The Stillwell Freehouse

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With the summer rush officially behind us, breweries across Atlantic Canada are turning their attention back to new releases and fun events to keep thirsty beer fans across the region happy.  Last weekend saw many breweries and beer drinkers partaking in the final Oktoberfest celebrations, soaking up the great weather and general good vibes. This week, we’ve got a bunch more new releases and some great events in Halifax and St. John’s to help you plan your weekend. This week is also the kickoff of the infamous Burger Week in HRM. A friendly reminder – be courteous and patient as your favourite beer bars and taproom restaurants deal with the onslaught of burger fans and do their part to keep us safe with the new vaccination mandates. Take a look below at what’s new this week and make some plans to grab some burgers, peep some leaves, and drink some tasty fermented beverages from your favourite breweries and cideries this weekend. 

Starting out on one of our favourite islands, Dildo Brewing had a few new releases over the last few weeks. We’re here to get you caught up to speed and help you quench your thirst for Atlantic Canadian beer! First up is Lassie, a Dildo take on a classic Northern English Brown ale. This dark ale has caramel hues of reddish-brown but well balanced with hop flavour and malt character. Very light and drinkable at 4.5% this beer uses a mix of English pale, biscuit, brown and caramel malts, all blending for a nice roasty flavour with some nutty and biscuit malt notes. Additions of fancy molasses helped develop a deeper colour and balance of sweetness, producing a lovely beer that pairs well with this season.

Second up from Dildo, Bitter Cold is another malt forward, easy-drinking ale. A 4.0% ordinary bitter, it has classic English flavour notes of orange pekoe tea and toasted biscuits. Both of these new brews are available in 473ml cans at the brewery, St. John’s store, and Marie’s, this should also be popping up at Orangestores around the province. 

Heading to another island (and another beer release last week), Big Spruce Brewing has a canned release of a beer that was at the Stillwell Beer Garden Oktoberfest. Festfriends is a German Festbier perfect for the time of year. This German-style lager is just what you’d want for your crisp beergarden bevvy taking you straight over to Germany. Featuring some toasted malt and biscuity notes from Pilsner malt, this 5.8% beer is available now in 473 mL cans directly from Big Spruce at the brewery or online. 

Back to the Rock, where just west of Stephenville, you’ll find lovely Port au Port and Secret Cove Brewing. Flake & Gunnels is a Double IPA named after classic Atlantic fishing terms (a “flake” is a platform to dry and preserve your catch and, if you were lucky, you were loaded to the Gunnels) this beer represents the families that harvest from the sea. Packed with those classic American “C” hops (Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook and Citra) and adding creaminess and body with flaked oats and flaked barley, this hop-forward, smooth beer brings flavours of juice, citrus, resin and pine. At 7.6% ABV with high juiciness and bitterness, cans should be available today from the brewery. We’ll end this blurb with a note straight from the brewery (and because this beer sounds so delicious) “Cod may be God, but We Love and Pray Hops.

Aaaand back to the mainland for a pair of new releases from Nova Scotia’s North Shore at Tatamagouche Brewing. Their Intertidal line of hop-centric beers continues with Intertidal Eclipse + Galaxy Pale Ale, leveraging both of these tropical and citrus hops in a Pale Ale. Available on draught at the brewery, and soon at better bars in HRM and beyond, cans should be hitting their shelves (virtually and on Main Street Tatamagouche) in the next week.

Available now in bottles is another in Tata’s exploration of barrel-aged beer, Petite Milo. Beginning life as a Golden Ale that was fermented and conditioned in some funky barrels for several months, it underwent a secondary fermentation with the addition of locally-grown Petite Milo grapes. More time means more character when it comes to these mixed fermentation beers, and PM is no exception. A touch of barrel pokes through the bright and tart beer, with vinous character from the grapes also making their presence known. Bottles are now available at the brewery and online, with just a few kegs available, so it should be popping up in the wild soon.

Never one to shy away from our weekly updates, Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing has a very special release for a good cause today. A special freshly picked wet-hopped IPA is a brew for goodwill with all profits from sales being donated to the Moncton SPCA. It’s is 6% and the hops were hand-picked locally in Moncton by Tire Shack employees. While you can never be sure with backyard hops, the fine folks at the brewery believe it is mostly Cascade. There are only 100 litres of this beer and it will be available for pints only at the brewery, so stop by this weekend if you get the chance! 

On to another island, Montague, PE’s Copper Bottom is back with a fresh entry in their Flux series, a single hop feature constantly changing with new releases. This edition is Flux: Azacca a Session IPA clocking in at 4.2% and 20 IBU. This is hazy and sessionable, with the Azacca hops bringing out bright citrus notes along with stone fruits like mango and peach. Soft and smooth it has just enough bitterness to balance the grain bill of 2-row malt, wheat, and flaked oats and it’s available today in 473ml cans only at the brewery. 

Staying on PEI, another brewery with frequent releases is back with another one (DJ Khaled!). Village Green brings us Wheelie’s Hazy Pale Ale, a hop filled pale ale named after PEI’s famous haunted childrens toy (this is news to us, but it’s definitely creepy!), it features Citra, Mosaic, and Chinook hops (enchanted by the brewers to make it extra spooky). With that combo you can safely expect bold fruity, citrus-y, and piney flavours and a strong hop aroma. This beer release is paired with an event today at the brewery from 4:30 – 6:30 PM where you can see Wheelie there in the flesh (!) and $1 from every sale of the beer will go towards the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation

And one more time up to NL, where Ninepenny Brewing in CBS has also released an ode to a local celebrity (of sorts) this week, in collaboration with the Manuels River Interpretation Centre. MR1 is a 500 million year old trilobite fossil found along Manuels River by Dr. Riccardo Levi-Setti in the 1970s; it is one of the best preserved specimens of this species, and is proudly displayed at Manuels River. The beer is a kettle sour, conditioned on locally grown blackberries and blueberries from Walsh’s Farms in Colliers, as well as wild river mint foraged from near the site of the fossil discovery. At 4.9%, it’s tart, fruit, and refreshing, reminiscent of a fruited mojito. You can grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery, and can even grab cans at the Manuels River Interpretation Centre. And speaking of, the Centre is hosting their own Oktoberfest next Friday, Oktober 22, with a German-inspired menu, flights of Ninepenny, and live music. Check out their events page for more information and to book your spot!

As we transition from Oktoberfest to Spooky Season all across the region, Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing has decided that St. Patrick’s Day shouldn’t be the only holiday to have questionably colored beer and have accordingly released a Halloween-themed beer that looks like a witches’ brew! Spooky is a Raspberry sour that is very green (in colour, not flavour!), a 6% sour ale that is dosed with blue Spirulina powder to turn it into a hazy shade of green. Tasting both sweet and sour, reminding you of Halloween candy, it’s full of raspberry flavour and a bit of acidity and it’s available now in 473ml cans only from the brewery. 

Big news out of Greenwich/Halifax’s most clandestine brewery, Delta Force. For the first time, their beers are available via retail. The fine folks at Bishops Cellar will be stocking Anderlecht Farmshed Ale and Atlantic Time Bitter. Anderlecht is their Brett-forward nod to Orval, in the Trappist single style. Atlantic Time is an English-style bitter featuring PEI-grown malt and Delta Force’s own hops from the Greenwich area. To celebrate their retail debut, DF is offering a limited quantity 6-pack of some of their greatest hits, spanning several styles for your drinking pleasure. Home deliveries are available within a 1 hour radius of HRM. Hit up their online store for more details on how to order. 

And lastly for our news section (but bleeding into our events section), did you think you were going to get through a Friday Wrap-up without news from 2 Crows? Psshhhht; silly beer lover. We told you a couple weeks ago about the home and home collaboration between 2C and Bellwoods Brewery, including teasing you about the BW side of the release, the Crowbar IPA that was only available in Ontario. We also talked last week about the recent trend in lagers at 2C and specifically the Harrington released last week that was named after the variety of barley malted by Shoreline Malting and used in that beer. Would you believe all that naturally leads us to this week’s new release, almost as if someone had cunningly planned it that way?

Birds and the Bells is a “New Zealand Pilsner” which is the recent industry term for a Pilsner that’s hopped a little more than average, often late, and always with New Zealand hop varieties. Leveraging the same hop combo that was used in the Crowbar, this beer also exclusively uses the Shoreline Harrington malt. Mashed with their recently adopted regimen that promotes big and long-lasting foam, they really leaned into the hop side of things, with Rakau and Motueka added in the mash, at first wort, and then late. Fermented low and slow with Escarpment Labs’ Isar Lager, it was krausened and assertively dry hopped with plenty more Motueka and Pacifica plus a little bit more Rakau before being lagered for 5 weeks. At 4.4% ABV and 35 IBU, the result is a maximally crushable ultra crisp beer with some lovely and zippy hop notes, including lime and apricot, and big beautiful foam. Find it at the brewery or for online orders via their web shop, or, you could head down to 2C tomorrow (Saturday, October 15) from noon to 5 PM for the release party! There will be hand pies from Humble Pie Kitchen, bottle pours of some Bellwoods bangers courtesy of Bishop’s Cellar, and, of course, plenty of fluffy-capped Birds and the Bells streaming from the side pour tap.

A couple of things to tell you about today before we send you off to the great unknown…

St John’s Brewdock Beer Bar has always had gluten-free options on tap and on the food menu, but they are pulling out all of the stops this weekend, dedicating three of their draught lines to GF options (which is infinitely easier these days, with Port Rexton having a dedicated line of truly gluten-free options, including the recent Gluten-Free IPA and the newest Gluten-Free Sour, featuring a boat-load of Haskap berries). And Chef Chris Mercer and team in the kitchen have created more than a dozen GF food items, including baking and refining their own potato bun that is the base of either a beef or spicy cod burger. And in chatting with the Brewdock team, they expect to have a few of these items (and beer) on all the time going forward, giving those who live with Celiac Disease, or who just want to reduce their gluten ingestion, more options in their glasses or on their plates.

Mark your calendars for next Saturday, October 23, as the Stillwell Freehouse will be welcoming Microbrasserie Les Grands Bois, located in Saint-Casimir, Quebec. Founded in 2016 in a movie theatre built in the 1940s, Les Grands Bois has a wide portfolio of beer in house, and are sending ten of them to Agricola Street. From Grisettes, Kolsch, Pils, to New England and American IPAs, there promises to be something for everyone that day. And with it being the last day of Burger Week, you can try Chef Graeme’s house-made-beef-bacon- and cheddar-sauce-topped creation one last time… And in “It’s That Time of Year Again”, remember that the Stillwell Beergarden on Spring Garden is winding down for the season Sunday, October 17, so grab those afternoon and evening pints and Beverly Taco Service eats before they close the metal gates for another year. The good news is that Beverly are expected to be back slinging tacos from Sourwood Cider’s location on Cornwallis later this month.

As we did the rounds on social media this week and checked our messages for missives from the (much beloved) folks who send us regular updates or even just notable releases and happenings, it became pretty clear that we’ve reached that magical point in the late summer when many, if not most, of the breweries in our region are pretty much running on fumes. Sure, there’s some new releases out there (Hello 2 Crows), but there’s a definite feeling that the industry is heaving a collective sigh this week and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it stretch one more before the big push for Oktoberfest and fall beers comes on. We know that beer never really sleeps and that new beers are out there, they’ve just got to get out of their fermenters. And into packages. And labeled. And distributed. And…and…and… So while we know that nobody’s actually taking much of a rest, this is a good week to look for what’s left of your summer faves and consider what might be coming down the pike in a couple of weeks. That said, there’s definitely some news this week…

Halifax’s reigning Tiny Tasty Taproom and Good Time Emporium, Tidehouse Brewing, has announced on social media that they will be closing their doors this weekend. After 5 years of slinging the good beer and conversation on Salter Street, welcoming visitors from across the province, country, and world, they will be shutting down at the end of service Saturday night. Not ones to leave anything unsaid or undone, they are closing out with a bang(er) today. Salad Days is a celebration of Tidehouse’s heydays and foray into all sorts of fun adventures, resulting in a 10.5% Triple Milkshake IPA. Big fruit juice character thanks to the massive amount of mango, raspberry, and orange zest added, with Galaxy and Azacca hops lending even more fruity esters. The use of vanilla and lactose/milk sugar help complete the milkshake mouthfeel and sweetness. Salad Days is available on tap and in cans from 4 PM today (and again from 4 tomorrow), as friends, colleagues, and beer fans new and old are welcome to celebrate what Shean, Peter, Shannon, and everyone in the extended Tidehouse family have accomplished. Congratulations folks, plenty to be proud of!

The folks who regularly give these weekly posts a skim are probably well aware that when they see Halifax’s 2 Crows there’s likely several paragraphs afoot and this week is no exception. We don’t know what they put in their coffee over there (although we’ve seen their coffee pot and, well, be glad they sell you beer) but we’re betting it could cost someone an Olympic gold medal.

First up are a couple of beers that we should warn you are not likely to be easy to come by if you’re not planning to be in the environs of St. John’s, NL, a week from today. We previously mentioned the 2C tap takeover at Brewdock on September 17th and, as they tend to do, the gang is bringing some heavy artillery that will no doubt delight the crowd on the Rock. Nanaimo and Big Turk started out with the same base, a base that 2C’s own head brewer has termed “ridiculous.” The grist was based in pale and Vienna malts, with just a touch of specialty grains added, you know, the usual, some flaked oats, Caravienna, Caramunich, chocolate AND light chocolate, Honey malt, Extra Special malt, and Midnight Wheat. That tremendous pile of grain was then double mashed to produce a wort with a sky-high original gravity of 1.127. After fermentation was complete, the batch was split to produce the two beers: Nanaimo received a massive dose of cocoa nibs and coconut, plus a bit of honey and cinnamon. Big Turk was also treated to a massive nibbing, along with vanilla, concord grape, and black cherry. It’s not hard to see what the inspirations for these two were! Described as “super thick, super chewy, super super,” they come in at a bowl-you-over 11.9% ABV, and, for an added touch of awesomeness, will be occupying the nitro taps at Brewdock which will impart maximum smoothness. Boy howdy. Tickets are required for the event, BTW, and can be purchased at Brewdock and now through their online shop. That guarantees your spot inside, as well as your first pint in your own take-away glass.

Also pouring at Brewdock will be the latest in the 2 Crows series of incredibly hoppy NEIPAs. We’re past the point of being able to rhyme off all the various names, but we believe that this is the first new one since Cause for Celebration was released as part of a 4-pack for their 4th anniversary in January of this year. Well now comes Vivid Imagination, which began, as all the others have, with Golden Promise, flaked oats, wheat malt, and chit malt, and hopped in the mash and at first wort with something inconsequential (i.e., for brewing magic reasons, not so much for flavor or aroma). On its way to the fermenter it passed through a pretty good dose of newish hop variety BRU-1 in the hopback, but the real heavy lifting was done by “outrageous” amounts of Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy (along with a little more BRU-1) in the dry-hop. Carbonated via spunding like all the cool kids are doing to lock in the aroma and flavor, you can expect it to be really and truly juicy, with tropical and gooseberry notes. This one will be canned on Monday, at which point it’ll be available for purchase at the brewery.

Already out in the wilds of Halifax and beyond is Signals, a new smoked lagerbier that some (like us!) might consider an ideal style for the transition from summer to fall. Built on a simple grist of floor malted Pilsner and smoked malt, and using a double decoction mash to provide body and foam stability, heavy amounts of traditional Saaz hops were added in the kettle before the beer was fermented low and slow with Escarpment Labs’ Czech Lager strain, known for producing clean and crisp beers and revealing malt and hop subtleties. Coming in at 5.1% ABV and a healthy 38 IBU, the focus here was on drinkability with the smoke providing some interest. Although it’s already been seen on tap at the Stillwell Freehouse and Stilly HQ, packaging logistics won’t allow this one to be released in cans until the 24th or so, at which point you might see a beer and sausage event just about right on time for Oktoberfest. Until then, keep an eye on 2C tap accounts to give it a try! 

Would you believe there’s more? Of course you would, this is 2 Crows! Folks who’ve been fans of the brewery since they opened might remember one of their first barrel-aged offerings, a gin barrel aged sour with blackberry and lemon they called Blackberry Collins. Well there’s a new version of that beer in the offing, finally coming out tomorrow after starting its life as a batch of their standard golden sour base in May, 2020. Aged largely in gin barrels (with a soupçon in a vermouth barrel), it was fermented in oak with a wide variety of house cultures. After a year of aging, it was blended and then conditioned on 200 kg of blackberries and a whackton (3 cases worth) of lemon zest and juice. After the sugars from the fruit had fermented out, it was packaged into clear bottles and allowed to bottle condition. Fruity to the point of jamminess, zesty, and super-bright, you’ll be able to grab this one at the brewery as of this afternoon.

Continuing to put out plenty of new beers, especially considering their size, Truro Brewing Company is back with a new release you can get today. Earlier in the year they held the Hubtown Homebrew Competition and this release is the second featured beer from that event. Cool Shade Stunner was the highest scoring entry in the competition, which tasked brewers to all use the Krispy Kveik yeast from Escarpment. Chelsea Meisner (also known as Lady Scotia Brewing) brings this 5.1% IPA that is crispy, refreshing and hoppy flavour that is balanced and mild in bitterness, with the Cascade, Idaho 7, and Citra hops used late in the process. This is available on tap at the brewery and also in 650 mL bottles.

If you’re like some of us, you think of this time of year and Grimross comes to mind. But then again, we think of all the breweries all the time. First up in beer release news, Bishop Belgian IPA is a seasonal re-release that is back after its debut 2 years ago. A meeting of new world citrusy hops and old world spice, the IPA side brings bold hops and Belgian yeast character brings a beautiful balance to a great style at 50 IBU and 6.0% ABV. This is available on tap at local restaurants all around New Brunswick and 473 mL cans at ANBL locations and the brewery. 

Other news from Grimross is their Grimross Gardens is open! Think of crisp fall days at beer gardens in Europe and go right to Fredericton at 600 Bishop Drive to check out Grimross’ offering. Directly behind the brewery, they’re open from 2pm-10pm, but be sure to check their social media for the latest updates. We hope this is a trend that continues around the region and we hope to get there ourselves!

Never a stranger to new releases, Village Green in Cornwall, PEI, brings another tasty IPA release this week. Fuzzy IPA is a hop-packed, fruity, juicy and balanced IPA that should be sticking around for their regular year round selection. Featuring a malt backbone of Golden Promise with generous amounts of Galaxy hops along with Simcoe and Citra, this brings citrus and stone fruit flavours in a 6.5% tasty package! This is available on tap and in cans directly from the brewery. 

Big congratulations to Moncton’s Tire Shack Brewing who brought home some big competition hardware this week! Repeating and improving on their 2020 win at the US Open Beer Championship (Gold in Fruit Gose for Lime Margarita), they have taken home three medals in 2021. The recently-returned Love at Midnight Piña Colada IPA took home Bronze in Fruit IPA, and Parts N Labour took Silver in New England/Juicy IPA (which understandably is a hard-fought category!). And in Gold medal-winning news, their soon-to-return The Wickerman Vienna Pumpkin Lager took top spot. This Best of the Best is slated for release next week on tap and in cans at the brewery, so be sure to stop in to celebrate the new winners in the region! We’ll give you even more reasons to visit next week, as we expect to have more information on a fun multi-week event coming soon!

It’s no secret that Fredericton’s Trailway Brewing makes some of the hoppiest (and haziest!) beers in this end of the country; and although they’ve spread their stylistic wings considerably since they opened, there’s always room in the rotation for a new juicy banger. Enter the rather recent Talus hop, related to Sabro, but considered to have a more robust and complete flavor profile, and one that has not been seen much in these parts, but has definitely been part of some popular beers (e.g., Propeller Brewing’s Cold IPA earlier this year). Who better to give a fresh new hop a spin through the Hopinator5000™ than Trailway? Talus Your Secrets is exactly that, a single hop IPA using Talus so you can see for yourself what the fuss is about. Look for a soft, juicy, and drinkable IPA with notes of pink grapefruit and sweet stone fruit, with elements of coconut, pine resin, and oak as well. You can grab some at the brewery on tap for pints or fills, or in cans to go. And this weekend as a special treat, they’re doing $9.99/box shipping until Monday at 5 PM! So if you’re looking to try this one and/or any of their other offerings, you can do up an order and have it sent anywhere in Atlantic Canada or Ontario for a little cheaper than usual!

It’s back to school, back to Acadia University for some, and back to Church! Two new releases from Wolfville to chat up this week, starting with Gaspereau Gold. A 5.7% Festbier (think of a stronger Oktoberfest beer), with a malty body and a bit higher ABV than your traditional lager. With notes of caramel balanced with Magnum and Tettnanger hops, it’s still an easy drinking, crisp lager that you can’t get enough of. 

Second batter up from Church is New Wave, a Kölsch brewed in the traditional lagered ale style with a North American take. Brewed in collaboration with hop supplier, Brew Culture, it features a new German hop, Callista, used for a dry-hop. The mouthfeel is crisp, but has hop-forward flavours and aromas of pineapple, stone fruit and citrus from the dry-hopping and the Spalter hops that were added to the boil. Both of these beers are available only at the brewery on tap or $10 crowlers to go.

In Bay Roberts, NL, Baccalieu Trail Brewing Company has a new beer that’s not quite available yet, but should be real soon now. Tidy was designed to fill a perceived gap on their taplist, where everything was around 5% ABV and higher. So Tidy is a tiny pale ale, coming in at 3.9% and hazy, with some apricot character from the yeast used. Large low-temperature whirlpool additions of Cashmere, Columbus, and Simcoe provide all the hop character you could want in a little beer. That said, once they figure out what they’re going to dry hop it with, it’ll have more hop aroma for sure! Look for this one to come available next week sometime, so keep an eye on the brewery’s social media accounts (Fb, Ig).

Given their penchant for throwing one of the biggest Oktoberfest bashes in the province, it’s no surprise that Halifax’s Garrison Brewing has their fest-ready beer all queued up and ready to go to get your whistle wet and your appetite set for bier und wurst. Rise ‘n’ Stein is a Hefeweizen, a yeasty (hefe) wheat beer (weizen) known for a lower ABV, hazy appearance, soft mouthfeel, and subtle hints of banana and clove. Although to some it might sound a little odd, if you’ve never had one we suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how refreshing and quaffable that combo is. You can grab this one as of today at Garrison’s Seaport and Oxford locations, and don’t be surprised if it pops up at some or all of the private stores in the city. And stay tuned for more details on this year’s Oktoberfest event, which is set to run the week of September 24th to October 1st!

Plenty more events coming at you in the next couple of weeks!

Halifax’s Bar Stillwell is continuing their trend of ramping back up to some kind of normal with feel good events. This Saturday, September 11 (that’s tomorrow!), look for an all-day, all-Ontario event featuring ciders from Revel Cider, Wines from ibi Wines (also a Revel joint), and beers from Bellwoods. This is your opportunity to try some of the funkiest things being produced for your mouth in this fine country of ours. The flow starts at noon and runs all day; “no reservations, just good times.” Maybe we’ll see you there!

If your next Friday, Sept 17th, dance card isn’t already full, let’s change that! Chris Conway from Landwash Brewery, and the author of Newfoundland Beer History, will be giving a talk at the Admiralty Museum in Mount Pearl at 7 PM that evening. Chatting about the past, present, and future of beer in the province, your ticket includes a Landwash beer and charcuterie from the always excellent Chinched Meats. Grab your ticket from the Museum to take part in the fun!

Sticking in St. John’s, the following day is sure to be fun one, as Quidi Vidi Brewery continues to celebrate their 25th Anniversary all 2021-long. From noon until 9 PM on Saturday, September 18th, they are hosting a Dayboil in Bannerman Park, complete with live music, food vendors, games, and of course plenty of tasty beer! This is a ticketed event, so grab yours today!

And for those of us stuck on the mainland, Lwr Sackville’s TAPestry Beer Bar is kicking off their Oktoberfest event next Saturday, September 18th. We’ll have more details next week, but rest assured they’ll be pouring plenty of debuting and one-offs beers from breweries across Nova Scotia, all in their stylish spot at 833 Sackville Drive.

And before we let you go…

We’ve mentioned Candid Brewing’s Lagerish Blonde Ale in previous posts, but what we failed to mention was that this lagered ale is also gluten-reduced, thanks to Brewer’s Clarex. While that means different things to those on the Celiac/gluten-intolerant/-hesitant/-reducing spectrum, it is worth sharing when there are more options. Candid’s take on the classic German kölsch has been restocked and is available now on College Street, in cans and on tap for all of your beer drinking needs.

Annapolis Brewing has a new NEIPA out this week if you’re looking for something hazy and juicy. Fundy Haze is double dry-hopped with Galaxy, Sabro and Mosaic, giving notes of citrus, stone fruit and melon. You can find it on tap at the brewery in picturesque Annapolis Royal.

Thanks to those who have donated to our web hosting/beer fund. Did you know the reason that you don’t see ads on the site is because we *pay* for it? I know, it’s crazy, eh? But we think you’re worth it. 🙂

It’s well past the midpoint of August now and we’re sitting here melting into puddles and wondering when the soothing cool nights we’re usually enjoying by this point in the year are. Thankfully, our region’s breweries are stepping up to ensure we’ve got plenty of beer to keep us refreshed and to help us forget that our planet is on fire. Wheeee! While we’re still a ways away from our target vaccination numbers for the “new normal” Phase 5 / Green / Alert Level 1, we’re definitely hearing and seeing evidence that there are more folks visiting from out of the region and more people trying to get out and enjoy themselves. We’d like to remind everyone to be smart and be kind when it comes to their interactions over the coming weeks. If you’re seeing lots of people, try to be outside about it, continue to take advantage of the free testing facilities that are still available, and try not to put vulnerable folks at risk. Most of all, be good to each other, and especially to those folks who are working in restaurants that are just opening up or just expanding service. People are adjusting to being back at work after long layoffs, restaurants are adjusting to higher demand and a different balance of takeout/delivery and in-person dining, and everyone is learning how to be out in public again. We’re still all in this together!!

We’ll start off this week with a Halifax brewery that doesn’t constantly pump out new releases, but instead focuses on consistency and quality delivered with attitude: Unfiltered Brewing. Of course, you probably figure that if we are talking about them, it’s because they do have something new, and you’d be right about that. Featuring a name you have to be old enough to appreciate, Gazoo is a 4.5% ABV key lime sour. Bright, tart and a fairly low ABV, it’ll be an excellent refresher for the awfully humid weather the HRM has been enduring. Although it won’t magically fix everything, it’s got some awfully cute little antennae on the label to boot; if you’re wondering why, you need to get more Flintstones into your life. Grab some at the brewery before it disappears back to Zetox. While you’re at it, you can also grab some Hellevator, their 7% “juicy malt bomb” with all German ingredients (save water) that has returned for another run, and also some ultra fresh DOA, the most Citra beer that ever Citra’d.

Despite being on Canada’s east coast, Newfoundland’s Split Rock Brewing Co.’s location on North Twillingate Island affords it an unobstructed westward ocean view, which means beautiful sunsets filling the summer sky. In a nod to this, Split Rock is releasing Golden Hour, a 6.5% juicy IPA. Expect big tropical, stone fruit and citrusy notes from additions of El Dorado, Galaxy and Amarillo hops, with mostly late additions keeping the bitterness low. Grab a pint now at the taproom (may we suggest around sunset time). 

Dieppe’s O’Creek Brewing may be best known for their juicy and flavourful New England IPAs (Route 117 and Citra in a Galaxy come to mind), but this week they’re bringing something completely different. Has Been is a Grisette, a lighter-bodied and more delicate French/Belgian Farmhouse Saison. While low in alcohol, at just 4.3% ABV, it features plenty of lovely notes from the Lemondrop and Motueka hops used, complemented by the use of Jotünn kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs, for a dry and spritzy beer with a fruity and herbal finish. On draught only, so put Le Barbu and CAVOK in Dieppe, as well as Tide & Boar Brewing on your shortlist to visit this weekend. And if your looking for something a little different, Caffé Latte is coming to Le Barbu in the next day or two. This is a Milk Stout (a touch of lactose sugar used for body and residual sweetness) with cold-brewed coffee added to the secondary. Keep an eye on IG to see that tapping announcement!

Up on the North side of Nova Scotia, Tatamagouche Brewing has one new beer hitting the shelves this week and a couple of returning favorites as well. Up first is the newbie with a name, Herlihy, that, if you’re old and decrepit like us, you might think you recognize from early 90s Saturday Night Live (“Let the boy water your plants!”), but which is actually a reference to a road in Tabusintac, NB, and is pronounced Her-Lee-High rather than Her-Li-Hee. An Irish Stout with a fairly low ABV at 4.5%, the grist consists largely of pale malt with some crackery biscuit malt and chocolate malt to bring roasty chocolatey flavors and a deep dark color. UK hop variety Fuggle provides its classic spicy, herbal, and resiny profile, and the London ESB yeast strain ensures plenty of body and a smooth mouthfeel. Look for this one in cans at the brewery for now.

If, however, you’re looking for something at the lighter end of the spectrum, the latest batch of Pausa Pranzo Italian Pilsner is available now, this time with a little heavier hand with the Ariana on the dry hop but with the same malt side and 5.0% ABV. Lastly, if what you’re really craving is something nice and hoppy, but not too high on the ABV spectrum, we can confirm that the Cellar Slammer we mentioned last week is available once again direct from the brewery or at Bishop’s Cellar (who are also scheduled to be carrying the Pausa Pranzo) in Halifax.

Tusket Falls Brewing is bringin’ the hops this week with the release of a new DIPA, Details are Cloudy. This 8% ABV take on the style gets its cloudy mouthfeel by adding oats to a malt bill featuring German barley. Big dry hops of Citra and Amarillo give this one lots of fruit notes, including tangerine, lemon and peach. Cans are available at the taproom now and online through TFB’s webstore. HRM fans of Tusket should also keep an eye on the brewery’s social channels as they’ve teased that the opening date of their Gottingen Street taproom will be announced soon. Check below if you’re interested in becoming part of their team…

Let’s stick with cloudy and pillowy IPAs, this time at North Grant’s Half Cocked Brewery. Pillow Fort is a juicy, 7.4% NEIPA that features huge additions of Idaho 7, Eukanot and Mosaic. The photos of this one on Half Cocked’s social channels show a beautiful golden colour, with the telltale NEIPA haze. Expect lots of tropical fruit aromas and flavours, including papaya and mango, as well as some vanilla notes. Pillow Fort is available now for pints and growler fills, keep your eyes peeled for kegs in the wild in HRM next week! And those who make the visit to North Grant are well-advised to check out The Crafty Cooks, the food truck operating onsite this summer. They even open early for Brunch!

First across the post with Oktoberfest/Marzen beers this year, Grimross in Fredericton has released their eponymous beer in this style. Oktoberfest, a 5.6% ABV malt-forward beer, featuring bread and toast characters, as well as light brown sugar and toffee notes. Available on tap and in cans now. Also returning is their Grimdonk Belgian Golden Ale, 6.5% ABV, with notes of banana, clove, and coriander, also on draught and cans. These returning faves join the latest entries in their Scratch Series, Hopped Saison and Irish Red. The latter is a farmhouse ale fermented using their own house-isolated yeast, and then dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. The Irish Red features malt-derived notes of caramel and coffee, with a dry finish, weighing in at 4.5% ABV.

And as right… now… you can grab a pint of Grimross’ British Mild, pouring direct from a cask, where it was naturally carbonated in the traditional manner, leading to a softer mouthfeel and less bite. This is the absolute last of the Mild in-house, though ANBL still has cans for those die hard anglophiles.

If cider is more your thing this weekend, head down to Wolfville for the latest release from Annapolis Cider Company’s Something Different line. Strawberry Lime starts with the cidery’s cold fermented cider and some fresh apple juice, and sees additions of fresh-pressed local strawberries and pure lime juice. The result is a 6% ABV rose gold colored cider, with subtle berry flavours and a crisp finish. The good people at Annapolis Cider Co. are also donating $0.50 from each refill of Strawberry Line to Shelter Moves Nova Scotia, a charity that provides free moving and storage service to women and children fleeing abuse. Cheers to that.

Big news out of Spryfield, Nova Scotia this week, where the much-anticipated Mary Brown’s Chicken opened their doors yesterday. But before we go completely off-topic, we’ve got to remind you that the best spot to enjoy your Big Mary is next door at Serpent Brewing, where they’ve got a new British Dark Mild pouring these days, their 4.0% Some Mild. Notes of toast, nut, and caramel shine through, with a touch of fruity sweetness from the English yeast. On draught and in crowlers and growlers to go. And if you’re in downtown Dartmouth, you can grab it at Battery Park, where their Eden Belgian IPA is also pouring. On the Halifax side, White Mountain Witbier is at the Stillwell Freehouse. For those who are more into enjoying their beer at home or at the beach, cans of Eden and Patey’s Bier Belgian Single are both being released at Bishop’s Cellar tomorrow.

Most people know that Halifax’s Bishop’s Cellar is the place to go when it comes to finding a well-curated selection of local, regional, domestic, and imported tipples of all kinds. In addition to beers mentioned above, some new things you’ll find on the shelves there in the next week or two include Tanner & Co. Wheat, Mountain Meadworks Strawberry Arboreal, and Big Spruce Hour of Sour. Though they’ve always had Province-wide delivery available, the pandemic has certainly altered their business model and they’re now finding themselves looking for more help on the warehousing and delivery front. Folks who have a Class 5 drivers license, a desire to work in a fast-paced and friendly environment, and who are interested in getting into the bevvy industry on the distribution side are welcome to send a resume to ian@bishopscellar.com. Perks of the job include a staff discount on beer, wine, and spirits!

We teased earlier that Tusket Falls’ Halifax taproom is inching towards a grand opening. As they grow their operations, Tusket is looking to hire for both its HRM and Yarmouth County locations. They are currently on the hunt for serving and kitchen staff. If you’re interested, send a resume to info@tusketfallsbrewing.com or stop by the taproom in Tusket.

Trying to figure out what to do this weekend? Those in HRM have a couple of great options!

Last week’s post mentioned the Island Release of the Lone Oak and 2 Crows Together and Apart beers, and the time has come to let the rest of the world enjoy them as well. We’ll skip the details on the beer, and let you know that 2C’s webstore has both in stock for local delivery as well as Canada-wide shipping. And to celebrate, the fine folks at Lone Oak are making the trek off-island and will be doing a tap feature on Brunswick Street tomorrow from noon. Fixed Link German Pils, Modest Tiny Pale Ale, Yankee Gale APA, Delight Golden Sour with Peaches, and Rouge Farmhouse with Lucie Kuhlmann Grapes will be pouring alongside a handful of house-brewed beer. And to make this truly an event not to be missed, the fine folks from Tako Loko will be popping up from noon as well, providing some much-needed sustenance to keep you drinking all afternoon.

For those looking for a cider-based events (but still love tacos!), great news! Thanks to some special relationships with world-class cider makers to both the East and South, Stillwell Beergarden will be hosting a “Side by Side” tap feature of three sought after and super great ciders on draught. From Spain, Isastegi is located in the Basque region, renowned for their natural cider, and Stilly was able to finagle some of their Sagardo Naturala to pour alongside Oliver’s Cider from Herefordshire in England, and ANXO Cider from Washington, DC. Whether you are a hard-core apple-head, or new to cider, we suggest making a stop on Monday and/or Tuesday to check out the offerings on the go!