While yesterday Canada took a day of learning and reflection to honour the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, today (October 1st) is Treaty Day in Nova Scotia, when the 1752 Treaty of Friendship and Peace was meant to mark a day of renewing friendship and peace between the Mi’kmaq and the Crown. Today, the purpose of Treaty Day is to promote public awareness about the Mi’kmaw culture and heritage for all Nova Scotians. It also kicks off Mi’kmaq History Month in NS, but keep an eye out around our entire Atlantic region for how your local beverage providers may be supporting their local own Indigenous people. On top of that, we can also keep celebrating Oktoberfest, as these events are still happening all around the globe. As always, keep an eye out for local regulations, proof of vaccination (October 4th for NS folk!) and stay safe out there, fellow fine drinking (and non-drinking) friends!
Antigonish’s Candid Brewing is celebrating their Grand Opening this weekend with their own Oktoberfest; complete with a brand new beer as well as events today and tomorrow… First the beer, shall we? Oktoberfest Märzen was brewed to honour that most excellent Munich tradition of Oktoberfest, and in the same style as the originals, with the 5.9% ABV beer pouring a deep amber colour and is malt on the nose and the palate, with a smooth, quaffable, finish. A taproom feature, draught pours of the Marzen start at 4PM, as the festivities of the weekend kick into high gear…
Today from 4 PM, door prizes and drink and food specials (The Boneyard food truck is onsite), table-side magic from 5 PM, and a free show from Jud Gunning at 6 PM, ahead of two ticketed shows this evening (The Collective at 8 PM, and Andre Pettipas & The Giants at 9 PM, tickets for your table are available here, and include a stein and first fill for each person).
Saturday’s fun start shortly after opening at 1 PM, with more door prizes and drink and food specials, along with Brewery Tours at 1, 2, and 3 PM, with Kinsmen Radio Bingo at 5:30 PM. The doors close for the ticketed events of the evening, before the Dixie Rovers and then Dead Phish take over for the evening.
The Antigonish Townhouse is also celebrating Candid’s opening, as they’ll have Marzen on tap to pair with a lovely Currywurst feature, and for those unable to make it to town for the weekend fun, kegs will be available in HRM at TAPestry Beer Bar and Battery Park very soon.
In Nyanza, up on Cape Breton Island, Big Spruce is bringing both a returning favorite and an all-new jam to the taps this week, a double-dose of terroir from our CB friends. Up first is Major Hop Lips, also known as, “the beer what they put all their farm-grown hops in.” Yup, you may be aware that Big Spruce has a hopyard on their property, and, barring major investment in extensive cold storage and/or processing and pelletizing equipment, the absolute best way to showcase those hops is to pick ‘em and immediately throw them into a batch of beer. A pale ale weighing in at 5.7% ABV and boasting a stiff-ish 59 IBU, it cone-tains (hyuk hyuk) Cascade, Mount Hood, Goldings, Chinook, and Centennial varieties for an overall impression of apricot, pine, and wildflowers. Golden in color, with a crispy white head, the can design (and name) will no doubt trigger nostalgia for drinkers of a certain age.
Secondly, in a move that screams, “Summer’s not over yet, dammit!” comes Respect Your Elders, a Berlinerweiße featuring elderberries sourced, you guessed it, on the Big Spruce farm. Spritzy, dry, and just a little bit tart, this 4.5% ABV beer takes a soft pink color and light fruit character from the elderberries, long considered to be medicinal. We’re not sure you’ll see any health benefits from drinking this one, but we’re guessing your taste buds will be pretty happy. Both of these beers are now available in cans (although the Respect Your Elders is a small batch) at the Big Spruce online shop for delivery, for pints, fills, and cans to go at the brewery, and, we suspect, on tap over the coming days and weeks at your favorite BS tap accounts.
It won’t surprise regular readers of this blog (both of you!) that we’ve got news from 2 Crows Brewing this week, although it may surprise you that we’ve only got one thing to mention. And we’re not going to lie, this one might seem like a bit of a tease… You see, 2 Crows has done a home-and-home collaboration with one of Canada’s shining light breweries, Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewing, and the first of those two beers, loosely based on a New Zealand theme, is now available. Crowbar features, of course, a raft of New Zealand hops, including Rakau, Pacifica, and Motueka to provide notes of honeydew melon, strawberry, and sweet tart candies. It’s 7.0% ABV, and it’s been canned for your convenience, but here’s the kicker: this is the Bellwoods half of the collab, so it’s only available from them. That said, if you’ve got any friends in Toronto, or the rest of Ontario, Bellwoods ships province-wide, so now may be the time to call in that favor your childhood friend/college roommate/cousin/aunt/uncle/great-grandmother owes you!! Meanwhile, we’ll have the deets on the 2 Crows side of the collab when it’s released in coming weeks.
Up on the Rock, in Mount Pearl, Landwash Brewery has a brand new beer available, although for frequenters of their establishment it’s not exactly new. Originally brewed as a taproom exclusive, English Harbour is a 4.8% ABV sour that was conditioned on locally-sourced field cucumbers and rosewater. Bright and thirst-quenching, it was such a hit on tap they decided to do up a big ol’ batch. Available as of yesterday for pints, fills, and in cans to go, look for this one (and their recent Kveik-fermented quick lager Sand Dollar) to be available via wider distro real soon now!
Sticking with Newfoundland for a spell, we go west to Rough Waters Brewing in Deer Lake, where they’re rolling out a very traditional Belgian style. Mechan-enkel is the RW take on an Enkel, the low-percentage daily drinker brewed by and for monks that you may also know by the name Patersbier. At 4.3% ABV it’s not going to knock you over if you have a couple of them, but it’s got plenty of bready flavor from a grist of Pilsner and wheat malts, some complex overtones from the Belgian yeast strain, and additional notes of citrus, honey, and white pepper. Brewed in partnership with Rough Waters Gravel Grind, a 40/75km bike ride through the Humber Valley trail systems, we think this will go down very smooth after a trek like that, or just the trek from your house to the taproom. This one is available on tap and in cans from the brewery, where you can also grab their two CBA Silver medal-winning offerings, Selkie Wheat beer, Sou-wester sour, or the rest of their lineup.
Let’s chat cider for a bit, as Halifax’s Sourwood Cider has a special release on shelves near and far these days. Cox Orange Pet-Nat is a single varietal cider made from the eponymous apple, that was spontaneously fermented using only the yeast and microbes on the fruit, and underwent a 3-week maceration period with the apple flesh and skins hanging around the fermenting cider. Considered a Zero / Zero cider, there was no sulfur added to kill natural yeast or bacteria, and so no other intervention with chemicals or filtration. With just 24 cases produced, this is certainly a small batch, but is now available at Sourwood’s location on Cornwallis Street, their online shop, and for those in Ontario, through Grape Witches’ shop.
As mentioned in the intro, it is Mi’kmaq Heritage Month and many establishments will show their support in one way or another. One of those is Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider, who is back with one of their Something Different series, featuring limited releases and new flavours blended with their dry cider. Something Different: Peach and Ginger is a full-bodied sparkling cider that blends their cool fermented dry cider with fresh-pressed Annapolis Valley peaches and a bit of ginger. Using a cryo-exraction process for the peach juice, this brings out some acidity and fuller, roundness of flavour, along with notes of tropical fruit and warm peach pie. Splashed with ginger juice, this is notable with a warming zip on the finish of this 5.7% cider. This is available now in growlers only at the cidery and $0.50 from each refill of Peach & Ginger will support the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association (NSNWA). NSNWA offers programs, services and advocacy supports to Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people across the province.
Upstreet’s non-alcoholic offshoot, Libra, continues to expand its offerings with the release of two new beers just in time for anyone partaking in Sober October, or just generally looking for a zero alcohol option that still scratches that beer itch. First up is Libra Pumpkin Spice Ale. Expect those classic fall notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Also joining the party is Libra Pilsner. Brewed with lager yeast and Czech-imported Saaz hops, you can expect a crisp drinking experience with some light malt sweetness. Both beers are 0.4% ABV and are available in 12 and 24 packs at the Libra online store (Pilsner is coming back in a few weeks), with the Pumpkin Spice also available at Upstreet’s retail shop and Craft Beer Corner downtown.
Over to New Brunswick, where you might know that in Village-des-Poirier on the Acadian Peninsula you’ll find Microbrasserie Houblon-Pecheur. What you may also find in the waters nearby, as he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave, is a Great White Shark called, of course, “Brunswick,” but not why you think. Originally tagged off the coast of the Southern US, he was named after the folks of Brunswick, Georgia! Guess he heard about the “other” Brunswick and decided to go on a road trip! A young adult, he’s “only” 8’9” and 430-ish lbs of ocean-going killing machine, but we have every faith his time in the region will bulk him up. What better way to celebrate such a visitor than with a beer? And BHP came up with just the thing, an IPA they’re calling, not surprisingly, Brunswick. At 7.7% ABV and packaged in 500 mL bottles, it’s a double IPA that no doubt packs a shark-sized punch. Look for it at ANBL stores in Caraquet, Tracadie, and Shippagan, with other usually Houblon-Pecheur points of distro expected to pick it up soon.
The Oktoberfest events continue, in addition to Candid’s event mentioned earlier, we’ve got news of a few more coming over the next couple of weeks…
If you’re headed to the Valley this weekend, the Oktoberfest tradition will find you there, too! Starting today, Horton Ridge will have a wonderful tap lineup of 3 new Oktoberfest beers, along with their other core beer and other taps from Tatamagouche, Big Spruce and East Coast Cider. The new beers are an Oktoberfest Honig, a 5.2% Marzen with local honey, Labour of Love, a 5% Schwarzbier and Bucked Up, a 5.5% Kolsch. These will be available all weekend at the malt house.
Down at the Seaport in Halifax, Garrison Brewing has brought back a beer for a very special in-house event going on Tomorrow, Saturday, October 2nd. It’s a Wienerful Wheat is a hazy, crisp, and refreshing beer, 4.6% ABV and 12 IBU, nominally in the German Weißbier style, with a bready wheat character and overtones of spice and citrus. It was brewed in collaboration with Jack 92.9 FM, specifically morning hosts Griff and Caroline. Fifty cents from every can sold will go towards the Nova Scotia SPCA. Tomorrow’s event will celebrate all of that, with a pet-friendly launch party. Drink and merchandise (pet accessories, natch) deals will be going on all day, with locally handcrafted pet goods from Bog Dog and Hide & Paw also on display and the chance to win a prize pack with stuffs from other vendors @bichobandanas, @craftybeastsbrewingco, @thewhiskerstore, @chowtimepetfoods, and more! So get your furry friend(s) prepped and primped and head down to have some beer and maybe spoil them a little (more).
We’ve been telling you all about various Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the region over the past several weeks, including a couple today, but in classic, “last, but certainly not least,” news comes word that Stillwell Beergarden is doing their thing once again this year on Saturday, October 9. The true blue beer geek’s version of the event in our region, they’ve got confirmed taps from a couple of well regarded out of town breweries, namely Sonnen Hill of Caledon, ON, and Tooth & Nail, of Ottawa, ON, along with a raft of Maritime stalwarts: PEI’s Lone Oak and Bogside, New Brunswick’s Grimross, and Nova Scotia faves Tatamagouche, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Uncle Leo’s, and, of course, Stillwell Brewing. Beers are not all confirmed yet, but you can expect plenty of Märzens/Festbiers along with maybe some Pils, German Lager, Kellerpils, Altbier, and possibly even a Munich Dunkel. No tickets, it’ll be first come, first served, but there will be an entry fee (keep an eye on BG social media for details on that). Beer will be served in ½ L and 1 L steins, and there will be some thematically consistent snacks from HQ chef Joe Martin. So maybe forgo the dirndl and lederhosen and move straight for the drinking pants because this is shaping up to be eine gongshow.
coupla buncha quick hits this week before we let you go:
Newfoundland isn’t immune to the Fall beer craze either. Bannerman’s Marzen-style lager, Safe Bet, is also available in cans and on tap on Duckworth Street. Their take on the style comes in at 5.5% ABV. Using a blend of Vienna, Pilsner and Caramel malts to produce a beautiful copper colour and provide ample malt sweetness.
In more Newfoundland news, Crooked Feeder has two new releases in its Sour Series. Passion Fruit Sour and Grapefruit Sour are both available at the Cormack taproom and at Marie’s Minimart locations in St. John’s.
If you like your marine vessels to be airborne, Flying Boats has a returning favourite at the brewery and select ANBL stores in a limited release. Red Cap is a 4.8% Peanut Butter Stout using a base of an English-style Double Oatmeal Stout with all-natural peanut butter flavour added in the final stages of fermentation. A mix of peanut butter aroma, flavor with chocolate notes, this is in 473ml cans and on tap and growler fills while quantities last.
Heading down the river, Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing Co. is releasing a new Double IPA, Trident to Da Troat. Coming in at 8.5% ABV, expect a deep orange colour, with big hop aroma and flavour from the dry-hopping. Grab it today in cans or by the pint in the taproom.
The Fall beers continue to roll out of brite tanks and canning lines across the region. In Fredericton, Fall means the return of Grimross’ Vienna Lager, King’s Horn. This super clean lager with the style’s signature malt sweetness is available now at the brewtique now on Bishop Drive.
Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery is the fall mood this week as well, as they release Pumpkin Paddler is a 6% Bock with some added pumpkin spice flavour. Try it today at the brewery on Water Street.
We’ll leave you with two final re-releases. Wizzum is back in stock at Trailway. This west coast style IPA has slightly more bitterness than you’ve come to expect from Trailway. Look for a touch of sweet malt flavours and hops that profile the classic pine and resin west coast notes. Finally, on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Cup O Joe is back at Sober Island. This 5.8% coffee porter features an addition of Trider coffee and is available now in cans.
One more thing this week…
For those who like exploring a bit of science as they craft, create, or enjoy beer, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas is a great place to start. While membership is reserved for those in the brewing industry, or students who may join later, there are resources available to the general public such as their free weekly podcast, tapping into their industry members to contribute research and knowledge to everyone in the industry (or just interested in learning more!). For the first time, we in Atlantic Canada have a seat at the table, as Blair Tobin, owner and Head Brewer of Topside Brewing, has been elected as the Atlantic Canada Representative of District Atlantic Eastern Canada. With a local brewer/owner on the board, expect to see more MBAA exposure at events in the region, and more resources available to local brewers, from both pure research side of things, as well as from partnering companies in the malt, yeast, and hops world. Congratulations to Tobin on the election! And hey, while we’re toasting Tobin, we’re thinking Topside’s returning Winter seasonal Chaos Stout is as good a choice as any. The 6.6% Oatmeal Stout with dark chocolate notes complementing the bold roasted malt flavours. Find it on tap at Finbar’s Portland Hills today, and you can always reach out to Topside directly for growler fills via Social Media (Fb/Ig).