Picaroons Brewhouse

By Rob Patry

Brendan Moore, Picaroons Brewhouse Manager. (Photo)

The Five Kings Restaurant and Picaroons Brewhouse is ready to do business. After a soft opening in early November, the St. Stephen public house is quickly becoming the gathering place for locals to congregate. “Good fare and craft beer were our goals from the beginning, and word of mouth is spreading quickly,” says Picaroons Brewhouse Manager, Brendan Moore. “What makes us unique is we are separate yet codependent businesses functioning side by side wanting to achieve the same goals.” Those businesses are restaurant and manufacturing, although key sub-genres of entrepreneurship are also at play. “We got involved because we wanted more than our taps on display,” continues Brendan. “We wanted to be an integral part of the train station’s success.” Currently on tap, there are eight Picaroons beers. Picaroons Traditional Ales are a product of Northampton Brewing Company Ltd., owned and operated by Sean Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar’s main brewing operation is in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Picaroons Traditional Ales are sold in taverns and restaurants provincially, and have garnered national and international awards for craft beers. They can be purchased in government run beer stores, as well as at the Fredericton Brewtique, and The Picaroons General Store in Saint John.

“What makes us different is our multi-prong approach to product sales and services. A customer can come in and choose from any beers on tap. The headliners will be Picaroons top choice seasonal beers, but we also plan on having other local artisanal lagers and ales. Plus a first here in Charlotte and Washington counties, house brewed experimental beers. We want to showcase the flavors of the area. This will encompass things like saltwater or blueberries, and possibly rich chocolate stouts reminiscent of Ganong chocolates, and of course, the iconic candy and flavor of the area. Chicken Bones. The beers will be all natural, non-pasteurized product using only the finest ingredients.” Currently, the equipment is in place, but the ramp up time required going from hops and barley to beer may be a little longer than expected. “We are hoping to have some beer for tasting by Christmas, with fingers crossed,” he adds with a smile and a wink. “Realistically though, it will be in the early New Year. Then, we will be in full production. After that, we are only limited by our imaginations.” The experimental possibility attracted Brendan to relocate his position from Fredericton to St. Stephen. “One does not get this kind of opportunity to make your own mark. I jumped on the chance!” It’s clear Brendan is passionate about his profession. Educated, intellectual and funny, he possesses a host of skills necessary to take this concept to the next level. A variety of New Brunswick craft beers will be on sale in six packs, along with growlers and kegs. Growlers are large glass bottles usually found in the 1.89 liter format for carry out beer drawn right from the tap. For locals it means being able to return again and again with the growlers, which will be exchanged with clean new ones, filled with whatever beer the patron chooses. Onsite growler washers ensure purchased product will arrive home with a fresh tasting – from the tap draft.

Brendan’s vision of the future is in line with the current development of the St. Stephen philosophy. “Once we are fully operational we will be looking at about fifteen new jobs in town. I can foresee more growth down the road. Charlotte and Washington counties currently have nothing close to it. We are getting folks in from Maine, St. Andrews, Fredericton, and Saint John.” This is after being open only a few weeks. Merchandising plays a large role in the Picaroons formula. Hats, glasses, and shirts will all find their way in the brewpub. “We want people to connect with both the brand and their favorite beer. We want to be a community-minded manufacturer for loyal and supportive people who enjoy craft beer. They can come out to the Brewhouse and try a new type or style they’ve never tried before, even trekking a bit of a distance.”

The numbers don’t lie.  People in New Brunswick and New England love their beer.  Small craft breweries are popping up along the Eastern seaboard because palates are becoming more sophisticated. “We can’t rely on our Father’s beer standards any longer. Couples are going into fine food establishments demanding better quality and fresher beers that they can pair with higher end noshes and entrees. It’s no longer a niche group.  It’s a real force, making a real statement,” says Brendan.

 

Lisa Aronson, Head Chef and owner of The Five Kings Restaurant has come up with an eclectic menu of bar food staples like deep fried pickles, wings, and nachos (all done on a grand scale), and other items including curry, pasta, and steak frites. “These are foods deserving of a fine pairing. The wait staff has been trained to make recommendations, and information cards are available for customers to read about each and every offering. We want people to get involved. By engaging and educating customers, we are developing their sense of taste along with their enjoyment. Chef Lisa and I want everyone who walks through that door to feel like they are in St. Stephen, and are having an experience in a far away place. A spot to chat with friends over awesome food and drinks, and forget about the stresses of the day. This will make it memorable and keep you wanting to return.”