The Oxford Taproom

All posts tagged The Oxford Taproom

It’s Friday the 13th, if you’re into that thing. It’s also the second day of the Masters (in November!) if you’re into a tradition unlike any other. One thing we’re all into is beer! As we head into the Christmas season, our precious Atlantic Bubble is still churning out the new releases and events while we still can. Stay alert, stay safe and remember to support your local businesses. And if all else fails, we’ll still be here writing about beer every week! 

St. John’s is the place to be this weekend (heck, maybe every weekend, really!), as Bannerman Brewing has two new, strong beers you can grab to celebrate, or drown your sorrows in, depending on your mood (PS always drink responsibly!). The first is a 9% ABV Double IPA named New Dystopia that was brewed with a simple grist of Pilsner malt and flaked oats. Featuring a heavy dry-hop addition of Mosaic, the final beer is showing off flavours of “citrus, pineapple, and apricot”, and drinks deceptively smooth despite that high ABV. Pale, hoppy beers not quite your thing? Well, maybe you’ll be interested in beer #2, Sinister Feelings, which was released a couple of weeks ago, just in time for Spooky Season. This Stout was brewed with a blend of Caramel malts, as well as a little bit of lactose to oh-so-slightly bump the sweetness. Once fermentation was complete, the 7.5% ABV beer was conditioned on toasted coconut, vanilla beans, and coffee from Pilot Coffee Roasters. Roasty, coconut-y, with plenty of delicious coffee aromas and flavours, it may be just the beer now that temperatures are starting to drop back into normal-November range. Both beers are available on tap for pints and growlers, as well as in cans. 

Fans of Wolfville’s Church Brewing may be interested to hear that they’ve just released Heart of Gold, which besides being a pretty damn good song, is the brewery’s second Lager… more specifically, an Amber Lager. Customers and tap accounts alike were requesting a beer along these lines, and Church was more than happy to oblige. The grist was conceived to be made up of several malt types, including Pilsner, Vienna, Melanoidin, and a  bit of Carafa Special III for colour. Bittered to 22 IBUs with Summit hops, the copper-coloured, crystal-clear beer is complex, yet clean, with honey and biscuit flavours, as well as a touch of dried fruit. It finishes well-balanced and at 5.5% ABV isn’t going to knock you out too quickly. It’s available on tap directly at Church (and to go in crowlers), as well as licensees across Nova Scotia.  

Newly-opened Village Green – Cornwall, PEI’s very first brewery – have announced that they’re now pouring one of their very first hoppy beers, Village IPA. Brewed entirely with 2-row malt from Island Malt House, it was hopped with Cascade and Centennial in the boil, Amarillo in the whirlpool, and a dry-hop addition of Simcoe. This one was influenced by classic West Coast IPAs, so don’t be expecting a hazy, non-bitter juice bomb! That’s not to say you won’t find citrusy, resiny, dank flavours and aromas in this one… you most certainly will! But at 7.5% ABV and 60+ IBUs, it’s going to remind you of the days when IPAs still had some bitterness to them… and simpler names!

On the other side of the naming convention comes a tat for tit, or yang to yin, of a friendly inter-brewer play on the Dry Irish Stout style, with Foghorn’s Andrew Estabrooks. Village Stout (C’est sec Esty), is brewed with Maris Otter, more 2-row from Island Malt House, as well as enough Roasted and Flaked Barley to lend an iconic roast and chocolate character, and leaving it dry, dry, dry (it’s in the name, after all!). At 4.1% ABV, and lightly hopped to 25 IBU with East Kent Golding, this is the perfect sipper on your lunch break, or evening taking in the sights of Cornwall from their taproom. And check down below for a great excuse to get into the taproom and pair the IPA and Stout with food from Holy Fox and wines chosen by Stellar Somm.

And speaking of Stellar Somm, Bryan Carver of Village Green Brewery and Lesley Quinn of Stellar Somm Wine Experts are teaming up and throwing down in a Wine vs. Beer Challenge! The event is Thursday, November 26th at 7pm and will see a Certified Cicerone and Certified Sommelier put their skills to the test. Check out the event link here to get your tickets. 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (come on, admit it… it’s cathartic), you’ll probably remember we mentioned details on Tire Shack’s First Anniversary, which happened early this week. Well, if you missed it, we have great news… they’ve decided to continue celebrations throughout the week and into this weekend, and they’ve even got another two new beers to join the two they’ve already released! The first is a “Vanilla Latte beer”, brewed in collaboration with local Epoch Chemistry Coffee House. Golden Latte ft. Epoch Chemistry is a White Stout – e.g. a pale-coloured beer that smells and tastes like a Stout – that Tire Shack created by adding lactose and vanilla to a Brazilian, light roast coffee. There’s only 150 L of this chock-full-of-coffee-flavours-and-vanilla bad boy brewed, so if you want to try it, you best get in to Tire Shack today or tomorrow! And you can’t celebrate without glitter, right? Well, maybe that one isn’t a given, but the next beer, Sparklepuff, is a Glitter IPA. Hopped with lots of Simcoe (most of which was added during fermentation), and with an addition of edible glitter (three versions will be available: Gold, Silver, and Rose Gold), it’s 6% ABV, “bright and fruity, with lots of apricot and passion fruit notes”, and if ya got a problem with glitter, don’t shoot the messengers!

Yarmouth, former home of The Cat and current home to Heritage Brewing, comes to you with a new release! Brewed in collaboration with local neighbours, Perky Owl Coffee, we have another White Stout (see above!). Snowy Owl Stout is brewed with plenty of oats and wheat for a delicious bready and malty profile, with big additions of chocolate, coffee, lactose and vanilla. It’s white stout season, and it sounds delicious. At 5.5% and 15 IBU, this is available now directly from the brewery. 

If you are fans of continuity, logic and delicious IPAs, you’ll be thrilled with the latest can release from those birds at 2 Crows. A re-release of Perfect Situation (it’s been 2 years!) sees the return of a smooth and juicy IPA generously hopped with Vic Secret and Idaho 7. From 2 Crows, here’s an explanation of the full series:

“For those of you following along at home, Perfect Situation was the start of a fun little hop-forward series where we utilize the same base beer but load it to the max with different combinations of fruity hops — versions to date include Perfect Situation, Second Situation, Perfect Recreation, Another Iteration, and Perfect Saturation.”

With Perfect Situation, we get a 6.1% ABV brew at 44 IBU that is “super fruity, lush, tropical, pillowy and juicy. Massive notes of pineapple, passionfruit, apricot, red grapefruit and papaya.” Mama-mia! Canned and available from the brewery and online for delivery now!

Are you down with OBB? Ol’ Biddy’s has 2 new releases currently available on-tap exclusively in Lower Sackvile. 

Kicked in the Hops is a Double IPA at 7.7%. This comes packed with intense hop flavours and aromas of pine along with some nice tropical and citrus notes, thanks to generous additions of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Centennial hops. Their second release is a Red Ale, Love It or Hate It, comes in at 5.0% and is lightly smoked. Brewed with one of their military employees (shout out to Rob Truscott), this one is worth a try to find out if you … love it or hate it. Both of these are smaller batches, and draught-only, joining thirteen other taps available at their newly opened taproom at 111 Cobequid Dr in Lower Sackville. Taproom and Retail are open Thurs – Sat, 12 – 8 PM and Sun 12 – 6 PM.

As we’ve mentioned a few times over the last month or so, this year marks the third year for the Maritime Home Brew Challenge presented by Gahan House (part of the PEI Brewing Company family) out of Charlottetown. Two of your intrepid bloggers had a great time visiting the Island last weekend with some other BJCP judges from Nova Scotia to help the local judges determine the winning beers. Unfortunately, unlike previous editions, a full gala celebration at the Gahan House location in Charlottetown is impossible due to COVID-related travel and gathering restrictions, so this year they’re going to do it virtually. Tomorrow, Saturday, November 14th, at 10:00 AM the winning entries will be revealed, with prize values ranging from $50 to $300 for the top 5 beers in each of this year’s styles (New England IPA and West Coast IPA), with a couple of special prizes available (Best Name and Best Use of Local) and an additional $500 going to to Grand Champion, who will be given an opportunity to brew a batch of their beer on the Gahan Charlottetown system and see it canned and distributed at PEI LCC locations on the Island. If you’re an entrant or just interested to see who won, feel free to join the call via Facebook tomorrow via the Gahan Charlottetown Facebook page.

Get your human bottoms ready, Copper Bottom, one of the two fine craft breweries in Montague, PEI, is turning 3 years old! They’re celebrating (and we should all be, too!) with two new releases and a birthday bash!

First up, Birthday Beer 3, their annual anniversary release. This year, this Brut IPA is brewed with 100% Shoreline Pale Malt and the fine British Columbia grown Sasquatch hops.  This should bring some floral and lemongrass flavours with a bit of woodieness and tangerine, with a nice dry finish you’d expect from a Brut IPA. 7.5% ABV and 30 IBU for this treat that will be available in the taproom, online and local accounts around PEI. 

Next up is the latest in their single-hopped Session IPA series, Flux: Galaxy.  Hopped heavily with … Galaxy and a malt bill with Shoreline Pale, Flaked Oats and Wheat, we get a 4.2% with 25 IBU. They would best describe it as Juno’s younger cousin (and Juno is delicious!) with a biig hit of pineapple, passionfruit, and peach in a nice sessionable package. Flux: Galaxy is also available in the taproom and online for home delivery this Saturday. 

On top of two new releases, they’re having a safe and fun anniversary party on Saturday November 13th with food, music and cheap beer! Starting at Noon, the first 50 guests will get a free Birthday Beer glass to take home. Admission is free and it sounds like a blast! Check out all of the details on their event page on Facebook.  

A reminder that Garrison’s Oxford Taproom is celebrating their First Anniversary this weekend, featuring prizes, drink specials, as well as a special limited-time-only Celebration beer on tap. A blend with a two year old Barrel-Aged Ol’ Fog Burner, dry hopped with Cascade, coming in around 8.8% ABV. Sounds like a winner to us! There will be plenty of other fun things on the go this weekend, so best to pop by to get the full scoop! They’re open noon to 11 PM Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 PM the rest of the week.

And just like that… Halifax’s Bar Stillwell is turning Seven this Sunday, November 15! Celebrating Stilly’s birthday is always an amazing time (anyone remember the multi-floor party with jockey boxes of Quebec goodies one year?), and 1672 Barrington Street will once again be a focal point for awesome beer from here and away (Lambic pours!). While this year’s celebration may be a bit subdued compared to previous, there will still be plenty of great beer and cider a-pouring, as well as thoughtful food coming from their kitchen all day. Plus Free Cake! It looks like the RSVP tables are all spoken for (could check with sam@barstillwell.com to confirm/be put on the waitlist), but there will also be a few spots set aside for walk-ins all day (and it’s walk-in only after 8 PM). HBD Stilly Fam!

We’ve certainly had a lot of content from PEI this week, and we’ve got one more piece of big news from the Island for you out of Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carleton: coming in just one short week, on Friday, November 20th, is a full, year-round kitchen to complement their awesome tap room. Partnering with the folks behind Terry’s Berries Food Truck in B-C, sister restaurant of The Wheelhouse in Georgetown and Thatcher’s in Montague you can expect the same level of variety, quality and local focus! They’re still working on staffing the place up, so if you or someone you know lives in the area and is interested in a position as Sous Chef, Line Cook, Front of House Manager or Counter Attendant, you can drop an email to manager@wheelhouseingeorgetown.com to inquire. Keep an eye on social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) for the official name to be announced and the opening menu to be finalized. Meanwhile, we already know what one of the first big events after the restaurant opening will be, as the very next day, on Saturday, November 21st, Lone Oak will be hosting the inaugural Sweet Oyster Cup 2020 Shucking Invitational. Of course now that we’ve told you that, we also are honor bound to let you know that the in-person tickets for the event are sold out, but you can watch along starting at 6 PM via this link right here. If you’re not one of the lucky few with a ticket and are an oyster lover, though, you could stop by Lone Oak tonight for some free oysters as a warmup to next weekend’s event!

Propeller Brewing is launching a returning favourite beer today, Sasquatch Pale Ale. Focusing on the Canadian-grown Sasquatch hop variety, the 5.2% ABV, 35 IBUs beer features “juicy mango and pineapple flavours, and gentle honey and hazelnut notes”. Available on tap and in cans at all three Prop Shops, for home delivery, as well as a few of the private shops in HRM. And in more Prop news, you can now find their IPA in small cans in NSLC stores and their own shops. For those who still prefer bottles, don’t worry, those aren’t going anywhere!

The fine folks in Dartmouth (they exist) have one of their fan favourite brews back in stock this week. North Brewing brings back Malternate Reality, this 6.4%, 51 IBU New England IPA is massively aromatic with notes of mango, pineapple, guava that’s smooth with a great balance of carbonation. You’re going to want to drink this fresh, so check Battery Park, North Brewing and you can also order online from the brewery and the NSLC. No excuses!

Quidi Vidi Brewery is getting a head start on the holiday spirit by releasing their Mummers Brew this week. This 5.3% ABV Cream Ale is easy drinking with hints of hop-related floral and herbal aroma, along with a pleasant bitterness. The beer is available at the taproom, Hop Shop, as well as through their online ordering system for all your beer-y needs. And you are encouraged to take part in the 12th annual Mummers Festival, featuring wo weeks of events, Nov 28-Dec 12, celebrating the history and art of mummering. Plus you can take part in the Virtual Mummers Parade of December 12th by submitting your videos here!

We’ll leave you with a trio of new, reopening, and very soon-to-open good beer locations across Atlantic Canada, all of which can be found on our Good Beer Map, FYI! The perfect accompaniment to your Bubble travels this holiday season!

After closing their doors adjacent to the War Memorial in downtown St. John’s earlier this year, the super-cool cats at TOSLOW have moved to a brand new spot just up the road to 108 Duckworth. The espresso machine gets fired up by 8 AM, and paired with their fresh pastries and sammies every morning, will keep you going all day (well, until beer o’clock). While they put the final touches on their bar and taproom space, they are take-out only until early afternoon, but keep an eye on their IG for details on the beer spaces opening up, focusing their gaze on the great Newfoundland beers on tap and in bottles and cans, along with beer and natural wine from across the country. Word on the street is that they’ll be launching Wednesday, the 18th, with four taps from across the province, including the Port Rexton Azacca IPA, Landwash Tidepool Pilsner, Bootleg Brew Co Dream Team Partridge Berry Milkshake Sour and Iron Rock Large Day APA. But those of you keeners should def. keep your eyes peeled on their IG (hint hint).

In Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Lunn’s Mill Beer is thrilled to launch The Station, their restaurant, pub, and speakeasy opening tomorrow in Bridgetown. Located at 73 Queen Street, The Station will be open from 9 AM daily, closing at 9 PM Sunday through Wednesday, and at midnight Thursday through Saturday. That early opening means a full breakfast will be available, and the kitchen will be serving up food all day and night from their pub menu. Reservations are required (can also phone 902-665-3069) for dinner service at 4 PM (thanks COVID!), and are encouraged for other times as well, to ensure you and your bubble can enjoy a well-spaced meal. Of course, there will be plenty of great Lunn’s Mill Beer on tap, thanks to 17 draught lines and even a handpump so they can continue their cask program onsite. For those looking for something different to imbibe, taps of cider and wine are also available, as well as a selection of bottles and cans from producers across the province. Additionally, they will feature a full bar stocked with local spirits, to be enjoyed on their own or in handcrafted cocktails. Speaking of, The Side Car Lounge is their speakeasy space open after 6 PM, in a more intimate setting featuring even more spirit options. And taking advantage of all available space, look for a second brewing space to open in the next few months, with special test and one-off brews produced exclusively for The Station, made onsite. A retail shop with bottles, cans, and growler fills will open in the next little bit, and their Lawrencetown taproom and retail shop is open Thursday through Saturday, 3 – 7 PM. Congratulations to the Lunn’s Mill team!

And in coming-shortly news, Gridiron Brewing in Hampton, New Brunswick has completed the purchase of a building in order to upgrade and expand their brewing operation. Lots of steps lie ahead for them to demolish an old kitchen and pour proper sloped concrete floors, etc, but the writing is on the wall that in the next few months their new spot will be rocking along nicely! In the meantime, their current location at 74 St. James Street in Hampton will continue to be open Thursday through Sunday, 4 – 6 PM (and also by appointment) for growler fills, cans, as well as a selection of other NB beers to take away.

If you’re like us and love loving local beer, then today’s the day for you! Plenty of new releases and returning favourites are out now/coming very soon, plus a Monday holiday to nurse your headache for an extra 24 hours! Sounds like a win-win to us! Let’s get right to the new beers, and the events we think are worth your time….

After quickly selling out of their last entry in their very popular Brut IPA series at the end of 2019, Petit-Sault has decided to keep the momentum going by releasing Brut IPA #3 this week. Like the last beer, La Pêchée, this beer weighs in at a hefty 8.8% ABV, and finishes extremely dry (0° Plato, keeping the residual sugar at a bare minimum). Hopped (and dry-hopped, of course) with Mosaic, Galaxy and Amarillo, the brewery added strawberry and peach puree during fermentation. The combination of both fruit purees with the high dry-hopping makes for some intensely fruity aromas and flavours. Look for this one on tap and in bottles at the brewery now, and it should be hitting licensees and ANBL stores this weekend.

Propeller Brewing Co. in Halifax has a new beer out this week that will hopefully take you out of the mindset of a dismal February afternoon and into the mood of a crisp, yet hoppy beer on a sweltering summer day. Citra Pale Lager marries IPA darling hop Citra to a crisp and crushable base style, yielding what they’re calling a “modern lager.” Plenty of biscuity malt flavor is balanced by a firm, but approachable 38 IBU worth of bitterness, leading to a crisp, dry finish created through the use of a German yeast and a good 3 – 4 weeks of lagering time. And did we mention the hops? Aromas of melon and citrus abound where you might have expected floral, woody, and/or herbal noble hop character in a more traditional lager, giving a fruity vibe to this 5.2% ABV beer. Look for it at both Prop locations on tap, for fills to go, and in cans, with packaged product also going to private stores in Halifax and Liquid Assets at the Stanfield Airport. And if you do head down to Gottingen Street location tomorrow afternoon for a V-Day pint, look for their Galaxy dry-hopped with Sabro and Ekuanot. If you’re not able to make that, though, there’s still plenty going on this weekend with a Valentine’s Day is Dead 2020 live music show on Saturday, Family Day at the Propeller Arcade from 12 – 6 PM on Sunday (after 6 PM the Arcade will be open, but will revert to 19+), and a bonus Arcade afternoon from 2 PM onwards on the holiday Monday.

We’ve just passed the “less than a month” phase leading up to the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, and more details are trickling out on the events and ancillary parts of the Fest. One of which is the launch of the annual Diplomatic Immunity collaboration beer, with this year’s falling under the category of Lagered APA. Brewed in early December 2019, host brewery Flying Boats in Dieppe, NB, welcomed in the good folks from Boxing Rock Brewing of Shelburne, NS, and Upstreet Brewing of Charlottetown, PEI. Brewed using primarily Weyermann heritage Barke Pilsner malt (with a touch of CaraBohemian malt for a smooth, yet lightly grainy backbone), and hopped with Pahto as a bittering addition, with whirlpool and dry hop additions of Cashmere, Amarillo, and Simcoe. The six weeks of lagering after primary fermentation by the Fermentis S-189 yeast gives a crisp and clean mouthfeel and finish, hop aromatics of melon, and a touch of coconut and grapefruit. The 5.2% ABV beer is available on draught and in cans at the host brewery now, and rolling out to the visiting breweries shortly. It will also be pouring widely around Fredericton leading up to the Fest, and be featured on the ANBL Growler program starting February 22nd

Recently-opened Gahan Nova Centre in Halifax teamed up with another downtown brewery, 2 Crows, for a collaboration a few months ago that has now hit the shelves. The beer goes by the moniker of 5 Minute Walk, which describes the length of time needed to get between the two breweries. The first beer to go into Gahan’s PEI-built foeder (℅ New World Foeders), and brewed by Spencer G (now of Lone Oak) with Jarrett S and Jeremy T, the beer featured a simple malt bill (Pilsner with a touch of flaked oats and white wheat), a light touch of Saaz and Ella hops, and fermented with 2C’s special house yeast blend. Acidic and citrus notes abound, with notes of funk and new oak complementing. The 6.9% ABV beer is on tap now at Gahan’s location, with a limited number of bottles available to go from their retail counter onsite.

We hinted a couple of weeks ago (well, we think we did, but we’re too lazy to go back and check) that there was an event coming up at Good Robot that would help get you in a summertime mood. Well that event is nigh, we tell you, NIGH!! Brewer Gio Johnson and his pals in The Limestone Group are bringing another FlavaBot Caribbean-infused event to Good Robot on Sunday, this one entitled Heat Wave. Look for plenty of Caribbean food from Chef Ambrose, live music and dance performances throughout the day. Doors open for brunch at 10 AM and food will be served until close at 2 AM. For the first time they’ll also be serving cocktails (Sky Juice and Switcha)! But most pertinent to us here at the ACBeerBlog, is the beer, of course. And as usual, Gio has come up with some recipes that bring the best of the Caribbean to our favorite beverage. First up is one we wrote about previously (seriously, don’t even need to check), Conch-style Bahamian Lager that’s sort of a “International Light Lager meets a Christmas Tree in a dark alley and things get (lime) zesty” kinda deal at 5.4% ABV and 20 IBU. But there are also going to be three smaller batches on the go. First is the Banana Bread Ale, a spiced dark ale treated with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and sweetened slightly with a touch of lactose. Doing what it says on the tin, look for a slightly creamy brew with roasty and chocolatey elements and those spices making themselves known. Plenty sessionable at 4.5% ABV and 17 IBU as well. And speaking of sessionable, next up is Lil Cay, a tropical session stout dosed with coconut flakes that had been themselves previously soaked in coconut rum. So plenty of coconut coming at you, but also some roast and vanilla and a mild citrus note to go with it. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and 27 IBU, it should be a lovely introduction to the notion of a tropical stout if you’ve never had one. And last, but certainly not least, is the delightfully-named Gruitti Fruitti! It’s a gruit, of course, which means no hops have been used, but an herb mixture takes their place in providing balance to the malt side. In this case, it’s pine needles and basil. And the “fruitti” part of the name isn’t just there for decoration, it refers to the addition of mango to the mix. At 5.0% ABV and 0 IBU, expect something herbaceous, fragrant and balanced.

Tire Shack Brewing hasn’t really slowed down on new releases since their opening last fall and this week they’ve got two more to share with the thirsty folks in the Moncton region. Leading the charge is Abracadabra, a “Tiramisu White Stout.” With a special roast from Sunny Brae Coffee done just for Tire Shack, as well as cacao nibs and vanilla, this one has all the hallmarks of the classic Italian dessert in a creamy white-colored package. Joining it on the taps is Heat Wave, an otherwise smooth and easy-drinking porter that’s been dosed with plenty of Arbol and Chipotle peppers for a smoky flavor and “A TON” of heat. Don’t be surprised if this one comes with a bit of a warning if you’re not into the spicy things. Look for both of these on tap at the brewery this weekend.

Not to be outdone on the white stout front (or the non-traditional ingredients front, for that matter), Upstreet has their own thing on the go over on the Island, a beer dreamed up and executed by Hogie and Josh that they’re calling Cereal Milk. Starting with a concept something like a blonde ale, the grist on this one was pale malt, flaked oats, golden naked oats (not as dirty as it sounds) and wheat, with Citra and Amarillo in the kettle and dry hop for a definite hop presence. Taking it somewhere else entirely were additions of lactose for some sweetness, cacao nibs, for a bit of chocolate, toasted coconut, roasted PEI hazelnuts, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt! Weighing in at 5% ABV and a very light 10 IBU, this is a small batch with only a few kegs pouring at the tap room and Craft Beer Corner. So if this sounds like the kind of thing that’ll turn your crank on Valentine’s weekend, best head down with a quickness.

In Deer Lake, Newfoundland, Rough Waters Brewing continues their hard work towards fully opening their taproom this spring, and are taking us along for the ride. Earlier this month they received the licenses allowing them to serve onsite, and have therefore been sharing pints and samples with visitors to their 83 Wights Rd location. Currently open Wednesday to Friday from 3 – 7 PM, Saturday from 1 – 8 PM, and Sunday from 1 – 4 PM, folks can have a taste of what’s available before grabbing bottles to take away. They have already held some local artisan markets and live music events in their space, teaming up to raise over $700 for local charities, and those types of community events will only increase in frequency once the taproom is fully open.
To help get folks excited about what’s to come (and to help achieve those goals), Rough Waters has launched an Indiegogo campaign. Backers to their project can grab some slick merchandise like stickers, glassware, shirts, or prints of their nautical tattoo themed labels, and locals can grab a VIP ticket to the Grand Opening Party, sign up for their “Hard Ticket” membership (getting you a personalized glass that comes with plenty of benefits), or design and help brew the beer of your dreams! Check out the list of options in the link above.
But not all of the good news is off in the future… There are two newly available brews this week that we can tell you about, and that you can pick up this weekend! The first is Down South, best described as a Pineapple IPA. Starting life as a moderately bitter IPA, they skipped the dry-hopping, and instead opted for a secondary fermentation on a whole whack of pineapple puree from Oregon Fruit. The final beer weighs in at 5.1% ABV, and features plenty of pineapple on the nose and tongue to make you forget, if only for a minute, that we don’t live in a more tropical climate. The second newbie is also the first in their Black Cat series, which will be an occasional release that will always feature spicing of some sort. This inaugural release is Cinnamon Chai ESB, a 6.8% ABV beer started as a malty ESB, and dosed in a brewed Chai blend of spices (heavy on the cinnamon, and leaving out the tea leaves) after fermentation, to keep it full of aroma and flavour. Bottles of both beers are available to taste at the brewery all weekend, with their core line-up also available to take-away.

If you’re the kind of person who has always wondered whether you could take your passion for beer and turn it into a career, there are a couple of breweries in Nova Scotia who might be able to help you figure that out. Tatamagouche Brewing has two positions open right now. First up is a summer position that they’re getting a good head start on filling: Summer Retail Sales Associate. This one runs from May to October and is customer-facing, helping folks who come to the Tata taproom to have a positive experience by providing knowledge and recommendations about the beer, but also the town and the North Shore region of the Province. Also up for grabs is a backroom position, so backroom it’s almost underground! Known as a “Cellar Hand,” this person will be focused on all the little details of making sure that all the beer that goes out with the Tata name on it is as good as it can be. From cleaning, to testing, to monitoring, to packaging and everything in-between, this person will have eyes on Tatamagoodness from wort almost all the way to the customer’s hand. If either of these positions sound good to you, you’ll find more information in the official job postings on the Tata website.

Also looking to fill some shoes in their operation is Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing who are looking for a Production Brewer to head up their “small batch” 7 BBL system. Formerly the main system at the brewery, it’s the one that put out the first Cereal Killer and Regatta Red and Kitchen Party Pale way back when Jeremy White opened up shop. So while bigger batches have now moved to the 20 BBL system across the way, this one still remains a vital operational piece of the Big Spruce empire, especially when it comes to their seasonal offerings. As always, experience in any and all aspects of brewing are likely to be preferred, but the right candidate who’s willing to learn and willing to relocate within/to Cape Breton is likely to find a listening ear even if experience isn’t a big part of their background. So if you’re interested, check out the full details on their Fb post and maybe slide into Big Spruce’s DMs if you think you’re the person for the job.

What’s on the go this weekend? Find out right meow!

Our friends and yours at Stillwell Beer Bar on Barrington are eager to help you enjoy your Valentine’s Day whether that be happily alone with your own gosh darn self or with your pals or, if absolutely necessary, with that special someone (no, not your dog or cat, that’s not allowed, but we feel you). However you want to celebrate, head on down this afternoon/evening for the usual loverly selection of thoughtfully curated liquids along with a bunch of super cute a la carte snacks from the kitchen: spicy pepperoni pizza pockets (YES, REALLY), charcuterie and cheese for one, house-made chicken nuggets (ALSO YES, REALLY), little mortadella sammies, mini pogos, falafel with extra garlicky toum, and personal tubs of cookie dough (YES, REALLY FOR A THIRD TIME). Just like every other day of the year ain’t nobody gonna judge you for walking in alone, but if you’re nervous about it, you shouldn’t be: it’ll be cozy and welcoming all night long.

The Ladies Beer League is hosting a different kind of Galentine’s Day event tonight at the Garrison Oxford Taproom from 7 – 9 PM. I Heart Beer 2020 is going to be a “get dressed up by dressing down”, in your comfiest jammies or other lounge-around clothes, to celebrate in a casual way with snacks, games, and a surprise or two. Grab your tickets at the FB link above, and stay cozy with fellow beer pals tonight!

Down the South Shore of NS, February means lobster season and the third annual Lobster Crawl Festival. Running the entire month (with an extra day this year!) it celebrates the crustacean that is so important to the economy and lifestyle from Barrington to Peggy’s Cove and encourages potential tourists to check out the province in the winter as well as the summer. Halfway through the month comes one of the premier events of the festival, the Lobster Crawl Beer Festival going down tomorrow night at the Bridgewater Best Western & Convention Centre. Running from 8 – 11:30 PM (with a 7 PM start for VIP ticket holders), tickets are still available: $25 for Designated Drivers (soft drinks and water available), $40 for regular admission with 10 drink tokens, and $55 for VIP admission, giving you early entry, 5 more tokens, and a VIP gift (we recommend that you assume taxes and fees apply to all of those prices). Additional tokens will be available for purchase, as will food. Fifteen breweries and cideries from the South Shore will be pouring their best, and we’ve heard tell that there may be a few cool collaboration beers on tap as well. So whether you’re already planning to be in the Bridgewater area tomorrow night and looking for something to do or you just dig craft beer and lobster, grab yourself a ticket and make a plan.

Back in mid-January, we mentioned that Chain Yard Cider in Halifax would be hosting a “Snakebite” competition in February. Well lookie here, that date is upon us. In case you’re unaware, a Snakebite is a blend of 1 part cider to 1 part beer, generally served by the pint, that is popular in the United Kingdom. Apparently someone has taken notice that our region has plenty of fine breweries and plenty of fine cideries and realized that the potential for sassy snakebite shenanigans is high! Tomorrow afternoon and evening will see eight teams competing for Snakebite Supremacy from 12 – 5 PM. Tasting will be blind and the public will vote on their favorite. The breweries and cideries competing are as follows: Sourwood Cider, Tidehouse Brewing Company, Lake City Cider, Spindrift Brewing Company, Meander River Farm, Chain Yard Cider, North Brewing Company, Saltbox Brewing, Sea Level Brewing, Maritime Express Cider Co Ltd, The Church Brewing Co, Schoolhouse Brewing and Ship Builders Cider! So whether you like cider or prefer beer, this is an opportunity to find out if you like them both together!

Just a few tiny newsbites before we dismiss you today. Then go out and grab a beer!

Fredericton’s Picaroons has a new release out this week. Details are light, like super light, but for those of you looking to “Catch ‘Em All”, 506 Pale Ale is being described as “your next domestic” and “a modern, citrus forward APA”. If you’re so inclined, check it out and let us know how it tastes!

Roof Hound Brewing in Digby (and now operating their taproom daily in Kingston), has a new available today. Save Tonight is a 4.0% ABV Cherry Sour, brimming with the tart fruit character, and available on draught as well as in bottles to take home.

Halifax’s Tiny Tidehouse has brought their most frequent collaborator to the brewhouse, and have the latest Lil Wheaty’s (aka award-winning homebrewer Ian Wheatley) pouring this afternoon. Tic Lac Toe is a blueberry kettle sour, which features a wheat beer base, and 20kg of blueberries. We’re not sure how they managed to cram all of those in there, but we’re sure that you’ll be able to taste every one. Just don’t drink too many or you’ll end up looking like Violet Beauregard!

Fredericton’s Trailway has been serving their Candlepin Kölsch as a regular feature at The Drome by Trailway pretty much since it opened, but they don’t package this easy-drinking beer too often. Good news, then, for Drome denizens who have a hankering for it at home, a fresh batch is available in cans now at the brewery!

We trust that everybody’s now comfortably back at work after the holidays, rested and refreshed and ready for whatever winter can dole out (residents of Northern NS, Cape Breton and Newfoundland may have already been well-tested on that front, but we trust we’ll all get our share before the season’s over). And a big shout out to all of those doing that whole Dry January thing; you’re now a third of the way to insanity success! For the rest of you, we’ve got plenty of news as always about new breweries, new beers, and all the other news we could gather.

Let’s kick off this week’s news with another opening in our region, New Maritime Beer. After launching their brand with a pair of beers this summer, they are now ready to welcome folks to their taproom at 55 Newcastle Blvd in Miramichi. The taproom is opening Saturday at 1 PM (until 11 or later if the party is still rockin’!), and open daily going forward (except for Mondays). They will be pouring an American Pale Ale, IPA, and Stout, brewed elsewhere while they complete the installation and commision of their brewhouse. The new equipment was manufactured by Saint John’s Copper Leaf Brewing Equipment, an 1800 litre brewhouse, and should be in full force next month. The 90 seat taproom features plenty of cozy touches like a fireplace, and plenty of comfortable seating. While they do not yet have food onsite, you can feel free to bring or order your own in. Keep an eye here, and on their Social Media (Fb/IG) for news of new releases (we’ve already heard tell of Juicy and West Coast IPAs, as well as more Pale Ales, Stouts, and Session IPAs coming down the pipeline once they are fully open).

Sea Level Brewing at Millstone Harvest Brewhouse in Sheffield Mills has a brand new release on the taps (and coming soon to cans) these days. A Light in the Dark is a 4.0% ABV Kolsch Ale, the latest of their beer releases to use barley grown at their farm, and malted at nearby Horton Ridge Malt & Grain. Opting for a light-coloured and sessionable beer at a time many seasonals are going dark and heavy, there is still plenty going on in the glass. The beer also features Cascade grown at the farm, complemented by Glacier grown by Fundy Hops. The beer is available now on draught at the Brewhouse (for onsite enjoyment or to go), with growlers, and soon cans, at their Port Williams location as well.

Speaking of Horton Ridge, they have a new beer available this week as well. When you’re a combination malt house/brewery and you’re looking to use up a previous crop of grain, you build a beer around it! That’s exactly what they’ve done with The Ridge Rosé, a Farmhouse-inspired Pale Ale. The grist was made up mostly of Queens Pale Malt, a variety of barley developed in PEI that gives an earthy malt profile, which works well in Farmhouse styles, according to Horton Ridge. Also brewed with a touch of Rye malt, and hopped with Saaz, the goal was to brew a base beer that would provide a good amount of malt character, yet also allow the secondary ingredient to shine through – in this beer, Muscat grape skins from Benjamin Bridge and Luckett Vineyards. After aging on the skins for close to two months, the 5% ABV beer has taken on tart, fruity flavours, as well as a subtle maltiness. It’s pouring on tap at the brewery, where you can also pick up some cans to take home.

Last summer, Off Track Brewing released a pilot batch of Boatload of Nerve, an experimental DIPA. Availability was obviously quite limited, and the beer went over very well, so luckily for us they’ve scaled it up and brewed a full batch! Hopped with a blend of El Dorado and Mosaic, this 8% ABV, 95 IBUs DIPA sports “notes of pear and mango, with a slight hint of pine”, as well as a touch of herbal/earthy character. Slightly hazy, it’s only available on tap… however, future batches MAY be bottled if the demand is there. For now, your best bet to find it is at the brewery .

Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has a new release out this week, sure to satisfy the hop lover on your list (in addition to yourself, of course!). The latest in their Hop Trip series, Southern Hemisphere IPA is 6.0% ABV, and while it is 30 IBU on paper, the hops are certainly the star of the show. Using loads of Galaxy, Topaz, and Vic Secret, three Australian-grown hops. Intense aromatics of passion fruit, melon, grapefruit, and pineapple come through thanks to the generous use of hops throughout. The beer is available on draught for samples, pints, and growler fills at their brewery at the Seaport, as well as the Oxford Taproom, with cans available at those locations as well as a few NSLC and private stores. And for the month of January, all sales/donations through Popcorn with a Purpose, a charitable endeavour at the Oxford where popcorn sales are donated, will be going towards the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Friendly alert for those of you in or around Liverpool NS: local brewery Hell Bay has just released Barrel-Aged Brown Ale, a 9.5% ABV Brown that was aged for six months in Bourbon and rum barrels from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery. Featuring a “rich, brown malt body with distinctive rum flavour”, it’s sure to pack a punch with that high ABV, despite the alcohol character being nicely hidden. Bottles are limited, so don’t wait to pick up a couple, as no doubt they’ll age in your cellar perfectly!

Something new and hoppy fresh out of 2 Crows this week, a 5.4% ABV, 31 IBUs New England IPA named Merida. Hopped very heavily with Mandarina Bavaria, Huell Melon, and experimental hop Bru-1, you can expect plenty of juiciness in this one, along with “Tang, pineapple, stone fruit, and cantaloupe vibes”. Available on tap and in cans right now at the brewery. And hey, even more good news – while there, why not grab some cans of the latest batch of Waltz, their German Pilsner? This batch was tweaked slightly, as the beer was brewed with 100% PEI grown-and-malted Shoreline Malting Pils malt. They’ve played with the dry-hopping technique as well, making this iteration “extra bright”, with more floral and lemon notes than usual.

Hanging nearby Rothesay, NB this weekend? Pop on over to the Hammond River taproom, where they’ve tapped a brand new experimental beer. Another entry in the brewery’s Dry-Hopped series, Dry Hopped Sour (Sorachi Ace). The base beer is a Berliner Weisse, kettle-soured with HR’s house Lactobacillus strain. This particular batch was dry-hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace from local Moose Mountain Hop Farm, giving the beer plenty of lemon notes in the aroma and flavour, to complement the tartness in the finish. And hey, if you can’t get to Rothesay, you should be able to find it on tap at The Joyce in Fredericton. And at only 3.5% ABV, you can have a couple and not feel too guilty!

If you’re feeling more cidery this weekend (is that a thing? It should be!), Annapolis Cider Company has you covered. They’ve launched the latest in their Something Different series, a sparkling cider and wine blend named Harvest Rosé. Marechal Foch (a hybrid French red wine grape) was locally harvested, with the juice co-fermented with fresh-pressed Gravenstein apple juice. This dry, cider-wine blend was then FURTHER blended with small batch, dry Gravenstein ciders which were prepared by the Annapolis Cider retail staff, fermented using four different yeast strains. Still following along ok? Great! Finally, fresh-pressed Geneva Crab apple juice, a “red-fleshed apple variety”, was added to finish it all off. The result? An “elegant, off-dry rosé cider with bright acidity, and notes of red berries and fresh apples”. It comes in at 7.2% ABV, and $0.50 from each refillable bottle purchases will go towards Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing isn’t slowing down one bit as we’ve moved into 2020, and they’ve got two new beers pouring at their taproom to prove it. The first is Captain’s Orders Hopfenweizen, their take on the hoppy Hefeweizen style. Brewed with a 50/50 blend of German Pale and Wheat malt, it was hopped with Magnum and Hallertau Blanc in the boil (to 35 IBUs). Fermented with a Weizen strain, the 6.5% ABV beer was then lightly dry-hopped with Amarillo. It’s showing classic Weizen aromas of banana and clove, along with some citrus thanks to the dry-hop addition. Medium-bodied and refreshing, it’s a great reminder of why this style shouldn’t only be brewed during warmer seasons! The next brew is Cross Island Common, a “modern take” on the California Common style. The malt bill includes Munich, Vienna, English Cara and Flaked Barley, with Perle hops going in the boil (to the tune of 30 IBUs). Dry-hopped with Eureka, the 5.5% ABV brew is exhibiting “herbaceous, hop-forward aromatics, with a candied orange undertone that leads to a palate of red berry fruits and toffee”. Finishing bitter and crisp, it joins the several other beers currently on tap at Shipwright. 

And in more Lunenburg brewery news, Saltbox Brewing will be opening a taproom and pilot brewery in the town this summer, under the moniker Lightship Beer and Cider. Located at 93 Tannery Road, the brewery and taproom will have an unobstructed view of Lunenburg Harbour from its place on the point. While the building design is still being finalized, we can tell you that it will feature indoor seating for 50 people, and a large deck with space for four times that number. A 2 BBL (230 litre) pilot brewhouse will be onsite, focusing on traditional German and other European styles, as an ode to the countries of origin of the early settlers in the region. In addition to those, a complement of beer from Saltbox’s main brewery in Mahone Bay will also be available on tap. The brewery space will also house some foeders which are perfect for long-term aging of some special brews. While the details of the kitchen and food offerings are still being ironed out, there will certainly be tasty offerings to pair with the beers pouring. We’ll keep you up to date on Lightship’s progress over the next months, and you can sign up to learn more on their website.

And in “a brewery we haven’t spoken about in a little while” news, we have some updates for you thirsty New Brunswickers looking for more beer (and info) regarding Valonray Brewing in the Shediac River area. Just over a year ago, they switched focus from clean European- (mostly Belgian-) inspired beers to those with mixed cultures and taking much longer to produce, and therefore their regular debuts stopped. The first of that line was Rouge Provision, a 5.0% ABV light-coloured beer first fermented with a clean ale yeast strain (familiar friend US-05), but underwent a secondary (and tertiary, etc, etc) ferm with a pitch of both Escarpment Labs’ Belgian sour blend, as well as a house culture of other Brett and Lacto strains built up onsite. The beer spent twelve months in a second-use Bourbon American Oak barrel, and then 6 months conditioning in the bottle. Available exclusively at the Picaroons shops in Fredericton and Saint John, we believe there are still a few bottles left on the shelves there. Bottles of their previous releases may still be available at your local ANBL locations. Future releases by Valonray are in the barrel and bottle now, as they continue their exploration of the Flanders Red Ale style. 

Don’t go waiting until Tuesday to wander over to Good Robot for a taste of their latest Beta Brew, as they’ll be closed for a staff day. However, they will be releasing Alternative Roots, their latest BB, on Sunday, January 12th. This one is billed as a Fruit Beer, with beet chiffonade added at the end of the boil, giving the final beer a “wild pink colour and a deep, earthy aroma”. Coming in at 5% ABV and 20 IBUs, drop in at the end of the weekend for your taste.

There are some very cool beer-focused events coming up over the next little while that we thought you should know about:

Halifax’s Stillwell Beer Bar is hosting an event with Toronto’s Burdock Brewery tomorrow, Jan 11th, at their Barrington Street location. Featuring 3 draught offerings, and more than a dozen canned and bottled brews available as well, there will be something to satisfy everyone’s palate. And as is routine for Stilly, they will have some special menu items on the go, including Mac & Cheese Arancini. The featured beers are available from opening at noon tomorrow, and around until… well, we’re not exactly sure, so your best bet is to visit earlier in the day!

If you instead find yourself 260km Northwest of Halifax tomorrow, may we suggest dropping into Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub for their own takeover/feature, where they are showcasing the beers of Alberta. The Alberta Craft Beer Tap Takeover will have beers from more than a half-dozen breweries across the province, including Alley Kat, Banded Peak, Blindman, Brewsters, Grizzly Paw, New Level, and Troubled Monk

HopYard’s original location in Charlottetown, PEI, is hosting a Battle of the PEI Breweries 2020 event over the course of the next couple of months that will see eight breweries compete for Island supremacy, with the champion being crowned at the Finale on Thursday, February 20th. But to get to that point there first needs to be a tournament, and that tournament started last night as recent ACBA Brewery of the Year Bogside Brewing squared off against PEI’s OG brewery, PEI Brewing Co, with Bogside pulling out a slim victory by 9 glasses. The next 3 Thursdays will see the remaining battles in the first round, with Moth Lane taking on Copper Bottom on January 16th, Lone Oak battling Evermoore on January 23rd, and Barnone taking on Upstreet on January 30th. The two Thursdays after that (February 6th and 13th) will be the two semi-finals before the final showdown a week later. So whether you’re local to Charlottetown or just find yourself on the Island on a Thursday night over the next six weeks, HopYard will be an excellent place for a fun night of drinking beer and voting with your tastebuds.

And speaking of PEI beer and Lone Oak in particular, the brewery and taproom have been open for a little while now, but they haven’t had themselves a proper party to make it all official-like. That will change on Saturday, January 25th, starting at 4 PM when they’ll be hosting a big Grand Opening celebration. One musical act, Max Koughan and The Poets has been confirmed, with two more surprise musical headliners to be announced the evening of. Cover charge will be $20 per person at the door, and the beer will also be flowing, of course. So make your plans to be in Borden-Carleton in two week’s time (but we’ll very likely give you a reminder nudge the day before).

And we leave you, as always, with a few brief beery mentions:

Firkenstein Brewing has a new brew joining their regular tap lineup – Chili & SubLime (6%) is “light and refreshing, with a bit of zest, along with just a hint of chili spice”.

Flying Boats may still be pouring Black Currant Blonde Ale at their taproom; this latest one-keg-only Brewer’s Test Recipe is brewed with local black currants.

Iron Rock Brewing has a pilot batch available exclusively at their taproom – Farmer’s Junction Red Saison is their Railbender Red fermented with Old World Saison yeast from Escarpment Labs. Caramel and toffee notes abound, along with spice and herbal character; only two kegs available, so get in, quickly!

Team TataBrew has released Triple Beam Lagerbier, a 6% ABV Lager dry-hopped with Cascade and Aramis. Easy-drinking and crisp, you can find it at homebase in Tatamagouche, and we hear that it’s been spotted at the Stillwell Freehouse as well!