This week’s Canadian Craft Beer post comes from our Atlantic Canada craft beer guy, Todd Beal. In today’s column Todd takes us to the northwest area of New Brunswick known as the Madawaska Republic to visit the former police station that's now home to Les Brasseurs du Petit-Sault.
The area in northwest New Brunswick encompassing the panhandle, as well as a portion of Quebec and Maine, is the Madawaska Republic. The people who settled and live there are fiercely independent with a huge sense of community. These values have been ingrained in Brasseurs du Petit-Sault since they opened in 2014.
The name translates to Brewers of The Little Falls, which was the original name of Edmundston where the brewery resides. The word Madawaska comes from the native Mi'kmaq words "madawas," meaning porcupine and "kak," meaning place. The land of the porcupine can be seen in their logo, one of its many homages to their home.
The brewery used community funding from 80 investors to get off the ground, purchasing the former police station at 45 rue de l'Église in the heart of Edmundston. The Brasseurs du Petit-Sault brew Belgian-inspired ales and bottle in distinctive retro stubbies that can be found in New Brunswick Liquor stores around the province. Since opening it has won many awards at the Atlantic Canada Beer Awards, actually sweeping the entire Belgian category in 2015, as well as awards from the Canadian Brewing Awards.
All beers are named in honour of a person, place or legend from the area. These are always interesting and solidify the stories as they continue to grow their fan base. The legends include such ones as Tante Blanche, who saved the colony during a terrible winter in 1797, and John Baker, who fought for independence of the region in the 1800s.
The wonderfully renovated former police station houses the brewhouse, brewtique, and bottling line as well leased space for other businesses in the heart of the city. You can purchase their beer in growlers or bottles to drink offsite or you can order some food and a beer while you watch brewers at work in the brewery.
When in the area it's worth stopping to enjoy their great beer and the culture of the area. My top picks to drink when available are Canon Franchetti Cappuccino Stout, Colonel John Baker or La Kedgwick.
Todd Beal follows the craft beer scene closely in the Canadian Maritimes and reports on it weekly on his blog, Maritime Beer Report. He’s frequently asked to comment on television, newspapers and magazines as a craft beer expert. He can be heard Friday afternoons on News 95.7 commenting on beer. Visit his blog and follow him on Twitter @MaritimeBeerRpt.