Topside Brewing

All posts tagged Topside Brewing

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.

Happy Friday, everyone! We’re closing in on the end of October, and the weather has definitely turned chilly in the region. And snow in Labrador, but that’s to be expected in July, too! 😉 A full case of beer news for you today, so let us tarry no further and get you up to speed!

Do you like your hoppy beers with a low amount of alcohol? And by low, we mean… in the non-alcoholic range? If you do, Upstreet has just the beer for you! Libra North Cape Pale Ale is golden-coloured APA lightly hopped (both in the whirlpool and dry-hop) with Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe, that weighs in at… 0.4% ABV. Yes, 0.4%! They insist it has been fully fermented with a “regular beer yeast”, but that’s all they’re willing to divulge. Either way, they’re hoping the ultra-low ABV won’t scare you away from enjoying a hop-flavoured beverage! It’s available at the Upstreet taproom and Craft Beer Corner in Charlottetown, and should be pouring at the BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth next week. You may even see it in some of the Halifax private stores, as well. And seeing as it’s non-alcoholic, it can be ordered for Canada-wide delivery through the brand’s website, DrinkLibra.ca

The Pride of Hanwell never stops churning out the good stuff, as Niche has a new draft release this week and a bottle release coming soon. First up, Sabro Sour Session IPA, is a sour Session IPA dry-hopped with only Sabro (well that was anticlimactic). This beer comes through with those nice Sabro coconut notes (coconotes) along with lots of citrus flavour coming through with some tartness. Coming in at 4.4%, this easy-drinking and refreshing ale will be at the usual local accounts in New Brunswick this week. 

As for their newest bottle release, Pau Hana, (Hawaiian for “end of the work day”) Niche delivers a barrel aged fruited Saison with time on its side. Pau Hana was fermented with a blend of Sacch and Brett strains and aged in a freshly-emptied Chardonnay barrel for over a year. The beer then went back to stainless for several more months on pineapple and pink guava puree. The flavours here should be oaky, dry, funky, with tons of fruit (especially guava). Pau Hana comes in at 5.8% and is marked for release next week for bottles going out next week around Fredericton and Moncton. We’ll be sure to get the details for the blog next week so you can get your paws on this tasty treat. 

For those of you in Nova Scotia who don’t live in the center of the universe, aka the HRM, you’ll be happy to hear that your hard workers at Good Robot are now shipping beer province-wide. Just make sure to have your order in by 3 pm, and it’ll ship out the next day (weekends excluded, of course). Orders need to be placed in multiples of 12 cans, and you’ll need your ID on delivery to prove you’re legally able to consume sweet, sweet beer. And what better way to christen your first order than with a new beer? Well, more good news then, as their latest, Sour Cherry Camacho, is available for purchase this weekend. This one is a “Sour Cherry Marzen” (!) brewed with a healthy portion of Vienna malt in the grist, as well as a blend of three forms of cherry: puree, extract, and juice. It comes in at 6% and features, as you might have guessed, a lot of cherry presence, along with some biscuity, bready notes. 

Brand-spanking-new Double IPA from Big Spruce coming your way! Fou D’Amour is an 8% ABV hazy wonder hopped entirely with Barbe Rouge, a fairly new French variety that gives the beer a big blast of “ripe strawberry, ruby grapefruit, and kumquat”. With a soft mouthfeel and tons of aroma, it should be just the hoppy ticket to get you through your weekend. You can find it on tap and in 650 mL bottles at the Sprucetique in Nyanza, and of course you’ll very likely see it at some of your favourite watering holes near the brewery, as well as in the HRM.

If you love beer and live in St. John’s, you’ve probably been pretty happy with all of the one-offs that Quidi Vidi has been releasing lately… and we don’t blame you, you lucky dogs! This weekend they’ve got yet another one, Citra Lager. An easy-drinking Lager hopped with Citra, it has a “bright citrus aroma and a light-bodied flavour, with a mild, bitter finish”. Available at the brewery’s Hops Shop, it can also be found at NLCs and convenience stores across Newfoundland, once deliveries are completed. 

Newly-opened Serpent Brewing in Halifax is only a few weeks old, but they’ve already got their fourth product available for purchase! Notice we say “product” and not “beer”, because, well… it’s not a beer. It’s a cider they’ve named The Bite. Made from a mix of juice from three different apple varieties from the Annapolis Valley, it was fermented in two separate vessels, with two different yeasts (one of which is a Belgian strain). Blended back together once fermentation was complete, the final, semi-dry 5.0% cider has “a subtle, rustic quality, while retaining the delicate flavour of the apples”. It’s available in 500 mL bottles, and can be purchased directly at the brewery, or online for pickup or local delivery.

Our friends at North Brewing have a bright, new beer for you to share (or hoard, we won’t judge) this weekend – Rosy Berry Saison was fermented with the Old World Saison yeast strain from Escarpment Labs, with additions of local blackberries and raspberries from Noggins Corner Farm Market. Dark orange in colour, with “notes of berry, melon, and grapefruit, with a pleasant, peppery Saison finish”, it sounds like just the beverage for this time of year. It’s launching today for purchase at both retail shops, as well as online; it’ll also be on tap at Battery Park.

Let’s return to hops (because, really, that’s still where a lot of beers go these days) with Landwash Brewery, who have a new iteration of their super-hoppy Double IPA, Dream Island. This batch features multiple additions of both Sabro and Bru-1, loading the aromas and flavours with “notes of macerated peaches, ripe mangos, and juicy oranges”. Weighing in around 8% ABV, you can grab it at the brewery right now (on tap and in cans), or arrange an order online for pickup.

Corner Brook’s Boomstick Brewing is celebrating the holiest of beer celebrations with their own Oktoberfest tomorrow. Their sister Best Coast Restaurant is converting into a beer tent for the day, complete with plenty of decorations and ambiance, in addition to the necessary music, food (brats, kraut, pretzels, mustard, and lots more!), and of course a beer worthy of celebration. Just like at Wiesn, the mayor will be tapping the first keg! The Boomstick Crew has chosen a modern Marzen, along the lines of a Helles style. The best way to take part in the fun is to book a table with your Bubble Buddies, for one of the three seatings (1 – 4 PM, 5 – 8 PM, and 9 PM – midnight). Call 709-388-0144 to RSVP. And if you can’t make it, no shame, the beer will be canned and available to others this weekend as well!

There are a bunch of great events happening this weekend, so if you’re so inclined, we encourage you to get out and get some local beer into you, safely, of course!

We’ve got three events for our Prince Edward pals to get you up and out of the house this weekend:

HopYard in downtown Charlottetown is hosting the European-inspired Grimross Brewing to take over their taps today and tomorrow. Nine taps will be pouring, with a great mix of their Belgian Cheval D’or, German Kings Horn, Brunswick Pils, and Oktoberfest, as well as the Maritime Cream Ale and Pale Ale. Plus a few more treats for you to discover!

Montague’s Bogside Brewing is holding their Oktobeer Fest Saturday afternoon 2 – 5 PM, with live music, pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, as well as a full complement of their German beers a-flowing. And if you do opt for those, you’ll get them at a sweet discount! Check out their Instagram for more details.

We already chatted about Upstreet a bit earlier with their new Libra release, but also wanted to highlight that their Gravedigger Ghost Tours are on this weekend and next. In collaboration with the Confederation Centre, attendees start from the Yacht Club at 7:30 PM, and are guided by the Gravedigger himself through downtown Charlottetown hearing stories of unsolved murders, ghostly haunting, and executions. You’ll end up at Upstreet’s taproom where the eponymous beer, and a bunch more, can be used to calm your nerves. The tours run Oct 23 and 24, and again on Oct 29 and 30, grab your tickets here!

In Halifax, 2 Crows and the Change is Brewing Collective releasing the Good News Raspberry and Mango Berliner Weisse tomorrow, with full details on the beer available in last week’s post. There is a full day of fun kicking off the release, starting with a BIPOC Maker’s Market in the taproom from noon til 4 PM. Pints can be enjoyed on the patio during that time, so come by to check out the craft, design, and food offerings and stay for the Good News! From 4 – 6 PM, the taproom opens up, and Hibiscus Specialty Foods will be sticking around for more snacks. At 6 PM, the Change is Brewing Collective, joined by board members of the Africville Museum, will give an address. And at 7 PM, Deidre Lee will present spoken word poetry. A full day for a great cause!

Just a few more bites rounding out the news this week!

After a brief hiatus from in-person episodes, the 902 BrewCast fellas made the trip to 111 Cobequid Rd in Lower Sackville, to visit Ol’ Biddy’s Brewhouse. There they spoke with owners Keith and Chris to learn the origin of the brewery name, what it’s like openings brewery in the middle of a pandemic, and plenty of teases on what’s on the horizon from OBB. Grab the episode today to laugh and learn!

We teased it last week, but now it’s a reality! Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is bringing back some of their favourite releases from the past four years (wow, it’s been that long?). First up in the celebratory series is King Friday. If you don’t remember this one, you could be forgiven…. It’s a 9.5% ABV Wheat Wine! It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood when you can get your hands on this malt-driven beer that features plenty of sweet warmth, but with lovely bread crust and biscuit character in your glass. Available in small quantities (as with all Tidehouse releases!), you’ll want to get down to Salter Street from 2 PM today (and tomorrow, if it lasts that long!) to take a ride on the magic trolley.

Tire Shack Brewing has brought back their crowd-favourite Waffle Sauce, an Extra Special Bitter that contains an “excessive amount” of maple syrup, combined with a “great pastry flavour from the malt bill”, all in an easy-drinking 5% ABV package. Available right now at the brewery’s taproom in Moncton.

Bedford’s newest brewery, Topside, is already bringing out some new beers, expanding their “dive roster” with a couple of English (or at least English-derived) styles. One is a Golden Ale with a lovely coppery color that comes in at 5% ABV and that they’re calling Ridgevale, the other an Oatmeal Stout with Cacao nibs at a very respectable 4.3% ABV. Not on tap anywhere in the city just yet, the best way to beer success is through their Grab a Growler program available to those in Bedford, with the details available on their website.

And finally, just a note that you may have seen some news regarding the CBANS this week, with several member breweries leaving the organization (Huddle / The Coast). While there may have been one recent incident that served as the “last straw” for the breweries have left the organization, both public statements on social media and things we’ve heard more privately have suggested that for many breweries, CBANS no longer represents their best interests in terms of business, community, or social responsibility. There have been whispers of another industry group forming, and we’ll have more on that when we can share.

We hope the first half of your week was not too disrupted by Teddy’s visit to the region. Thankfully it didn’t have nearly the dramatic effects that had been feared. Let’s celebrate that, and the official arrival of Fall, with a fresh batch of beer news, with more than a dozen debuts across the region coming at you today!

After announcing their presence through their first collaborative release in July, the Change is Brewing Collective is back with another beer release. This time, the group has teamed up with Dartmouth’s North Brewing to bring us The Cherry Brook Wheat. Named after the Cherry Brook community along Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, the beer is a 6.6% ABV Wheat Ale featuring more than 100 kg of crushed cherries from Noggins Farm in the Annapolis Valley. Lightly hopped with El Dorado and Huell Melon, the beer allows the base of flaked and malted wheat, as well as the fresh fruit, to shine through. Sporting a beautiful label designed by Change is Brewing member Jayme-Lynn Gloade, the beer will be available next Tuesday, as part of a launch party at the North Brewing taproom. From 7:30 PM on September 29th, pints and cans will be available to enjoy in the taproom or to go, with other licensees in HRM also coming on board to sell the beer on draught shortly thereafter. The CiB group will be onsite to chat about the beer and their overall goal for better representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour in the beverage and food industry in our region. This release supports two important movements, with 100% of the profits from all can and draught sales going toward The Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia located in Cherry Brook, as well as the CiB Brewing 101 program, where they bring the joy of beer and brewing to those communities who may not have otherwise felt welcomed. Congratulations to Change is Brewing and North on this great release!

While you’d be forgiven for thinking that this time of year is inundated with breweries releasing Pumpkin Ales and Märzens (not that there’s anything wrong with that), there are, of course, plenty of other beer styles that go great with fall weather. One example is another German style, Hefeweizen, which is definitely available in some tents during Wiesn. Sure, you may immediately picture yourself sipping on a fine local example at the peak of summer, but we feel that a delicious, refreshing Weizen is equally as appropriate on a lovely fall day, preferably out on a deck somewhere! Don’t worry, all this waxing poetic has a point – Tatamagouche Brewing has released Acolyte Weissbier, which looks like it could be their first take on the style. Brewed with lots of wheat, naturally, it was hopped lightly to 12 IBUs with Tettnanger and Huell Melon. Fermented with a dry Weizen strain, the 4.5% ABV beer is showing “aromas of pear and banana, backed by subtle clove,” with a refreshing, crisp finish. It’s available on tap at the brewery and local accounts, and they hope to have it in 650 mL bottles by mid-October. And while you’re thinking Tatamagouche and Oktoberfest, while the largest Oktoberfest east of Kitchener has been canceled (as well as the *big* one in Munich), Tata is celebrating on a smaller scale in their taproom. Visitors can enjoy $5 pours all weekend, or opt for the Maß pour (that’s 1 litre!) for $18, and you get to keep the glass! Check their IG for the latest taplist. Prost!

Speaking of styles that go great with fall weather, the team at Big Spruce Brewing has been busy harvesting from their organic hopyard for the annual release of their fresh-hopped harvest pale ale. Major Hop Lips was brewed with the freshest hops possible, added to the kettle within minutes of being picked. This year’s version was brewed with Golding, Chinook, Mt. Hood, Cascade and Centennial hops, leading to floral, apricot and pine notes. Available now for pints and fills at the brewery in Nyanza, be on the lookout for bottles in their online store next week.

Heading southwest, Tanner and Co. Brewing’s newest release is Mystery Hop Ale. The neat story behind this beer starts with Penney Hill Farm, an eighth generation farm outside of Bridgewater, the founders of which originally brought hops with them from Germany. Over time, information about which varietal(s) has been lost, but, lucky for us, the hops have thrived. Tanner hoped to make a beer with the hops last year, but the plans were derailed by Dorian. This year, luck would have it that they were able to harvest just before Teddy made its arrival. Described by the brewery as being reminiscent of a lagered ale with mild hop balance, Mystery Hop Ale comes in at 5.5% ABV, and is available at both of Tanner’s locations, and their online store. While you’re at it, grab a bottle or two of their Belgian Blonde, making its return after a six month hiatus. 

Earlier this year, when things were “normal”, Port Rexton Brewing held a Mystery Homebrew Challenge, where they chose the ingredients, leaving everything else up to those brave enough to participate. The winner of that challenge was homebrewer Ralph Pike with Sour Belgian IPA, a beer whose name tells you most of what you need to know about it! Well, to a point, anyway. While details on this beer are a bit slim, admittedly, it is a kettle sour “backed by notes of citrus rind and tropical fruit”, complemented by a refreshing tartness and finishing with a bit of earthy bitterness. Weighing in at 6.7% ABV, you can find it in cans right now at the brewery’s taproom and their St. John’s retail shop.

The air is crispy and Garrison always delivers leading up to Oktoberfest. First up, their classic Nut Brown is available in cans for the first time. This Garrison classic is rich, dark, malty and clocks in at 5.0% and 22 IBU. Next up, it’s Knuckle Puck Lucky Punk time! Lucky Punk is a Sour IPA back for a limited time in both shops and the NSLC, coming through with some peach, apricot, lemon with a zesty and puckering sour finish. Hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Bru-1, this hybrid IPA is 5.4% and 40 IBU. And back just in time for Oktoberfest is their Weinerful Wheat, their 4.6% German Wheat Ale brewed in collaboration with Jack 92.9, and in support of the NS SPCA, with $0.50 from each can sold going to support wieners, schnauzers, and animals of all origins!

And what better way to enjoy (German) beer than at an Oktoberfest event? Garrison is keeping it waterfront for a 10 day Oktoberfest extravaganza! Garrison will be teamed up with the Stubborn Goat Beer Garden from Sept 25 (today!) until Oct 4th down at the waterfront for the first time. While the beer will be pouring the entire 10 days, the fun really ramps up during their Das Big Party events each Friday and Saturday, with live bands, Oktoberfest food specials and tons o’ fun! No tickets required, so show up in your favourite lederhosen and yell Prost!, and they’ll fire you a beer in no time. Check out the full details on their Facebook event page

Fresh off a Silver Medal from the Canadian Brewing Awards, the good robots from…Good Robot are releasing Friendship Island. Bringing a balanced English Pale Ale character with lime citrus and floral notes, thanks to hopping with Lemon Drop, this 5.5% ABV beer will only be available on draft at the brewery. And if you’re wondering about the name, it’s a reference to a mysterious island off the coast of Chile that is inhabited by extraterrestrial life forms who operate a UFO junkyard. The fine machines at GR are also re-releasing Leave Me Blue (4.5% ABV) and fan favourite Goseface Killah (5% ABV); both are available in cans from the brewery and online!

In Hanwell, NB, the gang at Niche is firmly back in the swing of sending out kegs to those places who are ordering them and this week they’ve got something new for those tap accounts. Red Sails is a 7% ABV Red IPA built on a grist containing a fair portion of specialty malts to provided body, color and some toffee/caramel character. From there, it was hopped with Galaxy and Ekuanot and fermented with the Ebbegarden Kveik yeast strain from Escarpment Labs. Finally, it was heavily dry-hopped with more Ekuanot, as well as Mosaic. Expect a juicy brew, a touch dank and not too sweet, despite the dark amber color. You might be surprised to find this one is also hazy, which some might find a little bit odd, but we encourage you to taste it with your mouth, not with your eyes! Look for it soon at The Joyce, Peppers Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and the new Uncorked Tours tasting room at the Saint John City Market.

Fall is also the time of year for the release of wet-hop beers (beers brewed with freshly-picked hops, with “freshly-picked” oftentimes literally meaning within several hours), and Truro Brewing has their own that’s now available to start off your weekend in the best way. This brew is actually a collaboration with local homebrewer Tyler Pearson, who provided the fresh Cascade hops that were used, which they’ve named Fill Yer Boots. A 4.8% ABV American Pale Ale that they’re describing as “mild with herbal hints”, you  can grab it on tap at the brewery. Truro Brewing would also like to pass on that they will soon be holding their first bottle release event, next Friday, October 2nd. They’ve teamed up with Earltown’s Mountain Meadworks to create Siren, a “Tripel-style Braggot” (beer/mead hybrid) that we’ll have full details on for you in next week’s post. But for the sake of planning ahead, we can tell you now that the event will feature door prizes, live music, samples of the braggot, and of course bottles will be available for sale.

St. John’s Bannerman Brewing has brought back a cocktail-inspired beer to their taps and cans today, ready just in time for a liquid lunch (or supper). Mood Improvement is a 5.2% ABV fruited sour, inspired by the Moscow Mule, featuring ginger and lime, and dry-hopped with Motueka. Citrus, spicy, ginger on the nose, yet light and refreshing, Mood Improvement is pouring and ready to take away now, and sure to brighten your weekend!

In case you missed it, we told you about Topside Brewing earlier this week, who debuted on tap at the Birch & Anchor in Birch Cove on the weekend. In addition, Topside has debuted their Grab a Growler program this week, and there is still time to place your order for this weekend! And for those looking to grab a pint at a bar local to the Bedford brewery, Finbars Irish Pub in the Sunnyside Mall at 1595 Bedford Hwy, has their 5 Bells Session IPA now! Named after the line signal that a diver will send to the surface, most commonly meant to signify “I have finished my work.” So once you’ve finished your work today, head on over for this 4.6% ABV, 45 IBU beer, featuring a light hop profile and just a touch of malt base to complement.

In addition to the Oktoberfest celebrations and other events mentioned above, we’ve got one more big deal happening to tell you about this week:

Although on any given day (that they’re open, anyway) you can wander down to 2 Crows Brewing on Brunswick Street in Halifax and find a bunch of delightful liquids that they’ve made, there’s always something special about a tap takeover somewhere else. Even more special is when it’s the first ever takeover at that somewhere else, so everybody is pretty pumped that on Saturday, October 3rd, you will find 2 Crows beer flooding the taps and casks at the Stillwell Freehouse! For those who aren’t aware of the beer industry in the UK, the name “freehouse” is meaningful: it contrasts with a “tied house” where a pub is obligated to buy all or some of its beer from a particular brewery; the public house is “tied” to that brewery as opposed to being “free” to purchase from any breweries whatever. Interestingly, in Nova Scotia (and pretty much the rest of Canada, we believe), that sort of arrangement is illegal, but it’s been described as “one of the most inter‐woven industrial relationships you can identify in the UK.” Pretty interesting, huh? No? Alrighty then, on with the details. The list of offerings has been set and it looks like this:

On tap:

  • Dos Cuervos – Mexican Lager 
  • Waltz – German Pilsner
  • Milosh – Helles Lager
  • Perfect Saturation – IPA
  • Matinee – Tiny Hoppy Pale Ale
  • Fantacity – Dry-hopped Witbier
  • Deux II – Sour with Cherries
  • Run by Night – Grisette with Damson Plums
  • Bedlam Bridge – Double IPA
  • Vinello – Lagered Wild Ale with Riesling Pomace

On cask:

  • Liesse – Cask-conditioned Table Beer
  • Dulwich – Cask-conditioned English Golden Ale
  • Aquifolium – Cask-conditioned Wild Ale
  • Paper Airplanes – Cask-conditioned Brown Ale
  • Keller-Refresh – Cask-conditioned Lager

No tickets are required for this event, and we haven’t seen anything about reservations, so plan your visit accordingly. Remember that COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, bring your mask and don’t be surprised if table service! Otherwise, we think this looks amazing and we hope to see lots of you there celebrating both 2 Crows and the Stillwell Freehouse!