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 Brewhouse, Paddy’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.