I left Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1999 to move to Atlanta, GA in the USA. When I did, the only choice for best craft beer in Fredericton was Picaroons. And it was awesome.
But at that time, there was nothing else.
Unless you wanted to drink Molson, Labatt, Moosehead, or the countless other mega-production “beers” in Canada (which, at the time, was still far better than American beer), then Picaroons was your only choice.
If memory serves, you couldn’t even buy a good Belgian beer at NB Liquor (the government-run liquor and beer store). Fredericton, and indeed all of New Brunswick, was a vast, craft beer-less wasteland.
Picaroons was a great choice. And it is still one of my favorites. When I go back to Fredericton a couple of times a year to see family, Picaroons is usually where I’ll park my butt at least several times during my visit.
Walk into Picaroons Roundhouse on Union Street if I’m in town, I’ll probably be there (or you just missed me).
It’s probably a combination of taste and sentimentality.
Fredericton’s beer culture is mature now
Twenty years later, times have changed. Fredericton’s craft beer scene is now a shining light on a hill for people who crave good brews. Chances are, you’ll find the best craft beer in Fredericton just a short walk from your house or whatever hotel you’re staying in.
Heck, the hotel bar probably serves it now! In fact, one of those “hotel bars” is at the epicenter of craft beer in Fredericton.
Speaking of hotels: If you want to find a place to stay in Fredericton, do it right here:
Yes, it’s completely different here now. Microbreweries in Fredericton have popped up everywhere. And most of the bars in Fredericton – even the ones who used to rely on glasses full of the cheapest draft to fill the tills – have taps dedicated to good beer – ales, lagers, doubles and triples, stouts, and more.
I decided to compile a list of the places you can get best craft beer in Fredericton. Now, I obviously can’t go into each of these places and try everything. I’ve only got two weeks here.
But I’m going to have at least one beer from each and maybe even let you in in what the bartenders consider to be their best offering.
It’ll give you a good starting point when you show up.
Best Craft Beer in Fredericton
So here it is – where you can find the Fredericton’s best beer. And cider. They have that, too!
Remember, this is not an exhaustive list. If it was, I’d probably be in detox right now!
Please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments. I can’t do ALL the drinking. But I think this is a pretty good list for people who want to drink in an around the more populated areas of the city.
The Snooty Fox
The Fox is one of my go-to places and one of my favorite Fredericton bars. Unlike Picaroons and others, it’s not a brewpub. But they do have a nice collection of beers, with 32 on tap and many more in bottles and cans.
The Snooty Fox is a great place for everyone, because while some of the more craftier beers can be expensive, there are regular beers for those who just want a cheap, cold one!
My recommendation is the Blood Orange India Pale Ale, if they have it. It’s delicious and reminds me of a favorite I always buy in Atlanta, Georgia.
And the food is good. Regular bar food and decent salads, too.
The Snooty Fox is at 66 Regent St
Gray Stone Brewing
Want a great selection of beers made by a great company? Go to Graystone! Graystone Brewing Fredericton has become one of my favorite places to go in Fredericton for a good IPA. When you’re there, I recommend the Patagonia IPA.
It’s one of my favorite beers in Fredericton.
A fairly small bar, Graystone has a really nice patio that’s relaxing, especially at night. Although it’s definitely not a sports bar, expect to find whatever game’s playing on the TV inside.
Sit and mingle with friends on the patio or even inside.
You’ll find Graystone at 221 King St., which is a little farther up the street than most bars in downtown. But that’s also good, because the traffic isn’t so heavy and it’s more relaxing.
And if you just want to pop in and take home a few cans or a growler, you can do that, too!
Gahan House Riverside
This is one of those “new to me places” that I didn’t even know existed until this particular visit. And I’m glad I found it. Gahan House is based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and has other locations throughout the Maritimes.
But it doesn’t have the feel of a chain. In fact, I didn’t even know it was a chain until I looked it up.
The feel at Gahan House in Fredericton is more of a classy place. The wait staff all wear black, and the decor is decidedly upscale. But the beer isn’t any more expensive than anywhere else in town.
And it’s good! They have 16 taps – 4 of which are brewed on site, I’m told.
They have a really good IPA, too – which is important to me, as that’s my thing!
You’ll find Gahan House Riverside at 426 Queen Street – close to the riverfront, as the name suggests.
Red Rover – The Cider House
I am, decidedly, not a cider drinker, though Halef likes one every now and then. I always feel as though I’m drinking a cheap, fizzy, white wine. And really, does it even belong in a post about craft beer in Fredericton?
It’s not beer.
But it’s fair to include Red Rover Craft Cider, I think, because the point of this post is to let you know where you can drink something good that was crafted locally.
And this is – so that’s why it’s here.
I made up my mind to stop into this Fredericton cidery and even tried one of their suggestions, which I admit was pretty good. I guess drinking the cheap crap from the local grocery store at home is probably not the best way to judge the quality of a cider.
My biggest surprise though was tucked out of the way in the back – Red Rover has a vegetarian restaurant! Unfortunately, I’d just eaten, so I’m definitely putting this on my list.
Enjoy a cider and a veggie dinner at 546 Queen Street!
Picaroons is the beer that started the craft beer craze in Fredericton. In fact, it’s pretty much the granddad of brewing in the area.
And, when I’m in town, I’ll be here more often than not because:
- Their beers are fantastic.
- It’s a 3-minute walk from my parent’s house, where I’m normally staying.
The Picaroons Roundhouse in Fredericton is at the location of what used to be one of the biggest eyesores in the city. It was an old garage and you were more likely to smell old tires and used oil in the area than anything else.
But Picaroons bought the place and now that area looks fantastic.
Picaroons Roundhouse is on the Northside of Fredericton right at the end of the Walking Bridge. You can’t miss it. The smell of what was once essentially an automobile graveyard have been replaced by hops!
Picaroons is, deservedly, on the list of Fredericton’s best breweries!
The Lunar Rogue
The Rogue has been around for years and is a destination in Fredericton for good music, great people, and good beer and liquor. Back when I lived here, it’s where we went on Friday and Saturday nights because that’s where the good, live music was.
And that’s still a thing. Again, the Rogue is not a brew pub but, like many Fredericton bars, it sells the stuff. If you want a good brew, a stiff drink, and lots of music, stop by the Lunar Rogue.
It’s right at the corner of Regent and King Streets across from Tim Horton’s.
James Joyce Pub
This one surprised me, because back in the day, the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel used to be a stuffy kinda place. Today, yf you want a good sampling of all of the Fredericton breweries – and many others – then James Joyce is the place to go.
They have a whopping 36 taps and the widest selection in New Brunswick of all different beers. TrailWay, Picaroons, Grimross, Graystone, Red Rover, Maybee Brewing, Pumphouse – you name it, they probably have it!
This is also where I tried my first TrailWay beer – the Ellipse IPA. This IPA is unfiltered, as are most of TrailWays’ offerings, and it was delicious. Because I had other beers to try and places to go, I didn’t drink a second one – but really I wanted to.
Another first for me was Maybee brewing. I happened to visit while the brewmaster for Maybee was in the house.
So I thought it only appropriate to drink one of his beers!
You’ll find all of Fredericton’s best beers at the James Joyce Pub at the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel on Queen Street – otherwise known as the Crowne Plaza.
When I lived in Fredericton, Mama’s was a popular place where people would go for comfort food and cheap beer. Now, many years later, it’s moved to an area across from the Brookside Mall on Fredericton’s Northside.
And, while Mama’s still has the cheap beer and comfort food, they’ve added taps as well, including a few of their own. Mama’s Pub is a local hangout for Northsiders.
It has a loyal customer base and everyone knows everyone else.
Like Cheers, without the extra large, sarcastic man on the stool at the end of the bar. Well, he’s probably there somewhere, actually!
TrailWay Brewing Company
The only bad thing about Trailway Brewery is that it’s a bit hard to find. It’s over on the north side of town, and the sign above is something you won’t even see unless you’re already in the parking lot.
But that’s the only bad thing. Since I’ve been in Fredericton, I’ve had several of their beers and they are some of the tastiest I’ve ever had.
That’s largely because, as they say, they have all the vitamins in ’em!
Trailway beers are unfiltered.
So, while they might not travel well, all that perfect taste stays with the beer. In my opinion, their Ellipse IPA is the best craft beer in Fredericton, and one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
Because it’s on the north side of town, it’s probably not a place that’s going to get too crowded on a Friday or Saturday night by the younger crowd that generally sticks to the South side of town.
And that’s fine. Because TrailWay beer is wonderful and you get it all to yourself!
While I was there having a few samples, someone from outside of Montréal, Quebec – 11 hours away, by the way – came in and bought about 12 cans of various beers.
Not only that, but he knew exactly what he wanted. In other words, TrailWay beer is well-known outside of Fredericton. There’s a good reason for that. Whether you’re over on the South side or in another town, this beer is worth traveling to get!
Other breweries in Fredericton
Unfortunately, my time in Fredericton came to an end before I could get everywhere – especially the places a little outside of town. I’ve tried stuff from a couple of them, but can’t really tell you much about their locations.
If you’re so inclined, go a little farther and try these Fredericton Breweries:
Although I didn’t get to check this place out specifically, I did try a couple of their beers at other pubs. If you’re in the uptown area of Fredericton, give Grimross Brewing a try.
Grimross Brewing is at 600 Bishop Drive in Fredericton. That’s up behind the Regent Mall. The beer there is really good!
Try the Maritime Pale Ale!
Maybee Brewing Company
On an early Saturday morning, I decided to take a drive to see this place. It’s out of the way in an industrial park just outside the city and creates some of the best craft beer in Fredericton.
Maybee Brewing has some excellent selections and I recommend the Work Horse IPA, which I tried when I bought one at Picaroons! Really good quality.
You’ll find Maybee Brewing at 559 Wilsey Road.
When I was a student at the University of New Brunswick, the Hilltop Pub in Fredericton was the place to drink. It was a bar where we all went for cheap beer at night, and then back the next morning for breakfast. It was an institution.
Specifically, I remember that it was kind of a sport for people to steal the Hilltop’s beer glasses. I won’t say whether or not I ended up with any of these, but there was at least one in every kitchen cabinet of every student’s apartment or dorm!
The Hilltop Pub has changed a lot. Craft beer was never on the menu.
Now it is. The Hilltop – at 1034 Prospect Street – now serves pilsners, stouts, IPAs and brown ales from several breweries in Fredericton and around New Brunswick.
King Street Ale House
I first happened upon the King Street Ale House last year when I visited. Actually, I was looking for another bar that used to be around when I lived here (that’s long gone, apparently). I walked in here and, to my surprise, I just saw a bunch of taps! KSAH has a great selection of beer from a lot of Fredericton breweries. And I’ve even eaten here. I had a veggie burger and a Mediterranean flatbread. The flatbread was delicious. The burger was OK. You’ll find the King Street Ale House at 546 King Street – right next to Brewbakers.
UPDATE (February, 2019): Sadly, after more than a decade, King Street Ale House has shut its doors.
Boom! Nightclub (Dishonorable Mention)
Boom is not a brewpub or anything like that, so I’m probably being unfair by placing it in this post.
If you want to dance in Fredericton though, Boom! Nightclub is the place you want to be. However, if you want to drink a decent Fredericton beer or cider while you dance, you won’t be able to do it here.
As much as I like this LGBTQ-centered club, it’s “bottom shelf” all the way here.
Come on people!
There are gay people out there who appreciate quality in more than clothing. Throw in a few taps for us! Be like a good burger restaurant. They all have a veggie burgers now. That means vegetarians no longer get a veto.
You want more people to stop in here?
Give them something to drink besides the swill from the mega breweries.
Things to do in Fredericton
Of course, drinking beer, as wonderful as it is, ain’t the only thing there is to do in Fredericton. Before, after, or during your craft beer tour, check out these 16 fun things to do in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
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