I storm through the door, stomping my feet on the mat to clear the slush from my boots, then fall silent, undecided what to do next. The young lady at the bar shoots a look my way and I give her a nod that I just need a moment to get my bearings.
There is a man perched over the counter, leaning on an elbow, shifting his weight from foot to foot looking up at the selection board. The young lady behind the bar senses my indecision and breaks eye contact with me, sliding towards the man.
They have a verbal exchange and she wobbles her head from side to side accompanied by hand gestures adding her descriptions of each flavour. She gets to work filling his order once his decision is made. Her hand glides over the various levers, coming to rest on a handle. A golden liquid melts down the side of the goblet, filling it to the rim. She places the glass in front of the man and as he lifts it to take a taste, her lips part and her chin comes up, mimicking the patron as he drinks. She stands silent awaiting his response.
This is a Saturday afternoon at the “brewtique and taproom” of the Grimross brewery. I walk past the wall of windows and have a peek into the adjacent space. People are sprinkled around the tables. A dark-haired man with a beard raises his head from the screen of his phone to look at who has arrived. Not seeing the person he is expecting, he drops his eyes back down.
The man at the counter must have been happy with the product he tasted. He purchased a growler and departed. Now that the lady is free I am ready to approach. “Hi,” I say, putting my business card on the counter. “I am Kelly, a blogger and I am doing a piece on craft breweries in Fredericton. What is your name?” “Ashley,” she answers with a smile, and picks up my card. “I was hoping you could answer some questions for me?”
She straightens up and says, “What kind of questions?” answering my question with one of her own. “Oh, simple ones. First who is the owner?” “Steve Dixon is the owner.” She snaps off quickly and awaits my second question, which I don’t have ready. “Would I be able to have a look around, maybe take some photos?” “Yes sure,” she tilts her head with an easy casualness.
My eyes dart towards the garage door wondering what is behind it. “Can I see the brewery area?’ She wrinkles her face up at my request. “I am here alone today so I can’t leave to show you, but if you just go into the other room where the stage is, and look to the left….” her hand pats the air on her left side. ” You can see all the tanks of the brewery.” “Oh great, thanks.” I remove the lens cap from my camera and proceed further in the room.
The metal tanks blend in beautifully with this industrial open concept. A pleasing experience for sure. I take a few pictures then return. “What would I call that space Ashley, a bar?” “It’s a tap room, we don’t serve food but we do have live entertainment, did you see the stage?” I nod.
I take more photos stepping back from the counter “Do you mind If I get you in some photos?” “No, I don’t mind,” she smiles and poses. I walk back up to the counter. “OK. I think…” I pause trying to make my beer selection.”I think I will have a cream ale, please.”
“Do you want a pint or a 12 oz?” “Well I am driving so, a pint maybe…” I pause again looking for advice. “The pint is bigger than the 12 oz,” she says. “OK then I will have a 12 oz thank you.” Again I watch as she fills a rounded Belgian-style piece of glassware to the top and hands it to me. I pay for it and I walk to the table and place it down.
“Ashley, would you mind taking a photo of me please.” I lift the glass up and some sploshes over the edge and wets the wooden table. “She brings a roll of hand towels over and put it on the table them takes the camera and snaps a few photos of me.
I mop up the spill and then relax on my seat drinking my brew. “I could stay here all day,” I say, taking a gulp. “Lots of people do,” she replies with a chuckle. I can understand why. A couple plunks down a caddy of empty miniature Belgian glasses on the counter. I point at the empty glasses. “Is that a flight of beer?” I inquire “Yes,” she says turning a glass in her hand checking for spots. I am having a bit of beer envy. “I should have had one of those.” Next time I think to myself.
On the far wall at the front of the room is a display rack of Covered Bridge potato chips and a peg board holding an assortment of candies from a local company called Candyland Wholesalers. “I see you support the local New Brunswick producers.” “Yes, the candy isn’t made local, but the company itself is local.” I make note of it, putting it on my list of foodie places to see.
“Well Ashley, thank you for your help. I am off to check out my next craft brewery.” “Have fun,” she smiles as I leave.
Next I pull into the parking lot of 559 Wilsey road at Maybee craft brewery. Glass-windowed, (feature photo) wooden accent walls and exposed duct-work carry the industrial theme inside A bank of taps is embedded in the reclaimed wood boards placed lengthwise up the wall behind he server. I check out the display board of what is on tap, then go through the same spiel as I did with Ashley, offering my card with an outstretched hand ” I am Kelly a blogger…”
Hillary is the name of the employee. ” Would you like to try something?” “Sure,” I say. “I tend to like an ale or a lager. Which is your favourite?” “I like the sour,” she recommends “A sour it is then.” I am familiar with bitters, but I have never heard of a sour. I get a small sample glass and taste it. It is has a tart citrus flavour and I instantly squint my eyes shut but go back for a second sip. The second sip grows on me and by the third taste, I love it. “It is tart.” Hillary nods “Yes, very fruity and refreshing.”
“So do you have music here?” “Yes sometimes we do. It is quiet this time of year.” “How long have you been open?” “We opened three years ago.” “I bet it gets busy in the summer here.” “Yes.” She doesn’t add much more and is making me work hard to get information
“Do you know if there are craft beer tours in Fredericton?” “In the summer we do get a lot of bus tours that come here,” she said. “I know there is a company that does brewery tours, because we get a lot of them.”
Running out of questions, I stare at the listing of beers trying to decide which type I will buy to take home. “You have some strong beers,” I say, taking note of the STONE HOUSE TRIPEL at eight per cent alcohol. She lays down a sample of the Workhorse IPA, which is 7.2 per cent. I take a taste and really like it. “I like this one but with that much alcohol I will take a can home and enjoy it on my couch. ” Hillary smiles in agreement. I make the purchase and tuck it in my purse. “Can I take some photos?” “Sure, except you can’t see the brewery area, it is closed today.” I snap a few photos and thank Hillary for her time then depart.
Fredericton has become a mecca for craft brew enthusiasts. Its popularity is evident in the New Brunswick Liquor Stores as they have a separate craft beer rooms to cater to the fashionable trend. No need to miss out on any of New Brunswick’s fine craft brews if you can’t fit in all the brew house tours.
For more on Fredericton’s craft breweries and events Check out Fredericton craft beer show. My friend Greg Delaney has done extensive research of brew masters on his the Atlantic Beer blog. and please visit my post from the fall of 2017 when I covered The Brickwork cider house and Picaroons in my post My Fredericton, New Brunswick. I will have to save Graystone brewing brewery and Trailways brewing for another day.
Please join me for the next installment in this series of A Foodie in New Brunswick
Cheers literally from Maritime Mac
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