Feature Friday: Picaroons


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This weeks Feature Friday is a little different.  Instead of featuring an artist or a small clothing business, I reached out to Picaroons.  It seemed like an obvious business to feature seeing as they make their beer locally, not to mention they have used local artists to design their logos, and have a strong presence among the “hipster” and “artsy” type characters who roam the streets of Fredericton.I reached out to Dennis Goodwin (marketing) and Myles Mackenzie (head brewer) who were super helpful and asked them a few questions about Picaroons and the art-form of making craft beer.  Here is what Myles told me:

Do you ever feel like an “artist” of some sorts when you are brewing?
Most defiantly.  Although there is a lot of science and chemistry that goes into brewing. every batch is different, even if it’s the same style.  There are quality assurance procedures in place to make sure that our beers are consistent but it’s not a push button system.  Grain is still loaded into the mill by hand and the mash still needs to be stirred and pushed.  You have faith in the yeast and watch your numbers the same way that a painter knows which colours to use and which brushes make certain strokes but every painting they make is unique.  It’s a lot of fun and at the end of the day you have a product that people enjoy and that’s the main goal.

What is your favorite beer to make/create and why?
My personal favorite beer to make is the Picaroons Historical Brown Ale (currently the Connell Stamp brown… previously the 104th regiment  brown).
It’s my favorite because it was the first beer I was given complete creative control over the recipe for.  Designed from scratch the way I envisioned it.  I had to edit the recipe a few times starting out but now it’s just where i want it.  On top of that a portion of each bottle sold goes to support a historical charity which is really cool.
Can you tell me a little bit about the brewing process?
The basics of brewing are that we add water of specific pH and with specific minerals to malted barely.  Enzymes in the water turn the starches in the barley into sugars that yeast can eat. We add hops to the wort (unfermented beer) for flavour, aroma and as a natural preservative.  Yeast is added and consumes the sugars turning them into carbon dioxide and alcohol.  We use a filter to remove the yeast and other unwanted solids. Carbonate the beer and it’s ready to be consumed!!  At Picaroons we use a brewing system called a “Peter Austin brewing system” with unique features such as open top fermentation and the use of Ringwood yeast.  Once our new Union street brewery is open for tours drop in and I’ll show you all about it.

What makes craft beer different than “regular” mass produced beer?
Craft beer has many things that make it different.  Smaller batch sizes allow for more styles and more frequent experimentation.  Many craft brewing systems are run by only a few people instead of a large processing plant and thus they are able to imprint a more personal touch to the beer.  This could be anything from quickly adapting to their consumers comments about altering altering beer to be more or less “Hoppy” all the way to adding a style to their breweries portfolio.  Another advantage if being a member of a growing community of small(er than the big guys) breweries is that we have to have more face time with our consumers.  Going out to events where craft breweries are involved, the people there representing the companies are more often than not the people who own them or make the beer.  It’s actually really amazing.
What inspires you?
Other breweries beer.  There is so much good beer out there.  Tasting what other people are doing and experimenting with always makes me aspire to create better be.  There’s no such thing as a bad beer out there, just different beer for different people.  Luckily with the craft beer scene exploding like it is, there’s always something new to try out there and It’s all worth trying!

Always be drunk.
That’s it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time’s horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
“Time to get drunk!
Don’t be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!”
– Charles Baudelaire



One thought on “Feature Friday: Picaroons

  1. I like trying beers from a wide range of breweries. Don’t know if Picaroons distributes in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, which is where I live, but I’ll keep my eyes open for their beers.


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