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Happy Friday! After a sweltering last few days, it’s time to get out of the sun and cool off with some Atlantic Canadian beer news, including that from two brand new breweries…

• There is a new nano brewery launching their beer this weekend in Dartmouth, NS! Brightwood Brewery is located in Downtown Dartmouth, and will begin selling their beer at this Saturday’s Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market. Brightwood was started by two enthusiastic homebrewers, Matt McGrail and Ian Lawson, looking to share their craft with the public. Brewing on a very small 1.2 hL (1 BBL) brewery, they will have their The Big Lift American IPA available for purchase at the Market, selling by the growler in 0.75 L and 1.89 L formats, and will also be able to fill customers’ clean growlers on demand. Due to their small size, they will be concentrating on the Market for now, with tap accounts coming soon. The Big Lift is 6.0% ABV and 71 IBUs, and look for the launch of their next beer, a honey smoked ale, in the coming weeks. Welcome Brightwood Brewery to the Atlantic Canadian beer scene!

• In Mahone Bay, Saltbox Brewery had a very successful tasting with their Pioneers Club this week, and are getting ready to launch the pilot batches of beer to the general public. During this year’s Mahone Bay Heritage Boatyard Weekend, being held July 30 and 31, they will be set up with a tasting tent, and will be selling their growlers to the public. They will be selling their Dark Cream Ale, a flavourful 4.7% golden orange ale featuring notes of biscuit and toast; their Hefeweizen, a 5.2% classic German wheat beer, with notes of banana and clove, to which they have added dried orange peel; and their IPA, a 5.4% dry-hopped hoppy ale, featuring notes of melon and strawberry. As their 12hL (10 BBL) brewhouse is not yet onsite, the full launch of the brewery and taproom will be later in the summer.

• Last Friday, North Brewing released a new Saison, North Saison. Hopped with Centennial and Huell Melon, it exhibits notes of “lemon, pepper, and melon”, according to the brewery, with a “very-balanced ester and phenolic profile”. Fermented with the Old World Saison Blend (which is made up of two different Saison strains) from Escarpment Labs, the high attenuation results in a beer with an extremely dry finish, appropriate to the style. It’s currently still available for growler fills at the brewery, and on tap at select accounts. And today, the North x Stillwell Gose is returning to the rotation, with some changes from it popular first batch. Still weighing in at 4.5% ABV, this batch’s Lacto souring character came courtesy of locally-produced Horton Ridge Malt, and tweaked water for a crisper finish. It still features salt from Black Whale, harvested in PEI, toasted coriander, and hopped with Saaz and Mandarina Bavaria. And for fans of the cask they released on Canada Day, a significant portion of the next batch will be aged on barberry.

Breton Brewing released their newest seasonal yesterday, Ol’ Mick’s Tart-an Juicy Grapefruit Pale Ale. The recipe was designed by local homebrewer Mike Morrison, it comes in at 15 IBUs and a very-sessionable 4% ABV, perfect for summer-drinking. Approximately 200 L of 100%-pure grapefruit juice was added to the beer after fermentation was complete, to boost the juicy flavours even more. Look for it on tap across Nova Scotia this weekend.

• There’s a new beer pouring at Mama’s Brew Pub in Fredericton – Orange Grove Summer Ale was brewed with 2-row, Pilsner, and Wheat malt, and dry-hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Goldings. Once fermentation was complete, 10 lbs each of both fresh oranges and clementines were added to the brew, so expect this 4.7% ABV ale to showcase plenty of orange, citrus, and tropical fruit in the aroma and flavour. As with the other Mama’s brews, it’s available at the brewpub for pints and samples only.

• Elsewhere in Fredericton, Gray Stone has released their third beer since their grand opening party earlier this month. India Session Ale is their take on the Session IPA style, and is single-hopped to 50 IBUs with the El Dorado variety, known for giving candy-like aromas not dissimilar to Jolly Rancher candy. The brewery describes the beer as “light-bodied and easy-drinking, with tropical notes”. Supremely-sessionable at 4% ABV, it’s available now for pints and crowler fills at the brewery, and will likely pop up on tap across the city.

Annapolis Cider Company’s newest batch of “Something Different” is now available at the Cidery in Wolfville. Their Garden Strawberry builds on their classic base of local fresh-pressed apples, with an infusion of two types of basil, sage, and thyme, and a blending of strawberry juice (just over 10% of the total volume) after fermentation is complete. The resultant 6.9% ABV mixed-fruit cider features pleasant aromas of strawberry and herbs, while still maintaining the underlying apple character. Drop by the Cidery to grab a bottle, and as with all of their Something Different releases, part of the proceeds go to a local charity, with the Wolfville Children’s Center being the beneficiary this batch.

• Smith’s Cove’s Lazy Bear Brewing is releasing a new beer this weekend, Paddler’s Pale Ale. Brewed in celebration of the Clean Annapolis River Project’s Riverfest, being held tomorrow at Jubilee Park in Bridgetown. The 5.0% ABV Pale Ale features a special combination of hops, and a special blend from Yeast Bay with a wild strain to lend some citrus notes. To grab that beer, you’ll have to visit the Pork in the Park, the festival’s food tent with local sausages and ribs, as it may not be released in growlers or on tap at their licensees.

• Truro’s Nook and Cranny Brewpub will be releasing a new product shortly. Made with juice from New Zealand apples, and fermented on-site with a Champagne yeast, this new Cider finishes quite dry and crisp, with a refreshing finish. Grab it on tap, or in growlers to go. And look for the launch of another cider later this summer, this one fermented using 100% PEI cranberry juice.

Acadie-Broue now has their beer back on tap, with several batches already having been brewed on their new system at La Coude, the University of Moncton student bar-turned brewpub. Two of the confirmed beers now available are Valdrague Weizen, a 5% ABV Hefeweizen that has been a popular Acadie-Broue staple for some time, and La Benaise, a Belgian Pale Ale brewed with some “pungent CaraMunich 80” that was sourced from France. If you’re in Fredericton and can’t make the trip to Moncton, good news – the James Joyce has one keg of both beers, with La Benaise pouring currently.

Several new events are on the horizon in the near and distant future:

Picaroons is holding a launch party today, from 4-7 pm at the Picaroons General Store in Saint John, to celebrate the release of their Live Transmission Session Ale. Designed and co-brewed by Craig Pinhey (on the General Store’s 2.5 BBL system), this 4.5% ABV “English Session Ale” was brewed in support of local radio station Local 107.3fm. Along with the beer, the launch will feature live music from local band Regardless.

• The Charlottetown Beer Garden & Seafood Patio is now open! With outdoor seating for 240, and 24 taps (with a slight majority dedicated to craft beer, mostly local), it’s yet another destination for beer lovers on the Island. Their official launch party is scheduled for next Friday, July 22nd, with Upstreet Presents:  Grand Theft Bus, starting at 10:30 pm.

New Brunswick Beer Tours has announced the details for their Fredericton Beer Tour, scheduled for Saturday, August 6th. With stops at four breweries (Grimross, TrailWay, Gray Stone, and Maybee) and finishing at Red Rover, ticket-holders will be treated to a minimum of four 4-oz samples per stop, and will get to meet and chat with the people responsible for crafting some of your favourite Fredericton beers and ciders! The fun starts at 11:30 am at Grimross, and finishes at approximately 5:30 pm at Red Rover. Tickets are $77 (taxes and fees included) and are available now.

• The New Brunswick Craft Alcohol Producers Association (NBCAPA) has announced that they will be be organizing an annual gala to “recognize the best of what the industry has to offer”, to coincide with the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival every March. While details are understandably very slim at this moment, expect to see monthly contests organized through social media in the months leading up to the event. Of course, we’ll release more information on the gala as it becomes available.

Enjoy the weekend, and stay cool if you can! And a few more notes before you sign off…

Half-Cut Brewing has a new beer out, Numbskull IPA, a 6% ABV, 73 IBU IPA hopped entirely with Sorachi Ace.
– Hammond River is re-brewing their popular The Vegas SMaSH today, however this batch will be single-hopped with Centennial (instead of the previously-used Amarillo); look for this one to be released later in the month.
– Petit-Sault is currently looking for a new head brewer, with the position being available immediately. For all the details on the opening at the 15 BBL (~17.5 hL) brewery, including contact info, check out the official job posting here.
– Picaroons is now officially selling other New Brunswick beer at both their General Store and Brewtique locations, including cans, bottles, AND growler fills (when tap space is available). Many breweries are already being featured, with others sure to join the line-up as time progresses.
– Their Citrus Pale Ale One-Hit Wonder is still available, but as soon as that runs out, Propeller tells us to keep an eye open for a new OHW Pilsener to hit the taps of their two brewery locations. And next month, look for a single hop Mandarina Bavaria IPA.

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.