Niche Brewing

All posts tagged Niche Brewing

Happy New Year? There is a lot to be reflective of today, as we started 2021 with a bit of hope, but the harsh realities of our political, social and global health landscapes come right back and slap us in the face. We need to support our friends, families, communities and businesses, as we have through 2020, and we’re hoping with bringing news about beer in our region, we can bring a bit of light and positivity to you each week. There’s a lot of things you could be concerned with, or your minds and hearts conflicted with, but we’re still here, hoping to help in what little way we can. Cheers from ours to yours.

Propeller Brewing had a busy few weeks since our last post, introducing two brand new products as they closed out 2020, and are debuting two more today. Let’s start with the newest two, so that you can beat the rush to grab them. First up is Denali IPA, another in their on-going foray into single hop IPA. Named after the highest peak in North America, the Denali hop is full of tropical and citrus notes, showcasing pineapple and citrus, with a touch of pine kicker. Rather than go all out for a highly bitter beer, this 6.0% beaut features the hops late in the process, and plenty of them, to bring out more flavour and aroma, with a smooth mouthfeel. Cans and growler fills are available at all 3 Prop Shops, with cans coming to the HRM private stores shortly.

Also debuting today is another IPA, but of a different sort entirely… Triple IPA. This 10% beast features a bale-full of hops throughout its creation, from early in the boil for an aggressive bitterness, all the way to a healthy dry-hop to solidify a whole lotta tropical fruit and dank character, courtesy of the Citra, Sabro, and Galazy hops used. Expect a bit of alcohol warming in here, but any harshness is rounded off thanks to the oats and wheat malts, as well as a touch of lactose to lend just a hint of sweetness. Seek out the Triple IPA at the 3 Prop Shops today, in a 500mL bottle format.

And in case you missed two special releases in that twilight week after Christmas and before most are back to work, Propeller made good use of that time to launch two products that are a little different for them. The first was Prime Lager, a 5.0% crisp and clean lager, while it may be light on the hops, it’s made with premium ingredients, and comes in at a “stock-your-fridge” $39.99/24 price tag (also in singles if you so desire). And if you are partaking in Dry January, your life just got a little more interesting, as they’ve released a Hoppy Sparkling Water, named Void. Featuring a favourite hop of your friendly blog authors, Galaxy, this 0.0% ABV and zero calorie drink sports a load of fruity and hops character, but with no guilt. These two are only available at the 3 Prop Shops (and like the rest of the beers today, also through their online delivery).

Heading to New Brunswick, (virtually, of course!) our good friends at Tire Shack in Moncton keep brewing up a storm, and after some great releases over 2020, they’re kicking off 2021 with another tasty treat. Mango Sour, brewed with lots of mango puree, is now available as a super tropical and delicious ale to try and brighten up some of the COVID gloom. Taking it tropical, you’ll get some mango flavours shining through followed by a nice lactic bite at 6.0%. It’s available now in cans and for growler fills. Check out their home delivery, too for the Greater Moncton Area, as their taproom will remain closed while the province remains at an Orange level. Stay alert, stay safe and check your local zones and levels!

Do you love the Flanders Red style, and/or beers inspired by Flanders Red? So do we! You probably wouldn’t be too surprised to hear that the latest brewery to tackle one of these beers is 2 Crows, and you’d be correct to trust your instincts. Releasing today is Birds of a Feather: Cherry, described by 2C as a beverage that is part beer, part cherry wine, ultimately being designated as a Flanders-style Red with Nova Scotia cherries. The base sour red beer was brewed in mid-2019, fermented and conditioned in Port barrels with wine yeast, Brettanomyces, and Pediococcus bacteria. In July, 2020, some of the 2C folks made a trip to Greenwich’s Stirling Fruit Farms to grab 800 lbs of freshly-picked cherries. The fruit underwent carbonic maceration, a technique the brewery has used before that allows the fruit to ferment inside its own skin. Once this step was complete, approximately 400 L of the blended sour red beer was transferred onto them and conditioned for several more months before being bottled in October. The final beer has a “massive rounded cherry flavour and a touch of marzipan, and is smooth, tart and complex”. A bit of tannins work their way through, as well as a touch of balsamic character. 

You may have guessed from the first part of this beer’s name that it was in a series of releases, and you’d be right. In fact, the other two beers are being released today as well, so it only makes sense to fill you in on those, no? The next is Birds of a Feather: Marquette, another Flanders-style red, features the same 2019-brewed base sour red beer as the Cherry, and was also fermented and conditioned in Port barrels with wine yeast, Brett, and Pedio. It swerves off there, though, with the addition of a huge amount (700 kg!) of freshly-pressed Marquette pomace from the Lightfoot and Wolfville Vineyards. Shortly after, the beer was bottled and allowed to condition, and is showing off “massive red wine notes of blackcurrant, cherry, leather, and tobacco”. 

Finally, we’re also getting Birds of a Feather: Bruin, the brewery’s very first attempt at the delicious Oud Bruin, another dark sour Belgian style. The base beer for this one dates way back to 2C’s Megadregs project, which was a beer brewed as a large collaboration.. of sorts. Approximately 20 Canadian breweries contributed yeast and bacteria dregs from wild/sour beers that they had produced, which were allowed to mingle together in two barrels. While most of that beer became Megadregs, released over a year ago, a portion of that was transferred to two Port barrels after 3 months, and allowed to condition for another 14 months before bottling, finally giving us Bruin. The final beer is “smooth, slightly roasty, with notes of coconut, and a touch of balsamic, cherries, and blackcurrant”. 

All three of these beers are releasing at the brewery today, and come in at 6.3% ABV. Of course supplies will be quite limited; we highly recommend grabbing all three, and holding onto at least one bottle of each to save for down the road!

New year, same Pride of Hanwell, as Niche Brewing will bring another new bottle release this weekend and rolling into next week. We’re really hoping you answered yes to the Flanders Red question above, because we asked for a reason! Neighborino is another Flanders Red-inspired beer coming to you this week. Fermented and aged in some wood, this 5.6% beer spent over a year in a single Cabernet Sauvignon barrel with Niche’s house sour culture, consisting of Sacch, Brett, Lacto and Pedio. That’s not all! If you said “this is missing raspberry puree!”, you’d be right! Secondary fermentation occurred back in stainless on raspberry puree. This one promises to be fruity and tart, with a red wine-like complexity and just flat out appetizing. Look for these bottles going out this weekend and around Fredericton at York Street ANBL, Maybee and Picaroons Drinks Market. This will hit CAVOK Brewing and some others the following week. Get your hands on this tasty treat if you can. Please check your local guidelines before heading out!

Do you love little birds? Do you love beer? We’re hoping you answered “yes” to one of those questions, because Tatamagouche is back with new take on a fan favourite, Kiskadee. This was first released two years ago (and we hope some of you enjoyed some from your cellar over the holidays!), a sour Porter aged for 14 months in barrels. This iteration was then refermented in stainless on black currants (setting it apart from the first release, which was refermented on strawberries), before bottling. This second iteration of this should have beautiful aromas of currants, some barrel characteristics, and loads of chocolate. This stronger style porter comes in at 10.8%, and is available today at the brewery (and online) in 500mL bottles (don’t worry, HRM, bottles will be heading your way soon!). Look for kegs of this one to be appearing at the taproom next month, as well as at other lucky NS tap accounts.

Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing did not take the holidays off, releasing two beers when we weren’t lookin’ (or at least weren’t writin’, because let’s be honest, we’re always lookin’ out for new beers). First up was Oatcake Computer, a “chocolate-dipped Oatcake” Stout. If you guessed that means there’s both plenty of oats and chocolate involved, give yourself a fabulous no-prize. But you may not have guessed that there’s also a portion of molasses to help provide a deep and dark base. Coming in at a fairly sessionable ABV of 4.9% and with all that oaty goodness, you can certainly justify cracking one for breakfast, but it would fit in just as nicely for Friday tea with the virtual gang. Apparently the name (and some hints in the can design) are a “vague reference to an album from a 90’s musical group.” We were about to argue about the vagueness of that reference before realizing we’re THAT OLD. *sob*

Next up is a re-release, as the delightfully named GoKart Jackass is back. Described as a “Scott-ish Red Ale,” this 4.8% ABV beer has a deep and rich amber hue and a subtle spicy hop character laid over a very smooth palate. Also allegedly blessed by the fae folk of Scotland. We wonder, does that blessing transfer through drinking? There’s only one way to find out!! But wait, there’s more! Crossing up Mario Kart with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they’ve got a contest on the go right now: TEN very super extremely special cans are out there in the wilds of Nova Scotia that feature a GOLDEN GOOMBA. If you find one of them, send a picture of it to Nicki who will give you a secret code you can use to claim a number of special mystery beers!

A couple of quick hits before you’re dismissed today…

A pair of new canned releases Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing today, Lockdown Lager is a 4.2% light lager, and McCoy’s Contraband is an 8.5% Tropical Stout. Grab them today from their retail shop or for delivery!

Quidi Vidi has opened a new Hop Shop location, a spot to grab beers that is a little less congested than their original location. Located at 16 Harbour View Avenue, it’s open Tuesday through Sunday, for retail sales and bottle returns. And great news for those of you waiting patiently, their taproom at their brewery in the gut is reopening this afternoon at 4PM!

And finally, before you head out to grab a growler fill or pint, be sure to check that your favourite brewery or taproom is open. With COVID restrictions coming and going, it can be tough to keep on top of them all!

Last Christmas,
We gave you a post
But the very next week,
There was nothing to read.

This year,
So you can drink beer,
We’ve blogged about something special. 

-fin-

We’re starting off festive this week with Village Green, because of the green, with the most news heading into the winter break. They have a bunch of new beers and a membership program!

Of course, we’ll start with the beer, where we have a trio of new beers released last weekend, including Extra Pale Ale, with a grain bill of Pilsner and 2-Row malt with a bit of wheat, floor malted via Island Malt House. We get a touch of German Perle hops with German Ale yeast! This sounds like a winner for drinkability with 4.5% ABV and 20 IBU. You can get this in cans! Staying on the session train, we get Bitter, a 3.9% crusher, with English malt, Maris Otter and some other Crystal and roasted malts, balanced with East Kent Goldings hops. This one is in growlers only and 3.9% ABV and 30 IBU. Last but not least in the holiday trio, Sabro Pale, bringing that lovely citrus, tropical and a touch of coconut from Sabro hops. This single hop star has Island Malt House 2-Row and Pilsner malt with “heaps of flaked oats”. This should be a tasty, strong pale ale coming in at 6% and 50 IBU and it’s also available in cans from the brewery. Check out their social media and site linked above for their latest hours, and peep their Insta page as they have two new beers hitting the taps at open today, Red Ale and Wheat IPA. They’re open 4 – 7 PM today (12 – 5 Saturday and 2 – 5 Sunday), with their pals at Holy Fox Food Truck open 12 – 8 PM; if you’re from the area it sounds like your evening plans might be sorted now!

Other big news from Modern Brewer’s Village Green this week is the launch of their Draught Beer Appreciation Society! This is their lifetime membership program for beer nerds/enthusiasts/supporters to get some sweet members-only deals on gift cards and mugs, as well as regular discounts and early access to beer releases. Check out their social media for the full details on the $99 deal. Also, the logo is pretty great. 

The unapologetic crew at Unfiltered Brewing is back with a banger. If you were a fan of their Lifesaver sour, they’re back with another kettle sour that they think you’ll love even more. Violet Beauregard is a kettle soured wheat ale that was refermented on 460lbs of red and black currants, cherries and wild blueberries. It’s tart and full of flavour coming in at 4.2% ABV. Pick it up from the brewery or their online shop for delivery along with a bunch more of your favorite hop-hammered brews.

You can’t celebrate the holidays without cake (or, at least, you probably SHOULDN’T), so luckily for those of you in Newfoundland, Landwash has brought back their Cake Tray just in time for days leading up to Christmas. Dubbed a “Cherry Cake Pale Ale”, it’s an APA that was brewed with lactose and cherry puree. Finished off with a light dry hop, it comes in at 7% ABV and mimics “the flavours of creamy pale Cherry Cake”. Who knew that “pastry pale ales” was a thing! <shakes fist at 2020 yet again> They also have a freshly-canned batch of That Much Ocean NEIPA, so you might as well stock up on everything.

Down Yarmouth way, Heritage Brewing is the gift that just keeps giving! They have a few re-releases this week, which we would all happily take as gifts this holiday season. First up, their Naughty or Nice Christmas Porter is back. This is a full and flavourful porter with lactose, cocoa and orange peel, and generous additions of chocolate. What does Terry’s know about Chocolate and Orange? Probably something. This treat comes in at 7% ABV and 32 IBU. 

The other re-release is a simple recipe with a delicious hop. Citra Session IPA showcases Citra hops in a lighter, drinkable style with heavy aromas of an IPA and the drinkability of a pale ale at 5% and 45 IBU. Both of these are only available at the brewery, check it out and their growler deliveries every Wednesday, too!

Niche Brewing is marking the release of their third batch of Evolution this week, with the first bottles available at the York Street ANBL in Fredericton, with more LCs and fellow breweries following soon. As a reminder, Evo is their 6.8% Chardonnay Barrel-aged Saison, fermented with their house blend of Sacch and Brett strains of yeasts, no added fruit, but still brimming with flavour and funk, and a touch of complementing oak. As it is coming from a single barrel, there’s only so many bottles out there, so if you spot them, grab them! Will make a fine cellar dweller too, as it continues to develop over time. Also out right now, to draught accounts, are fresh batches of Pineapple Persuasion (4.2% kettle sour, fermented with Brett, with tons of pineapple puree and a touch of lactose) and Single Origin (5.0% sweet stout with single origin coffee), available at purveyors of fine beer in Fredericton, and soon in Saint John and Moncton as well.

In other Niche News, they are holding a fundraising raffle in support of Black Lives Matter Fredericton, who are developing a resource website for the province’s teachers to more easily incorporate Black History of New Brunswick into their curriculum. Other initiatives include the formation of a scholarship for Black students at UNB and STU, more on both is available BLMF’s website. Your $10 ticket (or 3 for $20) has you in for a chance to win one of every bottled brand Niche has produced in the past 3 years (many no longer for sale and will not be returning), including the latest Evolution, Golden Flair (batch 2), Quintessential Dark Sour, Bridget Rhubarb Sour, Pau Hana Fruited Sour, and After the Storm Dark Sour with Cherries. All 6 bottles, plus an appropriate Niche glass to drink them in, can be yours by sending an EMT to nichebrewing@gmail.com (be sure to also send them a message or email to confirm they have a way to contact you). You have until the end of the month to enter!

If Shipwright is wrong, we don’t wanna be right. In another small batch series release, South Shore’s Shipwright Brewing brings the new stuff with The Bounty Chocolate Coconut Stout. Bounty chocolate bars are delicious and stouts are ripe for the season, so settle into this milk stout with toasted coconut additions. With a grain bill of English pale, coffee, chocolate wheat, crystal, aromatic and spelt malt, and an addition of lactose in the boil, this beer comes off smooth, nutty and satisfying. Get it in crowlers and pints (on Nitro!) at the brewery and Grand Banker. 7.2%, 25 IBU. 

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has been releasing some small batch beers recently, under the Beta Beers moniker, and have two more on their shelves for your weekend enjoyment. The caveat is, they’re not telling the public (or us!) too much about the beers, as they’d love to hear your unbiased input! The Ultra Light Lager is a 4.0% ABV crisp and brite lager, with just 10 IBU of bitterness, and a low-cal option at only 90 kcal (and 3 grams of carbs) per 355 mL can. And its lightly-fruited sibling is the Blueberry Ultra Light, which sports a lovely purple hue from the addition of blueberries in the batch. Both are available in 4-packs for $10, and feature a QR code asking for your feedback on the beer. Fill out the survey for a chance to win some Upstreet $$$, too — win/win! Both are available at their online shop for daily delivery in the GCA (Greater Charlottetown Area), curbside pickup, or Island-wide delivery in 1-2 days. Or, if you pop into their Allen Street location (to eat in or take with you), you can grab one of the many styles of pizza on offer, including the Margherita, Canadian, and Sweet Pig (think of Garlic Fingers taken to another level).

Two returning favourites hitting shelves just in time to stuff your stockings (or your bellies) from our pals/acquaintances at 2 Crows Brewing! Let’s start on the romantic (?) side of things with I Love You, a Brett Saison. With a portion of the beer soured with Lactobacillus, before blending with the rest of the beer, it was fermented with the brewery’s house Saison culture and a Brett strain from The Yeast Bay. Once complete, an addition of dried lemon verbena from World Tea House was chucked in, as well as a dry-hop addition of Huell Melon, to complement the herbal and funky notes.

Next is Terry, a tequila barrel aged sour with blueberries. If we didn’t have you with that succinct description, let’s dive a little deeper! Brewed in early 2019 and aged in three different tequila barrels (with a bunch of different yeast and bacteria cultures) for 16 months, all three beers were blended and conditioned on over 500 lbs of blueberries from Terry’s Berries in PEI (which had already undergone their own carbonic maceration, where the juices naturally ferment within the skin of the berry) for eight weeks. Bottled and conditioned further for 2 more months, it’s now ready, just like the baby Jesus! Just in time for Christmas, we mean; calm down! Lots of “blueberry juice and tequila earthiness” in the aroma, with tannins and tartness on the palate… also like the baby Jesus! Grab both beers at the brewery ASAP.

If you were around for Tire Shack’s 1-year anniversary celebrations a little while back, you may have been lucky enough to try their Golden Latte, which was a Blonde Ale brewed with lactose and vanilla, and lagered on coffee beans. It was a smaller test batch, and it didn’t last long. Thanks to its popularity with those who tried it, however, the brew crew has gone ahead and whipped up another batch, this time to the tune of 30 hL. Teaming up with Epoch Chemistry Coffee House again (their local coffee roasters), the batch is packed with over 30 kg of Brazilian coffee beans, along with lots of lactose and vanilla. Creamy and clear, with lots of coffee aroma and flavour, it still comes in at a drinkable 5% ABV… and this time around will be available in cans! Also pouring on tap, you can drop by the brewery today to get your fix. 

The folks at Truro Brewing have teamed up with Amherst’s Trider’s for a collaboration beer named Up in Smoke. If you guessed that this was a smoked beer of some type, you’d be correct; specifically, it’s a Rauchbier, a.k.a. a German Smoked Lager. Specific details are light, but we can confirm that Beechwood smoked malt was used in the grist to give the beer its smoky aromas and flavours, and it was fermented “slow and cool” with a Lager strain to give it a clean finish. You can grab it on tap and in 500 mL bottles at both breweries, starting today.

Back in PEI, the team at Bogside Brewing is releasing the perfect beer to get you through this holiday season, a 10% ABV barrel-aged porter. Nellie J. is named in honour of the Nellie J. Banks, one of the last rum runner vessels in Atlantic Canada, ultimately caught by authorities in 1938. The beer spent time in Carribean rum barrels, adding notes of vanilla and subtle smoke, to compliment the rich chocolatey malt notes from the base porter. Check out Bogside’s web store for info on Island deliveries and Maritime-wide shipping. 

No in-person events on the horizon, for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s going on!

There are no events to tell you about this week as we head into the holidays, but keep your eye out for a great beer-related fundraiser happening this weekend. The fine people at the Ladies Beer League and Good Robot are teaming up with Dartmouth’s Jampy Furniture and East Coast Specialty Hardwoods in the sale of this year’s Good Robot holiday ornament. Check out Good Robot’s web store on Saturday to scoop up one of the 15 available. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, with each of the four participating organizations also kindly matching the total sales from the ornaments in the form of a donation.

In case our short introduction was a little cryptic, today’s post is the last before Christmas, and may be the last before we bid 2020 adieu. It was a crazy year from start to finish, and while many (all the?) things have changed in the last 12 months, one thing that hasn’t is that being kind to yourself and others is paramount. Please continue to do so, considering others, and always drink good beer.

Some very big news in the region’s beer scene this week as we have now seen our first major sale of an independent brewery. Pump House, one of the longest running brands in Atlantic Canada is changing hands. The brewery got its start in 1999 as a brewpub in Moncton, in the same “first wave” with Provincial neighbours Picaroons, Nova Scotia’s Garrison and Propeller, PEI’s Murphy’s Brewing Company (now PEIBC/Gahan), and Newfoundland’s Quidi Vidi, among others. While all of those breweries have seen change and growth over the subsequent 20-odd years, and have seen some changes in ownership, there has not been a public sale of one of our OG breweries (that we know of) until now. This is definitely a good news story for the industry: Pump House doing quite well for themselves (Crafty Radler is a major brand in our region and beyond), so this isn’t a liquidation sale of a struggling operation; it also should be acknowledged that the buyer is NOT “big beer” — members of the new ownership group do have roots in the macro side of the industry, but to this point it is an independent group purchasing an independent business and we dearly hope it stays that way! For more of the details on the sale, check your favorite “real” news sources; our take is that it’s a sign of a maturing industry and an overall positive. We’d also like to say Congratulations to Shaun Fraser, whose beer journey began in the 1980s and who built a fixture of the Atlantic Canada Beer Scene. Cheers!

Lots of folks were no doubt happy to hear this week that the NSLC has put out a tender for proposals on “Beverage Alcohol Home Delivery Services.” While we certainly think that there are good reasons to do so given the ongoing COVID-19 situation and it being the 21st century and all, because this is the NSLC we’re a little short on faith that it will be done in a way that does more good than harm. As we are all acutely aware, breweries across the region have been allowed, over the past six or seven months, to deliver beer directly to the doors of customers. In addition, bars and restaurants, with some additional restrictions (e.g., license type, food purchase), have also been allowed to sell alcohol for consumption on other premises. We’re not so much worried that those arrangements will go away if the NSLC does implement their own delivery model; what we’re definitely afraid of, though, is the in their well-established tradition, they will implement their model in such a way that it undercuts or disincentivizes consumers from purchasing from small businesses. The NSLC banks revenue on every last drop of beverage alcohol purchased in Nova Scotia regardless of whether it had literally anything to do with its procurement, production, storage, or distribution. We call on our Government to ensure that if a delivery model is adopted by the NSLC that it does so without negatively affecting the direct-to-consumer sales that are buoying the independent beverage alcohol industry and possibly keeping some of our very much struggling restaurant scene afloat. We call on all our readers who have the means to do so to continue to support their local producers in as direct a fashion as possible.

We leave you with some important reading about local groups working to improve representation in our brewing scene, through collaboration, education, and having a grand time doing it. We’re speaking of course about the Change is Brewing Collective, who have since the summer released beer and cider collaborations with Good Robot, North Brewing, 2 Crows, and most recently, Lake CIty Cider. We encourage you to read more about them, and their outreach within the brewing community as well as those not yet familiar, we encourage you to read this article by Victoria Walton in the most recent Coast, Bottling a solution. And congratulations to Vanessa, who is the recipient of North Brewing’s first Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship!

Good day, sweet world! As we travel down the path of the Holiday season, the beer releases are coming in strong and fast, much like all of the news below! As our Atlantic provinces do our best to combat the spread of the virus, we must stay diligent by staying home and still supporting local businesses and breweries. Make sure you check out your old favourites and new shops and restaurants for pick-up and delivery options as we all do our part to stop the spread of the virus and spread the cheers! Onto what you’re really here for… the news!

Let’s start you off with some good news from our pals in Hanwell, New Brunswick, Niche Brewing. They are dropping another in their line of “infrequent and always special” bottle releases, After the Storm. Quite the fitting name given the world’s state of affairs, and the beer inside rises to the occasion, naturally. Starting with primary fermentation in a freshly-emptied Chardonnay barrel, this Dark Sour featured the use of Lactobacillus, and then fermentation with their house culture with Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces that they’ve been using for the past 3 years. After developing in the barrel for a year and a half (!!), it was moved to a stainless tank and loads of tart cherry puree was added, and allowed to meld for another few months before bottling and conditioning was complete. Dark fruit, chocolate, oak, and more, all in a 5.5% tart beer, ready for us to enjoy this season. In addition to a select few ANBL locations in the Capital (York Street) and Moncton area, After the Storm will also be at the Picaroons Crafted NB Drinks Market this Sunday, and at Maybee Brewing and CAVOK Brewing in their to-go fridges as well.

Heading 2 hours East of Hanwell, just before you hit the Acadian Coast, you will encounter Saint-Antoine/Saint Anthony. There you will find the newest brewery to open in the region, Twin Harbour Brewing. They are operating at 18 Des Bouleaux Ave in the town, and will be open for growler sales today 5 – 9 PM, and Saturday, 2 – 5 PM. So, what can you expect when you roll up to Twin Harbour? As it is a private residence, park in their driveway and head for the side door, bringing you right into the 120 litre (1 BBL) brewhouse. Please, masks on and respect social distancing, and wait until all other customers have left. Payment can be via Cash or EMT or their new gift certificates, perfect for slipping in a holiday card. OK, enough of that stuff, what beer do they have available?? Their locally-themed beers include Bo-Soleil Pale Ale (5.0%), Côte d’Or Blonde (5.0%), Cape Enragée West Coast IPA, and two fruited beers, the Raspberry Wheat (4.3%) and Blueberry Ale (4.5%). All beers are available in their own 1L Twin Harbour growlers, and they will also fill your own 1L and 2L clean growlers as well. We hope to have lots more on their beer and the people behind Twin Harbour next week, and wish them a great and busy weekend! Salut!

Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing has recently launched a collaboration beer that is near and dear to their hearts, in appreciation of a gesture from long ago. Ok, enough with the teasing! Most residents of Nova Scotia know that after the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the city of Boston was a big help in getting the city and its residents back on their feet. As a thank you, Halifax has sent a very large (“the biggest and best” – D. Trump) Christmas tree to the city of Boston every year since 1971. Hence, From Nova Scotia With Love, a “Whiskey Barrel Aged Abbey Ale” brewed in a “Home and Home” collaboration with Boston’s Harpoon Brewery. Brewed with a grist containing a portion of oak and cherry wood smoked malts, they decided to throw in a small addition of spruce tips, and aged the beer in Glenora Single Malt Whiskey barrels from Cape Breton. Packaged in 650 mL bottles, the 8% ABV beer is “both layered and complex, with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, wood smoke, and caramel”, as well as a bit of warmth from the whiskey. Proceeds from this beer will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s Tema Grant, “a non-profit dedicated to supporting the mental health of first responders, frontline workers, and allied health professionals making unprecedented sacrifices in these difficult times”. Grab your bottles at the Sprucetique, or order online for delivery all over!

If you’re wanting to hear even more about the project and more fun details on the beer, may we suggest you check out the 902 BrewCast Podcast, as their most recent episode features an interview with Jeremy White from Big Spruce Brewing. During the episode, Kyle and Tony also chat with the fine folks at North Brewing about their Holiday Box and other recent releases, and drink their way through some new and old favourite Nova Scotian beers. The 902 fellas are also running a contest on their instagram page, so be sure to order some beer and tag them in the post. And congratulations to (former?) co-host Phil Church who has launched his professional photography business, find out more here.

The other interview during that most recent episode was with Allan of Bedford’s Off Track Brewing, who have released two Bourbon Barrel-Aged beers this week, both available now for pick up or delivery. First up is the Barrel-Aged version of their Crash Course IPA, which spent 6 months in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel, before being moved to a conditioning tank for an extra dry-hopping dose of Mosaic, before a low and slow keg conditioning for the past 4 months, before bottling this 9.4% beast. And a brand new recipe is the Choc-Full Chocolate Stout, a roasty-chocolately stout that was aged for 11 months in a Woodford Reserve barrel, picking up a touch of booze and plenty of vanilla and wood character, before bottling. This 9.2% beaut is available in 500 ml bottles, just like the BBA Crash Course, and both are available for delivery in their region (Hammonds Plains/Bedford/Sackville/Fall River), as well as at the brewery at 275 Rocky Lake Drive during their current retail hours, Thursday and Friday 3 – 7 PM, and Saturday 12 – 4 PM.

Let’s head North, waaaaay North, to Lab City, to tell you about the newest release from Iron Rock Brewing. In November, Nardia McGrath (most recently of Landwash Brewery) took over their brewhouse for a couple of weeks, and along with Assistant Brewer Cindy, developed Cat’s Away IPA. Using a light-coloured base malt of 2-Row, Wheat, Flaked Oats and touch of Crystal 60, the beer featured a ton of Cascade and Citra in the boil, before a round of dry-hopping with Cascade, Citra, and Mosaic. This 6.0% Deadly beer is available in the taproom and to take-away now, so grab some when you pop by for this evening’s Trivia at 7:30 PM, or tomorrow evening’s Open Mic. And for those not in Lab City, check their website for delivery, which they’re offering Canada-wide!

Big things are happening in Rothesay this week as Long Bay Brewery releases its first canned product, Double-Dragon Fly-PA. This 8% ABV New England style DIPA features Sabro, Citra and Mosaic hops, showcasing tropical notes including mango, coconut and tangerine. The team at Long Bay used two different yeast strains and a blend of English and Canadian malts. The beer was cold conditioned for a week before packaging the features the hazy appearance you’ve come to expect from the New England style. Cans are available in 355 ml (more big beers in small cans, please!) and are available now at the brewery, with pints and growler fills also an option. If you can’t make it to Rothesay, look for cans to start popping up on ANBL shelves in the coming days and weeks. Double-Dragon Fly-PA is being launched as part of Long Bay’s core brands, which means you’ll soon be able to enjoy it all year long. In other Long Bay news, construction continues on their taproom expansion with the wall officially coming down to join the current taproom with the neighboring space. Stay tuned to Long Bay’s social channels as they work towards opening the new space during the holiday season.

Have you been stuck in your province? Is the PEI ferry operating? (seriously, we don’t know!) Well, if you’ve been missing some boat traffic if your life Lone Oak is back to fill your waters. Boat Traffic 2.0 is here. The initial release was back in January, as a smooth Oatmeal Stout oak-aged in a new, locally-made foedre. Version 2.0 is here with a big body, chocolate and coconut flavours with undertones of roast and vanilla. The brewery’s first dark beer is back again at 5.0% and 27IBU and is definitely a style to keep stocked in your fridge. Cans are now available in their taproom for pick-up or online for delivery (perfect for anyone stuck quarantining in their hotel room in Charlottetown and needing a bit of a pick-me-up, for example….).

From one island to another, we skip down to Sydney for a pair of new releases from Breton Brewing. The first early christmas gift is a Kolsch, aptly named … Kolsch! A 4.0% true to style, light and refreshing lager, keep it crispy and get some of this delicious style. Staying with the German styles, we get another lager with a very underrated style, as Breton brings us Dunkel, a traditional Munich style Dark Lager. This baby was brewed with Munich and Chocolate malt, well hopped for balance and brings lots of roasty, toasty, caramel notes all come together in a 5.0% gem. Both releases are available now at the brewery, online for home delivery in the CBRM & HRM, and shipping throughout the rest of the province. 

Follow the trail, all the way to Trailway, where in Fredericton we get some new South African hops in Mt. Passion, a new IPA release. Mt (Mount) Passion, 6%, is brewed with Southern Passion and Experimental XJA2/436 hop varieties that are meant to bring out a flavour profile of bright zesty lemon and lime, passionfruit, pineapple, and guava. Southern Passion is a South African bred aroma hop whose pedigree is a diploid seedling originating from a Saaz and Hallertauer crossing. XJA2/436 is a bittering hop with an aroma profile of bergamot citrus, dried lemon zest, candied papaya, ripe cantaloupe, gooseberries, and resin. These are probably the first time these hops have been used in the region and it’s worth a try to expand your flavour profile. It’s currently available in cans at the brewery with shipping options online and will be available on tap for pints and fills later. 

Our friends at 2 Crows have taken a respite from hoppy beers and mixed-fermentation ales to bring us their latest, Hibernaculum, an “Old Barleywine Ale”. This beauty was a l-o-o-o-ng time in the making, as it was brewed almost *three* years ago! The style and recipe research were completed by local beer aficionado Matt McNair, who helped convince the brewery to  brew the beer as two separate concoctions: an Old Ale, and a Barleywine. Both of these were brewed in the traditional English style, with a large portion of Maris Otter in both grists, East Kent Golding hops in the boil, and fermented with a dry English Ale yeast strain. Also, the Old Ale featured an addition of homemade brewer’s caramel, to really help bump up the flavour complexity. After a year of conditioning separately, the beers were blended, along with a pitch of Brett C (oops, did we say a break from mixed-ferm beers? Oh well!). After another year, the final beer was bottled and allowed to condition until now, for a grand total of close to three years. It’s a huge beer at 11.9% ABV (!), and is tasting “rich, bold, and warming”, with notes of leather, dried fruit, treacle and sherry. This is the quintessential sipping-by-the-fire beer, or in front of your Christmas tree, or at your breakfast table with cereal… we won’t judge! Ok, maybe we will a little for that last one. There is an extremely-limited number of bottles available (about 200), so be sure to grab some ASAP… rest assured this is a beer that will cellar wonderfully. Available now!

Yesterday, December 10th, was National Lager Day, and Sea Level Brewing decided to celebrate with the release of their latest Small Batch beer, Schwarzbier. This Dark German Lager is a style that has become increasingly popular over the years, with quite a few local breweries creating their own take on the style. Sea Level’s version is easy-drinking at just 4.2% ABV, and has “a hint of smokiness, chocolate and molasses, and a subtle floral aroma” thanks to an unusual-for-the-style dry hop of Crystal from Fundy Hops. Finishing clean and crisp, you can find it in cans and on tap at the Millstone Harvest Brewhouse.

Tanner squeezes in a Thursday release, with Saison III.  “Best described as a saison IPA hybrid”. The Chester faithful used pilsner, Vienna, Munich and oats and fermented the beer with French saison yeast. This was generously hopped throughout with Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Lemondrop. Coming in at 7.0% and 40 IBU, “a combination of slightly spicy fruit forward yeast character & dryness, with the exotic fruit from the hop varieties. Complex aromas of citrus and tropical fruit give way to a dry palate that balances with the light malt backbone.” Order online for delivery (deliveries go out Friday!) or pop by to grab 500ml bottles if you can. And there looks to be beer in a new format available shortly, so peep their online store for more details on that over the next few days.

The beery Christmas gifts just keep on comin’, with Propeller bringing us another two for you lucky Haligonians, both of which the brewery refers to as “special bottles a long time in the making”. Sounds like the perfect gifts to us! No, seriously, TO us, for those of you looking for a way to thank us for all of our hard work! What’s that, just get to the beers, you say? FINE. The first is Dark Saison, which was brewed in October, 2019 and aged in a single Bourbon barrel (the very same that kicked off the brewery’s barrel program!). Fermented with a blend of clean Saison yeast and Brettanomyces strains, the beer spent 11 months in the barrel before packaging. Weighing in at 8.0% ABV, the final beer is rich and dark, with “notes of figs, dark fruit, and classic Brett earthiness and funk”, as well as some Bourbon and oak, of course! 

Continuing on this little trend of dark, funky beers, the next release is the return of Brett Porter. This one they refer to as a “classic London Style Porter”, that was initially fermented with a British Ale yeast, and then transferred to oak barrels for a secondary fermentation with Brett C. Aged for over nine months, the 6.4% ABV beer was then bottled and exhibit “layers of rich, roasted malt” to go with the mild Brett characteristics. Both beers are available today for sale in the Prop Shops, and can also be ordered online for home delivery

Just a couple quick hits before we leave you this week. Stay safe and drink well, friends!

Down in Shelburne, Boxing Rock is back with a re-release from a few years ago. Rauch Star is a rauchbier, aka a smoked lager. This beer is smooth, malty and full of old-world flavour. The style may not be for everyone, but we encourage you to try it!. True to it’s Bamberg roots, this beer is brewed with Pilsner and roasted malts and just the right amount of German beech-smoked malt. 6.2% ABV and available in 473ml cans at the brewery, private stores in HRM, and in the December 8th slot in the Maritime Craft Beer Advent Calendar. 

If you could use some Holiday cheer, or Good News (a 2 Crows/Change is Brewing Collective release), North Brewing, along with their community, and along with the Change Is Brewing Collective, have raised $14,037.25 with the sales of the Cherry Brook Wheat. Keep an eye out for further releases on how you can support the collective, like the Lake City Cider Forest Glory release out, too. 

In some other celebratory news, Tire Shack out of Moncton has no beer releases this week, but there’s still something to be excited about. This brewery should be on the radar for many of you already with their latest releases, but they picked up a few medals at The US Open Beer Championship held in Ohio. They won Gold in the ‘Fruit Gose’ category for our Lime Margarita Gose . This was a beer that was released this past summer that was hugely popular. They also won Bronze in the ‘Coconut’ category for their Coco Loco. This was a Vanilla-Coconut Porter that sold quickly in the Moncton area. Both of these winners will be coming back into production, so keep an eye out. Check out the full results and medal winners here

Our friends in St. John’s have a few pieces of news to carry us home this week. Bannerman gives us seasonal re-release, Yuletide, is a jammy, delicious, tart 5% ale brewed with Pilsner and wheat malts, then conditioned on huge amounts of cranberry, raspberry and cherry puree. Get this in cans or on tap at the brewery. Also this Sunday, they’re hosting a Holiday Edition of the St. John’s Music Merch Fair. The lineup includes many merchants of clothing and or music, including Tim Baker, Hey Rosetta! Duane Andrews and more. Check it out from 11am-5pm at the brewery on Sunday. Check out the event here