Published on March 21st, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Trailway Brewing’s Jake Saunders On The Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, His Brewery & More
The capital city of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, Fredericton, was established over 230 years ago in 1785. The city, which runs along the Saint John River, is home to about 60,000 people and offers just about everything one would expect to find in a small city. Beyond its two universities, the city is full of restaurants, shopping, year-round festivals, historical establishments, and natural outdoor attractions; there are few chain stores to be found. Also known for its cultural diversity, the national Canadian government notably named Fredericton as the “Cultural Capital of Canada” in 2009.
As noted within my just-published post for the Pure Grain Audio website, I had the pleasure of visiting Fredericton earlier this month for The Fredericton Craft Beer Festival. One of the fastest growing festivals in the Maritimes, the FCFB, which is helmed by festival co-founder Lloyd Chambers, brings together the largest selection of local beer, cider, and mead available on Canada’s East Coast. Hosted at the Fredericton Convention Centre, the multi-session event allows attendees to sample dozens of craft beers in a friendly and relaxed setting. And based on the success of the festival’s just-held 2019 edition, a 2020 return has already been announced for March 6th and 7th of next year which will include the launch of the event’s Down East Brewers Conference.
Below are highlights from my Q&A with Fredericton Craft Beer Festival participant Jake Saunders, a co-owner of Trailway Brewing. More on the popular festival can be found on the event’s official website, while all things Fredericton tourism-related are online at www.tourismfredericton.ca.
How did the Fredericton Beer Festival compare to you with regards to other festivals you have worked or attended?
Jake Saunders: The FCBF, in my humble opinion, is the best fest going in Atlantic Canada right now. Lloyd Chambers really does a great job with this. Not only does he do a great job selling out the event, but he treats the breweries involved wonderfully. He throws a great party and awards ceremony — for the Down East Brewing Awards — on the Friday night; Friday has become very popular with the breweries involved. This fest has a great reputation and pretty much every brewery wants to come out for this event. It’s not too often that you see such great participation from the breweries. I feel like he views it more as a partnership with the breweries, which is why it’s so successful. He’s willing to pay for beer and he makes sure that you’re well taken care of, that’s for sure.
So was there a highlight for the event for you?
Jake Saunders: Friday night! It’s great getting together with all the other breweries in a common setting. It’s great catching up and enjoying a couple cold ones with so many other industry folk. Don’t get me wrong, the actual festival on Saturday is a blast as well, but it’s nice to see everyone on Friday evening in an informal/non-working capacity.
Do you have a favorite bar or restaurant in Fredericton?
Jake Saunders: I really enjoy 540 Kitchen & Bar, along with the James Joyce Pub here in Fredericton. They both have a killer beer rotation, and from one weekend to the next you’ll always find something new on tap. They have also both been our earliest supporters since day one too, so maybe I’m a little biased. (laughs)
Festival aside, what is coming up for your brewery in the coming months and year?
Jake Saunders: We have lots going on. We produce primarily hazy, hoppy ales, but we’re quite excited about an expansion into some new styles. We recently got a cool-ship and last fall we executed our first ever cool-ship beer that is currently fermenting in some wine barrels. We’re also doing some other sour beers that have been in wine barrels for well over a year. We have a new dedicated sour fermenter that is arriving later this week and we’re looking forward to expanding our horizons with some more experimental beer. We also bought a 12-lane bowling alley across the street from our brewery that we’re starting renovations on in early May — hoping to make it the hottest candlepin bowling bar east of the Mississippi.
What was the last concert you attended?
Jake Saunders: With 2 kids under the age of two, I don’t get out all that much. The last concert I attended was a Motherhood show a few months back. The lead singer of Motherhood happens to be one of our brewery taproom staff that is currently away on a U.S. tour for the next couple months. They just released a new album titled Dear Bongo last week, hence the tour. If you’ve never heard of Motherhood, check ’em out.
Finally, Jake, any last words for the kids?
Jake Saunders: Drink good beer and support local, y’all. We’re making candlepin bowling cool again. Cheers.