ANBL

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The NB Liquor Corporation has announced that they will be reducing the price of 24-packs of several domestic beers later this month. The prices of Alpine, Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Moose Light, and Sleeman Clear will all drop by $7 to $35.99. While a trial period of discounts on multiple 24-packs was implemented last year, this new change will be permanent. The drop in price is being financed solely by the ANBL, with revenue losses of $7,000,000 expected annually.

We spoke with ANBL’s Mark Barbour for how they expect these changes to affect the local beer producers. Barbour shared data that during last year’s trial run, sales in craft beer was up more than 20% over the same period in 2015, the solid growth apparently undeterred by deep discounts in domestic beer. “There are two distinct beer drinking profiles in the province, those who choose domestic beer, and those who choose craft,” he went on to say. He suggested the possible spillover effect of a cheaper domestic beer might even allow the value drinker a few extra dollars to try the local beer offerings. When asked if discounts would be applied to locally-produced craft beer, he responded that they would not, but added, “The ANBL is very invested in the development of the Craft Beer Industry in New Brunswick, providing circa $2M annually in subsidies annually in the form of a reduced Markup Structure.” Both last year, and with this announcement, the ANBL denies that it is reducing the price to compete with lower-priced beer in Quebec and Maine, but as the sole retailer of domestic beer in the province, it is difficult to deny the reality of the situation.

We also reached out to Stephen Dixon, owner of Grimross Brewing, and  President of the NB Craft Alcohol Producers. He expressed concerns that these price reductions were done without any consultation with the small local producers, who learned of the price change through the media like the general public. “Part of ANBL’s mandate is to participate in the development of the liquor industry in the province,” Dixon says, “The province in general would reap more benefit if ANBL and the New Brunswick Government worked towards creating a better environment for the development of NB-based producers.” The delineation between value and craft beer drinkers is not so cut and dry, Dixon believes. “Those that currently drink either (craft or macro industrial beer) will be enticed to the macro beer with these big discounts”, he explains.

The implementation of the permanent price change is puzzling: as last year’s trial wound down, the ANBL stated (from a CBCNews article in October 2016), “Although profitable, the beer promotion had a negative impact on overall profit margins”. And that was with the price reduction shared with the participating breweries, not solely a burden on the ANBL. With this move costing ANBL something like $7M annually, we feel it important to note who the likely beneficiaries are. Certainly not the average New Brunswicker, who will potentially see a reduction in the Government’s coffers. Licensed establishments who serve the same macro beers might not be happy to see the discrepancy between what a patron pays per beer at home vs. what is paid at a bar grow even wider. The “value drinker” will surely see a benefit, we suppose, but we believe it will more likely be viewed as, “It’s like getting every 7th case free,” rather than, “I’ll take that $7 and buy something I wouldn’t normally buy.” The ANBL’s stated mission is, “To responsibly manage a profitable liquor business for New Brunswick,” which certainly seems countermanded by a seven million dollar writedown, unless you buy the argument that they are fending off competition, which is an interesting notion for a company that effectively operates as a monopoly in their market. Perhaps this is anticipation of the provincial trade barriers being lowered, but we also note that the Canadian Free Trade Agreement only specifies a working group to provide guidance around interprovincial alcohol trade and they’ve got a year to develop it. So their recommendation isn’t due until June 30th, 2018, let alone any resultant action. The real winners here then, are the producers of the beer being discounted. While one, Moosehead Light, is a NB product, the others are all owned by multinational conglomerates who will likely see sales increase at no extra cost to them. So more money is potentially leaving the province than before. Meanwhile, craft producers will now be competing with even cheaper mass produced products readily available in every market around the province. We suspect it would cost much less than $7 million to eliminate all excise duties on craft producers in the province, a move that would likely see more money staying within the borders of the province. It’s interesting that ANBL chose instead to stimulate sales for out-of-province producers instead.

What about the fans of locally-produced, small, independent beer? We don’t anticipate those drinkers to switch to the bigger brands because of a cost savings; if a difference in price was the primary issue, we wouldn’t have been drinking craft beer for all this time anyway. We drink craft beer because we like the taste, and having it produced in the Atlantic provinces is just another positive aspect. However, everyone has to start their love of craft beer somewhere, and for those who are currently drinking macro, this cost reduction is just one more reason for them to stay away from craft beer, stifling the amount of growth that could potentially be seen in the craft beer market. This means that local breweries (and other businesses associated with them, such as hop growers, beer tour companies, etc) may not flourish as well as they should. If the ANBL can’t see that, it doesn’t seem to us that they’re standing behind local breweries as they claim to be doing.

And for those readers in PEI and NS, PEI Liquor has said they have no plans to reduce the price of domestic beer to compete with the ANBL*; there has been no specific response from the NSLC as of yet, only that they are “assessing their options”.

*Update (June 6): PEILC has reduced the price of Alpine, Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, Canadian, and Moose Light to $39.99, “for a limited time, while supplies last”.

Good morning, and welcome to another Friday… as usual, chock-full of news on beer releases, events, and more! Let’s skip the chit chat and dive right in:

• It’s another week, which means at least one new 2 Crows beer is being released! Tomorrow at noon, they’ll be tapping Sunny Days, a “Sunflower seed Brett Saison”. Brewed with home-malted sunflower seeds (which made up 20% of the grist) as well as Pilsner, Vienna, Acid, and Wheat malts, the beer was fermented with a combination of Brettanomyces bruxellensis and a “funky Saison yeast”, bringing it to 7.1% ABV (and hopped to 27 IBUs). We’re not sure what exactly to expect with this one, but as usual for many 2 Crows special releases, you can’t deny that it sounds interesting! There’ll only be one keg of this beauty pouring, so get down to the taproom to give it a try. In addition, two kegs of a new, “slightly spicier” batch of Lil’ Miguel Aztec Stout will be tapped next Friday (April 14th), followed by a keg of Crosswired – a beer fermented with a mixture of a “wild” yeast strain and a wine yeast strain – on Thursday, April 20th; look for some Crosswired to also appear at the 2 Crows Battery Park Tap Takeover on April 13th.

• This week in Smith’s Cove, Lazy Bear Brewing made two new brews available. The Folly IPA with wild yeast that we wrote about two weeks ago has finally meandered its way through the system and was released last night at the brewery during their weekly growler night. This tropical fruity delight may not make it to the city so you’ll have to head down to the brewery or catch it at the Annapolis Farmers and Traders Market or one of the brewery’s regular tap accounts. Earlier in the week, as they waited for the Folly to finish, The Once-Over was released. This is a version of their Bear Bones IPA that was different enough to justify a new moniker. Still brewed with Wild Turkey hops from Ontario, this 5.9% ABV brew was dry-hopped with that variety along with classic American Cascade and Chinook that are sure to bring citrus and pine to the aroma. Like the Folly, this one is available in the usual places, but some apparently also made its way to Battery Park in Dartmouth, so keep your eyes out for it to appear there.

Mill Street Brewpub in St. John’s has been busy, with a few new beers on tap now, or coming very soon. Lukey’s Bock is a traditional-style German Helles/Mai Bock, meaning light in colour with Munich malt-derived sweetness and aromatics. Named after the ship in the harbour of the same name, the 6.5% ABV Bock is on tap at their Mill Street/Bier Markt location only. Coming very soon from them is Right Off the Hop, a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) featuring El Dorado hops. This Double IPA took more than 6 kilograms of hops in their 8 hL system, for big bitterness and a massive pineapple aroma and flavour.

• Debuting next Wednesday, April 12, is a collaboration that Mill Street did with the Port Rexton Brewing Crew. Planned months ago during a trip to Port Rexton, and brewed in mid-March when PR made the return trip, the cross-province Dunkelweizen will be launched in a big way. At 5.2% ABV, 22 IBUs, the Dark German Wheat beer features the iconic banans and clove aromatics, reminiscent of banana bread. The debut is a ticketed event, which gets you a pint of Port Rexton new IPA, a pint of Mill Street’s Black Bart’s, plus a celebratory pint of their collaboration. A Mac & Cheese bar, featuring the wares of St. John’s own Five Brothers Cheese, will be set up to keep your stomach from growling, and going all night. Tickets are available by phone (709-383-7070), and are selling quickly, so be sure to grab them today!

• Fredericton’s Graystone Brewing recently launched their second Lager, an India Pale Lager named Alpen IPL. Described by the brewery as an “earthy, amber IPL with amble bitterness and a clean, soft mouthfeel”, the grist contains Crystal and Munich malt to achieve the beer’s colour and malt character. Hopped with Columbus and Centennial to 70 IBUs, it was fermented with a dry German Lager yeast, and then lagered at cool temperatures for 5 weeks before packaging. Coming in at 6% ABV, it’s on tap now at the brewery for pints and growlers/crowlers, and is likely showing up at licensees across the city.

• Sticking with Fredericton beers, TrailWay released their Porter a couple nights ago, a one-off that will only be available on tap at the brewery’s tasting room for the first week. Sessionable at only 4.7% ABV, it shows off some roast and chocolate character, with a medium-bodied mouthfeel and a dry, slightly bitter finish from the use of dark malts. Look for it to pop up around New Brunswick for next weekend’s ANBL growler program. And be sure to grab some cans of Luster, which has just returned and is as fresh as you can get it right now!

• And not to be left out, Maybee Brewing also has a new beer available! Tailwind is a “New England Session IPA” (read: cloudy/hazy with big hop aromas and flavours, but not big bitterness) that was hopped heavily with Mosaic, as well as additions of Amarillo, Cascade, and Chinook. Fermented with a Vermont Ale strain from Escarpment Labs to give even more tropical, citrusy, stone fruit characteristics, it all comes together in a highly drinkable 4.8% ABV, 45 IBUs package. And speaking of packaging, it’s available now in 16 oz cans at the brewery (and soon at other brewery stores in NB), and on tap at Maybee accounts.

• And even more Fredericton news, as Red Rover is releasing a very special cider next week. They’ve “carefully chosen the best apples New Brunswick has to offer,” including their favourite heritage Russet and Crab apples, to bring a very limited, 400 bottle production of Orchard Reserve 2016. An English Extra Dry cider that clocks in at 7.2% ABV, this one involved a slow fermentation process, followed by an additional 6 months of aging, enhancing the “subtle spice and delicate honey notes”. These 750 mL bottles ($16.50 each) will be sold only at the Ciderhouse and participating Farmers’ Markets, so be sure to grab a couple before they’re gone! They’ll be officially released next Wednesday at noon.

• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing should have a brand new one-off popping up today or through the weekend, a Saison named Pied de Lapin. Described by the brewery as a dry, “French/Belgian Saison”, it was hopped predominantly with Wakatu (WHACK-a-tu? wah-KA-tu?), a New Zealand variety, as well as some Centennial. The Wakatu comes through with “prominent notes of lime zest, backed by subtle melon”. Highly drinkable at 5.6% ABV, look for it on tap at Stillwell and Battery Park, as well as available for growler fills at the brewery retail store, and Halifax Forum Farmers Market.

• In Saint John, Loyalist City is bringing out a new beer in their One Hop Series, but let us know there’s been some changes to the recipe for that series. First, they’ve found a supplier for the yeast made famous by John Kimmich’s Alchemist Brewery in Vermont and have decided to ferment all their One Hop beers with it. Known in brewing circles as Conan, this yeast is known for producing an ester profile featuring stone fruit and light citrus notes that is very complimentary to modern American and New World hop varieties. It’s also known for producing a hazy final product consistent with the New England IPA style. Second, they’ve tweaked the recipe to give the beer a little more body and increased hop flavour and aroma. The first beer to be made with the new recipe is Summer named, as always, after the single hop used in producing it. Summer hops are an Australian variety known for imparting citrus and stone fruit flavours and aromas. Look for melon and apricot on the nose and for the hops and yeast to complement each other nicely. Summer comes in at 5.5% ABV and 65 IBU. It will be available at the Cask & Kettle and other local tap accounts this week.

• Loyalist City has also released another new brew, Württemberg Weissbier. A classic German Hefeweizen, this cloudy, light golden, refreshing ale was brewed with 100% German malt, hops, and yeast. The Wheat and Pilsner malt enjoyed a three-part step mash (three temperature rests) to increase the development of banana and clove flavours expected in the style, which are also produced during fermentation from the Weizen yeast strain. Brewed with soft water in an attempt to replicate the low-mineral-content water of Plzeň, Germany, the resulting 5% ABV beer features a “pleasing banana-clove aroma that is complemented by a moderate bready malt flavour”. And for you history buffs, the beer is named after Württemberg, the historical German territory that was home to the majority of the German-Canadian settlers that helped to colonize the Atlantic Canadian provinces. This highly-carbonated beer should be available now at your favourite LC tap account, and is also at select ANBL growler stations this weekend (check out which ones here).

• In Dartmouth, Spindrift released their highly anticipated Barrel O’ Cherries this week. Winner of the Gold Medal at the DownEast Brewing Awards in Fredericton last month in the Experimental Beer category, this is their Abyss dark lager that was aged in red wine barrels for 12 months and then racked onto sour cherries for further aging before being bottled with help from North Brewing and their bottler. Those who tasted it at the Fredericton Craft Beer Fest or the Savour Food & Wine Festival Craft Beer Cottage Party in Halifax have the inside scoop on this one. At 4.5% ABV it’s not a heavy hitter, but flavour wise you’ll taste big cherry notes married to bold chocolatey and roasty dark malt flavours. Some have likened the overall character to that of a Black Forest Cake. This is a limited edition beer with only 78 cases produced, and you can only get it at the brewery in Burnside.

• Acadie-Broue has brought back a blast-from-the-past, recently releasing La Boloxée, best described as a dark Saison. Brewer Patrice Godin took the base of his Tintamarre Saison and darkened it by steeping a large amount of Midnight Wheat malt, to “stain” the wort. This gives a minimal roast character in the finish, while preserving the Farmhouse flavours of orange and pepper. Expect this beer to finish extremely dry, as a longer-than-usual fermentation brought the final gravity all the way down to 1.000, a reading usually reserved for ciders! The final numbers are 6.6% ABV and 30 IBUs. It’s currently on tap at Le Coude, James Joyce, and should pop up at Marky’s Laundromat, if it isn’t on already.

As always, there’s plenty of beer-related events going on in our region; here’s a few you should be paying particular attention to:

• The annual Saint John Beer Fest is tomorrow, April 8th; while tickets are sold out, you can add your name to the waiting list here, just in case! In the meantime, those of you lucky enough to currently have tickets can check out the full beer list here, and plan your attack! Plenty of beer and cider will be pouring, including a few special releases.

• Leading into the Saint John Beer Fest tomorrow, PEI Brewing Company will be taking over the taps this evening starting at 5:00 pm at McGill’s. Pints will be $5 all night, with 8 PEIBC brews on the go, including some new ones. Look for Big Don Belgian Coffee Blonde, Tasman Pale Ale and Black Lager in particular along with some Gahan faves. And if you miss that, rest assured that PEIBC will be in full effect at the beer fest on Saturday.​

• Since opening their doors in July of 2016, Port Rexton Brewing Co. has been inundated with emails and calls asking, “How do I start a brewery in Newfoundland?” In response, they’ve decided to take the amazingly forthcoming step of hosting an open house/open books event on April 14th and 15th. On Friday night there will be a social at the brewery from 1800 – 2200h. Saturday will feature a brewday, with mash in commencing promptly at 0700h after which Port Rexton will open their books and their database to answer as many questions as they can from the group, likely ending around 1400h. On the table are questions about the NLC, suppliers, equipment, funding opportunities, regulatory considerations and provincial requirements. It’s no secret that Newfoundland is a very difficult place to open a brewery and this outreach to the brewing community by Port Rexton less than a year into their operations is commendable. So if you’re very serious about opening a brewery in NL and actively working towards that goal, and you’re interested in hearing from some folks who’ve managed to do it, you can email beer@portrextonbrewing.com to register. Space is limited.

• The Brewnettes, a Ladies Beer League in Newfoundland, has scheduled their April event, a Pizza Party on Thursday, April 20th. The event will take place at Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s and will consist of a brewery tour at 1830h, a tasting at 1900h and finally pizza at 2000h. It’s $15 to attend, and you’ll want to check in on the event’s Facebook page to show your interest. After the highly successful axe-throwing event in March, this is sure to be a blast for everyone involved.

• Not content to limit themselves to the Dark Side of the harbour with their tap takeover at Battery Park next week, 2 Crows will aim for total HRM domination by following that up with another takeover a week later at the Stubborn Goat! On Friday, April 21st, starting at 1900h, you’ll find 8-10 2 Crows beers on tap at the Goat with samples and a special price on flights. No cover and live music round out the package. Buy a flight and you’ll receive a ballot to win tickets to the 2 Crows Brewer’s Brunch. “Brewer’s Brunch?” you ask? Yes, the very next day, Saturday, April 22, from 1300-1500h, you’ll find another 2 Crows event at the Goat where Jeremy Taylor will prove he’s not actually chained to his mash tun by making an appearance. Tickets are $39 per person and entitle you to four 12oz beers, each a 2 Crows offering that’s been paired with a course from the kitchen. You can see which beers and the food they’ve each been paired with on the event’s Facebook page. Space is limited, so if you’re interested you’ll want to email tyler@stubborngoat.ca.

• In Stillwell news, they’ve got another premium European tap takeover in the works for April 22 that’s got fans of forward-thinking beers all a-titter. To Øl is a gypsy brewery from Denmark. Started by students of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller (not just beer-wise, he taught them in high school!), Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther started brewing with their Bjergsø in their school’s kitchen (high school is different in Europe, apparently) in 2005. While he moved on to start Mikkeller, they continued to hone their brewing craft before opening their own brewery in 2010. In addition to their beer, they’ve got Scandinavian brewpubs BRUS in Copenhagen, the recently-opened BRUS Bar Oslo, and, with Mikkeller, are part of the group behind the lambic-focused Koelschip. To quote the gang at Stillwell, “Quality is guaranteed, mind-expansion highly likely.” From Brett-aged Table Beer, Dry-hopped Sours, Gose, to Barrel-Aged Saison and Imperial Coffee Stouts, there is something for everyone pouring on the 22nd. If you liked the Mikkeller takeovers in December and January or are sad you missed them, this is another chance to drink on the leading edge of beermaking.

• It’s too late if you don’t already have a ticket, but Stillwell is hosting a Tastes of the World event on Sunday, April 23. Hosted by Stephen Beaumont, author or co-author of ten books, including The World Atlas of Beer, two editions of The Great Canadian Beer Guide, and The Beer & Food Companion, it will be a guided tasting of eight of the world’s best beers, several of which have never been available in NS. Four of the beers will be paired with thoughtfully selected cheeses. As you sip and munch, Mr. Beaumont will provide tasting notes, some history about the beers, and details on how they were made. Tickets are were $36.50 each – they sold out extremely quickly. If you didn’t get one, but wish you had, maybe let the fine folks at Stillwell know; perhaps if enough additional interest is shown we’ll see another such event scheduled (can you tell none of us acted quickly enough to get tickets?). The good news for those who are missing out on the tasting is that some of the beers that will be served (including Stilly’s last keg of Nectarous from Four Winds Brewing) will be available after the event. And a few new-to-the-province bottles will hit the fridge that day, Blond d’Esquelbeq from Brasserie Thiriez and Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba, classics in the Saison style.

Garrison will be co-hosting a Brew and Bites Dinner with Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House on Thursday, April 27. It will feature an IPA tasting menu that pairs 5 courses from Executive Chef Trevor Simms with beers from Brewmaster Daniel Girard. Tickets are $55 and can be reserved by calling 902.428.7852 or emailing harbourstone@marriott.com. You can see details on the food and beers in this post on Garrison’s Instagram.

A few more things today:

– The ANBL has expanded their Growler Program further recently. When opening their new location at Corbett Centre in Fredericton (after closing the Prospect Street location), they upraded to 4 taps. The ANBL in Newcastle now features a growler station as well.
Flying Boats is releasing their Stagecoach Amber Ale just in time for this weekend’s Saint John Beer Fest. This collaboration with Craig Pinhey features strong caramel and raisin/dark fruit characteristics from the malts, and was bittered using NB-grown Cascade. The 5.5% ABV and 29 IBUs brew is available at the Shediac Beach brewery’s local accounts as well as at the Fest.
Picaroons is looking for the cutest, smartest, or most distinct cat to once again grace the label of their MelonHead Watermelon Wheat beer. Submissions are open until May 2nd, with all of the details available here.
– Mahone Bay’s Saltbox Brewing released The Loyalist, a beer they are describing as a “Yorkshire Olde Ale”. At 6.7% ABV, it has notes of biscuit and light herbaceous qualities from the traditional Fuggles hops used in the boil. Fermented with Nottingham for a dry finish.

Happy Friday folks! Before you bolt out the door to don your costume and drink beer straight from a pumpkin, check out the latest beers and events in our region this week.

Good Robot released a new beer earlier this week, the name of which is almost as hard to type as it is to say – HFXtraterrestrials StankoniAle (God bless copy and paste!). Described by the brewery as a “fruity wheat with southern heat”, think of it as a spicy Berliner Weisse. The grist is composed simply of Wheat and Pilsner malt, with a bit of Acidulated malt thrown in to lower the pH. Hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace, further additions of lemon zest, orange zest, and red Thai chilies help round out both the aroma and flavour with more fruit characteristics, as well as heat. This golden, hazy, effervescent beer was launched on Wednesday during their Player’s Ball event, accompanied by music, soul food, and classic cars. Super-sessionable at just 4% ABV, it’s still on tap now at the brewery taproom; you’ll likely see it across the HRM this weekend as well. Be sure to check our Events listing below for GR’s busy weekend.

• There’s a brand new beer on tap at the Big Tide brewpub, ALTar MatrimoniAle, which was brewed with Uncorked Tours‘ own Gilliane Nadeau earlier this month. Launched at Nadeau’s engagement party at the brewpub, it’s an Altbier that was lagered for a short while, in order to mimic how the beer style was originally brewed when it originated in Germany. Amber-coloured, and drinkable in quantity at 4.8% ABV and 42 IBUs, featuring Pale Ale and Caramunich malts, with Noble hops for a well-balanced brew. The beer is available for pints and growlers now, and will be making a return next summer to celebrate Nadeau’s wedding.

TrailWay has brought back Good Aura, hitting taps earlier this week. This hoppy Amber Ale was originally brewed in honour of Aura, the beloved dog of Dan Mason, TrailWay’s co-brewer and co-owner, a rescue pup from the Fredericton SPCA. The beer has a grist with multiple malts, including Crystal, Munich and Rye, giving it an amber-coloured (and, of course, hazy!) appearance. Hopped with plenty of Mosaic and Summit, this 7% ale combines the best-of-both-worlds from both the American Amber and American IPA styles. Every time Good Aura is brewed, TrailWay will make a donation to the Fredericton SPCA.

• Up on the Rock this week, YellowBelly Brewery has released a variation on their tried and true namesake Pale Ale. Normally kettle hopped with Nugget, Cluster, and Super Styrians and then dry-hopped with Ahtanum to accentuate piney, floral and citrus notes, this batch is solely smashed with Mosaic (HBC 369) hops from start to finish, yielding heavy resinous, piney, tropical and citrusy flavours. Beautifully described by Brewmaster Liam McKenna himself with the note, “Smells like a frisky ocelot in a pine forest eating a massive tropical and citrus fruit salad,” it has all the hallmarks of the original (a sessionable 4.5% and a reasonable 40 IBU). Speaking of the original, we are assured that the standard YellowBelly Pale Ale will continue to be served alongside this batch, but for those with a nose for the modern, dank, citrus and tropical mashup that is Mosaic, it’s available now in the pub and hopefully next week in bottles.

• The new, experimental beers continue to roll out of the General Store, the Picaroons Saint John headquarters. Now on tap is The Power’s Out Pumpkin Ale, brewed in “honour” of the frequent power issues the location has experienced since opening. Brewed with real pumpkin and “healthy, though not overwhelming” amounts of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, this is quite-sessionable take on the Pumpkin Ale style, weighing in at just 4.7% ABV. As with their other special releases, this is available on tap only at the General Store, and for a very limited time, so drop by for your taste ASAP!

• As we mentioned last week, check the taps, and shelves, for a bevvy of returning favourites from Tatamagouche this week: Blue Bales, their Blueberry Wheat returns with the harvest berries, resulting in a softer and sweeter finish than the earlier batch; Full Circle American Wheat, first brewed last year with help from the crew at Field Guide, featuring Tata’s own Cascade hops, aided by some late Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria for a big candied citrus aroma; and Ging’ Sync: Rye, Rye, Rye, brewed with more than 5 kg of ginger in the kettle and hopback to complement the Horton Ridge Malt Rye used in the grain bill. Growler fills and cans of all three are available now at the brewery, and these will be showing up on the taps around HRM this weekend.

• Nackawic’s Big Axe Brewery has released a new beer this weekend, a Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout. Modeled after the favourite Hallowe’en (and year-round) peanut butter and chocolate cup treat, this 5.2% ABV beer has a lighter body than their Shakesbeer Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, with a nice caramel malt and ligth roast, with the addition of lactose gives a slightly sweeter flavour, giving a nice base to the significant PB aroma and flavour. Actual Reese cups were added to the brew, as well as dark chocolate. It will be available in Fredericton at Isaac’s Way and the James Joyce pub, and a single keg heading to Cask and Kettle in Saint John. And for those who make the trip to Nackawic, those who show up in costume this weekend will receive a 10% discount on pints.

Garrison Brewing is launching a pair of beers this weekend. Returning for the season, just in time for International Stout Day on Nov 3, is Martello Stout. Weighing in at 5.0% ABV and 30 IBUs, it features lots of roast, chocolate and coffee characteristics. Available at the brewery now, and at the NSLC and private stores shortly. The second launch of the day is Test Batch – Code Name: Juicy. This 8.0% Double IPA features a tons of CitraElla, and Mosaic hops, to the tune of 75 IBUs, for a floral and fruity blast from these special varietals. This test batch is only available in 650 ml bottles at the brewery now.

• And in upcoming brewery news, Half Cocked Brewing has jumped onto the scene in North Grant, NS, near Antigonish. Local brothers Dave and Greg Oicle, together with partners Matt Thomson and Ryan MacPherson, will set up on an old chicken farm (hence the name…), which they have already prepped to begin growing hops in the spring. Long time homebrewers, they are currently working with a Sabco Brew-Magic system, a favourite for small and pilot breweries in our region. Follow along on their progress toward opening in the spring on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we’ll grab the full scoop from them closer to launch.

Check out these events happening this weekend, and in the near future:

• Happening right now, is the inaugural brewday for the Gander Homebrew Club. Spearheaded by Sam Newman, one of the principals of the in-development Scudrunner Brewing, and David Jerrett, the group and event are a way for local beer enthusiasts to get together and share their love of the hobby. Brewers, and fans, of all skill and interest level are encouraged to drop by to meet, lend a hand, and make plans for future brewdays (and the beer nights that follow). More details can be found at their FB event page, and you can reach out via Twitter to find the location details. And look for Scudrunner to launch their brewery in Gander in Spring 2017.

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Irish Pub has an exciting new addition to their 20+ tap lines – cask ale! They’re officially launching the option of purchasing “cask ale” – beer that is packaged in a pin or firkin before fermentation is complete, allowing it to finish and carbonate in the cask from which it will be served. It is usually less-carbed than kegged beer, and served via hand pump. To celebrate the addition to their lineup, they are holding an event tonight, starting at 5:00 pm. A couple of special Maybee Brewing casks will be on, their Work Horse IPA and Stone House Tripel, both of which have been aging with Brettanomyces yeast. The pub plans to run casks on a daily basis, once a steady supply starts trickling in. There’s no cover to attend tonight, just show up and pay by the glass! And be sure to drop by Maybee’s spot Saturday after 6:00 pm for live music, and the launch of their Top Secret Hallowe’en beer, Give up the Gose, a 4.5 % ABV German-style sour, brewed with coriander and sea salt, with a unique twist of Chocolate Wheat malt for an unexpected dark appearance.

• After a busy inaugural summer season, the Port Rexton Brewing tap room will closing this weekend. To ensure they cap the season in style, they are holding a Hallowe’en Bash October 29th. Show up in your best costume at 7pm, and party the night away at your friendly local taproom. And for those making the trip from Town, there are a pair of nearby spots still open for the season, where you can rest your head. Fishers’ Loft (with whom they brewed the Gardener’s Gose) is nearby for your accommodation needs, as is Sherwood Suites. And fear not, PR fans, with the tap room closing, that just means more opportunities to grab a pint in town. Keep an eye on their social media to see when and where their next kegs will drop!

• Halifax’s Good Robot are holding a series of events this weekend to celebrate Hallowe’en as well.
FridayElectric Circuit Party, 10:00 pm. Retro dance party to kick off the weekend.
SaturdayJack-o-Lantern Contest, 12:00 to 6:00 pm. Drop by with your pre-carved pumpkins (or other gourd, veggie, or fruits) between noon and 6 for your chance at some prizes.
N̶o̶t̶ your Granny’s Halloween Party, 7:00pm. Cheesey Costume party and contest, Rinaldo’s sandwiches, and Black Buffalo Records spinning tunes.
Take Sunday off to recover, and then…
MondayEverything’s Fine: An Interactive Halloween Show, 6:00pm. This ticketed event is sold out, but the doors will be open to the public at 10pm. Black Sheep Restaurant will be serving food onsite.

• Those within striking distance of the Metro Halifax area are reminded of the Battery Park Beer Bar’s second tap takeover, this time featuring Boxing Rock Brewing Co., happening in Dartmouth on Thursday, November 3rd. It will feature familiar favourites, fondly-remembered (or possibly forgotten) brews from seasons past and some brand new bangers. You’ll definitely be seeing the return of Hop Springs Eternal White IPA, created as an entry for this year’s Black Box Challenge competition, Over the Top, the Cranberry Sour from this summer and For the Love of Grimace, the Blueberry Berliner Weiss collaboration with Big Spruce Brewing. Rumor has it you’ll also see a brand new collaboration between Battery Park and Boxing Rock, in the form of an India Brown Ale. Plenty more taps are yet to be announced, keep an eye on social media (especially @BatteryBeerBar and @boxingrockbeer) for more tap reveals as the date approaches.

Schoolhouse Brewery is continuing their First Thursday Growler Evening next Thursday, November 3rd, 5 to 9 pm. They will be giving tours of their new facility at 40 Water Street in Windsor, adjacent to the TAN Coffee. Check out their progress, and grab a growler while you’re there!

• Next weekend, on Sunday, November 6th, the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards Dinner & Gala will take place at the Stubborn Goat Gastropub. This is the culmination of the ACBA event and a chance to rub shoulders with both your favourite brewers as well, no doubt, as a few of the region’s beer cognoscenti as they converge for a multi-course dinner expertly paired with some of the region’s award-winning beers. The event starts at 6pm with dinner served at seven. Tickets for the event are $88.50 per person (which includes gratuity, but not taxes and fees, which run about $20 more). Whether you’re up for the gala or not, we’d like to remind everyone of your chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award for the top beer and top cider in the region for 2016. The list has been kept to those beers and ciders entered in the friendly competition, otherwise it would probably top out at 1000 different different offerings.

• The Inaugural Cape Breton Beer Fest is happening November 19th at the Cruise Terminal in Sydney. There will be thirteen breweries and cider houses from around the province in attendance for the Afternoon (2:00 to 4:30 pm) or Evening sessions (7:00 to 9:30 pm, with VIP tickets available for 6:00 pm entry). Grab your tickets online today.

• The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers – Atlantic Canada is holding a few beer courses in Halifax in the coming months. They are holding a Certified Beer Professional Course November 26th and 27th, preparing students to pass the online Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam. An introduction to the history, production, styles, and service of beer. Perfect for professional sales agents, hospitality professionals, or budding enthusiasts. Register online, or email for details. And keep an eye on their Beer Courses page, as they are adding to their portfolio all the time.

A few more parting shots before we sign off this week:

– After a brief hiatus, Unfiltered has once again released their very popular Double Orange Ale (7.5% ABV, 100+ IBUs), a SMaSH beer featuring 2-row malt and Citra hops; currently on tap for fills and pints at Charm School, and finer beer bars/restaurants in the HRM and beyond.
ANBL Growler stations are featuring a wide array of beers from Garrison, Pump House and breweries from outside the region this week. And they have recently expanded their growler filling station to include Moncton North, located at 1866 Mountain Rd, bringing the count to six locations. Look for their expansion to continue to more locations, as the growler program has certainly been a hit for the ANBL, breweries, and drinkers alike.
Sober Island Brewing‘s Kickstarter campaign is entering its final week, giving you just a few more chances to be a part of their expansion, while grabbing some swag for yourself. Be sure to take part today! Keep an eye on their social media pages to keep abreast of their new brewing location at Henley House.
– Local musicians Dave Gunning, JP Cormier & Jamie Robinson dropped by Uncle Leo’s Brewery this week, and brewed up a new Pale Ale, named Sunburst. Look for more details ahead of its launch mid-November.

Good morning! Before we dive into your weekly helping of beer releases, events, and more, we need to address a pressing issue that has developed in New Brunswick over the last week…

Last Friday evening, the CBC reported the story that the ANBL had implemented new policies for craft breweries in New Brunswick. While these policies, in fact, have not been implemented yet, they will be in the near future. Grimross founder and New Brunswick Craft Alcohol Producers Association (NBCAPA) president Stephen Dixon was interviewed by the CBC in the story, and mentioned that while some of the changes in policy benefited small craft breweries, most of them did not, and were in fact detrimental to their business. Brewers are unhappy with the tiered system that increases the amount of mark-up paid to ANBL per litre of beer, based on increasing production, for beer sold out of brewery agency stores (BAS), i.e. brewery taprooms/storefronts. In addition, the mark-up charged per litre of beer sold to licensees (bars/restaurants) has increased from $0.73/L to $1.05/L, with cideries paying $1.60/L, increased from $1.29/L.  At the same time, the mark-up for bottled/canned products sold through ANBL has decreased; however, 15 breweries in the province currently do not package their beer outside of kegs, and therefore would not see this benefit.

Another change in policy will limit the number of BAS outlets a brewery can open, based on their annual production. Many breweries see this as another step in limiting their ability to grow; for example, if you increase production, but can not open a new store in another city to sell more beer, your only option would be to sell more beer through licensees, where the mark-up has increased significantly.

There is a lot more to this developing story, with NBCAPA and ANBL still negotiating. Hopefully an agreement can be reached soon that would see NB craft breweries in a position where growth in the industry is truly encouraged. We plan on having more details sometime next week.

Now, on to our regular beer news…

Hammond River has a brand new beer that we’ll call an early-release summer seasonal! Blood Orange Hefeweizen features a grist made up mainly of Pilsner and Wheat malt, with a low percentage of Munich for good measure. Hopped lightly with Goldings to 12 IBUs, the beer had 21 lbs of pure Blood Orange puree added in secondary, expect plenty of citrus aroma and flavours to back up the classic fruity esters and spicy phenols from the Hefeweizen yeast strain. Easy-drinking and refreshing at 5.1% ABV, it should be hitting HR tap accounts as early as today. Plus, keep your eyes open for another new HR beer in the future; owner/brewer Shane Steeves is planning a Belgian Dubbel that will feature plenty of fresh raisins, aged rum, and Chapmans ice cream… we’ll keep you posted!

• The latest One Hit Wonder from Propeller is in the wild! Oat in a Boat is a 5.5% ABV “Oat Pale Ale”, featuring a high percentage of oats in the grain bill, impacting the mouthfeel and fullness in body. As with all OHW releases, the beer is not being packaged, available in only growlers at both the Gottingen and Windmill Prop Shops, and on tap around HRM. Despite that, a special label has been created by local artist Jeremy Hansen. And a reminder when grabbing a OHW growler fill, be sure to fill out a ballot: the winner will receive a free fill once the current OHW runs dry. And who knows, your idea for the next OHW may be brewed! And keep your eyes open for the return of Prop’s Hefeweizen later in the month, which will be available on draft, and in bottles for the first time.

• The Meander River crew have brought back a favourite this week, Shack Whacky Cider. The cider is a made with a blend of apples from Davison Farm, located down the road in Falmouth. It is 5.5% ABV, and is available at the brewery for growler fills this weekend, as well as on tap at Battery Park in Dartmouth, Flying Apron Cookery in Summerville, Library Pub in Wolville, and Spitfire Arms in Windsor. And, for the first time, they will be attending the Halifax Forum Farmers Market, tomorrow 8am-1pm.

• Port Williams’ Sea Level Brewing released their spring seasonal late last week, Düssel-port Altbier. It is a “New World Alt”, using a recipe given to Brewmaster Randy Lawrence by a brewer friend from Brauerei im Füchschen, in Dusseldorf, home of the Alt style. This medium-bodied ale weighs in at 4.8% ABV. It is now available at the brewery in cans, growlers, and kegs, and on tap at the Port Pub and elsewhere.

PEI Brewing Company will be releasing Setting Day Saison in the coming weeks. As a preview of the wider release (in cans!), they have had several different casks of the 5.9% Saison at their Tasting Room, and on draft around the Maritimes (including Halifax’s Stillwell). Look for cans to hit the shelves of the PEIBC, and further afield, before the end of the month.

• This week’s release in the Spindrift Seventh Wave series is Keller Pils, an “unadulterated”, cellar-conditioned Pilsner. Acting as a prelude to the upcoming release of their Knotty Buoy Pilsner, this beer will only be available at the brewery in Burnside for growler fills today.

• Just a quick note that Jamieson’s Irish Pub in Dartmouth has expanded their draft offerings recently, expanding to 16 taps. While keeping Irish favourites Guiness and Harp Lager on tap, they’ve expanded their local beer and cider offerings to over a dozen, rotating in locals from Bulwark, Hell Bay, North, Propeller, Tatamagouche, and more, as well as a pair of special blends from Garrison (under the Jamieson’s name).

As usual, there’s plenty of beer/cider-related events to mention that are coming up over approaching weeks:

• The launch party for the epic conspiracy Barrel-Aged Triskaidekaphobia Imperial American Brown, brewed by Big Spruce and Boxing Rock, is happening tomorrow. After brewing the beer on Friday, November 13th, it was aged on cherries and vanilla beans for the better part of a month, with the release of the 9% beer in bottles taking place in December. Some of the beer was held back, and then spent 3 months in barrels, and is now ready for release! Drop by Stillwell starting at noon to get a taste of this special brew, as well as tasty food to pair, including breakfast sausage corndogs with maple dip. Though the event is open to anyone to stop in off the street, there are tickets available to guarantee yourself a pour of the beer, and a special commemorative glass to keep. Part of the ticket price will be going to support local radio station CKDU, which will be spinning tunes until 5pm.

• It’s getting close to the annual release of Picaroons Melonhead, which means that they’re looking for a new cat to adorn this year’s bottle label! If you think your kitty has what it takes, send in a hi-res picture via email; the deadline for entry is Friday, April 22nd.

• Propeller’s next Cask Night has been announced, and will feature the city’s Krave Burgers. Held at the brewery’s location on Gottingen St. on Friday, April 29th from 6-9 pm, your $30 ticket (available here) entitles you to appetizers from Krave paired with several samples of Propeller beers, including their special cask ale that will be tapped at approximately 6:30 pm. As usual, there are a limited number of tickets available, so don’t wait!

• Tickets for the 11th Annual Atlantic Beer Festival are now on sale; they can be purchased online, by phone (1-888-720-5600), or in person at the Moncton Coliseum Box Office. The two-day event will be held at the Coliseum, and will once again feature an evening session on Friday, May 27th, from 7:30-10 pm, and two sessions on Saturday, May 28th, from 2:30-5 pm and 7:30-10 pm.

• As temperatures start to warm up, planning for a new beer run in New Brunswick is well underway! Saturday, May 28th will showcase the very first Florenceville-Bristol Beer Run, from those who bring you the annual Fredericton Beer Run. Due to the location, the featured brewery will be, of course, Florenceville-Bristol’s own Railcar Brewing. The 6 km run begins at 10 am sharp, with registration occurring from 8 – 9:45 am. After the run, you’ll be supplied with a custom-designed beer glass and fourteen 4 oz-pour beer tickets; there will be many beers pouring from Railcar and several other NB breweries, with all sampling occurring at the Railcar tasting room. Tickets are $55 and are on sale now; drop by Railcar and bring in your ticket receipt, and you’ll receive a $20 gift certificate to be used at the tasting room!

• If you can’t make it to Florenceville for a run, be sure to drop by the Wolfville Farmers Market for Blossom Brew Night, also being held May 28th. Part of the Apple Blossom Festival, it will feature beers from Bad Apple BrewhousePaddy’s Irish Brewpub, and Schoolhouse Brewery, plus ciders from Bulwark, Noggins, Shipbuilders, and Stutz. Running 4-8pm, tickets are just $32, which include your first 4 drink tickets and a souvenir tasting glass. Local BJCP Certified Judge Andrew Newton will be leading a tasting tutorial at 4:45, and Alex MacLean of East Coast Lifestyle will be spinning tunes from 6-8pm. Tickets are available at the Acadia Box Office, and online here.

Be sure to enjoy the weekend with some great craft beer! In closing…

Uncle Leo’s has released their Winterschlaf Kolsch this week. Look for it in bottles at the brewery and private beer stores, and on tap at your local better beer bar.
– Big Axe has brought back their seasonal Maple Wheat Amber Ale, a 5% ABV red-coloured beer brewed with real, local maple sap. It should be available at the brewery and tap accounts this weekend.
– Speaking of maple, Pump House has back their seasonal Maple Ale, which is now on tap for a limited time at the brewpub in Moncton.
– Last Saturday’s fourth Fredericton Poutine Festival was a big hit as usual; the sold-out event had over 600 attending, with Mac’s / King’s Arrow Arena Canteen awarded “Best of the Fest”. Don’t forget that tickets are now on sale for the Moncton Poutine Festival; for more info, check out last week’s post.
– Several weeks after the 2016 Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, the results are in for the Brewer’s Choice Best of the Fest, with Boxing Rock taking home the award. Congratulations!
– Sticking with the New Brunswick theme, the trailer for the upcoming film Beerocracy has been released. Focusing on the growth of breweries and interest in beer in the province, which often comes up against regulations from the ANBL, it will be released in the summer.

Happy Friday, beer fans! A brewery launch, plenty of beer launches and events, and the start of Fredericton Craft Beer Week. Let’s go!

• Nine Locks Brewing launched this week in Dartmouth. Located at 219 Waverley Rd, adjacent to the Mic Mac Tavern, they opened their doors Monday afternoon. They are currently selling two beers, an IPA, and an ESB. The India Pale Ale is 6.9% ABV and 70 IBUs, featuring loads of citrus and floral hop character and smooth bitterness, from first wort hopping, hop bursting (adding the majority of hops in the last 20min of the boil, retaining most of the aromatic oils), and dry hopping. The Extra Special Bitter is 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs, featuring English East Kent Golding and Fuggles hops for a subtle Noble hop spiciness. The beers are currently available in growlers to go at the brewery (both 1L flip-top and 1.89L), with canning beginning before the end of March. When that happens, look for cans at the private beer stores in HRM, as well as a selection of NSLCs around the province. Also look for the full release of their Dirty Blonde and Porter before the end of March. The storefront is open Mon-Fri 12-9pm, Sat 11-9pm, and Sun 12-5pm 12-9. Congratulations to the entire Nine Locks family!

• It’s been a busy week at Halifax’s Garrison Brewing! The Awards Gala for the 8th Annual Home Brew-Off were last night. The 45 entrants, plus family, friends, and members of the public, gathered at Garrison’s tasting room to hear the results in the Experimental American IPA category. This year’s winning beer was Honey Chamomile, brewed by Mark Power. Using honey malt to complement the chamomile herb, it featured nice hop additions to give it the necessary bitterness and aroma the judges were looking for. Rounding out the Final Four were a Toasted Coconut IPA, Earl Grey Tea IPA, and Parmesan & Jalepeno IPA. Congratulations!

• Attendees were able to taste the top 3 winners, as well as get the first pours of last year’s winning beer, Mr. Robusto. Brewed by Dave Martin and the Garrison crew, this Robust Porter is 6.5% ABV and 33 IBUs. Notes of sweet chocolate are prominent, along with vanilla and caramel, but with enough hops to balance. Mr. Robusto is available for purchase in bottles and growler fills at the brewery now, and will be available at the private beer stores and NSLCs shortly.

• Last night also served as the release party for the final beer in the Cellar SeriesTo Prussia With Love. This big beer is a blend of their Grand Baltic Porter, along with Barrel-Aged Coast to Coastless Imperial ESB (their collaboration with Le Trou du DiableFlying Monkeys, and Phillips). The barrels were from Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg, and had previously held rum. The beer weighs in at 10% ABV and 35 IBUs, and is available for purchase in bottles now at the brewery, as well as previous Cellar Series beers Ol’ Fog Burner and Grand Baltic Porter, the former being available at the private stores soon.

• Garrison Brewmaster Daniel Girard will be facing off against wine maker Pete Luckett March 31st at the Harbourstone Sea Grill and Pourhouse, in a Beer vs Wine Showdown. Five Courses of food are being prepared, with a wine and beer paired with each, with attendees voting on their favourites. Tickets are available through the Harbourstone now, via email or phone (902-428-7852).

• Fredericton’s Mama’s Brew Pub will be releasing their fifth beer early next week, an American Amber Ale. A slightly bigger beer at 6.1% ABV than their other releases, it’s lightly hopped with East Kent Goldings to 15 IBUs. The grist features Maris Otter, Crystal 70 L, Carafa and Wheat malt, lending the beer “toasted malt flavours and a pleasant fruitiness”, according to brewer Ryan Kingston. They’ve also brought back their Session IPA, at 4.2% and 24 IBUs, it features lots of dry-hopping with Citra and Comet for a great blast of citrus hop character.

• Dartmouth’s Spindrift Brewing will be continuing their Seventh Wave release today with Blueberry Phie. This 5.0% ABV Wheat Ale was aged on loose leaf Masala Chai Tea and PEI blueberry puree. Pouring with a thick white head (thanks to the high percentage of wheat in the malt bill), it features notes of blueberries, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla, for an experience like tasting savory blueberry pie. As with all of their Seventh Wave series, this beer is only available at the brewery in growlers, and in extremely limited amounts (they tend to sell out Friday afternoon), so grab some now to avoid disappointment.

• Gahan House Halifax released a brand new beer last night, Cranberry Sour. The beer was produced using a 48 hour sour mash, allowing the Lactobacillus on the grain to produce lactic acid for a sour bite, and then the fermentation was completed with brewer’s yeast. Cranberries were added after fermentation was complete, for a fresh aroma and tart character to complement the 3% ABV base beer. It is available on tap at the brewpub for pints, as well as growler fills.

Gahan House Charlottetown’s Brewmaster Trent Hayes will be hosting a Brewmaster dinner at Fishbones Oyster Bar on Friday, March 11. Beginning at 7pm, Hayes will lead the four course meal of food and beer pairings, featuring local products in a beer-inspired presentation. Tickets are available now at both Fishbones and Gahan House.

• Details on the Cape Breton Beer Fest were announced yesterday. Scheduled for Saturday, November 19th at the Cruise Pavilion on Esplanade in Sydney, there will be both an afternoon and evening session, each 2.5 hours (with evening VIP tickets allowing early entry). Featuring primarily craft breweries, including Cape Breton’s own Big Spruce and Breton Brewing, the organizers are aiming for about 35 breweries in attendance, from Nova Scotia, the Maritimes, and beyond. Food vendors will be onsite to provide sustenance to keep the party going, and other vendors will be invited to set up tables to showcase the best Cape Breton has to offer. Early bird tickets (at a $10 savings) are now available online, and regular-priced tickets will be online, and in NSLCs shortly. We will update you with a brewery list when it is available.

• The ANBL will be opening a new location in Saint John today. Located at East Point Shopping, this location will also be the first expansion of the very popular Growler program since Sackville in late 2014. To celebrate the opening, Big Tide Tidal Wave Double IPA, Flying Boats Dixie Clipper IPA and Hammond River Nut Your Everyday Red Ale will all be available, with the three head brewers onsite. The store is open now, with a celebration at 1pm this afternoon, check out the East Point ANBL’s page for their current inventory and details.

• The Fredericton Craft Beer Fest Week kicks off today with an event at the James Joyce Pub: The 4th Will Be With You! A Star Wars themed evening, attendees are encouraged (but not required) to come in Cosplay, and there may even be members of the 501st Legion in attendance. The fun continues with a Beer and Cheese tasting at ANBL York Saturday afternoon, and the Johnny Be Good Pub Crawl that evening. Keep on top of it all with our Calendar, as well as the FCBF App, available for both Android and iOS. The app will be updated with the floor plan of the festival, in order to plan your afternoon or evening session most efficiently. Don’t forgot to drop by the King Street Ale House next Thursday for our Trivia Night! We’ll be putting your beer, brewing, and general knowledge skills to the test, and handing out great prizes courtesy of the breweries attending the Fest. And there are still a few tickets available for the Afternoon Session of the main Fest March 12, grab them now before they sell out.

A few parting shots this week:

– Distillerie Fils du Roy has brought back their spring seasonal, Stella Maris. This 7.5% ABV Biere de Garde is named in honour of the star in the Acadian flag. Look for it along the East coast of the province, and Fredericton, and check out Fils du Roy’s other offerings through the ANBL.
North Brewing has brought back their Dartmouth Dark, with v2.0 hitting the shelves and taps today. This batch features Cannon espresso from Anchored Coffee, on top of their dark lagered ale. Look for it at both the Halifax and Dartmouth stores.
PEI Brewing Company has released their Transmitter Coffee Stout, featuring coffee from Charlottetown’s Receiver Coffee. Available now at the brewery, look for it to hit Nova Scotia in the near future as well.
Picaroons has released their Maple Cream Ale this week, available now at the Brewtique, and soon at ANBL locations.

It’s Friday again! Things aren’t slowing down much in the way of beer news this month, so we might as well get right to it!

This year’s Halifax Sausage Fest is fast approaching, and as a handful of special beers and a cider are being released in its celebration, we want to share the details:

• Boxing Rock Brewing has released Kerfuffle APA, a 5.2% ABV American Pale Ale. It features MagnumWillamette, and Centennial hop for a bright and fresh hop bitterness and aroma. The hops were sourced from Canadian hop farm Clear Valley Hops, just outside of Collingwood, ON. It is available in growlers now at the brewery, their market stalls at the The Halifax Seaport Market and Alderney Farmers’ Market tomorrow, and on tap at a few spots in Halifax and Lunenburg.

• Bulwark Cider is releasing Hopped Citrus Cider this weekend. The first of its kind in the province, this 6.0% ABV cider uses a special blend of Annapolis Valley apples to complement the hops, and the resultant brew has a distinct citrus character. Cascade and Comet hops make up the majority of the dry-hopping, with some Summit and Hersbrucker as well. The cider is being launched at the Stubborn Goat‘s Sausage & Cider event Sunday (tickets are still available, and will include a pour of the very last keg of Bulwark’s very popular, and long gone, Sour Cherry Cider). Like the Sour Cherry, this will be a limited, draft only release., however, it may return later in the fall in bottles at the NSLC.

• Garrison Brewing is bringing back their Sweet Rye’d Harvest Wheat Ale today, a collaboration with Beau’s All Natural Brewing. Brewed with Munich, Wheat, Rye, and Pale Malt, this copper-coloured beer weighs in at 6.0% ABV, and 40 IBUs, thanks to CitraCascade, and Columbus hops. The fine folks at Beau’s sent down a special ingredient for the brew: bog myrtle (Beau’s uses this in a couple of their beers).  Thanks to this plant, which is a very common ingredient in the bittering of gruits, a more herbaceous and spiced character comes through. Catch this Sweet Rye’d at the brewery, private stores, and the NSLC very soon.

• Propeller Brewing has released Wind Swell Wheat, an American-style Wheat Ale. At 5.5% ABV and 20 IBUs, the beer features Cascade hops for a floral, citrus, and spice notes, and the wheat offers a smooth, approachable finish. The beer is available in 650 ml bottles and growler fills at the brewery, and will be on tap around the city as well.

• The co-flagship events for the Sausage Fest are the Sausage Throwdown (11:00 am – 3:00 pm) and Sausage O’ The Night (5:30-10:00pm), next Saturday, Sept 19th. The $51.75 ticket price includes 12 four ounce samples (with more being available for purchase for $2), a Belgian glass to keep, plus $20 in food allowance to spend at the many great food vendors on-site (including T DOGS, Obladee, Getaway Farm and several more). Breweries taking part are: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bulwark Cider, Gahan House, Garrison, Good Robot, North Brewing, Propeller, Sea Level (afternoon only), and Tatamagouche (evening only).

• During the week, Local Tasting Tours will be running a Sausage Crawl each day (2-4pm, Sunday-Friday, Sept 20-25), visiting multiple stops in the downtown area, with plenty of sausages and/or beer at every stop. Tickets are still available.

• The Sausage Fun continues with the Hops ‘n’ Brats event taking place Friday September 25th, as the kick-off to the Halifax Oktoberfest weekend. For the first time, multiple breweries will be taking part in the German fun: Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Breton Brewing, Bulwark Cider, Gahan House, Good Robot, Meander River, Propeller, and Rare Bird. The Brats will be courtesy of Harbourstone, Scanway and T-Dogs. The event is from 5-11pm at the Sands on Salter location on the Halifax Waterfront, with tickets now available. Your $16 entry includes a sampling cup to keep and five drink tickets (with additional samples available at $2 each). We know of a couple special casks being put together for this event, including a pin of dry-hopped-wet-hops Hefeweizen from Garrison.

• In other new brews from the above breweries, look for the Boxing Rock & North Brewing collaboration Many Hands Pale Ale (version 3.0) out this week. This annual celebration of local wet hops was brewed with this year’s harvest from North brewer Josh Herbin’s Lazy Acres farm in the Valley. More than 35 kilos of fresh-picked CascadeChinook, and Willamette organic hops went in at all stages of the brewday, for a floral aroma and mild bitterness. This 5.6% ABV beer is available at the Boxing Rock brewery, as well as both Boxing Rock and North’s market booths, and on tap around Halifax, but for a limited time only.

• Propeller Brewing has released this year’s Nocturne Lager, in celebration of the Nocturne: Art at Night event, scheduled for October 17. A 4.8% Munich Dunkel (Dark Lager), it features rich and malty flavours, balanced with traditional German Noble hops. It is available now at both the Halifax and Dartmouth breweries, as well as the private stores shortly.

• Switching gears from the Sausage Fest, Big Axe has just released a new IPA at their brewery/taproom in Nackawic. Therapy Session IPA comes in at an easy-drinking 5.2% ABV, and is single-hopped with Topaz, an Australian variety that can exhibit characteristics of lychee, tangerine, citrus, and resin. The calculated IBUs are about 50, so expect a firm bitterness in the finish of this deep gold-coloured beer. It should also be on tap at the Saint John Ale House soon, and likely at the James Joyce and 540 Kitchen & Bar in Fredericton shortly.

• Over in Cape Breton, Big Spruce announced the release of a new beer… sort of. Ivana Drinkalot is an American IPA that came into existence quite accidentally, during a planned brew day of Big Spruce’s Crazy Ivan DIPA. Due to a slight miscalculation when scaling up the batch size, the beer came in at a lower OG (original gravity). A bag of Munich malt was also missed in the batch, so owner/brewer Jeremy White decided to roll with it, and completely changed the dry-hop! Details on WHICH hop(s) was/were used here are being kept a secret, but the brewery describes the new beer as “deeply aromatic”, with “lots of gooey hop flavour”. It weighs in at 7.1% ABV and 89 IBUs; it’s available now at the brewery, and should follow soon at Halifax’s Bar Stillwell and the Stubborn Goat.

Picaroons will soon be releasing their annual Harvest Ale, their 5.5%-ABV British-style Pale Ale that features several batches, all hopped with a different, locally-harvested variety. This year, there are six different batches, all single-hopped with one of the following varieties: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Crystal, Goldings, or Nugget. When the beer is released later this month, each bottle will have a four-digit code that signifies which hop was used, and where the hop was cultivated (farms include three from NB, two from NS, and one from PEI); that info can be obtained online. Look for the beer to be released in 2-3 weeks!

• The PEI Beer Fest begins tonight with a 6:30-9:30pm session, continuing with an afternoon (2-4:30pm) and evening (6:30-9:30pm) session tomorrow. The Fest will feature more than 75 beers from around the world, including several Atlantic Canadian breweries. The beer list can be viewed on their site, and they have encouraged special one-off casks from the local breweries. Upstreet Craft Brewing will be pouring a pair of them: Friday evening, they will be serving Do-Wooder, a cask of their Do-Gooder American Pale Ale, aged with oak cubes for 1 month and double dry-hopped with Amarillo. Citrusy and malty but with a dry finish from the oak. Saturday, they will be serving Poppa Haskap, a pin of their Commons Pilsner, refermented with 5lbs of local Haskap berries. A refreshing, tart beer, but with the colour of a red wine. PEI Brewing Company will also be pouring a few casks during the fest, though the details on those are not yet available.

• There’s a new event coming soon from the Moncton Beer League – the Urban Beer Hike will take place on Saturday, September 26th from 2:30 – 5:30 pm. Featuring a walking tour of several of Moncton’s beer-drinking locations (including Marky’s, Plan b, St. James’ Gate, The Old Triangle, and the Pump House Brewpub), each stop will include two or three 4 oz beer samples, as well as various food items. Tickets ($49 each) are available now on the event page; attendees will be meeting at 2:15 pm at Marky’s to begin the tour.

• In other tasting news, the Ladies Beer League is partnering with Bishop’s Cellar to hold a craft beer and food pairing on Friday, Sept. 25th from 5-7 pm. Tickets are $20 each and are available online. They will be pairing a wide variety of beers with chef-prepared bites.

• The ANBL is marking the one-year anniversary of their growler program this weekend. While they have been hinting at expanded locations for months, it is still only in four locations: Dieppe, Fredericton, Kennebecasis Valley and Sackville. To celebrate, they will be giving away free growlers to the first 100 customers looking for a fill at each of the locations tomorrow. While most brewers we’ve spoken to have had positive experiences with the program, there is much room for improvement. The fact that this week’s offerings at the fill stations are not from New Brunswick, and two of the three are from multi-national brewing conglomerates, illustrate the fact that there are many improvements still needed to the program. Be sure to let the ANBL know your feelings and suggestions for improvement.

Be sure to grab some of the other great new beers out this week. Upstreet and Boxing Rock’s Rumble in the Alley: Round 1 is available now in Charlottetown, as well as the last few kegs of Upstreet’s White Noize White IPA (but don’t worry, there’s more on its way, as it was rebrewed last week). PEI Brewing has released their Vic Park Pale Ale, Citra version in cans, now at the brewery, and at the PEILCC shortly. Coming soon will also be the Rogues Roost IPA in cans, and Hell Street Barrel-aged Doppelbock. Savoie’s Brewhouse is already looking to expand from their 20 gallon system; they’ve built a new fermentation room to increase space, and are hoping to more than double their capacity soon (to 45 gallons). Finally, the James Joyce in Fredericton will soon be expanding their tap selection, as they’re adding another 6 lines to their system, bringing the total to 24! Look for even more NB beers (and beyond) to be available at the Joyce within the next week. And watch this spot for details on the many other wet-hop and harvest beers brewed around our region, including BarNone, Big Tide, Uncle Leo’s, and Unfiltered.

Happy Friday everyone! Sadly, this marks the last Wrap-Up of August, but that doesn’t mean that the beer news is slowing down at all.

• TrailWay released a new beer yesterday – this one was actually brewed by Catherine Saunders and Alex Sorenson under the watchful-eye of their significant others, Jake Saunders and Dan Mason (owners and brewers of TrailWay). Appropriately-named Better Half, it’s a Blueberry-Lime Fruit Beer that had real lime zest and 35 lbs of local blueberries added after fermentation was complete. With a simple grain bill consisting of mostly Pilsner malt, and very minimal hopping, it’s a refreshing and easy-drinking (at 4.5% ABV) end-of-summer beer, with some sweetness and tartness from the fruit. You can find it on tap now (or very soon) at the King Street Ale House, James Joyce Pub, 540 Kitchen & Bar, and Vault 29.

• In other TrailWay news, they should be releasing a new Double IPA (currently unnamed) sometime next week. Clocking in at about 8.1%, it was hopped heavily (to ~75 IBUs) with Centennial, Comet, Galaxy and Mosaic, so expect plenty of tropical, citrus, and dank notes in this beer! Like most of their hoppy beers, the malt bill was kept relatively simple to allow the hops to shine through.

• PEI’s newest craft brewery, Upstreet Craft Brewing, is holding a Block Party on Saturday, September 5th. This free event will be held outdoors in the Upstreet parking lot, and will feature local food vendors, live music (including Wrong Planet Band), lawn games, activities (big and small, for kids and adults), and a “pop-up barber shop” for all your hair-trimming needs; guided brewery tours will also be going on throughout the day. It’s family-friendly, so bring the kids! The party will continue inside the taproom after 8 pm. They’ll be releasing their highly-anticipated Boxing Rock collaboration beer, Rumble in the Alley: Round 1, a SMaSH India Pale Lager, and there MAY be a special guest or two on hand for the tapping! And in other good news, brewmaster Mike Hogan has confirmed that he will be brewing another batch of their Wheat IPA, White Noize in the next few days; look for that one to be released again in September.

• It’s Hop Harvest time in our region! Yesterday, the crew from North Brewing made the trek to Shelburne to visit Boxing Rock Brewing for their own harvest collaboration brew. Many Hands 3.0 features loads of freshly-harvested Cascade, Chinook, and Willamette, all from North brewer Josh Herbin’s Lazy Acres hop farm. This Pale Ale will weigh in just shy of 6% ABV, and be available at both breweries and their market and restaurant accounts in September.

• Several other breweries have/will be brewing up wet hopped beers. Hammond River will be brewing up some with their own home-grown hops next week, Rockbottom Brewpub is brewing up a Pale Ale today with some Annapolis Valley fresh hops, and Picaroons has started the brewing of their multiple Harvest Ales, sourced from hop farms across the Maritimes. Big Spruce will be harvesting their own farm-grown hops Wednesday, September 2nd, and Meander River will be harvesting theirs Saturday September, 5th, with brews to follow quickly thereafter (if you’re able to help pick in Nyanza or Ashdale, keep an eye on their respective social media feeds for details and rain dates, if necessary).

• Meander River has a few new beers on tap recently, and we wanted to keep y’all up-to-date with their releases. Summer Solstice IPA is a 4.5% ABV Session IPA featuring a balanced hoppy flavour and aroma thanks to Amarillo and Citra; it was further dry-hopped with Cascade. A lower alcohol, but full-flavoured beer, perfect for summer afternoons and evenings. Gristmill Wheat Beer is an unfiltered wheat beer, featuring a forward bitterness with lots of citrus and strawberry, with a characteristic banana aroma. This is a lighter 3.8% ABV. Their Dusty Road Hard Apple Cider is a bit bigger, at 5.5% ABV, but just as refreshing, as it finishes quite dry and crisp. This is a different blend of Annapolis Valley apples than their Shack Wacky release in the spring, and as such will have a different profile. Their 5.2% ABV Ashdale Honey Brown is also available now, featuring honey harvested right on the farm, and added to the lightly-hopped Brown Ale, for a slightly sweeter finish and notes of toffee. Look for these beers at the brewery, or their accounts around the province.

YellowBelly Brewery in St. John’s, NL has released an alcoholic Apple Cider this week. Weighing in at 7% ABV, it is an off-dry cider, featuring some perceived bitterness from the high tannin content of the apples. It was fermented with champagne yeasts for a crisp and acidic bite. It is now on tap at the brewery and public house, and will be available in bottles next week.

Red Rover has brewed up their first Perry; similar to a cider – in that it is an alcoholic beverage from fermented apple juice – it also incorporates juice from pears. Featuring a single variety of pear from Cocagne, NB, it was balanced with juice from Cox’s Orange Pippin apples. The batch has been maturing for the last six months, and is exhibiting a “sweet, floral nose, and softer palate than a cider”, according to co-owner/brewer Adam Clawson; it should come in at around 7% ABV. It will be released at the Cider House next Thursday for flagon fills, and will also make a limited appearance at the Farmer’s Markets that Red Rover frequents.

• Fredericton’s James Joyce Pub has announced details on their Mug Club, the first of its kind in the city. A yearly membership of $59.95 + tax gets you a personally-numbered mug with plenty of entitlements, including 24-oz pours for the price of 20-oz, food discounts, email updates on new beers tapped at the pub, and invitations to Mug Club-exclusive events. Only 30 mugs will be sold; check out the link for more details. The official launch will be October 1st, but you can head into the pub now to reserve your mug.

• Good news for beer fans in New Brunswick: the ANBL has announced that they have over 30 award-winning beers from this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards that will be available for sale at select stores this Monday, August 31st. The “Ultimate Beer Run” includes multiple styles from breweries all across the country; check out the full list (and participating ANBL outlets) here. Quantities are limited, so be sure to drop by on Monday if you have particular beers that you would like to try.

• La sixième édition de l’Oktoberfest des Acadiens se passe du 3 au 6 Septembre à Bertrand, NB. Avec de la musique et un ambiance bavaroise dans les après midi, et des spectacles avec des artistes de renoms les vendredi et samedi soirs. C’est une fin de semaine de plaisir et de divertissement pour toute la famille. Jeudi soir l’on vous propose une dégustation dirigée par Patrice Godin d’Acadie-Broue, intitulé “Le Tour du Monde avec de la Bière”, mettant en vedette certains accords mets et bières spéciales. La Grande Dégustation se déroule le samedi et le dimanche de 13h à 18h, où les visiteurs pourront déguster une centaine de bières différentes du Nouveau-Brunswick (y compris Acadie-Broue, Petit-Sault, Picaroons, Pump House, Savoie’s Brewhouse), le Canada (Glutenberg et Red Racer et beaucoup plus), ainsi que l’Europe (Chimay, Chouffe, et Weihenstephan par exemples). Pour plus de détails sur les billets et l’horaire complet Vous pouvez visiter leur site et leur page Facebook.

• The Sixth Annual Oktoberfest des Acadiens is happening September 3-6 in Bertrand, NB. Featuring live music daily, and major concerts Friday and Saturday evening, it is a full weekend of family fun and entertainment. Thursday evening features a tasting led by Acadie-Broue‘s Patrice Godin, entitled “Around the World with Beer”, featuring several special beer and food pairings. The beer garden will be open Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm, where visitors can sample from over 100 different beers from New Brunswick (including Acadie-Broue, Petit-Sault, Picaroons, Pump House, Savoie’s Brewhouse), Canada (Glutenberg and Red Racer and many more), as well as Europe (Chimay, Chouffe, and Weihenstephan for example). Ticket details and the full schedule is available on their website and Facebook page.

• Homebrewers, fire up those kettles, the 3rd Annual Big Spruce Home Brew Challenge is back! This year is a bit of a departure from previous competitions, as beers are being accepted in three different styles: Czech Dark Lager (3D), Altbier (7B), and Red IPA (21B). They will be judged using the new 2015 BJCP style guidelines. The top three beers in each category will win prizes, and the Best in Show beer will be brewed at Big Spruce, and released at the Third Annual Craft Beer & Local Food Celebration in January. Homebrewers may enter a beer in one, two, or all three categories for the same $25 entry fee. That fee also entitles entrants to a limited edition t-shirt, and new this year, entry to the post-judging party at the Wooden Monkey Alderney Landing November 28th. To take part, be sure to email Big Spruce for the official entry form before November 23rd, and drop off the beer before the 27th at the brewery or the Halifax drop-point. There are more details on the event’s Facebook page. As there are a couple of lagers in there, best to get brewing soon!

Enjoy your weekend! All four ANBL growler stations are pouring summery beers this week, including Petit-Sault‘s new John Stadig (an “Orange Ginger White ale”), Picaroons Dooryard, and Le Trou du Diable Blanche de Shawi. Be sure to drop by Rockbottom this weekend and next week as they host several acts from the Halifax Urban Folk Festival, and catch their FizzGig Ladies Beer League Imperial Red, and Farmer’s Daughter Farmhouse Ale before they are replaced by an English Brown Ale and a traditionally-brewed Marzen (featuring imported malts and the Hochkurz Double-Decoction mash technique). Cheers!