As we all feel the anticipation of getting a jab in our arms and a spring in our steps, keep that hope alive and support your local bars and breweries! There’s a sense of optimism in the air and we think it’s worth celebrating. We know there have been some slower months in our news over the past few months, but as we all know, supporting local is more important than ever (if it’s within your means!) and we’re all doing a great job of getting through this together. Onto the beer!
Let’s start this week’s news with something that, frankly, we don’t see enough of in Atlantic Canada – beers with eponymous names. Lunenburg’s Shipwright Brewing Company is releasing Kellyerbier, their take on the German style of Kellerbier. Named after brewmaster Kellye Roberston, Kellyerbier starts with a blend of pilsner and chit malts from Shoreline Malting. Saaz and Saphir hops were used, followed by some time mingling with light Hungarian oak during secondary fermentation. Expect a light graininess, with notes of honey and some minerality. The hops add a citrusy note to round out this pale lager. The finished beer comes in at 4.7% ABV and 22 IBUs and is available on tap and for crowlers to-go at the brewery now.
Trailway Brewing Co. has another hazy IPA up its sleeves this week, with the release of SHADES. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, this one is a tribute to some of Trailway’s favorite hops, combining additions of Strata, Idaho 7, Callista, Sultana and Galaxy. Expect hop driven flavours that include citrus, peach and guava, with dank and piney overtones. SHADES is available now at the brewery and for delivery or curbside pickup through their webstore.
A blast from the past is making its return in Dartmouth this weekend. A fresh batch of Gus’ 65M Belgian Blonde is back on the shelves (both physical and virtual) at North Brewing Company. A quick history lesson – when North opened on Agricola Street in 2013 (remember those ceramic growlers?), their first keg account was at Gus’ Pub which just happened to be 65 meters north of North. Over the years, the beer has evolved from its original recipe, winning two Canadian Brewing Awards along the way. This batch comes in at 4.5% ABV and combines peppery Belgian phenols with citrus notes and light spiciness in the finish, and is available in cans and on tap today.
And while we have you, North is hiring! They are looking for a part-time (3 days a week) delivery driver to service their HRM deliveries (both private citizens and licensees), with the possibility of having that job go full time in the future. No direct brewery experience is necessary, though being 19+ and having a driver’s license is. Peep the full details, and how to apply, on their jobs page. And we have several more job listings later in the post too, as breweries get ready for a busy spring and summer!
Keeping last week’s mead madness going again this week we have, coming out of Smith’s Cove, NS, Lazy Bear Brewing’s take on a mead. Appropriately named Mead, this one comes in at 8.4% ABV. Honey was sourced from Fox & The Bee Farms in nearby Clemonsport and Cosman and Whidden in Greenwich. Expect a crisp and refreshing drinking experience with a touch of tartness. You can grab this now in bottles or growlers from the brewery, and this Saturday at the Annapolis Royal Farmer’s Market. Rumour also has it, with the loosening of public health restrictions on travel, that an HRM delivery run may be in the works.
From Smith’s Cove, let’s head East along the 101 to Berwick, where we find Smokehouse Nano Brewery. They have a brand new draught-only release pouring at their taproom this week, which will have you feeling like a sharp dressed man…. ZZ Hop is a 6.4% ABV New England IPA, featuring a whole whack of hops, but without a bitter finish. Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra were added by the bushel-full later in the boil and in dry-hopping additions, for a hazy, juicy blast of citrus and stone fruit flavours. As this is a small release, best to pop by 134 Union St for a taste, they’re open from noon daily.
One last stop in Annapolis Valley this week, at Church Brewing in the heart of Wolfville. They have christened (see what I did there?) their pilot system, and are releasing the first in their Belief System series. Lilith is a 6.7% ABV New England IPA, featuring notes of grapefruit, melon, and hints of floral character. Simcoe and Azacca were used, as well as an addition of orange peel. As is typical for the style, hops are front and centre, but do not come through as overly bitter. As this is a small release, Lilith is only available at the taproom, though if you act quickly, you may be able to grab a crowler to-go in their adjacent Beer Market. Look for more releases in the Belief System series coming soon, allowing Church the ability to explore new styles, brew to historical timelines, and focus on their community support initiative, “Brew Good Do Good”. And if working in a church sounds like a job from heaven (come for the news, get inundated with bad puns), see below in the jobs section for a way you can join their team.
If you find yourself in Cape Breton in the next little while, head to the Westside Cafe (conveniently located on Route 19 as luck would have it) to try out the newest release from Route 19 Brewing. Town Lager is a 4.7% lager-like ale brewed with Krispy, a blend of Kveik yeasts from Escarpment Labs, and hopped with German varietals including Ariana, to the tune of 18 IBU. This one is on tap at Westside only for the time being, while the brewery’s taproom and retail remains closed for the offseason. Look for Town Lager to make an appearance again this summer in cans and for fills.
Keeping with the signs of an optimistic Spring and the easing of restrictions, Spryfield’s Belgian-inspired Serpent Brewing takes two very big steps forward for their young brewery. Their Patey’s Bier Belgian Single is a refreshing style that is kegged and will be making its way across HRM taprooms in the coming weeks. In even bigger news, they’ll be opening their taproom on Saturday March 20th. We’ll be posting more details as we get them, but keep an eye out on Dentith Road in Spryfield behind the Canadian Tire and you can still check their website for pick-up and delivery options.
Down in Southwest Nova, Tusket Falls Brewing are continuing their Experimental Brew series, with something dark and sweet this week. Chasing the Pastry Stout is an 8.0% ABV Dessert Beer, that they say will pair nicely with a chocolate fudge brownie. No word yet if any of those treatas are available in the taproom, but that *is* the only spot you’ll be able to grab this brew, so be sure to pop in this weekend before it disappears!
Big news for fans of beer and coffee in Rothesay: the Long Bay Brewery taproom is now also a full-service cafe, opening at 7:30 AM on weekdays, 10:00 AM on Saturdays and 11:00 AM on Sundays. Look for baked goods from Eb Coffeeshop and beans from Piccadilly Coffee Roasters out of Sussex, who’ve developed the Long Bay Morning Brew blend just for the cafe/taproom. And since they’re a licensed tap room, what’s to stop you from adding a little Baileys to that coffee, or pairing it with a beer? The correct answer is: nothing, you should totally do that.
The fine folks at Good Robot want you to know that they’ve missed seeing your face (at least the part not covered by a mask) at their taproom on Robie Street. And while, no, they’re not open yet, they’re happy to tell everyone that the planning is afoot for a resumption (conditional upon COVID-19 restrictions, of course) of in-person dining and service on Friday, March 12th!
And in “Future Beer News”, we have a couple of cool collaborations to chat up this week that see some of our local breweries partnering up with some of our region’s cultural touchstones. First up, you may be aware that The East Coast Music Association has historically seen participation by local breweries during their traditional week of events surrounding the annual East Coast Music Awards. This year they’ve announced that they’re formalizing the next five years of partnerships. Starting in May of this year, when the (largely virtual, sadly) ECMAs will be held in Sydney, NS, a partner brewery will brew up a collaboration beer called East Coast Music Ale to be released in the weeks leading up to the event, with $0.50 of each can sold going directly to the association. This year’s partner is Sydney’s own Breton Brewing, and we’re sure to have more information on their beer when its release approaches. From there, the schedule includes Fredericton’s Grimross Brewing in 2022, Halifax’s Garrison Brewing in 2023, Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing in 2024, and up on the Rock, Quidi Vidi’s Quidi Vidi Brewing in 2025.
And down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, folks are gearing up to celebrate one of the great icons of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, and indeed, Canada itself. The famed schooner Bluenose was launched on March 26th, 1921, and, as you can imagine, there will be some commemorative activity going on. Enter Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing Company who have been officially approved to make and distribute an official commemorative ale as part of the celebrations. The brewery is working hard to ensure that the beer achieves distribution throughout the province via the NSLC, but will also be supplementing that distro on the South Shore. Consistent with Saltbox’s history of community involvement, they’ll also be donating a portion of the proceeds from the beer to the Bluenose Heritage Trust. We’ll have details on the beer once they’re available and keep you apprised of when and where you can get your landlubbing hands on it.
Obviously we’re still not in a place where big events full of lots of people are a thing that can happen in our region, but we’ve still got one humdinger to tell you about:
If you’re like us and you’ve had a bit of a taste of sunny and vaguely warmish weather in the last week and that made you think about kicking back at the Stillwell Beergarden with a pint of local lager and a plate of tacos from Beverley Taco Service, we’ve got some big news for you. Although it won’t be out in the sun with the hum of Spring Garden Road in the background, this coming Sunday, March 7th, and the Sunday after next, March 21th, from 2 PM to 10 PM, the fine folks of Bar Stillwell will be hosting Tacos & Lager at Stilly HQ on Barrington Street!! Featuring some of the best in NS lagers on tap (Tatamagouche Dekorum, Spindrift Killick and Toller, Good Robot El Espinazo del Diablo, and 2 Crows Dos Cuervos and Refresh) as well as some crushable cans, you’ll be able to pair those lovely palate refreshing liquids with Beverley Taco Service’s Carnitas or Birria Tacos, a special Stilly/Beverley collab taco, Chilaquiles, or simple Chips and Salsa. And for dessert? Churros and Chocolate con Chilli!! Consistent with summer Sunday afternoons at the BG, there will be vinyl spinning throughout the afternoon. What more could you ask for than a taste of summer in late winter?
This week, as restrictions ease and things slowly (slowly and hopefully!) get back to normal, we’re seeing three new job postings from around our region in addition to the North posting mentioned above:
First from Church Brewing, they’re looking for a Packaging Operator to work with beer packaging, quality control and preventative maintenance. If you’re looking to get a start in the great area of Wolfville, this full-time gig would be right up your alley. Check out the full job posting here.
Spindrift has a new posting for a Production Brewer, working with and reporting to the Head Brewer, this is an excellent opportunity for someone with post-secondary education along with previous brewing industry experience could be a perfect fit. Or not, as we know many breweries will take passion and an ability to learn, with some relevant knowledge. It can never hurt to apply. For the full details and application instructions, check out this link.
Rolling into the spring and summer, downtown Moncton favourite Tide and Boar is hiring multiple positions for taproom staff and kitchen employees for their soon-to-open stand-alone brewery and taproom location at 1355 Main Street. Shoot them an email with your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org
March is International Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day coming up on Monday, March 8th. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge, and many breweries are taking the day and theme to heart, brewing and releasing beers over the next few days to commemorate it.
The International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day is a worldwide annual event that takes place on IWD, open to all women “working, or interested, in beer, to learn, network, and make friends”. No requirements on style, ingredients, or packaging, only a love of beer! This year’s theme is Unite Compassion, which we can all use more of these days! As of publishing, Foghorn Brewing in Rothesay and Four Rivers in Bathurst NB, and Landwash Brewery in Mount Pearl NL have announced they will be taking part, but there’s still time for interested brewers to sign up to the event.
The women of Foghorn teamed up with those of Big Tide Brewing and Loyalist City to bring back the style-bending Sparkölsch. As a reminder, this is a 5.0% ABV Kölsch-style hybrid ale/lager, with an addition of edible sparkles for a truly shimmering final product! Available in bottles and on tap at the participating breweries now, plus other friendly spots around Saint John, Fredericton, and beyond. The full list of bars and retailers can be found here. Foghorn’s donations from sales of Sparkölsch are going toward their membership in the United Way Quarter Fund, a group of small businesses who have pledged to donate $250,000 over five years. These funds are in turn directed to organizations that support survivors of domestic/intimate partner violence and to mental health research.
In Bathurst, Becca and Lani of Four Rivers developed and brewed an Oatmeal Stout, which will be launched Monday as part of the IWD celebration. At 5.5% ABV, Dark Horse Oatmeal Stout is full of Chocolate and Sherry notes, with Coffee and Cocoa on the tongue to complement. Light mouthfeel, and not too sweet. Keep an eye on their social media for the full details on the beer Monday!
Landwash Brewery’s Christina Coady is leading the women of Newfoundland and Labrador breweries in a massive collaboration on Monday. While originally planned to have the collaboration take part in person in Mount Pearl, this time they’ll be leveraging the power of technology to stay connected. The crew thus far has representation from coast to coast to coast, with brewers from Boomstick, Bootleg BrewCo, Dildo Brewing, Iron Rock, Port Rexton, RagnaRöck, and Split Rock all taking part (and it’s not too late to message LW to join the list!). They will be using the 2021 Pink Boots hop blend from Yakima Chief (Ahtanum, Cashmere, Citra, Loral, and Sabro) to make an IPA with Passion Fruit, which will be released later in the month. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to The Gathering Place, a community centre offering meals, clothing, and health services to those in the community.
At Truro Brewing Company, owner Jana brewed up some awesome beer ladies in the province in February, and are releasing their Ginger Lime Gose today. You’ll be familiar with many of these names, with Kelly Costello, Chelsea Meisner, Kim Hart Macneill, Meg Foote, Shannon Dalberg, and some members of the Truro Pride Society. At 4.8% ABV, this slightly tart ale features a bold aroma from the fresh lime zest, and fresh ginger added, which is complemented by sea salt from Pure Atlantic Harvest in Halifax. It is on tap now, and given how well it turned out, they may be doing another batch for bottle release in the future!
You may recall that Port Rexton Brewing, a 100% women-owned business with a majority of women employees, released a beer last year for IWD that they called Violet Femmes and which sported a lovely hue due to the addition of butterfly pea flower. Well they’ve done it again this year! Once again a dry-hopped sour ale, the acidic pH influencing the shade of pink/purple expressed by the flower, this year it’s been packaged in cans (with artwork by Molly Margaret Art) for wider enjoyment. You’ll be able to find it available for purchase starting today at noon for online ordering and pick up at their St. John’s retail shop as well as in Port Rexton at the brewery and the Port Rexton Foodex. They will also be sending the beer out to some more locations, so keep an eye on social media (Fb/Ig/Tw) to find out where. Meanwhile, like last year, they’ll be donating proceeds from this beer to a worthy cause, this year it will be Transition House Association of NL.
Sydney’s Island Folk Cider House has debuted a new release this week, Choosing to Challenge. Embracing this year’s IWD theme to IFCH means “calling out gender bias and inequality”, “seeking out and celebrating women’s achievements”, and “working collectively to create an inclusive world”. The Choosing to Challenge is a 6.5% ABV Honey Lavender cider, and features a special cross-stitched theme on the label, by Alison Uhma of On Paper Books, responsible for all of their illustrations. From Island Folk, “$1 from every bottle sold will go to the Every Woman’s Centre – a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the enhancement of women’s lives in Cape Breton – Unama’ki.”
Keeping with the theme, Breton Brewing is launching a showcase ale for the great women of their brewery. A beer brewed by three of their female employees, with one of them also designing the label. Releasing Pink Boots Pale Ale for IWD, this bright and floral pale uses the Pink Boots blend which has helped to create a light and hoppy 4.6% ABV brew with fantastic floral, lemon, and citrusy aromas. It is now available in the taproom and online for home delivery in the CBRM & HRM. A portion of sales from every can sold will be donated to a local women’s charity. This is Breton’s third iteration of Pink Boots, as it was out last year for International Women’s Day and again in June of 2020, supporting scholarships for women in the brewing industry. The previous release was a Session IPA, but they’re back with a Pale Ale for 2021 and it sounds as delicious as ever.
Quidi Vidi Brewery released Stronger Together Strawberry Blonde Ale this week, with recipe, artwork, and name, all the brainchild(ren) of women who work in the brewery. “Today we raise a glass to Tiffany, Sam, Ashley, Meredith, Becca, Olivia, Vic and Grace who exemplify the spirit of Stronger Together! ♥️” Ripe strawberry aromatics with hints of cherry, supported by a light malt backbone and crisp finish in a 5.0% ABV package. The QV beer is also an opportunity to give back, with the brewery making a donation of $2000 to NLOWE. “What is NLOWE,” you might ask? From the brewery: “Founded in 1997, the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs supports and encourages women entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and take advantage of exciting opportunities to start their venture or grow their existing business.” Stronger Together is available now at their spot at 16 Harbour View Drive, as well as online for local delivery.
Let’s finish today back in Saint John, where the Picaroons General Store invited the fine folks of Big Tide and Uncorked Tours into the brewhouse in February. They brewed up an IPA, which will be hitting the taps Monday. Leaning towards the malty side, but featuring plenty of hops to balance, it will come out around 6.5% when all is said and done. In addition to the taps at Pics, it will also be available for pints and the new growler option at Uncorked’s spot in the City Market on Monday.