Tusket Falls Brewing

All posts tagged Tusket Falls Brewing

It’s the middle of October folks, which in a normal year would probably mean lots of darker beers in the works, a decided downturn in thermometer readings, and plans afoot for Halloween festivities. This isn’t what you’d call a normal year by any stretch, though, and last week’s outbreaks in New Brunswick were a sobering reminder of that. But you’ve got to figure that the proper balance to sobering is drinking! So read on for all the beer news we could find to help you find that balance in your life! And remember that taprooms, restaurants, and bars are extending patio season, so keep that in mind as another way to maintain safe distance beer enjoyment. Just make sure you bundle up!

Great news Prince Edward Islanders! Your fair isle just got a little beery-er. Located at 30 Church Street (aka 1 Cornwall Rd) in Cornwall, the Village Green taproom has opened their doors. What is Village Green, you ask? Well, it’s the first foray into brewing for Bryan Carver in a few years, one that has been in the works for a long time. Carver has a long history in the PEI beer scene, working as the Head Brewer at PEI Brewing Company for many years, joining DME for a time, somehow finding time to become a Certified Cicerone, and now launching Modern Brewer. Village Green is just the latest piece in the overarching plan for Carver, and you’ll be able to learn much more in our Profile coming out next week. But in the meantime, head to Cornwall to check out the taproom and chat with Bryan or Mark who will be working the taps. Their own beer is slated for release later this month, but in the meantime you can enjoy six other Island beers and ciders on tap, or wine by the glass. They’re open Fri – Sat 12 – 9 PM, Sun 1 – 6 PM, and Mon – Thur 4 – 9 PM. 

Last Friday, just a little too late for that day’s Wrap-Up, TrailWay Brewing announced that they were releasing their newest bottled, barrel-aged beer. As the old folks like to say (present company included), better late than never, as we’ve got all the info on that beer for you to feast on today, if you haven’t already. The beer is named SPLIT, and it has been in the making for two years. It began its life in October of 2018, when the brewers mixed a 50:50 blend of wort that had spent the night in their coolship with beer that had already undergone a secondary fermentation with the brewery’s house culture. The resulting blend spent 18 months in a single Zinfandel barrel, was packaged in 750 mL bottles, and spent another 6 months conditioning. The final 6% ABV beer is finally ready, sporting “a deep and complex funk with a bright, subtle acidity and beautiful, oaky Zinfandel character”. They’re expecting this one to evolve over time, naturally, so do your best to hold onto some in your cellar. They’ve still got some bottles left for purchase; they’re available exclusively at the brewery while supplies last.

If you live in Moncton and feel like heading out for a beer this weekend, Tire Shack Brewing is currently pouring a new American IPA at the taproom. When they were designing the recipe for Parts & Labour, their aim was to go big on hop aroma, while keeping the bitterness low, all with easy drinkability. They feel like they’ve hit those targets with this 6% ABV brew, as they threw in plenty of Loral and Simcoe hops, resulting in a beer that is “bright and extremely refreshing, with flavours of passion fruit, lychee, and tangerine”. Though it’s limited to pints and growlers currently, it should be available in cans very soon (if not by the time you read this).

Truro Brewing Company has a new beer this afternoon, freshly tapped and ready for your enjoyment! Red Sky is a traditional Red Ale, featuring a touch of roast to complement the notes of caramel and toffee. Kicking it up a notch are the locally-grown Willamette hops from Wicked Hops Farm in Stewiacke. Brewed by, with, and in honour of fellow bad-ass women knocking down walls and ceilings in traditionally male-dominated professions, Red Sky is available at the taproom for pints, samples, and growlers.

PEI Brewing Co. is playing around with Brettanomyces again, with their latest beer, Wild Intentions: Kettle Sour. After souring with Lactobacillus, a Brett yeast strain was used to ferment the wort, giving the final beer pineapple and pear aromas. At 5% ABV and 14 IBUs, it’s tasting “dry and sessionable, with a slight sourness”. You can find it now at the PEIBC taproom and Gahan Beer Store; it should be following at Gahan House locations, PEILCC stores, and select ANBL locations next week.

The “tiny brewery that can” in the heart of downtown Halifax is back at it with another release today. Tidehouse Brewing is releasing a unique take on the hazy IPA style, by adding citrus green tea from nearby World Tea House. Green Cosmos was lovingly hopped with Amarillo, Idaho 7, and Cascade, enough to get you excited, but not so much as to drown out the tea. Expect a dry finish and the lovely notes of tea to come through. Their retail shop is open from 2 PM today and tomorrow, and if you visit early you will be able to snag some cans of Porchlight too. Keep your eyes peeled for a return of some old favourites next week, as they look back on their 4 years in business and re-release some bangers! 

Next Saturday in Halifax you’ll have a chance to experience the launch of the latest jam from the Change Is Brewing Collective of BIPOC individuals working to bring positive change in terms of diversity and inclusion to the brewing industry. This time they’ve collaborated with Halifax’s 2 Crows to produce a beer they’re calling Good News. A Berliner weiße fruited with raspberry and mango, this 3.1% ABV beer started with Pilsner and both malted and unmalted wheat in the tun before being soured with Lactobacillus plantarum and then fermented with a super fruity strain of the famed Scandinavian Kveik yeast. Conditioning took place, in typical 2 Crows style, on a huge amount of fruit: 950 lbs of raspberry and 725 lbs of mango, before the final touch was added, namely a light dry-hopping with Enigma and Huell Melon. The result is described as, “super jammy, super fruity, and super fun!” Your first chance to try this beer will be at a BIPOC Makers Market next Saturday, October 24th, from 12 – 4 PM, followed by a Food Pop-up featuring Hibiscus Specialty from 4 – 6 PM, and a spoken word poetry session by Deirdre Lee from 7 – 7:30 PM. Sounds to us like a full afternoon and evening celebrating diversity and drinking great beer!

What’s on the go in the near future? Here’s a few things bubbling up soon!

Charlottetown’s HopYard Beer Bar has a few tap takeover weekends planned in the next month, with Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing taking over the taps on the weekend of October 23 & 24th, with ten different options flowing. And HopYard will be doing double duty as they welcome Darmtouth’s North Brewing to the Island November 6th and 7th, as well as see the launch of Dough Boy Industries, with their pop-up pizza oven on the go all weekend. Keep an eye here, and on everyone’s social media, for tap/topping lists. 😉

If you happen to be hanging around Sheet Harbour, NS at all over the next couple of months, we should pass on that Sober Island Brewing will be hosting a series of Brewers Dinners, with the first starting next Saturday, October 24th. Each will consist of a 3-course meal, with each course being paired with a Sober Island brew. The food includes chowder with buttermilk biscuit and molasses beer butter, Thai chili-breaded chicken wings w/ Asian slaw, and Chocolate Stout cake. As well, head brewer Tim will be on-site to introduce each beer and food item, as well as to answer any questions you may have about the beers or general brewing process. A maximum of 20 guests for each event will be allowed in order to comply with distancing restrictions; the other dates are November 14th, November 20th, and December 11th. Tickets are $40 each (they recommend booking in groups of 4, if possible), and can be reserved by phoning 902-885-2072, or heading directly to the taproom. 

Speaking of Sober Island, they will be the host of this year’s Cask in the Sticks event, being held November 7th. They have invited a handful of breweries from across the province, as well as homebrewer David Pepper, to prep a pin of their favourite beer. You’ll be able to sip the good stuff from Big Spruce, Harbour Brewing, Lunns Mill, Tatamagouche, Uncle Leo’s, and maybe even a couple more! Your ticket gets you your first pours, a toque, and live music. Food will also be available for sale, and all proceeds will be going to a local non-profit organization. Call the brewery to grab your ticket for either the 1 – 3 or 4 – 6 PM session (or both!). Those loveable beer grumps from the 902 BrewCast will be onsite judging the onesie competition, so be sure to come dressed to impress!

Of course the Oktoberfest events continue, with Montague’s Bogside Brewing holding theirs next Saturday, October 24th. The “Oktobeer Fest” will be held from 2-5 pm, and will feature a German food menu, happy hour beer prices, and live music. You already know they are killing it with German-inspired beer, with their Lighthorse Kolsch and North Lake Lager, and their Shoreline Smash Dunkel is back on tap just in time. Oktoberfest in Atlantic Canada is definitely winding down, so this may be your last chance to partake in all the fun… and really, who can say no to Oompah music? We dare thee.

Friend of good beer Old Road BBQ in Truro has adjusted their fall hours to be open 12 – 9 PM Friday and Saturday, and have music in the taproom or on the patio almost every night. They are gearing up for a big event on October 31st, with Willie Stratton celebrating the end of patio season with a big bash. Tickets for the evening are just $10, or for those visiting from out of town, a killer deal on a room at the nearby Inn on Price hotel and a pair of tickets is just $100. Further, those who take advantage of this package will be entered in a draw for a massive platter fit for two (or more) to enjoy that evening, including beers! Details on the entertainment tickets, and hotel package, are available here.

And for those looking for some tasty Bar-B-Q, beer, and live music in Halifax should drop by Murphy’s On The Water October 29th, with Them Other Johns providing the live music, and Dartmouth’s New Scotland Brewing providing the beers. Details and tickets available on the NSBC Events page. Lastly on the BBQ front, for those looking to enjoy some BBQ for lunch, Old Road has been catering for businesses since they’ve opened, but are now offering a Thursday lunch option, starting October 22nd. Gather up the crew (10 order minimum), and fire them an email before Tuesday night to get on the list! More details here and via email.

We’ve got a little about a lot more beers today, enjoy!

Bad Apple Brewhouse has a new, funky pear and apple cider joining their repertoire. Pearadise of Funk was brewed with Brettanomyces yeast, as well as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus bacteria, making it “light, effervescent, and wildly unique”. Available right now at the brewery.  

Speaking of cider, Meander River has a new one of their own, from their Small Lot Cider series. Strawberry Basil is a cider made with… we’re pretty sure you can take a good guess at which two ingredients are extra special in this one! Available on tap at the brewery, as well as in bottles.

Tusket Falls Brewing have scaled up Woke Up Quick, a 7.5% ABV Brown Porter brewed with smoked malt, lactose powder, cold brew coffee, Madagascar vanilla beans, and cocoa nibs to a full, 20 BBL batch, since it was so popular when it was first released. This time around it’s available in cans, starting today.

Quidi Vidi has a brand new one-off available at the brewery – Sour Kveik (4.7% ABV) was fermented with the Laerdal Kveik strain, and has “a complex and pleasant sourness, with lemon, passion fruit, and honeydew flavours” as a result, with a touch of honey-like sweetness to balance the tartness. Also available for online orders.

And speaking of Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Breweries, they received some great news this week, when the provincial government announced that they were increasing discounts on the commission paid to the NLC. The discount is increased to 95% on the first 100,000 litres of product, which wholly encompasses the production of 15 of the 19 craft breweries in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is expected to save the industry more than $1 Million dollars annually. And in doubly good news, the commission/markup collected will be the same whether the beer is sold at the brewery, NLC, or convenience stores. Both of these steps mean more money staying with the breweries to fuel hiring, expansion, improved distribution, and countless other improvements. There’s a good article from CBC outlining some of the real-world numbers. Good on the province and the NLC to recognize their role is not only to regulate the sale and production of alcohol, but to promote businesses to thrive and improve the economy for all. With small independent beer accounting for less than 5 percent of overall sales, there’s plenty of room for growth in Newfoundland and Labrador beer!

Another Friday is upon us in Atlantic Canada, and that means all kinds of news from our region’s breweries about new and returning beers, events, and other things. Right about now we’re wishing we had some beer news from Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing and the eponymously-named Tatamagouche Brewing, because if we did we’d be absolutely leading with it. Along with friend of local beer and also the blog, Truro’s Old Road BBQ, these two breweries have found themselves the target of a pretty disgusting online brigading campaign by Internet trolls. Why is this happening, you might ask? Because these businesses stuck their necks out and cancelled an event that they realized made people in their own communities uncomfortable. We don’t believe there was any malice or ill-will in their original plan. We believe that they were helped to see, however, that lack of malice doesn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t problematic. And we also believe, all three of us, that they did the right thing in canceling the event. You can find statements from all three businesses on Instagram and Facebook; we recommend that you read all three. And if your response is to vilify or attempt to hurt these businesses, we suggest you take a minute to think about that. If the only “principled stand” you’re willing to take is one that sides with institutions that have proven to be problematic for BIPOC folks, in a societal climate that we hope, thanks to the brave folks speaking out all over the world, is finally seeing attention paid to these deeply entrenched problems, we think that makes a pretty sad statement. We stand with BIPOC people all over our region. We stand with Big Spruce and Tatamagouche and Old Road. We hope that everyone sees better days ahead.

Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing’s brewing staff have got their hands on the KRISPY Kveik yeast from Escarpment Labs, and they’re kicking off a Kveik beer series with Styrbord, what they’re billing as a “hybrid Lager”. Brewed with a blend of Pilsner and Oat malts, the wort was lightly hopped with Bru-1, and fermented with the growing-in-popularity blend of two Kveik strains. While this yeast is often pitched with the wort temp being quite warm, Shipwright tried going slightly cooler than the low-end of the recommended temperature, which resulted in a slightly-longer fermentation time (but really, not that long). After a brief lagering period, they threw in a dry-hop addition of more Bru-1, as well as some Simcoe. The final 4.4% ABV, 5 IBUs beer is very clean, and showing off flavours of honey, light banana, and melon, along with “subtle Farmhouse notes and classic Lager crispness”. You can find it on tap at Shipwright for pints and crowlers; look for future brews with this yeast in the very near future!

Fredericton’s TrailWay Brewing is back with another bottled creation today, continuing their exploration into sour beers that take a little more time. Throwin’ Blueberries is a 5.5% ABV Sour beer, featuring more than 100 kilos of locally-picked wild blueberries added to the tune of 200 g/L (that’s a lot!). Starting from a pitched yeast and soured with Lacto in stainless, it was conditioned with the fruit for over two and a half months, developing beyond a simple tart character, incorporating the fruits sugars for another round of activity. After completion, the deep purple beer was allowed to bottle (and keg) condition for an additional four months, naturally carbonating and allowing everything to meld together perfectly. 750 ml bottles are available at the brewery today, but in short supply (and only at the brewery, btw), so if this sounds up your alley, we suggest making a break for the Northside today! And for those fortunate enough to live in the area, you can enjoy pints of that draught (as well as 9 other beers) on their patio this weekend! Their pals from Milda’s Pizza will be onsite at 5 PM, to fill that pizza-shaped hole in your tummy/soul.

Couple of new beers coming to you out of Tusket Falls Brewing recently, aiming to satisfy both the hophead and stout lover that reside deep, deep in your soul (well, ok, maybe not that deep). For hops, they’ve got Buy the Ticket… Take the Ride, an 8% ABV Double IPA full of Citra, Chinook, and Galaxy hops. With a full body, moderate bitterness, and lots of lemon and orange flavours to suit your needs. As for the stout, Against Better Judgment is pretty hefty itself (at 7% ABV), and is tasting creamy, full-bodied, with “a subtle vanilla flavour” thanks to the addition of Madagascar vanilla beans during the conditioning phase. Cans of both beers are available now at the brewery, as well as their online store

Speaking of DIPAs, Secret Cove Brewing, straight out of Port au Port, NL, have brought back a local favourite DIPA of theirs, Hop A Ryed In My Dory. If we’re reading this right, the beer is brewed with some Rye malt in the grist, and has plenty of late hop additions (looks like they’re keeping the varieties a secret!). Weighing in at 7.6% ABV, the brewery describes the aroma as containing “mango and citrus, with a sweet apricot finish”… but then they’ve mentioned “images of an overloaded Tall Ship filled with Rye Whiskey in its belly”, so yeah, you can see why we were confused before! Grab it on tap and in cans at the brewery today

And hey, we might as well stay on Newfoundland, since Bannerman is ALSO releasing a DIPA (oh right, it was IPA Day yesterday! It’s all coming together now…), and a brand new beer for them. Cloud City is an 8% ABV brew that was double-dry-hopped with everyone’s favourite (well, one of them, anyway) hop varieties, Galaxy. That equals a trip to Juicy Town, with flavours of “tropical fruit, pineapple, and nectarine”, specifically for this beer. Sounds delicious to us, so we have to recommend that you drop by the brewery to pick some up for the weekend, if you’re in or around St. John’s. Plus you can grab a glass or can of the latest batch of Punch Drunk Love, their kettle sour chock-full of raspberry, pink guava, sweet cherry, and pineapple.

Tidehouse, the tiniest brewery in Halifax, is open today with their latest release, this time pairing up with local flavour-guru Phil Holmans at World Tea House. Using some peach rooibos tea from Phil’s shop, they added it to a lightly-soured ale to create Peachy Fuzzies. 4.5% ABV of tart peachy goodness, kinda like those nickel gummy candies you enjoy(ed)! With an ever-so-subtle hint of tea too (for two?). While today’s release is of only 300 cans (so we suggest getting there today or tomorrow, 2 – 8 PM both days, or until sold out), we understand there are more batches in the works, and new projects with World Tea House coming soon! Tidehouse’s Hibiscus City is also available to take-away in cans today, and maybe even a couple other recent favourites… 

Oh St. John’s, what a strange week it’s been! Rather than playing Regatta Roulette on Tuesday night, and hopefully being able to enjoy another bunch of great local beers on the edge of Quidi Vidi Lake, unfortunately this year’s Royal St. John’s Regatta was canceled. Not canceled, however, was Quidi Vidi Brewery’s Crown and Anchor, the beer brewed in celebration of the event. A 3.9% ABV Light Lager, perfect for enjoying throughout the day, so maybe you can toss a few rubber duckies in the bathtub and cheer them on while enjoying a few bottles or cans? 😉 But in all seriousness, while the cancelation of the event was less than ideal, staying physically distant while socially together is most important in these trying times. Available at the brewery and for delivery, through their Hops Shop.

Crown and Anchor joins a whole bevvy of collaborative and partnership beers on the Quidi Vidi virtual shelves, including the latest with downtown’s Fogtown Barber, this time seeing light as a 4.5% ABV Session Ale. Low alcohol, but with plenty of citrus and tropical goodness from Amarillo and El Dorado, it’s sure to keep you looking and feeling fresh! And celebrating (and supporting) St. John’s Pride is their Gayboil, the newest batch of their popular Dayboil, with $0.50 from each can going direct to the event and educational activities. And teaming up with The Outhouse TV crew, they have released the The Outhouse – Homebrew Session Lager, a 4.0% ABV beer available by the case, and with a dozen unique beer labels of all your favourite characters from the series. And if you opt for curbside pickup at the Hop Shop, you have access to a few more of their small batch beers, including Peach Raspberry Sour, Krispy Lager, and Sour IPA #3, which are all available in limited quantity only at the source.

Keep your heads up for a new beer release at Good Robot next Wednesday, when they’ll be launching Marmalade Forest. A 4.1% ABV Berliner Weisse that they’re calling “slightly sour”, they added a hefty dose of yuzu puree. What IS yuzu, you ask? Well, it’s a citrus fruit that originated in China and is a hybrid of a mandarin orange and ichang pipeda. What’s an ichang pipeda? Look, we don’t have time to Google two different things, you’ll just have to look into that one on your own. Sorry. Oh, and yeah, so check out the beer next week!

In Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, on the north side of the Bay of Fundy, Two Islands Brewing has launched a new batch of their Fundy Fog APA that sees a bit of a departure from previous batches: testing the notion of using some Fermentis SafAle S-33 in a New England style (read: hazy) beer. While this is a strain predominantly used for Belgian styles and thus would tend to show some phenolic character (e.g., clove, pepper) it also is a poor flocculator, which can help make for a hazier appearance. Using a bit of this with a more standard strain is an interesting way to achieve more “fog” in the Fundy Fog. You can be the judge of how well the experiment worked by checking out the beer in and around Parrsboro at the Two Islands tap room, BlackRock Bistro, and Wild Caraway, and in Truro at Blunt Bartender, Bistro on Prince, and Frank & Gino’s.

Let’s finish up with some great news for beer and cider fans in Halifax and Saint John.

Uncorked Tours will undoubtedly be familiar to our readers in New Brunswick, known for boosting the signal of the province’s breweries, cider makers, distilleries, and wineries, through tours in Saint John, as well as further afield. They are celebrating big news in that regard this week, with the opening of their Tasting Room in the Saint John City Market. Open 10 – 8 PM daily (except Sundays, and open later during the Thursday Night Market), the tasting room is fully stocked with 8 taps of rotating local beer and cider (current list is available here), as well as wine and spirits from across the province. The knowledgeable staff are there to help you make the perfect taster or choose the right pint to pair with the food you pick up elsewhere in the market (here’s their list). Congratulations to Gilliane and Nathalie, and be sure to pop in to see their setup real soon! Read even more about the Tasting Room in Huddle.

And in Halifax, Bulwark Cider has opened their Cider House at 1518 Dresden Row. Featuring a fully-stocked retail shop with more than 20 different bottled ciders and fruit wines (can also be enjoyed in-house), their taproom will be launching this coming Tuesday with sixteen taps of Bulwark ciders and guest beer collaborations, available to enjoy onsite or to take-away. Coming soon are charcuterie and bar bite options, live music events, and a special private space upstairs. Their patio looks quite inviting as well! Congratulations Bulwark! Open Tuesday – Sunday from 11 AM – 10 PM, and an hour later Thursday through Saturday. Check their FB page for the latest news.

Have plans for next Saturday yet? If so, cancel them!

Hey hey hey, folks, during these COVID times have you missed the excitement (and comfort!) of heading down to Stillwell HQ for tap takeovers by awesome breweries from our region and beyond? We sure have. Well the good news is that it looks like things are getting back into swing. Differently of course (isn’t everything?!), but still swingy. We had the delightful Brasserie Dunham x Coda Ramen deal a couple weeks ago and now, coming up on Saturday, August 15th, we’ll see the return of Newcastle, Maine’s Oxbow Brewing to the wall. Oxbow has been putting out lovely liquids in the farmhouse and eccentric veins since 2011 and are known for their “loud beer from a quiet place.” Now with locations in Portland and Oxford as well, they’re keeping on with the keeping on. They did their first takeover at Stilly in September of 2017 and another mini-takeover last October. This time there will be 10 taps pouring Oxbow’s creations plus (*we think*) some delightful cans and bottles as well. Here’s where the different part comes in: due to social distancing restrictions, you’re going to have to make a reservation telling them how many folks you’re bringing, what time you’d like to come (the event runs noon to midnight), and how long you plan to stay; direct that information (politely!) via email to sam@barstillwell.com and see what comes back in terms of availability. Also, if that wasn’t enough to entice you, it bears mentioning that there will also be a special food menu from Joe Martin and his team for the event featuring a Coney Island Carnival theme. Hope to see you all there!!

Just a few more things before we unleash you onto the taprooms and patios today!

Boxing Rock’s latest beer is Indigo Blueberry Sour Ale, a 5.4% ABV “mildly tart and fruity” brew that features an addition of fresh blueberries from the Parrsboro region of NS. It should be available at the brewery right now.

Rothesay’s Foghorn Brewing has launched their Sour Series with a dive into a favourite citrus flavours, grapefruit. Featuring a little acidity and a little bitterness and a crisp finish, Grapefruit features plenty of real citrus in the glass, for a refreshing kick. At a quaffable 4.5% ABV, pop by their spot at 47 Clark Road for a pint and/or growler fill this weekend. And a canned version isn’t far off, perfect for toting to the lake or beach!

Heritage Brewing has announced they have a new beer on tap at the brewery, lightly bittered with Amarillo (to 20 IBUs) with a little thrown in at the end of the boil for a bit of tropical citrus aroma, as well. What’s it called? We don’t know! Just head to the taproom and say the ACBB sent you to try a 4.0% ABV new beer, that should work.

Sober Island has a new IPA available on taps and in cans, Wavebreaker. An American IPA with a bit of tangerine in the aroma and flavour, it’s 6.3% and well-balanced. Available at the brewery and for delivery.

Unfiltered has brought back their “Wild Blueberry Sour”, Lifesaver (4.2% ABV); cans and fills at the brewery today.

Another massive news week for you today, as breweries continue to do their best in these extremely tough situations. And with your faithful bloggers dealing with a bunch of their own stuff (read: real work), today’s post is a little late. Sorry ‘bout that, but we’re sure you’ll forgive us. 🙂
We’ve added just a few more updates to our Delivery/curbside pickup options for the region this week, including Breton’s foray into HRM delivery. As always, if we’ve missed something, or just want to chat, get in touch via email or social media (Ig and Tw preferred, but Fb exists too). Take care of yourselves! ?

We have some sad news to report this week, as Halifax’s stalwart Granite Brewery has closed their doors. Ginger’s Tavern owner Kevin Keefe opened Granite in 1985, well before microbrew/craft/local independent beer was a thing. So far before, in fact, that Granite Brewery was the first brewpub in North America east of the Rocky Mountains! It was more than ten years until the next small breweries opened their doors in the province, with Garrison and Propeller not appearing until the late 90s. After moving locations in the downtown core, Granite called Stairs Street home for ten years until the building came down due to redevelopment last year, and they shacked up on Gottingen Street with Propeller and Stillwell Brewing. Brewing traditional cask-conditioned English styles, many a pint was enjoyed at Ginger’s, Henry House, and Lion’s Head, and more recently Stillwell’s HQ and Freehouse, and the style and quality of these beers garnered a fiercely loyal following. At their best we don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that beers like their Peculiar, Best Bitter, Best Bitter Special and Ringwood were some of the best traditional English Ales on this side of the Atlantic. But with the mandated closure of restaurants and bars in the past 2 months and Granite’s nature as a non-packaging brewery, their biggest customers were no longer able to sell their beer. Plenty more details, including comments from Kevin are available on the independent news site AllNovaScotia (note: subscription-based).
We’d like to say a big thanks to Kevin Keefe, his family and all his staff over the years for everything they did to bring good beer to our little corner of the world, and wish him a well-deserved retirement. Our scene will be less for having lost Granite; we can hope that another brewery (or breweries) can fill some of the stylistic holes, but we know nobody can truly replace Kevin and his brewery.

We’re starting to see some new beers lately that are named in an appropriate-for-the-time manner, and Lunenburg’s Shipwright’s latest – Laid Up India Pale Lager – is no exception. Brewed with Belgian Pilsner and Biscuit malt, the wort was generously hopped with Citra and Hallertau Blanc. Lagered for eight weeks, the final beer is showing flavours of “citrus, pineapple, papaya, and herbaceous pine”, with a refreshing crispness in the finish. Coming in at 6.4% ABV and 42 IBUs, it’s available at the brewery in 32 oz crowlers (to-go, of course), as well as daily deliveries in Lunenburg, and Friday deliveries from Bridgewater to Chester, all accessible by a quick phone call (902-634-3300). Check out our delivery details page for more specifics.

Moving west in the province to Lazy Bear, who also have a new beer out this week. Unprecedented Pale is a 5% ABV American Pale Ale that was brewed with a malt bill made up almost entirely of Pilsner malt. Hopped with Columbus in the kettle, it was later dry-hopped with more Columbus, as well as some Southern Cross, a New Zealand variety, to add some citrus character. At 5% ABV and approximately 30 IBUs, it’s available in 500 mL  bottles and growler fills; a portion of the proceeds will go towards the purchase of a tablet for residents of Tideview Terrace, to be used for communication with loved ones. They’ve also got other beers available for local delivery and contactless pick-up, so check out their online shop to decide on your order.

On to Tatamagouche Brewing, where, thankfully for us, they’ve continued to brew up a storm and even have a couple new beers for us this week! First up is a style we all need more of in our lives, Grisette. Skiff is a 3.3% ABV representation of the style was brewed with a Pilsner malt base, along with Oats and Spelt. Hopped in the kettle with Aramis, Saaz, and Callista, it was fermented with Escarpment’s New World Saison (which contains both Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains) in stainless. Dry-hopped with more Callista and Saaz, as well as some Tettnanger, the final beer was conditioned in 500 mL bottles, and has “refreshing aromas of honeysuckle, lychee, and an earthy funk that brings out flavours of honey, mango, and a drying finish”.
Next up in new beer news is First Light Pilsner, a 4.8% ABV, 30 IBUs Czech Pils hopped with plenty of Saaz and Strisselspalt, and fermented with Czech Lager yeast from Escarpment. Expect a crisp, refreshing beer with a healthy amount of earthy/floral hop character; cans can be ordered from Tata’s online store as of today. And while you’re on there, they’ve also got a new batch of their Dusk Schwarzbier, as well as their popular Dekorum, the 2.9% ABV Light Lager, which is one of the newbies on sale at NSLC. Their store is open Mon – Sat 10 AM – 5 PM, but for those not in the Tata’hood, don’t forget about their free shipping/delivery in the Maritimes for orders over $95, and Canada-wide for orders over $150!

On North Street in Halifax, a new beer from Unfiltered is out, this one going a step further than their Hellevator from last year in exploring the maltier side of things. Like way malty. Way way malty. Like, as hoppy as a typical Nash beer is, this one is that malty. Okay, maybe not that far (you’d be spitting barley husks if it were), but definitely a change of pace for a brewery usually known for hammering in the hops. A Doppelbock, a German monastic style that falls under the general description of “bread in a bottle,” Isolator, was also aged on oak for a time, no doubt providing some tannins to balance the sweet nature of the beer. And if none of that was enough to get you interested, Unfiltered is also using this big beer (10% ABV!) to help raise funds for an important organization in our community, Adsum House for Women and Children. One dollar from every can sold will go to this very worthy cause that brings comfort and assistance to folks in their darkest times, and for many of those people the current COVID situation has only made times darker. So whether or not you know you’re a fan of big bready beers, this would be a great chance to try one and support a great cause.

Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing is bringing us two brand new hoppy beers during their Salter Street curbside pick up event tomorrow, 12 – 5 PM. Kicking it off is the appropriately named Noon Gun, a little 3.4% ABV beer packed with Vic Secret late in the boil, and bumped up with Ella at both the beginning and end of fermentation (biotransformation, anyone?). Fresh as heck but without the hop burn, hazy and juicy, and in a nice light package, this sounds like a perfect beer for enjoying on a May afternoon lounging on Citadel Hill, sufficiently separated from your neighbour, that is!
And a little bit bigger than NG is For Greg About It! Developed, brewed, and named with their pal Greg in mind, this 7.0% ABV beaut features the deadly combination of Galaxy, Mosaic (added at the very end of the boil), and Citra (added during conditioning). Tropical, dark berry, and pine meld together for a 1 Up by using the “cheat code” in hop combinations.
So, how to get your Tidehouse love? You’ve got a new option this week: call in your order this afternoon between 2 – 5 PM, and then drop by tomorrow 12 – 5 PM for a contactless grab and go. Or, if you prefer, you can call them during the pick up time to order and pay, just give them 15 minutes to put it all together for ya. Either way, 902-407-2550 is your path to success!

Inverness’s Route 19 Brewing recently celebrated their 1st Birthday, and while the official celebrations may be over (and in these current times, were likely less exuberant than they should have been), they’ve still got new beer for us, with this week bringing Supernova, a New England IPA. Double-dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado, it’s a 6% ABV hazy brew with lots of citrus and tropical fruit, a soft mouthfeel, and aromas of pineapple and grapefruit, according to the brewery. You should be able to find it at NSLC stores in Cape Breton now, and it will be available further afield at the private stores and a few more NSLCs in HRM and environs later this month; $0.50 of each can sold in May will be donated to the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund. And while you’re shopping for Route 19, their Dog Daze Passionfruit Sour just hit the shelves of the HRM NSLCs, and is coming soon to the private shops.

With sightings of American juggernaut hard seltzer brand White Claw in Halifax, and no doubt to follow if not already present in the other provinces here in Atlantic Canada, lots of breweries are taking steps to fend off the potential glut of these fruity and super easy-drinking beverages. While our craft providers have managed to hold their own against lots of similar ready-to-drink products in the last couple of years, given the current situation any deterioration in market is going to be dangerous. So it’s not surprising that we’ve started to see breweries enter that market, with examples so far coming from Trailway, North, Good Robot, and Hell Bay, all of which have brewed with grains and then used techniques to keep “beer” flavor low. Enter Nyanza’s Big Spruce Brewing, who have stepped up the technical side of things by implementing a proprietary nano-filter resulting in something that they are referring to as a UFO: Ultra-filtered, Fermented Organic beverage. Still “beer-based,” starting with 100% Horton Ridge Pale malt and using clean-fermenting yeast, after the filtering process raspberry essence is added and the result is carbonated yielding a super-crisp and clean fruity bevvie coming in right at 5% ABV. Throw a couple ice cubes in the glass and pour some Bliss in and you’ve got yourself a recipe for relaxing in the sun. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, sure, but we’re not into beverage shaming. We are, however, definitely into pointing folks towards a local option where possible, and this certainly fits the bill. And with Jeremy & Co. promising more flavors coming, we’re happy to keep pointing to Bliss and other local products over megacorporate malternatives.

Back to the mainland, and Garrison Brewing, for a big release of their own this week. Playing off their very popular Juicy Double IPA, but easing back on the alcohol a touch, they have brought us Lil’ Juicy. At a still-solid 6.0% ABV, what it may be lacking in booze, it still keeps up with tons of flavour and aroma from generous hopping from a quartet of lovely hops, namely Citra, Comet, Mosaic, and Simcoe. These meld together for tropical notes, reminiscent of citrus, peach, and pineapple on the nose, and OJ, mango, complemented by a touch of malt sweetness on the palate (that’s 2-row and Oat malt in the grist). Nicknamed the “scrappy little brother” of Juicy, it is available now at their Seaport and Oxford retail locations, delivery in HRM and beyond through the brewery directly, and will be at the NSLC and private stores very soon.

Speaking of Garrison, Sydney’s Breton Brewing teamed up with them for their third annual spring collaboration brew. This year’s entry is West Coast Pale Ale, a 5.4% ABV ode to the classic North American style, featuring bold pine, citrus, and fruit flavours thanks to a ton of classic NA hops Cascade and Simcoe. Breton’s Head Brewer Iain Sutherland, a West Coaster himself, took the lead on this brew, which ended up with “an aggressive bitterness”. In addition to brewing partner Garrison’s shops, Breton is carrying it in their own retail shop on Keltic Drive, as well as through their delivery options in both the CBRM, and now, within HRM! Both are next day delivery, Mon – Fri, with a 12 can minimum (and a discount $0.50 per can discount when ordering more than 24!). The full details are available here!

Looks like there should be two new canned beers freshly available at Tusket Falls Brewing for this weekend. They’ve got a classic Czech Pilsner they’ve named Once Blind, Now I See Clearly; brewed with Czech Pilsen malt and hopped entirely with Saaz, it’s 5% ABV and tasting just like a classic Czech Pils should. The other newbie is While You’re Waiting, a “Peach Mint Sour IPA”, a 6.5% ABV kettle sour that we’re betting you can guess a) some of the ingredients in this beer, and b) what it may taste like. This Sour IPA was hopped with Galaxy and Citra, to add lots of tropical notes to the peach character, thanks to the addition of peach puree. Fresh mint was also added as a dry-hop (“dry-mint”?) to complement. Check out their online shop for delivery options if you can’t make it by the brewery.

For those of you in St. John’s looking for an easy-drinking beer, Quidi Vidi has you covered with American Wheat. Featuring a relatively simple grist of 2-row, Vienna, Wheat malt, and Acid malt, it was hopped with Cascade and Lemondrop to add a touch of citrus character to go with the light wheat presence. Pretty sessionable at 4.9% ABV, you can find it now at their retail shop in the city, and at NLC and convenience stores by this coming Monday. 

Moving on to New Brunswick, where Grimross Brewing has just released their first new beer in awhile, Gose German Wheat. Their first take on this German, salted, sour style, they’re calling it an evolution of their Scratch #18: Session Sour, a kettle sour originally released a year ago. This time around, it has the additions of salt and coriander that are typical for the Gose style, all in a 4.5% ABV refreshing package. Available now at the brewery, you can call them for contactless pickup.

While on the topic of Newfoundland, just a quick note that Bannerman has brought back State of Emergency, their 7.2% ABV American IPA that is heavily dry-hopped with Citra, and conditioned on mango puree. Sounds tasty, no? This batch should also be available in the new, “smaller format” cans (read: 750 mL), for those of you looking to reign it in a little bit. Keep an eye on their online store for full pick up details and availability.

Brightwood Brewery has an early summer crusher for you, Mojito Crushable. They’re calling this one a “Kombucha Sour”, as they used the SCOBY probiotic from kombucha to kettle sour the wort, before fermenting it to 4.7% ABV. With an addition of pureed fresh strawberry and mint, it’s got the best of both worlds, if the worlds we’re talking about are fruit and Mojito minty goodness. It’s available as of today, so be sure to grab some for the weekend.

While Good Robot may be taking a hiatus from their Beta Brews, it doesn’t mean we can’t expect to see new releases every now and then from their alpha brewhouse. This week they’re bringing us Infinite Saturday, a 5% ABV Vienna Lager. Not many notes on the recipe, but they’re describing it as a smooth, malty brew, with “honey sweetness, herbs and rye, with a nutty smokiness”. They’d also like to pass on that starting next month, expect to see more cans coming, as they’ve decided to can more varieties of their beer so that it’s a little more accessible to the public. Stay tuned!

Roof Hound in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley has opened their Kingston location for food take-out, to complement their beer offerings. Starting today, and running Thurs – Sat, 2 – 7 PM going forward, call in your order of one of their burgers, sandwiches, or tacos in advance, to pair with their wide variety of beers on offer. Check out the full menu of both food and beer here, and then call 902-765-0102 to get the process started!

And rounding out the news is a late entry from Halifax’s 2 Crows Brewing (so you can blame the time of this post on them!), but it sounds like it may have been worth the wait. Their newest beer is a limited batch of a “Brett Pilsner” named Different Kind of Dance. Starting off as a fairly traditional German-style Pilsner, it was hopped with Huell Melon, Saphir, and Hallertau Blanc, and fermented with a traditional German Lager yeast. The beer was lagered for nine weeks, and then took a fairly-traditional 2 Crows turn when they inoculated it with the 261 Brett strain from The Yeast Bay. It was allowed to condition for a further 6 months for this secondary fermentation, and was then bottled and conditioned for 5 *more* months. It’s ready to go now, and is tasting “dry, lemony, and herbal, with classic barnyard funk and a bit of zippy guinep [that’s Spanish lime] and a touch of white grape”. They’d also like to point out that the carbonation is extremely lively, so be sure to chill your bottle for a good 24 hours, and have your glass nearby when opening! Only 400 bottles are available (it’s on the webstore now) so grab ‘em while you can.

May the Fourth (be with you) was a big day in Nova Scotia, as it is the launching day for a new round of products in the NSLC. There were no fewer than 50 new beers and ciders from small independent producers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island hitting the shelves for the first time this month. For a quick hit of what’s new, click these links for beer and cider. While certainly not our favourite retailer and licensing monopoly, their reach and popularity is undeniable, so we’re glad to see more shelf space for local producers, to get more eyes on good products.