Secret Cove Brewery

All posts tagged Secret Cove Brewery

Fall is nearly here, so that means a few things are here with certainty: Oktoberfest (!), Pumpkin Ales and rising COVID-19 cases. As we get excited for new releases and events currently going on, we see rising cases and lockdowns in Alberta. Make sure to enjoy what you can safely for yourself, friends and family and remember to check out all of the latest restrictions as part of your never-ending beer journey. Now, onto the fun stuff!

Let’s kick things off with a brewery that hasn’t graced these pages in a while. Digby/Kingston’s Roof Hound Brewing has released Aurora Haze, a 4% ABV session IPA. The beer gets its name from the Aurora aircraft that frequent the CFB Greenwood, near Roof Hound’s Kingston location. This hazy SIPA exclusively features Amarillo hops, which were only added during the dry hopping phase, keeping the bitterness low while pulling out all of those great hop aromas. Bottles and pints are available now at the Kingston location. 

In lovely Port Rexton, Newfoundland, their hometown brewery continues to release new and returning favourite beers, with a pair of collaborations out in the last couple of weeks. Celebrating the BonRexton GranFondo, which took place in Hurricane Larry’s wake last Saturday, they released Headwind Pale Ale. This 4.8% easy drinking ale is the right balance of citrus and stone fruit, with a touch of bitterness too. Still on tap at the brewery, as well as in cans at their St. John’s Retail Shop. And returning in cans is Shoreline, a Salted Stout, featuring salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company, headquartered in nearby Bonavista. Big roast and chocolate notes are complemented by the light minerality and mouthfeel in the 6.5% beer.

And congratulations to co-owner and Head Brewer Alicia MacDonald who will be in the keynote “Women in Beer – Equity, Inclusion and Solidarity” during this weekend’s Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference. Joined by other women in the beer biz, she’ll be joined by other female brewers and those selling beer, to talk on their experiences and what needs to be done to include more in the beer world. Still awaiting details if it can be streamed or watched later, but keep your eyes on the front page for the streaming of the Awards Saturday night…

Speaking of hometown breweries, Tatamagouche Brewing has released the latest in their Intertidal Series this week, their foray into hop-forward beers. Building on the Ekuanot Rye IPA and Idaho Gem, comes Intertidal Tiny. Living up to its name, this is a 3.5% Session IPA, which Brewer Chad Ellis built to impress from the ground up. Starting with Horton Ridge Pale and Vienna as the base malts, Malted Wheat, Malted Oats, and Chit malt rounded out the grains. Walking the tightrope of low alcohol without being too thin, a hotter mash was used to enhance the mouthfeel. Hops-wise, the fun started with mash additions, followed by big whirlpool and then dry hops after brew day. Focusing on Sabro and Mosaic, with a touch of Citra, the tropical, stone fruit, and citrus are strong with this one, complementing the coconut and lime. On tap at the brewery now, with cans dropping in store and on their webstore any minute now.

Propeller Brewing’s Flat White is back in stock as of yesterday. This white stout features many of the aromas and flavours you’d expect in its darker cousin, but in a format that tricks the eye with its golden colour. Prop’s version uses cold-brewed Java Blend coffee and cocoa nibs, that compliment a creamy mouthfeel and medium body, helped out by the use of flaked oats in the malt bill. Expect lots of coffee and chocolate notes in this 5% ABV take on the style, which also features 30 IBUs to keep those sweeter flavours in balance. Cans are available now at Propellor’s three HRM locations and online for delivery and shipping.

Montague PEI’s Copper Bottom continues their barrel-aged sour program with its latest release this week. Like Bramble and Thicket before it, Empire is a mixed ferm beer that was fermented then aged in oak for six, before being transferred to stainless and hit with loads of peaches before packaging and bottle conditioning. Fruit and funk shine through in this 5.1% beer, which is available in bottles at the brewery and their online shop for delivery Island-wide.

Downtown Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing is having some friendly in-house competition between 3 members of their brewing staff. “The Battle of the Brewhouse” is a draught-only competition at their taproom and patio on Alderney Drive. First up, from Lucas, is Rye Not?, a Roggenbier spiced with mace and Kashmiri chili. Roggenbier translates exactly to “Rye Beer”, which typically has a malt profile of at least 50% malted Rye, but can vary as brewers see fit. Lucas’ version uses 50% and comes in at 5% ABV with balanced sweetness and forward nuttiness, and a slight slickness also characteristic of the rye malt. The Kashmiri chili builds slowly for some pepper heat.

Next up from Chris is SORRY DAD, an American Pale Ale hopped with Chinook, Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria. It has lovely aromas of pine and orange, well balanced with some finishing orange flavours and full bodied maltiness; a 5.6% and 41 IBU offering that might just please everyone. 

The last beer in the Battle is from head brewer Mike, with New Wave, a Gose featuring local smoked sea salt and lemon grass additions. A twist on a traditional gose, this one was done using a sour mash technique with added salt and coriander as tradition would go, but also with lemongrass and smoked sea salt from Dartmouth’s own Maritime Salt. A very fragrant beer with citrus note and slight salinity and smoke from the sea salt, it comes in at 5.2%.

We’re not sure exactly how the competition works or what spoils go to the winner, but we’re sure that in order to participate you’ll need to head down and drink some beer and you’ll be sure to find out the details if you do!!

Port-au-Port’s own Secret Cove (that’s not too far from Stephenville, Newfoundland) has a new canned release available today that should be fairly widely available on the eastern side of Newfoundland for more to enjoy. Pee-Wee German is a Berliner Weiße with lime and is sure to be a refreshing and tasty release. A style that we enjoy all year around, this 3.5% offering should be easy-drinking, with slight sourness with a kick of lime. It is available in 473 mL cans immediately from the brewery, but also look for this in St. John’s at Marie’s Mini Mart, along with a few other offerings from Secret Cove. 

We started with the Oktoberfest info last week (or was it the week before?), but it’s coming hot and heavy now folks!

Last week we teased some details about the Oktoberfest festivities at Lwr Sackville’s TAPestry Beer Bar. The fun kicks off this weekend, with a mystery flight of German style beers for Flight School Friday and the beginning of the official two week celebration tomorrow. Circle Saturday the 25th on your calendar for Celebration Day which will feature a wide selection of German style beers from Nova Scotian breweries, a German inspired food menu and free prizes throughout the day. The festivities wrap up with Closing Ceremonies on Saturday, October 3. Check out TAPestry’s social channels (Fb/Ig) for more details.

Hot off the heels of their big US competition wins we mentioned last week, Moncton’s Tire Shack is starting their three weekend long Oktoberfest celebration tomorrow. Euston Park will be popping up a kitchen to serve some authentic German foodstuffs and, of course, there will be a special brew on the go, a Munich Helles they’ve dubbed Helles Yeah! Each weekend, $20 will get you a 1 L stein you can take home after all is said and done, plus your first fill up. Also, the beer has been packaged, so you’ll be able to grab some cans to fill it up again at home!

Montague’s Bogside Brewing is doing an Oktoberfest celebration with a salty, briny twist on Saturday, October 2nd, when they have their OYSToberfest. Two ticketed events are on the slate that day, the first being a Beer School VIP Brewery Tour and Tasting ($25 – tickets here) from 12:30 – 1:30 PM and the second a Shuck ‘U’ demonstration with John Petcoff ($70 – tickets here) from 2:00 – 3:30 PM. From there you can stick around for the Oyster Bar that runs from 4 – 8 PM and two live music events (Keira Loane from 3 – 6 PM and The Broad Cove Boys from 7 – 10 PM). Meanwhile, the brewery is also running a promo on some of their summer products: 20% off purchases of $75 or more on the following products: six-packs of Radler and singles of Sun of a Beach Hopped Sour, Cranberry Wheat, Spirit of Georgetown Gose, Strawberry Sour. Head down to the brewery or place your online order here.

Also on the Island, and last up (for this week, anyway) on the march to Bavarian bliss, is PEI Brewing Company, who are doing their OktoberFEAST on the weekend of October 8th. Starting Friday night at 4 PM with German-inspired food stations along with some not-so-German games (washer toss, cornhole, axe-throwing, and more), there will also be an old school re-release of Gahan Harvest Gold Pale Ale available on draught. On Saturday, things get underway at noon, with all the same games as Friday (except the axe-throwing), plus some game tournaments and other competitions where you can win some PEIBC gift cards. All ticket holders will also receive a 20oz beer stein and their first fill. Tickets are for Friday and Saturday are separate, and for Saturday there’s also the option to tag on an additional ticket for a post-OktoberFEAST album release show by Andrew Waite starting at 8:30 PM.

And here’s your last few quick hits to help inform your weekend beer purchases:

Earlier this summer, the folks at Breton put together a proper French saison they called Île Royale Saison with the folks from Fortress Louisbourg Association to be served at La Taverne Storehouse. With the season winding down, they’ve packaged what was remaining in cans so folks closer to town can enjoy it. We’ll warn you, though, a very small amount is available, so get yourself to the brewery (or put your online order in) in a hurry if you want to try it!

Lastly, if you missed the previous release, there’s a fresh batch of DOA available today at Unfiltered Brewing on North Street. Grab it in cans to go or find it on tap next door at Charm School now.

And if you’re a big fan of Citra hops but are closer to Fredericton than Halifax, Trailway has got you covered for  a citrus hoppy kick, as their Seeing Citra is also back this week. Sit down in the taproom for a pint, have a growler filled, or grab some cans to go!

Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has a lovely new liquid out that’s thoroughly Nova Scotia and shows what can happen when producers get together and try new things. Lake City married their classic Darkside Dry cider with Caldera Whisky from River John, NS, to produce Apple Jack, an 8.0% ABV concoction that brings notes of oak and spicy rye with plenty of apple presence. Available now in cans from the cidery.

And finishing up today on the Rock, where Landwash has a new “quick little lager” they produced with the KRISPY kveik lager-targeted yeast blend from Escarpment Labs. Coming in at 4.5% ABV and featuring German Saphir hops, look for a bit of spice and even some candied orange; a nice little beer to see out the summer! Look for it at the brewery now and elsewhere (hopefully) soon.

Well hey, we made it to mid-July and, even better for NSians, Phase 4! Although it’s definitely positive news and puts us one step closer to that “new normal” that we’ve been hearing about, it’s really important to remember that the lifting of restrictions in this phase don’t help everybody to the same degree!! Due to the continued need for social distancing, bigger venues get a whole lot more benefit from this than the little folks. That’s not judgement, that’s just facts. And frankly the little folks are the ones who’ve already been suffering the most. Now consider that the bulk of the craft breweries in Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic Provinces are on the smaller end of the spectrum. Now is not the time for complacency if you want your favorite local(s) to make it to the other side of this thing. While in-person space is limited, plenty of places are still doing on-line ordering for pickup and/or delivery; why not throw an order their way?

Let’s start with some news from Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula. Those who’ve been to the Landwash Brewery taproom in Mount Pearl can attest to the great vibes, cool interior design, tasty food options (care of in-house food truck Saucy Mouth) and excellent beer. However, a trip to the Pearl requires a bit of a drive, which may not be feasible for tourists or others spending time closer to downtown St. John’s. That changes this summer, as Landwash is taking its act to the Gut as part of the new Wharf at Quidi Vidi vending park and beer garden! In what’s shaping up to be a surefire summertime destination, the setup will feature outdoor seating, including a large tent to make it a rain or shine operation, an ice cream shack from the Quidi Vidi Sweet Spot, and food from Landwash mainstain, Saucy Mouth and the Bernard Stanley Gastropub. And of course, Landwash will be slinging pints from a custom built beer trailer. The Wharf is now open 7 days/week from noon to 9:00 PM, with plans to remain open until September 8th.

And while we’re talking new and exciting for the Landwash Crew, there’s also a new beer from them, a bit of an ode to their Mount Pearl home. With the City recently launching the Find Your Centre Renewal plan, and today being the first of Mount Pearl City Days, what better time to launch this collaboration! Find Your Centre is a 4.5% ABV Session Pale Ale, hazy and bursting with flavour from the massive amounts of Eclipse and Galaxy hops used late in the process, for flavour and aromas of mandarin orange and candied citrus. For the time being, the only place to grab a Find Your Centre is at the taproom at 181 Commonwealth, with cans and draught available for purchase. And until Sunday, your purchase of either will have you entered in a draw for a prize pack from the city, with plenty of goodies from local businesses. Win Win!

On the opposite side of the island, the crew at Port au Port’s Secret Cove Brewing has a new IPA out this week with the release of Citra Arse Down. This one was brewing with Canadian grown 2-row and Victory malt and was hopped exclusively with Citra from Yakima Chief Hops. Coming in at 5.6%, expect notes of orange and tropical fruit. Available now for pints at the brewery’s taproom.

Staying with IPAs, the makers of some of HRM’s favorite hoppy beers, Propeller Brewing, are back at it with the release of Pacific IPA. This one features two New Zealand hops, Pacific Sunrise and the elusive Nelson Sauvin. Look for flavours of white grapes, tropical fruit, citrus, pine and gooseberry (yes, let’s all keep pretending we know what that tastes like). Pacific IPA comes in at 6% ABV and 60 IBUs. Look for cans with the pop-top 360 Lid, last seen for Propeller’s DDH IPA, which celebrated previous years’ IPA Day. But 2021 deserves a brand new celebrator, and Pacific IPA is where it’s at! Cans will be available at Propeller’s three retail locations and home delivery today, as well as Bishop’s Cellar and other private stores and the NSLC soon. On tap for pints at Prop’s two taprooms (Gottingen and Quinpool), with kegs also heading to Battery Park and North end pals Sourwood Cider. Due to the smaller batch size, no growler fills of this beaut, sorry!

Downtown Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has a pair of new beers on tap and in cans this week, on opposite ends of the spectrum! Groove Delight is a Strawberry and Vanilla Sour, with plenty of lactose (milk sugar) added, the beer flirts with the “Milkshake Beer” category, but the gentle tart character from underlying sour keeps it from being too heavy and thick. Tons of strawberries added late in the process mean there’s plenty of flavour in the beer, which can be difficult. Available on tap and in cans from opening at 4 PM today. Also available is Big Swifty, a 9.5% Double IPA featuring loads and loads of Zeus hops (part of the CTZ trifecta with Columbus and Tomahawk, nearly indistinguishable from each other), for plenty of bitterness underlying the dank and resinous character of this Old School American hop. Pop by today to grab some of each, plus a few more, for samples and pints, growlers and cans!

Back to Newfoundland for some news from Quidi Vidi Brewery, who have recently opened their taproom’s patio down in the Gut, which may have the prettiest view at a brewery in the region (send corrections to @acbbchris). Celebrating more beauty is their Arts & IPA Series, where local artists’ work adorns the labels. The latest is Arts & IPAs 03 – Rye IPA, featuring The Voice of Currents by Mike Gough, born in Corner Brook. At 6.5%, Citrus and Spice come together, as the hops and especially grain shine through for a bit of complexity. Available now at their location in QV, as well as their Hop Shop at 16 Harbour View Avenue off Torbay Road, and coming soon to NLC and convenience stores across the Island next week.

Down in Lunenburg, NS, Saltbox Brewing is bringing out a new beer they’re calling Loud and Proud. A hop-forward American Pale Ale with classic notes of citrus, it is a collaboration with Lunenburg PRIDE, a non-profit advocacy organization for local 2SLGBTQ+ individuals of all ages and their allies who are, “committed to building an inclusive community on the South Shore where everyone feels safe, secure, and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.” Proceeds from the beer will be donated to Lunenburg PRIDE and you can be part of that by hitting a Saltbox tap room as of this afternoon to try a pint or two!

Keeping with the Pride theme, but heading northeast to PEI, Upstreet has released their seasonal Pride-themed beer, Rainbrew. A “strawberry lavender saison,” the style is a mouthful and so is the beer, but in the best of ways. Featuring an ingredient for each color of the classic Pride flag, it was built on a base of Island Malt House 2-row, oats, wheat, and rye. Hopping is courtesy of modern continental varieties Huell Melon and Barbe Rouge, and, as you’d imagine, strawberries and lavender were used, and also butterfly pea flower. Coming in at 5.5% ABV and 15 IBU, the initial impression is dominated by its distinctive pinky/purply color that you don’t find in many beers. On the palate it’s got a minerality and tartness paired with a touch of sweetness, and aroma-wise you’ll find some classic notes of clove, spice, a bit of bubblegum, and banana, all from the saison yeast, but also a touch of that strawberry and lavender. This is the fourth year for Rainbrew, which began as 2 kegs that sold out in one night and has gotten bigger every year to this year, where a double production batch was done. Proceeds from sales will be donated to Upstreet’s collaborating organization for this beer, Pride PEI to the tune of $0.50/can and $20/keg. The launch party was last night at the brewery, and as of today you’ll find it available for pints and growler fills as well as cans to go!

Staying on the Island for a moment but heading just out of town to Cornwall, the longest-named brewery in the region, Modern Brewer’s Village Green, has the latest iteration of their Weird Clouds New England-style IPA on the go this weekend. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, the hopping is classic Centennial blended with modern Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy. This killer combo brings notes of Creamsicles(™ Unilever) and sweet oranges backed by a firm, grippy(™ CPR) bitterness. On tap at the brewery and also available in cans to go.

And speaking of NE IPAs, back across the Northumberland Strait to Antigonish, you’ll find a brand new beer in that style from Half Cocked Brewing. Perfectly Unclear features an awesomely apt label on the can, and an aptly hazy concoction inside, with heavy floral and tropical hop notes owing, no doubt, to the two huge dry hop additions. With no real bitterness to speak of, this 6.6% ABV hop monster goes down easy, possibly too easy. Grab some cans or a growler fill to go at the brewery or sit and have a pint (or two).

And speaking of Antigonish, they’re officially a two brewery* town: Candid Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 88 College Street. which locals of the region will no doubt know as the longtime office of venerable newspaper The Casket. And if you visit their website, you’ll see they’re leaning into that heritage. For now, opening hours are as follows: Mondays closed, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3 – 9 PM, Thursdays to Saturdays 3 – 10:30 PM, and Sundays 12 – 5 PM. On tap you’ll find (subject to availability, of course), their five core beers and, as brewing time allows, some seasonals as well. Growler fills are available (retail hours the same as taproom), and you’re welcome to bring in any (clean!!) growler you might have or purchase one of Candid’s own. There’s no kitchen on site, but you’re welcome to bring or order in food from other places. Look for a profile of this new concern on Nova Scotia’s North Shore in these very pages soonish!!
* [Ed: possibly still one horse though…]

Happy Third Birthday to Lake City Cider, who have been busy these last few months putting together some great blends of apple and fruit together in fun and exciting ways, including their District Pride Rose (Dry cider rose with tart berries to complement), Field of Dreams (local apples blended with NS strawberries fermented and steeped with whole vanilla beans with a splash of black currant wine), and Cardi P (NS apples and plums, with a touch of cardamom). You can take home a Birthday Bundle featuring these three cuties, along with three more options as well an LCC-branded frisbee. Congratulations to Poet and the team!

Hey folks, do you miss the pre-pandemic world where you could hang out with your friends drinking brilliant beers from far-flung places? We sure do, and we especially miss doing so at the various Bars Stillwell!! If you’re the same, and you’ve maybe been living under a rock that shields you from beer-related news, boy do we have some good tidings for you about the potential return of something that might possibly feel like just a little bit of normalcy: on Saturday, July 24th, the Stillwell Freehouse will be hosting a special event featuring one of the best breweries in Belgium (and really, the world), Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen. No fewer than 19 unique blends from 3F will be on offer that afternoon, with bottle pours, 11 beers from the Speling van het Lot (Twist of Fate) series, and, of course, Belgian-inspired treats coming out of the kitchen. And if you’re feeling more contemplative than chatty, the back room will play two screenings of episode 5 of Michael Jackson’s (no, the other one) Beer Hunter, entitled “Burgundies of Belgium.” Note that reservations are being taken for this event, and it’s strongly recommended that you try to make one. To do so, email andrew@barstillwell.com.

We’ve got a few more short beer hits to share today before we dismiss you for the week…
Iron Rock Brewing in Lab City debuted a new Pale Ale this week, which will help you strike it rich… Prospector APA weighs in at just 4.0% ABV, but thanks to a whole buncha Citra hops used late in the process (end of the boil and in the dry-hop), it is not at all light on flavour and aroma, with plenty of citrus and floral character complemented by low bitterness. On tap for pints and growler fills, and wider distribution in cans in the coming weeks.

O’Creek Brewing, the nano in Dieppe, NB, has a new beer pouring that they’ve dubbed Snap Cryo Pop. Featuring the Cryo Pop Hop Blend from Yakima Chief, it’s an NE Pale Ale with a very tropical bent. Look for citrus, stone fruit, and hints of coconut in a 5% ABV package. It’s available only at Le BarBu BeerGarden for now.

Out in Sackville, NS, the new hip beer bar, Tapestry Beer Bar, has received several inquiries about private bookings. Well good news for those folks who’ve been looking to make such a booking, they’re going to be possible! Obviously, rates and availability will vary, but you’re welcome to make contact to find out whether it’s a fit for your group. There’s some contact info on the website, but you can probably also slide into their social DMs (Fb/Ig) to ask. And keep your eyes peeled on the blog as we have a full interview with owner Ian Smith in the coming days!

Bedford’s newest brewery, Topside Brewing, has been working to get their beers out to other places beyond the brewery. Look for them on tap at Finbar’s Portland St., Finbars Bedford, HopYard Halifax, and Battery Park. Several of those locations have their newest beer, Backyard Blonde, but you also may find summer staple Joyce’s Boy Hefewëizen and core offering On the Bottom DIPA as well.

Bannerman Brewing in St. John’s is putting out some of the Rock’s finest fermented beverages, but they haven’t been packaging all of them. New to cans this week is Broad Strokes, their lagered German ale at 4.8% ABV and made with Pilsner and wheat malts. Eventually you’ll be able to grab some (while quantities last) at NLLC licensees (Marie’s Mini Mart and Urban Market 1919, we believe), but for now you’ll have to head to the brewery.

If you’re looking for a beer job in Halifax, we think you could do far worse than with our friends at 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street. And now would also be a good time to be looking, as they’ve got a couple of positions that they’re looking to fill: brewery production assistant/delivery driver and part-time bartender and packaging assistant. In both cases you’ll be working with a team that puts out high quality product and cares deeply about their roles in the brewing community and the general Halifax community as well. More information, including instructions on applying, can be found by clicking the “Careers” link on their website.

Long Weekend in the Maritimes, woohoo! That may mean your favourite brewery, restaurant, bar, or retail shop is closed Monday, so please reach out before you visit. Better yet, stock up now and spend the day in your jammies enjoying the best of the region. Here are a few suggestions for what to have in your glass…

Let’s begin today’s post some sad news, hitting close to home. Niche Brewing in Hanwell, NB, has announced that they have brewed and packaged their last beer and will be closing. We understand there are many factors leading to the decision, and both Rob and Shawn will certainly be a part of the New Brunswick beer scene forever, having started as avid homebrewers over a decade ago, taking the leap into opening a brewery with an impressive variety of releases, and ending on their own terms. As some may know, Shawn has also been one of the authors of this blog, and we’re reflecting on the great writing and contributions he’s made to the Atlantic Canadian beer scene over the past 8 years (!!), using his voice to help promote others in the same space as Niche. And though we’re very disappointed, we must acknowledge that Shawn has retired from the blog as well. Thanks brother, we look forward to sharing a beer together again when it’s safe.

Some thoughts from each of us…

“I remember the first time I had Niche was at The Joyce in early 2018. All I had to read was “Brett Table Beer” and I was sold on Something Different. It was only a few months later their beers showed up more and more at Stillwell and then in the fall they had an excellent tap takeover at Stillwell. I’ve been lucky to have spent some time with Shawn and the region is lucky to have had this brewery’s funky, sour and aged treats for many years. I’ll cherish my cellared Niche beers for years to come. To the cool kids!” – Damian

“When I heard that Shawn Meek was planning to open a brewery, my first thought was “who’s that?”… little did I know that Niche would become such an innovative and delicious presence in the Atlantic Canada beer scene. I’ll miss seeing the Allagash of Hanwell on the wall at Stillwell, and the bottles smuggled in from New Brunswick by he who shall not be named. All the best Shawn and cheers to what’s next.” – Devon

“Even before I was press-ganged into the blog, I was aware of Shawn’s brewing prowess thanks to his personal blog and his homebrew comp triumphs. When I heard that he was starting a brewery it seemed natural for someone so passionate and capable to take the next step. How he continued to be a family man, work a full time job and also write damn near half this blog most weeks I will never know. But I’m awfully thankful for it. I’m also thankful for so many fine beers of a quality and variety that many breweries much bigger and more established have trouble matching. I’ll miss hearing about what’s coming out of Hanwell before everyone else, but I hope we can continue to butt heads, kibitz (at Chris’ expense, when possible), and also share a beer or two when the stars align (Orval, maybe?). – Aaron

“Shawn, I can’t remember exactly when or where we met, but I’m glad we did! GDAH or FCBF, right? It’s been a wild ride, and what I do remember is the fun we’ve had together with a beer in our hand (or not!), shooting the shit, and fixing the (beer) world. Thanks for saying “Yes” when I called in the big guns to partner up for the blog, and still being crazy enough to write it while juggling everything on the go in the real world. While there may not be much more Niche coming our way, this just means the homebrew will be flowing freely soon, right? 😉😜 Looking forward to sharing another pint with you again soon, brother!” – Chris

OK, enough feeling down on ourselves…. For those of you fortunate enough to live in the Capital Region (and beyond), check out your local ANBL or Brewery Agency Store to ensure you grab bottles of Niche’s releases before they are gone (like gone, gone). Plus Niche draught is still pouring at a few spots in the region, including The Joyce, Bar Stillwell, and better beer establishments in between.

Let’s kick off the new beer news of the week with a pair that were a long time in the making, from the small town of Montague, PEI. Copper Bottom Brewing is debuting the first in their foray into barrel-fermented and -aged farmhouse ales, both brewed mid-2020, and allowed to develop plenty of character over the past 6 months.

First up is Thicket, a 5.0% Wild Ale with Blackberries. Starting from an uncomplicated malt bill of Vienna and Pilsner Malts, with some Raw Wheat and Spelt added to give the little beasties something to chew on over time, the wort saw just a small addition of Centennial hops used at the end of the boil. The hops are not the star of this show, however, with a blend of yeasts in the “tart saison” family pitched as the wort was added to a pair of white wine barrels. The yeast was allowed to do its thing over the next three months in the barrels, before being moved to a stainless conditioning tank, where a healthy serving of wild blackberries were added. A second fermentation and conditioning took place over the next two months, before the beer was bottled still, and allowed to carbonate naturally in glass. Bright, tart, and complex, with the blackberries lending a touch of sweetness to the final package.

Patina is the second release out today, and while it started with the same base wort, it was fermented with a blend of yeast blends, with Brett Sour and Saison yeasts and other beasts coming together to dutifully chew away at the sugars. Fermented directly in a pair of Pinot Grigio barrels, the beer was allowed to sit for 6 months, before packaging and allowed to finish in the bottle. This 4.8% beer is lively, funky, bright, and features just a touch of oak.

Both beers are available in the taproom and retail today, as well as for delivery through their online shop. Those in the area are seriously recommended to drop by this evening to try the two new beers, as well as take part in the pop-up by roving pizza empire Dough Boy Industries. In the taproom from 5 PM this evening, there will be 13” pies and garlies available for ordering, as well as live music from Joce Reyome. Arriving early and/or reserving a table (902-361-2337) are the best ways to avoid disappointment. Keep an eye on other events at Copper Bottom through their Events page, where they have all of their weekly Saturday and Sunday shows listed, as well as special events, including Ashley Condon’s concert March 6th, and Garrett Mason on the 20th.

Let’s head North East to Deer Lake, Newfoundland, to our friends at Rough Waters Brewing. While their brewery retail spot is currently closed (thanks COVID!), that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to put out some great beers to the province’s beer stores. Backcountry Saison is out in the wild now, just aching to be taken on an adventure in nearby Gros Morne National Park. Featuring 2-Row, Wheat, and Vienna malts, it was lightly hopped with Centennial and East Kent Golding, before being fermented with an iconic Saison yeast, lending plenty of spice and spritz to the beer. Enhancing those characteristics were additions of coriander and orange peel at the end of the boil. 6.9% with a dry finish, keep an eye out for this one! Also hitting the shelves of the Marie’s Mini Marts and other good beer shops reeeeeal soon is Plum Pint. Those in Western may recognize the name from a local spot, but anyone can enjoy this 5.0% Wheat Beer, which features an addition of plum puree post-fermentation. Smooth and fruity, tasty all way round!

Back on the mainland, Truro Brewing Company is releasing Dark Necessities. This 10% ABV Imperial Stout was aged in a “Bourbin-ish” barrel from nearby North River’s Raging Crow Distillery. Expect big, rich chocolate notes, some coffee and a smooth bourbon character in the finish. Packaged in 650 ml bottles, you can find it today at the brewery, onsite at Raging Crow and tomorrow (Saturday) at the Truro Farmers Market. Beer drinkers of Truro, consider your Valentine’s Day plans resolved. 

In other TBC news, the brewery is holding a contest to name a new Double IPA that they are planning to release at the end of February to coincide with their first anniversary. Send your most creative idea (a nod to something local would help) via DM on their social channels or to trurobrewco@gmail.com by February 25. The winner will be announced the next day, with a $50 TBC gift card and t-shirt up for grabs. 

Big Spruce is giving us ‘an early taste of summer’ (apparently they are ignoring the long-range forecast for Nyanza) with the release of Day 6. This 6.4% offering is a co-fermented blueberry sour with Brettanomyces. Expect a deep purple colour with upfront flavours of tart blueberries and lemonade, followed by some comforting notes of chamomile tea and blueberry jam. We’re told that kegs are heading to Battery Park and Primal in the city. 650 ml bottles should be available in the webstore tomorrow. And as always, you can find Day 6 on tap at the source in sunny Nyanza.

If you’re like us and enjoy the occasional hop explosion taking over all of your senses, 2 Crows is here with their first take on the aggressive style. Space Words brings the hops. At 10.1% like other Triple IPAs we’ve seen around the region, this one comes in at 70 IBU and is loaded with Galaxy, Eclipse and Comet hops. Onto the nerdy details! This ale was brewed with a base of German Pilsner malt, flaked wheat, and Golden Promise, with sucrose added to the boil to boost the ABV. Next up, this was hopped judiciously in hopback with Galaxy and Comet. This was fermented with a blend of juice-forward hazy yeasts, as well as a unique nectar specialist yeast Metschnikowia reukaufii (from the brewery – “This yeast was initially harvested from flowers in the Berkeley Hills of California, and is thought to have evolved to make flowers smell better for pollinators by altering nectar compounds like glycosides”). Think Bio-transformation in a big, big way! This IPA was quadruple dry hopped with the three featured hops and is the juiciest, boldest and hoppiest beer to date from the Brunswick Street brewers. This beer is available now in 473ml cans and you can have it delivered right to your door ordering directly from the brewery to get this as fresh as possible!

Nanobrewery O’Creek has a pair of new beers in the wild these days, on tap at several spots in the GMA. First up is The Flyer, a 6.8% NEIPA, using Talus, Citra, Centennial, and Amarillo hops to blast your senses with full on orange, tangerine, and citrus character, yet with a smooth mouthfeel. Named after one of the fastest boats used in the rum trade in Kent County, best get yourself to CAVOK or Tide & Boar for a pint before she’s gone! Also keep an eye out for Outback IPA, a 6.2% all Aussie hop-bomb, featuring Galaxy, Enigma, and Vic Secret. Dank and tropical, this can also be found on tap at CAVOK.

A blog favourite from the 2019 Stillwell Open returns again from Propeller. Sabro is a flavourful Double IPA packed with intense tropical hops. With a flavour packed with Sabro hops, you’ll get some passionfruit, pineapple and coconut. This is a hazy favourite clocking in at 65 IBU and 7.5% ABV. Available in 473ml cans at both Prop shops today, online too, and will be hitting the private stores in HRM next week.

Did you know that Trailway Brewing, Fredericton, NB’s pied pipers of hazy hopjuice, have been tickling your tastebuds with lupulin-laden delights for six years now? Well if you didn’t, then now you do! With things being what they are pandemic-wise they’re not planning anything huge to mark the occasion, but they’d be happy to see you and the gang from your 10-person bubble visit the taproom to celebrate with some pints, or just you picking up some cans to toast them with at home. And they’ve got plenty of options for you in both cases, including at least four very fresh batches, to wit:

  • Beans, their oatmeal stout with coffee and, fittingly, a keg of which was the first keg sale Tw made (to The Joyce, of course!), is back on tap and in cans.
  • Voyager, a very soft 8% ABV DIPA that they haven’t brewed in quite some time, and featuring two of the juiciest hops known to humankind: Citra and Galaxy, is available once again, this time in a double dry hopped version!
  • Green Island, which sees two fairly new hop varieties, Idaho 7 and Cashmere join forces to bring out juicy berry and pineapple characters in a hazy 6% ABV package.
  • Box Theories, another DIPA at 8% ABV, this one with new hop hotness Strata combining with old and busted (but we still love it*) Mosaic for a bright and tropical, yet still soft and juicy, flavor experience.

And if there’s anyone out there reading this in Quebec who’s a fan of Trailway and has noticed their beers in La Belle Province, you very well might be seeing the three IPAs listed above at your local dep or wherever you’ve been finding it before.

* Except Chris. But he’s weird in other ways too. Happy Birthday buddy!

The good folks at Tatamagouche Brewing are bringing out a big bodied banger for Valentine’s Day with a nice twist on their Russian Imperial Stout. They took their original RIS recipe, added some chocolate wheat and then it was racked into Bourbon barrels from two different barrels. With the addition of chocolate wheat to this release, nice rich, roasty and chocolate flavours come through with a touch of coconut. This 650ml bottle release is 10.3% and is available now. Get this directly from the brewery’s online shop, as they ship across the nation!

Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing is, like everyone else, very happy to see that Moncton is finally out of the red phase, COVID restriction-wise, and in particular they’re excited to start helping to hook you up with some of the beer they’ve been stockpiling a little during the increased protocols. Fans of the brewery will no doubt be happy to know that Parts N Labour, their 6% ABV New England IPA, is back, this time featuring a different variety of hops, namely: Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe. “A true haze bomb,” you can expect to see (and experience) the effects of biotransformation due to dry-hopping during primary fermentation. This one is already available at the brewery for pints and fills, and, canning gods willing, also in cans later this afternoon!

Meanwhile, there’s also two smaller batches done on the pilot system available for enjoyment at the taproom (and very possibly fills to go). Their Belgian Quad is a rebrew, this time with their own house made Belgian Candi Sugar. And a new one, Peanut Butter Pastry Stout, which is described as “dessert in a glass” and features a healthy dose of lactose, is expected to be on tap starting today.

Down in the Annapolis Valley, or at least at the head (tail?) of it, lies Horton Ridge Malt & Grain, home of both a local malting operation and its eponymous brewery and taproom. Just in time for Valentines Day they’ve got a couple of special editions available that have been in the works for a while. First is their Barreled Bar Dog, a barrel-aged variation of their Bar Dog stout. But instead of the typical bourbon or whisky barrel treatment, this one had a stay in a red wine barrel from Valley neighbours Luckett Vineyards. At 6.6% ABV this one maintains the roasty malt and chocolate character of the non-BA version, but adds some dark fruit character. Second is Brunch, which might put you in mind of something light and fruity, but if it didn you’d be very, very wrong. Taking its name from a special ingredient, it’s an American Barleywine weighing in at a hefty 10.6% ABV. Featuring some maple sweetness from pure maple syrup sourced from their neighbours at Hutchinson Acres as well as a smokey bacon finish that we’re not going to speculate on how they accomplished, but maaaybe if you’re vegetarian or vegan you’ll want to ask some questions before purchasing. At 10.6% ABV we don’t really recommend having more than one of these with brunch unless you’re planning an afternoon nap. We don’t know about whether they’ve got either of these on tap, but we can tell you for sure that they’re available for purchase in 375 mL bottles!

If you’ve kept an eye on local craft beer social media as of late, you may have noticed the fine folks from the Change is Brewing Collective took a trip down Shelburne way. In addition to visiting the Black Loyalist Heritage Center, they took a visit to Boxing Rock to brew a beer! Brewed on February 4th, get ready for the release of Back to Birchtown Old Stock Ale. A 6% ale that could be reminiscent of a warmer, sweet caramel of a winter warmer. The inspiration from this ale comes from traditional Birchtown brewing ingredients of raisins, brown sugar and molasses. 

This beer is actually releasing at the end of the month in 650ml bottles, but you have the opportunity to order a limited edition package with a collaboration mask and admission to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre for future use, all for $26. The label will also be designed with Change is Brewing and likely the mask as well. 100% of the proceeds from this beer and this package will be donated to the Change Is Brewing Collective and the Black Loyalist Heritage Society. Pre-order at the link here.

A trio of short beer blasts to finish your assigned reading for today!

The fine folks at Hell Bay Brewing in Liverpool are releasing a new canned beer, Sea Sea Salted Chocolate Porter. Details on the beer are scarce at the moment, but we do know that you’ll soon be able to find this 6.0% ABV offering at NSLC locations and on tap at the brewery.

Port au Port, NL’s Secret Cove has a new beer out this week, what they’re calling a “small beer with lots of character”. Chesterfield Road may only be 4.8% ABV, but this Session IPA still packs plenty of oomph in the can, thanks to lots of late addition of Mosaic and Cashmere hops. Tropical, citrus, beery, and pine, without the headache tomorrow morning! Their first Island-wide release, check out your local good beer shop to grab some, and of course on tap for pints and growlers at the taproom too!

Heading back south, Tusket Falls Brewing Company is releasing the latest in its experimental beer series with Raspberry Milkshake IPA. This one features Citra and Mosaic hops, with a base malt of chit malt.  The milkshake aspect comes from the addition of lactose sugar, followed by conditioning on Madagascar vanilla beans and raspberry puree. Expect notes of raspberry candies and some citrusy hop notes from this 7.5% ABV offering. Check it out at their taproom today.