Here we are at the tag end of February and for much of the region we’re just now seeing a real tangible bit of winter. With messy weather today throughout much of NB/NS/PE and cold temperatures forecast throughout the weekend, it seems like a perfect weekend to stock up on some bigger brews and hunker down for some fireside sipping. And we’re in luck on that front, with the region’s breweries stepping up with a bunch of new beers on the go this week. So read on, plan your purchases, and be sure to check socials and brewery websites for changes to brewery hours or closures due to weather!! Our next post will be firmly in the warm(er) embrace of March with Spring just around the corner. Right? Right?!!?!
Kicking off the blog this week with two exciting news pieces from Paradise, Newfoundland’s Banished Brewing. Banished Imperial Stout is a brand new 9.0% ABV release, and chock-full of chocolate and coffee notes thanks to the dark and roast malts used in the mash. Full mouthfeel and plenty on the go to fuel your evenings hunkered down in front of the fire. Available at their retail shop on Maverick Place in Paradise, and heading out to retailers this coming week. Otherwise, grab it from Canada-wide shipping on their website.
And making their Mainland debut, Banished has sent over a pallet of kegs and cans to the fine folks at Bar Stillwell and the Stillwell Freehouse. Between the two locations, you’ll find An Elaborate Series of Mirrors American Lager, Groundskeeper’s Best Bitter, Crosstown Cooldown Coffee Porter, Space Puffin NEIPA, and Out the Gate Belgian Single on draught, and cans of Liquorsauce Lager, Paradise Town Tangerine Sour, No No No Yes No Pale Ale, Space Puffin and Intergalactic Puffin NEIPA and Triple NEIPA, Tall Trees WC IPA, and Jim Time DIPA. These debuted yesterday, so get your butt down there soon to avoid disappointment!
Lab City’s Iron Rock Brewing has teamed up with Microbrasserie St-Pancrace, as part of the Quebec Brewery’s 10th Anniversary celebration. While not exactly “close”, Baie-Comeau is only an 8 hour drive from Iron Rock, so that’s about as close as things get in that neck of the woods! Their collaboration is a 6.4% Maibock, a malt-forward lager, with notes of brown sugar and dried fruit with a lovely bready aroma. Available to enjoy at the Iron Rock taproom now! And joining it is the first of IRBC’s Pilot Brews, Peanut Butter Porter. It is what it says it is. 🙂 Enjoy on draught in the taproom or by growler to take away. Check their IG for this weekend’s goings ons!
Halifax’s Propeller has made quite a habit of new and interesting releases over the past couple of years and this week sees another. Lykos is a dry-hopped lager coming in at 5.2% ABV. Crisp and dry, as an easy-drinking lager should be, but with the added interest of a dry hop regimen that provides aromas of orange and apricot and a finish reminiscent of black tea. You won’t have to blow any houses down to find this one, it’s available from the Prop shops, for online ordering and home delivery, and will be at all the private stores in the city in short order.
Speaking of lagers, and sticking in Nova Scotia, Tusket Falls is releasing one of their own. Slow by Nature references the 60-day lagering period that helped bring this German-style Helles Lager to its crispy best. Featuring a balanced palate of honey and malt sweetness paired with dried floral notes, it has the characteristic German Noble hop finish provided by Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. And at only 4.8% ABV it’s very likely to taste like another. Look for it at the brewery down in Tusket or in the city on Gottingen Street; and don’t forget that Tusket does online ordering and country-wide shipping so you can try it wherever you might be.
Hub City’s Tire Shack Brewing has a pair of new releases for us this week. First up is a small experimental release, a Coffee Belgian Quadrupel. Starting with the iconic Strong Dark Belgian beer, which featured some Candi Syrup made by their very own Brewmaster Henry Soares. Complementing and enhancing the already flavourful dark and sweet dried fruit character, coffee from Down East Coffee was added after the fact. At 9.0%, this seems like a beer to either start, or end, your day with! You can pair that with the previously-debuted Mango IPA. Juicy as all get out, the mango further bumps up the tropical notes from a generous dry-hopping of Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe. On tap and in cans at the brewery today. And for those who are looking to spread love and generosity, the Tire Shack Crew are taking part in a 5k charity walk, raising money for Coldest Night of the Year through Youth Impact Moncton. Check out their team page here!
Getting a head start on this year’s International Women’s Day (coming March 8), Port Rexton Brewing has Violet Femmes on the shelves and on draught now. This returning favourite is a 4.6% dry-hopped sour, featuring butterfly pea flower, which is a lovely shade of purple in the glass. As always, the beer is not only a celebration of woman, but also a fundraiser for community groups, and this year is no different. For 2023, PRBC is teaming up with the SaltWater Community Association, with all proceeds of the beer going to their Women’s Shelter in Bonavista. VF is available now at their St. John’s Retail Shop and the Brewery in Port Rexton, with further distro happening shortly! Keep your eyes open for t-shirts with this year’s can design, coming soon. We hope this is the first in many releases to celebrate and contribute to important Women’s causes, as they are important causes for all.
Speaking of PRBC, and looping in Landwash in Mount Pearl, we’ve got another beer to tell you about from the Rock this week and it’s (obviously) a collaboration between the two. Continuing in the Landwash tradition of collab beers with portmanteau names (cf. Dream Time with Bannerman), Blazing Waves is what you might expect to get if Port Rexton’s Blazing Sun and Landwash’s One Wave had an itty bitty barley baby and then raised it on a steady diet of hops. It’s actually not so itty bitty though, stomping through the playroom at a beefy 10% and positively reeking of citrus, stone fruit, and a slight dankness. Very large quantities of Citra, Nelson Sauvin, and Simcoe are to thank for that. This one is only available at Landwash (cans and draught) for now and the quantities are limited while the wheels of distribution turn ever so slowly, but you should start to see it in your usual haunts in the coming week or two.
Back in downtown Halifax, Gahan Nova Centre is releasing a new beer, but an old beer. How does that work? Through the magic of long-term aging in barrels, of course! Originally brewed almost two years ago, Winter Warmer has been quietly maturing in one of Gahan NC’s oaken foedres since then, copping some mild tannic notes from the wood and developing deeper notes of cherry and sweet malt. Not a huge beer by any means at 5.5%, it’s been packaged in 375ml bottles, perfect for a nightcap by the fire on a cold winter weekend. It’s also been shared around the region, so whether you’re in Halifax, Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, or Moncton, you can grab some at your local Gahan location.
Sticking with the winter warmer theme, but flipping the script a little from beer to mead, Eventide Mead has a new one available this week. Winter Warmer is a sparkling mead pumped up a touch with cinnamon for a decidedly spicy presentation that will warm you from inside out. Coming in at 5.7%, it’s been packaged in 500ml bottles which are available at the meadery as well as their stalls at Alderney Landing Market and Seaport Market on the Halifax side.
Always ones to keep things short and sweet (maybe not…), Unfiltered Brewing has announced that this year’s version of their big, bold, brash, and boozy Russian Imperial Stout is available now. Commissar 2023 spent some time aging in oak, is definitely not rum-fortified, and is a whopping 11.5%. 500ml bottles are available for purchase now at the North Street brewery, and available to enjoy in person at Charm School next door.
If you thought we were done with NFLD news today, you’re sorely mistaken; it seems like a boom week for beers up there this week. Across the island from where we last left you, all the way to Corner Brook, we’ve got Boomstick bringing a brand new pale ale they’re calling, Braaap! What the hell is, “braaap,” you ask? We’re just a bunch of mainland city slickers, but we’re pretty sure it’s a reference to dirt bikes, ATVs, and/or, more seasonally, snowmobiles! (Seriously, say it to yourself. Loudly. Again. We bet you just absentmindedly reached for a phantom throttle and said it again.) Anyways, Braaap! is a pale ale at 5.6% with a restrained bitterness but plenty of citrusy aroma and flavor from Citra and Mandarina Bavaria hops. A perfect après sled beer, the key word there is “après,” you dig? You can grab it at the brewery now.
If you’re not from around these parts, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the name of the new beer from Shipwright Brewing as a reference to the MacKay and MacDonald bridges across Halifax Harbour. But locals know that Shipwright is in Lunenburg and there’s no way they’re naming a beer after bridges in the city (and non-locals ain’t reading this blog, we’d wager). What bridges do they mean? Well, we don’t know either. We do know that Two Bridges is a double IPA with a bracing 80 IBU and 8.5% ABV. So if you’re curious about the name, maybe head on in and ask as you sample a pint or grab a crowler to go.
Let’s close out this week’s new beers with one more from the Rock. Continuing their 5-year collaboration with the Newfermenters homebrew club, Quidi Vidi Brewery has released Midnight Poacher Dark American Lager. Brewed by Mark Fitzpatrick, this 5.0% ABV brew has big roast and chocolate flavours, along with some dark fruit and an earthy hop note, with light bitterness. Available now Quidi Vidi’s retail locations, and soon across the Island in NLC and convenience stores. Look for more in that series to be released throughout the year!
OK, one last thing for real this week… In case you didn’t know, Halifax will be hosting the 2023 Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference, happening June 1-3. With thousands of attendees expected from hundreds of breweries across the country, there will be tons going on for the 21st installment of the event, whether as part of the conference, or as hosted by local breweries and good beer establishments around the HRM. To help keep the conference running smoothly, the organizers are looking for some volunteers to assist before and during the event. There are plenty of perks in helping out too, as you can imagine from a beer-centric event! If that sounds like something you’ll be able to assist with, please reach out to Megan and sign up! Let her know the ACBB sent ya!