Port Rexton Brewing Co.

All posts tagged Port Rexton Brewing Co.

Happy end of January! For some of the region, this was the first time we’ve seen significant snowfall, for others, it just piled on. Wind and rain throughout the area was de rigueur, and we’re pretty sure we can expect the same weird mix in February as well. Thankfully, the region’s cideries and breweries have been keeping busy inside, giving us plenty to warm us up this time of year. Let’s start off with two big anniversaries being celebrated this weekend…

When North Brewing (known as Bridge Brewing at the time) opened their doors January 25, 2013, Rozina, Josh, and Peter were so busy with keeping up with demand that the idea of a Grand Opening fell to the wayside. 10 years later, they have moved from their original Agricola Street location to Cole Harbour, and opened a second location in Timberlea (in addition to the retail shop at Battery Park in downtown Dartmouth). And they are taking a beat to finally have that Grand Opening they deserve, in beer form! Grand Opening Saison began life back in September 2022, when they brewed a pale-coloured wort, and initiated fermentation with a mixed culture of yeast, Lactobacillus bacteria, and Brettanomyces yeast. Balancing the acidity and aromatics in a blended beer is a fine line that North has trod before, allowing both sides to shine through without either overpowering the other. After an extended 3 month fermentation period, the beer was bottled (and kegged) just before Christmas, and allowed to naturally carbonate and condition since. This 4.9% Saison is available for purchase at all of their retail locations and on-line shop now, look for orange and apricot, ginger and pepper in the glass and on the nose, with a full mouthfeel yet dry-finish on the palate.

Celebrate with the North crew at both their Portland Street and Timberlea locations until Saturday. Happy Hour runs 3 – 6 PM, there are door prize drawings today and tomorrow at 5, 6, and 7 PM, and they have special items on the menu for the fun, including a Pani Puri Party Platter (perfect pretty puff pastries), braised lamb poutine, and even a birthday cake cookie to top it off! Leveraging their foray into spirits, they are also serving up cocktails made with their Kaleidoscope Vodka, as well as their North X Compass Distillers Neighbours Whisky. Congratulations to the North family on 10 great years, and here’s to at least 10 more!

A newer kid on the block is also celebrating their anniversary this weekend, with Brunswick Street’s 2 Crows Brewing celebrating the sixth anniversary of their opening, January 28, 2017. And to celebrate this milestone, they are releasing six beers tomorrow! Talk about overachievers (and/or beer blogger haters)! The first four of the group are all related, so let’s start there… In Fall 2022, the 2C Brew Crew decided to throw caution to the wind, and go all out for a massive stout. Achieving a nearly 10% beer is no small feat, and they chose to use a reiterative mash to do that. In short, instead of sending the wort (sweet and sugary water) from the mash tun directly to the kettle, as most normal breweries would do (boring!), they instead sent it on to a second mash, to bump up the fermentable sugar level even more! The mash consisted of Maris Otter, Vienna, flaked oats, honey malt, and 6 various caramel and roast malts for colour, depth, and complexity. We can only imagine the stickiness experienced that day, and the lucky buggers who had to clean it up after. And the craziness continues, as to increase the sugar level, as well as encourage some deeper flavours, they boiled the wort for 20 hours! Whoa! During that time, they used Columbus and Bramling Cross to keep it from being too cloying, before fermenting with a robust yeast from Imperial. Post-fermentation, they just packaged the beer, and here we are… Not! Wanting the spread the madness even further, they split the batch into four, in order to explore four unique flavour profiles:

  • Mambo No. 1 is the original 9.7% base Double/Chocolate/Imperial Stout: smooth, full mouthfeel, and full of chocolate, and hints of roast and liquorice.
  • Mambo No. 2 was conditioned in the tank with a (metric?) shit ton of cocoa, as well as marshmallows and Graham crackers. Think S’mores in a glass, with all the fun things that come along with that.
  • Mambo No. 3 was also conditioned on cocoa, but in the spirit of “EVEN MOAR” saw even more toasted coconut in the tank. Chocolate and coconut, we’re thinking Bounty bars or classic choco-coconut balls.
  • Mambo No. 4 may be the most out-there of them all, as in addition to getting the cocoa treatment, this beauty saw the addition of coffee directly to the tank, as well as maple syrup. Chocolate chip pancakes with a cup of joe, natch.

Cans of the Mambos will be available tomorrow (Saturday) at noon in the taproom, or for delivery from their online shop, and are sold in a responsibly-sized 4x355ml variety four-pack. (FYI, subscribers to their newsletter were able to order and receive these a day early!)

Just when you think the 2 Crows would be taking their foot off the gas, they accelerate, and are releasing another wild and economically irresponsible beer, Squeezie. If you’ve heard the term Smoothie Sour, this is it. If you haven’t, strap in! Starting with a pale wort (grist of Pilsner, Golden Promise, and wheat), it was fermented with an acid-producing yeast to give a slightly acidic character. After fermentation was complete, the high alcohol beer was blended with an equal part of fruit puree, something that you would see at your local juicery or smoothie-ery… mango and banana in near-equal parts, with hints of passion fruit and coconut cream making up the rest. After thoroughly combining the beer and puree, the new concoction was carbonated and canned, and immediately sent through a pasteurization step to stop any (dangerous!) further fermentation in the can. Thick, juicy, a touch acidic from both the fruit and beer, and just begging for a shot of wheatgrass (resist that urge). Tall cans of  the 5% Squeezie will be available online and at the retail shop tomorrow during the celebrations.

Rounding out the half-dozen weekend releases is the return of 2C’s massive Triple IPA, Space Words. Triple the hops, triple the booze, six* times the fun! Right around 10% ABV, this beer was dry-hopped during and post-fermentation four times with Galaxy, Eclipse, and a hint of Comet (all space words, get it?), leading to a super aromatic, bold, and juicy big IPA. Also available on tap and in tall cans this weekend, it’s also joined by the latest of their Hop Water series, this one being Mojito. At 0.0% ABV, no need to worry about over-imbibing this beauty, which features lime zest and mint leaves, and a refreshing zip to clear the palate. This one is available to everyone today!

Lastly, let’s talk about 2 Crows’ party tomorrow. Open and available from noon, the folks from Coda Ramen (FKA Water and Bone) will be doing a slurpy pop-up in their space, with a couple of different ramen choices available along with some accompanying dishes. There’s only so much broth that can be transported, so this means you’ll want to get there early to avoid disappointment. And for those on the later shift (or arrive early then come back), there’s the return of Rock at the Brewery. From 7 PM til close, hear some wicked tunes from Touched, Norc, and Customer Service, to accompany your stout, smoothie sour, and TIPA imbibing. And speaking of stouts, Sunday from noon will be a Stout take-over, with seven in-house brewed stouts complemented by a trio from brewery friends: North Brewing will join Borden’s Lone Oak Brewing and Moncton’s Tide & Boar Brewing on the draught list. For those not stout-savvy, plenty of other options by the bottle and can pour will be available. Phew, what a weekend!

* or is it nine? Can we get a math ruling here?

Staying with (in?) the dark, Trailway also has a brand new release that’s available now. Sundae Best is a Chocolate Vanilla Soft-Serve Stout. This is a deep and dark but sweet stout with milk sugar (lactose) added, along with vanilla. It boasts a dominant chocolate flavour, but the beer remains soft and balanced, with just the right ABV richness ABV at 6.5%. It is available in cans now directly from the brewery in Fredericton. 

From the dark of winter to dreaming of summer days, Bannerman has teamed up with their friends and cohabitants NAMJIM for their second collaboration. Dubbed Beach Comber, it’s an IPA and features Thai tea dust, which is a mix of thai spices and Ceylon black tea. In what they’re already calling a staff favourite, this sweet, bold and juicy IPA uses Pilsner malt, toasted rice, and milk sugar in addition to a huge dry-hop of Sabro and Eclipse hops. It was then conditioned on the Thai tea dust and came out at 7% ABV. Medium-bodied, it brings some subtle flavours of citrus, coconut, cardamom and cinnamon; it’s available now directly from the brewery.

It’s been a bit of a delay to winter here, but if you’re up near Port Rexton, Newfoundland, generally, and Clarenville specifically, the White Hills Ski Resort is opening this weekend! Thankfully, the Port Rexton Brewing crew has a new brew for après ski. Golden Ale is a 4% crisp, clean, and balanced post-ski/board/work/anytime crusher. This will be available on tap or in cans at the Tips Up Lounge inside of White Hills, Port Rexton’s shops, on their website, and in distribution Newfoundland-wide next week wherever on the Rock you buy craft beer. 

In addition to the breweries celebrating anniversaries this weekend, you’ll want to head to Dartmouth tomorrow, here’s why:

Lake City Cider is in the heart of Dartmouth’s Downtown, and, in fact, their taproom is right in the centre of the action for Saturday’s Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival Street Party! Portland Street is going car-free 12 – 5 PM, and there will be fun for all with ice carving, games, princesses, and more. Plus, nip into Lake City to grab a cup of hot cider (both alcoholic and non- so the kids can experience the delight of warm cider too), try their new cider cocktails like the Apple Spice, and maybe even grab a sweet dessert, as Antoinette’s Cheesecakes will be there with dipped cheesecakes from 12 PM until they sell out.

We’ll leave you with two final releases and a few events that fall under the “coming later” category

Up in the winter wonderland of Northern NB, Edmunston’s Microbrasserie Ateepic has a new wheat ale out. Wheatpecker comes in at 5% ABV and is infused with orange and raspberry. Grab it on tap now at the brewery. 

It’s still winter and Propeller is keeping things dark too; this week they’re releasing a new batch of their Mocha Oatmeal Stout, this one extra smooth and creamy owing to being packaged “on Nitro”. This oatmeal stout is 5.5% and brewed with chocolate and locally roasted coffee. Warm and sweet notes of brown sugar, milk chocolate and fresh espresso are all present in aroma and flavour of this 5.5% beer, which is nicely balanced at 28 IBU. It is available in cans at the three Prop Shops, for ordering on their website, and at private stores in Halifax. 

This next event is still a few weeks away, but given that it’s an annual favourite on the beer nerd calendar, we thought we’d remind you that February 18 is Péché Day. Every year, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! rolls out kegs featuring variants of its legendary Péché Mortel imperial coffee stout, with distribution hitting a limited number of better beer bars around the world. As in previous years, Halifax’s Stillwell and Moncton’s Tide and Boar have been selected to participate in the event. We’ll have more details closer to the 18th, but we know this year’s variants will include Péché Latte, Péché Mortel Stout Mexicain, Péché Mortel Bourbon 2022 and a special coffee edition with beans from Mystique Café.

In beer venue news, we have a teaser from our friends in (on?) PEI: Lone Oak Brewing started as the beloved brewpub and brewery in Borden-Carleton’s Gateway Village. Since then, they’ve opened a second brewpub and retail location just outside of Charlottetown. In 2023, they’re taking their game to the centre of the PEI tourism universe and opening Lone Oak Beer Garden in Cavendish! More info to come, but it’s time to get excited if you’ll be hitting PEI’s north shore this summer (paging D.F.). 

One last thing before we let you go… One of the Banished Brewing family is having a tough time, and they are looking to support their own, and give you a chance to do the same. Thacker, pup of Head Brewer Duncan Tennant, is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, that just underwent surgery to correct Intervertebral Disc Disease. He is on the mend now, with a successful recovery expected. In order to help with the (significant) bills, Banished is holding a fundraiser to pay for the surgery, and enter you into a random draw. Check out their GFM here, and every donation you make can go towards an entry into the draw. More on Thacker here!

We’ve made it to another Friday, and for those of us in Nova Scotia, winter is making its first real appearance. Despite half the province jumping at the opportunity to pre-emptively call the first snow day of the year, your favourite breweries, taprooms, bars, cideries and bottle shops across the region remain open with plenty of new releases and old classics on tap and packaged for your enjoyment. So sit back, crack a cold one and wait for your neighbour to fire up their snow blower as you get caught up on this week’s news. 

Some big news from Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing this week that speaks to the way our beer can compete beyond our region’s borders. Some may know of the friendship between Trailway and Lagabière of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, which has been manifest in a couple of home-and-home collaborations over the past couple years. Some may also be aware that Trailway has long hoped to share their beer in the Quebec beer market, which is notoriously competitive and complex for out-of-province breweries, especially smallish craft breweries, to break into. If you put those two things together, it makes perfect sense for Trailway to have entered into a new partnership with Lagabière to have some of Trailway’s recipes brewed at Lagabière’s state-of-the-art brewing facility on a contract basis for distribution within Quebec. This means Quebecers will be able to enjoy Trailway the way it’s best enjoyed, fresh. Congratulations to the Trailway crew on this next step in their growth!

In other big Trailway news is a big beer: Action Phil is a triple IPA tipping the scales at 10% ABV. Named for the action figure that hangs out on the bar at Peppers Pub, who is in turn named after Pepps owner Philip Croft, it’s a Trailway joint and an TIPA so you’ve got to figure there’s some hop action going on in there. Taking a page out of the Dogfish Head manual, this one was continuously hopped during the boil and then dry-hopped “generously” with Columbus, Amarillo, Chinook, and Simcoe, which could easily be referred to as the four horsemen of the dankocalypse. Expect plenty of pine, resin, and citrus oil notes, with some dried stone fruit to boot. On the malt side, rich and toasty is the order of the day, giving much more of a West Coast impression than Trailway’s typically juicy and hazy oeuvre. Look for it on tap at Peppers Pub, of course, but also at the brewery, where you might also grab a can or two of the latest batch of Sabro-loaded double IPA, Ooz.

Speaking of IPAs, head over to Burnside this week and you’ll find a new one pouring at Spindrift. Dubbed Fusion Hazy IPA, it gets its name from the melding of New World IPA techniques with Old World hops. Never fear, however, they didn’t make a noble hazebomb with Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Tettnanger, and Saaz, they used “Old World, New School” varieties Callista, Arianna, and Hallertau Blanc. Built on a base of Pilsner, malted wheat, malted oats, and chit malt, this one came out at 6.9%, with a fairly gentle, but balancing bitterness at 30 IBU. Expect plenty of citrus and tropical fruit, alongside some berry, spice, and white wine notes to complement. It’s available at the brewery, of course, but also at Spindrift’s Oak Manor location in Antigonish and very likely the private stores in the HRM in the coming week or two.

Not to be outdone, Newfoundland gets into this week’s IPA game with the return of a collaboration between Bannerman and Landwash. Originally brewed in 2019, it is conceptually the meeting of two double IPAs: Bannerman’s Island Time and Landwash’s Dream Island. Taking those two recipes into a dark alley with a tube sock ¼ full of dinky cars yielded Dream Time. Fluffy and light, but packing a DIPA-appropriate punch at 7% ABV, it features Galaxy, Eclipse, and BRU-1 hops and a soupçon of lactose to smooth it all out. Both breweries have this one on tap now and cans are available at Landwash’s retail. Wider distribution won’t happen until January turns into February, so you’ll have to head to the source(s) until then!

We couldn’t resist trying to complete the superfecta of an IPA release from each of the four provinces and sure enough, Borden-Carleton’s Lone Oak came through for us. Phancy is a re-release of the brewery’s most popular seasonal to date. A hazy IPA, it was brewed with Phantasm, which you may remember from other ACBeerBlog posts as a powdered product derived from New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc grapes that contains copious quantities of thiol precursors. Those thiol precursors, unlocked by brewing and fermentation techniques can lead to amazing tropical fruit flavors and aromas in the beer. What more could you ask for in a juicy IPA? This one comes in at 7%, is full-bodied, but low in bitterness, and is bursting with passion fruit, tangerine, and grape aromas. You’ll find it at the Lone Oak taproom as well as their Milky Way Brewpub and Cold Beer Store. Note that supply is limited so you’ll want to move quickly!

Switching to a more “seasonal” style, for those who are into tired old rubrics, is Propeller, who have a new pilot batch on tap. Superstition is an imperial spiced stout with cardamom (both black and green by the looks of the insta post). Brewed on Friday the 13th, we suspect this one has been aging since May of last year rather than being served a week after brewing. Expect a complex and full-bodied brew, with a big head, flavours of dark chocolate, and aromas of anise and smoke. Being a pilot batch, supply is limited, and it’s only available on tap. Find it at both the Gottingen and Quinpool taprooms.

Also going dark this week is Port Rexton Brewing, who have brought back their Shoreline salted stout. Featuring salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company, this one carries roasted malt and dark chocolate characters, with some subtle dark cherry and fig notes coming through. Fairly low in ABV at 5.4%, and with the salt providing a minerality that lightens the body a touch, it’s sessionable enough that you can justify having a second one to really appreciate the complexity. It’s available on tap for pints and fills at the tap room and the St. John’s retail shop. Although it’s available in cans as well, we note that PR is filling jugs at a discount this weekend at both locations, with 32oz grunters/squealers being filled for $4.14 + tax and 64oz growlers for $8.24 + tax. That’s a great deal on some fine beer, especially with this new release and also a fresh batch of their OG IPA, Horse Chops available as well!

Switching gears to cider now we’ve got a trio of releases this week, each with something interesting going on beyond plain fermented apple juice. Up first is Annapolis Cider who have something new that’s made from something old: old school apples, that is! Heirloom features a blend of juice from heirloom apple varieties Golden Russet, Spartan, Ribston, and Cox’s Orange Pippin, and fermented in oak, this one brings aromas of the orchard along with a sweetness that masks what a dry cider it is. Finished with a curated blend of juice from some more obscure traditional varieties, the result has a golden hue. Plenty of tannins, from both the apples and the oak, provide some structure and it’s got a refreshing carbonation. Find it by the bottle at the cidery in Wolfville.

Next we have Sourwood Cider, who bring us Ginger, a Northern Spy-based cider with plenty of other things going on. This one leverages malolactic fermentation: the use of Lactobacillus to ferment malic acid (tart) present in the juice into lactic acid (smooth/milky). This type of fermentation is commonly used in winemaking, specifically with Chardonnay; if you’ve ever tasted or heard of a “buttery” Chard, that’s almost certainly due to malolactic fermentation. But that’s not all that’s going on in Ginger, there’s, well, ginger in there, and just like the apples, the ginger is Nova Scotia-grown. Lastly, the cider was barrel aged, no doubt to add some tannins, again, consistent with (oaked) Chardonnay. Finished with a low carbonation for a smooth and soft mouthfeel, you’ll find this one at Sourwood Cider Bar in North End Halifax.

Finishing up on the fun and funky cider tip is Chainyard who bring us the return of King’s Saison. This one started with two heritage apple varieties, King of Tompkins County (also known simply as “King”), a once very popular apple from New York State, and Ribston Pippin, the most famous variety from Yorkshire, UK, and almost certainly the parent of Cox’s Orange Pippin (although it is suspected to ultimately have a French origin). This blend of juices was then fermented with saison yeast, a type of yeast known much more for use in beer than cider, and which provides flavor components in the estery and phenolic (spicy) ranges, but more importantly for cider, also tends to ferment out extremely dry. Intrigued? We sure are. Grab this one in cans to go from the cidery on Agricola Street or stay and have a pint from the taps. This one was on tap at Stillwell last May, so keep your eyes peeled for this 6.6% saison take on the cider. 

Not to be outdone by Halifax, Lake City Cider in The Part of HRM Formerly Known as Dartmouth has a return engagement back on the shelves. Feisty is a collaboration with local chef Renée Lavallée of The Canteen. Made from 100% crab apples, it “celebrates small things that pack a big punch”. Expect plenty of acidity and tannins, with aromas of honeysuckle and apple blossom and flavors of pear and lychee on the finish. This one should pair very nicely with seafood, pork dishes, and roasted root vegetables.

Just one major event to tell you about, but it’s a big’un for folks on the Island.

Fans of good beer in Prince Edward Island can recommence with the rejoicing, as the PEI Beer Festival is back! After the originally scheduled event was cancelled due to Hurricane Fiona’s impending landfall, new dates have been locked in for February 10th and 11th at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown. There will be three sessions in total, one Friday evening from 6:30 to 9:30pm and two on Saturday: afternoon from 2:00 to 4:30pm and evening from 6:30 to 9:30pm. VIP tickets will cost you a little more for any given session, but grant you a 30-minute earlier entry (i.e., 1:30pm on Saturday afternoon or 6:00pm for either evening session) along with a souvenir glass. Designated driver tickets (complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and access to the DD lounge) are also available for all three sessions, which we heartily applaud. All told, including fees and taxes, VIP will cost you $80.67, regular admission $60.94, and DD $13.55. If you purchased tickets back in September your tickets are still good! Otherwise, head over to the Eventbrite page and grab some and plan to experience all kinds of Island and non-Island beers and other drinks, with live entertainment for a convivial atmosphere during the dregs of Winter!

Seems to be a bunch of breweries looking for staff this week; looking ahead to a big summer, we expect!

Wolfville’s Church Brewing is looking for a full-time Brewer to join their congregation. This is a unique opportunity to work in one of the most unique spaces in the region. Experience isn’t necessary for this position (though it would certainly be considered an asset), but a passion for brewing definitely is. Get your résumé in by Monday, January 22nd to be considered for the role! If you’re interested, you can email the head brewer, Steve Crane. 

Over in Burnside, Spindrift is on the lookout for a Tap Room and Retail Associate. If slinging high quality lagers to the thirsty beer drinkers of Dartmouth sounds like your thing, send a resume to kj.dugas@spindriftbrewing.ca

Along the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Tatamagouche is hiring a full-time and permanent position at the brewery. They’re looking for a Store Manager and someone to lead a team, learn about beer, work events and spread that Tatamagoodness. And, it comes with health plan! If this interests you, email Christiane Jost to apply. They’ll be accepting applications until January 31st, and this is a very cool opportunity if you’re nearby Tatamagouche or looking to make a move. 

IPAs and Quebec aren’t the only Trailway news this week. If you remember, they’ve been working on a second location in Saint John, and with Union House nearing completion in early March, they’re excited to be close enough to opening to start hiring. Positions are now available for serving and kitchen roles, on both a full-time and part-time basis. If you’re interested in craft beer and getting in on the ground floor of what’s sure to be a go-to spot in Saint John, send a resume to unionhousebytw@gmail.com

You’ve made it to the end! Stay alert, stay safe and cheers from us to you and yours.

Happy Friday everyone! We hope it’s been a good week for all of you, and we doubly hope you will be able to (responsibly) enjoy your work parties, friend get-togethers, or taking in the cheer of the season this weekend, rather than contending with the malls and traffic to buy gifts. If your loved ones are anything like us, they’ll appreciate a selection of beers from around the region, so be sure to check out the many breweries offering shipping across the region, or pop into your local good beer store for one- stop shopping!

Happy Fourth Anniversary to Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery! They’ve been out there on Commonwealth Ave, making and slinging the good stuff since 2018, bringing locally-made beer to their local community. And to celebrate their accomplishments over those four years, they have released Develop or Perish Belgian Double (Dubbel). Staying true to the original style by using some darker malts as well as dark-coloured Candi sugar, they also were sure to use a Belgian yeast to enhance the toast and lightly sweet notes with some banana and clove on the nose, ending in a rich finish. The 6.3% beer is available on tap and in cans now, with the latter sporting a quote from Joey Smallwood upon which the beer name was based. Much like Smallwood, Landwash is looking both back on their progress, and forward to what they will become, so be sure to be part of that future and pop out to their spot, open Wednesday through Sunday.

Landwash’s recent co-conspirators on Ursa Minor Session IPA and Ursa Major Session Double IPAs, Port Rexton Brewing has a new beer celebrating the season. Tibbs the Saison is their annual ode to the cooler months, a Belgian Saison where the yeast shines through, with notes of bubble gum, cinnamon, clove, and banana, with a hint of pepper spiciness on the palate. At 6.6%, it has a bit of a warming quality, exactly what you need for this time of year! It’s available now at the brewery, and their St. John’s Retail Shop, at the local convenience stores, and at their Online Store, which has recently begun offering Canada-wide shipping! Available across the nation, except Newfoundland for some reason, now is the time to order if you are looking to receive the beer in time for Tibbs Eve. And you can even get those two new PRBC-LB collabs included in the box.

Hot off the heels of their takeover at Battery Park, Tatamagouche Brewery has a special new beer available in cans this weekend. Old Fangled is a very special take on their Darling English mild, over a year in the making. Taking a couple hundred litres of the base beer, it was transferred to a Cognac Barrel, and a healthy pitch of Brett Lambicus yeast and bacteria blend from Escarpment Labs, where the beasties were allowed to chew away for a full 10 months. During that time, thanks to both the additional fermentation of complex sugars, as well as some residual cognac in the barrel, the beer’s level rose from 3.6% to 6.0% ABV. With that bump in potency comes a leveling up in complexity as well, with notes of cherry, date, chocolate, and light acidity as well. The beer was allowed to condition in 355ml cans to develop a natural carbonation, and they are available now at the brewery, and from the brewery’s webshop, too. And hey, if you act quickly, you can take advantage of free Canada-wide shipping this weekend!

We’ve got a few nuggets of holiday cheer coming out of Sydney, Cape Breton. Breton Brewing has a wonderful holiday release that gets you right in the mood for winter. Fireside, a Belgian Dubbel is a rich, malty treat showcasing St. Remy Belgian yeast and a mix of European specialty malts. This is hopped to balance, but overall brings sweet toffee notes and a delicious malt body with some fruity esters in a 6.6% package.  Also, the can design is fun and festive and one of their best yet. This one is available now from the taproom and online. 

Another special release from Breton is a collaboration that is even more limited. A collaboration with PRO Skates (in Halifax) sees the two companies teaming up to raise funds for Feed Nova Scotia. The beer is a limited edition can design of Black Angus IPA. There is a launch even on Saturday December 10th from 1pm-5pm. There are a few cans available at the Sydney brewery as well. $2 from every can sold will go to Feed NS. At the launch event there will be samples and t-shirts! The t-shirts are also a collaborative design and $5 from every t-shirt sale will also go to Feed NS. 

To round out the Breton tri-fecta of news, the fine folks are hiring in Sydney and Halifax. They need a part-time delivery driver in Halifax and a full-time brewer and cellar hand in Sydney. Check out their careers page to apply.

Back on the mainland, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has two new releases out this week. You may recall their previous release of Forbidden Fruit, a blueberry Belgian blonde. Well, it turns out they bought way too many blueberries and their blunder is paying off for their thirsty patrons. The remaining berries have been put to use in Blueberry King, a 5.3% ABV fruited sour. This one starts with a grain bill of wheat, oats and pilsner malt. It then saw an extended fermentation of about 3 months of the blueberries (nothing quick about this sour). This is a small batch release, so is only available for pints at the taproom. Next up is An Ode to Sabro, an IPA that showcases the tropical and coconut-forward Sabro hop, with some Perle also added for bittering. This one will be available for pints and growler fills. Both sound like great options to enjoy alongside Serpent’s new taproom food offerings. 

Next up are two great newsbites from Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing. First, a new release, to get you into the holiday spirit, Candy Cane Stout. Expect notes of peppermint and chocolate in this 5.5% holiday sipper, and could even be used as a complement to a cream liqueur… And you can celebrate along with Tire Shack, as they have just won Brewery of the Year in the 2022 Canadian Brewers Choice Awards! Hosted by Brewers Journal Canada, the contest was judged by an independent group of industry folk, based on nominations of the brewery’s business wins and plans for the future. Congratulations to Jerica, Alan, Henry, and the rest of the team!

In downtown Halifax, Gahan House Nova Centre has been somewhat quietly pushing out some fun stuff to augment their standard PEIBC offerings. The latest of these, from brewer Ryan Shirtliff, is one that’s been a little while in the making. Taking advantage of one of the on-site foeders and the microflora contained within, as well as bottle- and keg-conditioning, Table Beer features bright acidity, fruity tart cherry and plum notes, and a sherry and oak finish that remains smooth. Six months in the barrel yielded lots of complexity in a quaffable 3.9% ABV package. Even better, taking advantage of the other Gahan locations, the joy has been spread out around the region, with this one available at all Gahan House locations (Port City in Saint John, Riverside in Fredericton, Hub City in Moncton, and the OG Gahan Pub in Charlottetown), as well as the PEI Brewing Company taproom and the Gahan Beer Store!

Down the South Shore, Tanner Brewing is releasing Blended Chai Milk Stout. Coming in at 9.0% ABV,  this is a milk stout of the imperial variety, sure to keep you warm during the chilly, damp nights we’ve been having. The batch of beer was split on brew day, with half of it spending 6 months in rum barrels from Ironworks Distillery, and the other half fermented on chai tea from Tea Brewery. The result is a complex sipper that is now out in 500 ml bottles and also on tap at their downtown Chester taproom.

Trailway is releasing a new version of a beer we last saw about two years ago, An Anomaly. Originally brewed in the NEIPA style, this iteration is more akin to an American Pale ale, using a non-house yeast to produce a fruitier ester profile. This time around it showcases a combination of hops, Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy, that lead to lots of tropical fruit notes, berries and a touch of dankness. Cans of the 5% ABV IPA are available now at the brewery. 

Paradise NL’s, Mauzy Cider has a new release this week, another one showcasing local ingredients from the 2021 harvest. This is All Paradise features Strawberries from Lester’s Farm in St. John’s, honey from Baccalieu Trail Honey, along with Burin “Feral” Apple Pomace and Montmorency cherries. The strawberries were allowed to spontaneously ferment into a wine, and blended with Take Me Away Piquette to the tune of 4.2% ABV, before a dose of unfermented apple juice for bottle conditioning and carbonation. As such, you’ll want to chill well and open cautiously when it’s time! So, how can you get your hands on a bottle? Fire up the Sonoma and head out to Paradise, specifically at Banished Brewing’s location on Maverick Place, and you can secure your order ahead of time through their webshop.

Big Spruce is re-releasing a few of their greatest hits from 2022 this weekend. First up is Україна, a 4.9% Ukrainian Pilsner featuring the Zlato Polissya hop. Staying sessionable, they’ll also have their 4.9% English Pub Ale, Hoom Is Where the Heart Is available again. This one uses Challenger, Goldings and Fuggles hops, all grown on-site in the Big Spruce hopyard. Cans of both are available now at the brewery, in their online store, and through Bishops Cellar. 

If you find yourself, like many people, a little cash-strapped in this inflation-affected holiday season, Halifax’s (or is it Elmsdale’s now?) Good Robot Brewing has gone out of their way to try to help you have a little beery cheer on a budget. The Recession Special 8-pack is what it says on the tin(s): 8 beers for a measly $16.79. You’ll get two each Recession Special Red and Recession Special Blonde along with four Recession Special IPA. The Red is described as, “slightly nutty with a hint of dark fruit and caramel,” the blonde, “wheaty, slight citrus and low on hops,” and the IPA, “honey, stone fruit and grapefruit.” Sounds like right in the wheelhouse for those styles to us, and at an extremely affordable price. Just remember these are only available in 8-packs, and only at Good Robot locations, on Robie Street in Halifax and Industrial Way in Elmsdale. And if you are interested in being part of their new brewery in Elmsdale, or have a go in their taproom kitchen in Halifax, check out their job postings!

The denizens of West Bedford and/or commuters along Larry Uteck are no doubt aware, but other folks in the HRM may not be, that there’s a new beer bar up and running in the plaza on Bloom Lane by the roundabout. Featuring 35 taps of mostly Maritime-brewed beer & cider, along with wine and spirits of course, The Village Taphouse is intended to be, “a community hangout where we can celebrate our Canadian Spirit with the drinks we love.” Sounds like a noble cause to us! Wolfville’s Church Brewing is eager to help celebrate the new place, and have collaborated to produce Village Pillage, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale, non-filtered, that is pleasantly fruity and spiced with coriander, bittered to 45 IBU with Tomahawk and finished with a hint of noble Saaz hops. What’s “strong” about it? Wellll, you best plan to bring a DD or your bus pass with you because this one comes in at a hefty 10.9% ABV. Only available at the Taphouse and in a very limited supply at Church, it’s one more reason to check out this new spot for pints!

We’ve got some news from the downtown Halifax private liquor store just in time for the weekend, as they’ve got some new releases in the fridges and shelves. Bishop’s Cellar has a fresh local beer delivery in stock and a big Belgian order just landed as well, with all of these treats launching today! While not all of these beers are new to Bishop’s, some of the pricing on the Belgian lambics is better than you may remember, so make sure you check out their website to order online. Or, just pop right down if you can and explore IRL.

Here’s the local list which sees a few new to Halifax beers.
Serpent –  Long Lake Pilsner
Tatamagouche –  Collusion Double IPA & Old Fangled Barrel Aged Mild Ale
Big SpruceYkpaïha Ukrainian Pilsner

Next up is 5 releases from Belgium’s de Ranke

  • Guldenberg 330ml
  • Noir de Dottignies 330ml
  • XX-Bitter 330ml
  • XXX-Bitter 750ml (variation of XX-bitter, with an additional 50% more hops)
  • Cuvee de Ranke 750ml

Another five releases are available from 3 Fonteinen as well and there are a lot of cases available.
Belgian treats, aplenty!

  • Oude Gueuze 375ml
  • Golden Blend 375ml
  • Intens Rood 375ml
  • Oude Gueuze 1500ml (only 18 magnums available)
  • Oude Kriek 750ml

And a returning favourite, the Belgian powerhouse Delirium’s Delirium Tremens 5L Mini Keg is available so you can share as much of the tasty Strong Blond Ale with whomever you wish!

Just one event on the radar this weekend, be sure to send others along if you know of/see them!

One of Atlantic Canada’s better beer bars, Battery Park, is celebrating its seventh anniversary this weekend, and they’re throwing a party on Saturday (December 10th) to celebrate. Drop by for great beers from Nova Scotia’s best breweries and cideries, free cupcakes, and plenty of brewery giveaways throughout the day. Happy Anniversary to Battery Park from your friends at ACBB.

Last couple of newsbites this week before we let you go…

In a bit of interesting news, Graystone Brewing has announced the re-branding of their flagship Patagonia beers, after a request from an extremely well-known US-based clothing company. No stranger to trademark issues (remember when the brewery opened as Gray Stone, or when they were caught up in this boner?), Patagonia Outdoor Clothing Company reached out to them in 2021 asking them to stop using the “Patagonia” moniker. While another company entirely owns the “Patagonia” trademark for beer in the US, the clothing maker has been brewing since 2016 and more recently released a collaboration beer with Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware, and that could have been the prompt to reach out to Graystone. A possible name change has been planned on for quite a while, as Graystone owner Wes Ward acknowledges in this CBC interview, and Patagonia “worked with and supported” them in the transition. The new branding is available now, and will replace stock at ANBL and other stores in the coming weeks.

And finally this week, the Canadian Craft Brewers Association has announced that New Brunswick’s Christine Comeau is now their Executive Director. Formerly with Craft Alcohol NB, Comeau brings with her plenty of experience in the brewing and marketing spaces, and recently co-chaired the Canada Beer Cup. The CCBA is the national association to which provincial and territorial brewery associations are members, and advocates for modernizing the federal excise tax, promoting the Independent Craft Brewery seal, compliance with the upcoming CFIA labeling requirements. We’re most excited for improvement in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies in the industry, and Codes of Conduct for breweries, events, and festivals for beer, and will be reaching out to Comeau for more on both important topics.