June 19, 2017 2:18 pm
Updated: June 19, 2017 2:19 pm

Bottoms up! Craft beer is a tourist draw in New Brunswick’s capital

Sean Dunbar, owner of Picaroons Craft Beer, shows the beer his brewery contributed to a Canada 150 case of beer which is made up of craft beer from across the country, in Fredericton, N.B., on Friday, June 16, 2017.

Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press
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The craft brewing industry is booming in Fredericton and officials in New Brunswick’s capital are hoping tourists will want to taste what the city has on tap.

“We now have the highest concentration of breweries, meaderies and cideries in Atlantic Canada,” said David Seabrook, manager of Fredericton Tourism.

Add to that lots of food offerings and various transportation options to get from one location to another, and you have something that tourists are looking for, he said.

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“There’s this critical mass of great product that’s emerged, and on top of it you’re seeing the tasting rooms and the transportation options. The hotels and pubs and bars are all featuring local beers. What we have in Fredericton is this celebration of local beer product and it’s tremendous to see,” Seabrook said.

Add to that has been an effort by the city to develop an excellent trail system throughout the city for people interested in getting around by walking or biking.

“If we can be a destination and get people on the trails, that’s great,” said Sean Dunbar, owner of Picaroons Traditional Ales.

“Your reward for walking can be hanging out at a trailside taproom. That’s pretty cool.”

Picaroons recently opened a taproom offering food and a patio overlooking the St. John River. It’s located next to the historic walking bridge that connects the north and south sides of the city.

There you can sample not only Picaroons’ many brews, but also the beers of many other smaller craft beer makers around the city.

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Dunbar said while they are competitors, they also know they can be stronger by working together to make themselves known to the public.

“I’m a big believer in clustering things. I think it makes food and drink more interesting to have more,” he said.

“When people can have choices and there is more than one place to go it allows us to cater to a wider group overall.”

The word is getting out across the country in a number of ways.

Meghan Harper enjoys a Maybee craft beer at James Joyce Pub in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fredericton, N.B., on Friday, June 16, 2017. The craft brewing industry is booming in Fredericton and officials in New Brunswick’s capital are hoping tourists will want to taste what the city has on tap.

Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press

The city is producing new tourism advertising and promotional videos that will feature the craft brewing options in Fredericton.

And Picaroons is representing New Brunswick in a special compilation to celebrate Canada 150.

The Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration Pack features 12 beers from the provinces and territories including an Extra Special Bitter from New Brunswick.

NB Liquor – New Brunswick’s Crown-owned alcohol agency – has recognized the attraction of microbreweries and has opened a craft beer room in the historic York Street train station building.

There you can find craft beers from New Brunswick and across North America, and the selection is constantly changing.

Ben Ellick, Brewer at Grimross Craft Brewing, checks a new batch at their business in Fredericton, N.B., on Friday, June 16, 2017. The craft brewing industry is booming in Fredericton and officials in New Brunswick’s capital are hoping tourists will want to taste what the city has on tap.

Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press

Aside from cans and bottles, the room also has four to six beers on tap at any time to fill growlers – large glass jugs to transport the draft home.

“I believe it’s a complement to what’s being offered currently in Fredericton, and we think it’s great for the tourist industry,” said Mark Barbour, a spokesman for NB Liquor.

Seabrook said while the tasting rooms are enough to draw tourists to Fredericton, they are also a complement to the many other attractions the city has to offer.

“We have historic sites, heritage homes, concerts, festivals and other attractions,” he said.

He said that by planning your day, you can travel around the city, taking in the various attractions and sights, and sample the tasting rooms too.

“So you can rent a bike, enjoy a ride and at the end of the ride enjoy a tasting room at one of the breweries. We also have some transportation options such as the BrewHopper that operates on Friday and Saturday nights that will allow you to experience several of the breweries,” he said.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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