Schoolhouse Brewery

All posts tagged Schoolhouse Brewery

Happy April! Another quarter down and a well deserved long weekend is just a day away. There will be April 1st shenanigans out there, but aren’t we all just a bunch of fools no matter what month it is? We’ll keep this short and sweet so you can get onto the local news, but with some big changes in Ontario, we’ll remind you to keep an eye on local news before making any plans and now is not the time to get complacent (and keep an eye out for those April Fool’s Day posts or announcements from your favourite breweries!). Onto the beer, no pranks below, we promise!

Last Friday, March 26th, marked the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Bluenose schooner. A symbol of pride of Nova Scotia and her residents, the “Queen of the North Atlantic” dominated the International Fisherman’s Race for years, was immortalized on stamps and the Canadian dime, and its “daughter” continues to be an ambassador of the province’s rich ship-building history. With events happening in Lunenburg, across the province, and around the world (virtually), it’s only fitting there would be a beer or two to celebrate the Bluenose’s legacy!

Saltbox is first out of the gate with their Bluenose 100 Commemorative Ale, taking inspiration from brewing lore and recipes that date back to the 20’s, during those dark times of Prohibition. Canadian Malt and Noble hops were used to create a light, crisp, and refreshing ale weighing in at a perfect-for-enjoying-a-couple-on-the-dock 4.7% ABV. A bit of malt sweetness presents on the palate, clearing quickly thanks to a balancing bitterness from the hops. You can grab an early taste of Bluenose 100 on tap now at The Knot Pub in Lunenburg and The Nosy Crow in Mahone Bay, with cans of the ale coming to the shelves of 75 NSLC stores before the end of April. A caribou ($0.25, haha!) from every can sold will be going back to the Bluenose 100 committee, who still have plenty of events scheduled for the rest of the year, including a full Summer of Sail for Bluenose II, starting June 1st, visiting ports across the Maritimes.

For a celebration 100 years in the making, it is only fitting there are a couple of beers to celebrate, which brings us to another Bluenose celebration beer, Bluenose Lager. ShipWright Brewing in Lunenburg teamed up with Garrison Brewing in Halifax to brew a long-distance collab at their own breweries, ready to set sail in the next few weeks. This 5.0% ABV Helles Lager is bright and refreshing, and extremely quaffable. Available soon at both partnering breweries as well as cans delivered to the NSLC and private stores, a portion of each can sale will be returning to the Bluenose 100 to support their mission of sharing the story of the Bluenose.

We’ve got an excellent cross-border collaboration coming from Flying Boats and Saltbox. This idea came from the daughters of the two brewery owners who met at University and have created a beer with a cause. Breezy Belgian Saison is a classic style release at 5.5% that is crisp, dry with a slightly tart finish. With flavours of coriander with some slightly bitter orange this is available in cans. A portion of the profits from each sale of this beer will be donated to Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation.

And rounding out the Saltbox news today is word that their Lunenburg expansion, under the Lightship Brewery moniker, is set to open in one month from today. With arguably the best view of Lunenburg, their location will feature a full kitchen and coffee shop in addition to the taproom, whose interior will be highlighted by a pair of Foeders from PEI’s New World Foeders, as well as barrels for some extra special brewing experiments. Those who visit their spot at 93 Tannery Road before then may even spot their Party Bike which will allow groups to navigate the town in a fun people-powered vehicle.

As we cut across the province to the Fundy shore, Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery is releasing Summer DAY NEIPA. This hazy IPA features Idaho 7, Amarillo and El Dorado hops and was fermented using the Verdant IPA yeast from LalBrew. This is the first sighting (that we know of at least) of this yeast strain in our region. Developed in collaboration with Verdant Brewing Co. out of south-west England, the yeast leads to citrusy esters that compliment the citrus and fruit-forward hop notes. Cans, growlers and pints are available now at the taproom on Water Street.

Deer Lake’s Rough Waters Brewing has a new release this week, with a name inspired by their mischievous cat Opie (portrayed on the beer’s label). At Wit’s End is their take on a traditional Belgian witbier. Featuring a malt bill of primarily malted and flaked week, this one also gets the traditional addition of orange peel and coriander seeds during the boil, along with the no-so traditional addition of blood orange. The result is a refreshing 4.5% ABV witbier featuring lots of citrus notes. At Wit’s End is available now in 500 ml bottles at craft beer-friendly convenience stores and markets across the island. 

From Deer Lake, we head south-west to Port au Port for two releases from Secret Cove Brewing Company. Up first is CherryOaky, a dark tart cherry ale. This one started with aging on French oak to add some complexity from the wood. Prior to packaging, this 6.5% ABV beer was then lagered for several weeks until it was deemed ready for consumption. Expect suitable oak-derived notes and a palate reminiscent of dry red wine. Next up is Shag Island, a 6.4% breakfast coffee stout. Named for the small coastal island north of Port au Port, Shag Island combines Sumatran coffee and organic cocoa for that classic blend of coffee and chocolate notes. Expect a full body and rich mouthfeel drinking experience. Both beers are available now at the brewery. 

Tatamagouche Brewing is always up for supporting a good cause, and this week they’re taking advantage of an opportunity to support a good cause in their own backyard (as is often the case), but also to bring awareness to it on a wider basis. Alicia Simms of Truro Buzz has been nominated as a candidate for Man or Woman of the Year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada and has partnered with several businesses in the Colchester area to raise funds for the campaign. One of those businesses is Tata, who have produced a beer they’re calling Stronger Than You Think, all proceeds from which will go towards LLS. For this special cause, brewer Chad pulled out the big guns in the form of the vaunted Sabro hop variety known for big tropical flavors and coconut aroma. To that was added “lots” of Mosaic in the whirlpool along with smaller contributions of El Dorado, Willamette, and Cascade. The Sabro came in the dry hop along with some Lotus. Nominally in the East Coast/Northeastern/New England IPA style, this one has a touch of extra bitterness that will no doubt be welcome to those who miss a bit of bite in their hazebombs. Built on a grist of Horton Ridge pale malt, it also features plenty of haze-inducing and body-building adjuncts, namely malted oats, malted wheat and chit malt (also all from Horton Ridge). Fermented with a co-pitch of S-04, an English strain known for haze production, and S-33, more known for use in Belgian wheat and trappist-style beers, but which also can bring forward tropical flavors, the packaged product ended up at 6.3% ABV. Expect this one to be hazy, juicy, and tropical, with orange, pineapple, and yes, even some coconut in the aroma. It’s being packaged in cans today, so available from the brewery as soon as they’re capped and cold, you’ll also hopefully be able to find this one at Bishop’s Cellar by the weekend! Beyond that, kegs will also be going out to various Tata tap accounts and there’s even rumors that some casks (a couple of Firkins and a Pin) have been filled, and savvy drinkers will know where those usually end up… We love seeing Tata making it easy to support Alicia and LLS in the tastiest way possible!

Sticking with IPAs, we move to Halifax where Propeller has a new IPA out that they’re calling Talus Cold IPA. We’re, uh… not quite sold on the idea that “Cold IPA” is a thing, and it is April Fool’s, but they appear to be standing by it, sooooo. Anyways, allegedly a Cold IPA is an IPA with a light body that’s been fermented at cooler temperatures to encourage, “an addictively clean and crisp finish.” The other part of the beer’s name, though, the Talus part, refers to the hop variety that was used and, in our opinion, is possibly the more interesting part. A relatively recent release from Yakima Chief Hops that might be familiar to some under it’s previous experimental name of HBC 692 (which we’ve written about more than once), it’s known for a flavor and aroma profile that includes pink grapefruit, dried roses, pine, and tropical fruits. Definitely an interesting cross-section of citrus, floral, dank, and tropical! This one-off release comes in at 80 IBU and 6.1% ABV, and has been canned; it will be available at Prop Shops as of this weekend, and then possibly a little later at Bishop’s Cellar and the other private stores in Halifax. It will also be available for online orders, which, by the by, now offer shipping via Canada Post to Alberta, BC, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario, PEI, Saskatchewan, and, of course, Nova Scotia! You can read more about the new shipping areas on Propeller’s website here.

And in other Prop news from North End Halifax, If you have little ones that you’ve been dying to bring into the retro Arcade under Propeller’s Gottingen Street taproom, great news! This Sunday, April 4th, the Propeller Arcade will be open 12 – 5 PM for all ages. Now, no dropping your kids and high-tailing it outta there, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, but you’re going to want to stick around anyway for a coupla pints and to show the young ones how to shoot the ramp *just right* on the TMNT pinball. Masks on while playing, and there is plenty of sanitizer around to keep their hands and yours nice and clean. 

Wolfville’s Church Brewing isn’t one to fool around, and today’s new release is no joke! Taking inspiration from traditional pale Czech lagers, they are releasing Svelte, a 4.1% ABV crisp beer with just a hint of malt and hops. Starting from all Pilsen malt, it uses Magnum and Saphir to offset any sweetness with a light 20 IBUs. Utilizing their 600 litre (5 BBL) pilot system, first used for Lilith NEIPA last month, the limited batch size means you’ll have to Take Yourself to Church to enjoy Svelte. Available on tap in the restaurant, and in crowlers to go in their Retail spot.

After a bit of a hectic start due to governmental bodies dropping the ball, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing’s taproom is now officially, for real, open for in-person enjoyment. The large space features 15 tables ready to accept Bubble Buddies from across the region, and when it’s safe to do so, a stage where local musicians, comedians, and other event can take over the space. As the weather warms, there will be a patio where people and their pups will be welcome, though as Serpent does not serve food (BYO), dogs are allowed inside as well. The taproom is open Wednesday to Sunday (this weekend included), from noon until 8 PM or later, and with 7 beer and 1 cider on tap, there is something to please every taste!

Only one event to mention this week, but it’s ALL MONTH LONG!!

Congratulations to Debbi Tobin, who is the new Executive Director of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia! And just in time, as April is NS Craft Beer Month! Obviously 2021 looks quite different than in previous years, but CBANS is still helping its member breweries during this month of transitioning from winter to spring. For those with products in the NSLC, the Corp is working to put more NS-brewed beer front and centre in their locations as well as their online material, including some IG Live events with a handful of breweries this month (Thursdays at noon, with Breton Brewing, North Brewing, Church Brewing, and Saltbox Brewing all taking part). And for those who swing that way, the NSLC is offering a free-to-brewers (unlike last year) promotion that will have customers getting a 10 Air Mile bonus when purchasing 2 multi-packs.

No official list of events available just yet, but for brewery folk reading this, they are soliciting all of your going-ons and will curate a list on their site soon. Check this page for more details. And as always, use and follow the #NSCraftBeer hashtag on the socials.

A couple more quick hits on the beer side:

Fresh off a tap takeover in Halifax last weekend, Bannerman is back with a fresh release out now. Dressed to Kill is a dry-hopped fruited sour that packs a punch. This was conditioned on a bunch of blackberries and raspberries. Finishing off with a dry hop of Mosaic, this is 5.5% and available in 473ml cans from the Bannerman shop.

Halifax’s Good Robot snuck in under the wire with news of their release, Seasoned Assist Spiced Dark Lager, which they’re describing as, “like a Winter Warmer, but light and crushable,” with flavors of clove, cinnamon, and anise leading to a coffee-tinged finish. The artistic photo we received obscures the ABV and we’re sure there’s probably a story to that name (say the first two words to yourself quickly), but we suspect you’ll have to ask your server when you order a pint at the taproom to get the goods on that!!

Looking for a job in the beer industry in our region? Here’s a few possibilities for you:

Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing is looking to add a multi-tasking kind of person to their team, ready to wear several hats in and outside of the brewery. A part-time position (15-30 hours per week depending on demand), the roles will include Delivery Driver, Packaging Assistant, and Taproom Bartender. Perfect for someone who can be versatile and nimble as they take on the different roles, this is a seasonal position (at the time of posting, at least), from April – October. Check their Careers Page for more details and how to apply!

Over to PEI where Copper Bottom is also looking to add to their team. They have two full time positions available, one as a Taproom server and the other as a Front of House Manager. These are great opportunities if you’re not too far from Montague. To apply check out the Career section of their website or stop by the taproom in person to drop off a resume and have a chat!

If you’re kicking around the Windsor area, or planning on making a move, there is some new hiring from the good folks at Schoolhouse. They are hiring part-time kitchen staff, but there are plenty of growth opportunities to stay within the company. They’re looking for good people and not necessarily previous experience. If you’re interested, first off a resume and a little about yourself via email

With some bittersweet news, the Brewmaster from Spindrift is moving on. Kyle is known around the region from time at Gahan, Garrison and Spindrift and we wish him nothing but the best and I’m sure we’ll see an official announcement soon on his next undertaking.

With Kyle moving on, that means there’s a job opening in Dartmouth. If you have Brewmaster experience, this would be a big opportunity. Check out the full job posting here to see all of the details and application details. 

Rounding out the job postings this week is something a little different, but still vital to keeping the good beer flowing! The Acadia Laboratory for Agri-Food and Beverage (aka alab) is looking to hire a Lab Technician to work in their lab supporting the local beer, cider, and wine community. If getting your LC and GC-MS on sounds like something you already do on a regular basis, you may be the right person for the job! Check out the job posting and apply today!

And we leave you today with some “prepare your ears” news, the fellas from 902 BrewCast are recording another episode tonight after releasing one last week. Bittersweet, this episode will mark the last with Phil Church in the official co-host seat. While we’re sure this won’t be the last we’ve heard from Church on the podcast or in beer circles, he is leaving the position to spend more time roaming the ocean floor and frolicking shirtless with Dodo, we assume/dream. Ahead of the recording this eve, the fellas are gathering your questions and best wishes on IG, so be sure to drop one there. Be sure to keep your eyes on Church as he continues to grow his photography business, those beautiful shots you see on his IG are just a small percentage of what he does!

Seeing as how we’re running a little behind, most folks reading this will already be past the halfway point on their last Friday of February, which in a normal year would feel like enough of an accomplishment in our region, but where March will also mark an entire year of pandemic, it feels even more like something to celebrate. Fortunately, there’s lots to tell you about this week in regards to boozy beverages in our region that can help you with any celebrations you choose to do. With community spread in evidence, folks in NS are encouraged to consider the possibility that we may see some tightening up of the restrictions again in the coming week and to add that to the factors that inform their purchasing this weekend. Producers in all four provinces are doing a great job making their products available through responsible means, whether that’s Atlantic-, province-, or local area-wide shipping, curbside pickup, or socially distanced retail. We’re all for rewarding that consideration and effort whenever possible and helping all these breweries, cideries, and meaderies survive to see the end of this madness!

The Change is Brewing Collective is launching their 5th collaborative product this weekend, partnering with Boxing Rock in Shelburne to release Back to Birchtown, a 6.4% ABV Old Stock Ale. Amber in colour, this is a modern take on what may have been available during the days of the Black Loyalists who settled in the region – malty and smooth now, and designed to stand up to aging quite well. The beer is being debuted at the Boxing Rock Taproom at 218 Water Street in Shelburne, with the event kicking off at noon on Saturday, February 27th. Members of Change is Brewing will be joined by Emily Tipton of Boxing Rock, Sheila Scott of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, Vanessa Hartley of SEED Shelburne, Lauryn Guest of the Buy Black Birchtown Campaign, to learn about their groups’ history and future. All proceeds from the collaboration are being donated in support of Change is Brewing and the Black Loyalist Heritage Society.

Due to COVID restrictions, reserving a seat in advance is required, 902-875-2282. And for those not able to join in person, the event will be live-streamed through the Collective’s Instagram and Facebook pages, so be sure to tune in! Those in attendance are invited to visit the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in nearby Birchtown, who are opening their doors that afternoon, 2 – 4 PM. The beer can also be ordered today on the Boxing Rock webstore, where the full package includes a fabric mask commemorating the collaborative brew, and a ticket for entry to the Heritage Centre to be used in the future.

Don’t forget that this is also the last week to donate to Change is Brewing in their support of BIPOC South Shore’s “Buy Black Birchtown” campaign, in support of an 8-acre Retreat and Learning Centre in the community, a place for people of colour to “rest, resist, and organize for Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty”. They are ¾ of the way to their goal of raising $20,000 (as of publishing), which has allowed the CiBCollective to become full members in the Centre, and sponsor membership for two more groups, working towards a third, before the end of February. If you have the means to donate, or just want to learn more, please check this link.

First opening their brewery and retail space in 2019, Smokehouse Nano Brewery has now opened a taproom in the heart of Berwick, Nova Scotia. Located at 134 Union Street, the taproom and retail spot is open from noon daily, closing at 6PM Sunday through Thursday, and 8PM Wednesday through Saturday. A full dozen beers are on tap for enjoyment in house, with most available in growlers or cans to go once you’ve chosen your favourites. One of those favourites may be Noonan’s Pride, a 4.2% ABV Dry Irish Stout, featuring massive coffee flavour and aroma, with a smooth mouthfeel and dry finish. Sadly, due to its small batch size, this one is an in-house-only treat! Smokehouse’s website social media (Fb/Ig) has their latest offerings, perfect to get you salivating now!

With several successful breweries and cideries already present on Prince Edward Island, it was only a matter of time before somebody got the mead bug (bee? Hah!). And while we don’t have our finger on the pulse so much with honey beverages, we did manage to notice the opening of Horns of Odin Craft Brewery on St. Peter’s Road in Mount Stewart (sharing a building with the Bedford Irving). Owner Chuck Gallison decided to start the business after a fateful trip to Iceland a few years ago, and as you may be able to tell from the name, he’s very much aware of the connection between Vikings/Norsemen and mead. The term “mead” at its most basic means a fermented honey beverage and covers a fairly wide variety of liquids ranging from still to sparkling and dry to sweet, possibly containing herbs, spices, and/or fruits, and with ABVs from low single digits all the way up into the teens. That said, for the pedants amongst us there are usually specific terms for these variations. Right now the brewery is focussed on producing melomels, which generally refers to fruited meads (although there’s even more terminology for particular fruits), and currently they’re coming out in a wine-like 8 – 12% ABV. Their current lineup of available products includes Hopped Crabapple, Strawberry, Mixed Berry, Hopped Mixed Berry Beet, and Cherry, but they’ve also had Mountain Ash and a Pomegranate is said to be in the works! You can read more about the brewery in this Saltwire article, or stay tuned to this space where we hope to continue to cover new and interesting products coming from Horns of Odin. Skol!

Amazingly, we’ve got even more mead news for you this week, as Mountain Meadworks has teamed up with Compass Distillers in Halifax on a special collaboration brew that takes mead making to the Nth degree with the assistance of distillation. The starting point was a Mountain Meadworks mead that was sent to Compass to be distilled with a variety of Nova Scotia botanicals, including juniper, spruce tips, yarrow, and chanterelle mushrooms. The result was then used to fortify a new mead that had itself been infused with rhubarb, lemongrass, and spruce tips. The result is “a complex and harmonious drink” that comes in at an ABV of 7.5% and features a variety of flavor and aroma notes including citrus, juniper, and rhubarb. They’ve called this beverage Ouroboros, after an ancient symbol dating back to the Egyptians, but also found in many other traditions including Norse, Hindu, and Mesoamerican, among others. Usually a snake (or a dragon!) swallowing its own tail, it is sometimes also depicted as two (or more!) creatures swallowing each others’ tails in a loop. Intended to reference eternal renewal and how things may change form and yet never disappear, we think this is a poetic name for a very intriguing mead. To get it you’ll want to check out their Facebook page to see whether they might be at a farmers market in your area any time soon or to contact them to place an order.

An annual fall release from Trailway has been their Rascal Imperial Stout. Sadly, the beer’s namesake, a very good doggo, passed away this year. In a fitting tribute to a brewery dog, TW took their existing recipe and made it even more awesomer: after making the base beer, they aged it in Heaven Hill bourbon barrel for 7 months! Ode to Rascal was barrel aged with coffee from Milltown Roasters and some vanilla. This beer is full, complex and filled with notes of oak, dark chocolate, and espresso with a sweet vanilla finish. This 8% ABV tasty treat is only available from the brewery (no shipping options) and is only in 500ml bottles. 

In other news from Trailway, they’re hiring a full time marketing and digital content manager. Check out the complete job posting on Career Beacon

The new releases keep coming from Tatamagouche Brewing and they continue to draw inspiration from across the Atlantic, this time with an English Bitter. Haywain is a 5.3% ABV take on the style that starts with Horton Ridge pale malt, Caramel 60 and CaraAroma.  Bramling Cross and EKG hops were used to the tune of 37 IBUS, with some non-traditional late and whirlpool additions to amp up the aroma. There are a variety of ways to try out this beer, but we suggest trying to track this down on cask for the optimal drinking experience. Pins have been sent to the Stillwell Freehouse. You can also find it at other Tata tap accounts and at the brewery in cans and for fills.

Your visits to the Saint John City Market are about to get even better! Uncorked Tours opened their tasting room and meeting space in the market last year, with a patio and dedicated entrance at the corner of Germain and North Market streets. They’ve just announced they will be releasing their own branded Howlers (0.95 litre growlers) next month, and kicking off their Growler program. After coming in and enjoying a sample flight or pint, visitors can fill a growler of their favourite beer for enjoyment at home. Pair that with some fresh produce, cheese, or cured meats from one of the other Market vendors, and you’ve got yourself a perfect afternoon or evening in! In addition to the sweet howler designed by Owner and Tasting Room Manager Nathalie Nadeau, featuring their doggos Penny and Ruby, visitors can bring their own clean 0.95 or 1.89 litre (32 and 64 oz) growlers to fill. And if you’re in a pinch, they have 1 litre plastic containers to fill too. Pre-order your howler now for its first fill March 17th, or if you can’t wait that long, pop by next week for a fill of your own vessel.

To Moncton! To The Shack! Tire Shack Brewing has a few new goodies for those of you in the area. First up, their Hip Hop Series returns with its fifth iteration, each of which showcases a Double IPA that’s massively dry hopped with a single hop variety. Hip Hop Series: Volume 5 showcases Cashmere, a hop that brings great flavours of melon, peach, lemon, lime and a hint of coconut. It comes in at 8% ABV but the smooth drinkability makes it very (dangerously) crushable. This is available for cans, pints and growlers from the taproom today.

Also out this week, they are bringing the spice to the taproom releasing Mango-Habanero Sour, a 3.5% ABV fruity sour with a touch of heat. This one is only available for pints and growler fills at the taproom. 

Staying near Moncton, Flying Boats Brewing is releasing Red Cap, a Peanut Butter Stout. This was a taproom favourite that is now coming out in 473ml cans. Using as its base an English-style double oatmeal stout, it adds the natural peanut butter flavour in the final stages of fermentation. With a strong peanut butter aroma and notes of chocolate, it’s a sweet sipper at 4.8% ABV. Find it at select ANBL locations and the brewery; enjoy it while it lasts!

The City of Lakes’ own Lake City Cider brings a few pieces of news this week. Cardi P is a cider with Nova Scotia plums house-fermented to a rich wine and then blended with a selection of Nova Scotia apples before being rested with cardamom spice. This cider is 6.8% ABV and available in 750ml bottles from the brewery or online for delivery today. 

Also releasing this week is Green Ginger, a cider collaboration with Pop Culture Brew Co. This cider release is a blend of their Darkside Dry cider and the Ginger Kombucha from Pop Culture. This will have flavours of fresh apple with some floral notes and slight ginger spice on the finish. It is also available in 750ml bottles and is a 5.5% ABV blend available only from Lake City’s Dartmouth shop.

Back to a Nova Scotian cider for our next release, as Halifax’s Sourwood Cider has a funky new apple/wine hybrid available this week. And when the perfect name appears, why fight it? Hence, Hybrid, a blend of apples from a 100-year old Golden Delicious that underwent a 4-week maceration period, along with Marquette grapes picked from a vineyard on the Northumberland Strait that underwent an 8-week maceration period before pressing. Neither ferment saw any external yeast added, it was all thanks to the wild beasties already living on the fruits. After blending, a small amount of actively fermenting Northern Spy juice was added to allow a natural carbonation in the bottle. Only 50 cases of this special 10% ABV cider and wine hybrid were produced, so best make your way to their retail/taproom today to secure yours!

Over to Newfoundland, as we continue our journey across the region, for a re-release of a favourite beer, but with a new name and label to support an important cause. Port Rexton Brewing has teamed up with St. John’s Toslow for a few years now, producing a collaborative Sea Buckthorn Sour celebrating the downtown cafe/good beer bar. For this release, however, their efforts have shifted to supporting a group looking to make major changes in the food security of Newfoundlanders. Food First NL works with communities in Newfoundland and Labrador to improve access to affordable, healthy, and culturally-appropriate food. $2.00 from each can of Hold Fast will be going to Food First, with the goal to raise over $5,000. And of course a special release deserves a special label, which was designed by talented local artist Jenna-Wade. You can do your part by grabbing the beer from PRBC’s St. John’s Retail Shop, or at the Foodex in Port Rexton, this weekend, with more locations in between receiving deliveries in the next couple of weeks. You can also donate directly to a food bank or support group in your local region, check out their partners here (also the same list if you are experiencing food insecurity yourself). 

Staple of the rock, Quidi Vidi Brewing brings a new release to their Brewers’ Original series. Nathan’s Kveik Pale Ale is a dry-hopped pale ale with great flavours of honeydew melon and pineapple. Balanced, with a nice graham cracker malt flavour, it is fruity and easy drinking at 5.5% ABV. Available in 473ml cans from the brewery and online, it’s available today.

And speaking of Newfoundland Craft Breweries, their taprooms are currently closed due to the province being in COVID Level 5 (aka, now in the “Restore the Arse” phase), but that does *not* mean they aren’t able to get some tasty beverages in your hands!

  • Bannerman Brewing has recently commissioned a high-speed 16oz/473ml canning machine, meaning they won’t be running out of offerings any time soon. Hit up this page for curbside pickup options.
  • Landwash Brewery is also doing curbside pickup, and have been delivering to many locations on the Avalon. Check their Distro map to find a spot near you!
  • Baccalieu Trail has a pair of newbies on their virtual shelves this week, with Ediacaran Fuse NEIPA and Love Potion 709, a mixed-ferm champagne-inspired Brut ale both available at their retail as well as Marie’s Mini Marts in the area.

In Coming Soon news, Spryfield’s Serpent Brewing is closing in on the completion of their tap room located at 16 Dentith Road, which features plenty of seating, a dozen taps, a stage for live music, and a Mary Brown’s Chicken opening soon next door! To keep the beer a-flowin’, they are looking to hire both Full- and Part-Time Servers to round out their team. Beer knowledge, or willing and interested in learning some, is a major plus, as is being able to work on your feet to keep everyone happy in a soon-to-be-busy spot. The full details of the positions is on their website, and you can fire off your cover letter and resume to Matt@Serpentbrewing.com before the end of the weekend. 

A couple of rare in-person events to mention this week along with a more typically 2021 virtual one!

Modern Brewer’s Village Green is taking over the taps at HopYard Charlottetown today, showcasing 9 fresh and fun beers from the small brewery in downtown Cornwall. The taplist includes favourites found on tap already, like the Sabro Pale Ale and Bitter, as well as plenty of new beauties like NorCal Pale Ale, Dark Mild, and Lagered Ale, and will even mark the debut of the brand new New Zealand Pale Ale. As the name implies, this 5.0% Pale Ale features hops from the land of the kiwis, namely Nelson Sauvin and Motueka. This brew won’t be available in Cornwall until next week, even! On the “what to eat to pair with your beer” tip, HopYard has debuted the “Hola Amigo” menu this week – check out this post for the latest food options! And with just one keg of each offering on tap at the ‘Yard, you’re well advised to head there sooner rather than later!

We told you about this event last week, but a quick reminder about Belgianfest 2021 at Stillwell HQ this Saturday and Sunday. From noon til 10:00 PM both days, Stilly will be pouring some classic and rare Belgian treats with a great mix of kegs and bottles. The team in the kitchen will also be pushing out some Belgian dishes. Check out Stillwell’s social channels for more info.  If you happen to drop in on Saturday you may even see a few of your favorite intrepid bloggers.

For something a little different, tune into a free public lecture from the Nova Scotia Institute of Science this Monday, March 1st. Dr. Gordon McOuat, Director of the History of Science and Technology Program at University of King’s College, will be presenting The Science and Culture of Beer. From McOuat, “This talk will explore those key moments in the long relationship between beer, civilization, and science”. The full details of how to tune in are on their website, so grab a can or bottle of your favourite beer from your local brewery, and get your beer learnin’ on!

And a last few items for your perusal before you get on with your day:

If you’re more in the mood for cider this weekend, head to Truro Brewing Company to check out Cide Hustle. Using freshly pressed juice from Stirling Farms in Greenwich, Cide Hustle comes in at 6.0% ABV, features a hazy appearance and a semi-dry body. Find it on tap at the brewery on Inglis Place today. 

St. Patrick’s Day is mere weeks away, which can only mean one thing – the return of the Irish seasonals! Propeller is first out of the gate with their Irish Red Ale. Their take on the style comes in at a sessionable 5% ABV and combines roasty malt notes with an earthy hop character. Look for it through Propeller’s online store and three taproom locations this weekend.

Fans of good beer in the environs of Windsor, NS, have reason to cheer this week, as the Schoolhouse Brewing taproom is back after a COVID-related hiatus. Look for new things coming out of both the brewery and the kitchen as they get back to business, including a new Russian Imperial Stout on tap that will be benefiting their local food bank. 

Over at Unfiltered, Fist of God is making its return. This 8% DIPA is available now on North Street in cans and via fills if you have Unfiltered glass to exchange.

Well, we’re officially knee-deep into September now, and we have the perfect way to ring in the almost-last day of summer – the announcement of umpteen different returning Pumpkin Ales! Whether that brings you vast excitement or the urge to scream “Nooooooooooooooo……!” at the top of your lungs, there’s no avoiding it. But hey, there’s plenty of other new beers out there, too (including Octoberfests, natch), so let’s stop wasting time being smart about Pumpkin beers and just get into it, shall we?

Might as well dive in with one of those Oktoberfest releases, as the actual Oktoberfest in Germany starts tomorrow, and will run for a little over two weeks. That means Bannerman Brewing is releasing their Oktoberfest/Marzen, Safe Bet, just in time. This 5.5% ABV lager was brewed with a blend of Vienna, Pilsner, and Caramel malts, giving a copper-coloured beer that is “full-bodied, with a pleasant malt sweetness and nutty finish”. You can drop by the brewery in St. John’s to get your fix, where it’s available for pints and growler fills. 

Not to be outdone over in Nova Scotia, Boxing Rock has brewed up Equinox, a “classic Bavarian Lager”. With a grist made up of Pilsner malt, the wort was hopped in the boil with German hop varieties, keeping the beer as close to traditional as possible. After a lagering period at near-freezing temperatures, the final beer is now ready for purchase. Sporting “toasted bread flavours, and a soft spiciness”, as well as herbal notes thanks to the hops used, it finishes clean and dry and is mighty drinkable at 5% ABV. Available on tap and in bottles at the brewery in Shelburne, with bottles following at your local NSLC later in the fall. Also, the brewery’s Kolsch, Puck Off, is back, with their latest batch being released in six packs, each of which comes with a Boxing Rock hockey puck.

If you tend to lean towards the darker side when it comes to beer styles, and maybe you’re just a little over-hopped by all those IPAs and such that continue to be popular at the bars, you’ll be happy to hear that Fredericton’s TrailWay has taken a break from hoppy ales to release their first Stout in some time. Not your everyday stout, Snak-Pak was brewed with banana, chocolate, and vanilla! To be more specific in the details, once fermentation was complete, banana puree, Cholaca (a form of pure liquid cacao) and pure vanilla extract were all added, at different stages. This 5.5% ABV dark beer is “well balanced, but all three flavours can be picked up individually”. Curious? Drop by the brewery today when they open, and grab a pint/growler/cans to render your verdict. 

Elliston, Newfoundland’s fall festival, Roots, Rants and Roars, is happening today and tomorrow, and two of the province’s breweries have teamed up to brew a collaboration beer to celebrate! This “co-fermented” Kveik Ale, named Cellar Season,  was designed with festival organizers and Port Rexton Brewing and Quidi Vidi, and features a blend of PRB’s house Kveik (Ebbegarden) and QV’s house Kveik (Voss), both of which are from Escarpment Labs. This light-bodied Kveik beer came out with plenty of yeast character, including “banana, melon and clove on the nose, with spice, berry, melon, and orange on the palate”. Sounds pretty delicious to us! It weighs in at a moderate 5.4% ABV, and will be available at the festival this weekend. You’ll also be able to grab it on tap at the PRB taproom as of today, if you can’t make it to the festival (but you should!). 

Clarenville and Shoal Harbour are located just off of the Trans-Canada Highway where the Avalon, Burin, and Bonavista Peninsulas meet, and for those heading to the Roots, Rants, and Roar festival from St. John’s, a perfect stopping point. As such, the Newfoundland Cider Company located in the community has teamed up with the RRR festival to release the Roots, Rants and Roars Beet Cider. With Elliston being the root cellar capital of the world, it only makes to play on that and choose a veggie that is found in cellars across the province, and nation. The apple cider base underwent a wild fermentation, and was aged in oak barrels for 3 months. The matured cider was then infused with locally-grown (and -stored) beets before packaging. The result is a lovely rosé coloured cider with a semi sweet and balanced flavour. It is available at the Clarenville bottle shop as well as at the Festival. Be sure your Road to RRR includes a stop by NCC’s bottles shop or tasting room this weekend!

Upstreet has thrown down the gauntlet by announcing that today’s Neon Friday release will be the last new beer in their hoppy series of the year, so they’re under pressure to make it a good one! It IS their biggest Neon Friday to date, as Neon Friday 2.07: Hazy Double IPA is, well… a hazy DIPA. Guess the name kinda stole the blog thunder. But still, it IS a big beer at 8% ABV, and was mega-hopped with Cryo Simcoe, Ekuanot, and Amarillo, giving a very juicy brew with aromas of “fresh-cut pineapple, honeydew melon, and soft mint, as well as flavours of orange, lime, and banana”. Available right now at the brewery and Craft Beer Corner in all forms, and pints only in Nova Scotia. 

In Dieppe, NB, Flying Boats has just launched the latest in their Test Pilot one-off series, Test Pilot No. 6: New England IPA. The grist included a percentage of flaked wheat and oats, which help to add haziness, as well as boost the mouthfeel of the final beer. All hop additions were added in the whirlpool and dry-hop stages, and included large amounts of Vic Secret, Citra, and Mosaic. With 43 calculated IBUs, the beer has lots of tropical fruit flavours and aromas, and comes in at 6% ABV. Available at the brewery taproom in pints, growlers, and cans. 

While we’re in New Brunswick, let’s check in with another brewery that is releasing their take on the seasonal Oktoberfest style. Fredericton’s Grimross is today debuting their Oktoberfest Märzen-bier, a beer they’ve been lagering over the summer to have ready just in time for your home Oktoberfest celebrations (hey, drinking good beer at home is reason enough to celebrate, amirite?)! Brewed with a base of Munich malt, and fermented with the brewery’s house Lager strain, it was packaged after a 2 month lagering period. It’s showing off some “rich, toasted malty notes, with old world herbal hop flavour”, while remaining highly drinkable. Available at the brewery on tap and in cans, it comes in at 5.6% ABV and 27 IBUs. 

Speaking of Grimross, they are currently hiring for the position of Head Brewer. You can check out the full job posting here; of course, brewing experience at a senior level is a requirement. 

Before Hurricane Dorian made landfall in our region a couple of weeks ago, it caused major destruction and loss of life in the Carribean, with the Bahamas being particularly hard hit. With many Bahamians living, working, and going to school here in the Maritimes, there are many stories of tragedy of family and friends back home. This is very true for Gio Johnson, a brewer at Good Robot. In support of him and all those affected by the storm, Good Robot is dedicating their next release to raise awareness, and funds, for recovery efforts. Hope Nation Saison is a light-bodied Saison hitting the taps next week, featuring a bright lemony spritziness, a bit of spicy zing, and light fruit character. For those looking to contribute over and above the portion going from drinking a pint or filling a growler, the Rotary Club of East Nassau and Red Cross are two groups working tirelessly to rebuild the islands after the destruction.

From one of Halifax’s littlest breweries (motto: “we used to be smaller!”) comes a really big bastard of a beer this week, with Tidehouse releasing Mars. Featuring plenty of 2-row and Pilsner malts as a base, “massive” portions of chocolate, pale chocolate, standard and dehusked roasted barley, roasted wheat and flaked barley rounded out the malt side. While there’s a ton of dark specialty malts there you would expect to impart roasty and especially chocolatey flavors, we figure at least some chocolate flavor would also have come from the 198 Mars bars that were added at the end of the boil! But that’s not even all! Non-fermentable lactose was added to bump up the sweetness and the beer was finished with blackberries added at the end of fermentation. The result is an 11.5% ABV beer that’s darker than dark, with a slightly dry, tart and fruity finish to balance the sweetness. You’ll find it available on tap at the brewery starting today (but likely only for a little while), or take it to go in the traditional 650 mL bombers or much more reasonable “single serving” sized 340 mL bottles (yay!)

Every year, tens of thousands of folks descend on Southeastern PEI to check out the 70 Mile Yard Sale. This year’s event takes place this weekend, and what better excuse do you need to release a new beer? Montague’s Copper Bottom has created the way to toast the day’s great finds with 70 Mile Yard Ale, a 5.0% ABV American Wheat Ale. Brewed with 2-row, wheat, and acidulated malt, it was lightly hopped to 15 IBUs with Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo, and Centennial. Light-bodied, refreshing af, and thanks to the addition of orange peel, bright citrus notes shine through as well, to complement the aromas of bread dough. The beer will be launching tomorrow at the 70 Mile HQ at Wood Islands Village, as well as at the taproom with a kick-off event beginning at 3 PM. Mellow Dough will be on hand slinging donuts, PEI Pop Stand will have their gourmet popsicles, and DJ Logan Roche will be spinning some tunes to soothe while you count your new treasures. Download the booklet to plan your attack of the yard sales in the region! After the release, it will be available on draught and in cans at the brewery, as well as at bars around Charlottetown.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s favourite brewery has brought back a local favourite that is sure to sell out before you know it. Niche Brewing has been playing in the New England style with plenty of hazy and hoppy offerings, and they’ve got a fresh batch of Intergalactic back on tap in the Capital region, and beyond, this week. At 4.9% ABV, the alcohol may not be high, but the flavour is, thanks to massive additions of Citra and Mosaic added late in boil, and then dry-hopped with more Mosaic as well as Galaxy. Tropical notes of pineapple, mango, and citrus shine through, with the hazy-friendly yeast blend keeping the smooth mouthfeel and restrained bitterness in check. We’ve seen that it’s now pouring at The Joyce in Fredericton and soon at Pepper’s Pub in Saint John, with more kegs hitting the taps in the near future.

As we mentioned above, this is the time of year when we start to see one of the most polarizing phenomena in the brewing industry: pumpkin (spice) beer. Whether you’re a fan of it or not, you can’t deny the simple fact that if these beers didn’t sell nobody would make them. This week we had word of at least 4 (tasty treats/abominations) hitting the taps and/or shelves, all of them return engagements. We thought we’d put them all in one place so it’s easy to (get the news you really want/skip the section). We know the 902BrewCast guys will appreciate that; in fact, let’s call this The 902BrewCast Pumpkin Beer Roundup!! And be sure to check out their September Tasting Episode coming this Tuesday when they feature a totally non-polarizing style, Pilsner! So without further ado, here’s the first batch from the pumpkin patch:

  • A long time favourite for fans of the gourd is Propeller Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale. Using real pumpkins (from Howard Dill’s world famous variety from the Valley), the blend of seasonal spices accent the brew to be a true pumpkin pie in a glass. The 5.0% ABV beer is available at both Prop Shops and the private stores this week, and at the NSLC in the next little while.
  • Nine Locks have been making their Harvest Pumpkin Ale for quite a few years now, and this dark, full-bodied amber ale is a favorite with their customers. Both pumpkin and pumpkin spice are paired with a malty backbone and a crisp finish that’s perfect for Autumn. Available at the brewery for sure, we also see an NSLC listing, although we’re not sure if that’s from last year or for this year, so be sure to check ahead before making any plans to procure it from there!
  • Brasseurs Petit Sault way up in Edmundston has their Bonhomme Sept-heures back on tap this week. A big’un at 8.5% ABV and featuring a suitably seasonal spooky label, this coppery-colored amber ale has hints of caramel and a bit of biscuit sweetness to go along with the familiar pumpkin spices. Get a pint at the brewery or take a bottle (or more!) to go, it will also see distribution in select ANBL stores over the coming weeks.
  • Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewing has their Pumpkin Paddler back as well. Named for the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta, which sees participants paddling giant hollowed-out gourds from the Dill Family Farm across Lake Pisiquid. Unfortunately, due to a terrible growing season and Hurricane Dorion, there weren’t enough 6 – 800 lb pumpkins to hold the regatta this year, but there was enough of a crop to make the beer! Featuring both real pumpkin and the brewmaster’s secret pumpkin spice blend, you’ll be able to wax poetic about Pumpkin Paddles past while enjoying one. Find it on tap and in bottles at the brewery and at select private stores in the city.

The Brewnosers homebrew and beer appreciation club has been around since 1986, advocating for better beer and respect for beer, before some of us were even born. What started with four guys in a kitchen sharing beers has evolved into a group of hundreds who are still sharing beers and homebrew recipes, and advancing the state of good beer in the region. Saturday, September 21st, marks the group’s Hoptoberfest event, where members get to show off their latest brews in a relaxed and fun environment. And it is open to the public! In addition to the beer (so much beer!!), there will be hop- and beer-infused sausages from Cavvicchi’s meats, as well as veggie and vegan snacks (and you are encouraged to bring your own). It is taking place at a private residence on the Halifax peninsula (please check out the forum link for further details). There is no cost to attend, a donation for the meal is requested. If you are looking to chat beer, try some great homebrew, and have a fun evening (pop by any time after 4 PM), we can think of no better place to be! And for those who do make it out for a visit, Hammerhead Hops, a local hop supplier, will be graciously donating a pack of 2019 Canadian Cascade hops for your next brewday!

Old school gamers rejoice: this weekend the Propeller Arcade Levels Up! As we mentioned last week, for one weekend only they’ve expanded the arcade out onto the brew floor, bringing in lots of extra cabinets and games not otherwise on site. Open from 4 PM today and tomorrow, and for the first time, noon Sunday for a Family Day, with food from Hopyard Halifax. We’ll see you there! And don’t forget that Propeller holds a Cask Night every Friday, where they tap a small-batch experiment that the brewers have tried. This week’s new one is their Tropical Sour truly cask-conditioned, allowing a milder carbonation to finish the beer. 

Good news, Woodstock (NB) beer drinkers: the 3rd annual First Town Craft Beer Festival is happening tomorrow, September 21st. This year’s event is one evening session only (6:30-9:30pm), and will be held at a new location, at 205 Tamarack St. They expect to have around 25 vendors on site to pour their products, which include beer, cider, mead, wine, spirits, and coolers. Your ticket will get you unlimited pours for the evening, and there will also be food trucks on site, as well as plenty of games to take part in while you’re imbibing. This year’s festival will also include the debut of Carleton County’s own Cross Creek Brewing, who will be launching with five beers, all of which should be available at the event; be sure to drop by their booth to be one of the first to try their brews! Tickets to the event are still available; the VIP ticket gets you in an hour earlier, and also gives you free admission to the After Party with Wisecracker, which includes a cash bar and continues until 1 am (pace yourselves!).

The annual PEI Beer Festival is happening next weekend, September 27th & 28th, in Charlottetown at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel. With 35 vendors attending, there will be a wide variety of beer and cider to suit your “needs”. There are three sessions: Friday evening 6:30-9:30pm, and two on Saturday (2-4:30pm and 6:30-9:30pm); check out this link to go over your ticket options and prices (note that there are designated driver tickets available as well). While you can buy tickets at the door, there is a strong possibility that some or all sessions will sell out in advance, and tickets are slightly cheaper if you purchase them beforehand. There will also be food available for purchase at the event (including oysters), to keep your tummies full to absorb some of that sweet, sweet alcohol.

Not to be outdone by their peers along Highway 101 who have now done two Highway 101 Tap Takeover events, the brewers and breweries of Highway 103 have announced their own event, the Highway 103 Tap Takeover and Tailgate, happening next Saturday, September 28th, from 4 PM to 8 PM at Boxing Rock’s new taproom on Water Street in Shelburne. Featuring the fine folks and beers from the hosts along with Yarmouth’s Heritage Brewing Co, Chester’s Tanner & Co Brewing, Mahone Bay’s Salt Box Brewing Co, Liverpool’s Hell Bay Brewing Co, and Tusket Falls Brewing Co out of Tusket, the party will be tailgate style in the parking lot. Tickets are $25 in advance ($30 if you wait and pay at the door) from the Boxing Rock web store and entitle you to 8 four ounce samples and a commemorative tasting glass. There will also be food available for purchase, games, live music, and more!

Now that Newfoundland is approaching a critical mass of craft breweries, it seems only fitting that we’re starting to see more beer-related events popping up there. Next weekend will see a whole weekend’s worth of events going on at the 1st Annual Oktoberfest.NL event presented by the City of Mount Pearl along with YellowBelly Brewery and taking place at the Reid Community Centre. Starting with the Craft’ernoon Experience on Saturday, September 28th, from 2 PM to 5 PM you’ll find beers from Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co, Dildo Brewing, Landwash Brewery, Ninepenny Brewing, Port Rexton Brewing, Quidi Vidi Brewing, and, of course, YellowBelly as well. Tickets are $29.75 (plus taxes and fees) per person and entitle the bearer to four 5 oz samples and a soft pretzel. Later Saturday evening and into the night is Rocktoberfest, starting at 7 PM, where YellowBelly brews will be pouring along with wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages while Miss Conduct and 709 take the stage to provide live music. Prizes will also be awarded for the best Oktoberfest costume. Tickets for this event are $24.75 (plus taxes and fees) and include one 16 oz YellowBelly brew. And Sunday morning, if you’re not too done in from the afternoon and evening before, starting at 11 AM and going to 2 PM is a family-friendly brunch prepared by YellowBelly and with entertainment from The Swinging Belles. Brunch is included in ticket prices ($19.75 for adults, $9.75 for children, plus taxes and fees) and bar service is available. All tickets, including some combos (Craft’ernoon + Rocktoberfest, Craft’ernoon + Brunch, Rockoberfest + Brunch) are available online.

We have been spouting the community and economic benefits of breweries and cideries revitalizing smaller communities for years, with too many shining examples to mention here. In all four provinces of the region, there are stories of brewery owners moving to (or moving back to) a small town with other businesses, and residents, growing around them, supporting and growing each other. This is seeing amazing effects in Newfoundland especially, with breweries on both sides of the island, and soon Labrador, spawning new businesses, jobs, and vitality. As part of the Sustainable Communities Conference, put on by Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and North Atlantic Forum, there will be a public panel event with members of the brewing and distilling community, as well as those researching and assisting with funding, discussing the impact of these businesses in small towns. Held at The Stone Jug at 232 Water Street in Carbonear, the “Craft Breweries & Distilleries as Drivers of Rural Development” panel takes place 1:00 – 2:45 PM on Thursday, October 3rd. The event is free to attend, though the organizers do request registering in advance. It will be a casual environment, with local beer available for purchase, and a lively discussion and Q&A. And giving those in the region a good excuse to get out of town for some sight seeing around the Bay (and the many breweries in the region!).