I didn’t know a lot about New Brunswick before I arrived to begin my adventures in Fredericton. What I heard was that Atlantic Canadians are very friendly, they are famous for it. So in my mind great hospitality usually equals a great pub scene which usually means great local beers. There is a great pub scene in New Brunswick, but the Craft Beer market is just beginning with about 15 craft breweries in the entire province. It would take me a week to criss-cross the province to visit them all, so I turn to Uncorked Tours for a guided Fredericton beer tour. 100+ km, four breweries, and a lot of samples means I am really happy I left the driving to Gilliane of Uncorked Tours.
The tours range in size up to a maximum of 16 people but for today’s tour I’ve arranged for a private tour. I may have a lot of questions and I don’t want to ruin the tour for others. Just like every tour though I am picked up by Gilliane at my hotel and off we go. Straight out to the highway we head towards the village of Nackawic for our first brewery.
1. Big Axe Brewery and Bed & Breakfast – Our first stop is a brewery that is also a Bed & Breakfast. This is a first for me. Have you ever been to a B&B with a brewery attached to it before? I think it is kind of awesome, just think you can come down for a pint before bed no problem.
Across from the brewery is the St. John River. They have a dock so boats can moor and come up for a tasting. Now that is the life. Inside the brewery, the living room has been converted into the tasting room. The upstairs are the bedrooms, so it is a short walk from bed to beer.
After meeting the owners, I am poured a picnic sampler of four beers. The choice is mine from their offerings and I select the Shakesbeer Stout, Lizzie Borden Red Ale, Firefly IPA and the Chanterelle Cream Ale. All are delicious but my favourite, believe it or not, was the Chanterelle Cream Ale, just a hint of earthiness from the mushroom but very smooth. A nice drink on a hot day. Don’t you just love the mini picnic table that holds the sample glasses? I told them they need to sell these as they’d make great gifts for any beer lover.
2. King’s Landing Historical Village – Driving back towards Fredericton our next stop isn’t a brewery, it’s a historical village. Why are we stopping here? Because even though they don’t brew beer they do have a pub and a signature brew called Simeon Jones by Picaroons, one of the best known New Brunswick craft brewers.
At King’s Landing we meet up with our guide who starts to walk us through the village. King’s Landing is not a park it is a rural museum and a working one at that. A farm produces produce for the pub and they even have a grist mill on site that is being renovated back into working condition. The star of the village is Simeon Jones House. That is our first stop and like me you can walk through the house which has been decorated with authentic to the time pieces and even some artifacts that came directly from the Jones family. This is not your standard house from the 1800’s. Simeon Jones was a very well to do man.
From Simeon Jones House, we walk up to the King’s Head Inn and Pub. If you don’t feel like walking, you can always hitch a ride on the horse pulled wagon. The King’s Head is also a fully working Pub. You can grab a bite to eat, throw a wedding or just enjoy a pint like I did. Of course, I sampled the Simeon Jones. Two thumbs up.
You don’t have to be on a beer tour to visit King’s Landing. In fact I think you should set time aside just to visit and explore this cool rural museum.
3. Grimross Craft Beer – Back into Fredericton we go to visit our third stop, Grimross. It doesn’t have the cool character outward appearance of the first two stops, but Grimross is primarily a brewery with a newly added tasting room. In total, there is only seating for about 10 inside, but during our visit at least a dozen people came in to fill their Growlers. This is the first brewery where you can actually see inside the brewery from the tasting room. Here I get a sample of everything starting with Ben’s Country Cousin, Cheval D’Or, Maritime Pale Ale, Pugnacious Porter and lastly the Maritime Amber Ale. My favourite was the Cheval D’Or with its peppery and citrus notes. Of course, if I were looking for a meal then it would have to be the Pugnacious Porter. That is a meal in a glass with its dark chocolate and coffee notes.
4. Red Rover Brewing – Our fourth and final stop on the Uncorked Fredericton Beer Tour is not a brewery it is a cidery. Red Rover is Fredericton’s Cider, and it is fantastic. I’ve already enjoyed it at a few pubs, and now I am tasting it at the place where it is made. It’s a super small space, but big things come in small packages right?
On tap, they have three Ciders for me to try. Summer, Spring and Fire Cider. The Summer is a bit drier and less sweet than the Spring, but I think the star is the Fire Cider. Brewed with Ginger and Cayenne it has just enough bite to make it interesting but not enough to sting your lips. I love the Fire Cider. By far this is my favourite sample of the entire day. I could see many hours floating on the St. John River with a glass or two of Red Rover Fire Cider. Hopefully they’ve made enough because I’ve already been telling the locals all about it! If I lived closer to New Brunswick, I’d be buying a baby keg it of it right now!
So there you have a 5-hour beer tour that took me all over the Fredericton area. You could do this on your own, but someone who have to be the designated driver and who wants to do that on a beer tour. Sign up for a tour with Gilliane at Uncorked Tours and leave the itinerary and the driving to her. Enjoy!
Gilliane has put together a full afternoon beer tour experience that combines beer tasting with a history lesson. During the drives between stops a lot of information is shared about the area and the craft beer industry. Each spot knew we were coming and were prepared so we got the most from each stop. Well done.
Value for $9
Tour Guide Knowledge9
Variety of Stops8
Would I go back?10