Fruited Sour, 5.2%. Previously available when Bannerman first opened four years ago, this drinkable sour is dry-hopped with Mosaic and conditioned on blood orange and pineapple puree. This is available at the St. John’s brewery on tap and in cans.
- Tanner & Co. Brewing – 1320 Cold IPA, 6.5%. One of the popular styles of 2023, was something that Tanner has done previously. Using local malt, the hops featured in this one is where the name comes from experimental hop variety YQH 1320 which will no doubt get a trade name in the coming year. It’s known for bringing big flavours of guava, citrus, and pineapple.
- Banished Brewing – Mirrors American Lager, 5%. The crushable king returns to cans, as this crisp lager is hopped with Saaz and Hallertau Blanc. It’s available now from the brewery and cans will be going across the province of Newfoundland through the week.
- Schoolhouse Brewery – Fuzzy Peach Double IPA, 7.9%. A style that’s out of ordinary for the brewery, this big banger is back for a warm, boozy winter with a peach flavour! Grab this one from the Windsor brewery on tap and in cans.
This isn’t usually something we post about, but it’s always fun to highlight the production and behind the scenes action of our regional breweries. Since Good Robot has been settled into their new Elmsdale location for over a year, they’ve been doing more than just brewing Good Robot beer. Take a look at this YouTube video that provides insight into what they’ve got going on in terms of equipment, canning details and capabilities of the facility.
Saint John residents (Saint Johners? Sea Dogs?) rejoice! Loyalist City Brewing has a new taproom and cocktail bar right above their existing location at 60 Water Street. The Second Story brings an elevated experience for craft beer, craft cocktails, and a very modern and refined space with lovely views of the harbour and port. We can say first hand that it’s a spot to check out if you’re in town. The current hours are 5pm ‘til Midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but extended hours and special events are soon to be announced on their Instagram page. Cheers to good news!