Niche Brewing

All posts tagged Niche Brewing

We hope this week’s post finds you well, as we start the holiday weekend. Plenty of new beers to have delivered to your home this weekend, or if you’re able to venture out safely (masked up!), this is a grand time to visit a few breweries in our region. If you’re so inclined, remember that we’ve got a map listing the breweries and cideries in the region, as well as the craft-centered bars and shops. Check it out here! And remember to keep your designated driver happy at all times, to maximize your imbibing enjoyment. 🙂

Ok, we know for a fact that some of you beer geeks out there have been clamoring for an authentic Mexican Lager to be brewed in Atlantic Canada. Well, here we are smack-dab in the middle of summer (roughly), and 2 Crows has got what we need with their take on a Mexican Lager, Dos Cuervos (vetoed names include Crow-na and Crowdelo). Featuring a low oxygen mash of Pilsner and Chit malt from Shoreline Malting, plus a bit of Vienna and lots of flaked corn, they mash-hopped with Sterling, threw in some more at first wort, and finally went with a late boil addition of Motueka. Fermented nice and cool with a Mexican Lager yeast strain, they actually brewed another half batch and krausened with that one (adding some actively fermenting beer to restart the process and generate carbonation naturally). Finally adding a light dry-hop of more Motueka, they capped the tank, and eventually lowered the temperature slowly, allowing the beer to lager for 8 weeks. The final beer is tasting clean and crisp, with a little lime character thanks to the Motueka. It weighs in at a delightfully sessionable 4% ABV and 17 IBUs; you can find it on tap and in cans at the brewery, starting today.

And good news from 2C in the bakeapple world – they’ve got a brand new batch of Cloud 9 that should be ready in time for the weekend! This 5.2% ABV brew is slightly different from last year’s release, but no doubt equally as delicious. One part light hoppy base beer aged for 18 months in Sauvignon Blanc barrels with a bunch of Brett, Sacch, Lacto and Pedio cultures, another part golden sour base aged for a year in neutral ex-wine barrels, the whole blend was conditioned on the elusive bakeapple (picked by their hardworking friend Paul Smith of Conception Bay South, NL). They’re describing this batch as more wine-like than last year’s, “with smooth apricot and honey notes”. Maybe some of you even held onto a bottle or two from 2019 to compare? If not, it’s still worthwhile grabbing some, of course (try to show a little restraint this time, would ya, and hang onto some?)!

Miramichi’s Timber Ship Brewing did their best to take advantage of the slower sales period during the worst of the pandemic (well, for now, anyway), taking the opportunity to brew a beer style that requires more patience than most of your typical styles. The beer we’re talking about – Looshtauk Helles Lager – is now available on tap around town. Named after a 19th century Tall Ship that carried Irish emigrants to New Brunswick (check out the brewery’s Instagram page for more details on the history of that vessel), the beer was brewed with German-style malts, and hopped with Hallertau Mittelfruh to 18 IBUs. Fermented nice and cool, and lagered for six weeks, it’s 5% ABV and tasting clean and refreshing. You can find it on tap around Miramichi at Vera Kitchen and Bar, Apero Lounge, and possibly still at Mikes Bar and Grill

Looks like Tidehouse Brewing is back open for retail sales this week, (Thursday to Saturday) with several brand new beers available in cans for you to take home for the weekend. We may not have extreme details on these ones, but we definitely have enough to whet your thirst:

  • Turtles All the Way Up – Not to be confused with a previous Tidehouse release, Turtles All the Way Down, this is a 6.6% ABV Saison that was heavily-hopped with Saaz late in the boil, and conditioned on lychee.
  • Yankee Hotel Zulu – Billed by the brewery as a “simple and balanced” 6.3% ABV IPA hopped with Chinook.
  • Drive to the Sun –  Not 100% sure on the style of this one, they’re calling it a “5.2% ABV crusher” that they hopped with Tettnang.

In addition, they still have some cans of Two Can Win, a 7.5% ABV “India Saison” hopped with Loral and Saaz. They’re open 2 – 8 PM, head on over to stock up!

There’s a whole whack of news coming from Lunn’s Mill this week, if you’re looking for a Lawrencetown beer et al. fix. Let’s start with the beer portion of their news, shall we? They’ve got two new ones available in cans at the brewery, starting with a Berliner Weisse named Girl, Hold My Earrings. This one was actually originally brewing for the Brewster Fest in April of 2019, to celebrate women in the beer industry. Brewed with fresh rhubarb and raspberries, it’s a pinkish-red colour and comes in at just 4.3% ABV. Next up is Bang A Uey NEIPA, back again after a brief appearance last summer. This juicy 6.8% ABV NEIPA features “great tropical notes of melon and tangerine”, thanks to fermenting hot with Årset Kveik Blend from Escarpment Labs, and the heavy hop additions throughout the brew process (Bravo early in the boil; Mosaic, Huell Melon, and Mandarina Bavaria in the whirlpool; and dry-hopped with the same trio before packaging). Lovingly named after the driving technique oft-used outside of the brewery due to it being missed by visitors the first time popping in, they tell us proceeds will be going into their “sign fund”. Both beers are also available on tap for pints at the brewery, and we’re hearing reports of them both being available in HRM. In addition to these two beers, Lunn’s Mill has also created their own entry in the growing trend of hop-infused water with Hoppy Water, a non-alcoholic beverage made of carbonated water infused with freshly-squeezed lemon and Mosaic hops. Gluten-free, cans of this one are also available, if you’d like to round out your beer purchase (perfect for your fabulous Designated Driver to sip!).

If you happen to be traveling around Newfoundland this weekend, keep your eyes open for Baccalieu Trail Brewing on the Conception Bay Highway, as they’ve just released their first Double IPA, Loud Crowd. Brewed with late boil additions of Centennial and Chinook, and then dry-hopped with massive amounts of Citra and Mosaic, it’s big on bitterness, as well as juiciness, with “some floral and piney notes” to complement. Available in 500 mL bottles and on tap at the brewery, it’s on the lower end of the scale for a DIPA at 7.5% ABV, but should still be consumed responsibly!⁣

Or maybe you’re driving around beautiful PEI, and plan on traveling through Montague to check out the two craft breweries located there? If so, Bogside Brewing has cans and pints of their latest, Open Saison. With a grist made up of a large percentage of malted wheat, the wort was fermented with a Belgian Saison strain. Dry-hopped with Hersbrucker, expect the classic floral/fruity Saison characteristics, along with “some subtle herbal/orange aromas from the dry-hop”. Slightly tart, with a very dry finish (yet significant body, surprisingly), it’s quite drinkable at just 5% ABV. You can make a trip for the whole family out of it, thanks to the two food providers slinging great food onsite: Famous Peppers has moved from down the street to set up their pizza oven and provide some banging pies, and Thatcher’s Eatery, run by the folks at the Wheelhouse in Georgetown, with killer fried chicken sandwiches and lobster rolls. Open daily from noon, pop by this weekend for a pint and a scoff!

And speaking of Bogside, they were visited recently by both acbbaaron and acbbchris, but before that (possibly even before it was cool) by the motley crew of miscreants known as the 902 BrewCast, who sat down with Bogside’s Dave McGuire and Mark Patriquin for a chat during their (Prince Edward) Island getaway. Listen to it here at their podcast homesite or find it on your favorite podcast platform listed as Episode 82. And look for Episode 83 to drop in the next week or two; we believe they’ve still got some more PEI fun on tap/in the can.

If West Coast IPAs are more your thang, good news from Good Robot – they’ve brought back their Blanket Fort IPA, a classic West Coast IPA that they originally released on tap several months ago. Remember Blanket Fort? Well, it’s back… in can form*. That’s right, they’ve brewed up a fresh batch, with lots of Falconer’s Flight, Cascade, Citra, and Mandarina Bavaria hops, and they canned it just so you can enjoy it at home. Wasn’t that sweet (hoppy?) of them? This 6.9% ABV brew has “an erratic mix of bright citrus and West Coast dank”, with some malt backbone to balance (thanks to a grist of Pale Ale, Vienna, and Cara 120 malt). Cans are, of course, available directly at the source… you know, the brewery.

*If you have to click on this, shame.

Parrsboro’s Two Islands Brewing has a new beer on tap this week, calling you to make the visit to their lovely location. Named simply Blueberry Weisse Ale, this 5.3% ABV beer showcases a whole lot of locally-grown and -processed blueberries, on top of a classic wheat beer base. Rich in colour and flavour, it joins a handful of other beers available on tap and in cans at their 169 Main Street location, with the sister Rising Tides Bakery right next door. The brewery is open Friday and Saturday, 1 – 9 PM, and Sunday and Monday, 1 – 6 PM. Look for the beer on tap at Bistro on Prince in Truro, Briny Bay Cafe in Five Islands, and BlackRock Restaurant in Parrsboro.

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing has a new one out, but just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s not old too! Spooky Saison has been in development for a year now (who do they think they are? 2 Crows? Stillwell Brewing?!) but it’s finally ready to meet you. Soured in the kettle before being fermented on apricots using a blend of Saison and Brettanomyces yeasts, it was then aged in white wine barrels for a full 12 months before packaging. Sour and funky, there’s also plenty of oak presence from the barrels, spicy yeast notes, a stone fruit presence from the apricots, and some white wine character. Despite this complexity and a 6.8% ABV, it still sounds to us like a lovely tipple for a hot summer’s day! And since those kinds of days seem to be in good supply lately, it should provide plenty of opportunity to put that theory to the test. Available today in 750 mL bottles from all three Prop shops as well as for home delivery.

Have you heard? Pilsners are all the rage in the Atlantic Canada beer scene this year after years of being somewhat of an underappreciated style in these parts. On a grander scale, our region is a little ahead of the game in that regard, which is why you may not have actually “heard” anything, but you definitely may have noticed a bunch of crisp and refreshing lagers on the shelves at your favorite brewery or other source of local independent beer. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying them too; we truly believe the overall quality has been stellar! The latest brewery to bring out a Pils is Uncle Leo’s up in Lyon’s Brook, NS. Now if you know Uncle Leo’s you no doubt know that one of their great strengths is traditional German ales like their award-winning Vohs Weizenbier and Altbier and their Ceilidh Kölsch. So you might expect their first entry into the Pilsner market to be in the German style. Well you’d be wrong about that, as they’ve decided to start with a Bohemian Pilsner they’re calling, aptly, Czech Mate. Very traditional, featuring Saaz hops and coming in at 5% ABV, you’ll find it at the brewery now in cans for takeaway or growler swaps or for home delivery via their online store!

Up in Bathurst, Four Rivers Brewing has debuted a new beer, perfect for those hitting the links, or maybe fibbing their score after the fact… Mulligan is a 5.0% ABV Golden Ale, clean, crisp,with a nice malt character and medium mouthfeel. Look for it on tap at the golf course, naturally, and of course at the brewery for pints and growler fills. If you pop into the latter, you’ll be rewarded with the opportunity to pick up their two newly released barrel-aged beers, as there are a few bottles still available (but they won’t last long!). Their first foray into barrel aging, they opted for a stout beer as the base, and chose two very different approaches to the barrels. La Grande Hermine is the stout aged in a Shiraz barrel, allowing the bold character from the wine to give the stout bold grape and lightly tannic character. Eau de Vie saw the stout aged in a Cognac barrel, with notes of vanilla and spirits enhancing the base beer. We suggest picking up a couple of bottles of each and sharing amongst your bubble! 

Miramichi’s New Maritime Beer Company has a couple of new beers pouring in their taproom this weekend, which will also be alive with music and comedy this weekend. First, the beers! Beaubears Chocolate Brown is named after nearby Beaubears Island, and features pleasant chocolate notes enhancing the base Brown Ale. New Maritime was also part of Isolation Nation, a nationwide effort by BSG Canada, Rahr Malting, and Hops Connect, to brew a beer to help out during these difficult times. Using Canadian-grown 2-row and Sasquatch hops, this 5.0% ABV SMaSH will be popping up at a few more breweries in our region over the next little bit, too. The New Maritime taproom will be hopping all weekend long, with DJ L’Arkadien spinning live on the patio tonight 5 – 9 PM, an acoustic set by Dillon Ryan tomorrow 6- 9 PM, and a double-header comedy show Sunday evening at 7 PM with Jimmy MacKinley and Matt Richardson (tickets needed for that one). And we’ve got a Profile with New Maritime coming next week, after our visit earlier this week, so stay tuned to learn more about them!

With COVID-19 ruining all the things, we are sad to report that Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing will not be holding their annual birthday party at Charm School Pub this year. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to celebrate. And because they love us (or at least some of us), part of that celebration is giving us a break on beer this weekend. Tomorrow at the brewery you’ll find $1 off cans, $2 off snarls, and $4 off growlers (glassware is trade-in of Unfiltered-branded jugs only), and they’ve got a full slate of beers on offer including the return of their Mosaic-laden RSMA (Ridiculously Superior Mosaic Ale because to hell with the Provincial liquor “authority” and their stealth taxes). Smooth, tropical, and 7.5% ABV, same as it ever was, which is a good thing.

A few more beers to get you excited for the weekend (is it 5 o’clock yet??)

For those who’ve been missing their fix from Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing, the beers are definitely starting to flow again. Up this week is the return of In Limbo, their light and refreshing 3.8% ABV mixed-ferm Grisette. An excellent showcase of their house culture and a wonderful beer to crush in the sun. Find it in Fredericton at The Joyce, in Saint John at Peppers pub, and in Moncton at the Tide & Boar.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing is celebrating Pride PEI with an in-person and online Trivia going down this evening. Kicking off at 7 PM, you can play along online, or reserve your table and move your bubble onto their extended patio. Check out the FB page for more info,and here’s the direct link to reserve a spot. We highly recommend making the trip in, that way you can enjoy the Rainbrew Strawberry Lavender Farmhouse Saison, coloured with the vibrant butterfly pea flower, or the latest batch of their Commons Pilsner, tasting great if we do say so ourselves!

And finally this week, back in Halifax, Garrison Brewing has brought back the modern version of one of their longest-running brews, Razzberry Wheat. Still 4.6% ABV and 12 IBU, still refreshing, and still tasting of raspberries, it’s on tap at Seaport and Oxford Taprooms, in cans, and as part of their “Summer Fun Pack” of four beers (only at their retail locations). And in other Garrison news, sales of their Stay the Blazes Home beer and glassware have managed to raise $28,158 for Feed Nova Scotia!!

Here we are heading into the the last week of July in Atlantic Canada and despite the strangeness brought on by COVID-19, the beer certainly still seems to be flowing, just via some different routes than we’ve been used to in previous years. While it’s still a bit of a complicated undertaking to sit and have a pint in a taproom or beer bar, with so many breweries keeping delivery offerings available, it’s gotten a whole lot easier to get beer to your home. We encourage folks to take advantage of this by maybe putting in an order from a further away brewery that they haven’t tried, maybe even across a Provincial border? Even better, get some friends together and do a few orders from a few breweries and have a little beer tasting party! THE FUN NEVER ENDS!! But seriously, ordering beer helps keep breweries afloat during times when tap room and keg sales are hurting. Ordering for pickup or delivery is convenient, usually quite quick, and a great way to help keep your thirst slaked and our scene surviving.

Sydney, Nova Scotia’s Breton Brewing celebrated their 5th Anniversary at the end of June, and are releasing five new beers to celebrate! The third in the series was released yesterday, joining Shipwreck DIPA and Right Some Good Dry-Hopped Sour. Ol’ Mick’s Grapefruit IPA is a 5.8% ABV American IPA which uses a splash of grapefruit juice to bump up the citrus and pithy character. Homebrewer Mike Morrison helped brew a similar beer with the Breton crew back in 2014, and now the rest of us can enjoy it too! Using malted wheat and oats on top of the base barley to get that soft mouthfeel, bittered in the kettle to about 45 IBU with a blend of American hops, and dry-hopped during active fermentation, Ol’ Mick’s pours like orange juice, with a brilliant colour and solid body. The beer is available at their 364 Keltic Drive taproom and retail shop, as well as online ordering for pickup, next day delivery within the CBRM, Halifax next week, and available province-wide as well (along with the last bit of Right Some Good).

If you’re making a break for the mainland from Sydney, you’ll be well-served to make a quick detour up the Yankee Line Road in Nyanza to Big Spruce Brewing. They are pouring two brand new beers this week, sub-5% ABV, perfect for enjoying in quantity. The first is The Inhaled Affirmative, lovingly named after the Cape Breton practice. This 4.1% ABV is firmly rooted in the Czech tradition, using Pilsner malt, natch, and plenty of Saaz hops for a blend of spicy and herbaceous aromatics on a base of bread and crust. Available on tap at the brewery, and soon at licensees around the province, it will also be on the shelves at Bishop’s Cellar in a cute 330 ml bottle, which means those across Nova Scotia will be able to partake (free shipping province-wide for orders over $150!).

And speaking of a cute beer, the Spruce has released Lilliputian, a Nano IPA weighing in at a very crushable 3.5% ABV. Speaking of “crushable”, we’re not sure how many Lilluputians were crushed in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, but we can assure you they won’t be as tasty as the 6” tall bottles coming this weekend. Despite its diminutive stature, this is a bold expression of pineapple, candied fruit, and more, thanks to the Idaho Gem and Citra hops used in the brew. In addition to the brewery, look for it to be pouring at Battery Park before too long! 

Hanwell’s hometown brewery is bringing back a couple of favourites these days, including one from the archives that’s been months in the making. First up from Niche Brewing is Empty Garden, their 5.4% ABV Kveik-fermented APA, which they had the misfortune of releasing mid-April, when the province was pretty much closed. Their timing this batch is much better, now that most restaurants and bars have re-opened to safely serve customers. Featuring Nelson Sauvin and Enigma hops in the boil, with more of these, plus Galaxy, in a dry-hopping addition, the Ebbegarden strain of Kveik yeast (care of Escarpment Labs) was allowed to play in the wort at a toasty warm temperature, meaning a quick fermentation and lots of fruity character. Kegs of Empty Garden are at The Joyce Pub and 540 Kitchen and Bar in Fredericton, as well as Peppers Pub and Cask & Kettle in Saint John, and at CAVOK Brewing in Moncton, with a couple slipping across the border to Halifax’s Stillwell.

The second returning Niche beer is Golden Flair, their collaborative brew with Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing. First released in April 2019, this is a 5.9% ABV Saison fermented with a blend of the house cultures from both breweries. After primary, the beer was dry-hopped with El Dorado and Ekaunot, and conditioned on apricot puree for a spell, before spending 6 months in a Chardonnay barrel to round out and pick up a touch more character. A natural bottle conditioning interval allowed it to carbonate before release, with everything coming together in a tart, fruity, funky, and dry package. So, enough chatter, how can you grab the beer? They can be found at your local ANBL, with Fredericton’s York Street and the Moncton North locations jumping on the orders right away. If you don’t see it at your shop, see if they’ll order it in, as the managers have plenty of discretion for what is added to the shelves. CAVOK will also be selling some bottles at their taproom next week. For those who’d rather not leave home, DrinkNB will be adding Golden Flair to their roster very soon, check to see if you are within their delivery area! And for those wondering, that Chard barrel has already been filled with another beer, hanging out for a few months before release this fall.

Dartmouth’s Brightwood Brewery recently released a special beer that has been flying off the shelves since it became available. Brewed in honour of Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, who was aboard the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that crashed in April of this year, BMac Hazy IPA is a Session IPA that was hopped with one of the newer experimental varieties, HBC-692. Developed from a hybrid pollination from Sabro and open pollination, HBC-692 has been reported as showing “intense flavours of citrus, flowers, and wood”. Brightwood has confirmed lots of grapefruit flavours throughout BMac, all in a sessionable package. With $1 from each can and 15% of all draught sales going to the MacDonald family, the first run of cans sold out very quickly; luckily, more have been packaged and are now available at the brewery (and on their online shop any minute now, where you can also make a directed donation to the MacDonald family). Drop in quickly to pick up yours, and support a great cause while also being able to enjoy a tasty beer!

Testing your ability (and more importantly, your desire) to throw yourself back into the late 1990s, Secret Cove Brewing tries to pull you back with their latest beer, which they’ve named A Night at the Raspberry (fine, if you’re too young… here). This 4% ABV kettle sour was conditioned on lots of wild raspberries, with two additions – during the latter part of fermentation, and again once fermentation was completed. “Slightly tart and very crushable”, with some pleasant raspberry notes on the nose, you can find it pouring for pints and growlers at the brewery, and it’s also available in cans (some of which are being distributed to several NLC stores in the area).

In more sessionable beer news (summer is great for these low-ABV beers; heck, it’s awesome having them all year long!), Tanner & Co. has their very own to share with you thirsty Chester, NS folks. Hello Session Rye IPA is a 4.5% ABV SIPA brewed with – we feel safe assuming – a portion of Rye malt in the grist. Hopped with Simcoe, Cascade and Mosaic, the beer has aromas and flavours of pineapple, mango, and orange. Easy-drinking and lightly bitter, it’s available for purchase in growlers and bottles at the brewery and the Duke St. taproom. They’re also still doing home deliveries in the area, and are bringing the beer to the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market

In St. John’s, Bannerman Brewing has released their take/twist on an American Blonde Ale with their latest beer, Neon Lights. Brewed with a grist of Pilsner, Pale and Wheat malts, they lightly hopped the wort with Mosaic (not exactly commonplace for a Blonde Ale, but we doubt that anyone is complaining!). The final beer was conditioned on a large amount of lime, lemon, and orange zest, giving this light-bodied brew plenty of fruity flavours to bump up the refreshment factor. Very drinkable at 4.5% ABV, it’s available at the brewery on tap now, and should be in cans either today or over the weekend. 

Just in time for PEI’s 2020 Pride Week, Upstreet is re-releasing their annually-brewed Lavender Saison, Rainbrew. This popular beer is brewed with ingredients that represent the colours of the pride flag: strawberries (red), orange (PEI 2-row and Vienna malt), yellow (yeast), green (Belma hops), blue (water), and purple (lavender). The lavender and strawberries come through lightly in the aroma of this 5.5% ABV bright purple beer (come on, Anne, give it a try!), and this time around it is being released in cans! Drop by Upstreet or Craft Beer Corner to grab yours, so you can celebrate Pride in style. 

Keeping in the fruit-forward vein, there’s a new collaborative brew out from Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider and North Brewing. North’s B.Y.O.B, a light beer with lemon and lime zest, met Lake City’s Cider and blueberry and dark currant wines in a dark alley secondary fermenter and the result is Burst, a 5.3% ABV snakebite. Unlike a standard snakebite, which is a 1:1 blend of beer (usually lager) and cider each poured from the taps and possibly dosed with liqueur or cordial, the co-fermentation on this one could potentially make for a deeper integration of cider and beer flavors. You can be the judge of that; this one is available in cans from both Lake City and North as of this morning.

Bar Stillwell is hosting a 12-tap takeover from Quebec’s Brasserie Dunham tomorrow, July 25th. In addition to tasty, funky, hoppy, fruity, and sour beers, Stilly HQ is also turning over the keys to their kitchen to the fine folks behind CODA Ramen. Previously operating at Water & Bone, CODA has been doing at-home Ramen kits for a few months, and are popping up on Barrington to offer a few options for ramen as well as the necessary accompaniments. Due to physical distancing requirements, seating is being done by reservation only, in 2 hour slots, beginning at noon. Reserve your place at the table by emailing Sam with your party size and preferred arrival time. We hear there may not be many spots available, but maybe ask if there’s a waitlist? 😬

A few beer and cider notes before we call it quits today:

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing has brought back their Dump Run Saves, the 4.0% ABV summer ale, featuring loads of peach, mango, and passion fruit, bumped up just a touch with a subtle El Dorado addition. Available on tap and in cans at the brewery right now!

Also in Freddy Beach, Coastliner Cider has done a major re-branding and introduced several new blends of cider, now in cans,  including the Maritime Original, Raspberry Rose, and Cherry Vanilla. Their full offering is available through DrinkNB, pop over there for satisfaction.

We’ll leave you with a tale of two provinces this week… New Brunswick opening up the ability for small breweries without a Brewers Agency Store license, to sell direct to customers. Details are still trickling out, but opening up avenues for producers to get their product in front of consumers is definitely a step in the right direction. A bit more info here, we’ll have more soon.

On the other hand…. The NSLC has changed the markup structure to aid one industrial brewery. The latest version of the Local Beer Production Policy, available here along with all of the Manufacturers’ Policies, now leads with the following text “To ensure fairness amongst all local beer producers, it is the policy of the Corporation that beer produced within the province by commercial, craft, and nano breweries, shall be subject to the same markup structure.” The problem is, the playing field is never fair when dealing with multi-national, multi-billion-dollar corporations, who have immense buying power, their claws into all aspects of the supply chain (anyone remember the South African hop fiasco a few years back?), and deep pockets to entice/induce sales of their product. It’s almost like the NSLC is thumbing their nose at the Auditor General’s report released last month. We’ll share more on this real soon, but encourage reading the new policies, and a good article and quick CBC bit from this week’s news.

We’re back! Did you miss us? We missed you! That week of vacation has e-invigorated us to keep spreading the gospel of good local beer, and we even managed to switch our web-hosting provider to something that fits our criteria better (ie, cheaper, seeing as we do this for nothing). So grab a coffee or pint and get back up to speed with the beers goings on (going ons? goings ons?)  in the region.

Happy 7th Anniversary to Shelburne Nova Scotia’s Boxing Rock Brewing! The landscape has certainly changed in the region in the last seven years, with the number of breweries operating in the region increasing 5-fold since their launch in 2013. You missed this week’s cake at their taproom, but the good vibes continue with a brand new release of theirs, Aldeia Portuguese Pilsner. At 5.2% ABV,  this straw coloured clear pilsner is a “modern interpretation of an old world classic style”. Taking its time fermenting at low temperature, this crisp beer features a light dry-hopping of “modern varietals of old world hops” (we’re not exactly sure what that means either 😉). In all seriousness, this ode to Portugal is celebrating the country’s embracing of modernity with human rights and environmentalism, while still maintaining respect for the ancient architecture and traditions. But good news, you don’t have to just read about the beer, you can find out for yourself by dropping into the Boxing Rock Taproom at 218 Water Street in Shelburne for a pint or grab some cans to go! They’ve also let us know about Indigo, a sour beer with blueberries from the Parrsboro region to be released in the next little bit. 5.2% ABV, mildly tart, and showing a lovely bright colour. And they are now introducing a few other neat things on the go, including getting your own Taproom Experience, with several options including a guided tasting and pairing with food, Beer 101, or a look at the barrel aging program. Congratulations to the Boxing Rock team!

So, this is what happens when you take a week off… Jeremy and the crew at 2 Crows in Halifax decide to release three new beers. We really need to get our calendars synced up! 😘 OK, let’s get you up to date with these new beers they’ve got on offer. First released was Dreamworld, a 5.6% ABV foedre Saison. Starting from a base of Shoreline Malting Pilsner, Wheat malt and raw wheat, as well as spelt malt, it was whirlpool (aka, after the boil, but before transferring to the fermenter) hopped with Galaxy and Huell Melon, and underwent primary fermentation in one of their foedres, with a blend of house Brettanomyces cultures. More Galaxy and HM were added during active fermentation (biotransformation galore), and hung out in the foedre for another 4 months. At that point, the beer was dry-hopped yet again, and transferred to cans where it spent the last 7 months carbonating and conditioning. Bright and zesty, with grapefruit on the nose with passion fruit and spiciness, on a juicy base thanks to the adjunct malts. This one is in 473 mL cans now.

A pair of bottles also debuted at 2 Crows late last week, from their barrels prominently displayed in the brewery’s taproom. Monarch is a 5.5% ABV golden sour that spent seven months fermenting in freshly-emptied Pinot Grigio barrels, before a round of Enigma and Bramling Cross hopping just before being bottled back in May. This one definitely has plenty of grapey goodness in the bottle, with the refreshing acidity helping the grape and honeysuckle notes dance and meld. Also debuting was Delight, a 5.6% ABV blended sour with sea buckthorn. This beer is actually a blend of two separate beers, the first beginning life from a 100% heirloom German pilsner malt, aged for a year and a half in Sauvignon Blanc barrels (with a mixed culture of Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus), mixed with a golden sour base beer aged for about a year in neutral (aka, already used a few times) wine barrels. When combined, they received a dose of cold-pressed sea buckthorn juice from New Brunswick, and received a dry-hopping addition of aged Noble hops (think preservation rather than bitterness or aroma), before bottling and conditioning for two months. The fruit’s oils serve to knock out the head retention, but more than make up for it in massive pineapple, fuzzy peaches, and mango character. Both are available for purchase now at the brewery, and online, in 375 mL format. And while you’re checking out their online shop, be sure to grab your raffle ticket for a massive raffle they are holding at this time. Supporting the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, the prize pack is an amazing assortment of 25 unique beer offerings from their cellar, including many historic beers that are long “out-of-print”, as well as sneak peeks at beers yet to be released, worth at least $275 (full bottle and can list available here). You can grab your tickets for the raffle here, with the drawing taking place next Wednesday, July 15th. Enter today, enter often!

There are no areas in the world that haven’t experienced a surge in heartbreak over the past few, difficult months, but Nova Scotia is one area that seems to have received an-even-heavier-than-expected blow. Paying homage to those lives lost in the Canadian Armed Forces Cyclone and Snowbirds crashes that claimed the lives of seven Canadian Armed Forces personnel, Spindrift released NS Love Lager late last week. Described as a 5% ABV, crean, crisp Lager, 100% of the profits of every case sold will go directly to the families of those who were tragically killed in the accidents. The label was designed by Jampy Furniture’s Chris Smith; note that Jampy had previously designed wooden signs with the NS Love logo, with those profits being donated to families of victims of the Portapique mass shooting earlier in the year. Cans are available at the brewery for pick-up, as well as on their online store. 

If you’re a bit overwhelmed with endless releases of hoppy beers, sour beers, big beers, etc., we recommend you head over to Propeller this weekend for a very limited release of Lotus Lager, a “Lagered Ale” inspired by the delicious Kölsch beers of Cologne, Germany. Fermented with an Ale yeast strain at cooler temperatures, as is typical for the style, the brewery added Lotus hops in the boil, providing “a burst of orange, berries, and tropical citrus”, backed by a hint of honey malt flavour. Light, crisp, and refreshing, you can find it on tap for pints at all three Prop stores, as well as in cans (note that growler fills are not available for this one). And in more great news, there’s been a rare sighting of their Sasquatch Pale Ale (this is the first 100% Canadian hop) in cans only at their three retail shops (as well as home delivery), and there’s not much of it, so jump on that while you can. And lastly with the great Prop news, their Quinpool Tap Room location, in The Keep complex, has opened their taps and tables for onsite enjoyment! Open at 10 AM daily (noon Sundays), until 8 PM Mon and Tues, 10 PM Wed, Thurs, and Sun, and 11 PM Fri and Sat.

More Tidehouse cans available this week, as they continue their series of well-received Milkshake IPAs with Big Rent Money. Brewed with malt from Horton Ridge, the beer was hopped with Hammerhead Hops varieties. Cascade, Centennial, and Idaho 7 are the hops in this one, lending a touch of bitterness with a whole heap of fruit character. As always with a Milkshake IPA, it’s not just about hops and vanilla addition, but also the fruit… in this case, plenty of pineapple and mango, as well as orange zest. Thick, creamy, and fruity, cans of this 8.8% ABV beauty are available today at 2 PM at the brewery (and we don’t expect it to last the day), along with a few others, including Sotil 2 (5% ABV Saison with Marquette grape skins), and Two Can Win (7.5% ABV Imperial saison with Loral and Saaz hops). 

Now that Prince Edward Island is open to visitors from the other Atlantic provinces again, most of you will likely be crossing over to the Island via the Confederation Bridge. Conveniently, Lone Oak Brewing is located *right* there when you touch down, so why not stop by their tasting room to have a pint and pick up some growlers/cans? And to celebrate your arrival, they’ve just released a brand new mixed-fermentation Saison, Duet. Brewed with all PEI grain (barley, wheat, and oats from Island Malt House), it was hopped with Saaz and Centennial to 22 IBUs, and fermented with a blend of two strains of Saccharomyces and two of Brettanomyces. Aged for six months in Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc barrels, the final beer is tasting very dry and complex, with some “lemon zest and noble hop characteristics” in the background. Super drinkable at just 4.5% ABV, it’s currently available on tap, and now in 750 mL bottles too! Expect to see other barrel-aged offerings from Lone Oak in the near future, now that the beers have had some time to develop; we’ve heard a rumour that a foedre-aged Grisette could be next!

Elsewhere in PEI, Charlottetown’s Upstreet is keeping local residents hoppy, as they continue to release new entries in their Neon Friday series; maybe not weekly, but pretty darn regular! Today they’re putting out Neon Friday 3.03 DIPA, an 8% ABV beer brewed with Pale and Vienna malts, along with Wheat, Oats and Rye. Hopped with lots of Sabro, Citra and Mosaic, this sandy-gold-coloured beer has aromas and flavours of “toasted coconut, pineapple, and freshly-squeezed orange and clementine”. You can find it on tap and in cans at one of your favourite downtown Upstreet locations. 

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the first of five 5th Birthday beers from Breton Brewing, and this week they’ve released the second in the line-up. Right Some Good is a kettle sour that was dry-hopped with Idaho 7 and Sabro varieties, giving notes of “pineapple, lime zest, and berries”, complemented by the accompanying tartness. Described as full-bodied despite the 4.2% ABV, it’s hazy-gold in colour and quite refreshing. Like all beers in this series, it will be available in a limited quantity; currently, you can grab it at their taproom or have it delivered if you live in the CBRM, and you should be able to see it around Halifax late next week. Stay tuned for their third birthday beer, dropping two weeks!

Between their brewery operations and their taproom, Halifax’s Good Robot Brewing boasts one of the most diverse staffs in our region’s brewing scene and are way, way above the (admittedly low) bar in that regard. They also continue to be behind some of the most inclusive beer-related events in our region. So it’s no surprise that their Brewer, Giovanni Johnson, one of the few BIPOC brewers in Eastern Canada and one of the folks behind the Limestone Group who have repeatedly brought a taste of Bahamian food and culture to the Halifax, is one of the folks behind the newly formed Change Is Brewing Collective, a group of BIPOC Nova Scotians in the food and beverage industry, to benefit BIPOC youth and community groups and to raise awareness of BIPOC issues. The first fruit of this labor is, appropriately, a fruited beer they’re calling Blackberry Freedom. Available starting tomorrow for takeout and in the taproom, this 5.5% ABV pale ale is designed to, “awaken the senses,” according to GR’s own LaMeia Reddick, a founding member of the collective and one of the folks involved in its design. Gio himself says, “This beer was made to honour the black experience. In collaboration with Good Robot we call for unity and justice at this time.” GR has pledged that 50% of the proceeds from this beer will be donated to BIPOC youth and community groups. The press release for Change is Brewing and Blackberry Freedom begins with the phrase, “Black Lives are Essential.” We believe this is a valid and vital position and they’re making it pretty easy to show your support for it through the purchase of this beer (but hopefully we can all find ways to do more). And look for more information about Change is Brewing and what they’re all about in a future post right here.

In other Good Robot beer news, Little Creature, the “Li’l Sister” to their popular Creature Feature series of NEIPAs is back on the go. Smoother than it is bitter, like its older sibling it features the much ballyhooed and also much debated biotransformation process of hopping during active fermentation, but in a more sessionable 4.5% ABV package. Look for it at brewery and taproom as well as online orders for delivery.

Down in Lunenburg, Shipwright Brewing has just tapped Citrus Got Real, a 4.5% ABV kettle sour. Brewed with Pilsner, Wheat, and Acid malts, the wort was soured with Lactobacillus before fermentation. Once complete, they added fresh lime juice and zest, as well as some raw coconut, giving lots of citrus and, naturally, coconut, backed by some “pleasant bready notes and an overall crisp grain profile”. This is the brewery’s first kettle sour, so make sure you get over there for a pint or crowler fill! It should be on tap, soon, at the Grand Banker as well. 

Couple new and interesting beers available this week from Bannerman Brewing in St. John’s; first they’ve got Good Vibes Only, an American Pale Ale with a twist. Hopped with a blend of South African hop varieties, it was fermented with a “Brettanomyces-like” yeast strain (homebrewers out there, name that strain!). Hops and yeast combine to bring notes of tropical and overripe fruit to this 5.5% ABV beer; it’s available on tap for pints and growlers, and in cans, at the brewery. And if kettle sours are more your bag, they’ve got you covered with their other newbie, Punch Drunk Love. Fruited with a mix of raspberry, pink guava, sweet cherry, and pineapple, you can bet that it’s a tart and fruity flavour bomb! Also available on tap, with cans just hitting their shelves today. 

Moving on to Secret Cove, who have re-released their Newfoundland Light & Sour, which they originally launched last summer. This 3.8% ABV take on the Berliner Weisse style has a change this time around – the first iteration featured an addition of locally-foraged marsh berries, but the newest version crams in local rhubarb, partridgeberry, and strawberries. It’s still tart, light, and easy-drinking, but with a different fruit profile than what you may remember from last year, if you were lucky enough to grab some then. Drop by the taproom this weekend for a pour, with cans coming in the near future.

O’Creek Brewing has updated us on two returning favourites of theirs, one beer on tap, and the other back in cans. For draught beer, their Berry Mango Sour IPA – a 4.5% ABV kettle sour hopped with Citra and Sabro, with some Nelson Sauvin in the dry-hop, conditioned on raspberry and mango puree – is back, and currently on tap at Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing (remember, CAVOK lets you take home crowlers of guest taps!). And speaking of CAVOK, O’Creek contract brewed another batch of their Route 117 IPA at the brewery, and it’s now canned and ready to go! Hazy and juicy, it’s 6.5% ABV, and available at CAVOK and several ANBL stores (including Moncton North and Mountain Rd.). 

In brewing, as in the rest of life, timing can be everything. And sometimes you think you’ve got your timing dead on and circumstances seem to conspire against you. Such was the case for Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing, who released a new beer called Hop Altered right in early March, just before the Government told us all to go home and stay there. As a brewery without a retail outlet, this put quite a crimp in Niche’s ability to move beer. When a big part of your oeuvre is hoppy ales best enjoyed fresh, there’s also no real opportunity to “sit on” such beers for later release. The good news is that Niche is here on the other side of the first (and only, we hope) lockdown and they’ve made that beer again, only a little different. Keeping the grist the same as well as the yeast (Escarpment Labs’ Foggy London blend) and the kettle hops (El Dorado and Mosaic), but tweaking the dry hop a little with Mosaic and Citra, the result is a fairly sessionable (5% ABV) hoppy, juicy hazebomb. Or is that a hazy, hoppy juicebomb? You’ll have to decide for yourself. Grab a pint at one of Niche’s tap accounts; we’ve confirmed that they’ve shipped kegs to The Joyce, Peppers Pub, and the Pump House Fill Station, with the balance on its way to Stillwell (which Stillwell? Hopefully all of them!). And if hops aren’t your thing, but you like a nice German Pilsner on a hot summer’s day, check out The Pickle Jar (at the Hilton Garden Inn) in Fredericton, who have laid claim to the last keg of Lanai.

We’ve actually got a pair of events to tell you about today, for the first time in a few minutes!

One of the most consistent and consistently popular series of beer-related events in our region over the last couple years has been the Craft Draught Showdowns at The Carleton in Halifax. Many music lovers know the Carleton as the best place in the city for intimate and respectful concerts by a wide range of Canadian and International acts, but especially since their relaunch a couple years ago, they’ve cemented their reputation as a destination for excellent food and local beer. CDS events pit two breweries and brewmasters against each other, pairing 4oz pours of their creations with five courses from Chef Mathias Probst. The audience votes on whose beer was a better match for each course and a winner is announced at the end of the night. Just under two weeks from now, on July 22nd, the Craft Draught Showdown returns from exile with two local breweries, Brightwood Brewery and Propeller Brewing, head-to-head with a soundtrack to the evening provided by Almasy (Michael Dalton). Spots are extra-limited due to seating restrictions, but we’ve been told that tickets are still available for this one; cost is $65 ($74.75 with HST) and includes gratuity and can be purchased online.

For our Nova Scotia brewery employee readers, we want to be sure you are aware of this important event coming August 10th. Ren Navarro is Beer. Diversity., consulting those in the beer industry on how to improve diversity in hiring practices, community outreach, in-person interactions, and how to make each more welcoming to all. She will be holding a teleseminar August 10th, 1 -3 PM AST (not EST as originally pormoted), “Committing to Diversity in Our Beer Industry”, welcoming any and all members of the Nova Scotia brewing community to take part, from owners, to brewers, to social media folk, to taproom bartenders. This interactive event will include local brewery folks Christopher Reynolds of Stillwell, Nick Ogden of 2 Crows, and Rozina Darvesh of North Brewing helping moderate the two-hour event. Those in the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia may have already seen the notice, but for those breweries not members (or maybe haven’t seen the call yet), you can check out the tickets at the 2 Crows webshop. Because of the extremely limited number, you’ll need to grab a password from one of the moderators above. 

A few more newsbites for you, and we’ll take this time to mention that the Hard Seltzer Invasion continues unabated in our region, with new releases from Good Robot (Grapefruit and Moon Mist [which sold out in minutes] joining Mint Berry, fermented malt, gluten-reduced), North Brewing (Strawberry Rhubarb, blended seltzer, not from fermented malt, and gluten free), and the return of Big Spruce’s Zesty Lime and Red Raspberry Bliss (fermented malt, but filtered to remove malt flavor and gluten). We’d also like to add that you’re not likely to see too many more mentions of hard seltzers in our future blog posts. We absolutely get it, but between beer (our first love), cider, and the occasional mead, along with brewery openings, events (hah! Remember events?!), and job postings, we already have more than enough to write about on a weekly basis. So we’re tapping out and we’ll simply recommend you stay tuned to your favorite breweries’ social media for information about their alcopop offerings. And with that, let’s wrap this up for another week with a couple of quick hits and a job(s) posting:

Dildo Brewing Co. has a new summer beer for those of you in the area – Island Sunrise is a 5.2% ABV “Blood Orange and Mango Ale”. We’re extremely short on details, but rest assured it must have blood orange and mango in it! Available on tap at the brewery, and in cans. Also, the Dildo Outport Heritage Museum, located in the building, is now open for the summer, so you can drop in and enlighten yourself while buying beer!

Last week Moncton’s Grand Monk Artisan Ales dropped a new one off at Euston Park Social. Little Queenie Pale Ale is a lightweight (4.5% ABV) number with plenty of classic American hops: Chinook, Columbus, and Cascade. Described as “citrus, grassy goodness” you’ll find it on tap now at the aforementioned Euston Park, with a few other spots in the area receiving kegs this weekend.

Halifax’s Unfiltered Brewing has brought back their big bad German daddy Hellevator Bock. Featuring German everything (except water, for obvious reasons), it’s on the maltier side for an Unfiltered beer, but still with plenty of Continental hop kick. Get your fills or cans of this 7% ABV Teutonic banger at the brewery from opening today.

Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has three openings available, but if you’re interested and you haven’t yet applied, your time is limited as the postings close today! First up is a Brewer to operate under the Head Brewer, helping pump out the beer that is the core of their operation. Next is Cellar Person, responsible for the path the beer takes from grain, hops, water, and yeast, to the point where the customer walks it out the door. And lastly, but certainly not leastly, a Warehousing/Packaging Operator who can help make sure that beer packaging is sound and sanitary, ensuring the customer is getting the freshest product possible. Check out the full details of each job posting here and then get your resumes in by email to joel@upstreet.ca. Applicants chosen for an interview will be contacted in the next couple of weeks.