Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House

All posts tagged Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House

Happy Friday folks! The region got a dose of great news with the announcement of the Atlantic Bubble coming next Friday, but that doesn’t mean you can forget everything we’ve been doing for the last 3 months (just look South for proof). Keep being smart about how you choose to get together with friends and strangers, and above all, spread love and not the virus. We’re taking next Friday off, so we hope this dose of beer news will keep you satisfied until then. And if not, we promise a full refund. Happy Canada Day, and remember that brewery taprooms, restaurants and bars are operating under different circumstances than usual, so check before heading out, and tip as generously as you can!

We want to start this week off with two brewing initiatives that are poised to make an impact on inclusivity and equity in the local brewing community, and beyond.

Good Robot Brewing Co’s brewer Giovanni Johnson, along with members of the Nova Scotian Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour population have come together to form the Change is Brewing Collective. Their first release will be coming mid-July, named Blackberry Freedom, a Pale Ale with blackberries. The group, and beer, is a challenge to other breweries in the province, dare we say everywhere, “to consider how they can be more inclusive for the BIPOC in their communities”. We can see this as a way of encouraging more breweries to engage members of their local BIPOC community for both staffing or patrons. We can get behind that! Look for Blackberry Freedom in July, and we’ll have a ton more with Gio and the Collective then.

And in an out-of-region initiative, but of utmost importance here, is the Black is Beautiful project. Hosted by Austin’s Weathered Souls, it is a worldwide collaboration for breweries to bring awareness and efforts to overcome injustices that many people of colour face. Over 900 breweries have signed up world-wide for the project, brewing a 10.0% ABV Imperial Stout, and directing 100% of the beer’s proceeds to groups focusing on racial justice, equality, and inclusion. So far in Atlantic Canada, we see two Nova Scotian breweries have stepped up to the plate. Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing will be donating the proceeds to GameChangers902, a group of African Nova Scotians coming together to promote and mobilize change in the province, centralizing the experience, culture, and history of Black Nova Scotians. Tatamagouche Brewing is taking part as well, as they are committed to continued education, understanding and supporting people of colour, and are directing their proceeds towards groups educating and promoting awareness in the province. We want to encourage other breweries in the region, both small and large, to take part in this collaboration, because, while conversations on and efforts to remove systemic racism may be difficult and feel overwhelming, Black Lives Matter.

We’ve got big news for the island of Cape Breton, where Island Folk Cider House opened their doors last weekend. Located at 52 Nepean St in Sydney, just a stone’s throw from the Big Fiddle, they are open for retail sales of their initial release blends. Open Thursday and Friday, 12 – 7 PM, and Saturday 11 – 4 PM, you can grab cans of their Good Company 6.5% ABV cider, and Rebel Rosé 7.0% ABV blend of cider and cranberry wine. The cans feature artwork by local illustrator and cartoonist Alison Uhma. Their third release, the smaller batch Easy Beezy featuring local honey, sold out in just a few days, sorry, but more blends are on the way! If you can’t get to their retail location, fear not, as the Good Company is available at 14 NSLC locations across the province, from Yarmouth to Sydney, and Amherst to HRM. Plus kegs of both GC and RR are at several bars and restaurants on the Island as well as the South Shore, check out their Fb page for more details. You can also keep up to date on the fun on their Ig page. We’ll have a full Profile with IFCH up in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, Congratulations to Jill and team!

After months of preparation and planning, Sackville’s Bagtown Brewing Co. finally opened up their new retail store at 45 Main St. last weekend. The new location is also the new home to the brewhouse, and while just across the street from where they were previously, allows them more space to sell more beer! In addition to Bagtown’s rotating offerings, you’ll also be able to grab cans and bottles from other New Brunswick breweries. If you’re in the area and would like to drop in to check out the new space/pick up some beer, they’re open today (Friday) from 12-6 pm, and Saturday 9am-3pm.  

Upstreet Brewing is celebrating a huge milestone this weekend: their brewery has now been operating for 5 years in Charlottetown, PEI. And while the ongoing need for social distancing means that they can’t throw a massive shindig for all their friends in the taproom, it’s not going to stop them from celebrating. The first aspect of that celebration is now traditional: DeNovo V is, appropriately, the 5th iteration of their mixed-fermentation saison birthday beer. Keeping it local, the grist features Island Malt House Pale, Wheat and Rye and the hop side has Island Hop Company Saaz along with some out-of-province Centennial and Ekuanot. Tasting-wise, it starts with an aroma of peppery lemon meringue accompanied by some mild funk, citrus and herbal notes. Lightly toasted sourdough comes through on the palate, leading to a very dry and crisp finish on this beer that weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 15 IBU. This year they’ve elected to bottle it in 500 mL bottles instead of the 750s used in previous years. If you’re on the Island you can definitely grab this one direct from Upstreet (whether that’s the brewery/taproom or Craft Beer Corner), but it looks like it may also make it to Halifax as well, where we’d imagine you’ll find it at some or all of the private stores in the city in the coming weeks.

The other aspect of Upstreet’s birthday celebration is a contest they announced today on social media: they’re offering folks a chance to win a $500 Upstreet gift card for themselves and $5,000 to a charity of their choice! Entering is easy: Post a photo with your favorite Upstreet beer (or Rewind Seltzer or East Coast Soda Co. Soda) on Fb or Ig, making sure to tag @upstreetbrewing and the charity of your choice and add the hashtag #cheersforcharitypei, then use the caption space to say how that charity is doing good in the community. Multiple entries per person are allowed, although each needs to nominate a different charity. There will be one winner of this contest announced July 10th at noon. So grab yourself an Upstreet beverage and your camera/phone, and get snapping for your favorite cause!

Speaking of 5th Birthdays, Breton Brewing is celebrating their own this Saturday! To help celebrate, they’re going to be releasing five beers as part of an Anniversary Series, with each beer being launched at a different date over the summer. A mixture of brand new beers and returning favourites, they’re starting off with one of the latter, Shipwreck DIPA. Hopped entirely with Mosaic, this 7.4% ABV hop bomb is hazy and pale amber in colour, with “aromas of mango, citrus, and peaches”, and lots more on the palate. Always a requested beer at the brewery, this is the first time Shipwreck has been available in cans. It’s available right now in the taproom, as well as for delivery in the CBRM; look for it to pop up at the private stores in Halifax next week, as well as home delivery in that area. And keep your eyes peeled for their next Anniversary release, which should be early July… we’ll keep you posted!

Now that the Good Robot taproom is officially up-and-running, they’re releasing some beers with feelings of summer – one new, and one returning. Seems natural to start off with the new one, so let’s begin with Fanny Pack, a dry-hopped Lager. Designing a brew for those of us looking for something light and refreshing for summer drinking, but with lots of bright hop character, Fanny Pack was brewed with a simple grist of Pale ale malt and flaked corn. Fermented with the brewery’s favourite Mexican Lager yeast strain, it was lagered appropriately and dry-hopped with Comet and Citra. The 4.8% ABV, straw yellow-coloured beer has citrus on the nose and palate, including notes of lemon and grapefruit, with low bitterness. Crushable as advertised, it’s available in cans at the brewery. And while picking up your cans for the weekend, you’ll notice that Viking Holiday is back, also in cans (and on tap)! This 4.2% ABV Pineapple Wheat beer was fermented with a Kveik strain, giving the brew notes of nectarine to complement the aromas and flavours from the pineapple added to the brew. 

Now that Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse is officially at full throttle (it should be noted that the taproom is still open for retail sales only), they’ve gone ahead and added some canned beers to their expanding lineup this week. Those of you who have been following the brewery since their humble, 1-bbl brewhouse days may recognize the names of two of the beers, which were originally released in 2018. The first of these is Orange American Bastard, a 4.7% ABV American Wheat beer that features late-boil additions of orange peel and coriander, as well as a touch of Cascade hops. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, a beer to pound back by your pool, or maybe share with someone ready to dip the toe into the waters of craft beer (“clever” metaphor, not insinuating that the beer is watery). The other returning brew is Call Your Bluff, a 4.9% APA originally brewed in collaboration with Todd Beal that has a “pungent grapefruit character”. 

The new beers are on the darker side of the spectrum, starting with Shady 80, a chocolate stout. Brewed with a variety of dark malts, this 6.3% ABV Sweet Stout has an addition of lactose powder to bump up the sweetness slightly, to balance the roast character in the beer. Rounding everything up is Engine 41, a 6.4% ABV Cherrywood Smoked Porter. “Big on taste, yet balanced and easy to drink”, expect some moderate smoke character, finishing with notes of chocolate and roast. All four of these beers are presently available in cans at the brewery, open regular hours this weekend, and then opening early next week on Tuesday and Wednesday (yes, July 1), 12 – 6 PM, to allow you to stock up for the Canada Day holiday.

Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing has a new beer on the radar, a hoppy, hazy APA named Beachcomber. The latest in their small batch series, the 5.5% ABV beer was intensely dry-hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Hard to go wrong with those varieties! They’ve described it as “light-bodied, flavourful, and aromatic”. Available for delivery, and, of course, for pick-up at the brewery.

The crew at Pollen Angels have teamed up with Fils du Roy to produce Fils D’Abeille (Son of a Bee). You may be already wondering if a meadery teaming up with a distillery means mead + spirit(s), and you’d be right! Fils D’Abeille is a blend of Queen’s Nectar mead and oak-aged Gin Thuya, weighing in at a hefty 10.5% ABV. Described as a harmony of “honey, apples, Thuja occidentalis, juniper berry and coriander”, you can find this beverage at many ANBL stores across New Brunswick; be sure to continue to check the ANBL site for which stores are carrying bottles of the product.

A few more newsbites for you today before we dismiss the class…

There’s a new episode from your favourite hosted-by-three-guys, all about local beer, three digit podcast out for download and listenin’ as of earlier this morning. If you guessed 902 Brewcast, good for you! This is a tasting episode/chat about the latest news/answer social media questions episode, so all bases are covered. Download it wherever you normally download your favourite podcasts.

And in more great news, their faithful sponsor, Bishop’s Cellar Bishop’s Cellar Bishop’s Cellar, has re-opened their doors to the public, for in person shopping (Mon – Wed 10 AM – 6 PM, Thurs – Sat 10 AM – 9 PM), as well as online ordering for curbside pickup or province-wide delivery. (dm us for our address to send that cheque)

CAVOK Brewing has a very small, limited batch newly-available on tap, Dents De Lions. Brewed with local dandelions and citrus fruit, this 4.3% ABV, 6 IBUs brew can also be found online, for local delivery. As a side note, we also would like to invite CAVOK to drop by our homes later in the summer, for more dandelion harvesting. Free!

Unfiltered’s super-hoppy DIPA (well, one of them anyway), Fist of God (7.5% ABV) is back for the weekend. Described by the brewery as a “fruity, citrus, tropical, East Coast DIPA w/ West Coast roots”… well, we don’t know what else to say. On tap and in cans at the brewery now, and delivery options are also available (for orders made before 2 pm).

And with the good news happening around AtlCan, we’re seeing some spots hiring and expanding their scope. Here are two such businesses looking to bring some folks onto their team.

Way up (and we mean waaaaaaay up) in Labrador City, NL, one of the region’s newest breweries, Iron Rock, is looking to expand their team in the form of an Assistant Brewer and Cellar Person. This is potentially a combined position, however the immediate need is on the cellaring side, managing inventory and packaging while maintaining the brewery’s dedication to cleanliness and sanitation. Over time opportunities on the brewing side are expected to grow and so the applicant’s previous brewing experience is certainly a relevant factor. A full-time gig in Lab City, hours will definitely vary. If this sounds like you and you’re in town or willing to make a move, maybe check out the full details and job description and throw your hat in the ring!

Also in Newfoundland, Port au Port’s Secret Cove Brewing is looking to fill a position or two… or four, specifically! There’s a wide variety of jobs available, including working right in the brewing side of things (Brewery Operations – Canning and Distribution), into the taproom with the Taproom Manager position, as well as Bartending and Curb Shop staff, and finally, they’re looking for a cook! You need to be motivated and love everything involved with craft beer, and the cook position does require experience. For more details, check out the full info here, and if you’re interested, send a cover letter and resume to beer@secretcovebrewing.com.

OBB Logo

Fans of good local beer in Lower Sackville, NS, have reason to be excited this weekend, as Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House is making its triumphant return to the suburban community. After originally opening as a nanobrewery out of co-founder Keith Forbes’ home in November 2017 and then closing when juggling the small-scale brewery and full-time job became untenable. Forbes is back, along with childhood friend Chris Balcom, bigger and better than ever. While we know that there are many who aren’t fans of the brewery’s name or their logo, we can absolutely vouch for the quality of the beer and we hope that’s what ends up standing out above all as the brand returned to the local market Saturday. We caught up with Forbes and Balcom as they were putting the finishing touches on everything late last week, just ahead of opening weekend (which continues today, May 18th, 12 – 6 PM), at their Cobequid Road location in Lower Sackville.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Keith Forbes is Head Brewer and founder of the original Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House, with 10 or so years of brewing experience under his belt. The 37 year old lives in Sackville with his amazing wife of 11 years Erin and they have two children. In 2018 he partnered up with his old high school friend Chris Balcom. Chris, also 37, is the general manager and lives in Sackville with his wife of six years, Megan, and their two little boys.

How did you get into the world of beer?
Keith started into the world of beer to save a few dollars after his family moved into a new house in the late ‘00s — they had 2 kids and a 3rd on the way. The first few months it was Festa Brew kits which then moved into a couple Best Case kits. After that he discovered the Brewnosers; he picked up a small system and started to formulate his own recipes. He went on to read and learn as much as he could about beer making and went on to apply what he learned and started making some pretty good beer, which evolved into entering competitions, giving him feedback to help with dialing in his product. Chris on the other hand had never brewed beer in his life until he reunited with Keith after 15+ years away working in the oil industry. As an avid beer drinker, Chris had always wanted to own and run a pub, together they have combined their talents to create something great.

Brewery Front

What made you decide to take the steps into opening a brewery?
Keith’s passion for great beer and wanting to share his product with everyone is the main reason. After the Forbes 500 Tap Takeover at Good Robot in November 2016, he, along with his wife Erin, moved forward to open their own nano brewery in their home and quickly discovered that there aren’t enough hours in the day to run a successful nano brewery, work full time, and still have time for a family. While in early talks with his future partner Chris to expand the business, he decided to take a few months away from brewing to figure out what his future held. After a relaxing summer Chris and Keith had what was supposed to be one last meeting, instead Keith decided he wasn’t ready to leave the world of brewing and partnered with Chris and the two haven’t looked back since. In November 2018 we became Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House Inc. and in 2019 after securing the capital to proceed with our expansion plans, we purchased a 10bbl brewing system and signed a long term lease in Lower Sackville. 

What is the culture or ethos of the brewery?
At Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House it’s all about the beer, our friends & family, the people behind the pint, and the community we live in. We strive for Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House to be a brand that is known in our community as a friendly face with a standard of producing high quality, great tasting beer, and to be a familiar brand that everyone recognizes and looks forward to drinking.

OBB Cans

 

Can you tell us about the beers you have available now?
We are launching with 4 of our 6 mainstay beers along with 4 limited releases.

Mainstays (core brands):

  • Seven Day IPA (6.0% ABV) – Our version of a No Coast IPA – it’s far from a West Coast IPA, but it’s not true to East Coast either! It has the bitterness you expect from a traditional IPA, but it also delivers a juicy tropical fruit and citrus flavour to your taste buds. Think melons, stone fruit, strawberry, pear and grapefruit.
  • Even Gooder Coffee Brown (4.4% ABV)- A balanced, light-bodied, easy-drinking brown ale fermented on whole coffee beans. The chocolate, caramel, and earthy notes of our Even Gooder Nut Brown are complemented by the coffee, taking this beer to the next level. Special thanks to our friends at Apartment 3 Espresso Bar for supplying us with the dark roast beans for this brew!
  • Disco Inferno Red IPA (6.5% ABV) – Our Disco Inferno Red IPA is where malts meet hops. This friends and family favourite is well-balanced with a moderate citrus and floral hop profile and finished with notes of caramel and chocolate.
  • Funktown Pale Ale (5.0% ABV) – A hop-forward pale ale. Fermented using a clean American yeast, it finishes dry with lemon and grapefruit flavors and aroma.

 Seasonals/One Off’s:

  • Maisil IPA (6.2% ABV) – Our version of a West Coast IPA. It has the bitterness you’ve come to expect from a traditional IPA with flavours of grapefruit, orange and pine.
  • Patrick O’Neil’s Irish Red (5.0% ABV) – Patrick is nothing fancy – a simple, balanced Irish Red.
  • Tall, Dark & Handsome Porter (5.0% ABV) – TD&H is a dark, flavorful and balanced porter. It is medium bodied with chocolate, caramel and roasted notes.
  • Jim Hopper (3.2% ABV) – Jimmy is a low ABV, refreshing wheat ale that finishes crisp and clean with orange notes on the finish. Great for a hot summer afternoon.

What are your plans for distribution? How can folks drink your beer?
With COVID-19 changing the industry overnight we also had to adapt quickly like most breweries in Atlantic Canada. We are currently working with Craft Coast Canning to package our beer into 473 mL cans and plan on taking online orders for curbside pickup at the brewery. Once restrictions are lifted we have a 15-tap taproom with seating for 30 – 50 where you’ll be able to enjoy a pint or flight of your favorites. We will also have growlers and cans to take home and enjoy.

Forbes in Brewhouse

Do you have some initial accounts in the area lined up to serve your beers?
We have some accounts lined up with more to come at a later date once COVID-19 passes.

Have you had any assistance from other breweries/people in Atlantic Canada (or elsewhere)?
This is a long list; most covered in the initial introduction of our nano brewery. But we must fire out a special thank you those below (if we missed anyone we are very sorry).
First and foremost, a huge shout out to our wives, Erin and Megan.
Secondly our parents: Chris & Tim, Mike & Sandy.
And then, in no particular order…

  • Alex McConnachie
  • Mike Orr
  • Paul MacKinnon
  • Ken Sidhu & Chris
  • Steve, Max & Team @ Commercial Electric
  • Dan @ Teklor Controls
  • Matt, Jon, and Al @ Off Track Brewing
  • Joe and Laura @ Triders
  • Matt and Ian @ Brightwood Brewery

Where do you hope to see your brewery in the next 2 – 3 years?
It took us 2 years (really 4) to get to this stage, we plan to grow our brand and expand our team all while sticking to our roots. Mainly just take it 1 pint at a time.

OBB Brewhouse

As always, for the brewing geeks who are reading this, we also asked for some slightly more detailed info about the brewery as well:

What type of system are you brewing on and what is your expected output?
We are operating a 10 barrel electric brewhouse with 8 unitanks. With COVID-19 in full swing we are not sure what our expected output will be.

Care to share some info on your brewing history?
Our head brewer, Keith has over 10 years brewing experience, 8 years home brewing, and a couple years commercial brewing split between the nano setup and assisting at other commercial breweries.

Do you have a favorite beer style, beer, or brewery you enjoy drinking?
Chris is a big fan of heavily hopped IPA’s and double IPA’s, but his favorite secret indulgence is Church Brewing‘s German porter.
Keith: My favorite style beer presently is a low-SRM (“light coloured” for non-brewing readers) hop forward pale ale. Something light bodied, crisp and refreshing. That said I’m a huge coffee fan and have been craving a Mean Joe Bean from Triders as it has always been one of my favorites.

How about your favourite style or ingredient to brew with?
Not so much a favorite style to brew however, in terms of ingredients we would have to go with brewing salts. 

Congratulations to Forbes, Balcom, and the entire OBB family on the brewery launch this weekend. You still have time to grab some of their 8 varieties in cans at the brewery today. Located at 111 Cobequid Road in Lower Sackville, the brewery is open 12 – 6 PM today, May 18th. Hours going forward will be Thurs 12 – 6 PM, Fri and Sat 12 – 8 PM, Sun 12 – 6 PM. You can pre-order your cans and learn more on their website (http://www.olbiddys.ca), as well as on their social media pages (Fb / Ig / Tw).

This has been a week of transitions in Atlantic Canada, with plenty of good news across the four provinces… We marked the opening of two breweries, New Brunswick has loosened restrictions allowing taprooms and restaurants to open for sit-down service (No Touching!), Newfoundland breweries are now allowed to do deliveries of their products (only 6 weeks after the rest of the Atlantic Provinces!), Nova Scotia has allowed taprooms to be open seven days a week now (pickup and delivery options have changed for some), and most importantly, Prince Edward Island hasn’t sunk into the ocean. Happy Victoria Day weekend! Plenty of details below, and in our Delivery/curbside pickup options page. As always, two months on, if we’ve missed something important there, or just want to chat, get in touch via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred). Take care of yourselves! ?

The first brewery to open in AtlCan this week was Grand Falls Brewing Company, in Northwest New Brunswick. Operating a 1200 litre brewhouse at 651 Main Street, they are currently open for retail sales of cans, 2 – 8 PM Monday through Saturday. For all of the juicy details on their four three offerings (Hop Dam IPA is sold out, thanks to their thirsty local fans!), check out our Profile of them from earlier this week. Their 175 seat taproom will be opening in the coming days/weeks, once the final touches are complete, and physical distancing protocols can be maintained. Keep an eye out here or on their FB and IG pages. Congratulations!

The other brewery opening this week could perhaps be better described as a re-opening of a re-imagined brewery, in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. First opened in owner Keith Forbes’ basement in 2017, Ol’ Biddy’s Brew House was definitively a nano-scale brewery, selling beer a few kegs at a time to licensees in that area. The OG OB himself was juggling a full-time job outside of brewing, and shuttered the brewery mid-2018. Now back full-time, and with business partner Chris Balcom as GM, OBB is opening tomorrow at 111 Cobequid Road. Their hours this weekend will be 12 – 8 PM Saturday and 12 – 6 PM Sunday & Monday. While the taproom is closed due to the pandemic, cans of their eight launch beers will be available to grab and go. Look for our Profile with Fobes and Balcom coming later today.

The great news keeps coming this week, with Propeller Brewing launching a new beer, opening a new location, and switching to seven-days-a-week delivery! Let’s start with the beer….
A fun melding of two tastes are coming together in their Earl Grey Pale Ale. Using Idaho 7 and Citra hops which complement the Earl Grey tea leaves in the beer, and a first on the blog, we think, with the use of Cookie Malt, for a “tea and biscuits” flavour profile. Black tea, bergamot orange, citrus, and floral, perfect for an afternoon break from whatever you’re doing. Cans of the 5.5% ABV beer are available at the Prop Shops, or for home delivery. Pinkies up!
The next big news from Propeller is that their location at The Keep Condominiums [condominia?] (6112 Quinpool Road) will be opening this Sunday, May 17th. While the taproom will remain closed until it is safe to do so, the Propeller Quinpool retail space of cans and bottles will be open for no-contact and safe distancing sales from 12 – 8 PM, seven days a week. This is the site of their 300 litre pilot system, which will be used to test the waters of some cool experimental and one-off brews, mostly for sale onsite in pints and growlers, so the first releases of those will come when it is safe to do so.
And with the NSLC requirements of Sunday closure lifted, Propeller’s three locations will be on the same 12 – 8 PM schedule, and they are expanding their delivery to every day as well. Orders placed online before 3 PM will see same-day delivery to much of HRM, with orders to Bedford, the Sackvilles, and Eastern Passage on a Tues, Thurs, Sat schedule. So plenty of time to submit an order for the Earl Grey Pale Ale, any of their hazy hoppy offerings like Galaxy and Sabro, as well as take advantage of this weekend’s deal of Commons, where you can enjoy $10 off a flat of 24. 

Newfoundland’s Bannerman Brewing just celebrated their first birthday, so happy birthday to them! Of course you can’t have any type of celebration in the beer world without launching a new beer (or if you do, you’re basically dead to us), so Bannerman has kindly given us Youthful Daze, a sour IPA. Brewed with Pilsner malt and flaked oats, it was kettle soured and then hopped with heavy amounts of Sabro, Citra, and Galaxy. They also added a small amount of lactose to the boil to make the beer “more cocktail-like”, and with flavours of “citrus, tropical fruit, and coconut”, it sounds like they may have succeeded. This 6.5% ABV tart and hoppy wonder is available right now, so do what you can to get your hands on some (we recommend checking out their online store). 

We enjoy getting news from Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing, as it’s quite often more than one or two new beers that they have hitting taps… and this week is no exception! We’ve got four new beers to report on, all of which will be available from the brewery as of today. It’s easier and neater to separate them so no one gets confused:
Love at Midnight (7% ABV) – a “Pina Colada IPA” featuring additions of pineapple and coconut, to add tropical notes to those already present from the hop additions.
Hip Hop Series Vol. 2 Citra (8% ABV) – the second entry in their Hip Hop series of DIPAs, Volume 2 features all Citra hops (oh come on, you know you still love them) used both in the kettle and dry-hop, so except lots of juicy and dank flavours.
Pump Up the Jam (7% ABV) – a kettle sour dry-hopped with Idaho 7, it sports a “nice, citrusy bitterness on top of a smooth sour taste”.
Pump Up the Jam: Pink Guava Sour (7% ABV) – another kettle sour (obviously), this one had an addition of pink guava purée to give “super-refreshing and amazing tropical flavours”. This one in particular is in extremely limited supply, so that’s your warning!
All of these beers will be available for growlers and cans, with the exception of the last one, which will be growlers only. Ok, Monctonians, start your beer engines!

Let’s skip back across the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and visit the lovely Port Rexton, where, coincidentally, you will find Port Rexton Brewing Co. How’s that kismet for you?! They are celebrating the Victoria Long Weekend with this year’s release in their ongoing Ten Eighty series. Back in December, they brewed up an Imperial Milk Stout, starting specific gravity 1.080 (like the name of the beer series!), with plenty of chocolate and roast malt used to bring out those same flavours and aromas in the finished beer. The addition of lactose, aka milk sugar which is unfermentable by most yeasts, allows some sweetness to remain in the final beer, enhancing the milk chocolate feel of the beer, complementing the coffee and darker chocolate malt-derived flavour. After packaging in February and the lovely nap these bottles have taken for the past few months, the 8.5% ABV beer is for sale now! If you live near Port Rexton itself, you can email (sales@portrextonbrewing.com) to organize a contactless patio-side pickup, but for those not so fortunate, order up online now, and drop by their St. John’s Retail Shop for a pickup, or, for the first time, delivery this afternoon! Those within 20km of the Torbay Rd location can opt for that, with a $40 minimum order and a $5 delivery fee.

Up in Cape Breton, you wouldn’t know there was a pandemic ruining the economy by the beer flying out of Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing. And to up the ante that much higher, this week they’ve got four, yes FOUR new things for you to try plus a returning summer favorite. It’s like they think they’re 2 Crows or something… Anyways, first up is the second in their line of hard seltzers: Bliss Zesty Lime is made just like the Bliss Raspberry we told you about last week: water, malt, and a touch of hops fermented clean and then passed through an ultrafine filtration process to remove almost all color and malt flavor. Add some organic lime essence and you’ve got ZIMA! We kid. What you really get is a crisp and super clean beer-based beverage with a refreshing lime flavor; and like all Big Spruce products, it’s certified organic. We anticipate there will be lots of these downed over the course of the coming summer along with Big Spruce’s returning beer this week, Silver Tart. Don’t expect anything to have changed with this one, it’s still a sour wheat beer with plenty of raspberry essence, and it’s still, we’d wager, super easy-drinking and refreshing.

From those light and refreshing beverages we move onto the remaining three new releases from Big Spruce this week, none of which we’d recommend crushing too many of on a summer afternoon unless you’re looking for life to get unnecessarily interesting. First up is a collaboration between the brewery and Halifax homebrew maven Ian Wheatley (that guy collaborates with errybody). A Belgian ale weighing in at a beefy 9.3% ABV, it was fermented with Escarpment Labs’ Saint Lucifer strain. Called Tripel because, well, that’s what it is, you can safely expect plenty of classic stylistic character, smooth and malty with some banana bread character and a touch of citrus along with a balancing bitterness of 30 IBU or so. Available in 650 mL bottles, you might want to plan to share one; or have a nap afterwards. And continuing with the continental European bent, the next beer up is also a beast, this one from the other side of the Franco-Belgian border, stylistically speaking. Bière de Garde is known as “keeping” beer from Northern France: brewed in the cool weather of late winter or early spring to avoid off flavors from the yeast getting too warm and then “guarded” (kept) for the summer season. Plainly named like the tripel, Bière de Garde is also plenty dangerous at 9.5% ABV and packaged in 650 mL bottles. Malt-driven, but with some hop character from the French variety Aramis to the tune of 22 IBU, expect some aromas of honey and ripe apricot along with a prominent toffee character and a long finish. And if those two bruisers weren’t enough for you, perhaps something a little lower in ABV but with more bitterness and a lot more hop character would suit your needs? Enter Old School a West Coast IPA that harkens back to the early days of West Coast IPA when it wasn’t about who could blow out their customer’s taste buds with bitterness and malt was still a thing you expected to taste quite a bit of in an IPA. At 6.7% ABV and 60 IBU, expect this beer to be, above all things, balanced. That said, don’t get the idea that there’s nothing modern about this beer: the hops used, Amarillo, El Dorado, and Mosaic, certainly don’t date back to the 80s, nor does the Vermont Yeast strain (at least not in its current form), but we suspect nobody’s going to complain about that! This one has also been packaged in bombers ready for you to order for delivery anywhere in NS!

Montague, PEI’s Bogside Brewing has a new beer in the fridge and on their virtual shelves this week, Tropical Storm Nor-Easter IPA. At 8.1% ABV it’s a commitment, but it’s also a commitment to hops, as it took a “boatload” to put this one together. In the kettle at whirlpool were Galaxy and Simcoe, followed by Vic Secret and more Galaxy pre- and post-fermentation. The result is lots of juiciness and mango, pineapple, passionfruit, and stonefruit character with a lush mouthfeel and not too much bitterness. Did you also guess hazy? Well if you did, you got it in one. Bogside Brewing is open for pickup of this beer or any of their other eleven or so canned offerings Tues – Sun, 1 – 6 PM, and The Wheelhouse in Georgetown has temporarily set up in their kitchen offering take-out options Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 – 7 PM (which means the brewery is open then too!). Check the menu here and call in your food order!

Has it been awhile since a brewery around here has brewed an all-Simcoe-hopped DIPA? We’re honestly not sure, but now that we know that Backstage Brewing has released one, we’re in the mood for one! Brewed with a majority of malt from Shoreline Malting, Pour Some Simcoe On Me is a 7.5% ABV, 100+ IBU beer hopped entirely with, yes, Simcoe. Ah, Simcoe… you’re actually a pretty ancient hop variety in comparison to so many of the new, cooler kids, but we still adore you! You know, like your favourite grandfather, but better-smelling! Oh right, the beer. Backstage is describing it as showing off “huge, sweet citrus and pine, with a solid bitterness”. Check it out if you’re able!

Brand new hoppy beer from TrailWay this week, an American IPA named ?. No, it’s not that we don’t know what it’s named, it’s just a question mark. Personally, we’d love to be flies on the wall of a local bar to see exactly how people are ordering this beer… but we digress. ? is hopped entirely with Enigma, with a grain bill designed to showcase flavours in the bready, spicy, and toasty areas. The beer also features an addition of raw wildflower honey in the boil, with the final 6.6% ABV product showing off “loads of juicy tropical fruit, apricot and cantaloupe, while the honey introduces complexity with a sweet, floral touch”. Currently available at the brewery, they’ve also got a fresh batch of Ooz, their 8% ABV DIPA hopped with Sabro and a mix of other varieties.

Quidi Vidi continues to push out the small batch beers, with two new releases this week, both available in their retail shop for pickup. The first beer is Belgian Pale Ale, a 4.6% ABV BPA brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, CaraVienna, Victory, Dark Munich, and Acid malt, and hopped with Sterling and Saaz. Next is another European style, Biere de Garde, brewed with a wide variety of specialty malts to give the beer its signature amber colour. It was hopped with Galena and Mt. Hood, and comes in at 6.2% ABV. Unfortunately, we do not have any tasting notes for these two, so if you’re in St. John’s, you’ll have to try them yourselves!

This week marks the Fifth Anniversary of Good Robot, who burst on the scenes ala Kramer back in 2015, bringing their fun attitude, killer taproom events, charitable endeavours, oh, and beer! While the party hats and streamers were donned and tossed remotely, plenty of good vibes are flowing. No brand new beers out for them this week, though their Creature Feature Biotransformation IPA is back in cans. 6.4% ABV, hazy NEIPA with plenty of tropical vibes. GRBC is also marking this weekend by opening their doors for retail and delivery Sundays, with their new hours Mon – Thurs, 2 – 7 PM, Fri – Sun, 12 – 7 PM. Order by 6 PM for same-day delivery. And if you want to take part in the fun with one of their neat-o-rama offerings, you can order up their The Fizz, their 4.7% ABV fermented seltzer. Use code MOREFIZZNESS at checkout to save 30% off your growler fill, today until Sunday.

Your favorite beer nerds (besides us, we mean), have a new episode out this week, and it looks like if nothing else, COVID-19 has allowed them to get back to talking to actual breweries thanks to the advent of Zoom! This week’s guest is Cam MacKinnon, one of the principal folks behind Sydney’s Breton Brewing. Tune in to hear them discuss (among other things), the impacts of the pandemic on the brewery and the beer industry as a whole; just dial up “902BrewCast” on your favorite podcast app or hit their homepage here.

A couple last things to keep you busy before beer time!

Annapolis Brewing just released Dunkel, a 5.1% ABV, 21 IBUs dark German Lager; with some sweetness thanks to the addition of specialty malts, it’s well-balanced with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Their retail shop is open Saturdays, 12 – 4 PM for bottles to go!

Unfiltered has growler fills and cans available of their latest batch of Riddle of Steel, a 7% ABV NEIPA, available as of today, so be sure to load up for the long weekend. And again Monday, as they’ll be open, in case you drink it all Sunday!