Topside Brewing

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While yesterday Canada took a day of learning and reflection to honour the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, today (October 1st) is Treaty Day in Nova Scotia, when the 1752 Treaty of Friendship and Peace was meant to mark a day of renewing friendship and peace between the Mi’kmaq and the Crown. Today, the purpose of Treaty Day is to promote public awareness about the Mi’kmaw culture and heritage for all Nova Scotians. It also kicks off  Mi’kmaq History Month in NS, but keep an eye out around our entire Atlantic region for how your local beverage providers may be supporting their local own Indigenous people. On top of that, we can also keep celebrating Oktoberfest, as these events are still happening all around the globe. As always, keep an eye out for local regulations, proof of vaccination (October 4th for NS folk!) and stay safe out there, fellow fine drinking (and non-drinking) friends!

Antigonish’s Candid Brewing is celebrating their Grand Opening this weekend with their own Oktoberfest; complete with a brand new beer as well as events today and tomorrow… First the beer, shall we? Oktoberfest Märzen was brewed to honour that most excellent Munich tradition of Oktoberfest, and in the same style as the originals, with the 5.9% ABV beer pouring a deep amber colour and is malt on the nose and the palate, with a smooth, quaffable, finish. A taproom feature, draught pours of the Marzen start at 4PM, as the festivities of the weekend kick into high gear…

Today from 4 PM, door prizes and drink and food specials (The Boneyard food truck is onsite), table-side magic from 5 PM, and a free show from Jud Gunning at 6 PM, ahead of two ticketed shows this evening (The Collective at 8 PM, and Andre Pettipas & The Giants at 9 PM, tickets for your table are available here, and include a stein and first fill for each person).

Saturday’s fun start shortly after opening at 1 PM, with more door prizes and drink and food specials, along with Brewery Tours at 1, 2, and 3 PM, with Kinsmen Radio Bingo at 5:30 PM. The doors close for the ticketed events of the evening, before the Dixie Rovers and then Dead Phish take over for the evening. 

The Antigonish Townhouse is also celebrating Candid’s opening, as they’ll have Marzen on tap to pair with a lovely Currywurst feature, and for those unable to make it to town for the weekend fun, kegs will be available in HRM at TAPestry Beer Bar and Battery Park very soon.

In Nyanza, up on Cape Breton Island, Big Spruce is bringing both a returning favorite and an all-new jam to the taps this week, a double-dose of terroir from our CB friends. Up first is Major Hop Lips, also known as, “the beer what they put all their farm-grown hops in.” Yup, you may be aware that Big Spruce has a hopyard on their property, and, barring major investment in extensive cold storage and/or processing and pelletizing equipment, the absolute best way to showcase those hops is to pick ‘em and immediately throw them into a batch of beer. A pale ale weighing in at 5.7% ABV and boasting a stiff-ish 59 IBU, it cone-tains (hyuk hyuk) Cascade, Mount Hood, Goldings, Chinook, and Centennial varieties for an overall impression of apricot, pine, and wildflowers. Golden in color, with a crispy white head, the can design (and name) will no doubt trigger nostalgia for drinkers of a certain age.

Secondly, in a move that screams, “Summer’s not over yet, dammit!” comes Respect Your Elders, a Berlinerweiße featuring elderberries sourced, you guessed it, on the Big Spruce farm. Spritzy, dry, and just a little bit tart, this 4.5% ABV beer takes a soft pink color and light fruit character from the elderberries, long considered to be medicinal. We’re not sure you’ll see any health benefits from drinking this one, but we’re guessing your taste buds will be pretty happy. Both of these beers are now available in cans (although the Respect Your Elders is a small batch) at the Big Spruce online shop for delivery, for pints, fills, and cans to go at the brewery, and, we suspect, on tap over the coming days and weeks at your favorite BS tap accounts.

It won’t surprise regular readers of this blog (both of you!) that we’ve got news from 2 Crows Brewing this week, although it may surprise you that we’ve only got one thing to mention. And we’re not going to lie, this one might seem like a bit of a tease… You see, 2 Crows has done a home-and-home collaboration with one of Canada’s shining light breweries, Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewing, and the first of those two beers, loosely based on a New Zealand theme, is now available. Crowbar features, of course, a raft of New Zealand hops, including Rakau, Pacifica, and Motueka to provide notes of honeydew melon, strawberry, and sweet tart candies. It’s 7.0% ABV, and it’s been canned for your convenience, but here’s the kicker: this is the Bellwoods half of the collab, so it’s only available from them. That said, if you’ve got any friends in Toronto, or the rest of Ontario, Bellwoods ships province-wide, so now may be the time to call in that favor your childhood friend/college roommate/cousin/aunt/uncle/great-grandmother owes you!! Meanwhile, we’ll have the deets on the 2 Crows side of the collab when it’s released in coming weeks.

Up on the Rock, in Mount Pearl, Landwash Brewery has a brand new beer available, although for frequenters of their establishment it’s not exactly new. Originally brewed as a taproom exclusive, English Harbour is a 4.8% ABV sour that was conditioned on locally-sourced field cucumbers and rosewater. Bright and thirst-quenching, it was such a hit on tap they decided to do up a big ol’ batch. Available as of yesterday for pints, fills, and in cans to go, look for this one (and their recent Kveik-fermented quick lager Sand Dollar) to be available via wider distro real soon now!

Sticking with Newfoundland for a spell, we go west to Rough Waters Brewing in Deer Lake, where they’re rolling out a very traditional Belgian style. Mechan-enkel is the RW take on an Enkel, the low-percentage daily drinker brewed by and for monks that you may also know by the name Patersbier. At 4.3% ABV it’s not going to knock you over if you have a couple of them, but it’s got plenty of bready flavor from a grist of Pilsner and wheat malts, some complex overtones from the Belgian yeast strain, and additional notes of citrus, honey, and white pepper. Brewed in partnership with Rough Waters Gravel Grind, a 40/75km bike ride through the Humber Valley trail systems, we think this will go down very smooth after a trek like that, or just the trek from your house to the taproom. This one is available on tap and in cans from the brewery, where you can also grab their two CBA Silver medal-winning offerings, Selkie Wheat beer, Sou-wester sour, or the rest of their lineup.

Let’s chat cider for a bit, as Halifax’s Sourwood Cider has a special release on shelves near and far these days. Cox Orange Pet-Nat is a single varietal cider made from the eponymous apple, that was spontaneously fermented using only the yeast and microbes on the fruit, and underwent a 3-week maceration period with the apple flesh and skins hanging around the fermenting cider. Considered a Zero / Zero cider, there was no sulfur added to kill natural yeast or bacteria, and so no other intervention with chemicals or filtration. With just 24 cases produced, this is certainly a small batch, but is now available at Sourwood’s location on Cornwallis Street, their online shop, and for those in Ontario, through Grape Witches’ shop.

As mentioned in the intro, it is Mi’kmaq Heritage Month and many establishments will show their support in one way or another. One of those is Wolfville’s Annapolis Cider, who is back with one of their Something Different series, featuring limited releases and new flavours blended with their dry cider. Something Different: Peach and Ginger is a full-bodied sparkling cider that blends their cool fermented dry cider with fresh-pressed Annapolis Valley peaches and a bit of ginger. Using a cryo-exraction process for the peach juice, this brings out some acidity and fuller, roundness of flavour, along with notes of tropical fruit and warm peach pie. Splashed with ginger juice, this is notable with a warming zip on the finish of this 5.7% cider. This is available now in growlers only at the cidery and $0.50 from each refill of Peach & Ginger will support the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association (NSNWA). NSNWA offers programs, services and advocacy supports to Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people across the province.

Upstreet’s non-alcoholic offshoot, Libra, continues to expand its offerings with the release of two new beers just in time for anyone partaking in Sober October, or just generally looking for a zero alcohol option that still scratches that beer itch. First up is Libra Pumpkin Spice Ale. Expect those classic fall notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Also joining the party is Libra Pilsner. Brewed with lager yeast and Czech-imported Saaz hops, you can expect a crisp drinking experience with some light malt sweetness. Both beers are 0.4% ABV and are available in 12 and 24 packs at the Libra online store (Pilsner is coming back in a few weeks), with the Pumpkin Spice also available at Upstreet’s retail shop and Craft Beer Corner downtown.

Over to New Brunswick, where you might know that in Village-des-Poirier on the Acadian Peninsula you’ll find Microbrasserie Houblon-Pecheur. What you may also find in the waters nearby, as he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave, is a Great White Shark called, of course, “Brunswick,” but not why you think. Originally tagged off the coast of the Southern US, he was named after the folks of Brunswick, Georgia! Guess he heard about the “other” Brunswick and decided to go on a road trip! A young adult, he’s “only” 8’9” and 430-ish lbs of ocean-going killing machine, but we have every faith his time in the region will bulk him up. What better way to celebrate such a visitor than with a beer? And BHP came up with just the thing, an IPA they’re calling, not surprisingly, Brunswick. At 7.7% ABV and packaged in 500 mL bottles, it’s a double IPA that no doubt packs a shark-sized punch. Look for it at ANBL stores in Caraquet, Tracadie, and Shippagan, with other usually Houblon-Pecheur points of distro expected to pick it up soon.

The Oktoberfest events continue, in addition to Candid’s event mentioned earlier, we’ve got news of a few more coming over the next couple of weeks…

If you’re headed to the Valley this weekend, the Oktoberfest tradition will find you there, too! Starting today, Horton Ridge will have a wonderful tap lineup of 3 new Oktoberfest beers, along with their other core beer and other taps from Tatamagouche, Big Spruce and East Coast Cider. The new beers are an Oktoberfest Honig, a 5.2% Marzen with local honey, Labour of Love, a 5% Schwarzbier and Bucked Up, a 5.5% Kolsch. These will be available all weekend at the malt house. 

Down at the Seaport in Halifax, Garrison Brewing has brought back a beer for a very special in-house event going on Tomorrow, Saturday, October 2nd. It’s a Wienerful Wheat is a hazy, crisp, and refreshing beer, 4.6% ABV and 12 IBU, nominally in the German Weißbier style, with a bready wheat character and overtones of spice and citrus. It was brewed in collaboration with Jack 92.9 FM, specifically morning hosts Griff and Caroline. Fifty cents from every can sold will go towards the Nova Scotia SPCA. Tomorrow’s event will celebrate all of that, with a pet-friendly launch party. Drink and merchandise (pet accessories, natch) deals will be going on all day, with locally handcrafted pet goods from Bog Dog and Hide & Paw also on display and the chance to win a prize pack with stuffs from other vendors @bichobandanas, @craftybeastsbrewingco, @thewhiskerstore, @chowtimepetfoods, and more! So get your furry friend(s) prepped and primped and head down to have some beer and maybe spoil them a little (more).

We’ve been telling you all about various Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the region over the past several weeks, including a couple today, but in classic, “last, but certainly not least,” news comes word that Stillwell Beergarden is doing their thing once again this year on Saturday, October 9. The true blue beer geek’s version of the event in our region, they’ve got confirmed taps from a couple of well regarded out of town breweries, namely Sonnen Hill of Caledon, ON, and Tooth & Nail, of Ottawa, ON, along with a raft of Maritime stalwarts: PEI’s Lone Oak and Bogside, New Brunswick’s Grimross, and Nova Scotia faves Tatamagouche, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Uncle Leo’s, and, of course, Stillwell Brewing. Beers are not all confirmed yet, but you can expect plenty of Märzens/Festbiers along with maybe some Pils, German Lager, Kellerpils, Altbier, and possibly even a Munich Dunkel. No tickets, it’ll be first come, first served, but there will be an entry fee (keep an eye on BG social media for details on that). Beer will be served in ½ L and 1 L steins, and there will be some thematically consistent snacks from HQ chef Joe Martin. So maybe forgo the dirndl and lederhosen and move straight for the drinking pants because this is shaping up to be eine gongshow. 

Just a coupla buncha quick hits this week before we let you go:

Newfoundland isn’t immune to the Fall beer craze either. Bannerman’s Marzen-style lager, Safe Bet, is also available in cans and on tap on Duckworth Street. Their take on the style comes in at 5.5% ABV. Using a blend of Vienna, Pilsner and Caramel malts to produce a beautiful copper colour and provide ample malt sweetness.

In more Newfoundland news, Crooked Feeder has two new releases in its Sour Series. Passion Fruit Sour and Grapefruit Sour are both available at the Cormack taproom and at Marie’s Minimart locations in St. John’s.

If you like your marine vessels to be airborne, Flying Boats has a returning favourite at the brewery and select ANBL stores in a limited release. Red Cap is a 4.8% Peanut Butter Stout using a base of an English-style Double Oatmeal Stout with all-natural peanut butter flavour added in the final stages of fermentation. A mix of peanut butter aroma, flavor with chocolate notes, this is in 473ml cans and on tap and growler fills while quantities last. 

Heading down the river, Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing Co. is releasing a new Double IPA, Trident to Da Troat. Coming in at 8.5% ABV, expect a deep orange colour, with big hop aroma and flavour from the dry-hopping. Grab it today in cans or by the pint in the taproom.

The Fall beers continue to roll out of brite tanks and canning lines across the region. In Fredericton, Fall means the return of Grimross’ Vienna Lager, King’s Horn. This super clean lager with the style’s signature malt sweetness is available now at the brewtique now on Bishop Drive. 

Windsor’s Schoolhouse Brewery is the fall mood this week as well, as they release Pumpkin Paddler is a 6% Bock with some added pumpkin spice flavour. Try it today at the brewery on Water Street.

We’ll leave you with two final re-releases. Wizzum is back in stock at Trailway. This west coast style IPA has slightly more bitterness than you’ve come to expect from Trailway. Look for a touch of sweet malt flavours and hops that profile the classic pine and resin west coast notes. Finally, on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, Cup O Joe is back at Sober Island. This 5.8% coffee porter features an addition of Trider coffee and is available now in cans. 

One more thing this week…

For those who like exploring a bit of science as they craft, create, or enjoy beer, the Master Brewers Association of the Americas is a great place to start. While membership is reserved for those in the brewing industry, or students who may join later, there are resources available to the general public such as their free weekly podcast, tapping into their industry members to contribute research and knowledge to everyone in the industry (or just interested in learning more!). For the first time, we in Atlantic Canada have a seat at the table, as Blair Tobin, owner and Head Brewer of Topside Brewing, has been elected as the Atlantic Canada Representative of District Atlantic Eastern Canada. With a local brewer/owner on the board, expect to see more MBAA exposure at events in the region, and more resources available to local brewers, from both pure research side of things, as well as from partnering companies in the malt, yeast, and hops world. Congratulations to Tobin on the election! And hey, while we’re toasting Tobin, we’re thinking Topside’s returning Winter seasonal Chaos Stout is as good a choice as any. The 6.6% Oatmeal Stout with dark chocolate notes complementing the bold roasted malt flavours. Find it on tap at Finbar’s Portland Hills today, and you can always reach out to Topside directly for growler fills via Social Media (Fb/Ig).

 

Well hey, we made it to mid-July and, even better for NSians, Phase 4! Although it’s definitely positive news and puts us one step closer to that “new normal” that we’ve been hearing about, it’s really important to remember that the lifting of restrictions in this phase don’t help everybody to the same degree!! Due to the continued need for social distancing, bigger venues get a whole lot more benefit from this than the little folks. That’s not judgement, that’s just facts. And frankly the little folks are the ones who’ve already been suffering the most. Now consider that the bulk of the craft breweries in Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic Provinces are on the smaller end of the spectrum. Now is not the time for complacency if you want your favorite local(s) to make it to the other side of this thing. While in-person space is limited, plenty of places are still doing on-line ordering for pickup and/or delivery; why not throw an order their way?

Let’s start with some news from Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula. Those who’ve been to the Landwash Brewery taproom in Mount Pearl can attest to the great vibes, cool interior design, tasty food options (care of in-house food truck Saucy Mouth) and excellent beer. However, a trip to the Pearl requires a bit of a drive, which may not be feasible for tourists or others spending time closer to downtown St. John’s. That changes this summer, as Landwash is taking its act to the Gut as part of the new Wharf at Quidi Vidi vending park and beer garden! In what’s shaping up to be a surefire summertime destination, the setup will feature outdoor seating, including a large tent to make it a rain or shine operation, an ice cream shack from the Quidi Vidi Sweet Spot, and food from Landwash mainstain, Saucy Mouth and the Bernard Stanley Gastropub. And of course, Landwash will be slinging pints from a custom built beer trailer. The Wharf is now open 7 days/week from noon to 9:00 PM, with plans to remain open until September 8th.

And while we’re talking new and exciting for the Landwash Crew, there’s also a new beer from them, a bit of an ode to their Mount Pearl home. With the City recently launching the Find Your Centre Renewal plan, and today being the first of Mount Pearl City Days, what better time to launch this collaboration! Find Your Centre is a 4.5% ABV Session Pale Ale, hazy and bursting with flavour from the massive amounts of Eclipse and Galaxy hops used late in the process, for flavour and aromas of mandarin orange and candied citrus. For the time being, the only place to grab a Find Your Centre is at the taproom at 181 Commonwealth, with cans and draught available for purchase. And until Sunday, your purchase of either will have you entered in a draw for a prize pack from the city, with plenty of goodies from local businesses. Win Win!

On the opposite side of the island, the crew at Port au Port’s Secret Cove Brewing has a new IPA out this week with the release of Citra Arse Down. This one was brewing with Canadian grown 2-row and Victory malt and was hopped exclusively with Citra from Yakima Chief Hops. Coming in at 5.6%, expect notes of orange and tropical fruit. Available now for pints at the brewery’s taproom.

Staying with IPAs, the makers of some of HRM’s favorite hoppy beers, Propeller Brewing, are back at it with the release of Pacific IPA. This one features two New Zealand hops, Pacific Sunrise and the elusive Nelson Sauvin. Look for flavours of white grapes, tropical fruit, citrus, pine and gooseberry (yes, let’s all keep pretending we know what that tastes like). Pacific IPA comes in at 6% ABV and 60 IBUs. Look for cans with the pop-top 360 Lid, last seen for Propeller’s DDH IPA, which celebrated previous years’ IPA Day. But 2021 deserves a brand new celebrator, and Pacific IPA is where it’s at! Cans will be available at Propeller’s three retail locations and home delivery today, as well as Bishop’s Cellar and other private stores and the NSLC soon. On tap for pints at Prop’s two taprooms (Gottingen and Quinpool), with kegs also heading to Battery Park and North end pals Sourwood Cider. Due to the smaller batch size, no growler fills of this beaut, sorry!

Downtown Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has a pair of new beers on tap and in cans this week, on opposite ends of the spectrum! Groove Delight is a Strawberry and Vanilla Sour, with plenty of lactose (milk sugar) added, the beer flirts with the “Milkshake Beer” category, but the gentle tart character from underlying sour keeps it from being too heavy and thick. Tons of strawberries added late in the process mean there’s plenty of flavour in the beer, which can be difficult. Available on tap and in cans from opening at 4 PM today. Also available is Big Swifty, a 9.5% Double IPA featuring loads and loads of Zeus hops (part of the CTZ trifecta with Columbus and Tomahawk, nearly indistinguishable from each other), for plenty of bitterness underlying the dank and resinous character of this Old School American hop. Pop by today to grab some of each, plus a few more, for samples and pints, growlers and cans!

Back to Newfoundland for some news from Quidi Vidi Brewery, who have recently opened their taproom’s patio down in the Gut, which may have the prettiest view at a brewery in the region (send corrections to @acbbchris). Celebrating more beauty is their Arts & IPA Series, where local artists’ work adorns the labels. The latest is Arts & IPAs 03 – Rye IPA, featuring The Voice of Currents by Mike Gough, born in Corner Brook. At 6.5%, Citrus and Spice come together, as the hops and especially grain shine through for a bit of complexity. Available now at their location in QV, as well as their Hop Shop at 16 Harbour View Avenue off Torbay Road, and coming soon to NLC and convenience stores across the Island next week.

Down in Lunenburg, NS, Saltbox Brewing is bringing out a new beer they’re calling Loud and Proud. A hop-forward American Pale Ale with classic notes of citrus, it is a collaboration with Lunenburg PRIDE, a non-profit advocacy organization for local 2SLGBTQ+ individuals of all ages and their allies who are, “committed to building an inclusive community on the South Shore where everyone feels safe, secure, and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.” Proceeds from the beer will be donated to Lunenburg PRIDE and you can be part of that by hitting a Saltbox tap room as of this afternoon to try a pint or two!

Keeping with the Pride theme, but heading northeast to PEI, Upstreet has released their seasonal Pride-themed beer, Rainbrew. A “strawberry lavender saison,” the style is a mouthful and so is the beer, but in the best of ways. Featuring an ingredient for each color of the classic Pride flag, it was built on a base of Island Malt House 2-row, oats, wheat, and rye. Hopping is courtesy of modern continental varieties Huell Melon and Barbe Rouge, and, as you’d imagine, strawberries and lavender were used, and also butterfly pea flower. Coming in at 5.5% ABV and 15 IBU, the initial impression is dominated by its distinctive pinky/purply color that you don’t find in many beers. On the palate it’s got a minerality and tartness paired with a touch of sweetness, and aroma-wise you’ll find some classic notes of clove, spice, a bit of bubblegum, and banana, all from the saison yeast, but also a touch of that strawberry and lavender. This is the fourth year for Rainbrew, which began as 2 kegs that sold out in one night and has gotten bigger every year to this year, where a double production batch was done. Proceeds from sales will be donated to Upstreet’s collaborating organization for this beer, Pride PEI to the tune of $0.50/can and $20/keg. The launch party was last night at the brewery, and as of today you’ll find it available for pints and growler fills as well as cans to go!

Staying on the Island for a moment but heading just out of town to Cornwall, the longest-named brewery in the region, Modern Brewer’s Village Green, has the latest iteration of their Weird Clouds New England-style IPA on the go this weekend. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, the hopping is classic Centennial blended with modern Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy. This killer combo brings notes of Creamsicles(™ Unilever) and sweet oranges backed by a firm, grippy(™ CPR) bitterness. On tap at the brewery and also available in cans to go.

And speaking of NE IPAs, back across the Northumberland Strait to Antigonish, you’ll find a brand new beer in that style from Half Cocked Brewing. Perfectly Unclear features an awesomely apt label on the can, and an aptly hazy concoction inside, with heavy floral and tropical hop notes owing, no doubt, to the two huge dry hop additions. With no real bitterness to speak of, this 6.6% ABV hop monster goes down easy, possibly too easy. Grab some cans or a growler fill to go at the brewery or sit and have a pint (or two).

And speaking of Antigonish, they’re officially a two brewery* town: Candid Brewing has opened the doors to their taproom at 88 College Street. which locals of the region will no doubt know as the longtime office of venerable newspaper The Casket. And if you visit their website, you’ll see they’re leaning into that heritage. For now, opening hours are as follows: Mondays closed, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3 – 9 PM, Thursdays to Saturdays 3 – 10:30 PM, and Sundays 12 – 5 PM. On tap you’ll find (subject to availability, of course), their five core beers and, as brewing time allows, some seasonals as well. Growler fills are available (retail hours the same as taproom), and you’re welcome to bring in any (clean!!) growler you might have or purchase one of Candid’s own. There’s no kitchen on site, but you’re welcome to bring or order in food from other places. Look for a profile of this new concern on Nova Scotia’s North Shore in these very pages soonish!!
* [Ed: possibly still one horse though…]

Happy Third Birthday to Lake City Cider, who have been busy these last few months putting together some great blends of apple and fruit together in fun and exciting ways, including their District Pride Rose (Dry cider rose with tart berries to complement), Field of Dreams (local apples blended with NS strawberries fermented and steeped with whole vanilla beans with a splash of black currant wine), and Cardi P (NS apples and plums, with a touch of cardamom). You can take home a Birthday Bundle featuring these three cuties, along with three more options as well an LCC-branded frisbee. Congratulations to Poet and the team!

Hey folks, do you miss the pre-pandemic world where you could hang out with your friends drinking brilliant beers from far-flung places? We sure do, and we especially miss doing so at the various Bars Stillwell!! If you’re the same, and you’ve maybe been living under a rock that shields you from beer-related news, boy do we have some good tidings for you about the potential return of something that might possibly feel like just a little bit of normalcy: on Saturday, July 24th, the Stillwell Freehouse will be hosting a special event featuring one of the best breweries in Belgium (and really, the world), Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen. No fewer than 19 unique blends from 3F will be on offer that afternoon, with bottle pours, 11 beers from the Speling van het Lot (Twist of Fate) series, and, of course, Belgian-inspired treats coming out of the kitchen. And if you’re feeling more contemplative than chatty, the back room will play two screenings of episode 5 of Michael Jackson’s (no, the other one) Beer Hunter, entitled “Burgundies of Belgium.” Note that reservations are being taken for this event, and it’s strongly recommended that you try to make one. To do so, email andrew@barstillwell.com.

We’ve got a few more short beer hits to share today before we dismiss you for the week…
Iron Rock Brewing in Lab City debuted a new Pale Ale this week, which will help you strike it rich… Prospector APA weighs in at just 4.0% ABV, but thanks to a whole buncha Citra hops used late in the process (end of the boil and in the dry-hop), it is not at all light on flavour and aroma, with plenty of citrus and floral character complemented by low bitterness. On tap for pints and growler fills, and wider distribution in cans in the coming weeks.

O’Creek Brewing, the nano in Dieppe, NB, has a new beer pouring that they’ve dubbed Snap Cryo Pop. Featuring the Cryo Pop Hop Blend from Yakima Chief, it’s an NE Pale Ale with a very tropical bent. Look for citrus, stone fruit, and hints of coconut in a 5% ABV package. It’s available only at Le BarBu BeerGarden for now.

Out in Sackville, NS, the new hip beer bar, Tapestry Beer Bar, has received several inquiries about private bookings. Well good news for those folks who’ve been looking to make such a booking, they’re going to be possible! Obviously, rates and availability will vary, but you’re welcome to make contact to find out whether it’s a fit for your group. There’s some contact info on the website, but you can probably also slide into their social DMs (Fb/Ig) to ask. And keep your eyes peeled on the blog as we have a full interview with owner Ian Smith in the coming days!

Bedford’s newest brewery, Topside Brewing, has been working to get their beers out to other places beyond the brewery. Look for them on tap at Finbar’s Portland St., Finbars Bedford, HopYard Halifax, and Battery Park. Several of those locations have their newest beer, Backyard Blonde, but you also may find summer staple Joyce’s Boy Hefewëizen and core offering On the Bottom DIPA as well.

Bannerman Brewing in St. John’s is putting out some of the Rock’s finest fermented beverages, but they haven’t been packaging all of them. New to cans this week is Broad Strokes, their lagered German ale at 4.8% ABV and made with Pilsner and wheat malts. Eventually you’ll be able to grab some (while quantities last) at NLLC licensees (Marie’s Mini Mart and Urban Market 1919, we believe), but for now you’ll have to head to the brewery.

If you’re looking for a beer job in Halifax, we think you could do far worse than with our friends at 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street. And now would also be a good time to be looking, as they’ve got a couple of positions that they’re looking to fill: brewery production assistant/delivery driver and part-time bartender and packaging assistant. In both cases you’ll be working with a team that puts out high quality product and cares deeply about their roles in the brewing community and the general Halifax community as well. More information, including instructions on applying, can be found by clicking the “Careers” link on their website.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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