Niche Brewing

All posts tagged Niche Brewing

Welcome to September! And welcome to the Long Weekend! For those going back to school (or who have kids going back to school), we wish you all the best as the new year of classes begin, whether they’re online or in person! And for those in neither of those situations, enjoy a Monday to soak up the late summer vibes in our region. We’ve got plenty of new beers and ciders for you to grab while you are out and about this weekend (or ordering delivery, remember that is still a thing!). Do be sure to check in advance for those spots that may not be open Labour Day Monday, to avoid disappointment. 

Lots of news coming out of Meander River this week, with beer and cider releases, as well as info on this year’s hop harvest! Let’s start with the beer, since we’re kinda biased that way. Lazy Dazy started off as your fairly typical American Wheat Ale, but features an addition of fresh grapefruit zest and pith midway through fermentation. Once fermentation was all-the-way completed, they tossed in a healthy dry-hop addition of Citra, giving this 4% ABV brew even more juicy, tropical character. Light and refreshing, it sounds like a great beer to finish off your summer with. In cider world, MR has released two new ones in their Small Lot series, Small Lot Blueberry and Small Lot Cranberry. All Small Lot ciders are made with fresh local or farm-grown fruits, herbs, flowers, etc.; in the case of these two newbies, fresh-pressed valley blueberry and cranberry juice were added (we’ll let you figure out which one was used in which!). Quantities are always limited, with both products available on tap and in bottles. If you drop by to do some shopping, you may even be lucky enough to be around for yet another Small Lot cider, Lavandula, a honey lavender cider that will be available in 750 mL bottles only. 

Finally, Meander River is calling for help with their annual hop harvest, which will be taking place this Sunday at 9 AM. This socially-distanced event doesn’t require you to sign up in advance, as they’ve assured us there is plenty of space to safely pick the aromatic hop bines. The hops harvested will be used in brewing their Homegrown Wet-Hop Ale, which should be released sometime around Thanksgiving. 

Attention Halifax: if you like hazy, hoppy beers, if you like Nelson Sauvin hops, and if you like supporting a good cause, Propeller Brewing has the beer for you! They’ve teamed up with the Ladies Beer League to brew NZ IPA, a New England IPA that was heavily dry-hopped with the wonderful, pricey, elusive New Zealand hop variety, Nelson Sauvin. Featuring aromas of “fresh crushed gooseberry and tropical fruit”, and low bitterness, this 6.5% ABV beer will be available today at all three Prop Shops for growler fills (and pints at Gottingen and Quinpool). The brewery will be donating $1 from every pint or 1-L growler fill – and $2 for each 2-L growler – to the Halifax Sexual Health Centre. This organization provides a wide range of care options, and are currently working beyond capacity, so let’s do what we can to help, yeah?

Over in Big Spruce-ville (that’s Nyanza, for those of you not in the know), they’ve got a brand new, big beer hitting taps and bottles for the long weekend. Brobdingnagian (no, that’s not a typo) is an all-Mosaic, 8.5% ABV Double IPA. All of those delicious, delightful Mosaic hops provide “clean flavours of mango, citrus and pine”, with peaches, apricots and marmalade on the nose. And at that ABV, it’s going to pack a bit of a punch, so take your time! Available in 650 mL bottles and on tap at Big Spruce and some of their fine licensees, grab it while you can. You’ll also probably see bottles of the latest batch of One Hundred, Nova Scotia’s first beer brewed with all NS ingredients, including a wild yeast strain BS harvested from one of the pin cherries growing on their farm. 

In the Hub of Nova Scotia, the eponymous Truro Brewing Company has released a brand new SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer, showcasing their local hop producer. Wicked Game is a 5.5% ABV Pale Ale, featuring generous additions of Centennial hops from Stewiacke’s Wicked Hops Farm. Notes of pine and herbal from the hops balance the light malt character. On tap for samples, pints, and growlers, it joins 4 other options on draught at the 53 Inglis Place taproom, open noon to ten.

Anyone old enough to remember the glory days of situation comedies (that’s ‘sitcoms’ for you whippersnappers out there) know that one of the most common tropes was the ‘kooky’ or ‘wacky’ neighbour. From Ethel Mertz and Eddie Haskell, to Rhoda Morgenstern and the Fonz, to Larry and the two Darryls, to Kimmy Gibler, Steve Urkel, Cosmo Kramer and beyond (we’re sure there were more after those, but we’re kinda old), it’s a story as old as time, or at least television. In Digby, NS, Roof Hound Brewing has released a beer this week called (of course) Kooky Neighbour in honor of their own real-life neighbour, Amy, who owns the spa next door to their Kingston, NS, taproom and who has been welcoming, generous, and supportive to the Roof Hound family in their newest venture. A low-ABV coconut cream ale (apropos, as Amy has a tanning salon), coming in at 3.8% ABV, it’s light and sparkling, with a bit of corn on the finish and just a hint of coconut. In short, a perfect beer for the dying days of summer. Being a limited edition of only 500 bottles we suspect you’ll have to get to the Kingston Taproom to try it; if you do, maybe you’ll get a chance to meet Amy herself!

Whether the following five words excite you or make you want to do yourself bodily harm, they need to be typed: Pumpkin Ale season is back. Sorry/Yay? Anyway, Boxing Rock knows that many of you are bored by the typical Pumpkin Ale brewed with pumpkin spices, so they’ve got their own take on the style with Fuego Habanero Pumpkin Ale. Instead of the usual spices, they’ve added habanero peppers to the beer, along with a little bit of cinnamon and black pepper. Full-bodied, golden-coloured, with aromas and flavours of pepper and pumpkin, it has some heat thanks to the peppers, but not TOO much, we assume, since the brewery also claims the beer is “surprisingly drinkable”. You can find it at the brewery, naturally, with cans also making their way to the HRM private stores. Those of you in New Brunswick should also be able to track some down at select ANBL locations next week. 

In PEI, Montague’s Bogside Brewing has a new American Pale Ale on tap, Tailgate APA. Billed as a classic West Coast Pale Ale, with actual clarity, as well as a moderate bitterness accompanied by some malt character in the background, it was hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe to give it aromas of “citrus and light pine”. Coming in at 5.7% ABV and 35 IBUs, you can expect to see cans of this one as well, soon. And for those of you who are also into cider, they’ve got their latest there, too, with Buckle Up, a blueberry cider that was made by blending their base, dry cider with blueberry wine from the Rossignol Estate Winery, located in Murray River. Also at the brewery (in cans), it weighs in at 6.5% ABV.

Since moving to their new location, Sackville, NB’s Bagtown Brewing has been keeping up with the one-off brews, and they have their latest, Helium, available now. Brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, it was fermented with sparkling wine yeast. While we’re not 100% certain what beer style this falls into, the brewery is describing it as “light and bubbly, with a subtle honey sweetness and floral aroma”. It finishes fairly dry, and at 5% ABV is intended to be consumed in quantity, if so desired! 

Your hard-working crew at Horton Ridge have put their brewhouse to work recently, and conjured up an “old school” IPA (think a fairly bitter IPA that has a bit of sweetness to balance the hops) that they’ve named 500 Miles. If you’re thinking that they’ve named this beer with a nod towards The Proclaimers, you’d be wrong! The malting process that occurs at Horton Ridge involves many, many instances of raking, and around the time that this beer was brewed, the company’s raking odometer (that’s a thing?!?) reached 500 miles. They figured that was as good a name as any for a beer (they’re right!), so there it is. But back to the beer – they’re describing it as having a balance “of grapefruit citrus and piney resinous flavours”. Brewed with some Honey malt in the grist, it also has a “subtle burnt sugar sweetness” as a result. You can find it on tap at their taproom in Hortonville.

Back in New Brunswick, Gridiron has brewed up their very first New England IPA, Hazy Tuesday. With a grist that is heavy on oats and wheat from Island Malt House, the rest is made up with grain from Shoreline Malting. Hopped with plenty of Citra and Mosaic (to 65 IBUs), it comes in towards the higher end of the style, at 7.3% ABV. Only a few kegs of this juicy, tropical NEIPA were brewed, and it’s available only at the brewery in Hampton; drop by this long weekend for your pour! They are open daily, 4 – 6 PM, and may be available by appointment if you reach out via FB.

Let’s catch up on a few releases that were announced after our early release last Thursday, we figure there’s still a few bottles and cans around for your consumption…

Newfoundland’s Rough Waters Brewing has released a new Blonde Ale, albeit one with a bit of a twist. Hot Damn was brewed along the lines of your standard beers in the Blonde style, but features an addition of red thai chili peppers. The mild heat in the finish is enough to remind you that there’s more to this 5.5% ABV beer than meets the eye. Available at the brewery in growlers and pints; they were calling for bottles soon, as of last week, so those could very well be ready for this weekend. 

Inverness’s Route 19 Brewing dropped a new beer last Saturday, and it’s sounding super tasty, so let’s hope they still have some left! Crew Brew is their latest kettle sour, brewed with the same base (2-row malt) as their previous release, Dog Daze. Soured with their house culture, the resulting beer was dry-hopped with the delicious Sabro variety. The final 5% product has “intense Fuzzy Peach sour candy, green apple, Jolly Ranger, and ripe mango aromas”, all accompanied by a bright, lemon-like acidity, and “coconut cream, smooth finish”. Named to show the brewery’s appreciation for their brewpub staff, all proceeds of the beer will go towards this hardworking bunch, who they say lost a week of work earlier in the summer due to a pandemic-related incident. Drop by the brewery today to give this beverage a taste, and support the crew!

Everybody who’s in the know knows that 2 Crows commonly has weeks where they hit hard with two or three or even more releases and leave us wondering why we got into the (incredibly lucrative, natch) beer blogging game. But last week everything hit so hard that they knocked themselves for a loop and totally neglected to let us know what was coming. We’ve got those deets for you this week, though, starting with Surefire, a foedre-aged fruited sour that’s been nearly a year in the making. Beginning with a grist of Shoreline Malting Pilsner and wheat malt, along with some spelt and rye, it was hopped lightly with Nelson Sauvin hops before fermentation in oak with a blend of 2C’s delightful house cultures. After hanging out an additional five months in the barrel to condition, over 800 lbs of blackberry and 420 lbs of sour cherry were added and allowed to ferment out before a bit of vanilla was added to the mix and the beer was packaged in cans, where it’s been hanging out since June. Described as “deeply jammy, funky, zippy, and complex,” this is no small sour even though it only tips the scales at 4.8% ABV.

Also new and available is Camellia, a lagered wild ale with buckwheat and green tea. Pulling in some floor malted ingredients from the other PEI maltster, Island Malt House, the mash included Pilsner, wheat, oat and rye malts, with malted buckwheat taking center stage. On the hop side, Chinook, Sterling, and Azacca were used at various stages in the kettle before the beer was transferred to foedre and inoculated with a blend of house cultures. Five months later, it was sent to stainless where it was dry-hopped (dry-tea’ed?) with some Sencha Green Tea from Phil Holmans at Halifax’s awesome independent World Tea House. A krausening with lager yeast and some fresh wort before a further seven weeks of cold lagering were the final steps before packaging. We’re going to be honest, beyond the tasting notes from the brewery, which include, “earthy, fresh, zippy,” and, “lightly tart,” we don’t have any idea what to expect from this beer, which is a wonderful place to be when you love to try new things.

Both of these beers have been packaged in cans (and, we don’t doubt, some kegs for pouring at the brewery, at least, and hopefully beyond) so your best bet to grab them is on Brunswick Street in Halifax. If you happen to be by between 10 AM and 2 PM on Saturday or Sunday, remember that they’ll be hosting their Maker’s Market again this weekend. And keep your eyes peeled for more new things from 2 Crows down the road; social media this week had some awesome photos of the team from the Change is Brewing Collective in the 2C house for some collaborative goings-on. We’re very much looking forward to seeing what they came up with together!

Hooray for the continued return of actual events! Just remember, folks, be smart and play safe if you’re planning to attend any large gatherings of people; we’re in one of the safest regions in the world right now COVID-wise, let’s keep it that way!

Luckily for Atlantic Canadian homebrewers, this year’s annual Gahan Maritime Homebrew Challenge is still a go! This is the third year for the event, with all homebrewers invited to do their darndest to brew up the finest example of a West Coast or New England IPA, and enter it for judging. Submit it to your local Gahan House restaurant (of which there are several in the Maritimes) by October 30th; the winner will be announced November 14th at the Charlottetown Gahan House. But what do I win, you may ask? The “Grand Champion” gets $500 cash, and a special edition of their beer will be brewed and canned with help from Gahan/PEI Brewing Co. brewers, for retail sale. There’s other prizes as well (up to $3000 worth); for more of the nitty gritty, check out their site, or email homebrewchallenge@gahan.ca. Good luck, entrants!

And let’s stick with PEI for a couple more events this week. PEI Burger Love usually consumes all of April, but the pandemic put the kaibosh on the Spring event. However, they have switched the dates, without losing any enthusiasm, and are holding it during the six weeks beginning September 1st. Many brewery and beer-friendly spots are taking part, and for the first time in its ten year history, the Burger Love is expanding from just PEI Beef to Chicken, Pork, Seafood, and Veggie options. Grab your checklist of the 70+ burgers on offer

PEI Brewing Company is going ahead with their fall Oktoberfeast Event later this month, September 25th and 26th. Each day offers something different to visitors, with lawn games, growler holding competition, washer toss and cornhole, and live music and plenty of German-inspired food. Your $15 entry per day includes a filled 1 litre Maß to keep, and entrance to the competitions and fun. Grab your tickets in advance to avoid missing out!

A couple more quick mentions before you leave you to your long and hopefully super-sunny weekend!

Halifax will see the return of a Garrison Brewing favorite this week, with Sour to the People back in a slightly modified form. Still 5.5% ABV, still extremely tart and lemony, the change in this year’s batch is that it isn’t dry-hopped. Look for it on tap at both the Seaport and Oxford locations and also available to go in 473 mL cans.

Hanwell, NB’s Niche Brewing has their hibiscus kettle sour back on tap this week for those who’ve missed it (which we figure is probably most of the people who’ve tried it). Ruby Tuesday is 4% ABV, tart, fruity, and refreshing. You’ll find it at The Joyce and Peppers Pub for sure, with other Niche tap accounts hopefully picking it up soon as well. It’ll also likely be pouring on Maybee Brewing’s guest tap sometime late next week.

Today marks the turn into the last month of Summer, at least as far as the Earth’s orbit around the Sun is concerned. But the realities of solar system mechanics and their impact on meteorology aside, we know that there’s still plenty of warm-weather beer drinking to be had in our region. Lucky for us, our region’s breweries and cideries are continuing to pump out top class liquids for our consumption. Read on for news about as many as we could find out about this week!

Last Friday (too late for a blog post then, sorry!), Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing dropped the latest in their Million Acres series, an ever-changing lineup of barrel-aged brews. This newest release is Million Acres – Barrel-Aged Cherry Saison, a 6.5% ABV beer brewed with malt from Island Malt House. The beer was put into barrels in January, and transferred back to steel about six months later. There, it was given a small dry-hop of Barbe Rouge (a French varietal), along with an addition of cherry purée. With a reddish colour, and aromas of cherry and leather, this bottled beer is showing off flavours of “deconstructed cherry pie”, as well as notes of grapefruit, lemongrass, orange pith, leather, straw, pie crust, and dill, according to the brewery. You can find bottles at both Upstreet locations in Charlottetown; they’re recommending that you don’t cellar this one *too* long, as it’s best-enjoyed within a few months. 

Hopping over to Newfoundland, where Landwash is excited to share details on a fresh new beer they’ve just canned, Platters Head. Billed as a hoppy Lager, the beer has a simple grist of 85% Pilsner and 15% Flaked Oats. Fermented with the Isar Lager strain from Escarpment Labs (is there a week where we DON’T mention Escarpment? [editor’s note: No]), the beer was lagered for five weeks, and dry-hopped with Amarillo and Azacca. The final 4.8% ABV brew is tasting crisp and clean, as a good Lager should, with plenty of fruit – including peaches and lemons – in the aroma, and a bit of dankness carrying over into the flavour. Congrats to recently promoted Head Brewer Alex on this release, the first he’s fully designed and brewed at Landwash! It’s available on tap and in cans; stop by the brewery for a taste this weekend (and grab some Saucy Mouth while you’re there, natch!). While you’re there, you can pick up some of their latest batch of Brackish Sour Ale, and they should have some super fresh That Much Ocean NEIPA available now as well!

Back to the mainland for New Brunswick Capital Region’s Niche Brewing’s latest release, another in their exploration of fun and exciting hop combinations. Lost in Translation is a 4.6% ABV Session IPA, with hop additions of Hallertau Blanc and Simcoe beginning in the boil, further enhanced by a heavy dry-hopping of more of the same hop pair, along with Citra. Foggy London Ale yeast from Escarpment did the heavy lifting, with the tropical and citrus vibes first and foremost, along with a touch of spiciness. As with most Niche releases, grabbing it on draught at your local watering hole is your best bet, with The Joyce in Fredericton, Peppers Pub in Saint John, and Halifax’s Bar Stillwell all the first spots to jump on kegs. And speaking of Stillwell, they are facing off against Dartmouth’s Side Hustle Snack Bar in a friendly head-to-head competition of kitchens, all in the name of raising funds for disaster relief, so we strongly encourage you to visit one or both spots this weekend. More details on their social media.

Hometown-proud Truro Brewing Co. has a couple of new beers hitting their taps over the last week, including their latest foray into the world of SMaSH (while we don’t seem to see as many of these beers these days, we figure you’re still all up to speed with what that acronym stands for), Halla Back Girl. This 5.8% ABV beer was brewed all Pale malt from Shoreline Malting, and hopped with a generous amount of Hallertau Blanc. Expect “a tropical, fruity aroma with hints of white wine and pineapple”, in a light orange, very hazy package. Also, last Friday the brewery launched Rubyfruit Grapefruit Sour, a tart and refreshing, 3.5% ABV fruited sour. Both beers are available on tap at the brewery, now.

Maybe we’ll actually be crazy and stick with one province for a moment, and move over to Route 19 Brewing, who have been experimenting on their 50 L pilot system. For those of you have been looking for a beer that tastes like peanut butter waffles covered in strawberry jelly, we guess you’re going to be excited by this one! Crunchy! is what the brewery is calling, yes, a “Peanut Butter Strawberry Jam Ale” (hey, don’t shoot the messenger, ok?). The malt used in the grist (including Biscuit, Carapils, and Honey malt) during brew day contributes biscuit and “fluffy batter flavours”, and strawberry puree was added during fermentation. What about the PB, you ask? Well, they didn’t want to overdo that aspect of the 6.5% ABV beer, so they added peanut butter extract directly into the brite tank (before carbing the beer) “one spoon at a time until the flavour was just right”. Maybe they should have named this one Goldilocks and the Peanut Butter Bears? We’ll just show ourselves out… Oh, we should also reiterate that there isn’t much of this beer around, so if you’re at all curious about what it tastes like, we recommend getting over there ASAP for a pint. And of course, those with nut allergies should avoid this one. Glad to see they’re back open after the awkward incident earlier in the month!

We go from one unusual but intriguing beer to another, stopping next at Good Robot Brewing, the place where misfit people can enjoy misfit beer 😉. Dreamed up by summer brewhouse intern Nathan, they’re going all in on a Chocolate Banana Porter named The Banana Wizard. A light 5.0% ABV Porter, fermentation was carried out by a Belgian yeast to promote banana esters and a touch of clove spiciness, on top of the rich chocolate, dark toffee, and toasted notes. To send it over the top, they dosed in some banana cream and chocolate extracts, for the full “chocolate covered frozen bananas on the boardwalk” experience (there’s always money in the banana stand!). This release is only available in cans, so fire up your Segway to head down to their Robie Street location, or order online for home delivery, and they’ll dispatch their stair car directly to your door.

Delta Force Brewing, Nova Scotia’s only Farmshed brewery, is back with a second big release after a few months creeping through the jungles and carrying out Top Secret missions. With several of the beers in this release taking months of patience to let the yeast and bugs play together, the window to grab the beers is now open! Returning are Anderlecht, their 6.0% ABV Belgian Single with Brett Lambicus, and Mean Time, their 4.8% ABV English Bitter brewed with their own shed-grown hops and fermented with Brettanomyces. They are joined by a new twist of their third release in April, the West Coast IPA Operation Stronghold, but one keg was dosed with Brett, developing some great funky notes and a touch of ester fruit character. All three of these beers are available in 500 mL bottles, at $8 apiece.

Joining those three are a trio of debut releases from Delta Force. Operation Sommar is a Dry Stout, putting an end to the trope that stouts can only be enjoyed in Winter (we also suggest anyone who thinks that should maybe reflect on the existence of Tropical Stouts). Be transported to an idyllic place in the Swedish countryside, where you can dance around the Maypole, be showered in flowers, and dress up like a bear (whether you want to or not). Chocolate, roast, but light and lively enough to be refreshing. Operation Saison is even more refreshing, harkening back to the days when Saisons were enjoyed freely by farmhands at the end (or during) a hard day’s work in the fields. Open fermented in a former milk jug, the floral and spicy character shine through, a testament to the malt, hops, and yeast working together in harmony. Both of these beers are also in 500 mL bottles, $5 each. Rounding out the beer offerings is Operation Assay, a Pale Ale fermented with Ebbergarden Kveik yeast. This is DFBC’s first foray into a “year-round elixir”, and they invite you to follow along on their journey.

So, how can you get your mitts on these beers? The best path to success is to send them an email (deltaforcebrewing@gmail.com) with your order request, and delivery address. Orders over $40 include delivery in Halifax, and arrangements may be possible for smaller orders or other areas of the region. Keep an eye on their IG page for more details as they’re released today.

Back to Newfoundland for the latest small batch release from Port Rexton Brewing. Summer vibes continue on the Bonavista peninsula, so plan your trip to PR to Wet Your Whistle. A 3.8% ABV Session NEIPA, it’s hoppy, hazy, and bursting with great citrus character. Light bodied and crushable, it’s perfect as a rehydration helper for the hot days we’ve been having. As it’s a small batch, it’s only available at the taproom in Port Rexton for pints and growler fills (still a few options at their St. John’s Retail Shop, fear not).

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing has teamed up with Bertrand’s Oktoberfest des Acadien to release a beer in its honour. With physical distancing requirements making the in-person Oktoberfest an impossibility, CAVOK has stepped up and brewed a beer to allow us all to celebrate the event together, apart. Keeping true to the inspiration from the original Oktoberfest in Munich, L’Oktoberfest des Acadiens is a 4.7% ABV Märzen, an easy-drinking lager with light toast and biscuit notes, and the perfect beer to fill your Maßkrug. Available in cans at the CAVOK brewery and taproom, it will see wide distribution in ANBL stores across the province.

Down the road from Dieppe and across the Confederation Bridge, Charlottetown’s Red Island Cider is launching a new cider for your enjoyment tomorrow. Part of their Ghost Ship series of limited edition beverages, Two Farmers is made with a blend of apples from two of PEI’s apple producers, one in Prince County (the Island’s “West side”), and one in Kings County (the “East side”). Together, the apples combined with yeast to produce a dry yet complex 6.5% ABV cider with a champagne color, and a bright and vinous nose. Additional tasting notes from the cidery include creamy honey, a touch of caramel, and a tannic finish. Sounds lovely to us! Even better, tomorrow’s launch will feature a special on this cider with local oysters from 4 – 7 PM on their limited space, properly socially-distanced patio. If you can’t make it, though, the Ghost Ship series does generally make its way into bottles, so you should be able to grab some to go as well!

Speaking of PEI cider (two PEI cider posts in one week? That’s got to be a record!), Caledonia’s Double Hill Cidery has a new release of their own. IslandSide was made with apples from Arlington Orchards, and was slowly-fermented and cold aged. It’s 5.5% ABV, and is tasting “fresh and crisp, with floral notes”. It’s available in cans right now at Double Hill, and should be available very soon at PEILCC stores (maybe even in time for the weekend!). 

And a couple more short mentions before we leave you to your weekend; we hope it’s a warm, sunny and beery one wherever you are!

Dartmouth’s North Brewing has the latest in their line of sour beers available now. Raspberry Plush features a whole whack of fresh raspberries pressed in-house, resulting in a beautiful bright pink colour and a beer bursting with flavour. At 4.5% ABV, it’s a perfect patio pairing partner (partner!). Grab it online or at their store on Portland Street when you’re there for some Side Hustle side action.

Quidi Vidi Brewing released an American Amber Ale earlier this week, simply-named Amber Ale. Billed as easy-drinking, with light caramel and biscuit-like flavours, as well as a touch of fruit character, it finishes dry with a firm bitterness. Coming in at 5% ABV, it’s available now at the brewery’s Hops Shop for pickup and delivery.

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!!