Tag Archives: picaroons

Picaroons Traditional Ales – Plaid to the Bone

I picked up this offering from Picaroons (Fredericton, New Brunswick) at RockHead Wine & Beer Market in Halifax and it was a surprise in every way. Based on the name, I assumed it was a wee heavy, so the first surprise came when I realized it was a gruit. I’d never had the style before, and after Googling it, I was skeptical: it’s an ancient style of unhopped ale, using heather tips and flowers. With that in mind, I cracked open the bottle fully prepared to hate it.

From the brewery: Plaid to the Bone Heather Ale is a 4.5% abv ale made with heather tips and flowers created especially for the upcoming New Brunswick Highland Games Festival.

Appearance: Hazy and golden, with a thin pearly head. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: A big nose of wild flower and…sweaty feet. Seriously: there’s a dank, mushroomy, sweaty funk there—like damp tennis shoes on a hot summer day.

Taste: To my manifest relief, the funky qualities don’t continue into the taste. There’s a little bit of mushroominess, but it’s mostly clean and faintly sweet, with a slightly floral finish.

Mouthfeel: Light and easy drinking, ideal for a hot summer day.

Overall: As this is the first and only gruit I’ve ever tasted, I can’t really say how it represents its style, but it stands on its own as a unique and pleasantly surprising beer.


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Regular contributor and guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.


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Picaroons – Upstream Ale


IMG_1858.JPGReleased in support of the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Federation, Picaroons Traditional Ales of Fredericton, New Brunswick has again released their Upstream Ale. This limited release is unique in flavour and help to support conservation efforts for wild salmon in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

What did I think?

Appearance: This beer is crystal clear, and golden in colour. With only a very slight head.

Aroma: The aroma is malty, with hints some dark malts (despite its light colour). There are some notes of wood or smoke.

Taste: The flavour is toasty and unique, with a slight smoke-like/phenol flavour. There is a bit of sweet malty flavour with some grain/bread. Even though its a light beer it still has a somewhat richness in the flavour. Unique.

Mouthfeel: The body and carbonation levels are both light to medium.

Overall: Not like anything I’ve had. Easy drinking and light, but bold at the same time. Its worth trying and you can fell good about supporting a great cause, but get it quick, this is a really limited release.


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20140420-080537.jpgPicaroons Traditional Ales is located in Fredericton, NB. Operating since 1995, its growing range of beers are brewed with traditional English roots, hand crafted in small batches.

From the brewery:
“An East Coast-style India Pale Ale that weaves hop bitterness and aroma throughout a blanket of malt backgroung. This beer may change from batch to batch as we explore the various interpretations of the style.”

And what did I think?

Golden orange in colour, and somewhat cloudy. With off white head and some lacing.

Hops, front and centre. Mainly citrus, with some flowery, earthy, and dank note. Slight malt. Caramel.


Lots northwest hops – citrus and dank. Leather. Not much malt. The hop bitterness is lasting on the palate.

Light to medium body. Good amount of carbonation.

With the brewery describing this as an “East Coast” IPA, its understandable that it may not be a hop bomb like is found on the West Coast, but still a very good IPA. Lots of hops with a solid backbone to support the hop lead. Quite drinkable even with the large amount of hops that lasts on the palate. Leaves you wanting more.


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BEER MONDAY REVIEW: Picaroons – Timber Hog

20140316-121802.jpgHappy St. Patrick’s Day! In honour of the day it’s a Dry Irish Stout review, but this ones not from Ireland, but comes from across the pond out of New Brunswick. Picaroons Traditional Ales, located in Fredericton, NB, crafts their beers in small 15 hectolitre batches, giving each batch it’s own unique character.

Timber Hog is described on the website as: “The classic Irish-style dry stout is the basic background of this aromatic ebony elixir but deviations may occur from batch to batch as we improvisationally wander through variations on the theme.”

Here’s what I thought:

Dark black with faint hints of ruby on the edges when put up to a light. Very slight beige head that’s not long lasting.

Not a strong aroma. Has some malt, but is mainly dark roasted coffee.

Deep roasted flavour. Black coffee with a slight bit of hops. Molasses, and burnt sugar with dark fruity notes and just a hint of leather. Nice dry finish.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick in a good way. Drinks very nice.

Very drinkable. Roasty and dry, for sure, but it all adds up to a nice drink. As it warms up slightly a bit more of the fruitiness comes out and it becomes even more drinkable. Excellent example of the style.


What will be in store (and your glass) for 2014?

Every year we see more and more people converting to craft beer. People are waking up to flavour and to the not so mundane – this is not a new trend. Since the early ’80s there has been a a steady growth in craft beer – at first it was small, but every year the market share is of craft breweries is growing. Today, more and more beer drinkers are looking for something that isn’t a pale, light flavoured lager, but something that is different. And what was “different” last year may be mainstream this year as many craft brewers are trying to keep up with what their customers want to drink. The craft beer movement has come on strong in Canada and with a fast growing number of brewers in the Maritimes we are on the edge of a beer revolution.


So, what will 2014 bring?

It looks like big, hoppy IPAs will continue to be popular. The trend in ever higher alcohol and “the more hops the better” philosophy will keep rolling as drinkers can’t seem to get enough and the hop train keeps rolling from the west to the east. “The West Coast has been on the IPA bandwagon for a long time, but that being said, it’s a trend that keeps growing stronger.” says Tracy Phillippi of Garrison Brewery (www.garrisonbrewing.com), “Brewers out west are finding new & creative ways of using hops (hops in mash, hop filters, dry hopping, hops in bottles, etc.)… At the same time, new breweries in Toronto, seem to be starting with flagships styles that have mass appeal, but people still want aggressive IPAs. I think that’s one reason that our IIPA has done so well in the LCBO.”

In a twist counter to the big IIPA trend, low strength, session beers are increasing in popularity. As Sean Dunbar from Picaroons Brewery (www.picaroons.ca) in Fredericton, NB said, “There’s a much longer conversation to be had over beers sometime.” This is trend that not only Picarons sees, but across the nation because, well, sometimes there is a longer conversation to be had.

Local, and experimental beers. Drinkers are looking for the next think. People are willing to try new things that are coming out of their local brewpub and are also looking for the small, true craft beer – they want to know the people who brew the beer. “Niche, terroir-esque, and original beers are garnering a lot of attention in the market” says Jeremy White of Big Spruce Brewing (www.bigspruce.ca), adding “[It’s] going to be an interesting decade in craft beer.”

Sour beers of Belgium. These tart and refreshing beers are one of the oldest styles of beer. They’re produced using very traditional methods, allowing the beer to be “infected” with a variety of microbes that is truly a biological experiment gone right. Though these styles have been around for pretty much forever, they have had a falling off in popularity in their native European home, but are experiencing a serge of popularity this side of the Atlantic. Peter Burbridge of Bridge Brewing Company (bridgebeer.ca) says “Since we opened we have seen an increased awareness and demand for Belgian beer styles” adding that he sees the trend of sours coming to the Nova Scotia market.

2014 is shaping up to be an exciting year of beer. “I really think we’re (East Coast) finally seeing the growth in craft beer that other parts of North America have seen for the past several years” says Tracy Phillippi. “It’s exciting to see people come to craft beer for the first time, because in most other parts of North America it’s a longstanding trend.”

Cheers to a great year of beer!