Sober Island Brewing

All posts tagged Sober Island Brewing

It’s the middle of October folks, which in a normal year would probably mean lots of darker beers in the works, a decided downturn in thermometer readings, and plans afoot for Halloween festivities. This isn’t what you’d call a normal year by any stretch, though, and last week’s outbreaks in New Brunswick were a sobering reminder of that. But you’ve got to figure that the proper balance to sobering is drinking! So read on for all the beer news we could find to help you find that balance in your life! And remember that taprooms, restaurants, and bars are extending patio season, so keep that in mind as another way to maintain safe distance beer enjoyment. Just make sure you bundle up!

Great news Prince Edward Islanders! Your fair isle just got a little beery-er. Located at 30 Church Street (aka 1 Cornwall Rd) in Cornwall, the Village Green taproom has opened their doors. What is Village Green, you ask? Well, it’s the first foray into brewing for Bryan Carver in a few years, one that has been in the works for a long time. Carver has a long history in the PEI beer scene, working as the Head Brewer at PEI Brewing Company for many years, joining DME for a time, somehow finding time to become a Certified Cicerone, and now launching Modern Brewer. Village Green is just the latest piece in the overarching plan for Carver, and you’ll be able to learn much more in our Profile coming out next week. But in the meantime, head to Cornwall to check out the taproom and chat with Bryan or Mark who will be working the taps. Their own beer is slated for release later this month, but in the meantime you can enjoy six other Island beers and ciders on tap, or wine by the glass. They’re open Fri – Sat 12 – 9 PM, Sun 1 – 6 PM, and Mon – Thur 4 – 9 PM. 

Last Friday, just a little too late for that day’s Wrap-Up, TrailWay Brewing announced that they were releasing their newest bottled, barrel-aged beer. As the old folks like to say (present company included), better late than never, as we’ve got all the info on that beer for you to feast on today, if you haven’t already. The beer is named SPLIT, and it has been in the making for two years. It began its life in October of 2018, when the brewers mixed a 50:50 blend of wort that had spent the night in their coolship with beer that had already undergone a secondary fermentation with the brewery’s house culture. The resulting blend spent 18 months in a single Zinfandel barrel, was packaged in 750 mL bottles, and spent another 6 months conditioning. The final 6% ABV beer is finally ready, sporting “a deep and complex funk with a bright, subtle acidity and beautiful, oaky Zinfandel character”. They’re expecting this one to evolve over time, naturally, so do your best to hold onto some in your cellar. They’ve still got some bottles left for purchase; they’re available exclusively at the brewery while supplies last.

If you live in Moncton and feel like heading out for a beer this weekend, Tire Shack Brewing is currently pouring a new American IPA at the taproom. When they were designing the recipe for Parts & Labour, their aim was to go big on hop aroma, while keeping the bitterness low, all with easy drinkability. They feel like they’ve hit those targets with this 6% ABV brew, as they threw in plenty of Loral and Simcoe hops, resulting in a beer that is “bright and extremely refreshing, with flavours of passion fruit, lychee, and tangerine”. Though it’s limited to pints and growlers currently, it should be available in cans very soon (if not by the time you read this).

Truro Brewing Company has a new beer this afternoon, freshly tapped and ready for your enjoyment! Red Sky is a traditional Red Ale, featuring a touch of roast to complement the notes of caramel and toffee. Kicking it up a notch are the locally-grown Willamette hops from Wicked Hops Farm in Stewiacke. Brewed by, with, and in honour of fellow bad-ass women knocking down walls and ceilings in traditionally male-dominated professions, Red Sky is available at the taproom for pints, samples, and growlers.

PEI Brewing Co. is playing around with Brettanomyces again, with their latest beer, Wild Intentions: Kettle Sour. After souring with Lactobacillus, a Brett yeast strain was used to ferment the wort, giving the final beer pineapple and pear aromas. At 5% ABV and 14 IBUs, it’s tasting “dry and sessionable, with a slight sourness”. You can find it now at the PEIBC taproom and Gahan Beer Store; it should be following at Gahan House locations, PEILCC stores, and select ANBL locations next week.

The “tiny brewery that can” in the heart of downtown Halifax is back at it with another release today. Tidehouse Brewing is releasing a unique take on the hazy IPA style, by adding citrus green tea from nearby World Tea House. Green Cosmos was lovingly hopped with Amarillo, Idaho 7, and Cascade, enough to get you excited, but not so much as to drown out the tea. Expect a dry finish and the lovely notes of tea to come through. Their retail shop is open from 2 PM today and tomorrow, and if you visit early you will be able to snag some cans of Porchlight too. Keep your eyes peeled for a return of some old favourites next week, as they look back on their 4 years in business and re-release some bangers! 

Next Saturday in Halifax you’ll have a chance to experience the launch of the latest jam from the Change Is Brewing Collective of BIPOC individuals working to bring positive change in terms of diversity and inclusion to the brewing industry. This time they’ve collaborated with Halifax’s 2 Crows to produce a beer they’re calling Good News. A Berliner weiße fruited with raspberry and mango, this 3.1% ABV beer started with Pilsner and both malted and unmalted wheat in the tun before being soured with Lactobacillus plantarum and then fermented with a super fruity strain of the famed Scandinavian Kveik yeast. Conditioning took place, in typical 2 Crows style, on a huge amount of fruit: 950 lbs of raspberry and 725 lbs of mango, before the final touch was added, namely a light dry-hopping with Enigma and Huell Melon. The result is described as, “super jammy, super fruity, and super fun!” Your first chance to try this beer will be at a BIPOC Makers Market next Saturday, October 24th, from 12 – 4 PM, followed by a Food Pop-up featuring Hibiscus Specialty from 4 – 6 PM, and a spoken word poetry session by Deirdre Lee from 7 – 7:30 PM. Sounds to us like a full afternoon and evening celebrating diversity and drinking great beer!

What’s on the go in the near future? Here’s a few things bubbling up soon!

Charlottetown’s HopYard Beer Bar has a few tap takeover weekends planned in the next month, with Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing taking over the taps on the weekend of October 23 & 24th, with ten different options flowing. And HopYard will be doing double duty as they welcome Darmtouth’s North Brewing to the Island November 6th and 7th, as well as see the launch of Dough Boy Industries, with their pop-up pizza oven on the go all weekend. Keep an eye here, and on everyone’s social media, for tap/topping lists. 😉

If you happen to be hanging around Sheet Harbour, NS at all over the next couple of months, we should pass on that Sober Island Brewing will be hosting a series of Brewers Dinners, with the first starting next Saturday, October 24th. Each will consist of a 3-course meal, with each course being paired with a Sober Island brew. The food includes chowder with buttermilk biscuit and molasses beer butter, Thai chili-breaded chicken wings w/ Asian slaw, and Chocolate Stout cake. As well, head brewer Tim will be on-site to introduce each beer and food item, as well as to answer any questions you may have about the beers or general brewing process. A maximum of 20 guests for each event will be allowed in order to comply with distancing restrictions; the other dates are November 14th, November 20th, and December 11th. Tickets are $40 each (they recommend booking in groups of 4, if possible), and can be reserved by phoning 902-885-2072, or heading directly to the taproom. 

Speaking of Sober Island, they will be the host of this year’s Cask in the Sticks event, being held November 7th. They have invited a handful of breweries from across the province, as well as homebrewer David Pepper, to prep a pin of their favourite beer. You’ll be able to sip the good stuff from Big Spruce, Harbour Brewing, Lunns Mill, Tatamagouche, Uncle Leo’s, and maybe even a couple more! Your ticket gets you your first pours, a toque, and live music. Food will also be available for sale, and all proceeds will be going to a local non-profit organization. Call the brewery to grab your ticket for either the 1 – 3 or 4 – 6 PM session (or both!). Those loveable beer grumps from the 902 BrewCast will be onsite judging the onesie competition, so be sure to come dressed to impress!

Of course the Oktoberfest events continue, with Montague’s Bogside Brewing holding theirs next Saturday, October 24th. The “Oktobeer Fest” will be held from 2-5 pm, and will feature a German food menu, happy hour beer prices, and live music. You already know they are killing it with German-inspired beer, with their Lighthorse Kolsch and North Lake Lager, and their Shoreline Smash Dunkel is back on tap just in time. Oktoberfest in Atlantic Canada is definitely winding down, so this may be your last chance to partake in all the fun… and really, who can say no to Oompah music? We dare thee.

Friend of good beer Old Road BBQ in Truro has adjusted their fall hours to be open 12 – 9 PM Friday and Saturday, and have music in the taproom or on the patio almost every night. They are gearing up for a big event on October 31st, with Willie Stratton celebrating the end of patio season with a big bash. Tickets for the evening are just $10, or for those visiting from out of town, a killer deal on a room at the nearby Inn on Price hotel and a pair of tickets is just $100. Further, those who take advantage of this package will be entered in a draw for a massive platter fit for two (or more) to enjoy that evening, including beers! Details on the entertainment tickets, and hotel package, are available here.

And for those looking for some tasty Bar-B-Q, beer, and live music in Halifax should drop by Murphy’s On The Water October 29th, with Them Other Johns providing the live music, and Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing providing the beers. Details and tickets available on the NSBC Events page. Lastly on the BBQ front, for those looking to enjoy some BBQ for lunch, Old Road has been catering for businesses since they’ve opened, but are now offering a Thursday lunch option, starting October 22nd. Gather up the crew (10 order minimum), and fire them an email before Tuesday night to get on the list! More details here and via email.

We’ve got a little about a lot more beers today, enjoy!

Bad Apple Brewhouse has a new, funky pear and apple cider joining their repertoire. Pearadise of Funk was brewed with Brettanomyces yeast, as well as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus bacteria, making it “light, effervescent, and wildly unique”. Available right now at the brewery.  

Speaking of cider, Meander River has a new one of their own, from their Small Lot Cider series. Strawberry Basil is a cider made with… we’re pretty sure you can take a good guess at which two ingredients are extra special in this one! Available on tap at the brewery, as well as in bottles.

Tusket Falls Brewing have scaled up Woke Up Quick, a 7.5% ABV Brown Porter brewed with smoked malt, lactose powder, cold brew coffee, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cocoa nibs to a full, 20 BBL batch, since it was so popular when it was first released. This time around it’s available in cans, starting today.

Quidi Vidi has a brand new one-off available at the brewery – Sour Kveik (4.7% ABV) was fermented with the Laerdal Kveik strain, and has “a complex and pleasant sourness, with lemon, passion fruit, and honeydew flavours” as a result, with a touch of honey-like sweetness to balance the tartness. Also available for online orders.

And speaking of Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Breweries, they received some great news this week, when the provincial government announced that they were increasing discounts on the commission paid to the NLC. The discount is increased to 95% on the first 100,000 litres of product, which wholly encompasses the production of 15 of the 19 craft breweries in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is expected to save the industry more than $1 Million dollars annually. And in doubly good news, the commission/markup collected will be the same whether the beer is sold at the brewery, NLC, or convenience stores. Both of these steps mean more money staying with the breweries to fuel hiring, expansion, improved distribution, and countless other improvements. There’s a good article from CBC outlining some of the real-world numbers. Good on the province and the NLC to recognize their role is not only to regulate the sale and production of alcohol, but to promote businesses to thrive and improve the economy for all. With small independent beer accounting for less than 5 percent of overall sales, there’s plenty of room for growth in Newfoundland and Labrador beer!

Thanksgiving 2020! We made it! A time to (safely) get together with family and friends to celebrate the changing seasons. Whether you’ll be gathered in person, or virtually, we hope you’re able to do so with some great local beer. And if you’re venturing out Sunday and/or Monday, be sure to check that the restaurant, bar, taproom, or brewery is open. As someone who’s been burned by Google Maps hours of operation suggestions a lot recently, always best to call or check social media!

Great news for those in Western New Brunswick, after a few dry years, you now have a local brewery once again! Tobique River Trading Co in Perth-Andover has been open and serving their own coffee for a few months, but have now officially released their first beers. Available now at the brewery in cans and growlers for take home enjoyment, as well as the local ANBL and nearby agency stores. So, what have they put together for you to enjoy? Great question, voice in my head!

  • The Old Highway is their 5.7% flagship, a Blonde ale with a crisp finish.
  • BeechGlen Blonde, a 5.0% “faux blonde”, bordering on a light lager, with very low bitterness.
  • Better on the Tobique, a 6.0% featuring a touch of sweetness from the Honey malt used in the grist, and a complement to all sorts of food dishes.
  • Monquat Citra, a 4.8% light and refreshing pale beer, with a serious citrus dry hop to have you thinking this could even be a radler (but it ain’t).

Pop by their spot at 694 Perth Main Street this weekend for your first tastes, and congratulations to the Tobique crew!

Staying within the bubble (don’t we always?), we head just across the PEI border where we have been treated to many …treats… Lone Oak brings us Sour Outage, a 7.0% golden sour with another throwback to Hurricane Dorian from September 2019. Sour Outage was aged on 700lbs of Cherry Plums that staff, friends and family handpicked from The Grove Orchard shortly before Dorian hit last year. After being aged for a months on the cherries, this sour gives a nod to all of the crews working to restore power to Islanders after one of the most devastating storms to hit the Atlantic. Sour Outage is now on tap for pints at the brewery with bottles-to-go available around October 16th. 

Nyanza’s Big Spruce has big news this week with an entirely new beer, a very seasonal re-release, and the annual return of a regional favorite. First up is the newbie, a style unseen in this region, we believe. If you’re at all familiar with the Alsace region of France, you’ll know that was a hotly contested area between French and Germanic states for hundreds of years and thus has heavy cultural influences from both sides. Those cultural influences obviously include language and food, but more importantly, beer! Just as Alsatians have their own versions of coq au vin (with Riesling, of course) and Sauerkraut (Choucroute), they also have their own take on the classic German Pilsner (although, somewhat ironically, it has been argued that it’s got more Czech roots than German). Generally featuring a little bit of corn, which flies in the face of the German beer purity law, and local Strisselspalt hops, it’s lighter in color and flavor and more bitter than most French beers. Big Spruce has adopted the corn aspect in their Pils d’Alsace, which they sourced from a farm in Cape Breton that dries corn to make their own grits. Crystal clear, with a big white head, the aroma is redolent of herbs, spices, and biscuit, with floral and herbal notes on the palate and a slightly bready body. The crisp finish will no doubt leave you contemplating the similarities and differences between this substyle and it’s German and Bohemian brethren, but also another sip. This one will likely also be a lovely beer for a study in contrast between pale European with amber European lager, and the folks at Big Spruce are happy to help with that too, as they’re also releasing their very seasonal Amärzen Grace. Amber in color, full-bodied, and balanced very much towards the malt side, Märzen is the OG Oktoberfest style which was served at Oktoberfest in Munich up until the 1950s when it was replaced by the lighter golden Helles Oktoberfestbier style. Big Spruce’s version is 6% ABV and has the color of burnt honey, with an ivory-colored head. Look for notes of toffee and brown bread, with dried and candied fruit notes that lead to a slightly sweet aftertaste. We don’t know that this one will be packaged for retail sale, but we don’t doubt that if you find yourself at finer taprooms around the Province in the next couple of weeks you’ll bump into it.

Also coming out of Big Spruce this week is the return of one of the classic big beers in Atlantic Canada. Ra Ra Rasputin was the brewery’s first bottled beer, announced in early 2016, and is now (we think) in its 5th iteration. In keeping with the tradition established in the past couple of years, there’s more than one version available. As always, the classic formulation is a Russian Imperial Stout that was aged in barrels from Glenora Distillery for three months and then cellared for bottle conditioning for another two months before release. We suspect at this point, with the recipe and process well-defined, that it will be consistent with everything you already love about Ra Ra. This year’s alternate version, however, is a horse of a different color. Started last year, it was aged in tawny port barrels for nine full months, hung out in stainless tanks for an additional three, and then was packaged and given the same two month bottle conditioning period. The result is apparently extremely smooth, with only a touch of alcohol on the nose despite the 10.5% ABV. Look for plenty of barrel character, in terms of both vanillins and tannins, with aromas of sweet vanilla, chocolate, fruit, and coffee, and a palate presentation that’s not unlike black forest cake. Even better, if you’re leery of buying a 650 mL bomber of ~10%-ish beer and having it stare at you from your cellar as you wait for just the right night to commit to taking it on, worry not, Big Spruce has heeded the call of beer geeks everywhere to make a big beer a little more bite-sized: both of this year’s Ra Ra variations are available only in 330 mL single-serve bottles. So you’ll be able to have one by the fire on a chilly fall evening and then walk to bed without risking life and limb!

You’ll be able to try both of these Ra Ra Rasputin variations, and probably the Pils d’Alsace and the Amärzen Grace as well, along with a host of other Big Spruce beers (including a collaboration with Chain Yard Cider) tomorrow at Battery Park in Dartmouth. In total, 19 taps of Big Spruce will be pouring along with seven different vintages of RaRa. Social distancing and mask rules apply, of course, but they can’t stop the great beer from flowing! After that, look for bottles and draught at Bishop’s Cellar and Stillwell Beer Bar.

Moncton, the hub city, rises again with a festive release from Tire Shack. Do you like lagers? Duh. Do you like Vienna? You bet your Schnitzel! Let’s throw that together for a Pumpkin Vienna Lager! The Wickerman, brings a taste of pumpkin and pumpkin spices to a drinkable beer, that doesn’t turn you into Peter Pumpkinhead. It clocks in at 5.0% ABV so you can drink it all Thanksgiving long. The beer was dosed with pumpkin puree in the boil as well as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves and it will be available for pints, cans and growlers as of noon Friday from the brewery. Hooray for The Wickerman! 

If you’ve been in and around the craft beer world over the last couple of years, you’ve no doubt run into the concept of a “pastry stout.” These dark beers generally sport a high ABV, a fair amount of residual sweetness, and some flavor components of whatever crazy thing they were made with (cookies, donuts, candy bars, eclairs…). Many versions have, as time has gone on, eschewed actually adding foodstuffs to the mash in favor of creating a flavor profile reminiscent of those foodstuffs, which many consider a more thoughtful and repeatable approach, not to mention usually much easier to clean up at the end of the brewday. And now that sense of innovation continues as someone thought to ask, “does it need to be a stout?” with the answer being, “Maybe? No? Let’s find out!” Enter Newfoundland breweries Landwash and Baccalieu Trail, who are releasing a collaboration they’re calling Lemon Land. Touted as a “Pastry Ale” it was inspired by the tart and bright flavors of lemon meringue pie. Lots of lemon juice, lemon peel, lactose, and vanilla were added to this brew, with the more traditionally beery side leveraging Cashmere and Sorachi Ace hops. Packaged primarily in cans, only 90 cases are available, available at the Landwash retail shop in Mount Pearl. Those feeling draughty can also grab a pint there, or at co-conspiring Baccalieu Trail this weekend. Whether you just love a new and interesting beer, or if you’re not a whiz with pie crust and you’re looking for an alternate Thanksgiving dessert, if you’re local to the brewery you might want to swing by and grab yourself a few.

Coming off their triumphant takeover at The Stillwell Freehouse last weekend, Halifax’s 2 Crows is dropping two new ones this week just in time for your long weekend beer needs. First up is Laurel, which isn’t actually a new release, at least for those who attended the “2 Crows preview party” some 4 years ago before they opened. (Although that may seem like an obscure reference there’s actually a good chance that amongst our dozen or so readers, some were actually at that event…) In classic 2C “rolls right off the tongue” style, this one is a “tart dark saison with plum and bay leaf.” Starting with a base of Pilsner, dark Munich, and caramel Munich, with some chocolate malt for color and character; dark candi sugar was also added in the boil for additional character and, no doubt, to dry the beer out a little. Hops used were Columbus and East Kent Goldings. Half the wort was soured with Lactobacillus Plantarum before joining the other half and a pitch of the 2C house saison culture. Finally, the beer was conditioned on some 760 kg of plums and then “dry hopped” with bay leaves. The result is rich and smooth, somewhat herbaceous, definitely jammy, but also dry. You can expect some saison spice and plenty of dark fruit character as well. Look for this one in cans and on tap at the brewery as of Saturday.

Next up is the latest 2 Crows iteration on a golden sour, similarly simply described, “Tequila barrel-aged sour with cucumber, sea salt, lime, and mint.” Using their usual base of Pilsner, wheat, spelt, oats and special aromatic malts, with a touch of aged hops, this one was obviously aged in tequila barrels, but a bit also spent time in gin barrels. The remarkable part, though, is that the aging process was some 14 months! Post-barrel, a touch of sea salt was added along with 80 cucumbers that were sliced and diced, and the juice and zest of a whole case of limes. This melange spent about 8 weeks conditioning before a dosing with mint, packaging, and a good four months of bottle conditioning. Fresh and zippy, bright and fun, with enough salinity to have you reaching for another sip, this 5.4% ABV beauty they’re calling Shadow Rider is a limited release with only about 750 bottles available on Saturday. You’ll also find it pouring at the taproom as long as the single keg lasts!

Taking a trip to the Darkside (maybe you’ll be doing that too on the long weekend!), New Scotland Brewing is back with a classic and tasty-looking release. A tribute to the wonderful west coast IPA, Kilted takes a traditional approach to the style using some very classic American hops, Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, and Comet, along with newer varieties that have dominated the market in the last few years, Citra and Simcoe. This hop combination creates a very layered and fruity flavour that is well balanced with Golden Promise malt. Kilted is 6.3% ABV and 65 IBU and available Friday in cans, pints and kegs. Rumour has it that Battery Park already has theirs.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing is back on a mixed-fermentation trip with their latest, Southern Accents. Brewed with Pilsner and aromatic malts along with some flaked wheat, it was hopped in the boil and whirlpool with a bit of Citra. Well we do declare, they’ve put Yankee hops in this here Saison! Fermented with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, the result is a funky beer with a touch of sweetness and a bit of a floral presence. You’ll find it at Niche tap accounts including The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Ringo’s Grill, and Stillwell Beer Bar.

A reminder to our homebrewing readers that if you haven’t already brewed your entry for the 2020 Maritime Home Brew Challenge, you need to do that this weekend! Hosted by Gahan, this year’s style categories are encouraging you to take a walk on the hoppier side, with West Coast IPA and New England IPA being the centre of attention. It’s always good to drink these styles fresh, so brewing now will be four weeks until judging. Your $30 entry registration gets you a free t-shirt, entry to the Gala on November 14th at Gahan House Charlottetown, and your chance at more almost $2000 in cash and cards! Plus the priceless prize of bragging rights to the best beer in the Maritimes! Drop off your entry before October 30 at your local Gahan, and good luck! And a heads up that they’re bringing out the big guns for judges this year, including close to a dozen BJCP judges from the region, so expect your feedback to be topnotch. Any questions on that part of it, or any other little thing, hit them up via email.

The Oktoberfests continue this weekend! In addition to Big Spruce’s big event at Battery Park tomorrow, don’t forget that the Stillwell Beergarden is hosting their Oktoberfest tomorrow, featuring the first draught beer from the Valley’s Delta Force Brewing, plus some imported Continental European inspired beauts from Godspeed Brewery in Toronto. Plus Uncorked Tours in Saint John is hosting their own Oktoberfest on the 17th, taking over an extended patio at the Saint John City Farmers’ Market. More on those in last week’s post.

Do you love beer (of course you do!)? Do you love curling? If you answered a resounding “hell yes!” to both questions, then Brightwood Brewery has just the event for you. They’re holding a Sip N’ Spiel Curling & Beer Release tomorrow, October 10th, at the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax. Let’s fill you in on the beer, first. It’s a dry-hopped Pilsner named Bonspiel that was brewed with late hop additions of Barbe Rouge and Idaho 7, and then a dry-hop of more Barbe Rouge. Hazy, bright yellow, with “lots of red and stone fruit flavours” to go with the classic Pilsner crispness, it will be on tap during once the curling portion of the evening is complete, along with seven other Brightwood beers. Speaking of curling, your $20 ticket fee includes two hours of curling and curling lessons (if needed), starting at 6:30 pm. At 8:30, the party moves upstairs to the bar, where they’ll have live music, and as mentioned, beer! Your ticket also includes a sampling of Brightwood beers (probably a flight, by the sounds), but of course you’re free – and encouraged! – to purchase more. Check out the event link above to buy your ticket.

From our friends as Uncorked Tours, comes another event after their Oktoberfest weekend on the 17th, check out the “IPA and Its Variations with Craig Pinhey” where Craig will take attendees through a whirlwind of IPA styles. From Craig, “I plan to have them taste UK style (hard to find!), West Coast, NEIPA, DIPA, and other variations that are available at the time, like maybe Red, Black, White, Belgian, Sour, etc.”. Check out the Facebook event here to get registered for the Saint John event. Tickets are $50 per person for a 90 minute session at the Uncorked Tasting Room and seating is limited!

Sober Island Brewing is planning an event to scratch your cask itch (btw, you should probably get that looked at by a doctor) – Cask in the Sticks is happening at the brewery on Saturday, November 7th. Featuring eight different cask beers (from seven breweries and homebrewer David Pepper), there will be two sessions available for sampling: 1-3 pm and 4-6 pm. Due to social distancing and everything that goes with that, they have set a limit of 60 people per session, so don’t wait to grab your tickets, even though it’s four weeks away. Tickets are $40 each (tax included), and include eight 4 oz pours and an event-branded toque (DD tickets are also available, for $10). In addition to the casks, they’ll have live music, food available for purchase, and even a “Onesie competition” to encourage layering up (the event will be held outside). Our buds from the 902 Brewcast will be roaming around, judging the onesies, with the winner receiving tickets to next year’s event (take this seriously, folks, you know Phil Church will be putting a lot of thought into HIS onesie). You can purchase your tickets by calling the taproom (902-885-2072). And speaking of the 902 Bcast, be sure to check out their October Tasting episode, which dropped Tuesday. Kyle and Tony chat about what’s happened in the world over the past 3 months since their PEI Trip, new additions to the family, and even about beer for a hot minute.

A few more beers and ciders to quench that holiday weekend thirst!

Just in time for the long weekend, CAVOK Brewing Co. is dropping Champion, a wet hopped ale made with hops harvested just 3 kilometers from the brewery on Rue Champion in Dieppe. Grab this limited release on tap at the taproom, or in crowlers or growlers to-go.

Fans of artistic beer cans should check out Quidi Vidi Brewery this weekend for their release of Director’s Cut, a raspberry and blackberry creamsicle sour. The cans for this 5.5% ABV sour feature 31 (!!) different works from female artists across Newfoundland and Labrador. The artwork is part of a collaboration with the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival which runs from October 14-18. Check out their website for more info. Cans of Director’s Cut are available at the QV Hops Shop along with NLCs and convenience stores across the province. And great news for those who’ve been waiting patiently to grab a pint in QV’s taproom, they are hosting their first Kitchen Party in 6 months today! The doors open at 4 PM, and they’re keeping it local: no visitors or those who have had contact with folks off The Rock, Atlantic Bubble be damned! 😉

If you’re looking for something sessionable this weekend, check out Bannerman Brewing Co’s newest release, Comfort Zone. Coming in at 4.5%, the session ale is full bodied thanks to a heavy addition of flaked oats, to complement the Marris Otter and Caramel malts. A dry hop of Mosaic and Simcoe lends notes of peach, apricot and pear. Available at the brewery/taproom/early morning coffee spot on Duckworth Street now. 

Heading north on the island, the team at RagnaRöck is launching the first release in their Hit or Miss series, where tasters will be asked to vote on whether to keep the beer in rotation or set it adrift in the Strait of Belle Isle (ok, we made that part up). Their take on a Cream Ale is light and crisp, and comes in at 5.7% ABV. Find it on-tap now at the taproom in St. Anthony.

Lastly, for those holding out for one last (first? only?) taste of pumpkin-spice season, check out Route 19’s take on the style, Pumpkin Potion. Coming in at a warming 8.5%, this one is available on-tap at the brewpub in Inverness.

There were some updates in growler news this week, with ANBL and Good Robot making changes to their current offerings. ANBL suspended all growler fill stations in March due to the pandemic, but this program will not be returning due to declining sales. Only the flagship location in York Street, Fredericton, will have a growler program available when conditions allow. Check out the full story on CBC here

Meanwhile, Good Robot will no longer be offering growlers for purchase on their online store for delivery. From Good Robot “They are challenging to transport in our pothole-laden town, costly to replace, difficult to fill on demand to keep fresh, and even more difficult to deliver in a timely fashion.” They will still be offering on-site growler fills as usual, so pop by and get your robot fills as you normally would! The last day for growlers online will be October 16th.

Good Robot is also releasing, Crop Top Summer just in time for Thanksgiving. This 4.1% release is  “An amazingly satisfying summertime wheat beer with notes of orange, tangerine and clove.” This is available today at the brewery and available online as well. 

Two late-breaking cider additions to the blog today: Annapolis Cider Co has the latest in their Something Different series out tomorrow, Peach and Basil, a 6.3% sparkling cider, a blend of their dry cider infused with locally-grown basil and fresh pressed Valley peaches. As with all of these releases, each refill see $0.50 go to a local charity, with this batch supporting the Portal Youth Outreach Center, whose goal is to reduce youth experiencing homelessness in the Valley.

And Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has also dabbled in a mixed-fruit blend with Nova Scotia strawberries fermented and steeped along with whole vanilla beans, blended with Valley apples. And then a splash of Blackcurrant wine was added in for a lovely luscious colour and body. Weighing in at 8.5%, cans of Field of Dreams are available in store and online for delivery right now!

Folks, it’s lunch time on Friday. That means it’s time for your weekly dose of too-much-beer-news-to-digest-in-one-sitting-so-you-better-grab-a-second-pint, to get you excited for the rest of your weekend plans and beers. Special thanks to Damian for stepping up and helping out on last minute notice, otherwise today’s release would have been a lot shorter and a lot duller. OK, enough navel gazing, on with the beer news!

Starting with big news and the first brew out of Propeller Brewing’s Quinpool location, Black is Beautiful, signifies the first Atlantic Canadian release of the international movement. The recipe is by initiative founder Marcus Baskerville of Weathered Souls Brewery in Texas. Over 1,000 breweries have brewed the beer with the same goal: to raise awareness of injustices faced by people of colour, as well as money to benefit Black communities. Please check out more information here: https://blackisbeautiful.beer/ Locally, Propeller will donate all proceeds from this beer to 902 ManUp, a community group working to create “lasting solutions to violence involving young black males and promote community self-empowerment, educational achievement and economic opportunities through a committed, collaborative and accountable presence within Nova Scotia.” They work with all marginalized individuals to create real change. The Prop Shops will also be offering the option to add a donation to any purchase through our stores until the beer runs out, and Propeller will match those donations to increase the benefit this beer can have. The recipe was developed to highlight the different hues and shades of black. It is a full bodied oatmeal stout with complex flavours and aromas of roasted malt, dark chocolate and coffee coming in at 5.0% ABV. The beer is available today for pints and growlers at both their Quinpool and Gottingen locations. Joining Propeller, Tatamagouche and Tidehouse will also be releasing their versions of Black is Beautiful in the coming weeks.

Our socially responsible friends from Tatamagouche Brewing have a citrus twist on their highly crushable Dekorum with the introduction of Dekorum Lime. They added organic lime juice to the original Dekorum light lager. This addition has provided a ton of lime flavor to the beer as well as some acidity from all the citrus. This beer should be nice and bright for these hot sticky days. The beer was just canned and will be hitting Tata shelves soon and then available for private stores this week. Kegs will be going out this week as well of this 2.9% ABV crusher. Keep an eye out for their release of Black is Beautiful in the coming weeks, too!

Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza, Cape Breton, has decided the world isn’t quite hazy enough, and are being the change they want to see. They have brought back recent favourite Hotel Alpha Zulu Echo (H.A.Z.E.) Kveik Session IPA, a 5.5% ABV beer brewed using the Hornindal strain of Kveik yeast, leaving the beer that features loads of Mosaic and El Dorado hops an opaque straw hue. And debuting this week is Tuanis!, a Guava Milkshake IPA. Clocking in at 6.4% ABV, this IPA features a blend of Cryo hops from Yakima Chief (produced using a process used to bump up the potential bitterness and aroma from hops by removing extra plant material), and is kicked up even further with additions of Organic guava and vanilla. A Latin American slang for “everything is all good”, we can see pints or bottles of Tuanis! in your future! H.A.Z.E. too, as bottles of both are available this weekend, in addition to the draught options pouring now.

And a late breaking addition to the blog was the Thursday evening release of a project a couple of months in the making… What happens when you take a freshly-emptied barrel that previously held Glenora Whisky, and fill it with the award-winning Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout? Wait 2 months, and you’ll end up with great things, that’s what! Picking up a touch extra alcohol from the barrel, but more importantly lots of great vanilla, caramel, and whisky notes too. And lucky for all of us, it’s available now! Limited release on this one (there are only so many barrels!), so we suggest making a bee-line for Nyanza, or better yet, check their online store for delivery across the province, and country.

Let’s switch gears to mead, and turn to Earltown, where Nova Scotia’s Mountain Meadworks calls home. They have a trio of mead expressions available these days, on the lighter side of the alcohol scale (7% ABV or less). Solstice Sour is a 5.0% ABV sparkling dry mead that was conditioned with rhubarb fruit for a strong flavour as well as the iconic acidic hit of the pink, red, and green stalks. Arboreal is a seasonal mead that saw the addition of fresh spruce tips in the mix. These were harvested along the North Shore earlier in the summer, and offer citrus as well as a bright spruce note to the 6.0% ABV dry mead. And latestly, keep your eyes open for Valley Buzz, a 7.0% ABV Cyser. Also known as “Apple Mead”, cyster features the addition of pressed apple juice to adjust the honey sugar concentration, lending a melding of many flavours, including some crisp and tart notes, and can be enjoyed cold, or simmered with some mulling spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. These and several more from Mountain Meadworks are available at the Truro Farmers’ Market, the Halifax Brewery Market Neighbourhood Goods General Store, online through the Truro and New Glasgow Farmers’ Market or by contacting them directly through their Facebook page.

Lawrencetown’s Lunn’s Mill Beer Co has a pair of new beers on the go right now, one marking its debut after a long hiatus, and the other a country-wide collaborative brew. Back just in time to celebrate the release of the new Bill and Ted movie at the end of the month, Myld Stallyns English Mild began life a few years ago, the brainchild of Lunn’s Mill and local homebrewer Ian Dares, who asked the question, “Which is more righteous? English Mild in a cask, or in a keg?” Well both formats are back again for us to repeat the experiment, as well as cans for those inclined to take their testing to the beach or boat. And at just 3.9% ABV, we can see this blend of toffee, biscuit, roast, and just enough hop bitterness to balance being a welcome blast from the past. If you can’t make it to the brewery in the Annapolis Valley (Bummer, Dude!), you’ll be able to partake on tap at both Battery Park and Stillwell Freehouse in the big city.

Lunn’s Mill have also released their version of the Isolation Nation Canada-wide collaboration SMaSH, an innovation courtesy of BSG Canada and Hops Connect. With the COVID-19 heavily impacting the breweries across the country, these two companies responded by rallying and providing complimentary Rahr Malting Canadian 2-Row Malt and Sasquatch hops (ICYMI, these are Canadian-grown and developed, the first of their kind!). Joining 30 breweries across the country, Lunn’s Mill’s version is 5.2% ABV, hazy straw in colour, and featuring a lovely citrus flavour and aroma, notably mandarin orange, lemon, and tea. As this is a charitable beer, Lunn’s MIll is directing the proceeds to two local dog rescues near and dear to the owners’ hearts: Marley’s Hope and Misfit Manor Dog Rescue. Joining Myld Stallyns and a handful of others, cans of Isolation Nation are available at the brewery and for delivery, as well as on draught at the source, and coming soon to other taps in the Valley and Halifax.

Speaking of Isolation Nation, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing is also taking part in this brew, and has their version for sale now as well. The wonderful thing about the collaboration is that even though breweries were provided with the same malt and hops, there’s plenty of room for brewers to put their own stamp on it. To that end, Garrison has opted to produce a light and crisp 5.0% ABV Pale Ale, with notes of pine and citrus shining through from the Sasquatch, building on the clean palette left by the malt and yeast. Garrison is going all out with a canned release of Sasquatch SMASH, cans of which hit the shelves of their retail locations at both their Seaport and Oxford Taproom locations yesterday, and at the HRM-area private liquor stores without delay. Or if you fancy a pint, both Garrison locations are pouring the beer currently. 

Just up the road, Stillwell Brewing continues their foray into canned releases with the latest batch of their Stilly Pils. Following up on the recent small-can Kompakt Kolsch and Stillwell Dry, the Stilly Pils is an ode to several European (and Euro-influenced) takes on the Pilsner, from the Czech style showing off light malt notes, to Northern German pils exhibiting a solid bitterness, and the Italian Tipopils (and the US beers it inspired) pushing the hop aroma and flavour to the next level. Made with 100% Pilsner malt from Shoreline Malting on Prince Edward Island, it features Czech-grown Saaz hops, as well as German Tettnang and Hallertau to round out the bitterness and Noble hop earth and spice. Go on your own #pilsgrimage with Stilly Pils, available *only* in cans, which can be found at all three Bar Stillwell locations, to-go from their original location on Barrington Street, as well as from Stillwell Brewing direct for local and nation-wide delivery. Speaking of Stillwell HQ, don’t forget that they are hosting an Oxbow Brewing event tomorrow, with a full raft of beers a-pouring on draught and bottles and cans! And the kitchen will have some special additions to the menu, with a carnival theme running throughout; hot dogs, smoked turkey legs, caramel corn on the cob, and deep fried ice cream! Check their Instagram feed for the latest details on the food to match the beer. 

Speaking of Shoreline Malting and Prince Edward Island, 902 BrewCast released their August 2020 Tasting Episode earlier this week, recorded while still on/in PEI, and at the end of an epic day touring Shoreline and Island Hop Company. They’ll both be featured on upcoming episodes in the next few weeks, while this week’s episode sees (hears?) Kyle, Phil, and Tony drinking through a few of the beers they grabbed during the visit (and one White Claw they must have been handed at the border into New Brunswick), teasing what’s to come, and recounting their early morning and late night shenanigans. Give it a listen! And big congratulations to Tony and Danielle and Jack on the newest arrival to their family, Evangeline Marion! 💓

Straight outta Montague, PEI, we’ve got Copper Bottom Brewing coming with a Session IPA Sabro bomb. Their latest version of Flux, their Session IPA, is now available for purchase in the Montague taproom. The grist consists of Shoreline 2 Row, Shoreline Wheat, and flaked oats, giving it a nice pillowy soft body. Hit with Sabro hops at whirlpool and again at dry-hop. Pours hazy with big notes of pineapple, coconut, and mango. It’s 4.2% ABV and 25 IBU. It’s available in the taproom in Montague, PEI Liquor’s new Notables store in Charlottetown, and should be hitting Harvest Wines locations in the next week or so. Cans spotted at Stillwell, too!

We have great news from Sheet Harbour’s Sober Island Brewing, who have been keeping busy on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. They have released a new West Coast IPA named Wavebreaker IPA. At 6.3% ABV, it’s on the lower end of the scale, but still packs a punch with plenty of iconic West Coast hops, including Centennial to the tune of 56 IBU, with notes of tangerine balancing the beer’s malt profile. Wavebreaker joins the other three packaged offerings from Sober Island, including Beth’s Black Oyster Stout, Beachstone Bitter, and Marigold Blonde. The Stout is currently in 40 NSLC stores across the province, with Marigold and Wavebreaker hitting the shelves at select stores next month. Or, better yet, you can grab them for home delivery from their online shop, with free deliveries to HRM on Thursdays for orders of $55. You can even grab a keg for enjoyment at home that way too!

After the introduction of their fruited sour Throwin’ Blueberries last week, the gang at TrailWay Brewing in Fredericton upped the ante this week with a triple play of goodness coming out of the brewery. Now granted all three are re-releases, but they’re pretty stellar lineup regardless. First up is the return of the vaunted Velvet Fog, the Milkshake IPA they’ve been playing with for a couple of years now. Back to the raspberry variant this time, they did make a slight tweak with the addition of a little bit of lime zest to keep it perky and summer heat-friendly. Of course, you’ll still find pure vanilla, lactose, and El Dorado hops ensuring it’s smooth, sweet, and packing a tropical fruity hop punch. Cans were released Tuesday and are likely going fast.

Next up is a TrailWay favorite, Seeing Citra, their single hop Citra bomb. Fresh as all hell, it was packaged yesterday, so if you grab some cans on Friday it’ll be like slurping straight from the brite tank. And even better news on this one, it’s not just back for a weekend, not just back for a day, but you’ll be walking on this Citra sunshine for the next four months or so. You’ll also be able to find it well outside the environs of Fredericton as it’s seeing province-wide distro at ANBL stores starting early next week. 

Lastly for this week is the latest iteration of El Generico, TrailWay’s basic sour. This time around they’ve hit it with blackberry and lime for a sweet and fruity character balanced by tart fruit, a pop of citrus, and the usual sour base. Sounds like an excellent beer for the height of summer, which by our calculations is right about…now. And if you’re reading this from outside Fredericton or especially outside NB and you’re wishing you could get your hands on these beers, fret no more! Trailway is now shipping not only to their home province, but the rest of Atlantic Canada and Ontario as well! Build yourself a box of 12 or 24 and let Canada Post bring it to you! 

Down the road a little bit in Rothesay, NB, Hammond River Brewing has a new beer designed to fend off the summer heat and humidity with a little taste of the tropics. Nominally an IPA, but firmly in the “session” category at 4.7% ABV, Mango Session IPA features, you guessed it, mango in the mix. Added post-fermentation, it gives a fruit-forward taste and aroma. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of Columbus and Australian Topaz hops in the mix to provide a firm bitterness to the tune of 51 IBU and an extra citrusy kick. We’ve got no packaging details on this one, but we do know you can find it pouring at the brewery.

Let’s cross the Confederation Bridge to Lone Oak Brewing for a pair of fruit-centric releases now on their shelves in Gateway Village, Borden-Carleton. First up is a brand new iteration of their South Shore Sour, with Blueberries and Haskap. Not just the same beer dosed with fruit extract, Spencer and Co went all out to create a new mixed ferment beer, featuring blueberries and haskap harvested and juiced by their good friends at Terry’s Berries (who are also responsible for the bright pink food truck parked outside, slinging banging lobster rolls, meatball subs, and more). The 5.2% ABV beer was dry-hopped with Simcoe and Hallertau Blanc to impart even more fruit character. Available now on tap, and to take away in 4-packs of 355 ml cans. And in more Terry’s Berries news, Lone Oak helped them bring their own vodka soda beverage to reality. Terry’s Berries Blueberry Lemonade features a whole pile of hand-pressed Island blueberries, with Myriad View Vodka to the tune of 6.05% ABV. Available now at Lone Oak, it will be on the shelves at PEILCC stores within the next little bit.

From one Island to another, St. John’s Newfoundland’s Bannerman Brewing brings back Pool Bar, a lactose IPA, abundantly hopping with Sabro and Citra. This milkshake IPA brings lots of coconuts and pineapple flavours coming in at 7.0%. Bannerman is also bringing back Permanent Vacation, their Mexican Lager, mildly hopped with Motueka and a combination of Pilsner and Vienna malt with a large addition of flaked corn. Light and crisp with a hint of sweetness, this beer comes in at 5.2%.

From the fine folks in Sydney, Breton Brewing is dropping another one of their 5 anniversary beers, Reel’em In Pale Ale, the 4th installment of their Anniversary Series. This dry hopped pale ale pours a brilliant, bright gold colour with a tight white head while Chinook and Simcoe hops provide a refreshing bitterness with hints of grapefruit and citrus zest. Expect dank, piney and fruity aromas supported by a soft and pillowy mouthfeel and some light caramel; it clocks in at 4.8% and 45 IBU. Reel’em In is available in their taproom and online in CBRM now, and will be coming to Halifax next week. There is one more release left in the Five for 5 anniversary release series, any guesses as to what it may be?? 

Riverdale Orchard is creating a destination cidery in Bonshaw, PEI, now offering a full menu of food options to go with their award-winning ciders. Open Thursday through Sunday, from 11 AM until 4 PM (and usually a little later on Fridays), their expanded deck and picnic table space can see you imbibing their 2 Scots 3 Apples original recipe, or the 2 Scots Go Wild, with wild apples and the yeast that live on them were allowed to undergo a low-and-slow fermentation to turn into something special. Food menu items include Quiche Lorraine and Sundried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Quiche, Pulled Pork Roll, and Spicy Chicken or Bean Burgers served in an apple and cheese waffle. Head out to their ciderhouse and taproom at 582 Riverdale Road, or drop them a line to learn more.

Just a handful more items before we let you go today!

From our friends in Dieppe, NB, O’Creek Brewing has a new IPA from their DUOH series. This iteration features Citra and Vic Secret hops giving a smooth mouthfeel with citrus, piney and tropical flavours. Find this new brew at Tide & Boar in Moncton and Traffik in Shippagan.

Taking things to the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, Ninepenny Brewing is releasing Route 60 sour + Black Currant as a variant of their Berliner Weisse. Grab this brew in the taproom for takeaway or stay for a pint as other flavours are getting restocked. 

As we teased last week, Shipwright Brewing in Lunenburg has released the next beer using the KRISPY Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs. Back Harbour is a 5.5% ABV Black Lager, fermented under pressure on the cool end of the temperature spectrum (for a kveik), and then underwent a short lagering period before release. The Munich malt base, plus dark and roasted Malta shine through, with yeast esters (fruity notes) being subdued, allowing the beer to be crisp and refreshing. Grab it at the brewery for pints and crowler fills, and kegs may also be making their way downstairs to the Grand Banker.

Another job posting in our region, for those post-secondary students looking to break into/continue their work in the world of beer. Lab City’s Iron Rock Brewing is looking to hire a Production and Packaging Assistant for the fall semester, with the possibility of a full-time permanent gig at the end of it. Assisting in all aspects of designing, producing, and packaging beer, this position will be a tough but rewarding job for someone. Relocation assistance is available for the right candidate, too! Check out all the details, and apply, here.

A stark reminder this week that despite all of the great news above, we *are* in the middle of a pandemic, and ignoring it won’t make it go away. Inverness’ Route 19 Brewing has closed the doors of their taproom for a spell after a visitor from BC failed to sufficiently quarantine, and stopped into the restaurant Sunday. While there are no suspected cases of COVID-19 arising from the breaking of self-isolation (required to enter the Atlantic Bubble), customers who were in the taproom are advised to self-monitor. We applaud Route 19’s caution and are looking forward to them being able to open their taproom safely soon! As the visitor did not interact with the brewery, and sufficient cleaning protocols are in place, their brewing operations have not been affected. You can read more here.