Uncorked Tours

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Thanksgiving 2020! We made it! A time to (safely) get together with family and friends to celebrate the changing seasons. Whether you’ll be gathered in person, or virtually, we hope you’re able to do so with some great local beer. And if you’re venturing out Sunday and/or Monday, be sure to check that the restaurant, bar, taproom, or brewery is open. As someone who’s been burned by Google Maps hours of operation suggestions a lot recently, always best to call or check social media!

Great news for those in Western New Brunswick, after a few dry years, you now have a local brewery once again! Tobique River Trading Co in Perth-Andover has been open and serving their own coffee for a few months, but have now officially released their first beers. Available now at the brewery in cans and growlers for take home enjoyment, as well as the local ANBL and nearby agency stores. So, what have they put together for you to enjoy? Great question, voice in my head!

  • The Old Highway is their 5.7% flagship, a Blonde ale with a crisp finish.
  • BeechGlen Blonde, a 5.0% “faux blonde”, bordering on a light lager, with very low bitterness.
  • Better on the Tobique, a 6.0% featuring a touch of sweetness from the Honey malt used in the grist, and a complement to all sorts of food dishes.
  • Monquat Citra, a 4.8% light and refreshing pale beer, with a serious citrus dry hop to have you thinking this could even be a radler (but it ain’t).

Pop by their spot at 694 Perth Main Street this weekend for your first tastes, and congratulations to the Tobique crew!

Staying within the bubble (don’t we always?), we head just across the PEI border where we have been treated to many …treats… Lone Oak brings us Sour Outage, a 7.0% golden sour with another throwback to Hurricane Dorian from September 2019. Sour Outage was aged on 700lbs of Cherry Plums that staff, friends and family handpicked from The Grove Orchard shortly before Dorian hit last year. After being aged for a months on the cherries, this sour gives a nod to all of the crews working to restore power to Islanders after one of the most devastating storms to hit the Atlantic. Sour Outage is now on tap for pints at the brewery with bottles-to-go available around October 16th. 

Nyanza’s Big Spruce has big news this week with an entirely new beer, a very seasonal re-release, and the annual return of a regional favorite. First up is the newbie, a style unseen in this region, we believe. If you’re at all familiar with the Alsace region of France, you’ll know that was a hotly contested area between French and Germanic states for hundreds of years and thus has heavy cultural influences from both sides. Those cultural influences obviously include language and food, but more importantly, beer! Just as Alsatians have their own versions of coq au vin (with Riesling, of course) and Sauerkraut (Choucroute), they also have their own take on the classic German Pilsner (although, somewhat ironically, it has been argued that it’s got more Czech roots than German). Generally featuring a little bit of corn, which flies in the face of the German beer purity law, and local Strisselspalt hops, it’s lighter in color and flavor and more bitter than most French beers. Big Spruce has adopted the corn aspect in their Pils d’Alsace, which they sourced from a farm in Cape Breton that dries corn to make their own grits. Crystal clear, with a big white head, the aroma is redolent of herbs, spices, and biscuit, with floral and herbal notes on the palate and a slightly bready body. The crisp finish will no doubt leave you contemplating the similarities and differences between this substyle and it’s German and Bohemian brethren, but also another sip. This one will likely also be a lovely beer for a study in contrast between pale European with amber European lager, and the folks at Big Spruce are happy to help with that too, as they’re also releasing their very seasonal Amärzen Grace. Amber in color, full-bodied, and balanced very much towards the malt side, Märzen is the OG Oktoberfest style which was served at Oktoberfest in Munich up until the 1950s when it was replaced by the lighter golden Helles Oktoberfestbier style. Big Spruce’s version is 6% ABV and has the color of burnt honey, with an ivory-colored head. Look for notes of toffee and brown bread, with dried and candied fruit notes that lead to a slightly sweet aftertaste. We don’t know that this one will be packaged for retail sale, but we don’t doubt that if you find yourself at finer taprooms around the Province in the next couple of weeks you’ll bump into it.

Also coming out of Big Spruce this week is the return of one of the classic big beers in Atlantic Canada. Ra Ra Rasputin was the brewery’s first bottled beer, announced in early 2016, and is now (we think) in its 5th iteration. In keeping with the tradition established in the past couple of years, there’s more than one version available. As always, the classic formulation is a Russian Imperial Stout that was aged in barrels from Glenora Distillery for three months and then cellared for bottle conditioning for another two months before release. We suspect at this point, with the recipe and process well-defined, that it will be consistent with everything you already love about Ra Ra. This year’s alternate version, however, is a horse of a different color. Started last year, it was aged in tawny port barrels for nine full months, hung out in stainless tanks for an additional three, and then was packaged and given the same two month bottle conditioning period. The result is apparently extremely smooth, with only a touch of alcohol on the nose despite the 10.5% ABV. Look for plenty of barrel character, in terms of both vanillins and tannins, with aromas of sweet vanilla, chocolate, fruit, and coffee, and a palate presentation that’s not unlike black forest cake. Even better, if you’re leery of buying a 650 mL bomber of ~10%-ish beer and having it stare at you from your cellar as you wait for just the right night to commit to taking it on, worry not, Big Spruce has heeded the call of beer geeks everywhere to make a big beer a little more bite-sized: both of this year’s Ra Ra variations are available only in 330 mL single-serve bottles. So you’ll be able to have one by the fire on a chilly fall evening and then walk to bed without risking life and limb!

You’ll be able to try both of these Ra Ra Rasputin variations, and probably the Pils d’Alsace and the Amärzen Grace as well, along with a host of other Big Spruce beers (including a collaboration with Chain Yard Cider) tomorrow at Battery Park in Dartmouth. In total, 19 taps of Big Spruce will be pouring along with seven different vintages of RaRa. Social distancing and mask rules apply, of course, but they can’t stop the great beer from flowing! After that, look for bottles and draught at Bishop’s Cellar and Stillwell Beer Bar.

Moncton, the hub city, rises again with a festive release from Tire Shack. Do you like lagers? Duh. Do you like Vienna? You bet your Schnitzel! Let’s throw that together for a Pumpkin Vienna Lager! The Wickerman, brings a taste of pumpkin and pumpkin spices to a drinkable beer, that doesn’t turn you into Peter Pumpkinhead. It clocks in at 5.0% ABV so you can drink it all Thanksgiving long. The beer was dosed with pumpkin puree in the boil as well as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves and it will be available for pints, cans and growlers as of noon Friday from the brewery. Hooray for The Wickerman! 

If you’ve been in and around the craft beer world over the last couple of years, you’ve no doubt run into the concept of a “pastry stout.” These dark beers generally sport a high ABV, a fair amount of residual sweetness, and some flavor components of whatever crazy thing they were made with (cookies, donuts, candy bars, eclairs…). Many versions have, as time has gone on, eschewed actually adding foodstuffs to the mash in favor of creating a flavor profile reminiscent of those foodstuffs, which many consider a more thoughtful and repeatable approach, not to mention usually much easier to clean up at the end of the brewday. And now that sense of innovation continues as someone thought to ask, “does it need to be a stout?” with the answer being, “Maybe? No? Let’s find out!” Enter Newfoundland breweries Landwash and Baccalieu Trail, who are releasing a collaboration they’re calling Lemon Land. Touted as a “Pastry Ale” it was inspired by the tart and bright flavors of lemon meringue pie. Lots of lemon juice, lemon peel, lactose, and vanilla were added to this brew, with the more traditionally beery side leveraging Cashmere and Sorachi Ace hops. Packaged primarily in cans, only 90 cases are available, available at the Landwash retail shop in Mount Pearl. Those feeling draughty can also grab a pint there, or at co-conspiring Baccalieu Trail this weekend. Whether you just love a new and interesting beer, or if you’re not a whiz with pie crust and you’re looking for an alternate Thanksgiving dessert, if you’re local to the brewery you might want to swing by and grab yourself a few.

Coming off their triumphant takeover at The Stillwell Freehouse last weekend, Halifax’s 2 Crows is dropping two new ones this week just in time for your long weekend beer needs. First up is Laurel, which isn’t actually a new release, at least for those who attended the “2 Crows preview party” some 4 years ago before they opened. (Although that may seem like an obscure reference there’s actually a good chance that amongst our dozen or so readers, some were actually at that event…) In classic 2C “rolls right off the tongue” style, this one is a “tart dark saison with plum and bay leaf.” Starting with a base of Pilsner, dark Munich, and caramel Munich, with some chocolate malt for color and character; dark candi sugar was also added in the boil for additional character and, no doubt, to dry the beer out a little. Hops used were Columbus and East Kent Goldings. Half the wort was soured with Lactobacillus Plantarum before joining the other half and a pitch of the 2C house saison culture. Finally, the beer was conditioned on some 760 kg of plums and then “dry hopped” with bay leaves. The result is rich and smooth, somewhat herbaceous, definitely jammy, but also dry. You can expect some saison spice and plenty of dark fruit character as well. Look for this one in cans and on tap at the brewery as of Saturday.

Next up is the latest 2 Crows iteration on a golden sour, similarly simply described, “Tequila barrel-aged sour with cucumber, sea salt, lime, and mint.” Using their usual base of Pilsner, wheat, spelt, oats and special aromatic malts, with a touch of aged hops, this one was obviously aged in tequila barrels, but a bit also spent time in gin barrels. The remarkable part, though, is that the aging process was some 14 months! Post-barrel, a touch of sea salt was added along with 80 cucumbers that were sliced and diced, and the juice and zest of a whole case of limes. This melange spent about 8 weeks conditioning before a dosing with mint, packaging, and a good four months of bottle conditioning. Fresh and zippy, bright and fun, with enough salinity to have you reaching for another sip, this 5.4% ABV beauty they’re calling Shadow Rider is a limited release with only about 750 bottles available on Saturday. You’ll also find it pouring at the taproom as long as the single keg lasts!

Taking a trip to the Darkside (maybe you’ll be doing that too on the long weekend!), New Scotland Brewing is back with a classic and tasty-looking release. A tribute to the wonderful west coast IPA, Kilted takes a traditional approach to the style using some very classic American hops, Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, and Comet, along with newer varieties that have dominated the market in the last few years, Citra and Simcoe. This hop combination creates a very layered and fruity flavour that is well balanced with Golden Promise malt. Kilted is 6.3% ABV and 65 IBU and available Friday in cans, pints and kegs. Rumour has it that Battery Park already has theirs.

Hanwell, New Brunswick’s Niche Brewing is back on a mixed-fermentation trip with their latest, Southern Accents. Brewed with Pilsner and aromatic malts along with some flaked wheat, it was hopped in the boil and whirlpool with a bit of Citra. Well we do declare, they’ve put Yankee hops in this here Saison! Fermented with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, the result is a funky beer with a touch of sweetness and a bit of a floral presence. You’ll find it at Niche tap accounts including The Joyce, Peppers Pub, Ringo’s Grill, and Stillwell Beer Bar.

A reminder to our homebrewing readers that if you haven’t already brewed your entry for the 2020 Maritime Home Brew Challenge, you need to do that this weekend! Hosted by Gahan, this year’s style categories are encouraging you to take a walk on the hoppier side, with West Coast IPA and New England IPA being the centre of attention. It’s always good to drink these styles fresh, so brewing now will be four weeks until judging. Your $30 entry registration gets you a free t-shirt, entry to the Gala on November 14th at Gahan House Charlottetown, and your chance at more almost $2000 in cash and cards! Plus the priceless prize of bragging rights to the best beer in the Maritimes! Drop off your entry before October 30 at your local Gahan, and good luck! And a heads up that they’re bringing out the big guns for judges this year, including close to a dozen BJCP judges from the region, so expect your feedback to be topnotch. Any questions on that part of it, or any other little thing, hit them up via email.

The Oktoberfests continue this weekend! In addition to Big Spruce’s big event at Battery Park tomorrow, don’t forget that the Stillwell Beergarden is hosting their Oktoberfest tomorrow, featuring the first draught beer from the Valley’s Delta Force Brewing, plus some imported Continental European inspired beauts from Godspeed Brewery in Toronto. Plus Uncorked Tours in Saint John is hosting their own Oktoberfest on the 17th, taking over an extended patio at the Saint John City Farmers’ Market. More on those in last week’s post.

Do you love beer (of course you do!)? Do you love curling? If you answered a resounding “hell yes!” to both questions, then Brightwood Brewery has just the event for you. They’re holding a Sip N’ Spiel Curling & Beer Release tomorrow, October 10th, at the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax. Let’s fill you in on the beer, first. It’s a dry-hopped Pilsner named Bonspiel that was brewed with late hop additions of Barbe Rouge and Idaho 7, and then a dry-hop of more Barbe Rouge. Hazy, bright yellow, with “lots of red and stone fruit flavours” to go with the classic Pilsner crispness, it will be on tap during once the curling portion of the evening is complete, along with seven other Brightwood beers. Speaking of curling, your $20 ticket fee includes two hours of curling and curling lessons (if needed), starting at 6:30 pm. At 8:30, the party moves upstairs to the bar, where they’ll have live music, and as mentioned, beer! Your ticket also includes a sampling of Brightwood beers (probably a flight, by the sounds), but of course you’re free – and encouraged! – to purchase more. Check out the event link above to buy your ticket.

From our friends as Uncorked Tours, comes another event after their Oktoberfest weekend on the 17th, check out the “IPA and Its Variations with Craig Pinhey” where Craig will take attendees through a whirlwind of IPA styles. From Craig, “I plan to have them taste UK style (hard to find!), West Coast, NEIPA, DIPA, and other variations that are available at the time, like maybe Red, Black, White, Belgian, Sour, etc.”. Check out the Facebook event here to get registered for the Saint John event. Tickets are $50 per person for a 90 minute session at the Uncorked Tasting Room and seating is limited!

Sober Island Brewing is planning an event to scratch your cask itch (btw, you should probably get that looked at by a doctor) – Cask in the Sticks is happening at the brewery on Saturday, November 7th. Featuring eight different cask beers (from seven breweries and homebrewer David Pepper), there will be two sessions available for sampling: 1-3 pm and 4-6 pm. Due to social distancing and everything that goes with that, they have set a limit of 60 people per session, so don’t wait to grab your tickets, even though it’s four weeks away. Tickets are $40 each (tax included), and include eight 4 oz pours and an event-branded toque (DD tickets are also available, for $10). In addition to the casks, they’ll have live music, food available for purchase, and even a “Onesie competition” to encourage layering up (the event will be held outside). Our buds from the 902 Brewcast will be roaming around, judging the onesies, with the winner receiving tickets to next year’s event (take this seriously, folks, you know Phil Church will be putting a lot of thought into HIS onesie). You can purchase your tickets by calling the taproom (902-885-2072). And speaking of the 902 Bcast, be sure to check out their October Tasting episode, which dropped Tuesday. Kyle and Tony chat about what’s happened in the world over the past 3 months since their PEI Trip, new additions to the family, and even about beer for a hot minute.

A few more beers and ciders to quench that holiday weekend thirst!

Just in time for the long weekend, CAVOK Brewing Co. is dropping Champion, a wet hopped ale made with hops harvested just 3 kilometers from the brewery on Rue Champion in Dieppe. Grab this limited release on tap at the taproom, or in crowlers or growlers to-go.

Fans of artistic beer cans should check out Quidi Vidi Brewery this weekend for their release of Director’s Cut, a raspberry and blackberry creamsicle sour. The cans for this 5.5% ABV sour feature 31 (!!) different works from female artists across Newfoundland and Labrador. The artwork is part of a collaboration with the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival which runs from October 14-18. Check out their website for more info. Cans of Director’s Cut are available at the QV Hops Shop along with NLCs and convenience stores across the province. And great news for those who’ve been waiting patiently to grab a pint in QV’s taproom, they are hosting their first Kitchen Party in 6 months today! The doors open at 4 PM, and they’re keeping it local: no visitors or those who have had contact with folks off The Rock, Atlantic Bubble be damned! 😉

If you’re looking for something sessionable this weekend, check out Bannerman Brewing Co’s newest release, Comfort Zone. Coming in at 4.5%, the session ale is full bodied thanks to a heavy addition of flaked oats, to complement the Marris Otter and Caramel malts. A dry hop of Mosaic and Simcoe lends notes of peach, apricot and pear. Available at the brewery/taproom/early morning coffee spot on Duckworth Street now. 

Heading north on the island, the team at RagnaRöck is launching the first release in their Hit or Miss series, where tasters will be asked to vote on whether to keep the beer in rotation or set it adrift in the Strait of Belle Isle (ok, we made that part up). Their take on a Cream Ale is light and crisp, and comes in at 5.7% ABV. Find it on-tap now at the taproom in St. Anthony.

Lastly, for those holding out for one last (first? only?) taste of pumpkin-spice season, check out Route 19’s take on the style, Pumpkin Potion. Coming in at a warming 8.5%, this one is available on-tap at the brewpub in Inverness.

There were some updates in growler news this week, with ANBL and Good Robot making changes to their current offerings. ANBL suspended all growler fill stations in March due to the pandemic, but this program will not be returning due to declining sales. Only the flagship location in York Street, Fredericton, will have a growler program available when conditions allow. Check out the full story on CBC here

Meanwhile, Good Robot will no longer be offering growlers for purchase on their online store for delivery. From Good Robot “They are challenging to transport in our pothole-laden town, costly to replace, difficult to fill on demand to keep fresh, and even more difficult to deliver in a timely fashion.” They will still be offering on-site growler fills as usual, so pop by and get your robot fills as you normally would! The last day for growlers online will be October 16th.

Good Robot is also releasing, Crop Top Summer just in time for Thanksgiving. This 4.1% release is  “An amazingly satisfying summertime wheat beer with notes of orange, tangerine and clove.” This is available today at the brewery and available online as well. 

Two late-breaking cider additions to the blog today: Annapolis Cider Co has the latest in their Something Different series out tomorrow, Peach and Basil, a 6.3% sparkling cider, a blend of their dry cider infused with locally-grown basil and fresh pressed Valley peaches. As with all of these releases, each refill see $0.50 go to a local charity, with this batch supporting the Portal Youth Outreach Center, whose goal is to reduce youth experiencing homelessness in the Valley.

And Dartmouth’s Lake City Cider has also dabbled in a mixed-fruit blend with Nova Scotia strawberries fermented and steeped along with whole vanilla beans, blended with Valley apples. And then a splash of Blackcurrant wine was added in for a lovely luscious colour and body. Weighing in at 8.5%, cans of Field of Dreams are available in store and online for delivery right now!

Well lookie here, it’s October! One more month closer to this debacle of a year being over! That’s how it works, right? We get through a couple more months of this goat rodeo and then everything magically goes back to something like the normal we knew one or ten or twenty-five years ago? No? Well then, that must be why we have beer, folks. In the interest of helping you maintain your sanity (ours is a lost cause), here’s what you need to know to keep your beer levels up, thanks to all the latest news we could find this week about breweries, beers, and beery events in Atlantic Canada.

Halifax is getting a little more beery next week, when Serpent Brewing has their first beers available! While their taproom and retail shop is slated to open later this month, curbside pick-up and local delivery to the Spryfield/Armdale/Cowie Hill/further afield area will be available beginning Monday, October 5th. We’ll have a full Profile with them early next week for you to read while you sip on the beers, but in the meantime, be sure you hit their website to order their bottles. Serpent is a Belgian-inspired brewery, and their first three offerings certainly reflect that. White Mountain is a 5.5% Belgain Witbier, with strong clove spiciness, plus notes of orange and pepper thanks to the addition of bitter orange peel and coriander in the boil. Patey’s Bier is a Belgian Singel (aka, Patersbier), the lower alcohol brother of the monastic Tripel, light-coloured and 4.6% ABV with notes of floral and fruity malt and yeast. And finally, a hybrid of sorts, Eden Belgain IPA; 6.0% ABV, with a neutral Ardennes strain of yeast and a simple malt bill, allow the Amarillo hops used throughout to shinr through, with citrus and fruit in spades. All three are in 500 mL bottles, with online ordering still available!

We teased last week that we’d have more details on Siren, the “Tripel-style Braggot” collaboration between Truro Brewing and Mountain Meadworks, and since that’s right there in virtual ink on the internet… well, looks like we have to actually follow through on that promise! Brewed at TB, they mashed in with Pale malt from Shoreline Malting, and added local honey (from Tatamagouche) late in the boil, giving a 50:50 ratio between malt and honey. A splash of Hallertau Blanc hops were added in the boil, and the wort was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. Finishing very dry and at 7.8% ABV, it’s pouring a light golden colour with aromas of “bright apple, honey, bubblegum, and banana”, with the malt coming through a bit more in the flavour, along with a bit of hop character and white wine notes. Siren officially launches at Truro Brewing today at 6 PM, with more details available on the party at the FB page

This week in “postcards from the edge” we got an update from one of our region’s most northerly breweries, RagnaRöck Northern Brewing Co. way up in St. Anthony, Newfoundland, who will be rounding the corner into their second year of operation come November. Like some other breweries that opened late in 2019, we’re sure they didn’t have any idea what was in store for 2020, but so far, thanks to the support of both their local community and the folks that found a way to make it up to the island’s Northern Peninsula, whether from the rest of the Province or from within the Atlantic Bubble. Originally opening with four ‘basic’ beers, Da Bold and Beautiful Blonde Ale, Boggy Bottom Brown Ale, Red Rover Red Ale, and Bit Snatchy Belgian Wit, they expanded the lineup to include an IPA called Hela’s Fury and a kettle sour known as Jormunder’s Sour thanks to the popularity of those two releases. Since re-opening post-COVID shutdown, they’ve also had a couple more beers on regular rotation, namely another sour, this one with cherries, called Surt’s Flaming Sabre, and a Session IPA they’ve dubbed Freyja’s Feathered Cloak. If you’re getting the feeling from these beer names that they’ve really leaned into the Norse Mythology connection implied by their name and logo, you’d be right! If you can get your hands on some of these beers, they’d make an excellent pairing for an evening of reading up on the Æsir and the Vanir. Meanwhile, some of the biggest news from the brewery is the addition of a canning system to the facility. For now they’ve been canning their Blonde and Sour and selling them from the brewery, but as we move into Winter, the system should allow the brewery’s beer to get a little bit of local distribution and possibly even travel a little further to the rest of Newfoundland and maybe even beyond!

Good news for you hopheads living in Miramichi – Timber Ship Brewing has released what they’re calling their most hop-forward beer-to-date, a New England IPA they’re calling Farewell Buoy. Named after the familiar opening words (well, familiar to those of you from Miramichi, anyway!) of the late “Hoppy” Dunn, a local sports broadcaster (“From the headwaters of the Miramichi to the farewell buoy…”), the beer features hops, hops, and more hops. Specifically, plenty of late-in-the-boil additions of Mosaic, an early dry-hop of Citra, plus a double-dry-hop of more Mosaic, as well as some Galaxy. Coming in at 6.2% ABV and 40 IBUs, expect plenty of citrus and pineapple, all in a hazy package. And in more good news, this one won’t be available just on tap; they’ve started canning some of the beers, including Farewell Buoy. Look for this one and a couple of their flagships in cans soon, at Carroll’s Distillery and Bakery in Douglastown. 

Looks like Grand Falls Brewing has added a new beer to their taproom lineup, with an American Pale Ale named High Five. Brewed with a grist of 2-Row, Oats, and Wheat, the wort was hopped with Cashmere and Vic Secret (emphasis on the Vic), before being fermented with a Norwegian Kveik yeast strain. Dry-hopped with more of both varieties, the final 5.25% ABV brew is full of citrusy, tropical flavours, with low bitterness and a soft mouthfeel. This one will be on tap only, for both pints and growlers, and is available now, so be sure to drop in over the weekend!

Dieppe’s CAVOK Brewing has just released the latest in their “Star” series, bottled beers that they’ve named after stars with Latin names. Their first, released in late December, 2019, was Alpha Canis Majoris, for example. The newest is Upsilon Ceti, a 6% ABV, 52 IBUs “Oak Aged Rye Ale”. We don’t have too many details on the beer, unfortunately, but we can assume that there was a proportion of rye malt used in the grist, and the beer was aged in oak for 3 months before being packaged in 750 mL bottles. Very limited quantities are available; you can pick yours up at the brewery today. There’s also a bit available on tap, if you’d like to give it a taste before committing to a bottle purchase!

Congratulations to Grimross Brewing owner Stephen Dixon on completing the multi-day Tri for Housing First 290 km Triathalon last weekend. Supporting the Fredericton Housing First endeavour, supporting those experiencing homelessness by providing permanent shelter first and foremost, allowing people a solid platform from which to concentrate on other aspects of their health, wellbeing, and livelihood. Just shy of $15,000 has been raised thus far, and you can continue the great work by donating at the link above. Grimross is continuing the good works by donating 100% of their cans of Radler to the cause, if you’re looking for a way to satiate your thirst while also providing assistance to those in need. And look for cans of their Oktoberfest Marzen to be hitting the shelves of their retail store and ANBL stores across the province in the next few weeks.

After the very successful launch of The Cherry Brook Wheat earlier this week, brewed in collaboration with the Change is Brewing Collective (more details in last week’s post), North Brewing has hit us with a second new release this week. Strollin’ Down Baldwin St. is a 3.0% Grisette (think Saison’s little cousin), brewed with Shoreline Malting Pilsner malt, lightly hopped with New Zealand Wai-ti and Wakatu hops, and fermented with Escarpment’s Old World Saison blend. Light and spritzy, lemon, peppery, with some tropical fruit and notes of hay, this is a lovely refresher in a tiny package. Grab both SDBS and The Cherry Brook Wheat at either North location, or for home delivery or shipping at their website.

Port Rexton Brewing is teaming up with the ever popular downtown St. John’s boutique Johnny Ruth to celebrate the store’s 15th anniversary. Win Hop Amber Ale comes in at 5% ABV and features the staple caramel malt flavours of the style (perfect for the Fall weather), with a herbal hop character that leads to a dry finish. Grab it in cans now at the brewery in Port Rexton or the St. John’s retail store. If you stop in to celebrate at Johnny Ruth, keep an eye out for the beer in a special gift pack. 

Halifax’s Propeller Brewing is bringing out their annual Nocturne Black IPA beer today, available in cans for home delivery and at the three Prop Shops in Dartmouth and Halifax. This 6.7% beer features significant dry-hopping from Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight, for tropical fruit, pine hop aromatics to complement the roast, chocolate, and coffee notes from the base beer. $1.50 from each can sold goes directly to the Nocturne: Art at Night festival, which is running October 12 – 17. While portions will be moved to the online sphere, there is an installation behind Propeller’s Gottingen Street location after 6 PM on the 17th. And there is also a mid-week Virtual party on the 15th, hosted by HEIST, featuring a DJ, live performances, Lip Sync Roulette, and prizes. It’s free, just requires advance registration.

Tis the Season for Oktoberfests! In addition to Tire Shack Brewing in Moncton and Garrison Brewing X Stubborn Goat Beer Garden events we’ve told you about previously, we have a few more to tell you about this week. However you celebrate, please do so responsibly! 

In Fredericton, TrailWay Brewing is holding their first Oktoberfest, which started yesterday and continues until Saturday, October 3rd. In addition to Milda’s Pizzas being on site (with homemade pretzels available on Saturday), TW is also debuting a new beer, Festbier. Similar to the Oktoberfest style of beer, but less richly toasted, TW’s take “has a caramel and honey-like sweetness, with some subtle breadiness” while remaining dry and crisp. No, it was not dry-hopped with 13 tons of the latest tropical hop variety, but it does have a touch of floral hop character. At 4.5% ABV, and served in pints from their new toy, a Euro-style side-pull tap, it’s intended to be consumed in quantity… hey, they ARE celebrating Oktoberfest, after all! No cans of this one, only available on tap, while it lasts. 

A reminder of the Stillwell Freehouse X 2 Crows Tiedhouse event is tomorrow, which will be the only place to grab a couple of special releases from the brewery, made especially for the slick cask facilities the Freehouse employs. While brewing into cask is outside of their normal wheelhouse, 2 Crows are never ones to back down from an opportunity for experimention. First up is Dulwich, an English Golden Ale, with a base of Shoreline Pilsner malt and a bit of flaked rice. Foggy Lodon Ale yeast did the heavy lifting, and the beer was dry-hopped with Centennial and East Kent Golding before conditioning in the cask. The result is a lower alcohol, bright fruity, floral, herbal and citrus ale, reminescent of those served across the pond. Also debuting is Aquifolium, a wild-ferment Saison, featuring captured yeast harvested from under a holly tree in Sackville, NS. After conditioning for several months, it was dry-hopped with Chinook before completing its life in the cask. Dry, light esters, earthy character, a lovely mix of features. Other casks include a Cask conditioned version of their Refresh Lager, and Paper Airplanes Brown Ale. The full draught lineup is available in last week’s post.

And the Stilly related events keep coming, so be sure to make plans to head up to the Stillwell Beergarden next Saturday, October 10th, for their annual Oktoberfest celebration. A little different than in previous years, tables must be reserved in advance, so grab your bubble buddies and set down your Euros to take part in the fun. In addition to the great food that will be available, the star of the show will be Delta Force Brewing’s first appearance on tap. After two quickly-sold-out bottle releases since Spring, this will be a great way for fans to enjoy a few pints of the brewery’s offerings. Bauernhofschuppen Märzenbier is 5.0% ABV, and as is tradition, was brewed at the end of winter (hence the name representing the month of March), and lagered ever since. This long process chilling out allows the bread and toast of the malts to shine though, but with the beer having plenty of time to develop a crisp finish to leave you wanting another! We’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find out what that name means (first person to hit us up on twitter, Chris will buy your first pint!). Attendees will see some goodies from Toronto’s Godspeed Brewery pouring that day, but you’ll have to show up to find out which! Keep an eye on Stilly’s social media that day if there are changes to the program/last minute seats opening up!

Those wanting to experience a taste of Ocktoberfest in the Saint John area should circle October 17 on their calendars. Uncorked Tours is transforming North Market Street into a German biergarten for the day, and featuring a Bavarian inspired food menu to go along with a selection of New Brunswick’s finest German inspired beers. Expect live music, patio heaters and good times all around. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for more details. 

Quite a few quick hits this week as we leave you to your afternoon:

Keep an eye out for Cross Creek Pale Ale. Cans of this 5% ABV APA  are starting to hit ANBL shelves. Cross Creek Brewing’s first packaged offering is now available at agency stores in Woodstock in Fredericton, with wider distribution to follow throughout the month. Expect lots of citrus notes from the Citra and Mosaic hops used.

The annual return of Meander River’s Wet-Hopped Ale is here. This year’s version features Chinook, Centennial, Fuggle, Newport, Nugget and Galena hops, all grown at Meander River’s onsite farm. Available now in bottles and growlers at the brewery in Ashdale.

O’Creek Brewing continues to add to their evergrowing list of hoppy beers that they’ve brewed with their latest NEIPA, Skyrats. Hopped with Citra, Sabro and Simcoe, along with some Nelson Sauvin in the dry-hop, it’s 6% ABV and no doubt juicy and tropical af. You can find it on tap at CAVOK, Le BarBu, and Euston Park. They’ve also got more of their Route 117 IPA available in cans at local Moncton and Dieppe ANBLs, and some even made it to Fredericton York St. ANBL this time!

Bedford’s Off Track Brewing added a new beer to its lineup this week. Bullseye Red Ale comes in at 5.4% ABV and features notes of caramel, toffee and toast.  Swing by Rocky Lake Drive to try a pint or grab a growler to go.

Secret Cove Brewing has a new beer out, affectionately named after a local mountain, The Cabox. In terms of the beer, The Cabox is an 8.1% ABV West Coast DIPA that features multiple hop additions, including Columbus in the kettle, Citra, Simcoe and more Columbus in the whirlpool, as well as some Summit (natch) in the dry-hop. Available now. 

Know anyone who loves clean beer lines and meeting a lot of great people? They might be interested in this position:

Looking for a way into the beer industry, and have a need for clean? Great news, Nova Scotia’s BeerTech is hiring! They have a couple of openings to join their ranks, to keep brewery taprooms, restaurants, and bars, draught lines squeaky clean, so you and I can keep drinking fresh beer! It’s not only cleaning, however, as installs, maintenance, and updates are also important parts of the draught world. There will be a job posting soon, but in the meantime, reach out to Ken via email or social media (Fb / Ig / Tw) to learn more. See the region, one bar at a time! 🙂

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!