Seasoned Plate

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Welcome to the Spookiest weekend of the year! There will be plenty of little ghouls and goblins on the roads in colourful (and not) costumes Sunday, so please slow down and keep your eyes peeled for them. If you’re able, we figure the right play is to stay home and hand out treats from a distance to them, while enjoying the latest releases from around the region. The breweries in all four Atlantic provinces have stepped up this week in that department, and we’re tickled to share the latest offerings with you today!

Let’s kick off this week’s post with news of a pair of new beers hitting the taps in Spryfield Nova Scotia, thanks to their very own Serpent Brewing. Fresh off a win at this week’s Craft Draught Showdown at The Carleton, where this first beer made its debut, helping secure the win. Sprytown at Night is the latest version of their community brew, Sprytown Saison. Going dark in colour for the 6.0% “at Night”, it leverages the rich date and raisin character in addition to the colour of the dark malts, complementing the tart and spicy original Saison. Both are available on tap and in bottles and cans now. And debuting this weekend is Pumpkin Konig Tripel, a seasonal version of their ever-popular Tripel. Translating to “Pumpkin King”, this release saw the addition of plenty of hand-roasted Pie Pumpkins added for a little extra fermentable sugar (7.5% ABV here!), as well a soupçon of pumpkin to enhance the original clean yet complex Tripel.

And the perfect time to enjoy these two new releases is probably going to be Saturday, as they transform the brewery during “Devil’s Night Bash”, as they welcome Roadside Scarecrow and Caity & The Crowns for live music in their space, from 8 PM until midnight. And if that sounds a bit too spooky, pop by earlier in the day to enjoy wood-fired pizza from Dominic’s Cucina, who will be set up in the parking lot slinging pies that afternoon, from 2 – 9 PM. 

Fans of Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing know that they like to lean into the spooky season and this year is no different. Heads Will Roll is their returning “blood red” IPA featuring irresponsible amounts of hops, largely as late additions. As all good red IPAs (bloody or not) should be, this one has a solid malt balance and a firm, but not overpowering, 35 IBUs of bitterness. You can expect this one to be fruit forward and aromatic thanks to the Amarillo and Citra hops, and at 6.7% ABV, it’s right in the wheelhouse for the style. You can find it on tap in house or in cans to go from the brewery, and we expect it’ll pop up on their online shop for curbside pickup or local delivery any time now!

If you combine the recent renaissance of craft lagers with the seasonal shift towards darker beers, what do you get? Why schwarzbier, of course! Combining a rich malt base, roasty coffee and chocolate notes, a hint of spicy noble hops, and a crisp, dry finish, we’ve got a couple of fine examples in the region to which we’re no doubt adding another this week, this one from Lunn’s Mill. Dark Moon Lager is a small batch, session strength beer at 4.5% ABV that was brewed with the new moon and lagered for an entire lunar cycle. Premiering at the taproom in Lawrencetown in concert with tonight’s Lunn’s Mill Witches’ Ball, it will remain on tap at the taproom for pints and fills as long as it lasts, while city slickers should be able to find it on tap at Stillwell in the coming days, and for the patient, there’s a chance you’ll see some canned as well.

Sticking with the moon theme, Port Rexton Brewing up in *checks notes* Port Rexton, NL, has brought back their seasonal twist on an NEIPA theme: Chasing Moon. Although the “turn a light beer dark” trick isn’t uncommon at this time of year, PR went for extra degree-of-difficulty points by making a dark NEIPA! Maintaining the pillow-y smooth mouthfeel and prominent hop character, but taking a bit of a left turn with some dark fruit notes and, of course, a color you’d never expect, it’s got a medium bitterness and a hearty 6.7% ABV. You’ll find it on tap and in cans to go in the taproom as well as at the PR St. John’s Retail Shop; maybe grab yourself one of these and their flagship (not dark) NEIPA Chasing Sun for a little compare and contrast session. Also, a reminder that PR’s taproom hours have been updated for the rest of the year and you should check them out before heading down.

The Modern Brewer keeps churning out the good stuff at Cornwall’s Village Green where this week sees the return of two favorites. First up is a new version of Weird Clouds, their ever-changing IPA series. Version 7 comes in at 6.1% ABV and features Columbus hops for bittering and a dry-hop of Strata and Idaho 7. Expect notes of clementines and blood orange in this one. Also making a return is Modern Bitter. Brewed with Maris Otter, English Chocolate and Crystal Malts, this sessionable sipper is hopped with East Kent Goldings. Cans of both are available at the brewery now. And a reminder that VG Employee #001 Mark Misener’s last day slinging pints is today, so stop by their Cornwall location to send him off in style, before he takes on the Big Smoke next month!

Way back in September, as part of their Tap Takeover event at Bar Brewdock in East Duck, the crew from 2 Crows made the trip over to take part in the fun. Part of that fun was brewing up a special collaboration with the fine folks at Bannerman Brewing in between the laughs across the street. The fruit of that labour is out today, a beer they’ve called Before Time. Using Pilsner and spelt malts from PEI’s Shoreline Malting, as well as 2021 crop whole leaf Saaz and Mount Hood hops from Lakeview Hops of Harvey Station in New Brunswick, this is truly an all Atlantic Canadian collaboration brew. A 4.5% “Landbier” (German for “beer of the area”), this light and crisp lager was designed to be perfect for enjoyment anywhere and at any time, no matter the occasion (or none at all). Available on tap and in cans at Bannerman on Duckworth, and at select NLC and Marie’s locations around St. John’s.

Lake City Cider is celebrating the release of their latest blend, the simply-named Peaches. Featuring ripe Nova Scotia-grown peaches that were crushed and then co-fermented with local apples, both base fruits shine through in the finished product, which also features just a hint of almonds on the nose. Refreshing and juicy, this 5.5% cider is available on tap and in bottles at their downtown Dartmouth location, as well as their online shop for delivery.

If you’re a craft beer drinker in Atlantic Canada, you hopefully have experienced the glory that is the English Dark Mild style thanks to beers like Tatamagouche’s Darling, Lunn’s Mill’s Myld Stallyns, Baccalieu Trail’s Undertow (the Strong variant of the style), British Mild Ale from Grimross, and the recent Dark Mild from Village Green and Some Mild from Serpent. You may not know how lucky we are, but trust us when we tell you there are lots of places where you can’t find a single example of this style! Our luck continues this week with a new local option for Dark Mild, this one from North Brewing who have released Whirligig English Mild. A lovely low-alcohol option with plenty of comforting malt flavor for the season, it’s described as biscuity and roasty with hints of spice, making sure to bring plenty of flavor in spite of a paltry 3.2% ABV. You’ll find in cans and on tap at the brewery, at their “other” retail location at Battery Park, and available via their online shop for curbside pickup, local home delivery, or shipping.

On the north shore of Nova Scotia Candid Brewing has a brand new beer out this week, in collaboration with supplier Brew Culture. Dubbed Monster Mash, this one is big in a couple of ways, starting with a whopping ABV of 8%, continuing with a hefty 80 IBUs of bitterness, and finishing with a massive hop presence in both aroma and flavor from the exclusive use of Yakima Chief’s exclusive Cryo Pop hop blend. Super punchy and aromatic, there’s a ton of tropical character in this one, and they’re not expecting it to last long. Get it now at the Candid taproom.

Staying in the environs of Antigonish, but going in the totally opposite direction in terms of style, Half Cocked Brewing has a new beer coming out this weekend as well. Leveraging the KRISPY blend of kveik yeast strains from Escarpment Labs, Pip is a pseudo-American Lager (pseudo- in that kveik yeasts are ale yeasts) with a simple grain bill, a touch of American hops, and a 4.5% ABV. With a bit of spice and citrus complementing the crisp and dry finish, this should be an easy-drinking “tastes like another” experience. Find it starting tomorrow at the brewery, where you’ll also find Halloween at Half Cocked going down, with $1 off pints for costumed customers, food from The Crafty Cooks food truck, and door prizes as well!

Tide & Boar Brewing continues to elevate the craft with the release of their aptly-named The Pilsner, a 5.5% ABV crisp Czech-Style Pils. Although it’s been on tap for a few days, it’s now available in cans as well for your home drinking enjoyment. Sticking with tradition, they made the extra effort to lager it for a full three months before release to let the yeast perform its final slow march of cold-temperature clean-up tasks before falling out and leaving a clear and crisp product. Find this one to stay or go at T&B now!

We haven’t had the opportunity to chat about Saint Anthony Newfoundland’s RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company in a little while, so we figured it was time for an update from this Great Northern Peninsula original. After opening their doors in November, 2019, they have been carrying on as best they can given the pandemic and all of the complications that brought everyone’s way. While they have temporarily closed their taproom for renovations and to launch their online portal, they are still brewing away, and are now stocking the shelves at Urban Market 1919 and several Marie’s Mini Marts in the St. John’s region. With ten canned offerings available at the various retailers, from Odin’s Beer Cream Ale, Boggy Bottom Brown Ale, to their Hela’s Fury IPA, there’s plenty of options for all! Congratulations to the RagnaRöck Crew, and we’ll be sure to let you know when their taproom is open again for regular service.

Our favourite podcast came back this week, with 902 BrewCast releasing the October Tasting Episode on #902sday. They invited Stephen Barrett of Seasoned Plate on to chat about all things Belgian Beer (or Belgian-inspired), food and beer pairing, and what they’ve got in the works. Stephened Plate shares his favourite local restaurants, shops, products and more daily on his IG page. One of those upcoming things is a virtual cooking event tomorrow, October 30th, where you will cook along with Stephen and a bunch of other keen folks, making Spaghetti Carbonara. Sign up now to receive the recipe and event link, and grab a great Italian Pilsner (preferably locally-brewed) to pair for the evening. “One for the sauce, one for me”. And grab the latest episode of 902BC here… perfect for listening to while you do your shopping or preparing your ingredients.

And speaking of favorites, and since we’re posting on the day of, a very Happy Birthday from us to (home?) brewer extraordinaire and overall grumpy bastard Brian Harvey. Although you may not have heard his name, if you’ve been drinking craft beer in NS for the last few years, chances are you’ve had some of his beer, owing to his many homebrew competition wins and collaborations with various breweries. He won’t read this because we’re posting after 12 PM (he’s got standards, y’know), but maybe it’s better that way!

In addition to the various events mentioned alongside beer releases above, there’s another one happening in Moncton this weekend:

Tire Shack Brewing is transforming their space into a Haunted Shack this weekend, as they get into the spirit of things. Both Friday and Saturday, costumes are welcome in the brewery (along with that proof of double-vaccination, of course!), and both evenings will see DJ Jaredactyl spinning some spooky tunes. To celebrate, they have brewed up a special beer: a Chocolate-Raspberry Jam Stout, on tap only, that pours like a goblet of blood! 

One job opportunity in the region’s brewing industry; if you’re in (or willing to relocate to) Fredericton and looking, maybe check it out!

Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing is hiring a full-time permanent person as a Brewtique and Taproom Supervisor. Managing the business aspects of the retail and taproom operations, they’ll be in change of staffing, training, inventory control, creating SOPs, and more. Grimross offers Health and Dental insurance, and this position is a tipped one as well, so could be the right fit for you! Check out the full job posting and apply here.