Off Track Brewing

All posts tagged Off Track Brewing

Well lookie here, it’s October! One more month closer to this debacle of a year being over! That’s how it works, right? We get through a couple more months of this goat rodeo and then everything magically goes back to something like the normal we knew one or ten or twenty-five years ago? No? Well then, that must be why we have beer, folks. In the interest of helping you maintain your sanity (ours is a lost cause), here’s what you need to know to keep your beer levels up, thanks to all the latest news we could find this week about breweries, beers, and beery events in Atlantic Canada.

Halifax is getting a little more beery next week, when Serpent Brewing has their first beers available! While their taproom and retail shop is slated to open later this month, curbside pick-up and local delivery to the Spryfield/Armdale/Cowie Hill/further afield area will be available beginning Monday, October 5th. We’ll have a full Profile with them early next week for you to read while you sip on the beers, but in the meantime, be sure you hit their website to order their bottles. Serpent is a Belgian-inspired brewery, and their first three offerings certainly reflect that. White Mountain is a 5.5% Belgain Witbier, with strong clove spiciness, plus notes of orange and pepper thanks to the addition of bitter orange peel and coriander in the boil. Patey’s Bier is a Belgian Singel (aka, Patersbier), the lower alcohol brother of the monastic Tripel, light-coloured and 4.6% ABV with notes of floral and fruity malt and yeast. And finally, a hybrid of sorts, Eden Belgain IPA; 6.0% ABV, with a neutral Ardennes strain of yeast and a simple malt bill, allow the Amarillo hops used throughout to shinr through, with citrus and fruit in spades. All three are in 500 mL bottles, with online ordering still available!

We teased last week that we’d have more details on Siren, the “Tripel-style Braggot” collaboration between Truro Brewing and Mountain Meadworks, and since that’s right there in virtual ink on the internet… well, looks like we have to actually follow through on that promise! Brewed at TB, they mashed in with Pale malt from Shoreline Malting, and added local honey (from Tatamagouche) late in the boil, giving a 50:50 ratio between malt and honey. A splash of Hallertau Blanc hops were added in the boil, and the wort was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. Finishing very dry and at 7.8% ABV, it’s pouring a light golden colour with aromas of “bright apple, honey, bubblegum, and banana”, with the malt coming through a bit more in the flavour, along with a bit of hop character and white wine notes. Siren officially launches at Truro Brewing today at 6 PM, with more details available on the party at the FB page

This week in “postcards from the edge” we got an update from one of our region’s most northerly breweries, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Co. way up in St. Anthony, Newfoundland, who will be rounding the corner into their second year of operation come November. Like some other breweries that opened late in 2019, we’re sure they didn’t have any idea what was in store for 2020, but so far, thanks to the support of both their local community and the folks that found a way to make it up to the island’s Northern Peninsula, whether from the rest of the Province or from within the Atlantic Bubble. Originally opening with four ‘basic’ beers, Da Bold and Beautiful Blonde Ale, Boggy Bottom Brown Ale, Red Rover Red Ale, and Bit Snatchy Belgian Wit, they expanded the lineup to include an IPA called Hela’s Fury and a kettle sour known as Jormunder’s Sour thanks to the popularity of those two releases. Since re-opening post-COVID shutdown, they’ve also had a couple more beers on regular rotation, namely another sour, this one with cherries, called Surt’s Flaming Sabre, and a Session IPA they’ve dubbed Freyja’s Feathered Cloak. If you’re getting the feeling from these beer names that they’ve really leaned into the Norse Mythology connection implied by their name and logo, you’d be right! If you can get your hands on some of these beers, they’d make an excellent pairing for an evening of reading up on the Æsir and the Vanir. Meanwhile, some of the biggest news from the brewery is the addition of a canning system to the facility. For now they’ve been canning their Blonde and Sour and selling them from the brewery, but as we move into Winter, the system should allow the brewery’s beer to get a little bit of local distribution and possibly even travel a little further to the rest of Newfoundland and maybe even beyond!

Good news for you hopheads living in Miramichi – Timber Ship Brewing has released what they’re calling their most hop-forward beer-to-date, a New England IPA they’re calling Farewell Buoy. Named after the familiar opening words (well, familiar to those of you from Miramichi, anyway!) of the late “Hoppy” Dunn, a local sports broadcaster (“From the headwaters of the Miramichi to the farewell buoy…”), the beer features hops, hops, and more hops. Specifically, plenty of late-in-the-boil additions of Mosaic, an early dry-hop of Citra, plus a double-dry-hop of more Mosaic, as well as some Galaxy. Coming in at 6.2% ABV and 40 IBUs, expect plenty of citrus and pineapple, all in a hazy package. And in more good news, this one won’t be available just on tap; they’ve started canning some of the beers, including Farewell Buoy. Look for this one and a couple of their flagships in cans soon, at Carroll’s Distillery and Bakery in Douglastown. 

Looks like Grand Falls Brewing has added a new beer to their taproom lineup, with an American Pale Ale named High Five. Brewed with a grist of 2-Row, Oats, and Wheat, the wort was hopped with Cashmere and Vic Secret (emphasis on the Vic), before being fermented with a Norwegian Kveik yeast strain. Dry-hopped with more of both varieties, the final 5.25% ABV brew is full of citrusy, tropical flavours, with low bitterness and a soft mouthfeel. This one will be on tap only, for both pints and growlers, and is available now, so be sure to drop in over the weekend!

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing has just released the latest in their “Star” series, bottled beers that they’ve named after stars with Latin names. Their first, released in late December, 2019, was Alpha Canis Majoris, for example. The newest is Upsilon Ceti, a 6% ABV, 52 IBUs “Oak Aged Rye Ale”. We don’t have too many details on the beer, unfortunately, but we can assume that there was a proportion of rye malt used in the grist, and the beer was aged in oak for 3 months before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Very limited quantities are available; you can pick yours up at the brewery today. There’s also a bit available on tap, if you’d like to give it a taste before committing to a bottle purchase!

Congratulations to Grimross Brewing owner Stephen Dixon on completing the multi-day Tri for Housing First 290 km Triathalon last weekend. Supporting the Fredericton Housing First endeavour, supporting those experiencing homelessness by providing permanent shelter first and foremost, allowing people a solid platform from which to concentrate on other aspects of their health, wellbeing, and livelihood. Just shy of $15,000 has been raised thus far, and you can continue the great work by donating at the link above. Grimross is continuing the good works by donating 100% of their cans of Radler to the cause, if you’re looking for a way to satiate your thirst while also providing assistance to those in need. And look for cans of their Oktoberfest Marzen to be hitting the shelves of their retail store and ANBL stores across the province in the next few weeks.

After the very successful launch of The Cherry Brook Wheat earlier this week, brewed in collaboration with the Change is Brewing Collective (more details in last week’s post), North Brewing has hit us with a second new release this week. Strollin’ Down Baldwin St. is a 3.0% Grisette (think Saison’s little cousin), brewed with Shoreline Malting Pilsner malt, lightly hopped with New Zealand Wai-ti and Wakatu hops, and fermented with Escarpment’s Old World Saison blend. Light and spritzy, lemon, peppery, with some tropical fruit and notes of hay, this is a lovely refresher in a tiny package. Grab both SDBS and The Cherry Brook Wheat at either North location, or for home delivery or shipping at their website.

Port Rexton Brewing is teaming up with the ever popular downtown St. John’s boutique Johnny Ruth to celebrate the store’s 15th anniversary. Win Hop Amber Ale comes in at 5% ABV and features the staple caramel malt flavours of the style (perfect for the Fall weather), with a herbal hop character that leads to a dry finish. Grab it in cans now at the brewery in Port Rexton or the St. John’s retail store. If you stop in to celebrate at Johnny Ruth, keep an eye out for the beer in a special gift pack. 

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is bringing out their annual Nocturne Black IPA beer today, available in cans for home delivery and at the three Prop Shops in Dartmouth and Halifax. This 6.7% beer features significant dry-hopping from Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight, for tropical fruit, pine hop aromatics to complement the roast, chocolate, and coffee notes from the base beer. $1.50 from each can sold goes directly to the Nocturne: Art at Night festival, which is running October 12 – 17. While portions will be moved to the online sphere, there is an installation behind Propeller’s Gottingen Street location after 6 PM on the 17th. And there is also a mid-week Virtual party on the 15th, hosted by HEIST, featuring a DJ, live performances, Lip Sync Roulette, and prizes. It’s free, just requires advance registration.

Tis the Season for Oktoberfests! In addition to Tire Shack Brewing in Moncton and Garrison Brewing X Stubborn Goat Beer Garden events we’ve told you about previously, we have a few more to tell you about this week. However you celebrate, please do so responsibly! 

In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing is holding their first Oktoberfest, which started yesterday and continues until Saturday, October 3rd. In addition to Milda’s Pizzas being on site (with homemade pretzels available on Saturday), TW is also debuting a new beer, Festbier. Similar to the Oktoberfest style of beer, but less richly toasted, TW’s take “has a caramel and honey-like sweetness, with some subtle breadiness” while remaining dry and crisp. No, it was not dry-hopped with 13 tons of the latest tropical hop variety, but it does have a touch of floral hop character. At 4.5% ABV, and served in pints from their new toy, a Euro-style side-pull tap, it’s intended to be consumed in quantity… hey, they ARE celebrating Oktoberfest, after all! No cans of this one, only available on tap, while it lasts. 

A reminder of the Stillwell Freehouse X 2 Crows Tiedhouse event is tomorrow, which will be the only place to grab a couple of special releases from the brewery, made especially for the slick cask facilities the Freehouse employs. While brewing into cask is outside of their normal wheelhouse, 2 Crows are never ones to back down from an opportunity for experimention. First up is Dulwich, an English Golden Ale, with a base of Shoreline Pilsner malt and a bit of flaked rice. Foggy Lodon Ale yeast did the heavy lifting, and the beer was dry-hopped with Centennial and East Kent Golding before conditioning in the cask. The result is a lower alcohol, bright fruity, floral, herbal and citrus ale, reminescent of those served across the pond. Also debuting is Aquifolium, a wild-ferment Saison, featuring captured yeast harvested from under a holly tree in Sackville, NS. After conditioning for several months, it was dry-hopped with Chinook before completing its life in the cask. Dry, light esters, earthy character, a lovely mix of features. Other casks include a Cask conditioned version of their Refresh Lager, and Paper Airplanes Brown Ale. The full draught lineup is available in last week’s post.

And the Stilly related events keep coming, so be sure to make plans to head up to the Stillwell Beergarden next Saturday, October 10th, for their annual Oktoberfest celebration. A little different than in previous years, tables must be reserved in advance, so grab your bubble buddies and set down your Euros to take part in the fun. In addition to the great food that will be available, the star of the show will be Delta Force Brewing’s first appearance on tap. After two quickly-sold-out bottle releases since Spring, this will be a great way for fans to enjoy a few pints of the brewery’s offerings. Bauernhofschuppen Märzenbier is 5.0% ABV, and as is tradition, was brewed at the end of winter (hence the name representing the month of March), and lagered ever since. This long process chilling out allows the bread and toast of the malts to shine though, but with the beer having plenty of time to develop a crisp finish to leave you wanting another! We’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find out what that name means (first person to hit us up on twitter, Chris will buy your first pint!). Attendees will see some goodies from Toronto’s Godspeed Brewery pouring that day, but you’ll have to show up to find out which! Keep an eye on Stilly’s social media that day if there are changes to the program/last minute seats opening up!

Those wanting to experience a taste of Ocktoberfest in the Saint John area should circle October 17 on their calendars. Uncorked Tours is transforming North Market Street into a German biergarten for the day, and featuring a Bavarian inspired food menu to go along with a selection of New Brunswick’s finest German inspired beers. Expect live music, patio heaters and good times all around. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for more details. 

Quite a few quick hits this week as we leave you to your afternoon:

Keep an eye out for Cross Creek Pale Ale. Cans of this 5% ABV APA  are starting to hit ANBL shelves. Cross Creek Brewing’s first packaged offering is now available at agency stores in Woodstock in Fredericton, with wider distribution to follow throughout the month. Expect lots of citrus notes from the Citra and Mosaic hops used.

The annual return of Meander River’s Wet-Hopped Ale is here. This year’s version features Chinook, Centennial, Fuggle, Newport, Nugget and Galena hops, all grown at Meander River’s onsite farm. Available now in bottles and growlers at the brewery in Ashdale.

O’Creek Brewing continues to add to their evergrowing list of hoppy beers that they’ve brewed with their latest NEIPA, Skyrats. Hopped with Citra, Sabro and Simcoe, along with some Nelson Sauvin in the dry-hop, it’s 6% ABV and no doubt juicy and tropical af. You can find it on tap at CAVOK, Le BarBu, and Euston Park. They’ve also got more of their Route 117 IPA available in cans at local Moncton and Dieppe ANBLs, and some even made it to Fredericton York St. ANBL this time!

Bedford’s Off Track Brewing added a new beer to its lineup this week. Bullseye Red Ale comes in at 5.4% ABV and features notes of caramel, toffee and toast.  Swing by Rocky Lake Drive to try a pint or grab a growler to go.

Secret Cove Brewing has a new beer out, affectionately named after a local mountain, The Cabox. In terms of the beer, The Cabox is an 8.1% ABV West Coast DIPA that features multiple hop additions, including Columbus in the kettle, Citra, Simcoe and more Columbus in the whirlpool, as well as some Summit (natch) in the dry-hop. Available now. 

Know anyone who loves clean beer lines and meeting a lot of great people? They might be interested in this position:

Looking for a way into the beer industry, and have a need for clean? Great news, Nova Scotia’s BeerTech is hiring! They have a couple of openings to join their ranks, to keep brewery taprooms, restaurants, and bars, draught lines squeaky clean, so you and I can keep drinking fresh beer! It’s not only cleaning, however, as installs, maintenance, and updates are also important parts of the draught world. There will be a job posting soon, but in the meantime, reach out to Ken via email or social media (Fb / Ig / Tw) to learn more. See the region, one bar at a time! 🙂

Hey folks, it’s another Friday and we’re not letting things like region-wide a State of Emergency keep us from our appointed rounds as chroniclers of the beer scene in Atlantic Canada. Breweries are continuing to work hard and keep themselves vital despite the craziness that’s going on and we’d like to encourage everyone who is able to, within their means, keep supporting their favorite producers.
We’d also like to send out a sincere “Thank You!” to everyone who tuned in to take part in our trivia evening on Wednesday. And thanks as well to The Auction House, Off Track, Propeller, and Spindrift for the donations of close to $500 in beer, swag, and giftcards to you deserving winners! Those breweries are celebrating the release of their Scotia Lager collab beer, still available at all three online shops for contactless pickup and delivery. With more than 80+ of you on 30+ teams connecting, it was definitely the highlight of our week, well, right up until the end (sorry again about that, but we know how to avoid that in the future). Speaking of which, if there’s enough interest, we may be able to run another one of these next month. Let us know what you think on social media or via email, our DMs are always open (but our Zoom won’t be, next time!). ♡
Just a note that in addition to the breweries and ciderhouses mentioned below, there are plenty more in our region continuing to pump out the good stuff. We’ve tried to summarize how they are pivoting in light of the current situation here, with curbside pick-up and deliveries spreading further across the region.
And if there is anything missing or out of date on that list, we’d appreciate a quick nudge via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, Fb often gets missed).

In what was an “is it? or is it not?” April Fool’s joke, which some didn’t believe it until the goods were in their hands, Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing released their first products ever in the canned format. In addition to the new format for their Puck Off! Kolsch, they also released two new offerings Wednesday. First up is the simply-named IPA, a 6.6% ABV American IPA, most definitely rooted in the West Coast style: think bright/no haze, quite bitter, and with a flavour of citrus and pine. Achieving that bitterness and hop character is a mix of Old- and New-School hops, like Summit, Cascade, Simcoe; Nelson Sauvin, Waimea.
The second new canned beer from Boxing Rock is Coffee Porter, a hefty beer at 7.3% ABV, building upon the dark and roasted malts in the base beer with an extra kick from fair trade coffee care of Annapolis Valley roasters Just Us!. In addition to the expected roast and coffee notes, the full-bodied beer shows some light sweet character along with caramel and raisins, rounding out the experience. Either a breakfast beer, or when you want something to keep you up and dancing in your PJs in the living room, this seems like a good choice!
Cans (it still feels funny writing that) of Coffee Porter and IPA are available through their online shop for local and HRM delivery or pickup at their Shelburne Taproom, their spot in Halifax’s Local Source Market (pre-order is best!), as well as at WestSide/Harvest Wines family of shops for pickup or delivery. 

Our friends at Upstreet are still keeping the brewhouse chugging along, and have a brand new Neon Friday release this week. The latest entry in their hoppy beer series is named Neon Friday 3.01 NEIPA, and was brewed with a grist made up of 2-row, Vienna, Wheat and Oats. Four wonderful, delicious hop varieties were added in the brew process: Galaxy, Citra, Mosaic and Ekuanot. The 6.5% ABV, 30 IBUs beer is soft and hazy, with low bitterness, and features aromas of “punchy pineapple, passion fruit, mango, guava, tangerine and banana”, with lots of tropical fruit on the palate. Look for cans of this bad boy at both Upstreet locations (taproom and Craft Beer Corner) and the PEILCC stores that have re-opened; the CBC will also be filling crowlers for takeaway.

Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault have debuted a new beer this week, a tribute to the high quality water found in the area. Source Kölsch is a collaboration brewed with friend and Chemist Mike Doucette of the nearby CCNB BTSC lab, who has assisted many in the province, and further afield, bring their ideas for recipes, breweries and distilleries, and even some non-alcohol endeavours (what are those?) to life. Now, back to the beer! Starting from naturally-filtered water from Iroquois-Blanchette watershed, the beer features light-coloured and -flavoured German Pilsner and Vienna malts, lightly hopped with traditional favourites Hallertau and Saaz, and saw a long conditioning time. Grab bottles and growler fills of Source at the Source on rue d’Eglise, or order for local delivery through their online shop.

We haven’t been approaching the last couple of Fridays thinking that there’d be a ton of beer news to report on, but in true fashion for them, 2 Crows still has a boatload! Let’s start with the actual beers, first (yeah, you’ll see). First up is a brand new bottled beer, Olio. Starting its life as a small-batch, tart Grisette, the beer was blended with some fruit. But not just any fruit… second-use fruit! This is a technique that has been slowly gaining popularity over the last few years. In the case of Olio, a blend of strawberry, red gooseberries, and guava – that had been used in another sour/wild beer – was allowed to macerate (soften, basically) over 10 months. The fruit was then separated from its liquid, and added to the Grisette and bottled in late 2019. Now that this 4.2% ABV beer has had a few months to mellow out, it’s tasting “bright, funky, tannic, and grippy”, with “a distinct tartness, subtle fruit character, and a real zingy finish”. Only 240 bottles of this beauty exist, and it’s available only on the brewery’s webstore. And if delicious, wild/sour beers are your thing (of course they are!), 2 Crows has also brought back bottles of Hayward, their peach barrel brandy-aged sour beer with kiwi. It’s not a new batch, but a few more bottles they’ve allowed to escape from their cellar; who are you to refuse them?
And for those of you self-isolating who are finding it a touch more difficult to avoid reaching for a beer earlier in the day (hey, these are stressful times! And don’t even get me started on if you have kids in the house…), 2 Crows has your back, with Hop Water. We realize this is 100% NOT a beer, or a cider, or… anything alcoholic. There’s 0% alcohol in this, but it sounds pretty cool! The “recipe” is basically water, Citra hops, and a touch of yeast to give a little bit of umami character… plus some citric acid to lower the pH. Offering “some nice citrus/tangerine/pomelo” notes, and some citrus in the aroma, it’s light, refreshing, and most importantly, hydrating! Cans are limited, and also available for purchase online. 

Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom has just released a new sour beer to zip up your day a little, the next entry in their Field Trip fruited kettle sour series. Field Trip: Haskap was brewed with, yes, haskap berries, which have a taste that the brewery describes as a cross between raspberries, black currant, and Honeycrisp apples. The 5% ABV beer is “bursting with fruit flavour”, and while slightly-less sour than their previous release, Field Trip: Pomegranate, it’s still bright and tart. Available for curbside pickup at their brewery, as well as delivery in their online shop. In addition to delivery on the Island (free for orders over $50), they now offer Canada-wide beer shipping, with free shipping to fellow Maritime provinces for orders over $100 (roughly one flat), and for orders over $200 elsewhere.

In Port au Port on the West coast of Newfoundland, Secret Cove Brewing has a new IPA on the go. Named after the Tuckamore tree, an enduring symbol of strength and resilience, Tuckamore IPA is a 6% ABV beer in the East Coast IPA style. With a soft mouthfeel and a slight bitter kick at the end, with a hop profile of tropical and evergreen notes thanks to plenty of late whirlpool hop additions. As you drink it you can think of the Tuckamore tree, clinging to the rocky coast and no doubt shaped by the wind, but thriving nonetheless. Available for pre-order and pickup along with other Secret Cove offerings on Wednesdays and Fridays. Orders must be in by 1 PM, check their website for all the relevant details.

And staying with Newfoundland, but all the way across to the East coast of the Province, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. also has a new IPA out, one on the tart side of the spectrum called Aloha Sour IPA. They were hoping to introduce it with a tropical beach party at the brewery, but recent events have made that an impossibility, so they recommend instead maybe curling up by the wood stove or cranking the heat to 30º before cracking one on your couch. And at 4.7% ABV you can feel free to have a couple without risking a day boil (although, really, where you going to go anyway?). Released two days ago on Wednesday, it’s available for retail pickup per the information in this Ig post (whether or not you’re in a position to grab some of this beer from them, we recommend you check out that link just to see the gorgeous can design).

And if sour is your thing and you’re in more Northerly areas of the Rock, Split Rock Brewing way up there in Twillingate has the latest in their Sour Patch B’ys series of beers available at the brewery now. Leveraging the same base as the rest of the beers in the series, with 50% Pilsner and 50% wheat, it’s super clean and “medium-sour” with plenty of peachy flavor thanks to the addition of peach purée. Only 4.1% ABV means a couple aren’t going to knock you sideways. Available for contactless curbside pickup along with other Split Rock favorites, you can find the details about putting your order in and picking it up in this Ig post.

It’s not only reassuring to see new, local beers making it into our fridges/cellars during the pandemic, but also to see that some breweries are still doing what they can to collaborate… maybe not directly, but at least intellectually? In one example, North Brewing is releasing a collaboration effort with Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing. The beer in question, Goin’ Down the Road Helles Lager, was originally supposed to be brewed at Dominion City with the North peoples in February, but an unfortunately equipment malfunction scrapped the brew day. Luckily, the two breweries decided to brew the recipe later, on their own systems, which North is releasing today. Brewed with Pilsner malt from Shoreline Malting, hopped with Strisselspalt and Saphir, and fermented with the Isar Lager strain from Escarpment Labs, the 4.3% ABV beer was lagered for a time before packaging in cans. It’s available right now for “Click & Collect”, as well as home delivery; check out North’s website for ordering details. 

On Dartmouth’s waterfront, New Scotland Brewing has been busy, and have released four products this week, reflecting their various emotions throughout these past couple of weeks.
First up was Barracks (as in, confined to…), a 6.4% ABV dry English cider, made from the juice of Nova Scotian apples. This cider is available in 650 ml bomber bottles, and is perfect for drinking at the kitchen table.
The second release of the week was The Darkness Behind Us, a Chocolate Milkshake Stout. At just 5.0% ABV, this rich and decadent beer featured additions of chocolate in the boil, as well as lactose, with the resultant beer featuring extra notes of coffee, cherry, and vanilla, for a full on taste of a Black Forest Cake. Maybe a couch beer is in order?
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel is their third release of the week, a 6.2% ABV crisp and dry Champagne IPA. Fermented with Kveik yeast, and hopped to the gills with Citra and Sabro, it features lots of lemon and lime character, so much so that Margarita vibes come to mind. We think this is perfect for the balcony or deck.
Finally, released just moments ago, is Fresh Start. Mosaic hops are the star of this 7.3% ABV American IPA, which was fermented with their blend of three different ale yeasts. The result is a beer that finishes dry, but still has lots of juicy character. Let’s go wild and say shower beer for this… So Fresh and So Clean…
All four of these new drinks have joined their full-time offerings in their online shop, which can be used to pre-order for pickup (retail open 11 – 7 PM), local delivery in HRM, as well as shipping Canada-wide.

Tidehouse Brewing is up and running again, albeit strictly in a curbside-pickup capacity, starting tomorrow. But hey, it’s still a way to grab some beer from them! This weekend they’ve got two options, both available in cans. The first is a new influx of cans of their latest hoppy Saison, Float On India Saison (7% ABV), hopped with Azacca, Ella, and El Dorado varieties. They’ve also got a brand new American IPA, Bonosux, which weighs in at 6.5% ABV and is hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Simcoe. Make your choices now, and give them a call tomorrow (starting at noon) at 902-407-2550 with at least 15 minutes notice. Head to the taproom and they’ll take your cans to you outside for safe, contactless delivery. They’ll continue until 5 pm, or until cans run out, whichever comes first.

In Nova Scotia, there was a change in NSLC licensee regulations that came into effect this week allowing restos and bars to sell beer, wine (and maybe spirits?) along with food during our collective societal lockout. Wouldn’t you know that our friends at Stillwell Beer Bar would step up to that with a quickness, announcing the Stillwell Corner Store this week whereby you can get yourself some delectable treats from their bottle list along with tasty snax, some of which come from Stillwell pals Café Good Luck (currently sold out) and Ratinaud French Cuisine. You do absolutely have to order food with your sweet bottles and cans (stuff like Bellwoods, Burdock, Revel Cider, Crooked Stave, and even some Belgian delights!), but the offerings are small and geared towards having a quick bite while you enjoy the hell out of some tasty beer. Minimum order is $30 and it’s free next day delivery in the HRM. You can also sign-up for contactless curbside pickup between Noon and 2 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Check the website for full details, and keep your eyes peeled for other restaurants that you know and love in your area to be getting on this train in the coming weeks!

Well, this is definitely a different week than usual on the blog. First off, for those of you in health care and other essential businesses, keeping us and our family and friends safe, the lights on and trucks moving, a massive thank you from the ACBB family.

For many, beer is a happy diversion from work, while for others, it is their work! Kudos to those who are still able to support the brewers and cidermakers by ordering beer for delivery and pickup safely, but most important at this time is to keep everyone safe and healthy.

A logistical note: to keep from having to update multiple pages several times per day as the situation and the way breweries are dealing with it changes, we’re going to stick to one: last week’s Wrap-Up will be our itemization of what breweries and cideries across the region are doing in light of the current situation. It will be our reference for what’s open and closed, how to safely pick up product from their location, and order beer delivery at home. It’s been updated a ton since we sent it out last week, so do take a look for the latest details. And if there is anything missing or out of date, we’d appreciate a quick nudge via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, Fb often gets missed).

Let’s start our day in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where Church Brewing calls home. They are shining a light through the darkness this week with Illuminate Kveik Pale Ale. Light-coloured and -tasting malts offer a base for the bounty of hops used in this beer, starting from a light bittering addition of Magnum, before massive dry-hopping of Mosaic and Vic Secret. These offer big flavour and aroma of citrus, tropical notes of mango and papaya, which are only enhanced thanks to the kveik yeast employed. As a refresher, this family of yeasts originated in Norway, and after thousands of generations of use (yeast, not people), has become something totally distinct from other brewer’s yeast: very high temperature tolerant (traditional ale yeasts tend to give off some unpleasant flavours when fermented too warm, whereas as kveik thrives in it), with some lovely fruity characteristics presented, thanks to its production of esters. This particular yeast was sourced through Guelph’s Escarpment Labs, who have been researching the history and microbiology of this family for a while, and have the nerdy ahem important information on it. This beer used their Voss Kveik which gave them plenty of those juicy characteristics, and stays a bit hazy. At 5.0% ABV, and low bitterness, this is a beer you can use to light your way in these uncertain times… Available at their retail shop for 

Montague, PEI’s Copper Bottom brewery likes to celebrate spring with a saison they call Better Weather. Although they’re not able to celebrate the coming season in the same way as usual this year, they’re still bringing that farmhouse ale to market for folks to enjoy. This year, they went with a French Saison yeast for a very crisp and dry beer, highlighting their use of Shoreline Malting 2-row. With some fruity esters completing the picture, expect this 5% ABV and 25 IBU beer to be refreshing but still interesting on the palate. You can get it from them via their webstore for pickup as well as via walk-in (social distancing enforced) at their retail location. You can also get it via delivery island-wide from their delivery service (check their Fb page for details on that!). And when this whole mess blows over, you can safely expect it to be on the shelves at select PEILC stores too.

In Yarmouth, Heritage Brewing has a new beer available for delivery in the tri-county area. They took their Blueberry Grunt, a lightly sour blueberry ale they released last fall, and replaced a portion of blueberries with cranberries, to give us Cranberry/Blueberry Sour Wheat. A mix of lightly tart and lightly sweet (but tipping more towards tart, thanks to the cranberry addition), this 5% ABV brew is refreshing and light, just the thing to get you into the Spring mood as you sip it on your deck. Check out our details from last week on how you can get some of this brew delivered to your door; their taproom is also open for retail sales.

Sea Level’s Port Williams location may be closed, but they are still working hard to produce great beer at their Millstone Harvest location in nearby Sheffield Mills. The latest to be released is also one of the first that features the sole us of their own malt and hops, grown right onsite. Millstone Harvest Pale Ale uses their own farm grown barley, malted at nearby Horton Ridge malt, to create Pilsner, Pale, and Honey malts. And from their hopfield comes Cashmere, Cascade, and Glacier hops, coming together for a “light, refreshing, everyday beer”. While they will be sending cans to NSLC locations across the province soon, you can grab growler fills at Millstone Harvest at 9146 Hwy 221 in Sheffield Mills today. Just remember to call (902-582-2337), email (sealevelbrewing@gmail.com) or DM them on their social media accounts in advance, and take advantage of their “Card in the Yard” pickup option. Hit them up the same way for more details on their delivery options.

For those of you in Sussex, you may already be taking advantage of the beer-to-go option at Sussex Ale Works. If so, great! If not, we encourage you to do so, and want to take the opportunity to also point out that they are still brewing new beers, and have just released their latest, a Belgian Dubbel named 13 Fathoms. Details on this brew are extremely light; however, we can tell you that they’re describing it as “sweet and smooth”. We wish we had more, but maybe it’s enough to pique your interest? Who doesn’t love a good Dubbel, right? Anyhoo, it’s 7.8% ABV and can be ordered online and picked up at the brewpub; check out last week’s post for further details on making your order. 

Back to Nova Scotia, where Backstage Brewing has launched Photograph, what was supposed to be a new beer for the Nova Scotia Craft Beer Festival. An American IPA hopped entirely with Mosaic, at least those of you in the Stellarton area may be able to give it a try! At 6.6% ABV and 60 IBUs, expect lots of delightful Mosaic character – tropical and stone fruit, citrus, mango, etc. – available for growler exchange at the brewery, 12-6 pm Monday to Saturday. They also hope to have bottles in the near future.

Nothing brand-spanking-new from TrailWay this week, but we will mention that their very popular DIPA, Sensible Nonsense, has been freshly-canned and is now available for delivery to anywhere in Fredericton, or pick-up at the brewery (and further distro across the province soon). Citrusy and dank, 7.6% ABV, and all sorts of hoppy.

In Halifax, 2 Crows Brewing has brought back one of their more subtle beers, the Refresh Lager. This delicate 4.8% ABV lager is a full two month process, starting from Shoreline Malting Pilsner (along with a lil bit of chit malt and flaked rice), dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc, then krausened (using new beer to give the yeast some reinforcements), before lagering for 8 weeks. Like great BBQ, this one is done low and slow. And like great BBQ, it’s worth the wait! It’s available now at their retail shop with click-and-collect, as well as online delivery within HRM, as well as province-wide, and also elsewhere in Canada (yup!). And for those homebrewers looking to try and recreate this at home, there are no secrets when Jeremy Taylor is behind the wheel, here are all the details you need. Maybe drop him off a bottle/growler when it’s safe to do so, wouldja? Oh, and if you’re looking for a fun way to spend your afternoon, listen to Jeremy and Nick who appeared on the latest episode of Rival & Queen, getting hosts Ashley and Sarah up to speed on all things beer.

Speaking of podcasts, our favourite local beer podcast 902 BrewCast may be respecting the social distancing order, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still releasing episodes! Their March 2020 Tasting Episode is a great summary of how breweries are dealing with the shutdown of their licensee customers, closure of their own taprooms, and change in buying options for customers. Plus, they chatted about dipping into their beer cellars to enjoy something solo or with pals (you know, sometime in the future). You can stream it on their website, or check your favourite podcast app this morning, because you already subscribe to it, right? Right?!?

During all this craziness, expect to see a serious drop in collaboration brews, for obvious reasons! On the bright side, a collab brewed before the sh*t really hit the fan, will be available over the next week. Scotia Lager was brewed as a collaboration between Off Track, Propeller, and Spindrift at Propeller’s brewery. Featuring a simple malt bill of Superior Pilsner and a little bit of Crystal, it was hopped throughout the boil with Loral and Tettnang, to 38 IBUs. Fermented with a classic German lager strain, and then lagered for a period of time, it weighs in at 5% ABV. Expect some spicy, floral, and herbal notes thanks to the hop varieties used, all in an approachable and easy-drinking package. This beer was submitted as the annual Made Here By Us beer for the province; it didn’t get selected, but the breweries decided to brew it anyway, and now you get to try it! It will be available in cans at all three breweries over the next few days (whether for delivery or pickup, however they’re operating), and will be popping up at NSLCs as well, with the official launch coming Monday!

We at the ACBB had been planning to hold a big Trivia Night at the Auction House next Friday, in part to help kick off Nova Scotia Craft Beer Month, but with restaurants and bars closed, we obviously won’t be doing that! However, we still want to get together with all of you, share some beers, give away a ton of prizes, and have a fun time. Sooooo, we’re going to give online trivia a shot! Next Wednesday, April 1st, at 8 PM, we will be holding the trivia remotely/virtually! We’ll have plenty of head scratching questions, of course plenty of amazing prizes from our brewery pals. For those, we’ll mostly be connecting you with the brewery directly, to ensure no contact. OK, the way to win is to sign your team up in advance, and that way we can keep track of everyone. Click the link here! Plus there’s more info on the FB page for the event. We can’t wait to see you Wednesday!