The Joyce

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Happy May Long Weekend, beer pals! While not every brewery can be open and welcoming folks in their taprooms and patios, we do hope you’re able to support them with curbside and delivery purchases. In Nova Scotia, many restaurants and bars are struggling due to being quick to follow government regulations and closing in-person service for everyone’s safety, but inaction and lack of support from the Province could see them suffering permanent losses. Be sure to check in to see if your favorite spot is offering ordering and delivery or curbside pickup and try to support them however you can; it could make the difference between them reopening when this mess is all over and, well, not.

And more universally, there has been a reckoning of late, bringing to the forefront shocking events of harassment and assault directed toward women, non-binary folks, people of colour, and others under-represented in the beer business. Those in positions of power, whether they be brewery owners or management, festival organizers, or patrons in bars, breweries, or at festivals, have been the beneficiaries of a “code of silence,” but we say with some hope that it appears that silence is starting to break thanks to a myriad of people stepping forward to report, support, and amplify. We believe when people tell us what they have experienced, and we support them. We believe that all businesses and organizations in this industry should have guidelines on conduct and safety posted in their establishment and online, so that all can feel safe and free from reprisal in reporting any of these acts. And now is the time for those in the beer (and wider) world to speak out about this topic and take action if witnessing any harassment. We believe that these actions will improve Beer for everyone, allowing more to feel welcome and bring their passion to the industry.

Let’s start the news with a one-two punch of new and returning breweries in the Antigonish area. After closing in early 2020 to complete major renovations in their brewery and taproom, Half Cocked Brewing in North Grant has opened their doors once again. Located 7 minutes north of downtown, Half Cocked is located in a former chicken farm building on Highway 245. Expanding their brewing capacity from 50 litres to 1200, they have fully stocked their fridge, ready for their thirsty fans. They have eight beers currently available for draught sales via growler purchase (either bring your own clean glassware, or you can purchase one of theirs): returning favourites are Pete’s Sake Blonde (4.7%), Darkest One American Stout (6.0%), XPA American Pale Ale (6.0%), and Cock of the Walk Black IPA (6.5%). And debuting this week are Sunrise Session Ale, a 4.4% crushable lawn mower beer; White Whale Pale Ale, at 6.6%, floral, punchy, and dry; Haze Fatigue IPA, a 7.7% bitter and brite IPA with a citrus finish; Wait For It Double IPA, 8.3% well worth the wait! Half Cocked’s retail spot is open 4 – 7 PM from Wednesday – Friday and 12 – 7 PM Saturday and Sunday. When restrictions are lifted, you’ll be able to sit inside or out on their massively expanded taproom and patio, with some special pop-ups and events planned, as well as enjoy pints at the local beer hotspots, including the Townhouse, so keep your eyes peeled here and on their Social Media (Fb/Ig/Tw)! Congratulations to Greg, Matt, and the whole Half Cocked Crew!

Back in the heart of town, Candid Brewing is not quite ready to open their retail location, but they *are* ready to get some beer in your hands! Located at 88 College Street in downtown Antigonish, they are doing a Pop Up today 3 – 6 PM, and again tomorrow 1 – 4 PM, slinging two canned beers curbside. First up is Humdinger a 6.7% West Coast IPA, featuring bold citrus and pine flavour with a full body that balances the bitterness. It is the first of Candid’s five core beers available in the coming weeks. Also available is a collaboration with their pals at Big Spruce Brewing in Nyanza, Skeptical Vibes. This 4.9% red lager was cold conditioned before receiving a generous dry-hopping with New Zealand’s Motueka, for a bright citrus nose on a crisp and dry base. Available in cans at both participating breweries, as well as online for delivery and shipping from the Big Spruce store. We’ve heard tell of lots more from Candid, and we’ll be sure to share when we can! Their space will feature a large taproom with plenty of room for bubble distancing and events galore. Those in the area should sign up for their Membership to get early access to the news and releases, plus some slick deals when the taproom and retail are open full-time. Congratulations Bryan and team!

Off to Mount Pearl for another new release, this one from Landwash Brewery. Their first bottle-conditioned beer, Saison Da Pearl is reminiscent of when Brewster Christina Coady was heading up the program at Toronto’s Folly Brewing, where Farmhouse beers were the focus. Now they’re bringing that to Da Pearl! The focus is on the yeast, with the pale malt and muted hops taking the backseat, giving rise to notes of pepper, spice, and even a touch of vanilla, thanks to a warm fermentation allowing the yeast to express itself. That yeast also plays double-duty, after finishing the beer fermentation, a dose of sugar just before bottling brings it back to life, and has the yeast naturally carbonating the packaged Saison. Closing your eyes, you may even be transported to a Wallounian farm after a hard day’s work! This 7.0% 500 mL bottle is available exclusively at the brewery’s retail location (for now, it may be available elsewhere if there’s any left in June).

O’Creek Brewing may be most known for their super hazy, super hoppy IPAs (and with good reason!), but sometimes they like to branch out a bit and play with other beer styles. One beer in particular was brewed back in March, and is finally hitting taps any day now. The beer is Doppelbock, and we’re betting you can probably guess the style! That’s right, this one is a Doppelbock, a high alcohol, dark brown, malty Lager that originated in Germany many years ago. O’Creek’s version was brewed with lots of Munich malt as the base, along with Pils, and Carapils, CaraMunich and Chocolate malt thrown in for colour and character. Hopped with Saaz and East Kent Goldings, it was fermented low and slow with Isar Lager yeast from Escarpment Labs, and allowed to lager for weeks longer. Coming in at 7.6% ABV, it’s sweet and malty, with “hints of dark fruits and light toast”, with very low bitterness. It’s currently on deck at CAVOK and The Joyce, so keep your eyes peeled for when it goes on tap!

Wait wait, don’t worry hopheads, O’Creek has you covered as well! Their latest hop bomb is Elevated, a 7.6% ABV DIPA that is bright, hazy, and flavourful. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Idaho 7, Mosaic, and Centennial, it’s smelling and tasting exactly as you probably expect – tropical and citrusy, with notes of mango and passion fruit. First kegs of that one will be popping up at The Joyce, Euston Park, and Au Bootlegger (if it’s not on tap already).

Camping season is fast-approaching/here – YMMV! – and Boomstick Brewing has thus been inspired to brew a beer that they feel pairs perfectly with the great outdoors: a Session IPA named Gravel Pit. An easy-drinking-yet-flavourful beer hopped with a large amount of Galaxy, it’s got tropical fruit aromas abound, and at just 4.8% ABV, is a great brew to enjoy during or after a hike, campfire, etc. It’s available right now at the brewery’s West St. location in Corner Brook on tap and in cans, and should already be on NLC shelves by now as well. 

Out Port Rexton Brewing way, they have teamed up with Toporama Prints in nearby English Harbour for a beer and art collaboration. An artist-run screen printing and design shop, Toporama has designed a unique piece that melds perfectly with beer, and limited prints of it will be available in posters, t-shirts, and on glassware, as well as adorning cans of a new beer release. Although we don’t know what it’s called yet, coming out today at noon is a 5.3% combo of sour ale and New England IPA, featuring a blast of mango and peach, and everything tropical, with a moderate acidity and light bitterness. A limited run, it’s available exclusively from their taproom in Port Rexton this weekend (maybe elsewhere in the off chance it’s not all gone!). We think planning a visit out is a super-great idea, as Toporama will be setting up their screen printing gear Sunday afternoon and creating tote bags right in the taproom!

After a super-successful launch earlier in the month, Saint Andrews Brewing is back with another new release this weekend, in celebration of Paddlefest 2021. That’s a Paddlin’ is a kölsch-style lagered ale that has been allow to cellar condition for 3 months, allowing the iconic yeast to do its thing and bring together notes of both lager and ale, on a German Pilsner base with plenty of Czech Saaz to balance. Cracker malt character with some spicy hoppiness, all in a spritzy package. It joins Wharfbound Hazy Pale Ale and Herringbone Pub Ale at the Red Herring Pub, where all three will be pouring this weekend. As with all SABC releases, these are quite small, so be sure to show up early (and often) to avoid disappointment!

Heading north up the Acadian Peninsula, four breweries in North-Eastern New Brunswick have collaborated with their own local mountain biking club. Brewed at host Distillerie Fils du Roy, brewers from Brasseux d’la Cote, Microbrasserie Houblon-Pêcheur, and Brasserie Retro Brewing were brought together by Mountain Bike Atlantic and local bike clubs. Sirène is the brewery’s take on a Vienna Lager, which they are calling a Vienna Acadienne in a nod to the local barley used to make the beer. Sirène is technically a SMaSH beer as it showcases 100% Vienna malt and Saaz hops. The malt comes from the Fils du Roy maltery in Petit-Paquetville and uses barley grown exclusively on the Acadian Peninsula (hence the Vienna Acadienne). The malt lends a copper red colour and a rich malt character, with notes of caramel, that are complemented by a medium hop bitterness that comes in at 20 IBU. With an ABV of 4.5%, Sirène is plenty sessionable to enjoy after a nice mountain bike ride. The beer is named after the collaborating bike club, Sirènes en Cavale, a women’s mountain biking club on the Acadian Peninsula. Cans are available now through the collaborating breweries and look out for more releases in the series in the coming weeks. 

Continuing the beer and biking collaborations theme is Sussex Ale Works in Southeastern New Brunswick, who teamed up with the neighbours at The Outdoor Elements to brew a beer fit for enjoying after (or while) hitting the local trails. LBS Kölsch is clean and refreshing lagered ale that comes in just shy of 5% ABV. The name is a nod to Local Bike Shop, and Outdoor Elements can’t get much more local as it shares a building with Sussex Ale Works. LBS Kölsch is available this weekend at the taproom on Main Street. 

And would you believe we’re not yet done with the brewery and cycling connections in New Brunswick? In Fredericton, Grimross Brewing is releasing Monkey Business, a Session IPA brewed in collaboration with River Valley Cycling, Mountain Bike Atlantic, and NB Brews. Named after a well-known mountain bike trail in the city (well-known to mountain bikers, anyway!), it’s a light and sessionable 4.5% ABV brew, built on a grist of pale malt and rolled oats, with low bitterness (6 IBU) and plenty of hop aroma (Vic Secret, Mosaic, and Idaho 7), designed to be the perfect cap to a hard session on the trails; but best be sure you’re finished your ride, as it’s likely that the first one will quickly lead to another. If this sounds on-brand for you, you’d best get on your (chromoly) horse, as this is a summer seasonal and once it’s gone, it’s gone! 

In other news out of Grimross, they’ve got another new small batch from their Scratch Series hitting the taps today, and it’s a special one for the brewery. It would seem that some extra microbiology has been going on within the walls at the brewery, as they’ve managed to discover a yeast strain unique to their premises. And what’s a brewery going to do when they discover a new yeast in their brewery? They’re going to brew with it, dammit!! SMaSH House is a single-malt and single-hop (well, sorta) beer using pale malt from Shoreline Malting and the Grimross Hop Blend from  Island Hop Company. Fermented with the aforementioned yeast (name and trademark to be determined, no doubt 😉 ), it has a subtle malt presence and notes of citrus and spice all leading to a crisp finish; perfect for all things summer. Check it out at the brewery today when you’re stocking up for the long weekend.

Edmundston’s Brasseurs du Petit-Sault has a new release in their Epic Series this week, chock full of bright and vibrant fruit. Simply named Ale aux Fraises et aux Framboises, the most learned among us recognize that it features strawberry and raspberry on a smooth and velvety, yet slightly tart base. Cans of the 5.2% beer are available at the Brewtique now, with growler fills next week.

Back in Halifax, Unfiltered Brewing is doing their best to lift the lockdown blues for thirsty beer drinkers, courtesy of a brand new release! Positively Shocking is a new SMaSH DIPA featuring Idaho 7 hops, that follows the same technique of Greg Nash’s other beloved SMaSH DIPAs. Look for piney and tropical notes from the hops with a pithy and bitter finish. Cans and fills of the 7.5% DIPA are available today on North Street. 

New Brew from Baccalieu! Hitting their shelf in Bay Roberts today is Hot Spot, a 5.5% Tropical Smoothie Sour, absolutely chock-full of dragonfruit, passion fruit, and pineapple on a tart base. And kicking it up to the next level is a generous dry-hop of citrus darling Mandarina Bavaria. Cans are available today and all weekend at 1 Conception Bay Highway in Bay Roberts, keep your eyes peeled at the better beer retail spots across the Island to snag yours later.

Inception, Trailway’s ode to the Falconer’s Flight hop blend, is making its return this weekend, this time as a 6.5% DDH IPA. Look for lemon-lime citrus notes, subtle notes of pine and a punch of dank hop character. Cans are available now at the taproom and through Trailway’s online store. 

A few weeks ago we teased a new Belgian Saison from Lone Oak Brewing Co. Lupin comes in at 6.5% and features classic Belgian notes of bubblegum, clove and spice. It is now available in bottles at the taproom in Borden Carleton and for island-wide delivery. 

And in another “reminder of a previous beer”, the 2 Crows Czech Pilsner, Letná, has been released to the masses this week. Available at the brewery in cans for retail, curbside, and delivery now, it is also available at Bishop’s Cellar for the same treatment. Joining the 355 mL can is a branded 500 mL mug, tall enough to be able to give it a proper pour with a couple of inches of tight foam to protect the liquid’s refreshing carbonation. Delivery and curbside pre-ordering is the way to go for this and other 2C orders, given the current restrictions.

Spryfield’s latest addition, Serpent Brewing, has a new beer and a virtual event on the go this long weekend. First up is the beer: Days End is a top-fermented, cold conditioned beer in the style and spirit of the city of Köln in Germany (such beers produced there are properly called Kölsch, of course). A perfect beer to cap a long day of work or to sip on a warm summer patio, it comes in at 4.6% and, we’re sure, has a slightly grainy malt backbone, with a slight fruity presence and a balancing bitterness. They’ll be celebrating the release of this one with a Virtual Tasting Event via Facebook Live tomorrow evening at 7 PM (time subject to change, so keep an eye on that event page). Growler fills and crowlers of this one are available, but bottles are still listed as “coming soon.” So make some plans to grab some Days End and/or some of the other Serpent offerings, and plan to hunker down tomorrow evening to share it virtually with other like-minded folks while learning a little from the team about the beers and how they’re made. 

Spring is in the air in Newfoundland. And at the Northern tip of the island, at the end of Highway 430, you’ll find Saint Anthony, home of RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Company. While they’ve been churning out the great beer non-stop since their opening in 2019, they did pause the taproom for the winter to re-configure and add a canning line to the mix. Well, with this unofficially official start to summer, they are looking to welcome folks back in the taproom starting Thursday, May 27. Open Thursday through Saturday from 5 PM til 11 PM (10 PM Thursday), they’ll be pouring a half dozen beers from the taps, plus have a great selection of beers to takeaway in cans. With a summer perfect for domestic/close to home travel, this is the time to get out and see *all* of your home province, so be sure to make all the way North! Located at 223-227 West Street, pop in while exploring L’Anse-Aux-Meadows or Grenfell Museum

And rounding out the news this week is Mirimachi’s New Maritime Beer Company, who are releasing a brand new beer inspired both by a trip to Mount Everest Basecamp by two of the brewery’s owners as well as their experience navigating the difficult waters as a new brewery during this past year’s pandemic craziness. Three Little Birds is named after the Bob Marley song, and if you know it, you’re probably already singing softly to yourself that every little thing gonna be alright. Considered by the brewery to be a New Zealand Pale Ale, owning to the exclusive use of NZ hop varieties Rakau and Motueka, it features aromas and flavors of stone fruit and citrus zest along with some tropical vibes. At 5.5%, it’s pretty light and crushable, and perfect for a carefree summer afternoon on a patio somewhere. Get it now at the brewery, on tap for pints, or to go in growlers or crowlers.

Not a whole lot of events going on in the region, for obvious reasons, and we encourage you to stay home, stay cool, and drink some beer; meanwhile, if you’re an experienced brewer looking for a job in and you’re in the St. John’s area (or willing to go there), check this opportunity out:

Banished Brewing is the brainchild of the folks behind the newly opened and busy as heck Bar Brewdock, in St John’s East Duck area. Banished, however, will be found in a beautiful location in Paradise, and slated to open in 2022. Wanting to start things off running, they are looking to hire an experienced Head Brewer to join and lead the production team. Check out the job posting on their website, and drop them a line if you’re the right person for the job!

Oh hey, it’s February already! Or should that be, “it’s February, FINALLY?” Depending on which side of that you come down on, we think it calls for a celebratory and/or therapeutic beer! And wouldn’t you know it, our breweries and cideries in the region are all ready to bring some new (or perhaps just new to you) libations this week. We’ve got a little bit from every province this week, but we’ll start it off in New Brunswick, who seem to have mostly turned the corner on the latest wave of COVID restrictions and are largely back to threat level orange.

A bit of news out of Hanwell’s finest (no offence to the golf course!), Niche Brewing is here with a tasty new release and a fresh batch of a not-so-old favourite. First up, not to be outdone by the massive New England IPAs from last week, On My Way is a hoppy beer out today! This New England IPA is hopped with two of our favourite hops, Galaxy and Citra. Added late in the boil and in the whirlpool, we also get a massive addition of Citra after fermentation for some delectable dry hopping with that lovely amazing aroma. This 6.5% NEIPA brings delicious citrus and grapefruit notes on the palate and orange notes through the flavour and aroma. This will be available in kegs at some of the main Niche establishments (The Joyce, Uncorked, Cask & Kettle and Peppers Pub). And for those lucky enough to be within Bar Stillwell’s reach, they’ve got In Other Words NEAPA with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Sabro pouring now!

Secondly, the tasty barrel-aged tropical fruit saison is back! A new batch of Pau Hana will be released over the next week, with a few tweaks from the original release. This Chardonnay barrel-aged beer keeps the same barrel with the same house culture, but instead of pink-guava and pineapple, this batch was conditioned on passionfruit puree. The first one was 5.8% and 500ml bottles of this will be at ANBL stores and some other places around Fredericton/Sussex/Saint John. 

Chester’s Tanner & Co. is expanding their hours again, which is very good news for you thirsty beer lovers in the area! Their taproom will now be open Wednesday to Sunday, and they have a brand new beer available to celebrate, and it’s their first kettle sour brewed on a large scale. Simply named Sour IPA, it was brewed with Maris Otter, Vienna, and Munich malts, along with a small amount of wheat and oats to help build up the body. After souring, the wort was hopped with several additions of an experimental South African variety, KJA2/436 (someone get this hop a real name, STAT!). While the hop may not exactly be music to your ears, it’s giving this beer lovely aromas and flavours of “lemon zest, papaya, cantaloupe and gooseberries, as well as grapefruit rind and a bit of rosewater.” Sounds nice, no? Bottles are available now at the taproom, and can be ordered online as well (order before midnight Thursday for a Friday delivery, between Bridgewater and Halifax).

Not to be outdone on the fruited sour IPA front, Bannerman Brewing in downtown St. John’s has brought one of their own out this week that they’re describing as, “a big, bold glass of juice.” Early Morning started with plenty of dry-hopped Citra and Sabro for those orange-y citrus and tropical coconut vibes, it also features lots of mango and pomegranate as well as a touch of lactose to ensure some balancing body. Part of a balanced breakfast*, it sounds like this one was pretty popular, with the cans selling out rather quickly, but there’s still a chance you’ll find this one available at the brewery for pints on site and growler fills for your drinking elsewhere needs. And if you’re intrigued but missed this batch, do let the brewery know you hope they make another!

* Depending on your definitions of both “balanced” and “breakfast” but also we’re absolutely not judging anyone.

Moving back into New England IPA territory, O’Creek Brewing has a new brew of their favourite style hitting taps this weekend. Outback IPA is your classic O’Creek beer, a super hazy, yellow-coloured beer with a whole whack of tropical and dank flavours thanks to multiple additions of Australian varieties, including Galaxy, Enigma, and Vic Secret. The grist of 2-row, wheat malt, flaked oats and Carapils keeps the hops front and centre where they belong, with the bitterness being quite low thanks to the hop additions being concentrated in the whirlpool and dry-hop. It weighs in at 6.2% ABV, and can be found first at Fredericton’s The Joyce Pub this weekend. 

Over at Lunn’s Mill, they’ve brought back a beverage that we haven’t seen in over a year, and this time it’s available in cans! It’s a Double IPA they’ve named 2×4, and it was brewed with “a sturdy base” that includes some rye malt, for those of you who are craving a bit of that spicy character that the malt can sometimes impart in a beer (paging Tony Important!). Double-dry-hopped with hefty amounts of four different varieties, you’ll notice notes of “resin, orange pith, tropical fruit, and pine” to go along with the big, 8% ABV. You can find it pouring for pints and growler fills at the brewery’s taproom in Lawrencetown, and as mentioned it’s also available in cans for takeaway. 

Flip-flopping back to New Brunswick, where Long Bay Brewing continues their trend of one-off beer releases with Maiden Voyage, their latest. Brewed with a grist made up of Pilsner malt and flaked wheat, it features a large addition of Strata hops in the whirlpool. Lots of bright hop flavours come through with this beer, with their goal being to create a beer that was a “thin-bodied, easy to drink New England style Pale Ale”. It comes in at 5.7% ABV, on the higher end for a Pale Ale, and about 40 IBUs. Grab it on tap at Long Bay’s taproom; it’ll also be pouring at a number of bars and restaurants across the province over the weekend. 

Winter is finally here (maybe?) and we all love our tasty stouts, don’t we? Maybe not, but if you are among those who do, our friends at Propeller have delivered some supply for that demand with S’Mores Imperial Dessert Stout. This limited edition Imperial Stout features roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla beans and lactose to bring that s’mores flavour of sweet, toasty and chocolate treats. This one comes in cans (and at 9% ABV) and is available today at the Prop Shops, in addition to the local HRM private stores.

We also have more info on Propeller’s gruit we teased last week, now that it has been released (and we believe still available). In the grand tradition of historic beers it forgoes hops in place of herbs and botanicals to offer a balance to the malt sweetness, Gruit Ale features sweet fern (foraged by Production Manager Aeneas in Hubbards) and bog myrtle primarily, which lend an earthy aroma, as well as herbal spicy notes and a touch of bitterness. An addition of rose hips imparts some berry esters on the nose. And while a touch of hops were used in the beer for boil stability, the botanicals are certainly the star of the show. The 5.0% brew is available in all three Prop Shops (and online for delivery) in 500 mL bottles.

And big congratulations to the Propeller Arcade who celebrated (safely) their Second Anniversary last weekend. Their recent expansion continues to grow as they bring in more ticket-dispensing games in the second bar area, as well as cycling through more than twenty pinball and cabinet arcade games new and old. 

Tusket Falls Brewing has released a new experimental beer on tap at the brewery, Pina Colada Gose. We’re pretty sure you know what to expect from this one from the name, but hey, we’ll tell you anyway! Or, more accurately, the brewery will: “An initial blast of toasted coconut on the nose, followed by ripe pineapple and citrusy lime”… <checks pina colada info sheet>… yep, checks out. It also has a tartness to it, naturally, which balances the tropical character quite nicely. Pretty big beer, especially for a Gose, at 7.5% ABV, so approach it accordingly! 

Two all-weekend events to tell you about, from sibling HopYard bars in Charlottetown (on Charlottetown? I can never remember) and Halifax: firstly, continuing their first anniversary celebrations from last week, Borden-Carleton’s Lone Oak Brewing has taken over the taps at HopYard Charlottetown, with 9 beers and 1 cider of theirs a-flowin’. Their pals from the Wheelhouse in Georgetown are doing a food pop-up in the space this evening, 4 – 10 PM, with Trivia with Dan & Spencer starting at 8 PM. Due to COVID restrictions, making a reso (902-367-2599) is the way to go… And at HopYard Halifax, they are welcoming a pair of producers from Wolfville to take over their taps starting today. Covering the beer bases is Church Brewing, who are bringing a handful of their flavourful beers, reinvigorated under new Head Brewer Steve Crane. Fellow Main Street business Annapolis Cider Company are also bringing their A (for Apple) game, with a bevy of bevvies available for enjoyment all weekend long. (Give them a shout to book your table too! 902-444-2467)

A few more newsbites and important links to check out before we leave you today. Hope you have a SUPER weekend!

A quick shout out to Annapolis Royal, where the local theatre is celebrating their 100th year. Annapolis Brewing has released a 4-pack of King’s Theatre Centennial Cream Ale in honour of the great milestone. Available only in 4 packs directly from the brewery, $3 from every 4-pack is donated directly to the theatre.

As teased last week, Ol’ Biddy’s has brought back Kicked in the Hops, a 7.7% ABV, heavily-hopped DIPA that has “intense hop flavours with aromas of pine, and tropical and citrus fruits.” Available on tap only, you can find it right now at the brewery for pints and growlers. 

We reported last week that Tatamagouche Brewing had re-released Baltic Porter, originally from their Giant Beer Series. This week, they’re following up with another favourite from the series, Russian Imperial Stout. Dark, rich, and roasty, with flavours of chocolate and coffee, it is indeed big at 8.5% ABV. Perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s night, and a beer style that will age beautifully, grab your bottles at the brewery today.

We leave you today with news from our friends Change is Brewing Collective, who made the trip down the South Shore to Shelburne this week, brewing a collaborative beer at Boxing Rock Brewing. While details on that release are a closely guarded secret until its debut Feb 27, we wanted to highlight another important reason for their trip. The Collective is supporting BIPOC South Shore in their work to create a Retreat and Learning Centre to be located in Birchtown. Incorporating 8 acres of forest, waterfront, and trails, it also includes a stone wall and house foundations likely belonging to original Black settlers of the area, whose history dates back more than 200 years. The Centre will host retreats and learning workshops, classes, and events, led by, and for, BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities. You can learn more and take part by contributing to their GoFundMe fundraising effort.

Happy day-before-Halloween! Just kidding; you’re not really into that stuff, are you? Look, if you’re old enough to drink beer, you’re old enough to not get excited about a “holiday” where you’re encouraged to dress up and hand out free candy to a bunch of kids you don’t even know and… wait, where were we going with this? Oh right, this is a blog about beer in Atlantic Canada so here’s some more beer news for you. And you might need some beer to survive this weekend, and/or this coming Tuesday (and the goat rodeo that will very possibly ensue). Enjoy!

Bedford’s Topside Brewing kicked off a new series of beers last week, dubbed Around the World in 30 Beers. This ambitious project sees them highlighting indigenous and historic beer styles from across the world, showcasing the many flavours available in the malt, hops, yeast, and water profiles found universally, as well as native plants or ingredients special to those regions. The first in the series is Outlaw, a 5.4% Kottbusser, an historic German style. From Topside, “As the Reinheitsgebot spread from Bavaria through the rest of the region in the late 1800s, the style was outlawed because it was brewed with Oats, Honey and Molasses. We chose this as the first beer of the series because to set a tone for the various styles that people may not have tried or may never have heard of and it’s a lot of fun.” So, now that you know about it, how can you get your hands on it? As this is a small batch from this nano-brewery, it is only available as part of their Grab a Growler program. Head to the website for the full details, but the short version is, if you live in the Bedford area, you can sign up for growler delivery weekend afternoons, meaning you don’t even have to leave home to drink around the world!

And in Coming Soon news from Topside, they will be featuring their Rollin’ the Dice IPA on tap at Finbar’s Irish Pub in Bedford for a special event on Remembrance Day, November 11th. Named after the team motto of EOD3, roto 1-10 in Afghanistan, who suffered a catastrophic attack on May 3rd, 2010, when they were targeted after disposing of an IED, with Craig Blake killed and Chris Downey wounded that day. Rollin’ the Dice features a blend of unconventional malts, continuous hopping throughout, and a yeast strain not typical of the style. The event at Finbars on the 11th will be a way for the community to come together to enjoy great food, beer, and the company of others to reflect and remember sacrifice in times of war.

Hardisty Brewing is another nano-brewery in the region, located in the Colby Village area of the HRM. Delivery of their canned product is available in that community, as well as the occasional draught taps in Dartmouth. The latest beer delivered to Battery Park is their brand-new Stoked Pilsner. The 5.8% ABV beer has a healthy 31 IBU, but certainly deviates from the traditional, featuring the addition of crushed Juniper Berries and Coriander during the conditioning phase, inspired by their love of the botanicals found in gin. Also making an appearance at Battery Park now/soon is their Block Party Pale Ale, a 4.5% ABV SMaSH beer named after the parties in the Hardisty area so often fueled by beer brewed right on the street. For those fortunate enough to live nearby, be sure to reach out to them to place your order for any/all of their six beers currently available in cans: Heritage Rye IPA, Dark Confessions Smoked Porter, Island Gold APA, and Homestead Imperial IPA join the Stoked and Block Party.

The fine folks in Dieppe are hot off a sell-out of their latest beer, so CAVOK Brewing is back with another new release. Côte Magnétique is a wild ale that was fermented on grape skins and tailings from Magnetic Hill Winery. Pitched with a blend of Saison yeast and Brettanomyces, expect this 4.6% beer with an IBU of 8 to be easy drinking with a great flavour profile. This is currently available at the brewery and while you’re there, they will be doing an Oyster pop-up from 5-7pm on Friday October 30th with Little Shemogue Oyster Company

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is bringing back a small batch favourite on a bigger scale today, to avoid anyone missing out. Earl Grey Pale Ale is a 5.5% ABV English Pale Ale, featuring Idaho 7 and Citra hops, to complement the citrus and floral aromatics of black tea and bergamot orange that arose from generous additions of Earl Grey tea. Choosing Cookie and Red malts in the grist helped to provide some complexity there, too, giving a “tea and biscuits” feel. Available now at the 3 Propeller retail locations (Gottingen, Quinpool, and WIndmill) in cans, and on tap at the two Halifax taprooms.

And for those of us who have been enjoying the Propeller Arcade as a way to have a Prop pint in an awesome space, you’ll love what comes next! In addition to the 8 pinball machines, and the same number of cabinet games in their current space, a full complement of carnival-style and ball games are now installed in an expanded area just a few steps away. And these games actually dispense tickets, which can be redeemed for prizes like erasers, Popeye Candy Sticks (aka Cigarettes for those of old enough to remember those), and even retro gaming systems if you save up enough tickets! By taking over more room in the space below the Gottingen Street retail and taproom location, more seating has been added to the brewing floor, with a half-dozen picnic tables now available for solo or bubble seating, so you can safely sip in between rounds of Medusa Pinball, Area 51 or Skee Ball. As always, masks on when you’re playing (beer is best enjoyed in the sitdown area), wash/sanitize your hands often, wipe the games down before/after use, and have fun! The Prop Arcade is open from 4 until 10 PM or later, Thursday through Sunday.

Speaking of returning favourites…we’ll go down the street to Tidehouse for their latest release. After a very long sabbatical, Hey Abbot! is available and ready for purchase. The folks on Salter Street are gearing up for their 4 year anniversary in December, and this re-release is the 2nd beer in their “best of” series. Hey Abbot! is a Belgian Tripel that comes in at 9.0% but like most proper Tripels, does not taste strongly of alcohol. The beer gives hints of banana and clove, followed by some light spicy notes and a bit of white pepper if you dig deep enough. Look for this new release to drop today at 2 PM, available exclusively in cans at the brewery.

We’ve got a bit of info on the not one, not two, but *three* new beers hitting New Scotland Brewing’s taps tomorrow. The first one is this year’s iteration of Heads Will Roll, a Halloween-themed Red IPA. Featuring late-addition hops (to the tune of 55 IBUs), this 6.6% ABV beer is slightly more malt-centric on the palate, but with definite pine and citrus notes coming through as well. Next up is an “American Rye Ale” named Kitsch & Sync, a “mellow and drinkable” 4.7% ABV, 22 IBUs brew. Hopped with Willamette and Centennial, it has a balance of sweet and earthy flavours. Finally, they also have a small batch of C’est Bon, a 5.3% ABV, 25 IBUs Saison that is “fruity, spicy, and dry”. As mentioned, all three will be pouring at the brewery’s taproom by tomorrow, as well as at select licensees.

Fans of Hampton Brewing Co. will be happy to hear that the brewery has finally announced that, after contract brewing at other locations since opening (including Loyalist City and Hammond River), they have broken ground on their own location in Hampton. The plan is to have a taproom and patio area along with the brewery, which will be located at Fire Fly Recreation Campground, just outside of Hampton at 64 Robertson Rd. Of course it’ll be many months before the project is complete, but naturally they’re quite excited about having a set location and plan in place! In the meantime, you can still find their beers on tap at several bars and restaurants around NB, including Peppers Pub, Britt’s Uptown, Peddlers Creek, Station 33 Cafe, The Joyce Pub, Gridiron Brewing and Grass Roots Grill.

While on the topic of expansions (not a phrase we would expect to be typing during a pandemic, but hey, it’s beer!), Spindrift Brewing has announced that they will be opening a new taproom and beer store in Antigonish. The Spindrift Oak Manor will be located at 271 Main St., with the plans to open sometime in early 2021. The brewhouse will be small, at only 1 BBL (~120 L), with several fermentors of the same size; this will allow the brewery to experiment with new and exciting beers that will be exclusive to Oak Manor. Of course, they’ll also regularly have the flagship Burnside-brewed Spindrift beers available on tap for pints and growler fills, along with cans and Spindrift merch for takeaway. As for the taproom itself, the plan is to have lots of small group seating, as well as some larger communal tables, all in a comfortable, cozy setting that locals should be happy to think of as their home away from home. And if you live in the Antigonish area (or would love to have an excuse to move there!), the brewery is currently looking for someone to manage Oak Manor; if interested, check out the details here.

In this week’s events, it’s time to declare outdoor beer drinking season officially closed (we guess, if we have to…*grumble*), and who says you can’t have a (COVID protocol compliant, socially distanced) Beer Fest in 2020? Not us!

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end… warm weather, hugging complete strangers in the middle of the sidewalk (that used to be a thing, right?), and the Stillwell Beer Garden. That’s right, tomorrow, October 31st is the last day for outdoor beers, tacos, ice cream, etc. That means you have only two more days to take advantage of their final week blowout, which includes $5 pricing for most pints, $5 cans of North hard seltzer and TrailWay Patio, hot chocolate (with bourbon or without!), and, of course, cornhole. 

Also tomorrow, Old Road BBQ is following suit and shutting down their patio for the season. Luckily, they’re going out with a party! Willie Stratton (2019 Music Nova Scotia’s “Entertainer of the Year”) will be headlining a socially-distanced music event at Old Road’s location in Truro (190 Industrial Ave.), and you know that there’ll be puh-lenty of delicious BBQ available on site as well. You can grab your ticket ($11.62) from the event link above; there’s also a two-ticket-plus-hotel-room option you may want to consider!

The Cox & Palmer Atlantic Canadian Craft Brew Fest For United Way is happening next weekend. Looking quite different than in years past, the celebration of local beer is holding a pair of in-person events, while encouraging attendees to go virtual for the rest. Next Friday, November 6th, there will be a 5 course Brew Dinner at the recently opened Monk10 Taproom in downtown Moncton. And then next morning, Monk10 will host the Brewmasters’ Breakfast at 10 AM. Tickets for both events can be found at the above website. For those fortunate enough to grab tickets for the Brew Fest in a Box (sales end at noon today), you’ll be able to take part in all aspects of the virtual Fest. Your ticket will get you 4 beers from the participating breweries, as well as ingredients to prepare some paired dishes, so you can tune in and drink along! Bubble up and grab 4 tickets to try all 16 available! The Brew Fest in a Box Live Q & A will allow you to chat with brewers from around the region too, recreating some more of the fun from ACCBF years past.

And furthering the charitable aspect of the Fest is the Silent Auction which is on now. Benefitting the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern NB, breweries from the region have donated swag, growler fills, gift cards, and everything in between, perfect to complete your collection. The auction closes next Sunday, November 8th, and it looks like there are some great deals to be had right now!

We’re finishing off with two notices for our Homebrewing readers, don’t sleep on either of them! If you’re looking to getting into homebrewing, check out the Brewnosers or Newfermenters, both very active groups.

Today is the last day to sign up and deliver your beer to take part in the Maritime Home Brew Challenge by Gahan. Follow that link to register yourself, and then pop down to your local Gahan to deliver your West Coast and/or North East IPA, grab your t-shirt, and you’re in it to win it! Judging will be taking place next weekend, with the Awards being announced the following weekend. With thousands of dollars in prizes up for grabs, great feedback coming your way from BJCP-certified judges, there’s really no reason not to enter!

Big Spruce has announced the details of its 8th annual Home Brew Challenge. This year, home brewers from across the region are being challenged to create their best version of a Sticke Altbier, a variant of the BJCP 2008 category 7C Düsseldorf Altbier. As always, ingredients are left to the creative minds of the brewers, but for those looking for yeast, Big Spruce will arrange for pickup or delivery of Escarpment Yeast Lab’s Koslch Style Ale. Entry fees are $25 per submission, with the beers due for drop-off by January 15, 2021 (leaving plenty of time for lagering!) at a TBD location. Email jeremy@bigspruce.ca for an entry form or more details, or check out the event’s Facebook page. Unlike previous competitions, this year’s winners will be announced virtually, but T-shirts and other swag will be available to all who participate! The top 3 judge beers will be announced, and per tradition, the winner will be invited to Nyanza to brew their beer on the 7 BBL system.