Welp, after a lighter blog last week, the breweries, cider houses, and mead makers have righted the ship with two dozen new and returning releases this week. All four Atlantic Provinces are well-represented, so no envious reading of new beers not available in your neck of the woods… And with many breweries shipping intra- and inter-provincially, even those concerns are things of the past. As always in these times, confirm that your local brewery or favourite beer-centric bar or restaurant is open and doing take-away or in-person enjoyment (those in NS will have to wait a while for that luxury again), but at least we can suggest what to ask for when you do sidle up to the bar.
Starting off this week, we’ve got a barrel aged version of a previous release. Last fall, 2 Crows released a Change is Brewing collaboration called Good News, a Berliner-style Weisse with raspberry and Mango additions. Yesterday, they released Great News a barrel aged sibling. The big difference with this one is that the brewers started with some Berliners that were already in barrels from the fall.
From the brewery: “Together with the members of CIB and a couple folks from the Africville Heritage Museum, we held a blending session where we sampled a number of different Berliners we had brewed to barrel in early 2020. As a group, we decided on a blend of three different barrels – one Sauvignon Blanc, and two Mezcal Reposado barrels.” Fruit additions of Raspberry and Mango joined the blend, which used the same base for all barrels: 55% pilsner, 11% raw wheat, and 33% wheat malt, along with some aged hops in the mash. The beer was then conditioned for two months before bottle conditioning for another seven.
This beer has great jammy flavours from the raspberry, and is zippy per the style. The Mezcal barrels bring some earthiness, while the Sauvignon Blanc barrels give smooth lemongrass notes. It comes in at 3.2% ABV and is available in 375ml bottles. A limited number are available, so get it directly from the brewery while you can!
Those in the Saint Andrews, New Brunswick area have reason to celebrate, as they now have a local brewery of their own! Saint Andrews Brewing Company is a nano brewery owned and crafted by Ian Covey, a veteran of the New Brunswick brewing scene. While SABC does not have a taproom of their own, they will be supplying local bars and restaurants with their beer, with local The Red Herring Pub the first to carry their beer this weekend. We’ve got the early scoop on what will be pouring, namely: Herringbone Pub Ale, their 4.6% take on a traditional Best Bitter, featuring a grain bill of Golden Promise and a dash of Crystal Dark, plentifully hopped with East Kent Goldings to the tune of 30 IBU. Caramel, toast, and even some Earl Grey tea qualities in the glass, and look for it to be on Cask in the future. Also on draught is Wharfbound Hazy Pale Ale, a 5.5% NEIPA with a blast of ripe tropical fruit character from the Citra and Simcoe used throughout (including in two dry-hopping additions), on a pillowy base of Golden Promise, Canadian 2-Row, wheat, and flaked oats. Think candied pineapple, mango, and even CBD gummies. In addition to these core beers that should always be on tap at the Red Herring, the first of their rotating taps is London Brown Ale, a 4.3% Brown Ale brewed in the historical style, a touch sweeter than a traditional English Brown, showcasing all the lovely brown bread, toffee, and raisin notes you’d expect. These three beers will be on tap today at noon, and given the small batch size, may not last all weekend, so do not delay in visiting to grab the first tastes! We’ll have much more from Covey and SABC soon, and in the meantime follow along on IG and Fb to learn more on future releases!
Heading back to NS, Big Spruce is re-releasing Complexified. With only 500 bottles available, this Bourbon Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter was slow lagered and conditioned in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels for over six months. Featuring complex, rich chocolate notes with a bit of nuttiness, a smooth bourbon finish, and a touch of wood, this beer is a winner. Only available at their Sprucetique in Nyanza and online in 650ml bottles, be sure to act quickly on this. They’ll ship this 10.9% ABV and 28 IBU beauty anywhere in Canada.
And staying in Cape Breton, their new cidery on the block, Island Folk CIder House, is releasing Special Elderflower Cider. The elderflower infusion leads to slightly herbal and floral notes that compliment tannic notes from the apples. You can grab a bottle at the cider house in Sydney, or order online for local delivery and Canada-wide shipping.
From one Island to another, let’s head to Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, where Landwash Brewery can be found who have plenty to share this week. Out today is Up She Rises, the result of the collaborative brewday Head Brewer Christina Coady held on International Women’s Day in March, in which breweries from across Newfoundland and Labrador took part virtually. This 6.0% ABV IPA uses the Pink Boots Society hop blend from Yakima Chief, and features additions of passion fruit to the brew, for a massive blast of tropical, floral, and summer-esque vibes. Part of the proceeds from can and draught sales this weekend will be going to YWCA St. John’s, so be sure to support their efforts while drinking a great bevvie!
Plus we have some intel on two beers coming later this month, that we’ll spill closer to release, but we can say that the first is a Saison, reminiscent of Christina and Chris’ time brewing at Folly Brewing in Toronto, where naturally conditioned and “weird” and “funky” were the norm. And coming later in May is Packaging Manager Nardia McGrath’s Caribou Hill, an Anzac-biscuit-inspired Brown Ale beer featuring coconut. Much more then!
Where better to drink Up She Rises than at the brewery taproom, which is sporting some new seating up above the taproom proper in a space they are calling the Loft. With 30 additional seats (that will grow to 60 when restrictions ease), the space also features a second bar to reduce wait-times, and a view of the taproom and brewhouse below. It will be available for private bookings shortly, and their website also now allows for seating reservations for you and your bubble. They have a full month of events planned each Wednesday and Thursday, with fly tying (of the fishing type) each Wednesday beginning at 5 PM, and live music each Thursday starting at 6 PM. And as the weather warms, you’ll soon be able to enjoy a pint on their under-construction outdoor seating!
Wolfville’s Church Brewing has a new release this week, and best we can tell, it marks the first time they’ve packaged in bottles. Til Death Do Us Tart Sparkling Framboise is a new take on their previously released raspberry wheat ale, Til Death Do Us Tart. This time around, they’ve bottled conditioned the beer with champagne yeast to create a more sparkling and effervescent carbonation. Bottles are available now at the taproom on Main Street and for delivery locally, throughout the Valley Wednesdays (order before 8 PM Tuesday), as well as to HRM Thursdays (order by Wednesday at 8 PM). It’s also available in a special Mother’s Day gift pack that includes two tulip glasses and a bottle opener, with an optional variety of cheeses that can be added, available Sunday for pickup or local delivery. Due to the small batch size, phoning in the order for delivery is probably the way to go for this one (902-542-2337, https://churchbrewing.ca/store/shop-beer).
And while we have you thinking of Church, they debuted a new American IPA on the weekend, aptly named Maia. Named after the Goddess of Spring, this 5.7% ABV slightly hazy golden ale features some wheat and oats in the grist to soften the mouthfeel, with the star of the show being the hops used. Magnum, Mosaic, and Vic Secret shine through with lemon and herbal notes, with plenty of other fruity ester character to stand tall on her own, or the beer’s acidity can work with the hops as a refreshing palate cleanser accompanying wings, orzo salad, or a Caprese bacon sandwich. Maia is a draught-only release, which these days means it is only available in Crowlers, but those can be added to a local or HRM delivery over the phone, or picked up in person at their location on Main Street Wolfville.
Bad Apple is back with a cider release this week, straight outta Somerset in the heart of the Annapolis Valley. Haskap Cider is 6% ABV and features the local Haskap berry added to the cider as whole fruit smashed with love. Available in 473ml cans only from the brewery, this is rich, flavourful, well carbed and sports a vibrant red colour.
And In other Bad Apple news, if you’re reading this early enough on Friday and are in HRM, you may be able to get an order delivered in Halifax. Check out the Facebook post here for details on how to order, and choose from their Box Cutter IPA, Mosaic DIPA, Black & Tackle RIS, and Stearman APA, as well as several of their ciders.
And speaking of both cider and the Valley, Kentville’s Maritime Express has a new cider available this week as well. Lively Airs is a 5.2% fruity and herbal cider that began with a base of a juice blend from Spy and Honeycrisp apples. To that, local strawberries were blended in, before basil was added during the aging process. Named for a picnic outing sponsored by the Western Counties Railway way back in 1875 to drum up funds. Flat cars were fitted with benches and an estimated 1,200 people went on the excursion, entertained by the “lively airs” of the Milton Brass Band who were positioned at the center of the train. A lovely historical reference to a very summery-sounding cider. Get your taste of it by ordering online for pickup any time between 12 and 8 today (Friday) or between 4 and 8 on Saturday (and hopefully soon enough you’ll be sipping pints in the taproom again!) And if you’re making an order, you might also be interested to know that their Roundhouse Rhubarb is also back in stock and it’s “tarter and rhubarbier than ever!”
Bringing some good news from PEI, Copper Bottom is bringing the love, returning the support they’ve received over the past 14 months during the pandemic. Islanders have been more than kind to them and they’re taking a turn to give back. Launching today, they’re starting a Give Back Initiative, which will be a series of beer releases that will support PEI not-for-profits, community groups and local artists.
The first release comes out today and Plover is a Helles-style lager in support of Island Nature Trust, whose mandate is to protect vital underdeveloped land and at-risk wildlife. Available in cans and pints, this style has a bit more body than a classic Pilsner, has a Noble hop flavour and aroma from the Hallertau Mittelfrüh, complementing the Island floor-malted grain used to achieve the 4.8% ABV. Cans are available from the brewery today, along with draught Plover pouring as well. $1 from every can or pint sale will go directly to the Island Nature Trust to work to protect natural assets and thrive for sustainability across the province. For those not in Montague, check their website for delivery options to your neck of the woods. If you’re lucky enough to be nearby, they’ll have some entertainment in the taproom at 6 PM tonight to celebrate the release. From Copper Bottom, “Future plans for the Give Back Initiative include releases to support mental health initiatives, local art installations, and other community-oriented projects.”
There’s a bunch of news out of Garrison Brewing in Halifax this week, as it’s clear they’re very very busy over there despite the HRM lockdown. First up is news for fans of football (no, not that one, the other one): Halifax Wanderers FC and Garrison are teaming up for a co-branded special release of Garrison’s Tall Ship Light in 473 mL cans. Merging themes from each brand into a single, unified look, you’ll be able to see it for yourself through the Seaport and Oxford retail locations, private stores around the city, and eventually at the Wanderers Grounds at a Wanderers match once this lockdown madness is all over.
There are also beers returning to the Garrison ranks this week, one that’s fairly new school and one that’s decidedly not. First up is the summer edition of their kettle sour. The 2021 edition of Pucker Up! Citrus is hazy and very orange forward, continuing to a citrus finish, all on top of the usual tartness that fans of this one enjoy. Available at the Seaport and Oxford locations now, they will also be coming to the private stores and NSLC in the coming days.
Also returning is the elusive, in-frequent, but cult-following-inducing Jalapeño Ale. Last spotted in 2018, this year’s 4.6% batch features more chilis than just its eponymous pepper, but the exact cultivars are a secret! What isn’t a secret is the kick of capsaicin evident on the nose and palate right away, making it perfect for marinating, cooking, as a base for a beer cocktail, or straight up enjoyment for those pepperheads out there. If you fall into any of these categories, we suggest you grab Jalapeño quickly, as it will be gone before you know it. (Now we need to start a petition for Garrison to bring back and equally vintage brand, Khybeer Mokka Ale!!)
And finally from Garrison is a cider collaboration with their pals at Bulwark. Core Apple Cider has been on tap at their Seaport and Oxford locations for a while now, but is available for the first time in 473 ml cans this week. At 5.8%, finishing dry, it used 1005 Annapolis Valley Apples that Bulwark helps them source and process. Gluten-free as you’d expect, and a yummy alternative for those wanting/needing an alternative to beer.
Borden-Carlton’s Lone Oak Brewing has a new beer on tap at their taproom, your first/last stop when visiting the Island (you know, assuming you aren’t supposed to be self-isolating)…Lupin is a 6.5% ABV Belgian Saison, with lots of yeast-derived notes of bubblegum, clove, spice, and herbs, on a dry effervescent base. Featuring Island-grown hay, as well as honey from Canoe Cove, there’s a hint of sweetness on the backend. Only available on draught at the taproom currently, bottles of Lupin will be available before the end of the month.
Lunn’s Mill – CM done
Lunn’s Mill Brewing, in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, has a new “Old” English IPA on tap at the brewery now. Bramle On features the English Bramling Cross hop, resulting in an earthy and floral aroma complementing the soft and well-conditioned feel of a classic British beer base (and, if you’re like some of us, a name that’ll put you in mind of Led Zeppelin). At 6.1% ABV, it is on draught at the brewery’s taproom in Lawrencetown, so growlers are the best way to go for this one. And then in-person pints there and at your local pub soon, once the lockdown lifts! In the meantime, you can request delivery to your door through their online portal.
Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is continuing their month of Small Batch Releases with a beer over a year in planning. Wild IPA is a blend of a Brettanomyces-fermented IPA that spent time in white wine barrels, before being blended with a super-fresh IPA loaded with Nelson Sauvin hops. Gooseberry and White Wine notes burst from the can, with a funky wild character from the Brett component. This 6.2% ABV blend is a can-only release, appearing on the shelves at all 3 Prop locations open 12 – 8 PM today (and everyday!), with same-day delivery available in HRM and shipping further afield. A portion of the batch will also be appearing at the four private stores in Halifax and Dartmouth this weekend. And after a mad dash to snap it up mid-April, Tropical Haze is back in cans at the Prop Shops as well, perfect for enjoyment outside as the weather warms.
Annapolis Brewing Company is going sour for their most recent release, Basin Berry Sour. Leveraging plenty of raspberry and blackberry fruit in the glass, blending perfectly with the base kettle sour beer that marks their first foray into the style, and just in time for the warmer weather. Featuring a lovely purple hue, the 4.0% sour is available in cans at the taproom in Annapolis Royal (lockdown hours, Wed – Sun, 12 – 6 PM), or for home delivery through their website.
Mountain Meadworks has a pair of new meads available this week, available from their stall Saturday from the Truro Farmers Market, as well as through the online portals from the Truro and New Glasgow Markets. Feral Nova Scotia was created with honey from Tatamagouche, and yeast harvested from a pin cherry in Cape Breton and cultured by Escarpment Labs that will be familiar to many beer fans… Finishing dry, yet showing a touch of lingering honey on the palate, the floral character shines through in spades. The second expression is a sure sign of spring, the return of grackles to the area. Featuring wildflower honey from Tatamagouche, the mead also showcases organic blueberries from North of Nuttby Farm, and Black Currants from Upperbrook Farm in Truro. Dry, yet juicy, with plenty of fruit flavour and light tannins from the fruit additions shining through.
Cornwall PEI’s Village Green has debuted their first traditional farmhouse beer this week, the simply-named Saison. Using a multi-grain grist bill, the beer finishes quite dry with notes of pepper, lemon, and a touch of spice. European and English hops complement the base with a solid bitterness. Find Saison on draught and in cans at their location on Church Street in Cornwall, and you may also be able to catch it on tap at HopYard in Charlottetown as well.
We finish off our news section today with a major development for cider in Fredericton. Red Rover Craft Cider has found a new home, at the historical Neill Family Farm, located in Devon on the Northside. Dating back to 1867, there are generations of history at that location, which Nicola Mason and Adam Clawson of Red Rover intend to continue with their own family. Their plans are far-reaching, including moving their production facility from Hanwell Road to Devon in the coming months, which will allow expansion as well as welcome guests to tour the facility once renovations are complete. A taproom and event space, the Ciderworks, will repurpose some of the existing farm buildings to better suit their new intention. Going forward, they will be planting apple and other fruit trees, including traditional cider-specific varietals, which will bear fruit in the coming years. Much more great details to share as Red Rover make the farm their own, and our congratulations to Mason and Clawson on this major milestone!
Just one event to talk about this week, but it’s a good ‘un if you happen to be in the St. John’s area!!
The East Duck area of St. John’s is getting a taste of the mainland this weekend, with both Bar Brewdock and nearby Toslow pouring some fresh kegs from Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing. Both spots are pouring a nice selection on the go/coming soon, with Waltz German Pils, Deux II Cherry Sour (collab with Orono Brewing Co), Laurel Dark Saison with plum and bay leaf, Zip! Berliner Weisse, Jamboree Fruited Sour, I Love You Brett Saison, and Space Words Triple IPA to be pouring at Brewdock, and Deux II and Laurel on at Toslow. Both spots will also be pairing some great food all weekend (and the rest of the time, natch), so maysel make an evening of it and try ‘em all!
A few last quick hits to leave you with this week:
Lovers of tiny hoppy beers rejoice! 2 Crows Matinee is back. This 3.1% crusher is now available to-go at the brewery and via 2 Crows’ shipping and delivery options on their webstore. Look for it to start popping up at select NSLC’s around the province too.
The small can/small ABV trend continues to gain momentum, providing us with sessionable packaged options just in time for summer. Tatamagouche Brewing is the latest to adopt the format and is now selling 355ml cans of Dekorum, their 2.9% ABV light lager by the flat. Check out their webstore for some special pricing and stock up for the weekend.
Heritage Brewing has a new English Pale Ale out this week. This one comes in at 5.4% ABV and 30 IBUs, and like any good EPA, features some malt-driven sweetness. Easy to drink, it is lightly hopped with Fuggles to balance the malt sweetness, with the combination of malt and hops giving a deliciously smooth, medium-bodied ale that is perfect for enjoying in your household bubbles. EPA is available now for growler fills at the brewery on Main Street.
Route 19 Brewing also has a new release this week with Sandcastle. Coming in at 5.0% ABV, this fruited sour ale features peach, key lime and cara cara orange. Sandcastle is available for delivery through Route 19’s online store and is also being carried at 20 NSLC locations across Cape Breton Island.
Dartmouth pals North Brewing and Lake City Cider have teamed up for a collaborative release hitting the shelves at both spots today. Burst is a melding of beer and cider, aka Snakebite, that features the hop-forward Pleasant Disposition from North, and a blend of Lake City’s Blueberry and Dark Currant ciders that were co-secondary-fermented to finish quite dry. The resultant beverage is hoppy, tart, refreshing, and full of fruit on the palate. Grab Burst in person at both Lake City and North, or through their respective delivery portals.
We’ll leave you with some good news from Miramachi, where New Maritime Beer Co. was the recent recipient of not one, but two gold models at the European Beer Challenge. The Very Best Juicy IPA and Refined Pirate Stout both took home the medals in their respective categories. Congrats to head brewer David Draper and the rest of the team at New Maritime on the wins! And if you’d like to join this award-winning team, they are currently hiring for a full-time Sales Representative / Delivery Person to join their family. Check out the job posting and send along a resume!
Congratulations are also in order to Brasseux d’la Côte who took home an EBC Gold for their La Classic Rosé! Lots of great things brewing along the shore in New Brunswick. Well done Crew!
And speaking of job positions, Bathurst’s 13 Barrels Brewing is hiring a bar tender/server for their taproom. You can learn more and apply by reaching out via email.