RagnaRock Northern Brewing Company

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Happy May Long Weekend, beer pals! While not every brewery can be open and welcoming folks in their taprooms and patios, we do hope you’re able to support them with curbside and delivery purchases. In Nova Scotia, many restaurants and bars are struggling due to being quick to follow government regulations and closing in-person service for everyone’s safety, but inaction and lack of support from the Province could see them suffering permanent losses. Be sure to check in to see if your favorite spot is offering ordering and delivery or curbside pickup and try to support them however you can; it could make the difference between them reopening when this mess is all over and, well, not.

And more universally, there has been a reckoning of late, bringing to the forefront shocking events of harassment and assault directed toward women, non-binary folks, people of colour, and others under-represented in the beer business. Those in positions of power, whether they be brewery owners or management, festival organizers, or patrons in bars, breweries, or at festivals, have been the beneficiaries of a “code of silence,” but we say with some hope that it appears that silence is starting to break thanks to a myriad of people stepping forward to report, support, and amplify. We believe when people tell us what they have experienced, and we support them. We believe that all businesses and organizations in this industry should have guidelines on conduct and safety posted in their establishment and online, so that all can feel safe and free from reprisal in reporting any of these acts. And now is the time for those in the beer (and wider) world to speak out about this topic and take action if witnessing any harassment. We believe that these actions will improve Beer for everyone, allowing more to feel welcome and bring their passion to the industry.

Let’s start the news with a one-two punch of new and returning breweries in the Antigonish area. After closing in early 2020 to complete major renovations in their brewery and taproom, Half Cocked Brewing in North Grant has opened their doors once again. Located 7 minutes north of downtown, Half Cocked is located in a former chicken farm building on Highway 245. Expanding their brewing capacity from 50 litres to 1200, they have fully stocked their fridge, ready for their thirsty fans. They have eight beers currently available for draught sales via growler purchase (either bring your own clean glassware, or you can purchase one of theirs): returning favourites are Pete’s Sake Blonde (4.7%), Darkest One American Stout (6.0%), XPA American Pale Ale (6.0%), and Cock of the Walk Black IPA (6.5%). And debuting this week are Sunrise Session Ale, a 4.4% crushable lawn mower beer; White Whale Pale Ale, at 6.6%, floral, punchy, and dry; Haze Fatigue IPA, a 7.7% bitter and brite IPA with a citrus finish; Wait For It Double IPA, 8.3% well worth the wait! Half Cocked’s retail spot is open 4 – 7 PM from Wednesday – Friday and 12 – 7 PM Saturday and Sunday. When restrictions are lifted, you’ll be able to sit inside or out on their massively expanded taproom and patio, with some special pop-ups and events planned, as well as enjoy pints at the local beer hotspots, including the Townhouse, so keep your eyes peeled here and on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw)! Congratulations to Greg, Matt, and the whole Half Cocked Crew!

Back in the heart of town, Candid Brewing is not quite ready to open their retail location, but they *are* ready to get some beer in your hands! Located at 88 College Street in downtown Antigonish, they are doing a Pop Up today 3 – 6 PM, and again tomorrow 1 – 4 PM, slinging two canned beers curbside. First up is Humdinger a 6.7% West Coast IPA, featuring bold citrus and pine flavour with a full body that balances the bitterness. It is the first of Candid’s five core beers available in the coming weeks. Also available is a collaboration with their pals at Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza, Skeptical Vibes. This 4.9% red lager was cold conditioned before receiving a generous dry-hopping with New Zealand’s Motueka, for a bright citrus nose on a crisp and dry base. Available in cans at both participating breweries, as well as online for delivery and shipping from the Big Spruce store. We’ve heard tell of lots more from Candid, and we’ll be sure to share when we can! Their space will feature a large taproom with plenty of room for bubble distancing and events galore. Those in the area should sign up for their Membership to get early access to the news and releases, plus some slick deals when the taproom and retail are open full-time. Congratulations Bryan and team!

Off to Mount Pearl for another new release, this one from Landwash Brewery. Their first bottle-conditioned beer, Saison Da Pearl is reminiscent of when Brewster Christina Coady was heading up the program at Toronto’s Folly Brewing, where Farmhouse beers were the focus. Now they’re bringing that to Da Pearl! The focus is on the yeast, with the pale malt and muted hops taking the backseat, giving rise to notes of pepper, spice, and even a touch of vanilla, thanks to a warm fermentation allowing the yeast to express itself. That yeast also plays double-duty, after finishing the beer fermentation, a dose of sugar just before bottling brings it back to life, and has the yeast naturally carbonating the packaged Saison. Closing your eyes, you may even be transported to a Wallounian farm after a hard day’s work! This 7.0% 500 mL bottle is available exclusively at the brewery’s retail location (for now, it may be available elsewhere if there’s any left in June).

O’Creek Brewing may be most known for their super hazy, super hoppy IPAs (and with good reason!), but sometimes they like to branch out a bit and play with other beer styles. One beer in particular was brewed back in March, and is finally hitting taps any day now. The beer is Doppelbock, and we’re betting you can probably guess the style! That’s right, this one is a Doppelbock, a high alcohol, dark brown, malty Lager that originated in Germany many years ago. O’Creek’s version was brewed with lots of Munich malt as the base, along with Pils, and Carapils, CaraMunich and Chocolate malt thrown in for colour and character. Hopped with Saaz and East Kent Goldings, it was fermented low and slow with Isar Lager yeast from Escarpment Labs, and allowed to lager for weeks longer. Coming in at 7.6% ABV, it’s sweet and malty, with “hints of dark fruits and light toast”, with very low bitterness. It’s currently on deck at CAVOK and The Joyce, so keep your eyes peeled for when it goes on tap!

Wait wait, don’t worry hopheads, O’Creek has you covered as well! Their latest hop bomb is Elevated, a 7.6% ABV DIPA that is bright, hazy, and flavourful. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Idaho 7, Mosaic, and Centennial, it’s smelling and tasting exactly as you probably expect – tropical and citrusy, with notes of mango and passion fruit. First kegs of that one will be popping up at The Joyce, Euston Park, and Au Bootlegger (if it’s not on tap already).

Camping season is fast-approaching/here – YMMV! – and Boomstick Brewing has thus been inspired to brew a beer that they feel pairs perfectly with the great outdoors: a Session IPA named Gravel Pit. An easy-drinking-yet-flavourful beer hopped with a large amount of Galaxy, it’s got tropical fruit aromas abound, and at just 4.8% ABV, is a great brew to enjoy during or after a hike, campfire, etc. It’s available right now at the brewery’s West St. location in Corner Brook on tap and in cans, and should already be on NLC shelves by now as well. 

Out Port Rexton Brewing way, they have teamed up with Toporama Prints in nearby English Harbour for a beer and art collaboration. An artist-run screen printing and design shop, Toporama has designed a unique piece that melds perfectly with beer, and limited prints of it will be available in posters, t-shirts, and on glassware, as well as adorning cans of a new beer release. Although we don’t know what it’s called yet, coming out today at noon is a 5.3% combo of sour ale and New England IPA, featuring a blast of mango and peach, and everything tropical, with a moderate acidity and light bitterness. A limited run, it’s available exclusively from their taproom in Port Rexton this weekend (maybe elsewhere in the off chance it’s not all gone!). We think planning a visit out is a super-great idea, as Toporama will be setting up their screen printing gear Sunday afternoon and creating tote bags right in the taproom!

After a super-successful launch earlier in the month, Saint Andrews Brewing is back with another new release this weekend, in celebration of Paddlefest 2021. That’s a Paddlin’ is a kölsch-style lagered ale that has been allow to cellar condition for 3 months, allowing the iconic yeast to do its thing and bring together notes of both lager and ale, on a German Pilsner base with plenty of Czech Saaz to balance. Cracker malt character with some spicy hoppiness, all in a spritzy package. It joins Wharfbound Hazy Pale Ale and Herringbone Pub Ale at the Red Herring Pub, where all three will be pouring this weekend. As with all SABC releases, these are quite small, so be sure to show up early (and often) to avoid disappointment!

Heading north up the Acadian Peninsula, four breweries in North-Eastern New Brunswick have collaborated with their own local mountain biking club. Brewed at host Distillerie Fils du Roy, brewers from Brasseux d’la Cote, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur, and Brasserie Retro Brewing were brought together by Mountain Bike Atlantic and local bike clubs. Sirène is the brewery’s take on a Vienna Lager, which they are calling a Vienna Acadienne in a nod to the local barley used to make the beer. Sirène is technically a SMaSH beer as it showcases 100% Vienna malt and Saaz hops. The malt comes from the Fils du Roy maltery in Petit-Paquetville and uses barley grown exclusively on the Acadian Peninsula (hence the Vienna Acadienne). The malt lends a copper red colour and a rich malt character, with notes of caramel, that are complemented by a medium hop bitterness that comes in at 20 IBU. With an ABV of 4.5%, Sirène is plenty sessionable to enjoy after a nice mountain bike ride. The beer is named after the collaborating bike club, Sirènes en Cavale, a women’s mountain biking club on the Acadian Peninsula. Cans are available now through the collaborating breweries and look out for more releases in the series in the coming weeks. 

Continuing the beer and biking collaborations theme is Sussex Ale Works in Southeastern New Brunswick, who teamed up with the neighbours at The Outdoor Elements to brew a beer fit for enjoying after (or while) hitting the local trails. LBS Kölsch is clean and refreshing lagered ale that comes in just shy of 5% ABV. The name is a nod to Local Bike Shop, and Outdoor Elements can’t get much more local as it shares a building with Sussex Ale Works. LBS Kölsch is available this weekend at the taproom on Main Street. 

And would you believe we’re not yet done with the brewery and cycling connections in New Brunswick? In Fredericton, Grimross Brewing is releasing Monkey Business, a Session IPA brewed in collaboration with River Valley Cycling, Mountain Bike Atlantic, and NB Brews. Named after a well-known mountain bike trail in the city (well-known to mountain bikers, anyway!), it’s a light and sessionable 4.5% ABV brew, built on a grist of pale malt and rolled oats, with low bitterness (6 IBU) and plenty of hop aroma (Vic Secret, Mosaic, and Idaho 7), designed to be the perfect cap to a hard session on the trails; but best be sure you’re finished your ride, as it’s likely that the first one will quickly lead to another. If this sounds on-brand for you, you’d best get on your (chromoly) horse, as this is a summer seasonal and once it’s gone, it’s gone! 

In other news out of Grimross, they’ve got another new small batch from their Scratch Series hitting the taps today, and it’s a special one for the brewery. It would seem that some extra microbiology has been going on within the walls at the brewery, as they’ve managed to discover a yeast strain unique to their premises. And what’s a brewery going to do when they discover a new yeast in their brewery? They’re going to brew with it, dammit!! SMaSH House is a single-malt and single-hop (well, sorta) beer using pale malt from Shoreline Malting and the Grimross Hop Blend from  Island Hop Company. Fermented with the aforementioned yeast (name and trademark to be determined, no doubt 😉 ), it has a subtle malt presence and notes of citrus and spice all leading to a crisp finish; perfect for all things summer. Check it out at the brewery today when you’re stocking up for the long weekend.

Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault has a new release in their Epic Series this week, chock full of bright and vibrant fruit. Simply named Ale aux Fraises et aux Framboises, the most learned among us recognize that it features strawberry and raspberry on a smooth and velvety, yet slightly tart base. Cans of the 5.2% beer are available at the Brewtique now, with growler fills next week.

Back in Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing is doing their best to lift the lockdown blues for thirsty beer drinkers, courtesy of a brand new release! Positively Shocking is a new SMaSH DIPA featuring Idaho 7 hops, that follows the same technique of Greg Nash’s other beloved SMaSH DIPAs. Look for piney and tropical notes from the hops with a pithy and bitter finish. Cans and fills of the 7.5% DIPA are available today on North Street. 

New Brew from Baccalieu! Hitting their shelf in Bay Roberts today is Hot Spot, a 5.5% Tropical Smoothie Sour, absolutely chock-full of dragonfruit, passion fruit, and pineapple on a tart base. And kicking it up to the next level is a generous dry-hop of citrus darling Mandarina Bavaria. Cans are available today and all weekend at 1 Conception Bay Highway in Bay Roberts, keep your eyes peeled at the better beer retail spots across the Island to snag yours later.

Inception, Trailway’s ode to the Falconer’s Flight hop blend, is making its return this weekend, this time as a 6.5% DDH IPA. Look for lemon-lime citrus notes, subtle notes of pine and a punch of dank hop character. Cans are available now at the taproom and through Trailway’s online store. 

A few weeks ago we teased a new Belgian Saison from Lone Oak Brewing Co. Lupin comes in at 6.5% and features classic Belgian notes of bubblegum, clove and spice. It is now available in bottles at the taproom in Borden Carleton and for island-wide delivery. 

And in another “reminder of a previous beer”, the 2 Crows Czech Pilsner, Letná, has been released to the masses this week. Available at the brewery in cans for retail, curbside, and delivery now, it is also available at Bishop’s Cellar for the same treatment. Joining the 355 mL can is a branded 500 mL mug, tall enough to be able to give it a proper pour with a couple of inches of tight foam to protect the liquid’s refreshing carbonation. Delivery and curbside pre-ordering is the way to go for this and other 2C orders, given the current restrictions.

Spryfield’s latest addition, Serpent Brewing, has a new beer and a virtual event on the go this long weekend. First up is the beer: Days End is a top-fermented, cold conditioned beer in the style and spirit of the city of Köln in Germany (such beers produced there are properly called Kölsch, of course). A perfect beer to cap a long day of work or to sip on a warm summer patio, it comes in at 4.6% and, we’re sure, has a slightly grainy malt backbone, with a slight fruity presence and a balancing bitterness. They’ll be celebrating the release of this one with a Virtual Tasting Event via Facebook Live tomorrow evening at 7 PM (time subject to change, so keep an eye on that event page). Growler fills and crowlers of this one are available, but bottles are still listed as “coming soon.” So make some plans to grab some Days End and/or some of the other Serpent offerings, and plan to hunker down tomorrow evening to share it virtually with other like-minded folks while learning a little from the team about the beers and how they’re made. 

Spring is in the air in Newfoundland. And at the Northern tip of the island, at the end of Highway 430, you’ll find Saint Anthony, home of RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company. While they’ve been churning out the great beer non-stop since their opening in 2019, they did pause the taproom for the winter to re-configure and add a canning line to the mix. Well, with this unofficially official start to summer, they are looking to welcome folks back in the taproom starting Thursday, May 27. Open Thursday through Saturday from 5 PM til 11 PM (10 PM Thursday), they’ll be pouring a half dozen beers from the taps, plus have a great selection of beers to takeaway in cans. With a summer perfect for domestic/close to home travel, this is the time to get out and see *all* of your home province, so be sure to make all the way North! Located at 223-227 West Street, pop in while exploring L’Anse-Aux-Meadows or Grenfell Museum

And rounding out the news this week is Mirimachi’s New Maritime Beer Company, who are releasing a brand new beer inspired both by a trip to Mount Everest Basecamp by two of the brewery’s owners as well as their experience navigating the difficult waters as a new brewery during this past year’s pandemic craziness. Three Little Birds is named after the Bob Marley song, and if you know it, you’re probably already singing softly to yourself that every little thing gonna be alright. Considered by the brewery to be a New Zealand Pale Ale, owning to the exclusive use of NZ hop varieties Rakau and Motueka, it features aromas and flavors of stone fruit and citrus zest along with some tropical vibes. At 5.5%, it’s pretty light and crushable, and perfect for a carefree summer afternoon on a patio somewhere. Get it now at the brewery, on tap for pints, or to go in growlers or crowlers.

Not a whole lot of events going on in the region, for obvious reasons, and we encourage you to stay home, stay cool, and drink some beer; meanwhile, if you’re an experienced brewer looking for a job in and you’re in the St. John’s area (or willing to move there), check this opportunity out:

Banished Brewing will be opening in early 2022 in Paradise, Newfoundland. Co-owner Craig Farewell (of the newly opened and busy as heck Bar Brewdock, in St John’s East Duck area) is joined by Tom Williamson and Jamie Clarke in this new venture, sure to add great beer and cheer to the burgeoning Newfoundland and Labrador scene. Wanting to start things off running at full speed, they are looking to hire an experienced Head Brewer to join and lead the production team. Check out the job posting on their website, and drop them a line if you’re the right person for the job! Ed note: We had incorrectly identified the partners in Banished, our apologies for the incorrect information.

As we all feel the anticipation of getting a jab in our arms and a spring in our steps, keep that hope alive and support your local bars and breweries! There’s a sense of optimism in the air and we think it’s worth celebrating. We know there have been some slower months in our news over the past few months, but as we all know, supporting local is more important than ever (if it’s within your means!) and we’re all doing a great job of getting through this together. Onto the beer!

Let’s start this week’s news with something that, frankly, we don’t see enough of in Atlantic Canada – beers with eponymous names. Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing Company is releasing Kellyerbier, their take on the German style of Kellerbier. Named after brewmaster Kellye Roberston, Kellyerbier starts with a blend of pilsner and chit malts from Shoreline Malting. Saaz and Saphir hops were used, followed by some time mingling with light Hungarian oak during secondary fermentation. Expect a light graininess, with notes of honey and some minerality. The hops add a citrusy note to round out this pale lager.  The finished beer comes in at 4.7% ABV and 22 IBUs and is available on tap and for crowlers to-go at the brewery now. 

Trailway Brewing Co. has another hazy IPA up its sleeves this week, with the release of SHADES. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, this one is a tribute to some of Trailway’s favorite hops, combining additions of Strata, Idaho 7, Callista, Sultana and Galaxy. Expect hop driven flavours that include citrus, peach  and guava, with dank and piney overtones. SHADES is available now at the brewery and for delivery or curbside pickup through their webstore

A blast from the past is making its return in Dartmouth this weekend. A fresh batch of Gus’ 65M Belgian Blonde is back on the shelves (both physical and virtual) at North Brewing Company. A quick history lesson – when North opened on Agricola Street in 2013 (remember those ceramic growlers?), their first keg account was at Gus’ Pub which just happened to be 65 meters north of North. Over the years, the beer has evolved from its original recipe, winning two Canadian Brewing Awards along the way. This batch comes in at 4.5% ABV and combines peppery Belgian phenols with citrus notes and light spiciness in the finish, and is available in cans and on tap today. 

And while we have you, North is hiring! They are looking for a part-time (3 days a week) delivery driver to service their HRM deliveries (both private citizens and licensees), with the possibility of having that job go full time in the future. No direct brewery experience is necessary, though being 19+ and having a driver’s license is. Peep the full details, and how to apply, on their jobs page. And we have several more job listings later in the post too, as breweries get ready for a busy spring and summer!

Keeping last week’s mead madness going again this week we have, coming out of Smith’s Cove, NS, Lazy Bear Brewing’s take on a mead. Appropriately named Mead, this one comes in at 8.4% ABV. Honey was sourced from Fox & The Bee Farms in nearby Clemonsport and Cosman and Whidden in Greenwich. Expect a crisp and refreshing drinking experience with a touch of tartness. You can grab this now in bottles or growlers from the brewery, and this Saturday at the Annapolis Royal Farmer’s Market. Rumour also has it, with the loosening of public health restrictions on travel, that an HRM delivery run may be in the works. 

From Smith’s Cove, let’s head East along the 101 to Berwick, where we find Smokehouse Nano Brewery. They have a brand new draught-only release pouring at their taproom this week, which will have you feeling like a sharp dressed man…. ZZ Hop is a 6.4% ABV New England IPA, featuring a whole whack of hops, but without a bitter finish. Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra were added by the bushel-full later in the boil and in dry-hopping additions, for a hazy, juicy blast of citrus and stone fruit flavours. As this is a small release, best to pop by 134 Union St for a taste, they’re open from noon daily.

One last stop in Annapolis Valley this week, at Church Brewing in the heart of Wolfville. They have christened (see what I did there?) their pilot system, and are releasing the first in their Belief System series. Lilith is a 6.7% ABV New England IPA, featuring notes of grapefruit, melon, and hints of floral character. Simcoe and Azacca were used, as well as an addition of orange peel. As is typical for the style, hops are front and centre, but do not come through as overly bitter. As this is a small release, Lilith is only available at the taproom, though if you act quickly, you may be able to grab a crowler to-go in their adjacent Beer Market. Look for more releases in the Belief System series coming soon, allowing Church the ability to explore new styles, brew to historical timelines, and focus on their community support initiative, “Brew Good Do Good”. And if working in a church sounds like a job from heaven (come for the news, get inundated with bad puns), see below in the jobs section for a way you can join their team.

If you find yourself in Cape Breton in the next little while, head to the Westside Cafe (conveniently located on Route 19 as luck would have it) to try out the newest release from Route 19 Brewing. Town Lager is a 4.7% lager-like ale brewed with Krispy, a blend of Kveik yeasts from Escarpment Labs, and hopped with German varietals including Ariana, to the tune of 18 IBU. This one is on tap at Westside only for the time being, while the brewery’s taproom and retail remains closed for the offseason. Look for Town Lager to make an appearance again this summer in cans and for fills. 

Keeping with the signs of an optimistic Spring and the easing of restrictions, Spryfield’s Belgian-inspired Serpent Brewing takes two very big steps forward for their young brewery. Their Patey’s Bier Belgian Single is a refreshing style that is kegged and will be making its way across HRM taprooms in the coming weeks. In even bigger news, they’ll be opening their taproom on Saturday March 20th. We’ll be posting more details as we get them, but keep an eye out on Dentith Road in Spryfield behind the Canadian Tire and you can still check their website for pick-up and delivery options. 

Down in Southwest Nova, Tusket Falls Brewing are continuing their Experimental Brew series, with something dark and sweet this week. Chasing the Pastry Stout is an 8.0% ABV Dessert Beer, that they say will pair nicely with a chocolate fudge brownie. No word yet if any of those treatas are available in the taproom, but that *is* the only spot you’ll be able to grab this brew, so be sure to pop in this weekend before it disappears!

Big news for fans of beer and coffee in Rothesay: the Long Bay Brewery taproom is now also a full-service cafe, opening at 7:30 AM on weekdays, 10:00 AM on Saturdays and 11:00 AM on Sundays. Look for baked goods from Eb Coffeeshop and beans from Piccadilly Coffee Roasters out of Sussex, who’ve developed the Long Bay Morning Brew blend just for the cafe/taproom. And since they’re a licensed tap room, what’s to stop you from adding a little Baileys to that coffee, or pairing it with a beer? The correct answer is: nothing, you should totally do that.

The fine folks at Good Robot want you to know that they’ve missed seeing your face (at least the part not covered by a mask) at their taproom on Robie Street. And while, no, they’re not open yet, they’re happy to tell everyone that the planning is afoot for a resumption (conditional upon COVID-19 restrictions, of course) of in-person dining and service on Friday, March 12th!

And in “Future Beer News”, we have a couple of cool collaborations to chat up this week that see some of our local breweries partnering up with some of our region’s cultural touchstones. First up, you may be aware that The East Coast Music Association has historically seen participation by local breweries during their traditional week of events surrounding the annual East Coast Music Awards. This year they’ve announced that they’re formalizing the next five years of partnerships. Starting in May of this year, when the (largely virtual, sadly) ECMAs will be held in Sydney, NS, a partner brewery will brew up a collaboration beer called East Coast Music Ale to be released in the weeks leading up to the event, with $0.50 of each can sold going directly to the association. This year’s partner is Sydney’s own Breton Brewing, and we’re sure to have more information on their beer when its release approaches. From there, the schedule includes Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing in 2022, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing in 2023, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing in 2024, and up on the Rock, Quidi Vidi’s Quidi Vidi Brewing in 2025.

And down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, folks are gearing up to celebrate one of the great icons of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, and indeed, Canada itself. The famed schooner Bluenose was launched on March 26th, 1921, and, as you can imagine, there will be some commemorative activity going on. Enter Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company who have been officially approved to make and distribute an official commemorative ale as part of the celebrations. The brewery is working hard to ensure that the beer achieves distribution throughout the province via the NSLC, but will also be supplementing that distro on the South Shore. Consistent with Saltbox’s history of community involvement, they’ll also be donating a portion of the proceeds from the beer to the Bluenose Heritage Trust. We’ll have details on the beer once they’re available and keep you apprised of when and where you can get your landlubbing hands on it.

Obviously we’re still not in a place where big events full of lots of people are a thing that can happen in our region, but we’ve still got one humdinger to tell you about:

If you’re like us and you’ve had a bit of a taste of sunny and vaguely warmish weather in the last week and that made you think about kicking back at the Stillwell Beergarden with a pint of local lager and a plate of tacos from Beverley Taco Service, we’ve got some big news for you. Although it won’t be out in the sun with the hum of Spring Garden Road in the background, this coming Sunday, March 7th, and the Sunday after next, March 21th, from 2 PM to 10 PM, the fine folks of Bar Stillwell will be hosting Tacos & Lager at Stilly HQ on Barrington Street!! Featuring some of the best in NS lagers on tap (Tatamagouche Dekorum, Spindrift Killick and Toller, Good Robot El Espinazo del Diablo, and 2 Crows Dos Cuervos and Refresh) as well as some crushable cans, you’ll be able to pair those lovely palate refreshing liquids with Beverley Taco Service’s Carnitas or Birria Tacos, a special Stilly/Beverley collab taco, Chilaquiles, or simple Chips and Salsa. And for dessert? Churros and Chocolate con Chilli!! Consistent with summer Sunday afternoons at the BG, there will be vinyl spinning throughout the afternoon. What more could you ask for than a taste of summer in late winter?

This week, as restrictions ease and things slowly (slowly and hopefully!) get back to normal, we’re seeing three new job postings from around our region in addition to the North posting mentioned above:

First from Church Brewing, they’re looking for a Packaging Operator to work with beer packaging, quality control and preventative maintenance. If you’re looking to get a start in the great area of Wolfville, this full-time gig would be right up your alley. Check out the full job posting here

Spindrift has a new posting for a Production Brewer, working with and reporting to the Head Brewer, this is an excellent opportunity for someone with post-secondary education along with previous brewing industry experience could be a perfect fit. Or not, as we know many breweries will take passion and an ability to learn, with some relevant knowledge. It can never hurt to apply. For the full details and application instructions, check out this link

Rolling into the spring and summer, downtown Moncton favourite Tide and Boar is hiring multiple positions for taproom staff and kitchen employees for their soon-to-open stand-alone brewery and taproom location at 1355 Main Street. Shoot them an email with your resume at admin@tideandboar.com

March is International Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day coming up on Monday, March 8th. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge, and many breweries are taking the day and theme to heart, brewing and releasing beers over the next few days to commemorate it. 

The International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day is a worldwide annual event that takes place on IWD, open to all women “working, or interested, in beer, to learn, network, and make friends”. No requirements on style, ingredients, or packaging, only a love of beer! This year’s theme is Unite Compassion, which we can all use more of these days! As of publishing, Foghorn Brewing in Rothesay and Four Rivers in Bathurst NB, and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl NL have announced they will be taking part, but there’s still time for interested brewers to sign up to the event.

The women of Foghorn teamed up with those of Big Tide Brewing and Loyalist City to bring back the style-bending Sparkölsch. As a reminder, this is a 5.0% ABV Kölsch-style hybrid ale/lager, with an addition of edible sparkles for a truly shimmering final product! Available in bottles and on tap at the participating breweries now, plus other friendly spots around Saint John, Fredericton, and beyond. The full list of bars and retailers can be found here. Foghorn’s donations from sales of Sparkölsch are going toward their membership in the United Way Quarter Fund, a group of small businesses who have pledged to donate $250,000 over five years. These funds are in turn directed to organizations that support survivors of domestic/intimate partner violence and to mental health research.

In Bathurst, Becca and Lani of Four Rivers developed and brewed an Oatmeal Stout, which will be launched Monday as part of the IWD celebration. At 5.5% ABV, Dark Horse Oatmeal Stout is full of Chocolate and Sherry notes, with Coffee and Cocoa on the tongue to complement. Light mouthfeel, and not too sweet. Keep an eye on their social media for the full details on the beer Monday!

Landwash Brewery’s Christina Coady is leading the women of Newfoundland and Labrador breweries in a massive collaboration on Monday. While originally planned to have the collaboration take part in person in Mount Pearl, this time they’ll be leveraging the power of technology to stay connected. The crew thus far has representation from coast to coast to coast, with brewers from Boomstick, Bootleg BrewCo, Dildo Brewing, Iron Rock, Port Rexton, RagnaRöck, and Split Rock all taking part (and it’s not too late to message LW to join the list!). They will be using the 2021 Pink Boots hop blend from Yakima Chief (Ahtanum, Cashmere, Citra, Loral, and Sabro) to make an IPA with Passion Fruit, which will be released later in the month. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to The Gathering Place, a community centre offering meals, clothing, and health services to those in the community.

At Truro Brewing Company, owner Jana brewed up some awesome beer ladies in the province in February, and are releasing their Ginger Lime Gose today. You’ll be familiar with many of these names, with Kelly Costello, Chelsea Meisner, Kim Hart Macneill, Meg Foote, Shannon Dalberg, and some members of the Truro Pride Society. At 4.8% ABV, this slightly tart ale features a bold aroma from the fresh lime zest, and fresh ginger added, which is complemented by sea salt from Pure Atlantic Harvest in Halifax. It is on tap now, and given how well it turned out, they may be doing another batch for bottle release in the future!

You may recall that Port Rexton Brewing, a 100% women-owned business with a majority of women employees, released a beer last year for IWD that they called Violet Femmes and which sported a lovely hue due to the addition of butterfly pea flower. Well they’ve done it again this year! Once again a dry-hopped sour ale, the acidic pH influencing the shade of pink/purple expressed by the flower, this year it’s been packaged in cans (with artwork by Molly Margaret Art) for wider enjoyment. You’ll be able to find it available for purchase starting today at noon for online ordering and pick up at their St. John’s retail shop as well as in Port Rexton at the brewery and the Port Rexton Foodex. They will also be sending the beer out to some more locations, so keep an eye on social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) to find out where. Meanwhile, like last year, they’ll be donating proceeds from this beer to a worthy cause, this year it will be Transition House Association of NL.

Sydney’s Island Folk Cider House has debuted a new release this week, Choosing to Challenge. Embracing this year’s IWD theme to IFCH means “calling out gender bias and inequality”, “seeking out and celebrating women’s achievements”, and “working collectively to create an inclusive world”. The Choosing to Challenge is a 6.5% ABV Honey Lavender cider, and features a special cross-stitched theme on the label, by Alison Uhma of On Paper Books, responsible for all of their illustrations. From Island Folk, “$1 from every bottle sold will go to the Every Woman’s Centre – a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the enhancement of women’s lives in Cape Breton – Unama’ki.”

Keeping with the theme, Breton Brewing is launching a showcase ale for the great women of their brewery. A beer brewed by three of their female employees, with one of them also designing the label. Releasing Pink Boots Pale Ale for IWD, this bright and floral pale uses the Pink Boots blend which has helped to create a light and hoppy 4.6% ABV brew with fantastic floral, lemon, and citrusy aromas. It is now available in the taproom and online for home delivery in the CBRM & HRM. A portion of sales from every can sold will be donated to a local women’s charity. This is Breton’s third iteration of Pink Boots, as it was out last year for International Women’s Day and again in June of 2020, supporting scholarships for women in the brewing industry. The previous release was a Session IPA, but they’re back with a Pale Ale for 2021 and it sounds as delicious as ever.

Quidi Vidi Brewery released Stronger Together Strawberry Blonde Ale this week, with recipe, artwork, and name, all the brainchild(ren) of women who work in the brewery. “Today we raise a glass to Tiffany, Sam, Ashley, Meredith, Becca, Olivia, Vic and Grace who exemplify the spirit of Stronger Together! ♥️” Ripe strawberry aromatics with hints of cherry, supported by a light malt backbone and crisp finish in a 5.0% ABV package. The QV beer is also an opportunity to give back, with the brewery making a donation of $2000 to NLOWE. “What is NLOWE,” you might ask? From the brewery: “Founded in 1997, the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs supports and encourages women entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and take advantage of exciting opportunities to start their venture or grow their existing business.” Stronger Together is available now at their spot at 16 Harbour View Drive, as well as online for local delivery.

Let’s finish today back in Saint John, where the Picaroons General Store invited the fine folks of Big Tide and Uncorked Tours into the brewhouse in February. They brewed up an IPA, which will be hitting the taps Monday. Leaning towards the malty side, but featuring plenty of hops to balance, it will come out around 6.5% when all is said and done. In addition to the taps at Pics, it will also be available for pints and the new growler option at Uncorked’s spot in the City Market on Monday.

 

Here we are in November and, with absolutely NOTHING going on in the world, least of all potentially strange and frightening things of a political nature, we’re free to wax poetic about the local beer scene as is our wont on Friday afternoons. Or maybe things are just heartening yet terrifying all at once, and what we really need to do is distract ourselves with good news about beer and then procure some of that beer and drink it. Whee!

You may have noticed that since changing ownership not too long ago, Rothesay’s Long Bay Brewing has been flexing their experimentation muscles a bit more, with new, small batch one-offs being released every Friday for the past month and a half. While most of these releases have been available only on tap at the brewery, this week’s newest beer was brewed on their 15 bbl system, so will definitely be seeing wider distribution across the province. The beer in question is Return to the Moon, a 7.5% ABV, 50 IBUs New England DIPA. Brewed with a blend of English and Canadian base malts, as well as some wheat and oats, it was hopped and dry-hopped with three different varieties of American hops. With big aromas of stone fruit, tangerine and coconut, you’ll notice flavours “reminiscent of pina colada, with a pre-dominate amount of coconut and pineapple, followed by a complex mixture of cream and tangerine”. Aside from at the brewery, you’ll be able to find this one at select bars and restaurants in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John. This joins The Half of It, a 4.5% ABV Session-strength New England IPA released late October, also on tap at the brewery and at licensees around the province.

In other Long Bay news, keep your eyes and ears open for coming info on their first canned beer, which should be hitting most ANBLs sometime in December… more details to come! They also plan to be officially opening their taproom this winter (while currently licensed, their taproom right now is set up in a standing room only capacity for extremely small groups, and best to contact ahead of time to ensure there’s room for your Bubble) with enough room for 25 seats, and a second expansion hopefully by the spring that will be much larger, and include an outdoor deck. 

Moncton’s Tire Shack is celebrating their First Anniversary this coming Monday (November 9th), so be sure to drop by the taproom that day to help celebrate with $5 pints all day! “We really appreciate the amazing support we have had from everyone this past year so come down and celebrate with us.” So, what to drink Monday? Or even better, today? They have a pair of new beers on draught (and also freshly canned this morning!), so let’s get you those details…

  • Black Forest Cake Sour is a take on the excellent german dessert that features a chocolate sponge base filled with cherries and kirsch, a cherry liqueur. Playing off of the flavour components, Tire Shack has gone all in with a glass full of dark malts for chocolate flavour in spades, along with cherry taste and a touch of tartness to bring it all together. As they say, it’s the perfect beer to get you ready for winter!” At 6.0% ABV, the beer is available in samples and pints at the taproom, and in growlers (and now cans) to go.
  • Hip Hop Vol 4: Nelson Sauvin is their latest foray into their hop-centric releases, this time heading to New Zealand for one of the most unique (and rare) hops on the market, Nelson Sauvin. Citrus up front with plenty of gooseberry, Sauvignon Blanc grape character, and maybe even a touch of black pepper, this hop is the queen of the kiwi hop scene, and for good reason! The 8.0% ABV Hazy Double IPA packs a punch, and will have you dancing all night long! Samples, pints, growlers, and cans are all available at the brewery right now!

Congratulations to Jerica, Alan, Henry, and the whole Tire Shack crew on Year 1, we hope Monday is a big success! And if weekend drinking is more your thing, keep your eyes peeled here for a couple of new releases and birthday celebrations continuing next weekend, in next Friday’s post!

In Lunenburg, NS, Shipwright Brewing released a continent-spanning Wheat beer this week, taking its inspiration, and ingredients from both European and North American sources. And named after an international sailing season! We’ll explain: Great Grain Race starts with a blend of Pale Ale, Wheat, and Malted Oats for a typical wheat grist. In the boil, Saphir and Hallertau Blanc hops were added in, as well as Sweet Orange Peel and Coriander, iconic additions for a Belgian Witbier. After fermentation with their Kolsch yeast, it was dry-hopped lightly with Topaz before further conditioning. Soft mouthfeel with extra effervescence give a refreshingly clean finish, complementing the wheat and citrus character of this 4.3% ABV beer. So, what’s in a name? Well, the Great Grain Race is the name of a historical sailing route race carrying grain (usually wheat) that generally left from South Australia’s grain ports at Spencer Gulf, all the way to Cornwall, UK. A particularly good passage via Cape Horn was considered anything under 100 days, with the fastest ever being 83 days. We know that the beer will definitely not last that long, so best to get down to Shipwright’s Taproom, or the Grand Banker below, soon to enjoy a glass or crowler!

Chester, Nova Scotia’s own Tanner & Co. Brewing has a brand new beer this week, Belgian IPA. Named after the hybrid IPA sub-style, it was brewed with a grist of Pilsner, Rye, and Munich malts, along with a touch of Honey malt for a bit of extra sweet malt character. Hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe, Centennial, and a little Mandarina Bavaria, it was fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast strain. Giving off characteristics of both spice and citrus, thanks to the use of both Belgian and American ingredients, it comes in at 6.7% ABV and 60 IBUs. Available right now in 500 mL bottles at the brewery. 

Over in Dieppe, O’Creek Brewing continues their run of hazy, hoppy IPAs with the latest in their two-hop-variety DUOH series. DUOH Sabro/Galaxy is a 6% ABV, 50 IBUs American IPA hopped with heavy amounts of the not-so-easy-to-find Sabro and Galaxy varieties, giving the beer a whole lotta tropical fruit, citrus, and coconut notes. Look for it to be pouring soon at CAVOK Brewing (and remember, guest taps at CAVOK can be taken away in crowlers!), with other accounts following in the near future. And as a sneak preview for next week, O’Creek will be releasing SOLOH – Talus, another 6% ABV IPA, but hopped entirely with one variety… in this case, Talus. Talus is a new hop that is a cultivated daughter of Sabro, and gives the beer “big aromas of pink grapefruit, citrus rinds, dried roses, pine resin, tropical fruits, and sage”. Definitely some descriptors in there that we’re not used to seeing in most hops! Look for that one at the usual O’Creek accounts.

Speaking of CAVOK Brewing, they’ve got another bottle release that just hit their shelves yesterday, Béta Germinorum. We don’t have too many details, but can tell you that the beer is a 4.5% ABV oak foeder-aged blend of two different beers, a Raspberry Sour and an Oatmeal Stout. That may be enough info to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of a tasting, but best drop by the brewery to pick up a bottle to be sure! As always with these releases, there is a limited amount of 750 mL bottles available, so don’t wait too long to drop in.

Coming out of Inverness in Cape Breton this week is a new beer from Route 19 Brewing, a first foray (we think) into the Saison style. Eventide references the old english word for evening, which might be the best time of day to enjoy this one. Gaining plenty of yeast character from Escarpment Labs’ Old World Saison blend fermented at a relatively high temperature, you can expect cooked apple and pear notes on the nose with some peppery phenolic spice as well. The grist featured Munich malt from Shoreline Malting, which provided a darker color than might be expected for the style, alongside 2-row, wheat and biscuit malts, the latter two contributing some breadiness and, well, “biscuit” character. On the hop side, the beer leverages a relatively unheralded hop called Celeia that we’ve not run into before, but which has a noble lineage and sports herbal and green tea flavors. Bittered to 30ish IBU, this 6.2% ABV saison will be available from the brewery this weekend and will also be making its way to NSLC locations around Cape Breton as part of their Hyper-Local program.

Those driving to/from Prince Edward Island, or lucky Islanders who just want to try the latest release from Borden’s Lone Oak Brewing, are well-advised to hop in the car and make a drive this weekend! There’s a new special small batch on tap, a style not often seen in the region. Taking the base beer of their Fixed Link Maritime Pilsner, they pulled it from the conditioning tanks a little early, and allowed it to carbonate naturally in the kegs before tapping. Dubbed a Kellerpils, it weighs in at the same 4.7% ABV as Fixed Link, but features a softer mouthfeel and just a little different aromatics. Just a few kegs of this are available, so don’t delay! And for all of their other offerings, Lone Oak has introduced an On-Demand Beer Delivery Service in the Charlottetown area. Place an order online 10:30 AM – 9:30 PM (12 – 8 PM Sundays), and your beer will be in your hands in 45 minutes or less! There is a 4 can minimum, and $6.99 delivery fee for this service.

It’s that time of year for Propeller fans; or, more specifically, fans of their annual release of Russian Imperial Stout. This year, things are just a touch different for the release of this dark, strong (8% ABV), rich, cellarable beer, in that it will be available in bottles only. No growlers this time around, but they will still be serving bottle pours at both taproom locations. You can find bottles at NSLC stores, and of course at both Prop Shops. And in other Propeller good news, they’re bringing back Cask Nights at the Gottingen taproom. Casks will be tapped bi-weekly, with proceeds from each going to a different organization every month. Today’s release (5 pm sharpish) is Nocturne Black IPA w/ Cacao Nibs, and two weeks from now will feature a sneak peek of an upcoming release. Proceeds for this month’s events will go towards the Ecology Action Centre

Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing has been pumping out the beers nice and steady, and are putting the final push on their taproom and retail space. In preparation for that, they’ve released the details of their Growler and Founder’s Clubs. Big discounts on growlers, merch, pints, special invite-only events, the chance to choose the name and style of one of their brews? All of this, and much more, can be yours by signing up! Full details are available on their website. Best to check it out quickly, as the membership is limited in numbers!

We’re pretty lucky to be living in a region where we can even have beer-related events in a non-scary fashion. Let’s make the most of it in a safe and responsible way!

Charlottetown’s HopYard Beer Bar is hosting their latest takeover this weekend, starting… right….. Now! Hosting Dartmouth’s North Brewing Co to pour some of their core beers as well as recent releases, and have brought along Halifax’s Chain Yard Urban Cidery to ensure there’s something for everyone! From North, you’ll see: Little Beast Lagered Ale, Lawrencetown Surf Session Ale, Gold Sounds Blonde, Dartmouth Dark Lager, Headline Milk Stout, Malternate Reality IPA, Raz Plush Dry-hopped Sour with Raspberry, Strollin’ Down Baldwin Street New Zealand Grisette, and Grape and Strawberry Rhubarb Seltzers. And keeping your tummy happy too is the first pop-up from Dough Boy Industries Pizza, who will be slinging pies Friday 4 – close, and again tomorrow from noon. Margarita, Pepperoni, Canadian, Donair and vegan pizza, with fresh and local ingredients, sounds great to us! And making this all even more awesomer, North is holding a contest on FB and IG, so check it out and have a blast this weekend! Maybe we’ll see you tonight. 🙂

Congratulations are in order for St Anthony’s RagnaRöck Northern Brewing, who are celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend! Saturday evening will see Sam and Tyler jamming some live music, and the debut of a very special beer debuting especially for the event. More details are available on their Facebook page, and we highly recommend giving them a shout to reserve your table at 709-454-3136. Congratulations!!

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is taking advantage of our Atlantic Bubble status and keeping up with some (socially-distanced) Fall events. First up is a Remembrance Day Levee going on at both their Oxford and Seaport taproom locations, from 12 – 6 PM on November 11th (of course), with a portion of sales going to The Poppy Fund. After 6 PM regular business hours and operations will resume. And next week, from Thursday, November 12th, to Sunday, November 15th, The Oxford taproom will be celebrating their first birthday. Head on down and be part of four days of celebrations that will include prizes, and “Anniversary Beer Bucket”, and more!