NSLC

All posts tagged NSLC

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

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

-fin-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Friday Thursday everyone! Surprise! We’ve got a full dance card this evening and tomorrow, and rather than leave you thirsty and no clue what to drink on the last weekend of August, we figured we’d hit you up a day early. Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates for all of the new beers to be enjoyed as we take on the Bubble by boat, foot, or bike, with an awesome local beer in hand. Here’s the heads up to no fewer than a dozen new beers and ciders  to enjoy from around the Atlantic provinces. Cheers!

Let’s start off the week with a beer project whose purpose and benefits are becoming even more poignant daily. The Black Is Beautiful Beer Collaboration was started by Marcus Baskerville of San Antonio’s Weathered Souls Brewing, as a way to elevate the voices of, and lend real financial support to, groups working to identify, overcome, and remove, racial injustice. Tidehouse Brewing in Halifax is the second Nova Scotian brewery to release Black is Beautiful (Propeller Brewing’s draught-only release sold out in record time!), and the first to package it in cans. Tidehouse has gone all out, as they are wont to do, putting together a massive 11.0% ABV Imperial Stout. Featuring a full roast base, the addition of coffee, dark chocolate, and a touch of lactose, for a supremely flavourful and enjoyable beer to be enjoyed with friends. They did not do this all on their own, of course, with frenemies 2 Crows Brewing lending a hand to can the 25 flats of beer, and The Printing House Canada for providing the handsome labels at cost. That help means that more money can go towards Tidehouse’s chosen charity, Game Changers 902. This collective has been busy for months hosting rallies and community events in Nova Scotia, and the financial assistance from the project will allow them to continue this vital work of speaking truth to power, and to all of us. Black Lives Matter. You can lend your support by picking up Black is Beautiful from 2 PM tomorrow, until they’re sold out. And while you’re there, grab the brand new Undertow IPA. Using Horton Ridge Malt Pale malt, with Vienna and Acid malt to complete the grist, this 6.6% ABV is hopped with Azacca, Huell Melon, and Pacific Gem, resulting in some lovely tropical notes of mango and stone fruit. While they may have been caught in the undertow of COVID, it looks like the Tidehouse crew is keeping their heads above water and continue to push the envelope in the NS beer scene.

Downtown Dartmouth is buzzing with new beers these days, so let’s head across the bridge next! New Scotland Brewing is serving up a fresh new beer with a fresh new hop rarely seen in these parts, Pahto. Highland Light is just 3.7% ABV, but packs plenty of flavour into its small package. Inspired by the German Leichtbier, known as a style taking the “Light American Lager” back to the Old World, using high quality ingredients. Pahto is a high Alpha hop known to exhibit plenty of Noble hop characteristics, with its sole addition in the whirlpool enough to give a bit of bitterness, and great herbal, floral, and earthy goodness. This is the latest of New Scotland’s series of beers fermented with the KRISPY Kveik strain from Escarpment Labs, and when kept cool (this was fermented at 13 Celsius), it mimics a lager strain with less fruity esters and the beer is crispy and crushable. You don’t have to take our word for it, grab your own cans of Highland Light at the brewery on Alderney Drive, or for home delivery in HRM (and shipping elsewhere) at their Online Shop. And while you’re there (in person or virtually), pick up cans of their Britecider, a 6.1% ABV off-dry cider made with local apples, and dry-hopped with Centennial hops from Fundy Hops. The hops and apple come together in a fun way to add a citrus accent to the apple base, in a bright and crisp package.

The release of Lone Oak’s newest beer was originally scheduled for next week, but they’re so excited about it (and so are we!), that they bumped it up to THIS Friday. Otis is an Oat Grisette brewed with barley and, yes, a generous amount of oats. Fermented with the brewery’s house yeast culture, it was aged for six months in their oak foeder and is finally ready for your enjoyment. Coming in at a sessionable 3.6% ABV, the beer has “notes of lemon zest, hay, and mild oak”, and finishes nice and dry. Grisette is somehow still an overlooked and underappreciated style, but its popularity is slowly growing, so let’s all continue to buy those great examples that are available! Otis is conveniently going to be available in 355 mL cans, perfect for you to take on those last few camping weekends, trips to the beach, etc. that we’ve got left (sob). Find it at the brewery tomorrow, where you can stock up on plenty of it to last you through Labour Day weekend.

Tatamagouche Brewing is debuting a trio of beers this week; two are returning favourites, the other a brand new release. Mussed Up is a 7.9% ABV Double IPA, featuring heavy additions of Enigma and Hallertau Blanc hops for a solid bitterness as well as tropical notes. Petite Milo grape must was added after two days (during active fermentation), imparting so much great grape and wine-like character in there as well, for a unique combination. Next up is Amrita, the Brett IPA first brewed with legendary (aka old, but still hip!) homebrewer Mark McKay. A combination of a beer fermented with a combination of Vermont Ale and Brett D yeasts, aged on a ton of passion fruit and mango, and then dry-hopped with El Dorado and Azacca, give this 6.2% ABV hybrid a ton of character.

Elixir Krispy Kveik is the newbie beer (newbier?), taking its inspiration from a trip to the hop fields of Alsace, France. Walking through fields of Elixir and Mistral, the terroir of this old world wine region shines through in the hops, with floral and fruity character, a new twist on the Noble hops of the Continent. Fermented with that new favourite Kveik strain spotted elsewhere in this post, KRISPY, for a fairly quick turnaround low-ester beer. Both Mussed Up and Elixir are available on draught at the brewery now, and will be in cans very soon, with bottles of Amrita available now. Online store too!

And for those looking to begin or continue their career in the brewing arts and science, Tata is hiring a Cellar Hand to join their team. While the brewer makes the wort, and hands it off to the yeast to make beer, those working in the cellar ensure that product stays clean and happy all the way to your glass. Cleaning (so much cleaning!), transferring beer, kegging and canning, and a thousand jobs in between. A great job for those who do not (yet) have any formal brewing training, but want to be critical in its production. Check out their job listing to learn more and how to apply!

If sour and hops combined are your thang, we recommend a trip over to Dartmouth to visit Brightwood Brewery. They’re pouring their latest beer, Horizon Line, a 5.5% ABV Sour IPA that they hopped with large additions of Chinook and Centennial. Two hop varieties that have been around for awhile, but still pack a punch when used in the right beer. In addition to the fruity character added by the hops – not to mention the tartness from the kettle sour process – they added lime zest from limes provided by Maria’s Pantry, to bump up the citrus notes. Available right now at the taproom for pints and growlers, cans should be following in the very near future (and may even be grabbable right now!).

Fans of Tanner & Co. may have noticed that there’s been a bit of a lapse with new beers from the brewery for the past several weeks; they’ve been working hard to make sure they’ve got their regular beers in stock, but have managed to slip in a new recipe in there, so you’re in luck! Kveik DIPA kind of gives itself away with its name – it’s a Double IPA that they fermented with a Kveik strain, specifically, the Norwegian Hornindal strain. Particularly fond of very high fermentation temperatures, it’s well known for its propensity to show off huge tropical aromas and flavours. But it’s a DIPA, so of course you also have to complement the yeast by a massive hopping schedule… in this case, Tanner went with Mosaic, Motueka, Amarillo and Citra (to 65 IBUs). So now you really know this is going to be a tropical beast, and a pretty boozy one (8.0% ABV) at that! Available right now at the brewery on tap and in bottles.

A little ways down the road from Tanner, you’ll find Shipwright Brewing in Lunenburg, NS. As you know if you’ve been following along, they’ve been experimenting this summer with Kveik-fermented beers using various strains of that yeasty beastie in various styles of beer. Submitted for your drinking pleasure this time is Ship’s Biscuit IPA, a 6.2% ABV 60 IBU West Coast IPA x Kveik hybrid. Featured in the grist were Golden Promise, CaraBelge, and Amber malts, with a portion of flaked barley in the mix as well. Hopped and dry hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe, it was then fermented on Escarpment’s KRISPY kveik strain at elevated temperatures to encourage some ester formation. The result is a beer with a soft mouthfeel, plenty of notes of honey, grapefruit and pineapple, and a pithy bitter finish consistent with a WCIPA. Look for it at the brewery Tuesday to Sunday with cans available for takeout on Mondays from the Grand Banker next door.

Sydney’s Breton Brewing has been celebrating their Fifth Anniversary with Five releases over the past two months, and today’s release marks the final in the series. Whipper Snipper Pilsner is 4.8% ABV beer meant to be light and supremely drinkable, while incorporating some great flavour and aromatics. Start with Superior Canadian Pilsner malt, add in a pleasant 32 IBU from New Zealand-grown Wakatu hops, and let sit for a month-long lagering period, and Voila! Clean and crisp, cans of Whipper Snipper are for sale at the brewery and CBRM delivery now, with HRM home delivery late next week (in addition to cans at the Harvest/RockHead/WestSide trio of private stores too).

Breton also teamed up with the team at the Cabot Resort in Inverness recently, to release a special beer fit for the links. Cabot Ale is a 4.0% ABV, 24 IBU Kolsch, also known as lagered ale. WIth a light a clean malt base, lightly hopped with Huell Melon for just a touch of fruity esters, it’s a refresher that you can grab only at the Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs courses, as well as on tap at the restaurants on the Resort, Panorama and the Public House.

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing let us know this week that just because we haven’t heard from them in a little while doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy; in fact they’ve been so busy keeping the beer moving that they haven’t had time to write to tell us what those beers have been! Props to the folks in Moncton and environs for helping a new brewery stay vital through the craziness that has been their first year of operations, and kudos to the team for making beer that keeps people coming back for more! We’ve also been told that they’ve got a couple new tanks on the way that should relieve some of the pressure on the brewery while ensuring that their fans do not go thirsty. This weekend they’ll have two beers released, one a returning favourite and the other a variation on a beer they’ve made before. First is Full Service, their citrusy DIPA coming in at 7.5% ABV; this was one of the first beers they ever released and always one of their most popular. Second is their Raspberry Sour, which we think is a slight twist on the Black Raspberry Sour from late last year. Kettle soured before having 40 kg of raspberries added, it’s 6.0% ABV, bright and super fruity. Look for both of these beers on tap at the brewery now and in cans starting tomorrow at noon. And if you’re planning to visit the brewery tomorrow, maybe give a thought to stopping by around 4 PM as they’ll be doing their first ever cask beer! Part of what’s intended to be a regular thing, this will be a single 20 L cask of American Pale Ale that was conditioned in the cask on celery seed and rose petals. Wondering what that’ll taste like? So are they!! Stop in for a pint and some cans to go and find out.

Annapolis Cider in Wolfville has released their latest Something Different this week, branching into a lovely combination of fruit and spice, with Sour Cherry and Lemon Thyme. An infusion of lemon thyme was made with their dry-fermented cider, and then blended with fresh-pressed juice from locally-grown sour cherries and apples. Some of the first apples of the 2020 harvest were used in this cider, coming through with bright notes on the palate. Working together with the cherry and lemon, a full bouquet of fruit varietals are on display. As with all of their Something Different releases, a local charity will be benefiting from our hard work (drinking), with the Wolfville Area Food Bank being the recipient of $0.50 from each refill of this cider expression.

In Western Newfoundland, in the town of Port-au-Port, you’ll find Secret Cove Brewing. And at Secret Cove Brewing this weekend you’ll find a couple of new beers! Score Points is a sour beer weighing in at lovely and light, thirst-quenching 4.0% ABV and featuring passion fruit and Mango. Score Points is based around the idea that with sports beginning to start up again you might need to score some points with someone in your life in order to watch the game or get out for a skate with the gang. And what better way to do so than by treating them to a little tropical love in the form of a crushable sour beer? Loaded with fruit, a grist of wheat and Pilsner malt make for a solid base with a slight sweetness and a subtly dry finish. This one is a limited run, so grab some cans now while you, uh… can? (editor’s note: Ugh.) The other release this week is a new brewing of a beer they developed with Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi: The Rice is Right, a “hybrid session IPA” at 4.8% ABV. Brewed to pair well with all things sushi, this light and sessionable ale uses gelatinized rice to create a crispy and dry beer with a soft mouthfeel that accentuates the use of a bit of Sorachi Ace hops, the only hop cultivar native to Japan. This one’s also available at the brewery only at this time, for pints in house and fills and cans to go.

Continuing the episode releases from their Island Jaunt in July, the 902BrewCast have released their interview with John, Trent, and Jansen of Shoreline Malting. Go behind the scenes of how that grain got in your glass (hint, it starts before it’s even in the ground!), and what being a local grower of wheat, barley, and other grains means to the local breweries, and how they turn that into the malt the local producers are lapping up. You can find it in your latest podcast feed, or check it out directly here!

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has tapped their version of Isolation Nation, the Canada-wide collaboration made with 100% Canadian-grown Sasquatch hops and Rahr Pale malt, courtesy of Hops Connect and BSG Canada. In true Esty form, he bumped up the provided hops with even more of his own Sasquatch hops! This 5.0% ABV Pale Ale is full of flavour, and proceeds from the sales are going to the United Way, as part of Foghorn’s membership in the Quarter Club, where they have pledged to be part of a group to raise $250,000 over a five-year period, going towards mental health research and supporting victims of domestic violence. Kudos and Cheers! And while you’re breaking your isolation, grab cans of the latest in their Sour Series, with the Grapefruit version fresh off the canning line. Lightly hopped to let the citrus shine through, look for more from the series to include Cherry, as well as a Dry-Hopped version, and one more TBD.

This week saw the First Quarter numbers from the NSLC released, and there’s some eye-opening statistics therein. While we’re not party to the full report, the “highlights” tell quite a tale. (Note: comparisons to follow are for the same quarter last year, not the previous quarter) For the period from April 1 to June 28, a 6.8% increase in earnings was reported, with Beverage Alcohol in particular being up 5% — overall positive news for a business that sells stuff — but there are a couple of things that bear mentioning, and probably rumination and discussion if you’re a fan of the local beer scene.

First, overall beer sales were down 4.4% to $67.4m (from $70.4m). That’s a big drop (~$3m). But sales of Nova Scotia Craft Beer were up 0.1% to $4.8m. This doesn’t tell us that all craft breweries did well during the closures associated with the pandemic, but that enough of them did well enough to not lose a ton of sales overall. We think that’s a positive statement for the overall health of the craft market in the Province and the ability of our producers to be nimble in a changing marketplace, although we think it’s super important to note that it’s almost certainly the case that some breweries did really really well while others got hit pretty hard. Suffice to say, we’re happy to hear this because there’s a possibility that people are drinking more craft beer and drinking less mass-produced macro beers from huge multinational companies who employ far fewer people in our Province, and the proceeds from which leave our borders with a quickness. Keep supporting local, folks, these are the breweries creating jobs in our communities in addition to making tasty liquids for us to consume! 

The next number that’s interesting is the rise in “ready to drink” sales, which more than doubled to $7.2m (115.7% increase). Remember that this category includes ciders, wine coolers, and the new darling of the North American alcohol industry, vodka sodas/hard seltzers. So if you’re wondering why so many breweries are branching into the world of fruit “flavoured” fizzy water, there’s your answer. We don’t generally love them ourselves, but note the numbers there: ready-to-drink went from less than craft beer to much more than craft beer. Grabbing a piece of that market might help any erosive effect it has on your existing market, which is already highly-competitive.

Lastly, we think it’s super important to note the biggest decline on the page: Licensee sales were down close to 90%. This is your bars, your restaurants, and pubs. We don’t know too many industries that can sustain a 90% drop in sales. Obviously during the full lockdown going to restaurants was not an option, but now that things are opening up a little bit we highly encourage you to try to send some support in the direction of those places you value, because there’s a really good chance a lot of them are going through some very hard times right now. We have our favorites and you have yours, and yes, we’re fully aware that a lot of people are experiencing budget crunches at home themselves; but if you’ve got the means and opportunity to get out for a nice meal and/or a couple of drinks in the coming weeks and months, or to order takeout and a couple beers from your favorite local, we highly encourage you to do so.

We’ve got plenty of events to tell you about this week, with some requiring a bit of manual labour, or your hiking shoes, or just your drinking caps!

In Nyanza, Big Spruce Brewing is ready to harvest their hops, and they need your help! Drop by the brewery anytime this weekend and give them a hand to get those hops off the bines so they can put them into your beer! A few hours of work will earn you some liquid assistance and snacks from their food truck. And worry not, you don’t have to work for your beer, they still accept ha’pennies and farthings too! 😉 And while you’re there, keep your peepers open for a brand new limited release from their continued bottle series. Le Trou Normand is a Calvados Brandy barrel-aged beer, a Biere de Garde. This 10.1% ABV whopper comes in a lovely 330 mL bottle, so grab a few to enjoy now and when the weather turns cool(er).

On the opposite end of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing is holding a Highway 101 vs. Highway 103 Beer Battle this weekend. Celebrating the part of the world where those two roads meet, Heritage has invited breweries from along both to bring a new or existing beer to the event and team up with their compatriots to reign supreme. The beers will be pouring from Friday afternoon until they’re tapped out, with the winners announced Saturday evening. Drinkers will know a bit about the style of each beer, but the origin and brewery will be hidden until after voting is done. Speaking of, you’ll be enjoying beers from Annapolis Brewing, Boxing Rock, Church Brewing, Firkinstein Brewing, Lunns Mill Beer Co, Roof Hound Brewing, Rudders Brew Pub, Saltbox Brewing, Schoolhouse Brewing, and Sea Level Brewing. Stop in either evening to enjoy live music from 8 PM too, and help crown a winner!

Are you a fan of the hazy, hoppy beers, kids? If you are, you’ve no doubt heard of Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing, who for the past couple of years have been banging out the soft and juicy New England/Northeastern IPAs for getting on six years now. And in that six years they’ve branched out quite a bit beyond the beers you may know them best for, including a beer brewed specifically for the bowling alley they bought a couple of years back! If you’re in Halifax and find you can’t get their beers as often as you’d like, though, this weekend is an excellent opportunity to rectify that: Saturday afternoon starting at noon you’ll find 10 taps of Trailway pouring at the Stillwell Beer Garden! Come on down and try some old favorites that have been around since the early days, and some new hotness as well:

  • Candlepin Kölsch (4.5%) 
  • Beyond Reality Raspberry Wheat (4%)
  • El Generico Sour (Blackberry & lime 4.5%) 
  • Dump Run Saves Summer Ale (fruit ale with Mango, passionfruit & peach 4%)
  • Luster Session IPA (4%) 
  • Rype Pale Ale (w/ Rye) (5%)
  • Hu Jon Hops IPA (6.6%) 
  • Seeing Citra IPA (6%)
  • Velvet Fog Milkshake IPA (w/ lactose, raspberry & lime 6.5%)
  • Ooz Double IPA (8%)

If that makes you happy and helps you plan your Saturday afternoon, then great! If it makes you sad because you have responsibilities or plans that cannot be changed, we remind you that Trailway recently started shipping to all four Atlantic Provinces as well as Ontario. Check out their website for more details!

Saturday is a busy day in the North End of Halifax too, as two breweries are hosting vendors in their taprooms. Propeller’s Gottingen Street spot is taking part in TakingBLKGottingen’s second event, hosting the Family Over Fame apparel company Saturday 12 – 5 PM. With shirts, masks, hoodies, bandanas and much more, start your stroll along the Gottingen with a pint and a peruse. Check that first link for full details on the other locations taking part.

And down on Brunswick Street, 2 Crows is hosting their first Local Makers Market, 10 AM – 2 PM Saturday and Sunday. They are hosting makers, growers, crafters, clothing, and food folks, so be sure to swing by and peruse the offerings with a beer in hand! They’ll be running these for the next few weekends, so be sure to stop in!

The Ladies Beer League is kicking off their Go Take a Hike! series next Wednesday at 6 PM with a walk through Dartmouth. Physically distanced hiking starts out from Alderney Landing and will go along some groomed trails and sidewalks, at whatever pace you feel comfortable. And then refresh at Battery Park on Ochterloney! The hikes are free, but please grab a ticket ahead of time so they know how many are coming, and ensure all health protocols are followed. Look for more hikes out of town as well, coming up on the 13th (Taylor Head), 19th (Moose Mountain), and 27th (Tatamagouche). More info here!

Let’s end the week’s post with two news items that caught our eye and are signs of the great things happening in the region’s beer scene.

Dartmouth’s North Brewing has launched the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship, to encourage, promote, and elevate the underrepresented individuals in the brewing industry. Comprising two parts, there is a $1500 scholarship for those in a university or college program in a field that is related to the brewing or hospitality industry, awarded for each year of their program. As well, the successful candidate will have guaranteed employment in the brewery, taproom, or retail shop throughout their education. Applications are now open until the end of October, and there are so many more exciting details on North’s site, so we highly encourage interested students, or those already in the industry looking to make some positive waves, check it out!

And congratulations to the folks behind Lunn’s Mill Beer who have taken over the iconic End of the Line Pub in Bridgetown, and will be opening The Station this fall. Investing in the local economy in this way is a leap of faith, but a testament to the growing fans of craft beer across our region. Well done folks, looking forward to a pint of fresh ale and some great food in a few months!

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.