Happy Thanksgiving Friday! Fall has definitely sprung in the region, with the leaves changing colours and cooler evenings, and our already-short patio season quickly drawing to a close (don’t fear, there are a few outdoor events to tell you about down below…). With the holiday Monday, be sure to check ahead for the opening hours of your favourite local brewery or ciderhouse before heading out, as they may be altered for the day (Sunday too!). Solid representation from all four Atlantic Provinces this week, hopefully satisfying everyone tuning in. And remember that many breweries are shipping within, and outside of, their respective provinces, so be sure to ping them if you read about something here. Be sure to tell them the ACBB crew sent ya! As always, keep drinking the good stuff, supporting your local growers and producers, and we’ll see you again next Friday (if not sooner…)!
Church Brewing in Wolfville released a quad-fecta of new beer last weekend, so let’s get you up to date with those draught-only (pints or crowler fills) offerings. Phantom Altbier is the first of the bunch, a 5.5% Altbier, which is a traditional German hybrid or “lagered ale”. Malt-forward, the beer features some yeast-derived esters (think light apple and banana) on top of the toast and bready notes from the grain bill. A pair of beers in their new IPA Series are Saint John and Saint Paul, named after two members of the iconic Tragically Hip band. Saint John (Fay, drummer) is a 5.8% American IPA, weighing in at about 50 IBU thanks to Magnum, Azacca, Simcoe, and Amarillo added throughout the brew, lending plenty of grapefruit and lime citrus notes with a lingering pine finish. Saint Paul (Langlois, guitarist) is an in-between American and English IPA, again leaning on Magnum for bittering to 50 IBU, with Azacca, Simcoe, and El Dorado finishing off the hop-heavy-lifting. Smooth bitterness, with the sweeter malt notes poking its way through as well. And finally, in a complete left turn, Got You Bae is a 4.0% dry-hopped Sour, leveraging the citrus and tropical notes of Azacca, Simcoe, and Amarillo to differentiate from their Salt Water Joys Gose. All four are pouring at Church now, and are available to go in crowlers from their retail shop on-site.
Just in time for the long weekend, Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing is releasing a new DIPA, Battleship PM-67. Brewed in memory of Unfiltered-friend Paul McKinnon, this 7.5% DIPA is made with the Cryo Pop hop blend, giving tropical notes including pineapple, stonefruit and grapefruit, finishing with a distinct bitterness. Cans and pints (next door at Charm School) are available now. A portion of the proceeds from the beer will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation in memory of Paul.
Although they’ve got quite a bit on the go these days, with a kitchen to set up at their Cole Harbour location and an entire new taproom going in out Tantallon way, North Brewing is still putting out the good stuff, including a brand new one, a special version of a previous seasonal, and the return of a much anticipated banger. Let’s start with the brand new one, a variation on a classic style dreamed up by Kolapo, who runs the brewery’s lab QA program, looks after the yeast stores, and is also one of the production brewers on the team. Starting with a classic German Weizen, featuring plenty of wheat and classic German noble hops, to amp up the banana character associated with the style (and no doubt the haziness!) this beer underwent a secondary fermentation on 60 kg of banana purée. The result is “banana-y, wheaty, refreshing and crisp” and comes in at 5.5% ABV. It’s name? Beernana, of course!
In the “special re-release” category, this week sees the return of Coco Pony the barrel-aged version of North’s dessert stout, Twinkle Pony. Early in 2021, they took 800 litres of the original beer, made with lady finger cookies, cold brew coffee, lactose, and vanilla, and spread it amongst 4 whisky barrels from Glenora Distillery, where it sat for several months, picking up plenty of oak and whisky notes. From there it was brought back to stainless, where it was aged on plenty of roasty cocoa nibs from Rousseau Chocolatier and toasted coconut. The result is a burly brew, where sweetness and roastiness meet big chocolate flavor, topped with boozy barrel character, all with a subtle hint of coconut all the way through. Smooth, rich, and decadent, ideal for enjoying slowly on a cool fall evening; but be careful, it packs a wallop at 9% ABV!
And lastly, fans of crispy brews can rejoice, as one of the best in the region is back this week. Sparrow is the brewery’s lovely little bird of a German Pils, a crushable 4.8% grainy beauty that still packs a bit of a punch on the hop side to help keep the finish dry and bringing you back for more. All three of these have been packaged in cans (473 mL for the first two, 355 for the Sparrow) and all are available at the brewery or for online ordering. Speaking of online ordering, they’re running a promo this weekend; if you’re a subscriber to their email list, make sure you check out this week’s email for 15% off orders placed before Sunday at 11:59pm! They’ve also got some sweet new swag up, including Dartmouth Dark socks!
Heading up to the Rock, Bannerman has another release (do we say that every week? Keep the good stuff coming!) available now. Bruised Ego is a DIPA that is smooth and fruity. Made with flaked and malted oats for a creamier, smoother mouthfeel, this used dry hops of Mosaic and Barbe Rouge. The beer was then conditioned on lots of raspberries to bring some jam and bold fruitiness. It is available today in cans, on tap and growlers at the brewery and cans at Marie’s and Urban Market.
Staying in Newfoundland, we have a pair of new brews from Quidi Vidi. Starting in the taproom, they’ve got Junior, a super session IPA that keeps it tasty and hoppy. At a paltry 2.3% it still manages to pack a punch of hop flavours bringing in candied orange, citrus fruits, some dark raisin, and a little bit of mint. This one is available only on tap in the taproom.
Reaching further onto the big screen, the brewery has partnered with the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival for the third straight year. Director’s Cut: Strawberry Kiwi Sour is a 5.8% sour that will be featured at NLCs and convenience stores across the province. For the third year in a row, the labels on the cans are done by 32 female artists from Newfoundland and Labrador, so there are 32 different pieces of artwork from female creatives for the same beer release. The Film Festival runs from the 13th until the 17th of October, but the beer is available today, and in stores starting October 11th.
Three in a row for Newfoundland, as Bay Roberts’ Baccalieu Trail Brewing has a limited release available now. Dyes for it is a lagered ale, Kolsch-style ale brewing with Pilsner and Munich malts and balanced with late additions of German Hersbrucker and French Strisslespalt hops. This 5% crispy, lager-like beer will have great Noble Hop aromas and is a label and name conceptualized by one of their employees, packaging technician extraordinaire Haley. It’s available in 473ml cans at the brewery, at Marie’s locations.
Go for it, Connect Four with Newfoundland breweries, as Boomstick Brewing brings an Oktoberfest release to Cornerbrook. Dunkelweizen is a dark wheat beer featuring smooth, maltiness, with great aromas of fruit and spice. This is a 5% release that is well balanced and is easily drinkable. You can find this on tap at the brewery or in 473ml cans in Corner Brook and will soon make its way to the St. John’s area. Be sure to check out the brewery’s Oktoberfest celebrations this Saturday October 9th.
Heading back down to NS, where Good Robot has a new Goodwill Partner (formerly Goodwill Bot) in the form of The Limestone Group. You may know the LG from previous Good Robot joints, or that GR’s own Giovanni Johnson is one of the prime movers of the group. In short, they’re a group of native Bahamians living in Halifax who love nothing more than to share their Caribbean culture through tropical beverages (most often beer and beer-adjacent) and good times. Based around the idea of a “switcha” which is a heat-beating citrus beverage from the Bahamas powerful enough to make you “switch up” your face, Hard Limeade Switcha is a fruited radler, which means there’s some beer in there as well. At 5.7% ABV, it’s a bit heartier than your average radler, but we’re guessing that’s to help it bear up against the citrus punch. Being part of the Goodwill Partner initiative, proceeds from this one will go towards the good work of the Limestone Group. Although you can grab cans of Switcha now, you might also want to consider checking out the official launch event happening on October 23rd at GR; keep your eyes peeled on GR/LG social media for more info on that!
The pride of Ashdale, just east of Windsor, Nova Scotia, Meander River Farm and Brewery has a fresh seasonal release, their 2021 Homegrown, a wet-hopped ale. Each year the hops in this release change and this year brings a light, zesty, sessionable ale made solely with hops from their farm, namely the Galena and Newport varieties. Having a slightly hazy appearance and boasting zesty and wild berry aromas, this 4.5% session ale has medium bitterness with plenty of grassy notes and a crispy finish. Take a lovely fall drive to pick it up from the farm or order online.
Tatamagouche is famous for its annual Oktoberfest celebration, and coinciding with this year’s modified events, Tatamagouche Brewing is releasing the Sepia Marzen. This version relies primarily on Munich malt with a touch of Vienna and malted wheat, plus some small volumes of speciality malts for colour. The boil stage of the brewing process was extended to extract as much malt character as possible. This is a style that requires enough hop character and bitterness to balance the delicious, bready, sweet malt. Tata used Magnum hops for bittering and some Mittelfruh and Tettnanger as late additions. A partial natural carbonation was also used to create a drinking experience that screams “one more”. Per the style, expect notes of bread crust, toast and malt. We know that this one will be on tap at the Stilly BG event this Saturday, but you’ll likely be able to find it at the brewery soon as well. Keep an eye on their online store for availability in cans later this month.
Newfoundland seekers of gluten-free beers should check out Port Rexton this weekend for a fruited take on their Gluten-Free Sour. This version includes the elusive haskap berry, giving notes of jelly beans, blueberry and some sour apple. Haskap berries are gaining popularity as a superfruit for their antioxidants and other health benefits (don’t @ us blueberry lobby groups). The sour comes in at 5% ABV and is available now in Port Rexton on tap or in cans. Look for it to hit the shelves at the St. John’s retail location next week.
We’ve only got one New Brunswick brewery to mention in this section this week, but they’re making up for the slow NB news week with the release of two beers. Up first for Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing is Killed by Death a 10% Triple IPA. This TIPA features a massive dry-hop of Mosaic, Citra and Vic Secret. Expect tons of tropical and citrus aromas in this big hazy IPA. Up next is Cherry Pie Sour, a 6% kettle sour featuring pie cherries and the addition of some species to give a hint of graham cracker. Both beers are available now in cans/growlers to go and on tap for pints.
Although their oeuvre remains vast and varied, you may have noticed over the last year or more that Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing has put some real emphasis on their lagers. From the traditional continental stylings of Letna and Waltz and Milosh and the recent smoky Signals, to the new world and old world with a twist entries like Dos Cuervos, Vitis, and Refresh, if you’re a lager lover it’s been a great ride. And that ride continues with this week’s new entry, a “rustic lager” they’ve dubbed Harrington. What’s a rustic lager, you may ask? I’m not sure we know either, but what we can tell you is that it’s got an interesting story behind it. PEI maltster Shoreline Malting decided to explore the malt variety of the same name this year, a variety that was incredibly popular from the mid-80s to the late-90s and then all but disappeared. Interested in seeing how it compared to more modern strains, they arranged to get some, PEI grown, and put it through the malting process. And where Lagers tend to be somewhat better styles for showing off the character of malt, it should be no surprise that they chose 2 Crows to put the malt through its paces. But that wasn’t the end of the fun: 2 Crows were not alone in this brew, they brought in another one of Canada’s best breweries to share the fun, Indie Alehouse out of Toronto. Of course, all the malt in this brew was the Shoreline Harrington, to which some raw wheat was added, and the grist was mashed with a schedule designed to maximize foam and stability. A little bit of Mandarina Bavaria and Diamant hops were added to provide the requisite balance, and the resulting wort was fermented low and slow with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager yeast strain. Post-fermentation this was was lagered long and low, resulting in a 3.9% ABV and 20 IBU beer where fresh, bready malt is the star of the show, with some subtle floral notes, and an ultra crisp finish. Out now in cans available from the brewery, there will be a launch party for it tomorrow evening (Saturday, October 8) from 4 – 10 PM as part of the Patio Lanterns Festival, with DJ CPR, Disco Stu, DJ Douvet, playing tunes, soft pretzels for snacking from Gingerbread Haus, and plenty of Harrington to drink!
A couple Oktoberfest reminders, an Anniversary celebration, book and cider launch, plus a few more things to get you out the door this weekend!
If you’re in Charlottetown and not ready to be done with Oktoberfest yet, we remind you that PEIBC is doing their OktoberFEAST this weekend. See our post from September 24th for the info and some links to more!
And if you’re in Halifax (or planning to be tomorrow), a reminder that the Stillwell Beergarden is celebrating Oktoberfest tomorrow, from noon until *chilly*, with ten German-inspired beers on tap, plenty more in cans and bottles, including the Tata Sepia Marzen above and plenty more from NS, NB, and PEI, plus imports from Ontario (Sonnen Hill and Tooth & Nail). Sausages and pretzels, roving live music, and plenty more! Check this IG post for the full taplist, and we’ll see you there!
Cornwall’s Village Green is celebrating their one year anniversary this Saturday (October 9) with food, music and of course, great beer. Let’s start with the beer. In addition to their core lineup, VG will have a new release, a sneak peek at a full upcoming release, and returning favourites. Up first is a new version of Cream Ale. Coming in at 5.2% ABV, this one features Pilsner malt, malted wheat and flaked corn in the malt bill, and a touch of Perle hops to round things out. Cream Ale will be on tap and has also been canned if you’re looking to grab something to go. Look for the sneak peek at Wheelie’s Hazy Pale, inspired by the creepyful antique toy discovered in the province last year, which took the internet by storm. We’ll have full details on it, and its launch event with PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, next week. This weekend’s celebration will also see the return of fan favourite Tripel. This one was brewed and first released back in the Spring, but one keg was cellared for the anniversary. The 9.4% take on the style recently won a Bronze medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards and will be on tap for 5 oz pours. Food will also be available on-site starting at noon care of Sneaky Cheats in the form of smoked bologna and tofu sandwiches. Freshly shucked PEI oysters will also be available. This fully-vaxxed event goes from 12 to 9:00 PM. Cheers to the Modern Brewer and everyone at Village Green!
Another event combining great food and fermented beverages is happening Saturday at the Sourwood taproom. Bryan Picard, owner of The Bite House in Big Baddeck, Cape Breton, will be releasing his new cookbook and conjunction with some new cider releases. For those who don’t know, prior to Covid, The Bite House was an extremely sought after restaurant on Picard’s property that typically sold out a year’s worth of reservations within minutes each year. Since then Picard has been focusing on catering, pop-ups, developing the cookbook and doing cool collabs, like this one with Sourwood. Let’s get to the ciders. First up are two made from an unknown variety of yellow apples from a 100-year old tree on the Bite House property. Unknown Legend is a piquete style cider made with the apples. Juice from the same apples was then combined with Bite House water to make a smaller piquette-style version, Petite Legend. Both will be available on Saturday in bottles. The release will also include Field Blend, a canned cider using a variety of apples foraged from the Bite House grounds. Swing by Sourwood from noon to 4:00 PM on Saturday to grab a cookbook, meet the author, and enjoy some interesting ciders.
Spreading joy to all and creating safe spaces is exactly what beer and society should be. Queer Garden is a cooperative in North End Halifax that is a backyard feel establishment with food, drink and more! Available by reservation only, check out their website and their Instagram page for more info. They’re currently featuring some beer from Upstreet, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. They are launching a fundraiser for a permanent more inclusive location, and are holding two events this weekend to see that come to fruition. Sunday, Oct 10, from 2 – 8 PM, they are holding a “Goodbye Summer” event at their location. DJs all day, great fun and booze!
Here’s the quick hits portion of our program for this week, with a bunch of new releases around:
The leaves are changing, which can only mean two things in Cape Breton – traffic jams on the Cabot Trail and Fall seasonal beers. Breton Brewing is getting in on the action with the return of Maple Lager and Oktoberfest Lager. The former is made with maple syrup sourced from the island, and features notes of caramel, bread and maple with a 5.5% ABV. Oktoberfest is a 5.3% Märzen-style lager brewed in collaboration with Saltbox Brewing. Per the style, look for a big bready malt profile with enough bitterness to keep things balanced. Cans of both are available at the taproom now and for delivery in HRM/CBRM.
In New Brunswick (between Quispamsis and Sussex), Hampton Brewing has a new release from their new brewery. Straddling the Fence is a Session Ale featuring their newest recipe with a low bitterness, smooth finish and flavours of passionfruit, strawberry mango and citrus. Different base malts were used here, with honey malt adding a bit of sweetness. This is available now only from the brewery.
If you’re near Moth Lane Brewery on PEI, make sure you check out Stargazer, a new 5% seasonal fall release with fresh hops right from the Island. Well-balanced and a delicious sipper, it is available now from the brewery.
Over in Windsor, Schoolhouse Brewery is back with a new release from their Local Hop Series, Freshman is a NEIPA in its 2021 iteration. Made with the freshest possible hops (not dried, freshly picked wet hops) is a 5.9% hazy New England IPA that is available today in 473ml cans.
And lastly, but not leastly, there’s beer to be made and somebody’s got to do it. Could that person be you?
If you’re looking for a brewing position in our region you could do worse than the gorgeous South Shore of Nova Scotia. Fortunately, if that’s your bent, there’s one available! Saltbox is looking for someone to brew in their 10 BBL brewhouse and take part in the production of their beers, ciders, and RTD products to feed their distribution channels including local sales, the NSLC, private stores, and tap accounts. As head brewer, you’d lead recipe formulation, yeast management, ordering, and coordinating distro. There’s also a SABCO system for experimental brews, as well as the smaller systems at King Street Beer in Bridgewater and Lightship Brewery in Lunenburg. A real soup to nuts opportunity! Look for all the details, including how to apply, at this link.