School’s back in session around the Atlantic provinces, as kiddos, teens, and university dreams are all in classes. As we start to see the fall roll in with spiced ales and Oktoberfest fun, we’ve still got lots of summer weather and patios to enjoy through September. We’ll be with you through all of the ebbs and flows of the craft beer news and events, so make sure you give us a follow on Twitter (or, X now, right? Does anyone say that?) and Instagram or maybe even like our Facebook page (yes, we’re THAT old). Onto the news below!
Hitting the taps and shelves this weekend is a brand new release from everyone’s favourite brewery in Tatamagouche, Tata Brew Co. Returning to a tried and tested technique of theirs, they brewed a base beer using both Maritime-grown malt and hops before storing it away in barrels to further develop. These Sauvignon Blanc barrels contained Brettanomyces yeast, who worked their magic for eight months before packaging. These bugs imparted some citrus and stone fruit ester character, melding with the wine and grape, as well as wood notes, to complete the package. Ersa, at 4.5% ABV, is available in small cans from the brewery and for province- and Canada-wide shipping from their website now.
Tusket Falls Brewing, are back with their 3rd iteration of Next Phaze. The first one featured a good amount of Phantasm (thiol-laden Sauvignon Blanc grape-derived powder) along with Citra and Riwaka hops, while the second release turned the Thiols way down, and this current release gets rid of Phantasm completely. This one changes the yeast in this Hazy IPA to A38 Juice from Imperial Yeast. This yeast really showcases the new world hop profiles in New England-style hazy IPAs. The Citra and Riwaka hops stay the same in the whirlpool and the dry-hopping. At 6.4% ABV this sounds like a must try if you’re a fan of the series. It’s only been 4 weeks since the last release, so talk to your staff and check the canning dates! This one is available now at their Tusket and Halifax locations in cans.
Up to St. John’s, Quidi Vidi Brewing has another release from their Sofa Sour series. This series focuses on bringing new flavours with old elegance to a well balanced base sour beer. This Blackberry Rosemary Sofa Sour features a delicate blend of blackberry and rosemary additions to balance the tartness and bring a bit of sweetness on the finish. The beer is vibrant in colour with a red/purple mix and a light pink head. This one is canned at 5% and is available at NLCs, convenience stores, at the brewery and online!
Over to Prince Edward Island for our next release, where PEI Brewing Co is celebrating Lead Brewer Tim’s birthday, albeit a few months late… OK, let me explain. For a few years, Tim was sitting on a receipt for a Baltic Porter, and the opportunity to brew it finally came up earlier this year, on his birthday! Rich in chocolate, fruitcake, and cherry notes, the 7.0% Tim’s Birthday Baltic Porter is only available on tap at the PEIBC Taproom, and for a limited time. Happy Birthday, Tim!
Instead of the pumpkin spice, North Brewing is bringing back a release from last year with Kem Cho? This is a Spiced Pale Ale whose name means “How are you?” in Gujarati (an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat). Spiced with saffron, cardamom and some lemon additions, with the Cashmere hops complementing these adjuncts. At 4.5% this is a complex yet approachable beer that is available now at all three of the North shops or online for delivery.
Hardisty Brewing, a nano brewery in Colby Village, recently released a special brew, a return to earlier ways of brewing, before hops were used. Gruits used other herbs and roots to impart bitterness as a way to flavour and balance the sweetness, and Char from Hardisty followed that same procedure with their most recent release. A pale malt bill was used, and lemon balm, mugwort, and yarrow were used in the boil in place of hops. The 4.3% ABV ale was such a hit with both sour beer and cider fans that it sold out at their Seaport Farmers Market table last Saturday! But worry not, there will be more Gruits, with unique herb combinations, coming soon! This Saturday, visitors to the Market will be able grab Hardisty’s Pilsner, American Pale Ale, Rye IPA, and Porter. And in the next couple of months, their storefront at 958 Cole Harbour Road will be open for pints and flights, paired with sweet and savoury charcuterie boards, as well as retail cans to go!
Hot (well, cold) off the canning line is the latest from the darling of East Duckworth Street, Bannerman Brewing. Overripe is a Sour IPA, brewed with the new HBC 1019 hop from Hop Breeding Company, imparting a lovely fuzzy peaches character to the previously soured ale. Cans are literally coming off their line at the time of publishing, so head down to East Duck this afternoon, and you’ll find no fresher beer in the province!
This weekend sees the first Halifax International Fleet Week celebrating our Royal Canadian Navy with events, tours and displays all weekend long. While there will be discounts all around at some breweries if you show your military ID, Alexander Keith’s Brewery has also brewed a Fleet Week Pilsner for the week, a classic pilsner in celebration of the Canadian Armed Forces. Coming in at 5% this is a limited edition canned release that you’ll be able to find at the bottle shop down at the old Halifax Brewery Market and also available on tap at limited bars and restaurants around Halifax.
In a move to reduce the waste footprint of beer and its packaging, the folks at Saltbox Brewing in Mahone Bay have purchased a Hinterkopf can printer, allowing designs to be printed directly on cans, without the need for labels or sleeves. And with that, they have launched Saltbox Print Works, opening up the same possibility to breweries across the region. While direct printing was previously available, the minimum order needed to make it viable were out of reach to all but the largest craft breweries, necessitating a purchase of many pallets of cans up front. So much for changing your ABV or recipe! With the local printer, much smaller runs can be performed, allowing for flexibility in seasonal, or one-off releases, without the massive investment needed ahead of time. Speaking of time, as the steps from design to printing are extremely quick, within a matter of days or weeks, not months, the turn-around could be as quick as from between brewday when the beer details are set in the design, to the cans arriving by canning day. Currently, SPW can accommodate standard 355 and 473 ml cans, as well as slim designs. If demand from customers is there, they may consider other sizes (we vote crowlers!). While their full website is still in the works, interested breweries can check this press release, and reach out to SPW to learn more!
A few events to tell you about this weekend and the near future!
In Rose Valley, PEI, Barnone Brewery is playing host to the Disc Golf Pro Tour Discmania Open this weekend. Players from around the world are onsite to compete for thousands in prizes, and the public is welcome to come out and get in on the action! Food trucks, live music, and extended hours at the brewery all weekend. Plus, as a celebration of the PEI Disc Golf community, Barnone has released Comebacker Lager. After being hit extremely hard by Hurricane Fiona, they came together to rebuild the province’s courses. That work has paid off, as the first ever stop on the DGPT in Canada is in Rose Valley. Grab pints and cans of the 4.5% ABV Lager at the brewery all weekend. Looking to visit the course yourself after the weekend’s fun winds down, here are the details!
Fans of Craft Beer, Tacos and Dance Parties need to look no further for a special day at Stillwell Brewing. Exploria (a Halifax based dance collective) is hosting Reverie, an all day dance party featuring some of the collective’s artists. Long-time Stilly friends Beverley Taco Service will be coming back for this event too, so there will be something for everyone. This is a ticketed event, so hit the link here to register for the event on Saturday September 16th.
Beer and running, this is a match made in heaven! Dildo Brewing is hosting their 3rd annual community fundraiser in November, as they’re putting on The Run for Beer. This is an 8km walk/run event with the aim to engage the community and raise funds to put back into helping the town. Check their social media post here for all of the details. Registration is open now and the Dildo event will take place on Saturday, November 4th.